Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Before the Flood - UK broadcast time

The BBC has confirmed that the fourth episode of the 2015 series, Before the Flood by Toby Whithouse, will air in the UK on BBC One and BBC One HD at 8:25pm on Saturday 10 October.

On a remote Army outpost, a fearsome alien warlord - the Fisher King - sets in motion a twisted plan to ensure his own survival. The ripples will be felt around the universe. Is this chain of events inevitable? And can the Doctor do the unthinkable?

Meanwhile, the series continues this Saturday with the first part of the story, Under the Lake.

Source: BBC Media Centre
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Doctor Who Experience: Colin Baker Q&A and Dalek Week

Colin Baker will be participating in a special Q&A session at the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff next month, on Saturday 10 October.

The actor, who played the Sixth Doctor from 1984-86, has since returned to the role in numerous official audio stories by Big Finish Productions, including the recent The Last Adventure - which finally revealed the circumstances behind his character's regeneration into Sylvester McCoy's Seventh Doctor. In 2013 Baker also appeared alongside Peter Davison and Sylvester McCoy in fiftieth anniversary spoof The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot, which was filmed in part at the Doctor Who Experience.

There will be photo and signing opportunities during the day, and the event has no additional charge, as it is included in the price of a standard ticket. For more information about the Experience and to book tickets, visit the official website.

Additionally, following the return of the Daleks and their creator Davros in the two-part opener of the new series, the Doctor Who Experience is to host a Dalek Day event on Saturday 24 October, followed by a 'Dalek Week' of half term activities for fans and families. Visitors to the Experience will be able to:

  • Get up close to the Daleks, who will be roaming throughout the Experience
  • See the Daleks which featured in the opening two-parter of the 2015 series
  • Learn how to operate a Dalek and take part in a Q&A session with a Dalek operator
  • See the unveiling of the restored original Davros, as part of the Doctor Who Experience's refurbishment programme

Further details on Dalek Week will follow next week.

With thanks to BBC Worldwide
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Monday, 28 September 2015

The Magician's Apprentice - final viewing figures

The first episode of the 2015 series of Doctor Who, The Magician's Apprentice by Steven Moffat, has achieved an official viewing figure of 6.54 million viewers, in statistics published by BARB (the Broadcasters' Audience Research Board). This figure is consolidated over a seven-day period, meaning that it includes everybody who 'timeshifted' the programme within the week following its broadcast.

Doctor Who was the 4th most-watched programme of the week on BBC One, and the 13th most-watched across the whole of UK television. Additionally, the episode had 1.3 million requests on BBC iPlayer throughout the week, which do not factor into the BARB statistics.

Source: BARB
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Sunday, 27 September 2015

Big Finish schedule changes

Audio drama producer Big Finish has announced some changes to its schedule of upcoming releases.

Gallifrey: Enemy Lines and the second series of Charlotte Pollard have both moved back from their original release dates of January and February 2016 to October 2016.

In an official news release on its website, the company said: "After an amazing year of new releases and announcements, and an even bigger 2016 ahead, we've reshuffled the release dates of two upcoming titles, ensuring both titles receive the time and attention they deserve in studio and post-production."

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Doctor Who Extra: The Witch's Familiar

The behind-the-scenes web series Doctor Who Extra continues this week, with new segments looking at the production of episode two now available to watch online.

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Saturday, 26 September 2015

The Magician's Apprentice/The Witch's Familiar - feature-length BBC One repeat

In an unexpected move, BBC One and BBC One HD have scheduled a feature-length repeat of the opening two-parter from the new series, for Sunday 27 September at 3:15pm. This omnibus-style repeat, combining both episodes into a continuous programme, will run for 90 minutes and emulates the format used for the episodes' premiere in Cardiff earlier this month.

Look out for Unearthly's full review of both episodes soon...

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Thursday, 24 September 2015

Character Options unveils limited edition Missy figures

Character Options, the maker of officially-licensed Doctor Who action figures, has today announced that two new 5.5-inch limited edition figures of Missy will be made available later this year.

The figures, the first in a new range of scale Doctor Who Collector Series toys, were revealed by Al Dewar (Head of Product Development, Character Group) in a web video.

The first variant of the figure is a purple outfitted version (with hat) from the 2014 series finale episodes Dark Water and Death in Heaven, while the second presents Missy in her 'Heaven' outfit; hat-less with a black jacket and manic grin. Both of the Missy figures each have eighteen points of articulation and are highly detailed. Each figure's head can also be swapped so that both heads can be incorporated with either outfit, and they both come with accessories. For the first time, the packaging of the new range of figures will be resealable in the UK, so that the figures can be enjoyed in or out of packaging without losing their collectability.

"Character Options has been designing, manufacturing and marketing Doctor Who toys since 2005," says Dewar, "so as true fans of the brand we wanted to tell collectors the latest news in the most direct, if informal way, which is why I made the announcement in person online. Missy is the first of a potential new line of highly sought after 5.5-inch action figures so we expect interest to be high, and we are all very excited to share this with fans and collectors alike.

"Working with Michelle Gomez was great fun and she was the best subject we have ever 3D scanned, patiently holding her facial expressions, including her trademark Missy 'sneer', for long periods of time. We know that many collectors have been eagerly waiting to see if Missy would at some point be included within our figure range, and at last, here she is."

4000 units of each of the two figures are available for order priced £19.99 each (excluding P&P), with packaging exclusive to the UK. The figures will reach customers by early November.

Source: Character Options
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Before the Flood synopsis released

The synopsis for the fourth episode of Doctor Who Series Nine, Toby Whithouse's Before the Flood, has been revealed by the BBC.

On a remote army outpost, a fearsome alien warlord - the Fisher King - sets in motion a twisted plan to ensure his own survival. The ripples will be felt around the universe. Is this chain of events inevitable? And can the Doctor do the unthinkable?

To some extent, the episode forms the second instalment of a two-parter with the previous episode, Under the Lake. The UK broadcast time has not yet been confirmed, but the episode is set to air on Saturday 10 October.

Source: BBC Media Centre
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Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Big Finish updates

Audio drama producer Big Finish has made a number of announcements about upcoming releases from the worlds of Doctor Who.

Torchwood Series 1

All remaining episode titles from the first audio series of Torchwood have been unveiled, along with their key cast members.

January 2016 sees the return of John Barrowman as Captain Jack Harkness in Uncanny Valley. Written by David Llewellyn, the story sees Jack still on his quest to find out more about the mysterious Committee. What is their involvement in the life of a reclusive billionaire?

Then, the first series will conclude in February 2016 with More Than This, written by Guy Adams and starring Eve Myles as Gwen Cooper, placed on a very special mission.

More details on both stories will be revealed soon.

The New Counter-Measures

Launching in July 2016, The New Counter-Measures presents a bold new direction for Big Finish's spin-off series, based on the military organisation originally introduced in the 1988 Doctor Who story Remembrance of the Daleks.

After four box sets' worth of investigations, Counter-Measures Series 4 appeared to bring ICMG's reign to an end with an earth-shattering finale. But the new series will reveal the fate of the organisation, and how it continued into the era of UNIT.

The New Counter-Measures will be led by Sir Toby Kinsella (Hugh Ross), whose elite team of scientists and military specialists defend the world from threats both homegrown and extraterrestrial.

The series will begin with a double-disc feature-length special in July 2016, before returning for another box set of four adventures in December 2016.

Jago & Litefoot Series 11

Finally, Big Finish has confirmed the latest set of adventures for the popular investigators Jago & Litefoot, as portrayed by Christopher Benjamin and Trevor Baxter.

Jago & Litefoot Series 11 sees the detectives confront a menace that will be familiar to Doctor Who fans.

The box set opens with Jago and Son by Nigel Fairs, where Henry Gordon Jago encounters his previously unknown son. Jago Junior is played by UNIT: Extinction star James Joyce, and is joined by Rowena Cooper (The Sarah Jane Adventures) as Jean.

The second story is Maurice by Matthew Sweet, where the detectives meet the famed French composer – but a sinister force is endangering his life. Another historical encounter follows, when Dracula author Bram Stoker joins Jago & Litefoot for Simon Barnard and Paul Morris' The Woman in White – which guest stars Doctor Who legend Edward de Souza as Sir Henry Irving.

The series reaches a climax written by script editor Justin Richards. The title is as yet unrevealed, but the story will see Jago & Litefoot take on the darkest force they've ever faced, with the aid of Ellie Higson (Lisa Bowerman), Inspector Quick (Conrad Asquith) and some emergency reinforcements...

Jago & Litefoot Series 11 will be released in April 2016.

Source: Big Finish
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Under the Lake - synopsis and broadcast details

Transmission information and the official synopsis are now available for the third episode of Series Nine, Under the Lake by Toby Whithouse.

When an Underwater Base comes under attack, the Doctor and Clara must save the frightened crew and defeat an impossible threat. But what is behind these terrifying events? And can they really be haunted by ghosts?

Under the Lake will air in the UK on BBC One and BBC One HD on Saturday 3 October at 8:25pm. It is the first of a two-part story, which will continue in Before the Flood.

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Introduction to The Witch's Familiar

The BBC has released an introduction to The Witch's Familiar, the second episode of Series Nine, onto its official YouTube channel.

In the video, Peter Capaldi and writer/executive producer Steven Moffat tease what's in store this Saturday...

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Doctor Who Extra: The Magician's Apprentice

The second series of Doctor Who Extra, the behind-the-scenes web series, has begun, with the BBC releasing three segments looking at the making of Series Nine opener The Magician's Apprentice.

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Friday, 18 September 2015

The Doctor's Meditation - prequel now available in the UK

The Doctor's Meditation, a prequel to Series Nine which was initially exclusive to the US, has been made available to UK viewers - albeit as an exclusive to the official Doctor Who Facebook page.
For Australian viewers, ABC2 will be airing the prequel tomorrow (Saturday 19 September) at 7:30pm, and again at the same time on Monday 21 September.

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Jenna Coleman to leave Doctor Who

It has been officially confirmed that Jenna Coleman, who plays companion Clara Oswald, is to leave Doctor Who during the new series which begins tomorrow, Saturday 19 September.

Speaking to presenter Nick Grimshaw on the BBC Radio 1 Breakfast Show this morning, Coleman said, "I've left the TARDIS, it's happened. I've filmed my last scenes," before going on to say that her departure would occur "at some point this season".

"It's been in the works for a very long time," the actress continued, "Steven [Moffat] and I sat down a year and a half ago and tried to work out the best place to do it and tell a really good story. We worked a really good story arc out so hopefully people will love it."

Coleman's first contribution to the programme was a surprise appearance in 2012's Asylum of the Daleks, playing Oswin Oswald - who turned out to be a 'splinter' of the original Clara. Subsequently, Coleman made her first regular appearance in that year's Christmas Special The Snowmen, becoming a fully-fledged companion in the following episode, The Bells of Saint John. The actress stayed with the show following the departure of Matt Smith and has featured in all of Peter Capaldi's episodes to date.

The exact timing and circumstances of the character's exit are being kept very much under wraps, however Coleman has already secured her next major role. The 29-year-old is to play a young Queen Victoria in the new eight-part ITV drama Victoria, the broadcaster has announced this morning.

Sources: BBC
BBC Radio 1

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Thursday, 17 September 2015

The Daleks invade the London Underground!

Commuters in London may have had a bit of a shock on the Underground today, as the Daleks invaded Westminster station!

To promote the start of Doctor Who's new series on Saturday, the Daleks were spotted entering the Underground via the wide aisle gates, taking the escalators and waiting for the Jubilee line.

The Daleks' invasion of the Transport for London network is far from over - you have been warned...

Click on the images below for larger versions.

With thanks to BBC Worldwide
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Tracy-Ann Oberman to star in Big Finish Torchwood release

Big Finish has announced the return of Tracy-Ann Oberman as Yvonne Hartman in Torchwood: One Rule, the fourth release in its new series of Torchwood audio plays.

Oberman first appeared as Yvonne in the 2006 Doctor Who episode Army of Ghosts written by Torchwood creator Russell T Davies. The ruthless head of London's Torchwood One, her universe-threatening schemes placed her at odds with the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant).

Yvonne perished in a city wide battle, but this new release takes place in Cardiff a year before her death on a secret mission involving a mysterious alien conspiracy.

"When we presented the idea of using Yvonne," says producer James Goss, "Matt Nicholls at BBC Worldwide came up with a brilliant caveat – he suggested we could have Yvonne, but not the all-powerful Queen Bee of Canary Wharf. Instead he wanted her to come thoroughly unstuck in Cardiff."

One Rule has been written by prolific author Joseph Lidster, whose previous credits include the second series Torchwood episode A Day in the Death.

"Torchwood was my first piece of writing for television and it remains my favourite series," says Joseph, "Not just the television episodes but the books, audiobooks, radio plays, all of it. I'd have been gutted not to have been involved in some way - I'd have happily gone into the studio and made the tea!

"James Goss gave me a choice of available characters but it was Yvonne who leapt out at me. She's one of my favourite characters to have appeared in Doctor Who - she has questionable beliefs but she genuinely thinks she's doing the best thing for her country. She's also incredibly funny and brilliantly performed by the magnificent Tracy-Ann Oberman."

Torchwood: One Rule will be released in December from the Big Finish website.

The first title, The Conspiracy starring John Barrowman, is available to Big Finish customers to buy now. The series will continue with Fall to Earth in October, starring Gareth David-Lloyd as Ianto Jones.

Source: Big Finish
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Further details on Series 9 Part 1 DVD/Blu-ray

Earlier this month, Unearthly posted very early details of two upcoming DVD and Blu-ray releases. One of these was a Series 9 Part 1 release - this has now been made available for pre-order at BBC Shop, which provides further information about the product.

The set will be made available on both DVD and Blu-ray formats (previously we could only confirm a DVD version) later this year; BBC Shop indicates a 2 November release date.

The release will include the first half of the series, consisting of six episodes:

  • The Magician's Apprentice
  • The Witch's Familiar
  • Under the Lake
  • Before the Flood
  • The Girl Who Died
  • The Woman Who Lived

Three instalments of Doctor Who Extra, a series of brief behind-the-scenes featurettes, will also be included - one for each pair of episodes. Additionally, BBC Shop advertises the inclusion of free art-cards, with the designs to be revealed at a later date - it is currently unclear whether these are only available through BBC Shop, but stay tuned for more news.

Finalised details about the release (including final cover art) have not yet been made available by BBC Worldwide, but further developments will be posted here at Unearthly as they happen.

Source: BBC Shop
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Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Doctor Who Magazine Issue 491

Panini has released full details of the latest Doctor Who Magazine, out tomorrow (17 September).

Doctor Who Magazine exclusively previews the first four episodes of the new series: The Magician's Apprentice & The Witch's Familiar and Under the Lake & Before the Flood...

Under the Lake and Before the Flood form Toby Whithouse's first two-part Doctor Who story, and it hinges on time travel – and fairly mind-bending time travel at that. While plotting and writing, did Toby ever come to regret taking the wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey route?

"Oh never, I loved it! I've always wanted to do a timey-wimey episode," he says. "In fact, it was going to be a lot more timey-wimey, but we lost some of that before we started filming. It's enormous fun to deposit something in a script, then have the reason for it happen later."

This is also the first story that Toby's written to star Peter Capaldi as the Doctor.

"I think he's the most 'alien' Doctor we've had since the show came back," says Toby. "Even though the essentials of the character remain the same – his heroism, his brilliance, his enthusiasm – he feels to me like much more of an outsider than Chris Eccleston or David Tennant or Matt Smith were. He's more strange and otherworldly. That's really interesting to play with."

Also inside the bumper 100-page Issue 491...

TARDIS Take-Off!
The Doctor's days off and the TARDIS' take-off – showrunner Steven Moffat answers readers' questions.

Clara Oswald's 100 Impossible Facts
She has been something of 'a mystery wrapped in an enigma' but we've got to know Clara better than you might think. Jonathan Morris summarises everything we know about the Impossible Girl.

Monsters of the Millennium
How do you go about making monsters for Doctor Who? Millennium FX prosthetic effects supervisor Kate Walshe reveals all!

Lego Dimensions!
Official Lego products and a brand new video game... Doctor Who is about to enter a new dimension. DWM talks to the team behind the project.

Best Dressed Time Lord
DWM interviews costume designer Ray Holman, the man behind the Twelfth Doctor's new look.

"Good Grief!"
As the Third Doctor returns for a brand new series of audio adventures, DWM talks to the man who is recreating the role made famous by Jon Pertwee: Tim Treloar.

The War Games
The Fact of Fiction explores the Second Doctor's final story, a 10-part epic which threw the Doctor and his companions back into the events of the First World War.

Jungle Fever!
The adventure continues in the brand-new comic strip adventure, Spirits of the Jungle, by Jonathan Morris and illustrated by John Ross.

Who Homework
Jacqueline Rayner makes her kids' summer homework fun with an exciting Doctor Who project in her regular column, Relative Dimensions.

Missing in Action
Graham Kibble-White reviews The Macra Terror, a Second Doctor story missing from the BBC archives.

Coming Soon
DWM talks to the people involved in the latest Doctor Who CD and book releases, including Justin Richards and Miranda Raison.

The Unexplained
The Watcher reflects on past Doctors and anticipates the new series of Doctor Who in Wotcha!.

PLUS! All the latest official news, reviews, competitions and The DWM Crossword.
AND! A giant-sized, double-sided poster!

The 100-page Doctor Who Magazine Issue 491 is on sale from Thursday 17 September 2015, price £5.99.

With thanks to Panini

Monday, 14 September 2015

Every Series Nine episode title revealed

The BBC has now confirmed the title of every episode from the upcoming series, via an image released on social media:

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Series 9 Episodes 1 & 2 spoiler-free preview: The Magician's Apprentice & The Witch's Familiar

On Thursday 10 September, something rather magical happened at Cineworld in Cardiff. A full house of lucky fans were treated to not just one episode from the new series of Doctor Who, but two – the opening two-parter, The Magician’s Apprentice and The Witch’s Familiar. The aim of this article is to provide a preview of the story, but that’s easier said than done because we can’t give anything away – and we mean anything. Not least because writer and executive producer Steven Moffat personally swore the whole room to secrecy! But we’ll do our best to give you a spoiler-free glimpse at what you’ve got to look forward to on 19 and 26 September…

What’s striking about these episodes is that they feel truly cinematic, and the story takes place on a scale rarely seen from any other series openers to date. (Perhaps the closest comparison, in terms of sheer audacity, is 2011’s The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon.) Whereas last year’s Deep Breath – the first full story to feature Peter Capaldi’s incarnation of the Doctor – was a slower and more mysterious affair, a tale of creeping menace and a man quite literally trying to discover who he was, this year’s series kicks off with more of a bang, perhaps the sort of thing you’d expect from a series’ climax rather than at its very beginning. That said, the cinema viewers saw both episodes edited together into a continuous presentation; perhaps when this story plays out with a week-long gap in the middle, the first instalment might feel like the countdown rather than the detonation, but the episode still packs in more than its fair share of jaw-dropping moments.

Capaldi’s version of the Doctor has moved on from where we last saw him. Having finally found his identity in a pivotal scene during last year’s finale Death in Heaven, this time around the Doctor is able to shed some of the darkness and the angst which characterised him throughout much of the last series. Even when the stakes are astronomically high, the Twelfth Doctor now has more of a sense of joy, an air of utter defiance – but as you’ll see, everyone has their breaking point.

The real revelation, though, comes from Missy (Michelle Gomez), the female incarnation of the Time Lord Lady formally known as the Master. Admittedly, this reviewer was slightly unsure about the character in her last appearance. Following the sensational reveal of Missy’s identity at the end of Dark Water, we were left with only one episode with the character fully ‘outed’ – and with such a frenetic melting pot of events taking place in that episode, it was difficult to get a proper handle on the character.

Not anymore. Missy is defined perfectly in her second outing, and there’s also the small matter of the fact that she’s absolutely bonkers – and woe betide anyone who doubts it for a moment. What’s more, though, is that Missy feels decidedly more Master-ish in this story; there are character traits here that can be traced all the way back to Roger Delgado’s original interpretation of the character, and Missy also seems to possess the Anthony Ainley incarnation’s knack for cheating death – anyone wondering how exactly Missy seems to have survived, despite being atomised last year, will get a concrete answer here.

To sum up these episodes without really saying anything about them whatsoever (and as you’ll see a little later this month, there’s so much that we simply can’t even hint at right now), Series Nine of Doctor Who starts on an awe-inspiring note. Quite sincerely, the internet stands a very good chance of breaking before the titles of the first episode have even rolled. Then again at its cliffhanger, but twice as much. Possibly once or twice somewhere in the middle, too. Goodness knows what’ll happen the following week. Yeah, the internet’s going to be really broken after all this. But beneath the twists and surprises lies a story which we think is going to prove very popular indeed – and it should endure in its popularity for a long time to come. If Series Eight depicted a lead character who had lost his own sense of identity, then Series Nine seems to be about running head-first into adventure. The Doctor and Clara are back, and it looks like this is going to be one hell of a ride.

Site Note
A full review of these episodes will be posted on Unearthly in due course, although there may be a slight delay - but they should both be online during the week following episode two's transmission, at the latest. Thanks for your patience.

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Saturday, 12 September 2015

The Magician's Apprentice prologue

A new prologue to The Magician's Apprentice, the first episode of Series Nine, has been released by the BBC.

The prologue is separate from The Doctor's Meditation, a US-exclusive prequel to the series opener.

Tom Baker stories and Series Nine prequel on BBC America

As the new series of Doctor Who gets ever closer, BBC America is set to broadcast a number of stories starring Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor:

Sunday 20 September
9am - Genesis of the Daleks
12pm - The Seeds of Doom

Monday 21 September
10am - Terror of the Zygons

Tuesday 22 September
10am - Pyramids of Mars

Wednesday 23 September
10am - The Hand of Fear

Thursday 24 September
10am - The Brain of Morbius

Friday 25 September
10am - The Robots of Death

BBC America will also show The Doctor's Meditation, a 'prequel' to Series Nine opener The Magician's Apprentice. The prequel, which is written by Steven Moffat and currently exclusive to the US, will air on Friday 18 September (the day before the start of the new series) at 10pm.

Source: BBC America schedule
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Big Finish announces second series of Torchwood audios

Big Finish has confirmed that a second series of Torchwood audio releases will be available from March 2016, just one month after Series 1's concluding instalment.

"Everyone involved's just had so much fun that we didn't want to stop," says producer James Goss, "And Big Finish said, 'It's okay, you don't have to'. We've already got the first script in and it's a delight."

The new series will continue the adventures of Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) and his team, with stories taking place at different points in Torchwood's history.

"It’s wonderful to be able to commit so soon to a second series of Torchwood," says Big Finish executive producer Jason Haigh-Ellery"This is completely down to the immense support we have received from the fans of the series. We are delighted to be continuing the adventures of Captain Jack and his team!"

"I couldn’t really imagine that the response to our Torchwood series wouldn’t be positive," added co-executive producer Nicholas Briggs, "So I’m very pleased not to have been proved wrong. The series has so many dedicated followers and the audios have been written, directed and produced with such love for the source material. James Goss, as producer, has brought so much enthusiasm and joy to the project. I find myself hoping every day that I’ll receive another excited email from him."

"And we’re so grateful that the brilliant stars of Torchwood have come in to record and have been so bloomin’ good! Russell T Davies has been so supportive and full of encouragement too. Frankly, we had no choice but to get on with a second series as soon as possible."

Listeners can subscribe to the second series of six audios at Big Finish's website, at special prices which will be held until the end of the first month of release - after which prices go up by £5 on both CD and download formats.

Series 1 continues in October with Fall to Earth, starring Gareth David-Lloyd as Ianto Jones, followed in November by Forgotten Lives with Eve Myles as Gwen Cooper and Kai Owen as Rhys Williams. Three further releases will follow at monthly intervals.

Watch out for Unearthly's review of the Series 1 opener, The Conspiracy, soon.

Source: Big Finish
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Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Previously unseen animation test released

A never-before-seen animation test for a missing Doctor Who adventure has been released on YouTube.

The Daleks' Master Plan is a story from 1965-66 which starred William Hartnell as the First Doctor. Unfortunately, of the serial's twelve episodes, only three survive in the archives. But as is the case with all of Doctor Who's missing episodes, the audio survives in full, recorded off-air by dedicated fans at the time of the original transmission. Numerous DVD releases used new animation, set to these original soundtracks, to bring some of the other lost stories back to life.

Prior to being commissioned to animate the missing sections of the Patrick Troughton story The Ice Warriors (released on DVD in 2013), animators Niel Bushnell and Chris Chatterton, and producer Chris Chapman, put together a test piece for the mammoth The Daleks' Master Plan. The project never progressed any further, but the demo gives a glimpse of a very experimental approach, escaping the limitations of what would have been seen on-screen originally and opting for a full colour HD presentation.

The test can be seen below. What might have been...

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The Magician's Apprentice - UK broadcast time

The time of Doctor Who's return on Saturday 19 September has been confirmed by the BBC. The Magician's Apprentice, the first of a two-part story and the beginning of the show's twelve-episode ninth series, will air on BBC One and BBC One HD at 7:40pm. Notably, the episode has a 50-minute timeslot.

Where is the Doctor? When the skies of Earth are frozen by a mysterious alien force, Clara needs her friend. But where is the Doctor, and what is he hiding from? 

As past deeds come back to haunt him, old enemies will come face-to-face, and for the Doctor and Clara survival seems impossible.

The episode, along with the second part of the story, The Witch's Familiar, will be screened at a special BAFTA Wales event in Cardiff tomorrow evening. Unearthly will be there, so watch out for our spoiler-free preview coming very soon...

Source: BBC Media Centre
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Writer Andrew Smith running 10k for The Lily Foundation

On Sunday 4 October, Andrew Smith (writer of the 1980 Doctor Who serial Full Circle, and numerous Big Finish audio stories) is running the 10k Great Scottish Run in Glasgow's city centre to raise money for The Lily Foundation, a charity which supports research into Mitochondrial Disease and helps families affected by it.

Writing on his fundraising page, Smith said:

"This charity is close to my heart. It's named in memory of Lily, who would have gone to school with my daughters. Tragically, she was diagnosed with Mitochondrial Disease and died at just eight months. I would be extremely grateful for your support. Any donation of any size is welcome. You will be helping a truly worthy cause."

People can donate via Andrew Smith's JustGiving page, and visit The Lily Foundation's website for more details about Mitochondrial Disease and the charity which works so tirelessly to fight it.

The Complete History Issue 1

Today sees the launch of a brand new Doctor Who partwork. A joint venture by Panini and Hachette Partworks, The Complete History is a collection of hardback books which builds up to chronicle the story behind every televised adventure. At the time of writing, the collection is planned to end with the 2014 special Last Christmas, however it may be extended if it proves to be a success.

The Complete History, edited by John Ainsworth, has been developed in close collaboration with Doctor Who Magazine, with the latter's long-running series of Archive features by Andrew Pixley forming the basis for much of the new partwork - revised and brought up to date with the latest discoveries and developments from the world of Doctor Who.

The books are being released out of sequence every two weeks, and so the first issue is Volume 55 - covering the David Tennant stories Gridlock, Daleks in Manhattan/Evolution of the Daleks, The Lazarus Experiment and 42.

Issue 1 of The Complete History is available in shops now for the special introductory price of £1.99 (usually £9.99), and readers can also subscribe online to receive exclusive free gifts.

More information can be found on the partwork's official website, and a TV ad is currently running, featuring the voice of the Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

BBC releases Introduction to Series Nine

The BBC has today released an Introduction to Series Nine onto its official Doctor Who YouTube channel:

New Thunderbirds bookazine from DWM team

Panini has announced the release of Thunderbirds: A Complete Guide to the Classic Series, a special bookazine to commemorate the show's fiftieth anniversary year.

Fifty years after International Rescue’s first mission, Thunderbirds continues to entertain children and adults all over the world. On 10 September Panini Magazines publishes a lavish, 116-page ‘bookazine’ celebrating this timeless classic. Writers include former Fanderson chairman Chris Bentley, Andersonic editor Richard Farrell and Thunderbirds author Sam Denham.

Highlights include:

  • A detailed guide to all 32 episodes of the classic series and the original feature films
  • Previously unpublished interviews with Thunderbirds’ creator Gerry Anderson and director of photography Paddy Seale
  • A tribute to Derek Meddings by BAFTA-winning special effects director Mike Tucker
  • New interviews with voice artists David Graham, Shane Rimmer, Jeremy Wilkin and Matt Zimmerman, model-makers Alan Shubrook and Mike Trim, director David Lane and head of merchandising Keith Shackleton
  • A guide to 1960s Thunderbirds collectables, and much more...

Thunderbirds: A Complete Guide to the Classic Series is edited by Marcus Hearn and designed by Mike Jones, the team behind the fiftieth anniversary book Thunderbirds: The Vault. “In terms of its content and scope the bookazine is very different from The Vault,” says Marcus. “The articles offer fresh perspectives on the series and we've uncovered some rare and previously unseen material. Fifty years is an important milestone, and it's our aim to celebrate it in style.”

Thunderbirds: A Complete Guide to the Classic Series is available from WHSmith and all good newsagents on 10 September, price £9.99.

With thanks to Panini

Eve Myles & Kai Owen to star in Torchwood audio drama

Big Finish has announced that Eve Myles and Kai Owen are set to return as husband-and-wife team Gwen Cooper and Rhys Williams, in the third release in their new series of Torchwood audio dramas.

“Captain Jack's the poster boy, Ianto's the style, but Gwen and Rhys are the heart of Torchwood,” says producer James Goss. “Listening to the two of them back together is an utter joy. We pick up their story after Miracle Day. How has life been treating them? It's a delight to find out.”

Myles appeared in all 41 episodes of the popular BBC series, created by Russell T Davies. A dedicated police officer turned Torchwood second-in-command, Gwen fought tooth and nail to defend Cardiff and her family from the very worst the Rift had to offer. Husband Rhys supported her from home, keeping their infant daughter Anwen safe during the worldwide phenomenon known as the Miracle.

Gwen and Rhys return in Forgotten Lives. The couple are plagued by the same alien plot uncovered by Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) in opening story The Conspiracy. Many years later, and Torchwood is just a fond memory for Gwen and Rhys. Then, one day, the phone rings...

Forgotten Lives is written by Emma Reeves who is the co-creator and lead writer of robot drama Eve for CBBC. Other TV credits include The Dumping Ground, Tracy Beaker Returns, Dead Gorgeous, Young Dracula, Spirit Warriors, The Murder of Princess Diana, Doctors and Belonging. She also writes for radio, and for stage, where her work includes the Olivier-nominated adaptation of Jacqueline Wilson’s Hetty Feather.

“I still can't believe that I've been asked to write a story for the brilliant characters of Gwen and Rhys,” says Emma. “I've been lucky enough to write for Eve before, on Belonging, and I know that she has a unique gift of imbuing every syllable with the deepest meaning. Getting Eve Myles and Kai Owen, too, is basically like winning the writer lottery.”

Myles will make a return appearance later in the series, of which more details will be revealed soon!

Torchwood: Forgotten Lives will be released in November, and can be pre-ordered today from Big Finish. Additional casting announcements will be made soon. The release will be followed by three further stories at monthly intervals, through to February 2016.

Source: Big Finish

Doctor Who Adventures Issue 6

Panini has revealed details of the latest Doctor Who Adventures magazine, on sale 10 September priced £3.99.

This is the best September ever! Not only does Doctor Who return to our TV screens on the nineteenth, but on 10 September you can feast your eyes upon Doctor Who Adventures Issue 6… the greatest magazine this side of the Seventh Quadrant!

Journey into the 53rd Century for a cruise on board the luxury warp cruiser SS Berry Gordy, and help the Doctor and Clara save the most popular singer in the galaxy from a gang of space pirates known as the Skinks, in this awesome tale from James Peaty, Russ Leach and John Burns.

Competition Time
This issue gives you the chance to win tickets to the Doctor Who Festival in November and a copy of the brand new Doctor Who Annual!

Are You a Dalek Mastermind?
Check your Dalek knowledge in this issue’s quiz time and then take a look at some of the strangest Daleks ever!

Cybermat Surprise
Let Clara show you how to make your very own Cybermat as we enter the TARDIS Craft Studio!

UNIT Alien Archive
The universe is a dangerous place, but we’re giving you access to the UNIT Alien Archive on one of the most dangerous villains in the entire cosmos. This is your chance to find out all there is to know about the renegade Time Lady known as Missy!

Strax's Guide to the Galaxy
This month Strax will show you the delights of Mondas, Telos and Hedgewick’s World of Wonders as we look at some of the favourite hang-outs of those cybernetic warriors known to us all as the Cybermen!

The Tudor Engagement
The Paternoster Gang are on the hunt for a time travelling thief and end up in the court of King Henry VIII. Will they manage to keep their heads or will one of the gang end up becoming the seventh wife of King Henry?

Doctor Who Adventures Issue 6 – summer’s over, but who cares when you can beat the cosmic blues with the greatest magazine in the history of the universe?

Issue 6 comes with a free Cyberman key ring, badges, sticker and stamper set! Don’t miss it!

With thanks to Panini

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Review: Twelfth Doctor's Sonic Screwdriver Universal Remote Control

Last week Unearthly was invited to Television Centre in London for a hands-on preview of the new Twelfth Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver Universal Remote Control, a much-anticipated product created by The Wand Company.

This isn’t the first time that The Wand Company has taken on the challenge of recreating the Doctor’s famous sonic screwdriver – back in 2012 they released a universal remote control version of the sonic used by the Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith. That incarnation of the product proved to be immensely popular with fans, going on to sell around 55,000 units across its lifespan (the product has since been discontinued). Now, an updated version is here for the Peter Capaldi era.
The Eleventh Doctor version of the device was also available bundled
with a North American Blu-ray collection

As its name suggests, the product can be programmed to control virtually any device which uses a standard infrared remote, with the capacity to store up to thirty-nine remote control commands across its three memory banks (with thirteen commands stored in each), plus an Any TV Off function which can switch off a TV regardless of the remote’s programming. This means that using various motion-controlled gestures, this replica of the Twelfth Doctor’s sonic screwdriver could be used to control equipment such as televisions, radios, DVD, Blu-ray or CD players, and a host of other devices.

The remote was used to control an iPod dock at our press demo

You’d be forgiven for wondering what the differences are between this and the Eleventh Doctor remote; after all, to all intents and purposes the screwdriver used by both actors on television has remained seemingly identical. But perhaps the most significant change to the product is that it can now be extended with a flick of the wrist, just as the real props from the TV series do. In stark contrast to this, the Eleventh Doctor version didn’t have the capability to extend at all due to limitations in its manufacturing. But now The Wand Company has found a way to produce an extending version, while still ensuring the reliability of the electronic components within (crucially, the electronics themselves don’t actually move within the casing).

Thankfully, this much-requested new feature certainly hasn’t compromised the overall build quality, because it’s immediately obvious just how well-crafted the new version is. This isn’t just a remote control, it’s a stunning 1:1 scale prop replica in its own right. Speaking at the press preview, Chris Barnardo (the co-founder of The Wand Company) said that one of their greatest ambitions was to produce something which lived up to the prop that inspired it. Above all, they wanted realism – and that’s what they have achieved. The Twelfth Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver remote has a beautiful metallic finish to it and feels very durable, while generally looking more polished and refined than the Matt Smith version. The product extends and retracts with a very solid-sounding clunk, and seems to stand up admirably to all the various movements required for its operation.

The remote comes with a range of light and sound effects; with a press of the button, the sonic switches into FX Mode, with twelve different sound effects programmed in. That number is no coincidence – the David Tennant and Matt Smith versions of the remote (the former released in 2013 and still available for purchase) had ten and eleven sound effects respectively. Despite the fact that the new remote doesn’t have the visible “speaker holes” for audio output that could be seen on its predecessors, it actually sounds louder and clearer in direct comparison to the Matt Smith model. An especially fun feature is the inclusion of twelve secret Twelfth Doctor phrases in Morse code – but you’ll have to solve them for yourself…

The remote attaches to the Gallifreyan stand when not in use

As ever with prop replicas, a lot of the appeal is in the presentation, and the Twelfth Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver remote doesn’t disappoint. In addition to a vertical stand featuring Gallifreyan writing, the product comes with an elaborately illustrated user manual. A very clever touch is that as opposed to the traditional “text on white paper” approach of so many instruction leaflets, the user guide here forms part of the set’s deluxe presentation when not in use – and yet, the blue fold-out guide includes all the information the user should ever need, including how to program the remote for use with a new device.

A comprehensive user guide with a creative twist

The Twelfth Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver Universal Remote Control really is an excellent product, succeeding not only as a remote control but also as a beautifully built and presented prop replica. It takes the innovation seen in earlier models and pushes it to new heights – taking on-board earlier feedback (such as the desire for an extending version) and resulting in something which feels genuinely definitive.
The remote control is available from 7 September 2015 at BBC Shop.

With thanks to BBC Worldwide and The Wand Company

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Upcoming DVD/Blu-ray news

Two forthcoming DVD releases in the UK have been unveiled by BBC Worldwide.

The Ten Christmas Specials (out 12 October on DVD and Blu-ray) includes every Christmas Special broadcast since the show's triumphant return to television in 2005, and will also feature an exclusive documentary and limited edition Christmas cards.

Then on 9 November, Series 9 Part 1 hits the shelves, containing some of the latest adventures to star Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor and Jenna Coleman as Clara. This title has only been confirmed on DVD so far, but stay tuned for updates.

We'll bring you more (including cover art) as soon as we can!

Friday, 4 September 2015

Doctor Who Festival update

The heavily anticipated Doctor Who Festival arrives in London
this November
BBC Worldwide has confirmed additional activities for the official Doctor Who Festival, including a special guest appearance by writer and actor Mark Gatiss on Friday 13 November. The Doctor Who Festival is the only official event this year to include appearances from Peter Capaldi, Michelle Gomez (Missy) and Ingrid Oliver (Osgood) as well as executive producer Steven Moffat. The Festival offers fans of all ages the opportunity to get the inside track from the cast and crew of Doctor Who in an extravaganza of immersive and interactive opportunities.

Along with Theatre Panels with the show’s stars, further panels have now been scheduled to take place across the weekend with all seven Series Nine writers, as well as shows and demonstrations by special effects companies Real SFX and Millennium FX, and exclusive looks at three sets from Series Eight & Nine. Ticket holders also get the chance to take part in Drama School sessions run by one of the show’s directors, in addition to trying their hand at some of the many jobs on set in the Production Village.

Below is a more detailed look at some of the events and activities planned for the three-day Festival:

  • The minds behind Doctor Who will be quizzed in the Writer’s Panel, where all of the Series Nine writers (Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss, Sarah Dollard, Toby Whithouse, Catherine Tregenna, Peter Harness and Jamie Mathieson) will talk through the development and design of some of the show’s favourite characters and storylines
  • Special effects supervisor Danny Hargreaves and his team at Real SFX reveal what happens on a typical day’s filming and wow fans with their live show
  • Multi-award winning artists Millennium FX will be bringing a monster to life in a live demonstration 
  • Audio drama producers Big Finish will give ticket holders the opportunity to have a go at voice acting, learning from the voice of the Daleks himself, Nick Briggs 
  • Photo opportunities with Mark Gatiss, Danny Hargreaves and Nick Briggs are also now available for purchase
  • Visitors will experience what it's really like to be on the Doctor Who set, in front of and behind the camera, in the Drama School and Production Village
  • Two of the iconic sets from Series Nine will be on open display to all ticket holders, and the set of Clara’s Bedroom will be available to ticket holders for photo opportunities 
  • Fans of the show will also be put to the test in the Doctor Who Festival's Cosplay Showcase and the Fan Challenge

Day ticket prices for the Festival are as follows. These tickets are still available at the time of publication but are strictly while stocks last:

  • Standard ticket: £65
  • Standard child ticket: £30
  • Standard family ticket: £165

These ticket prices include day entry to the Festival, access to three theatre shows, a lanyard and show planner, and access to all the activities in the Festival Hall.

The Doctor Who Festival will take place at the ExCeL Exhibition Centre in London on Friday 13, Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 November 2015. Tickets, further information and monthly newsletters are available from

The Doctor Who Festival will also be heading to Australia a week later, on 21 and 22 November 2015 in Moore Park, Sydney. Peter Capaldi and Steven Moffat will also be attending the Australian event.