The Daemons Of Devil’s End – (DVD) – [13/11/2017]

In the years following the show's hiatus in 1989, Reeltime Pictures produced some fantastic Doctor Who tie-in media, to keep us entertained whilst the show was off the air. Classics such as 'Downtime', 'Mindgame' and 'Daemos Rising', featured characters and monsters from the Doctor Who universe, written and produced by key players from the show itself.

Now, in 2017, Reeltime Pictures are releasing a brand new production; 'White Which Of Devil's End', as part of 'The Daemons Of Devil's End' DVD release.

DAMARIS HAYMAN, reprises her role as Olive Hawthorne from the Doctor Who story 'The Daemons'. With a blend of dramatic monologue enhanced with visualisations and sound design to develop and tell the stories, the drama is an anthology of tales following the magical life of Olive Hawthorne, from childhood to her final days as the protector of Devil's End. Drawing on a rich heritage and appreciation of witchcraft and fokelore, the stories bring Olive's history to life, pitting her against vampire, succubus, fae, daemonic influence and more - as Guardian of Devil's End, she must do what she must to protect the village... but what happens when she reaches the end of her life? Who will protect the townsfolk then?

Also included, is the long-awaited DVD release of the classic documentary 'Return To Devil's End'. Filmed around the village of Aldbourne in 1992, this marvellous production stars JON PERTWEE (The Third Doctor), NICHOLAS COURTNEY (The Brigadier), RICHARD FRANKLIN (Capt. Yates), JOHN LEVENE (Sgt. Benton) and 'The Daemons' director, CHRISTOPHER BARRY. NICHOLAS BRIGGS (currently the voice of the Daleks in Doctor Who), takes the cast and director on a trip around the locations, deftly gleaning stories and anecdotes about filming the classic Doctor Who series in 1971. Including interviews with villagers and rare archive film and photos... this documentary is rightly considered one of the best behind-the-scenes look at the making of Doctor Who ever produced.

Both discs are packed with bonus features, making this a totally unique production!

PLUS! A third bonus disc containing video of conventions held in Aldbourne to celebrate one of Doctor Who's most fondly remembered stories.

Look out for the DWO review of this title, coming soon! 

+  The Daemons Of Devil's End is released on 13th November 2017, priced £12.99.
+  PREORDER this DVD from TimeTravelTV.com.
+  Discuss all the Doctor Who DVD & Blu-ray releases in the DWO Forums.

[Source: Reeltime Pictures]

BBC Worldwide Confirms Completed ‘Shada’ Download, DVD & Blu-ray

In 1979, Shada was set to be the celebratory end to the seventeenth series of Doctor Who. Critically acclaimed writer Douglas Adams had completed the script, Tom Baker’s Doctor was at the height of his popularity, and the series had bigger audiences than ever before. But strike action at the BBC in November 1979, meant the studio scenes were never completed and the adventure was abandoned. The story became legendary among fans. 

Now, thirty-eight years on, BBC Worldwide has announced that Shada, is to finally be completed, combining the original, remastered footage, with brand new colour animation to complete the story. The animation will feature the newly-recorded voices of the original cast, including Tom Baker as the Doctor and Lalla Ward as Romana, performing the original script. Shada will be released as a digital download on Friday 24th November, and on DVD and Bluray on Monday 4th December

Tom Baker says:

“Shada was one of my favourite Doctor Who stories. I have many fond memories of shooting the location scenes in Cambridge, and it was disappointing not to finish the story in studio. I’m so glad that BBC Worldwide have found a way to bring fans a complete visual version.”

The new feature-length production incorporates all of the live-action scenes from 1979, together with new animated material. Shada finds the Doctor in Cambridge working alongside companion Romana and retired Time Lord, Professor Chronotis, to defeat the evil alien Skagra who is attempting to steal the secrets to the prison planet, Shada.

Shada is being produced by the team behind the highly successful and critically acclaimed animation of lost Doctor Who episode, The Power of the Daleks and lost Dad’s Army episode A Stripe For Frazer. The team have had access to nearly seven hours of raw footage from the original 1979 Shada shoot from which they are editing the new production from scratch, with all the original film negatives re-scanned in full HD and digitally remastered.

Paul Hembury, Executive Producer, BBC Worldwide says:

“Fans loved The Power of the Daleks, so we’re delighted to be able to complete and bring them another lost Doctor Who classic.”

On Saturday 2nd December there will be a special screening of Shada at BFI Southbank, London. Further information will be available from bfi.org.uk from Monday 23rd October. Tickets for BFI members will be available from Tuesday 7th November, and for the public from Tuesday 14th November.

Special Features:

-  Taken Out of Time (25' 39")
-  Now and Then (12' 45")
-  Strike, Strike, Strike! (27' 50")
-  Studio Sessions - 1979 (44' 38")
-  Dialogue Sessions (14' 16")
-  Model Filming (04' 36")
-  Deleted Scenes (01' 22")
-  Title Sequence Films (TBC)
-  Live Action Reference Footage (02' 48")
-  1979 Gallery (04' 50")
-  2017 Gallery (02' 52)

Watch the trailer for the new Shada release in the player, below:
[youtube: 67qiRyJ35nw]
+  PREORDER Shada on DVD from Amazon.co.uk for £19.99.

+  PREORDER Shada on Blu-ray from Amazon.co.uk for £24.99.
+  Discuss all the Doctor Who DVD & Blu-ray releases in the DWO Forums.

[Source: BBC Worldwide]

Review: Big Finish: Main Range – 230: Time In Office

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Writer: Eddie Robson

RRP: £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download)

Release Date: September 2017

Reviewed by: Nick Mellish for Doctor Who Online


"The Doctor's adventures in time and space are over. The Time Lords have recalled him to Gallifrey – but what he faces on his home planet is worse than any trial. Following the disappearance of President Borusa, the High Council condemned him to the highest office - and he can't evade his responsibilities a nanosecond longer...

So all hail the Lord High President! All hail President Doctor!

Rassilon save him. This time, there's really no escape."

Some stories and ideas fit some specific Doctors perfectly. Imagine The Curse of Fenric with the Sixth Doctor for example, or The Rescue with the Tenth: it just doesn't quite gel. Here with Time in Office though, we have the perfect marriage of incarnation and scenario, and full credit to Alan Barnes for suggesting it. You can just about picture the Fourth Doctor doing the job of President and purposely sending it up. The Sixth would be all bluster and indignation, but he would secretly enjoy the comfy seats and pomp more than he cares to admit. The Fifth though? So polite and unable to run away from a job he knows he will hate? It's the best fit.

Eddie Robson knows this, and writes for the Fifth Doctor especially well, and Time in Office is a perfect testimony to that fact. Throw in Leela and Tegan, too, and you've got a recipe for success, and thankfully 'a success' is undoubtedly what the finished product ends up being.

The Doctor's TARDIS is intercepted on the way to Frontios and before long our hero is in front of cameras, unable to escape, and being forced into office very much against his will. Leela is on hand to try and smooth things over, and Tegan is being held prisoner before being offered a position she cannot refuse.

There is something truly wonderful about seeing the Doctor, and more specifically this Doctor, run through diplomatic hoops. The trouble is, the Doctor is not without a past, and this comes to the fore in Part Two especially, which is genuinely funny and smart. The pairing of the Fifth Doctor and Leela (and indeed Peter Davison with Louise Jameson) works really well, and the addition of Tegan (and Janet Fielding) in the mix is the icing on the cake. It's easy to forget sometimes just how good the acting from the regulars is; we're so used to hearing or seeing their performances that it's easy to become blasé about it. Likewise, it's easy to forget at times just how much better served the regulars can be by Big Finish, but this blows those memory lapses out of the water and reminds you time and again just how good they all are.

Fielding especially gets to shine throughout the play with some brilliant comedy that suits both her character and the tone of the story down to a tee, whilst Robson writes to Davison's strengths with practised ease. The only thing which never really works in the play is Tegan’s love of adventure, seeing as we know she leaves soon after this play due to not enjoying things anymore.  That’s always the major problem with Big Finish plays though: they only fit to some extent and often you need wriggle room to make to really work.

Ignore that though. Nearly every facet of this play has an air of confidence and polish about it, from the script (with fan jokes about the number of regenerations a Time Lord can have to knowing comments about how male-centric Gallifrey is (a thread which ran through Doom Coalition to good effect, too)) to the performances to the direction. Indeed, the direction and performances feel the tightest we have had for a while now, and full praise must go to Helen Goldwyn for that.

Perhaps that says a lot though? Perhaps it shows that a shake-up in production team and format works wonders and gives the main range a much-needed kick and breath of fresh air?

Compare this play to nearly all the others this year and it stands out for being pleasingly different and pleasantly fresh-feeling. The story of an element coming to a dusty but well-meaning entity and shaking things up by being different feels symbolic of this play's position in the wider Big Finish pantheon right now.

Yes, this is a play which is for fans only really and takes in a lot of continuity points here and there, and yes, this is a play which still runs with the 4x4 format, albeit it with a new glance. But it's also a play which re-invigorates that format, plays with continuity in a fun and cheeky way, and actually uses the past to good purpose.

This isn't a play which says "oh, go on, let's put the Fifth Doctor with Leela" with no thought beyond. This is a story which does that because it fits perfectly and doesn't feel shoe-horned in by committee like nearly all of the Locum Doctors scripts a while ago did.

In some ways, this makes it all the more frustrating as there isn't really any excuse why it isn't this imaginative and fun every month. There are times when it feels as if the monthly/main range just rests on its laurels a little, and a play like this only shows that up.  A bit more imagination, a bit more daring do, a shake-up of the format... perhaps the future will see this happen and the now tired trilogy formula will get the injection of energy and verve it so desperately needs.

For now though, let us celebrate this Doctor's time in office and not feel too sad that it wasn't longer still.



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Review: Big Finish: Main Range – 229: The Silurian Candidate

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Writer: Matthew J. Elliott

RRP: £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download)

Release Date: September 2017

Reviewed by: Nick Mellish for Doctor Who Online


"The year is 2085, and planet Earth remains on the edge of a nuclear precipice. At any moment, either of two vast rival power blocs, to the West and the East, might unleash a torrent of missiles, bringing about the terrible certainty of Mutual Assured Destruction.

But there is another way - or so Professor Ruth Drexler believes. Hence her secret mission deep in Eastern bloc territory, to uncover a hidden city, never before glimpsed by human eyes: the Parliament of the Silurians, the lizard people who ruled the Earth before humankind.

There, she’ll encounter a time-travelling Doctor, who knows the Silurians well. A Doctor on a secret mission of his own."

Once a year, as part of Big Finish's main/monthly range (the name of which seems to differ depending on who you ask), two plays are released at the same time. I always feel a bit sorry for these plays as one inevitably ends up overshadowing the other for various reasons. It may be that one of them is that year's "4x1" release, or the end of an ongoing arc. Here, this month, a standalone by a highly popular writer with a very interesting premise... and this play.

Pity The Silurian Candidate.

The premise is very simple: The Doctor is clearly up to something but not letting on to either Ace or Mel, which worries the former and intrigues the latter. Ace has seen him like this before and knows that it rarely ends well; Mel is not used to this darker persona and is uncertain as to what should be expected. The good ship TARDIS lands on Earth in the future, where a party of two others have also arrived complete with an army of robot guards, and they are there to seek out the same goal: Silurians.

Only the play is not just about all this. Oh no.  It’s also very much a full-blown sequel to Warriors of the Deep and, as the admittedly very good title suggests, a nod and wink to The Manchurian Candidate, complete with dinosaurs, a dodgy French accent from Nicholas Briggs, and an Australian politician that is in no way meant to be a parody of Donald Trump. (Nope. Definitely not. Nuh-huh. Move along.)

The play is very much a story of two halves, with the first rather slow and the second not quite breakneck with its speed but far quicker in comparison, as the stakes grow higher and necessity to act heightens.  There are some good gags in there throughout (the one concerning the Doctor and broken toasters genuinely made me laugh aloud) and a few nice moments of reflection upon the nature of this incarnation of The Doctor.

But...

But as with Matthew J. Elliott’s earlier main range play, Zaltys, there are moments that fail to land as well (though thankfully none as bad as the start of that play mentioning vampires and then vampires co-incidentally turning up) and whole parts where people conveniently spell out the plot to let you catch up, speaking in a way that you only ever get in plays or stories with a relatively small cast. There is a fair whack of “let me say what I see”-style dialogue to compensate for the audio medium, too, which never helps matters, and neither Ace nor Mel feel entirely in character.  Indeed, Ace seems positively grumpy and angry and distrusting of The Doctor throughout, and the CD extras have Sophie Aldred unsure where in Ace’s timeline this play is set, which is slightly concerning as you would think someone would say so the writing and performance can be adjusted. When your lead actors are unsure, something is not right.

(To maintain the usual gripe, once again no extended extras were present with the play upon release, nor had they surfaced a fortnight afterwards.)

It’s not all bad though. As The Silurian Candidate moves along, so too does it improve, and I want to quickly highlight the musical score from Howard Carter which is the best any play has had for a long while now. Points must go to the Silurian voices, too, which are dead ringers for the Pertwee era tones, and it was genuinely interesting to hear Briggs’s rationalization for using these ones as opposed to the Davison-era tones (and I agree with his reasoning) and his efforts to get them just right.  I have an image of him hunched over his ring modulator for over an hour tweaking and speaking in a bid to nail it, which is rather endearing.

In the end, The Silurian Candidate is overall fairly average Doctor Who fare with some moments that elevate it beyond, and music and voice artistry which give it a shine it would otherwise lack.  It does not make for an especially triumphant ending to this latest run of Seventh Doctor/Ace/Mel plays, but it’s not a write-off either, nor is it Who by numbers by any stretch. There are enough glimmers of light in there to merit attention and make me curious to see what Elliott comes up with next, but enough bumps in the road to exercise caution, too.



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DWO Minecraft And Egmont UK, Official Minecraft Guides Competition!

T

Owing to the increasing popularity of our very own DWO Minecraft Doctor Who Server, and to tie-in with the release of the new Official Minecraft Guides, DWO have teamed up with Egmont UK to offer 5 sets of the four books, in an exciting new competition!

To enter, simply head over to the DWO Competitions page and click on the link for the Minecraft book guides, and you could win one of 5 sets of the following 4 books:

Minecraft Guide To Creative

Learn the finer points of architecture, art and other creative disciplines with the official Minecraft Guide to Creative, and put theory into practice to build incredible constructions in Minecraft. Find out how to combine colours and textures to create different themes, devise intricate plans for complex builds, and discover secret hacks to use blocks in clever ways.

Minecraft Guide To Exploration

The mysterious world of Minecraft is just waiting to be explored. But danger lurks around every corner and survival can prove difficult for even the bravest adventurer. The official Minecraft Guide to Exploration will help you to survive and thrive. You’ll learn how to find resources, craft equipment and protect yourself from hostile mobs. Discover which biomes to avoid when starting out, how to build a mob-proof shelter and where to look for naturally-generated structures laden with loot. 

Minecraft Guide To Redstone

Learn the art of redstone and become a master engineer with the Minecraft Guide to Redstone, and put theory into practice to construct intricate contraptions in Minecraft.  Pick up the basics of the redstone components and their uses, discover how to make working circuits, and create incredibly complex builds using your new skills.

Minecraft Guide To The Nether And The End

Now that you've mastered the Overworld, the time has come to brave the perilous Nether and End dimensions. But survival will be even more difficult here and you'll need to up your game if you want to make it back to the Overworld in one piece.   The official Minecraft Guide to the Nether and the End will help you survive as you navigate new terrain, discover new hostile mobs and attempt to collect unique materials. Learn how to kill fire-resistant mobs in the Nether and repurpose Nether fortresses, then master the art of defeating the ender dragon and explore the outer islands of the End dimension. 

The Doctor Who Online Minecraft Server is the largest Doctor Who themed Minecraft server in the world. It offers Doctor Who themed worlds, games, roleplay, survival, and creative building. It is also home to the largest collection of Doctor Who Minecraft creations in existence - made by thousands of fans from across the globe! It also has the immensely popular TARDIS Plugin, which allows players to create a working TARDIS in Minecraft! 

DWO Minecraft is a family-friendly server, and all activities and events are suitable for all ages - from a first time Minecrafter to a 900 year old Time Lord, there is something for everyone!

Check out the DWO Minecraft Server Trailer in the player, below:
[youtube:gL5Vi2Aua_E]

+  Join the DWO Minecraft server at: www.dwominecraft.com.

[Sources: DWO; Egmont UK]

Review: Big Finish: Main Range – 228: The Blood Furnace

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Writer: Eddie Robson

RRP: £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download)

Release Date: August 2017

Reviewed by: Nick Mellish for Doctor Who Online


"The TARDIS brings the Doctor, Ace and Mel to a recently reopened shipyard in Merseyside. It's 1991, the hardest of times - but now they're shipbuilding once again, thanks to the yard's new owners, the Dark Alloy Corporation. A miracle of job creation - but is it too good to be true?

While the Doctor and Ace go in search of an alien assassin at loose in the yard, Stuart Dale, discoverer of the near-magical Dark Alloy material, has an extraordinary proposition to make to his old college friend, Mel.

But who is the Corporation’s mysterious client? Who does she really represent? And what's the secret of the Blood Furnace? Seeking answers, the Doctor and friends are about to find themselves in very deep water…"

After last month's play proved a surprisingly lacking affair despite the ingredients being so promising (great writer plus great TARDIS crew), I was a little hesitant to embark upon this play as it had the same set-up: very good writer (Eddie Robson this time) and the same crew as before. Would lightning strike twice and not in a good way?

Thankfully not. Whilst not perfect, The Blood Furnace is a highly entertaining play and a good way to spend a couple of hours.

The TARDIS lands in Liverpool, 1991, where ships are being built and Stuart Dale, an old flame of Mel's, heads up the operations. Someone has been murdered though and The Doctor suspects more than just humanity is involved, suspicions which very quickly are proven right.  Who is the mysterious manager? Why does Mel's ex- keep getting nosebleeds? And why are computers a no-go thing?

Off the bat, this one is a lot of fun but with a nice edge of realism in it.  Liverpool proves to be a very effective setting as even now Doctor Who struggles much of the time to give us locations that aren't extremely Southern (or Welsh). The colour Liverpudlian accents give proceedings is to the benefit of the tale and makes the script and story all the more notable and, I suspect, memorable because of it, even if nearly all of the cast aren't actually from Liverpool as revealed in the CD extras. (Speaking of which, there are no extended extras for subscribers in tandem with the play's download this month.  Seeing as that's one of the perks for subscribing to the range, this feels a pretty poor show, especially when the gap between the play being released and the extended extras available seems to vary on a whim from no time at all to an entire month or more.)

As is typical of Robson's work, the characters' dialogue flows easily and feels natural, and the whole play has a real heart to it. People don't just die, they die with consequences be it leaving a family behind or a grieving co-worker. This feels very in keeping with the McCoy era and grounds the play whilst giving characters some nice shading. There is an especially lovely moment of this in the final episode where a phone call needs to be made and it's amazingly awkward and painful to listen to, which only adds to the sense of truth across the four episodes.

The regulars all get a fair crack of the whip. Indeed, the rapport between them in Part One almost makes me long for an episode one day where it's just the three of them being terribly happy.

Across the play, the Doctor gets to be at once the smartest man in the room and the most fun; Ace enjoys some computer game fun (which features the best music of the play: authentic, catchy and perfectly suited to the beat-'em-up coin guzzling arcade machines of the period); and Mel catches up on the past whilst looking to the future.

I wonder if every second play in a Mel/Ace/Doctor trilogy will feature Mel being a bit loved up or if it's merely co-incidence? An ex-boyfriend here, a love interest before. Maybe we'll see her future baby next time around.

When the final episode comes and alien plans are revealed and, inevitably, unravelled, some of the momentum is lost but Julie Graham is clearly having fun and relishing the theatrics.  It's by no means bad (it's not, it's good); it's just perhaps a bit more reliant on action and descriptive dialogue of the "Look at those thousands of things that tower above us by eight feet!" ilk, but this is only notable really as it doesn't fall into the trap before then and is handled pretty well.

All in all there is a sense throughout The Blood Furnace that people are enjoying themselves, and this is a solid play in a range that has for a while now felt a little out of steam. More of this calibre is welcomed.



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Twice Upon A Time – Christmas Special Images & Details

Peter Capaldi’s final episode of Doctor Who this Christmas will feature Pearl Mackie as Bill Potts and be called Twice Upon A Time, it was announced this evening during a cast panel at San Diego Comic Con. Viewers will have to wait until Christmas to discover exactly how Bill, who will appear throughout the episode, makes her return.

It was also revealed that Mark Gatiss, who will co-star in the episode in a guest role, will play a World War One soldier - known so far only as ‘The Captain’.

As previously revealed in the closing moments of the 2017 series finale, the special will feature Peter Capaldi’s current Doctor team up with the First Doctor, played by David Bradley

Watch the teaser trailer in the player, below:
[youtube:YCkDXegqjR0]
[Source: BBC Worldwide]

   

Obituary: Deborah Watling – (Victoria Waterfield in Doctor Who) – [1948-2017]

It is with deepest regret that DWO announces the passing of Classic Series Doctor Who Actress, Deborah Watling.

Deborah was loved and cherished by fans for her role as the 2nd Doctor's companion, 'Victoria Waterfield', in the Classic Series of Doctor Who.

Deborah's other career highlights include A Life Of Bliss, The Newcomers & Danger UXB (to name just a few).

DWO would like to extend our sympathies to Deborah's family and friends, and we will remember her fondly not just for her role in the series and her personality off-screen, but for the many occasions she gave her time to Doctor Who Online.

You can watch a greeting that Deborah recorded for us at the 2013 press event for the return of the missing Doctor Who episodes, in the player below:
[youtube:jL7U2P7rbJE]

[Source: DWO]

Obituary: Deborah Watling – (Victoria Waterfield in Doctor Who) – [1948-2017]

It is with deepest regret that DWO announces the passing of Classic Series Doctor Who Actress, Deborah Watling.

Deborah was loved and cherished by fans for her role as the 2nd Doctor's companion, 'Victoria Waterfield', in the Classic Series of Doctor Who.

Deborah's other career highlights include A Life Of Bliss, The Newcomers & Danger UXB (to name just a few).

DWO would like to extend our sympathies to Deborah's family and friends, and we will remember her fondly not just for her role in the series and her personality off-screen, but for the many occasions she gave her time to Doctor Who Online.

You can watch a greeting that Deborah recorded for us at the 2013 press event for the return of the missing Doctor Who episodes, in the player below:
[youtube:jL7U2P7rbJE]

[Source: DWO]

Review: Big Finish: Main Range – 227: The High Price Of Parking

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Writer: John Dorney

RRP: £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download)

Release Date: July 2017

Reviewed by: Nick Mellish for Doctor Who Online


"The planet Dashrah is a world of exceptional beauty. Historical ruins; colourful skies; swirling sunsets…

Unsurprisingly, it’s a major tourist trap. So if you want to visit Dashrah, first you’ll have to visit Parking, the artificial planetoid that Galactic Heritage built next door. Parking, as its name implies, is a spaceship park. A huge spaceship park. A huge, enormous spaceship park.

When the TARDIS materialises in Parking’s Northern Hemisphere, the Doctor, Ace and Mel envisage a quick teleport trip to the surface of Dashrah. But they’ve reckoned without the superzealous Wardens, and their robotic servitors… the sect of the Free Parkers, who wage war against the Wardens… the spontaneously combusting spaceships… and the terrifying secret that lies at the lowest of Parking’s lower levels."

John Dorney kicks off this second trilogy of adventures for the Seventh Doctor, Mel and Ace.  The first was notable for three things (four if you include Fiesta of the Damned, Guy Adams’s finest hour):

  1. The absence of Glitz: A Life of Crime especially was all about Glitz and Mel… but no Glitz was to be found, which felt awkward at times, especially given the crime/heist nature of the play.
  2. The introduction of Gloria; a sure-to-be returning antagonist, one day (or at least, that's how she was set up).
  3. The brilliant rapport between Bonnie Langford and Sophie Aldred.

I was excited, then, to see this TRADIS crew return, and with a writer like Dorney in the driving seat, even more enthused.

The High Price of Parking starts with the Doctor promising a place of unrivalled beauty to his two companions, and landing in a car park (or rather a spaceship park) instead, much to their bemusement.  It turns out that this is simply where they are parking the TARDIS before getting a lift to see the famous home of the now-missing Dream Spinners (either a relatively obscure reference to an unmade story from the 1960s or another story arc to keep an eye on: the jury is out so far).

As ever in the Doctor’s world though, trouble is afoot: spaceships are being destroyed and the rebellious Free Parkers are being blamed by the Wardens.  But are the Wardens as innocent as they seem? It looks like one of them is in cahoots with a mysterious woman, and trying to frame the Doctor and his friends for purposes unknown. Cue story.

There are some truly great ideas in this play that are gloriously silly. Car parks the size of continents and inhabitants living there for generations having lost their vehicles? Count me in: it’s a great premise and one that feels perfectly Doctor Who-y.  The trouble is that the rest of the story doesn’t live up to this central premise.  What could be a fun satire is stretched thin and at times feels very familiar, not only to the series as a whole but to Big Finish particularly. We’ve had these sort of stories before in releases such as The Cannibalists and Spaceport Fear and it feels tired here.

A bigger issue with this release though is the direction. Lines and characters and scenarios that could be comedic are often played rather straight or directed flatly, and the cliffhangers are heralded with no punch at all. Listen to the end of Part One: it sounds like McCoy is about to launch into another line or sentence and deliver the final big build up, but instead the episode just sort of… ends and is thoroughly underwhelming. This happens a further two times, and kills the drama dead.  It’s a very rare miss for the usually solid direction of Ken Bentley.

On a more positive note, subscribers will be pleased with this play as it has been released with the exclusive Extended Extras at the same time. For some unknown reason, Big Finish often make subscribers wait anything up to a whole month (and far longer on occasion in the past) before they are available for download, which is far too long as the impetus to listen to them are long gone by the time another play has come around. It’s a pity, too, as the extended length makes for decent interviews, something the edited highlights often lack, coming across as more like PR pieces for how much the actors love working for Big Finish than anything of real substance. These extended cuts must surely be edited at the same time as the condensed versions released on the CDs, seeing as they have had a simultaneous release here and it has been this way with other plays in the past.  Hopefully this long wait is a kink that will be ironed out in the future.

Hopefully, too, the future will be kinder for this TARDIS crew and Dorney. I have full faith that they will both be back to brilliance before too long. As it stands though, this play feels like it could have been a great DWM comic strip or hour-long episode, but at four parts it’s stretched beyond breaking and the lackluster direction does not help paper up some of the cracks.



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