Bookmark and Share Torchwood: Serenity

7/10/2019 10:59:00 am - Reported by Marcus

Torchwood: Serenity (Credit: Big Finish) Big Finish Productions have released a new Torchwood Audio play marking ten years since the character of Ianto Jones was killed in the BBC Television series

Originally scheduled for release on 25 July, Torchwood: Serenity has been made available early as a surprise treat for fans of the show and to mark the tenth anniversary.

The story reunites John Barrowman and Gareth David-Lloyd in a new full-cast audio drama.

Tuesday 9th marked ten years to the day since Ianto Jones, one of the most beloved characters ever in the science fiction genre, died in episode four of Russell T Davies’s Torchwood: Children of Earth. Since then, Torchwood has been revived as an international co-production for television in Miracle Day (2011), and continues to thrive in multiple audio drama ranges courtesy of Big Finish.

Fans of Torchwood and Ianto Jones were absolutely dismayed when the character was killed off as a result of gas poisoning by alien menace, the 456. The following public outcry sparked huge online campaigns, a charity fundraiser in his name (which raised more than £10,000 for Children In Need), and even a Ianto shrine in Cardiff’s Mermaid Quay.

James Moran, who co-wrote the 2009 TV mini-series with Russell T Davies and Torchwood TV episode, Sleeper, has returned to pen this new story set before the events of Children of Earth.

And, at first sight, it looks like they’ll live ‘happily ever after’

Serenity Plaza is the most exclusive gated community in South Wales. You’d kill to live there.

Jack and Ianto have gone undercover as a happily married couple. There are rumours that something’s wrong at Serenity Plaza and they’re determined to investigate. But the problem is that Serenity Plaza is just so rigidly normal.

Suddenly, Jack and Ianto have to confront the problems that normal couples face. Sharing a house together, doing the washing up, entering the residents’ baking contest, and hoping to win the Best Kept Lawn. Competition is fierce. Because this is Serenity Plaza. And you’d kill to live there.


Writer James Moran shared his thoughts on this very special release:
Surprise! BeyoncĂ©-style surprise album drop! Me and BeyoncĂ©, so similar in so many ways... I’m really excited that you’re getting this early, I can’t wait to see what you make of it. It’s VERY weird, VERY silly, and I’m still not sure how I got away with it!

I’ve adored jumping back into this universe – Torchiverse? Woodyverse? – and playing with its unique toybox. It’s a particular joy to release this on the tenth anniversary of Ianto’s on-screen death – how many other characters live on like this? Thank you for keeping him alive, and for always being there for absolute madness like Serenity. Now, keep off the grass, don’t use the blue towels, and DON’T mess with Ianto’s kebabs.
Director Scott Handcock added:
When we first started doing new Torchwood stories, we knew Gareth and Ianto were loved, but had no idea to what extent. Gareth was initially nervous about reprising the role, but has embraced the audio medium, both as an actor and writer. That’s the joy of Big Finish. Without compromising the power of his on-screen death, Ianto’s living as full a life as ever, and it’s a joy to be a part of.
Torchwood: Serenity was released at midday on Tuesday 9th July, priced at £7.99 on download or £9.99 on CD.

Bookmark and Share Jon Pertwee Centenary

7/07/2019 07:30:00 am - Reported by Marcus

Today we mark 100 years since the birth of Jon Pertwee.

One of the greatest stars of Doctor Who and one of programmes greatest ambassadors, Jon Pertwee is remembered with as much affection today as he was when he hung up his velvet jacket and shrugged off the character of the Third Doctor at the end of his tenure in 1974. The fact that over forty-five years later the character lives on, remembered in Comic strips and Audio Books, on Blu-ray releases and in fan fiction, is a great tribute to the man who brought the incarnation to life.

Jon Pertwee was born in Chelsea in London on the 7th July 1919, less than a year after the end of the first world war. His destiny was probably fixed from birth, being born into a family immersed in show business. His father was the screenwriter and actor Roland Pertwee. His mother Avice Scholt, left when Pertwee was very young.

A natural rebel, the young Pertwee railed against what he saw as pointless rules and was expelled from several well-known schools. Perhaps the most notorious expulsion was from RADA, the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. His crime, refusing to play a Greek "wind" during one of the lessons, feeling it was a waste of both his time and his father's money.

Pertwee was the age to fall right into the middle of the Second World War, serving for six years in the Royal Navy. He had a narrow escape when transferred off the HMS Hood shortly before it was sunk by the German Navy in 1941. A spell in naval intelligence saw him working with future James Bond creator Ian Fleming.

Pertwee was a great mimic and used his experiences in the war to create numerous characters when he drifted into Radio after the war. By 1948 he was appearing at theatres billed as the Most Versatile Voice in Radio. He even developed his own catchphrases. He played the old Postman from Puffney Post Office declaring "It doesn't matter what you do, as long as you tears them up". Perhaps his most memorable character was the conniving Chief Petty Officer Pertwee in The Navy Lark.

Primarily known as a vocal artist, Pertwee had small roles in a number of films, including a couple of Carry Ons. In 1953, he played Charlie Sterling in Will Any Gentleman...? alongside future Doctor Who actor William Hartnell. A main role in television eluded him until he was offered the lead role of George Mannering in the new comedy Dad's Army. It was a role he turned down. Just as well as his biggest success was just around the corner.

Jon Pertwee (Credit: BBC ) In 1969 it was announced that Patrick Troughton was leaving Doctor Who and Pertwee asked his agent to apply for the role. To the agent's surprise, it was revealed that Pertwee was already on the shortlist and the producer, Derrick Sherwin's second choice for the role. The first choice was Ron Moody, who turned it down. The role belonged to Pertwee.

Having won the role that would define him Pertwee now had to decide how to play The Doctor. BBC Head of Drama Shaun Sutton advised him to play the role as himself. Trouble was he spent his life hiding behind invented characters and had no idea who the real Jon Pertwee was.

The character Pertwee eventually found gripped the imagination of the nation. When Troughton left the show it was was in danger of cancellation. Pertwee and team had one season to prove their worth and prove it they did.

A new Producer Barry Letts took over and with Terrance Dicks looking after the storylines one of the greatest creative teams on the series took form. 1971 saw Katy Manning taking on the role of the assistant Jo Grant and when Roger Delgado appeared as the Master, the team was complete. Three seasons of UNIT adventures unfolded. As success grew Pertwee became a great ambassador for the series, travelling the country making personal appearances and appearing on programmes such as Disney Time.

The death of Delgado in a road accident in Turkey slammed reality into the fictional world and when several members of the team decided their time on the series was up, Pertwee concurred. He did one more season, this time teamed up with new companion Elisabeth Sladen and in June 1974 his Doctor breathed his last. The era of Pertwee was over, the era of Baker had begun.

Jon Pertwee had completed five seasons as The Doctor, more than the two previous inhabitants of the role. He recorded 129 episodes of the series, which, if watched back to back, would take 53 hours 26 minutes to complete. It was a role he would always be linked to and a role he returned to when he appeared as the Third Doctor in the 20th Anniversary story as well as the later stage show.

Pertwee would go on to great success in another Children's role, that of the scarecrow Worzel Gummidge, based on the books written by Barbara Euphan Todd. He hosted the murder-mystery game show Whodunnit? and became a regular on such celebrity hangouts as Blankety Blank and Celebrity Squares.

Jon Pertwee was a great convention goer, revelling in the adulation he engendered. He became the first honorary president of the Doctor Who Appreciation Society. Perhaps it was fitting that he was attending a convention when he suffered a heart attack, dying in his sleep at the age of 76. His death came a week before the UK broadcast of the 1996 Doctor Who television film, which fittingly featured a dedication to the actor at its end. He was survived by his wife Ingeborg Rhoesa, and two children Sean and Dariel.

Jon Pertwee's death was a shock for fans around the world. The great man had gone, but his legacy lived on.

Bookmark and Share British Museum podcast highlights Doctor Who exhibit

7/06/2019 06:10:00 pm - Reported by Chuck Foster

Bank note featuring the 10th Doctor (Credit: BBC)The British Museum have recently launched a series of podcasts featuring staff discussing projects and events taking place at the museum.

A regular feature in the podcast is an "Object Of The Month", focussing on an item of interest in the museum. For June's edition, Project Curator for the Money and Medals Network, Henry Flynn, discusses an exhibit on permanent display in the Money Gallery: one of the "£10 bank notes" that originally appeared in the 2006 Christmas Special, The Runaway Bride, and featured the image of David Tennant.

You can listen to the podcast below, and see the note on display at the musuem in London (free entry).



With Thanks To: Henry Flynn

Bookmark and Share Target Trawl

7/06/2019 04:07:00 pm - Reported by Chuck Foster

The latest book to be released by Pencil Tip Publishing is Target Trawl, by Nick Mellish:

Target Trawl (Credit: Pencil Tip Publishing)For Doctor Who fans of a certain age, the Target novelizations of the series are one of its crowning triumphs. Back in 2006, when no-one knew what 'Brexit' meant and the show was off-air between seasons, writer and fan Nick Mellish started to review these books in publication order for the fanzine Whotopia. Now in 2019, when no-one knows what 'Brexit' means and the show is off-air between seasons, his journey is complete. Target Trawl contains every installment of his article, redrafted and up-to-date, and carries on reviewing every novelization, as well as reviews of the Sarah Jane Adventures novelizations, Douglas Adams adaptations and more besides.

For many, the words Doctor Who and Target novelization go together like jelly and baby, or Yartek and Voord. In a time where recording TV was often impossible, these novelizations offered fans a chance to relive the very best the show had to offer, and Timelash.

Sometimes they were slavishly accurate to what had been transmitted. Sometimes they were anything but. Often they had rather nice covers.

Join writer and fan Nick Mellish as he reads and reviews them all, and writes the words 'Terrance' and 'Dicks' more than any man rightly should.

From David Whitaker to Jodie Whittaker, Target Trawl is a celebration of Doctor Who in its literary form, from the sublime to the ridiculously sublime.

Target Trawl is available to purchase print on demand from Lulu.com.

Bookmark and Share Glyn Houston 1925-2019

7/04/2019 08:38:00 pm - Reported by Marcus

The actor Glyn Houston has died at the age of 93.

Glyn Houston appeared in two Doctor Who stories. In 1976 he played Professor Watson, the director of the Nunton Experimental Complex, in the Fourth Doctor story The Hand of Fear.

In he came up against the fifth Doctor playing Colonel Wolsey in the 1984 story The Awakening.

Glyn Houston had over 200 television credits dating back to the 1950s, appearing in some of the most loved programmes in British TV history.

Houston was born in Rhondda, in the Welsh Valleys, and brought up by his Widowed Grandmother, after his Mother died young and his Father disappeared.

He served in the Royal Signal Regiment during World War II and was briefly a stand-up comedian performing to soldiers. He made his first film appearance playing a barrow boy in The Blue Lamp in 1950. In the 1970s he played Lord Peter Wimsey's valet Bunter opposite Ian Carmichael in the teleplays of several of Dorothy Sayers tales. He played Ronald Judge in The Sherman Plays and Bernard Ingham in Thatcher: The Final Days.

Other appearances include Better Days, Inspector Morse, Keep It in the Family, Minder, It Ain't Half Hot Mum, The Sea Wolves, Breakaway, Shoestring, A Horseman Riding By, Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em, Target, The XYY Man, Robin's Nest, Are You Being Served? , Beasts, Five Red Herrings, The Nine Tailors, Dixon of Dock Green, Sporting Scenes, Reg Varney, Jackanory, Clouds of Witness, Z Cars, Softly, Softly: Task Force.

Glyn Houston was the younger brother of film star Donald Houston and was a close friend of fellow Welsh actors Richard Burton and Stanley Baker. In 2009 he was presented with the BAFTA Lifetime Achievement Award.

His friend and biographer Dean Powell announced his death with deep regret.
He was kind, generous and an incredibly funny man who was a pleasure to know for over twenty years.

He enjoyed his career and was proud of his achievements and although I think he genuinely wanted to be a comic more than an actor, his vast quantity of work will remain a great legacy to the man and his natural talent.

Glyn enjoyed life, his family and his hobbies and didn’t let work get in the way of that. He always had time to speak to you, showed a genuine interest in other people’s lives.

Although he left the South Wales valleys seven decades ago, he had all of the great qualities of a working-class Welshman at heart.

Bookmark and Share David Tennant Specials Blu-ray Steelbook

7/03/2019 12:00:00 pm - Reported by Marcus

David Tennant Specials (Credit: BBC Studios) BBC Studios is to release the Doctor Who: David Tennant Specials on limited edition Blu-ray Steelbook

Fans can re-live the action of David Tennant’s five Doctor Who specials on limited edition Blu-ray Steelbook featuring new and exclusive artwork. It will be released on Monday 2nd September and is available now for pre-orders from Amazon.

Broadcast between 2008 and 2010, the ‘specials’ bridged the gap between the fourth and fifth series of Doctor Who, marking the end of the era of David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor and Russell T Davis as the lead writer and showrunner. They included the appearances of a number of one-off companions played by David Morrissey, Velile Tshabalala, Michelle Ryan, Lindsay Duncan and Bernard Cribbins along with returning cast members Catherine Tate, Billie Piper, Freema Agyeman, Noel Clarke, John Barrowman, Elisabeth Sladen and John Simm.

The specials are:
  • The Next Doctor
  • Planet of the Dead
  • The Waters of Mars
  • The End of Time, Part One
  • The End of Time, Part Two
The Blu-rays also the following special features: commentary with cast & crew, deleted scenes, exclusive David Tennant video diary, Doctor Who Confidential, Doctor Who at the Proms, Doctor Who at Comic-Con and more.

This limited edition Steelbook contains a bonus disc including two animated episodes: Dreamland and The Infinite Quest.

The Steelbook features bespoke artwork created by illustrator Tom Webster.

Release date: Monday 2nd September 2019

Pre-order link: Amazon.

David Tennant Specials (Credit: BBC Studios) David Tennant Specials (Credit: BBC Studios) David Tennant Specials (Credit: BBC Studios) David Tennant Specials (Credit: BBC Studios)

Bookmark and Share Black Archive Wins Award

7/02/2019 10:37:00 pm - Reported by Marcus

Full Circle (Credit: Obverse Books)The Black Archive book on the Fourth Doctor story Full Circle has won the prestigious Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best Professional Publication.

The Book series, published by Obverse Books, looks in detail at the making of individual Doctor Who stories. The 16th in the series, investigating Full Circle, was written by John Toon and published last year.

Editor Philip Purser-Hallard said
Both of John's books for the Black Archive have been a joy to edit -- really sharp and clear-headed, approaching the Doctor Who stories they analyse from fascinating angles. This recognition of his work is well deserved.
This is Toon’s third SJV Award, having previously won for the award for best fan writer in 2013 and 2016, but this is his first award in a professional category. Asked about this victory, he said
This thrilling win - against strong competition! - wouldn't have been possible without Phil's editorial input, Blair and Cody's stylish cover design and Stuart's professional touch. They all deserve credit for this award, although I'm sure they'll understand that I'm totally keeping the trophy!