Tuesday, 20 September 2016

The Racnoss at Big Finish

Audio producers Big Finish have announced that the Racnoss will be among the monsters featuring in its forthcoming second volume of the Classic Doctors, New Monsters range, due next year.

The giant spider race appeared on TV in 2006's Christmas episode The Runaway Bride, starring David Tennant and introducing Catherine Tate as Donna Noble. Meanwhile, the upcoming audio adventure Empire of the Racnoss, written by Scott Handcock, sees the Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison) battling the creatures in an earlier, chaotic time...

"We've started work on the second Classic Doctors, New Monsters box set," says director Barnaby Edwards, "and I couldn't be happier. The Racnoss are back... and with the most fabulous cast a director could hope for. Brilliant Doctor Who stalwart Adjoa Andoh plays the Racnoss Empress, a megalomaniac engaged in a civil war with her crippled husband, the Emperor, played by the wonderful Nigel Planer. The production also sees a welcome return to the Big Finish fold of Andrew French and Lisa Kay. We had such a fun day in the studio, culminating with a truly majestic Baby Spider Workshop. And, no, I'm not going to explain what that consisted of!"

The second volume of Classic Doctors, New Monsters can be pre-ordered now for £20 on Download and £23 on CD (which also unlocks a digital version upon its release). Additionally, this release, along with the forthcoming second volumes of Big Finish's The Churchill Years and The Diary of River Song titles, can be pre-ordered in a special bundle priced £60 for both CD and Download.

Source: bigfinish.com

BFI to preview animated Power of the Daleks

As we first reported earlier in the month, the British Film Institute (BFI) is to hold a special preview screening of the first three episodes of the newly-animated adventure The Power of the Daleks.

Originally screened in November and December 1966, The Power of the Daleks introduced Patrick Troughton as the 'renewed' second incarnation of the Doctor. Tragically, no film recordings of the story are known to survive barring a handful of short extracts. BBC Worldwide announced this month that it has commissioned an animation team to recreate all six episodes of the story using audio recordings of the original soundtrack.

The screening will take place at the BFI Southbank in London on Saturday 5 November at 1pm GMT. The first episode will then receive a general release online via the BBC Store at 5.50pm that same day; meaning that the BFI screening will be the world premiere of the first three episodes.

The BFI will also host a question and answer session with actors Anneke Wills and Frazer Hines.

Tickets will go on sale from the BFI website on Tuesday 4 October at 11.30am, priced £22.70 (with BFI members receiving a discount of £1.70) and restricted to two tickets per person. All tickets include a copy of the DVD release, to be posted two weeks after the event.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Dan Dare comes to Big Finish

Unearthly readers may be interested in some breaking news from audio drama producers Big Finish!

December sees the arrival of Dan Dare at Big Finish, courtesy of a new audio production from B7 Media starring Ed Stoppard as Dan Dare, Geoff McGivern as Digby, Heida Reed as Professor Peabody, and Raad Rawi as the Mekon.

“My first introduction to Dan Dare was at the age of nine through the pages of the legendary comic 2000AD,” explains Big Finish Managing Director Jason Haigh-Ellery. “It quickly became one of my favourite comic strips and I missed the character terribly when his adventures came to an end after two years of fighting the Mekon and the Star Slayers. Now I have the chance to be a kid again, as B7 Media and Big Finish bring to life one of the UK's greatest comic book heroes, but this time as full cast audio productions. I can’t wait!”

“We’re delighted to be releasing Dan Dare: Pilot of the Future,” adds Big Finish Executive Producer Nicholas Briggs, who also plays a role in the stories. “I’ve been a massive fan of Dan Dare for years. The way B7 have reinvented it is spot on. They’ve lovingly nurtured the spirit of the original to create something new and exciting that still manages to stay thoroughly faithful to all the beauty of the original. I would have loved to have played the Mekon, so, rather fittingly, I got to play an alien who really wanted to be the Mekon!”

“Ever since my father first introduced me to Dan Dare I’ve been captivated by his space adventures,” says B7 Media Producer and Director Andrew Mark Sewell, “brilliantly realised by the creative genius that was Frank Hampson. It also ignited my fascination with mankind’s quest to journey beyond our blue planet and explore strange new alien worlds. Dan Dare has always stood out as the definitive ‘British’ comic book space hero – a bright light of optimism that captured the hearts and imagination of a generation. The opportunity to realise Dan Dare for audio, and to partner once more with Big Finish, was an opportunity too great to turn down. Audio is unquestionably the perfect home to deliver truly epic Dan Dare adventures that are the embodiment of its comic book inspiration.”

The first volume, containing three stories (Voyage to Venus, The Red Moon Mystery and Marooned on Mercury) and a disc of extras will be released in December 2016, followed in February 2017 by a second volume containing Reign of the Robots, Operation Saturn and Prisoners of Space along with another bonus disc.

The normal pre-order price will be £20 to download and £25 on CD (also unlocking an instant download upon release) but in a special Dan Dare Day offer on 12 September, for the following 24 hours each release can be pre-ordered instead for £15 and £20 respectively. This offer ends at mid-day on Tuesday 13 September (UK time) – the clock’s ticking!

Check out bigfinish.com for more details!

With thanks to Big Finish

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Lethbridge-Stewart updates

A special free story from the Lethbridge-Stewart range of novels has been made available for download by Candy Jar Books, in tribute to the Women's Auxiliary Air Force officer Eileen Younghusband who died on 2 September at the age of 95.

Eileen Younghusband - 1921-2016.

Born in London, Younghusband joined the WAAF during the Second World War and worked in the Filter Room, the top secret hub of Britain’s air defence. During this time, Younghusband tracked the first V2 rocket into the United Kingdom.

A life-sized figure of Younghusband as a twenty-one year-old WAAF officer stands in a replica of a filter room at the Battle of Britain museum at Bentley Priory. Her memories of the WAAF were sought by many, including historians, documentary makers and a Hollywood scriptwriter. Her book, One Woman’s War, won a People’s Book Prize, while her latest book – Eileen’s War – was written for children and was completed and published only weeks before her death.

“We’ve planned for a while to bring Eileen into the series,” says Lethbridge-Stewart Range Editor Andy Frankham-Allen, “and the news of her death made us decide to make it happen sooner, to pay tribute to this great legend of World War II. It’s not often one meets a bona fide hero, and the difference Eileen made to the security of the UK cannot be stressed enough. It was a natural thing to bring her into contact with the Doctor Who legend that is Lethbridge-Stewart.”

The free downloadable story The Last Duty is written by newcomer to the range, Christopher Bryant. “Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart has always been one of my favourite characters from Doctor Who,” enthuses Bryant, an English teacher from Woking, “so it's a privilege to be part of bringing him back for new adventures.” Bryant is no stranger to the worlds of Doctor Who, having served as editor and contributor for several charity books such as the You and Who collections, Seasons of War, and the forthcoming You on Target.

The free PDF also features excerpts from Eileen’s War and One Woman’s War. “We have included these excerpts to illustrate how important Eileen was in the defence of Britain,” explains Shaun Russell, head of publishing at Candy Jar, “having arguably saved Winston Churchill’s life and acted as a guide at a Nazi concentration camp. I would encourage all fans to read these excerpts as a fascinating document of our times.”

The Last Duty features a cameo by Younghusband. “I loved writing this story,” continues Bryant, “because it's a great mix of monster-filled action scenes along with a more thoughtful examination of how we lead our lives. It's a particular honour to be able to pay tribute to Eileen Younghusband, who lived such an amazing life.”

Candy Jar has also revealed the cover art for The HAVOC Files 2, a forthcoming collection of seven short stories.

“With the previous volume we collected the many short stories published in 2015,” says Shaun Russell, “but it was a little different this time since we have released fewer short stories this year. We decided it would be nice to produce new exclusive material for the collection, as well as a couple of extras.” 

This includes a brand new short story. Written by Andy Frankham-Allen, The Lost Skin is a novella set concurrently with the forthcoming Lethbridge-Stewart novel, Times Squared.

The Lost Skin is a three-part story which begins in The HAVOC Files 2, to be continued at a later date in the next two volumes of the collection. “Who doesn’t like a cliffhanger or two?”, teases Russell.

The cover artwork for The HAVOC Files 2 was designed by Adrian Salmon, who says, “A unifying cover idea for a mix of stories was never going to be easy but the central idea of an incredible shrinking Lethbridge-Stewart made small work of it!”

With thanks to Candy Jar Books

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Titan launches Third Doctor comic range

Wednesday 14 September sees the first in a new range of Doctor Who comics from Titan, focusing on new adventures for the Third Doctor, as played by Jon Pertwee.

Written by Paul Cornell and with artwork from Christopher Jones, The Heralds of Destruction will be available with a choice of five cover variations plus two retailer exclusive editions (for Forbidden Planet/Jetpack Comics and Diamond UK respectively).

See a gallery of images from the new comic below, along with the official synopsis, courtesy of the folks at Titan:

Paul Cornell returns to Doctor Who comics with The Heralds of Destruction! When something enormous crashes into Bedfordshire, the Doctor, Jo Grant and the forces of UNIT under Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart mobilise immediately – and find themselves in the middle of a pitched battle against a terrifying invader... But the shocking face that awaits their return to base may tip the whole world off its axis!

It's classic Third Doctor action as you've never seen it before!

With thanks to Titan Comics

Class gets three tie-in novels

The Doctor Who universe is about to become even bigger, as BBC Books prepares to publish three tie-in novels expanding the world of Class, the new spin-off series airing from next month on BBC Three.

Created and written by award-winning Young Adult author Patrick Ness, Class is set at Coal Hill School, a location seen in Doctor Who since the very first episode in 1963. Most recently, Coal Hill was where the Doctor's former companion Clara taught. But Class centres on the adventures of an all-new group of students, with dangers breaking through the walls of time and space, and darkness coming to a London unprotected.

BBC Books will publish three novels – Joyride by Guy Adams, The Stone House by A.K. Benedict and What She Does Next Will Astound You by James Goss – that follow Patrick Ness’ vision for the series and build upon its fictional universe. 

“Patrick Ness is simply one of the finest writers working today, in any genre," says Albert DePetrillo, Senior Editorial Director for BBC Books, "and Class has all the hallmarks of his dazzling fiction. Class is a hugely exciting new brand and we’re delighted to be working with Patrick and BBC Wales on these official tie-ins.”

The three novels will be published by BBC Books on 27 October.

With thanks to BBC Books

[Updated] The Power of the Daleks - animated!

Following weeks of speculation, BBC Worldwide has announced the upcoming release of an animated version of the lost story The Power of the Daleks, on Saturday 5 November - exactly fifty years to the minute after it was first transmitted on BBC1, at 5.50pm on the same date in 1966!

The Daleks hatch a sinister plan in the 1966 original...
...and in animated form in 2016!
Despite its renowned status as one of Doctor Who's most celebrated adventures, none of the six episodes of The Power of the Daleks are known to survive in their entirety, having been lost during the infamous archival purges of the 1960s and 70s. However, a complete audio recording of the story exists thanks to the dedication of fans during the original broadcasts - and it is this which has allowed BBC Worldwide to commission a brand new black and white animation, based on the tantalising stills and short extracts which do survive.

The six half-hour episodes explore the aftermath of Doctor Who's first ever regeneration (or, as it was then called, ‘renewal’) at the climax of the preceding adventure The Tenth Planet, in which William Hartnell handed over the reigns to Patrick Troughton. But it isn't long before the Time Lord and his companions Polly (Anneke Wills) and Ben (Michael Craze) are thrown into a sinister and creepy adventure, as they do battle with the Daleks on the planet Vulcan...

The animated edition of The Power of the Daleks is being produced by the team behind the highly successful animation of the lost Dad’s Army episode A Stripe for Frazer, first released on BBC Store in February this year. The producer and director is Charles Norton, with character designs from acclaimed comic book artists Martin Geraghty and Adrian Salmon.

“The animation of The Power of the Daleks is the most ambitious Doctor Who archive restoration ever attempted and we’re all very honoured to be a part of such an exciting project,” says Norton. “Intelligent, suspenseful and magnificently staged, The Power of the Daleks is one of the great lost classics of 1960s television and a superb example of the black and white era at its finest.”

The Power of the Daleks introduced Patrick Troughton as the Second Doctor
Paul Hembury, Executive Producer for BBC Worldwide adds, “Charles and his team are remarkably talented and passionate about Doctor Who and we are thrilled that fans will soon be able to enjoy this rather sinister, but wonderful, classic story.”

The first episode of The Power of the Daleks will be released exclusively for download on BBC Store on Saturday 5 November at 5.50pm GMT, with the remaining episodes to follow over the next five days. Fans can register their interest in the BBC Store download here.

Additionally, Saturday 5 November will see a special screening of episodes 1-3 of The Power of the Daleks at BFI Southbank, London, including a Q&A with Charles Norton and actors Anneke Wills and Frazer Hines. Further information will be available online from the BFI from Monday 19 September.

All images courtesy of BBC Worldwide
BBC Worldwide has also confirmed the release of a DVD edition on Monday 21 November, which can be pre-ordered from Amazon and HMV (£20.42 RRP).

For fans in the United States, BBC America will air The Power of the Daleks on Saturday 12 November and on demand.

With thanks to bbcstore.com