DWCA Book Club April – Scratchman

The Fourth Doctor himself, Tom Baker, has written his first ever Doctor Who novel – and the DWCA Book Club has selected it to discuss at our next meeting!

The Doctor, Harry Sullivan and Sarah Jane Smith arrive at a remote Scottish island, when their holiday is cut short by the appearance of strange creatures – hideous scarecrows, who are preying on the local population. The islanders are living in fear, and the Doctor vows to save them all. But it doesn’t go to plan – the time travellers have fallen into a trap, and Scratchman is coming for them…

Originating as Doctor Who Meets Scratchman, the story was originally scripted and planned as a movie back in the ’70s by Tom Baker and fellow actor Ian Marter, who played Harry Sullivan.  Now, after many failed attempts to bring the story to screen over the years, Scratchman is finally coming to life…

Scratchman will be released in Australia in early February and discussed at the DWCA Book Club meeting on Friday 5 April. You can also leave a comment on our Facebook page if you can’t make the event.

SEND US YOUR REVIEWS AND WIN A PRIZE!

Do you consider yourself something of an armchair critic? Send us a written review of the current Book Club text, and your words just may end up published in our club fanzine, Data Extract. What’s more, you will go into the running to win a $5 voucher to spend at the DWCA Shop!

Reviews should be sent to Dom Kelly at fsq@doctorwhoaustralia.org.

Win a double pass to time-travelling comedy The Ides of March

Elwood Social Club Productions proudly presents The Ides of March, an original play involving time travel, treachery and togas – and the DWCA has four double passes to give away to our members!

When William Shakespeare travels back in time to ancient Rome to research his newest play, he unwittingly finds himself a prime suspect in the murder of Julius Caesar. He and his faithful sidekick Cardenio are forced to use all their tact and cunning to evade the villainous senator Brutus, the leader of the conspirators who’s desperate to throw the ‘dirty foreigner’ to the lions, and the trenchcoat-clad Inspector Detectivus of the Roman Politizia, who’s hell-bent on cracking the case of the century.

The show will be held from 8-13 February in Perth and 15-17 February in Adelaide. So grab your swords and sandals and strap in for a fast, furious rollercoaster ride through space and time. This is ancient history like you’ve never seen before!

For your chance to win a double pass to see the show at the venue of your choice, simply complete the form on our competition page and answer the question. Two winners will be chosen for each venue and competition entries close on Thursday 31 January at 11:59pm AEDT.

Please be advised that the competition is open to DWCA members only – if you are not yet a member, you can become one right now. Competition terms and conditions apply.

Writer Robert Smith? joins Royal Flush day event

The DWCA is delighted to announce that writer and editor Robert Smith? (the question mark is silent) will be attending our next day event, to be held on 10 February in Burwood, Sydney.

An academic with a somewhat unhealthy interest in zombies as well as geek culture in general, Robert is perhaps best known these days as the editor of the Outside In series of non-fiction books. Covering Doctor Who, Star Trek and now Buffy, each book features reviews of every single episode of a given programme – with a new reviewer employed for each story. Furthermore, the reviews themselves vary wildly in style, so you truly never know what lies beyond the next page!

More recently, Robert has served as co-writer on the soon-to-be-released Bookwyrm series. The first volume in the series acts as a guide to all 61 New Adventures novels, which continued the Seventh Doctor’s journey after the untimely end of the television series. The book offers trivia, thematic discussions, plot holes, continuity notes, reviews and much more in a cheerful and entertaining style, making it accessible to newcomers that never read the NAs and equally informative to those who can tell you fifteen unknown facts about Paul Cornell.

We look forward to meeting Robert and hearing all about his latest work. There will also be limited copies of some of his books available for purchase and autographing on the day.

It’s sure to be an exciting event, so make sure you secure your spot by pre-purchasing your entry today.

Classic Who returns to Twitch

Less than six months after Twitch concluded its hugely popular marathon of Classic Doctor Who, the streaming service has announced it’ll be doing it all over again!

Starting on 6 January at 5am (AEDT), the platform will be airing over 500 episodes from the 26 seasons of classic Doctor Who. This means fans will be able to watch adventures featuring the first seven Doctors – from 1963’s An Unearthly Child to 1989’s Survival – while chatting live to thousands of other viewers around the world.

Episodes will be shown in blocks and repeated two times per day, with the marathon concluding on 26 January. The full list of stories can be found here, with provisional screening times from a Pacific US or UK perspective.

So tune in at https://www.twitch.tv/twitchpresents from 6 January to get your fix of Classic Who. And if you like what you see, make sure to head to the DVD section of the DWCA Shop, where a range of stories are available for you to own and watch any time you like – with special features and without ads!

Every Episode of Series 11, As Ranked By You

Series 11 of Doctor Who is now done and dusted, but how did it rate with Australian fans? After each week’s broadcast, we asked followers of our Facebook page to indicate whether they found the latest episode “great” or “not so great”. So which one came out on top? The results, from least-liked to most-liked, are presented below!

10. The Tsuranga Conundrum (61% positive)

Coming in last place was the The Tsuranga Conundrum, which saw the Doctor and her companions strive to save their spaceship from the adorable but deadly “Pting”. But while some viewers enjoyed the performances, the character development and the Pting itself, many were underwhelmed by the storyline, with commenters describing the episode as “okay”, “filler”, “fine”, “mediocre” and “meh”. So not an awful episode, but not one that got fans particularly excited either.

9. Arachnids in the UK (63% positive)

This was a divisive episode in more ways than one, in that it had several elements our followers either loved or hated. Many found the spiders suitably scary, while others found them difficult to watch for that very same reason. Some found themselves laughing knowingly at Donald Trump surrogate Jack Robertson (played by Chris Noth), while others found the real-life parallels too close for comfort. One thing that many agreed on is that the episode ended quite abruptly, leaving the audience questioning the fate of both Robertson and the trapped spiders – a somewhat unsatisfying conclusion.

8. It Takes You Away (75% positive)

The penultimate episode of the season appeared to have everything going for it: a spooky set-up, a journey through a hellish landscape, and some much-needed closure for Graham as he comes to terms with Grace’s death. It also had a sentient universe that eventually manifested itself as a talking frog, which many found wonderfully weird but others simply could not take seriously. So while the episode was still well received, there are many people who believe that, as one of our commenters put it, “it jumped the frog near the end”.

7. The Witchfinders (78.9% positive)

Light in tone despite its dark subject matter, The Witchfinders marked a return to the “historical romp” that has been a recurring feature of the revived series (and was quite a regular occurrence in the ’60s). It was a very welcome return according to our followers, with many calling it the best episode of the season and the two guest performers receiving particular praise – Siabhon Finneran (Becka) for her “gravitas” and Alan Cumming for his scenery-chewing performance as King James I (although one commenter described the character as “overplayed”). A solid, fun episode, then – and they only rate better from here on in.

6. The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos (79.1% positive)

Praised by our commenters as “tense as hell” and “the most engaging [episode] yet”, The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos received kudos for focusing on Graham’s inner turmoil, rather than attempting to outdo the world-ending threats of previous season finales. Yet this approach did not sway all our voters, with many saying the episode was good or even great, but somewhat lacking as a finale. It may very well have rated even higher had it been placed elsewhere in the season.

5. Demons of the Punjab (79.3% positive)

A tragic love story set during the Partition of India, Demons of the Punjab was described by our commenters as a moving, emotional piece of drama. But while many enjoyed learning about a relatively unknown historical event, others said they were “getting a bit tired” of historicals – with one commenter saying the episode was an okay piece of television but simply didn’t feel like Doctor Who. Its large cast of characters also divided fans, with some enjoying the ensemble nature of the episode but others feeling that the Doctor was upstaged, particularly by Bradley Walsh in a very moving performance as Graham. Make sure you have the tissues on hand for this one.

4. The Ghost Monument (81% positive)

The first off-world adventure for the Thirteenth Doctor and her friends, The Ghost Monument takes our heroes across the sweeping deserts of Desolation, encountering a ruthless racemaster (Art Malik), killer robots and creepy bandage creatures along the way. A lot of praise for the episode seems to surround the reveal of the redesigned TARDIS interior, as well as the new opening title sequence and theme tune – not to mention the strong dynamics of the newly formed TARDIS team. So while the plot itself was described by at least one commenter as “forgettable”, other elements worked well enough for many to consider this one a bit of a favourite.

3. Kerblam! (84% positive)

Seven episodes into Series 11, many of our followers found Kerblam! was the first to evoke the feel of old-school Doctor Who. Deadly robots are of course a staple of both classic and revived Who, while the allegorical nature of the story reminded some people of the Seventh Doctor’s era. Many even thought the killer bubble wrap was an amusing nod to the show’s limited budget during the classic series! There were however those who found the ending a letdown, with Charlie’s rebellion overshadowing Kerblam!’s exploitation of its workers. So enjoyable on the surface level, but it does fall apart if you start thinking about it.

2. Rosa (87% positive)

“Outstanding”, “phenomenal”, “beautiful”, “brilliant”… Rosa certainly received high praise from our commenters, thanks in no small part to a superb performance from Vinette Robinson in the title role. Unafraid to address racism and the civil rights movement in what is arguably the most raw and upfront manner in Doctor Who’s history, the episode did attract a few detractors as a result – many of whom expressed their discomfort at the subject matter. Reactions were also mixed towards the villainous Krasko, with many believing he could (and should) have been removed altogether. Nevertheless, the episode remains highly acclaimed.

1. The Woman Who Fell to Earth (89% positive)

With both Jodie Whittaker and Chris Chibnall having their fair share of naysayers ahead of the series launch, the first episode of Series 11 had to be something special. And that it was – our commenters took to the Thirteenth Doctor straight away, enjoying her energy, her humour, her quirkiness, and the traces of other young, manic Doctors they could see inside her. The supporting characters were also described as very well rounded, with commenters disappointed that the (sadly doomed) Grace did not get her chance to explore the universe. And while the plot itself was not rated as particularly groundbreaking, the episode did exactly what it needed to do – it convinced people to come back for more. And given how sceptical some people were about Series 11 to begin with, that in itself is to be applauded.

Want to participate in future polls and surveys? We post new questions on our Facebook page on a regular basis, encouraging our followers to have their say on all things Doctor Who. Find us now by heading over to https://www.facebook.com/drwhoaustralia/, and vote in our Resolution poll now!

Doctor Who animated short released for Christmas

The upcoming Doctor Who Special may be taking place on New Year’s Day, but that doesn’t mean the BBC has forgotten about Christmas altogether!

A new animated short, narrated by Bradley Walsh, sees the Thirteenth Doctor come to Santa’s rescue on Christmas Eve. Check it out below!

And don’t forget that the Doctor Who New Year’s Special will be broadcast on ABC on 2 January at 7:30pm, as well as on iview throughout the day. The trailer is available to view now.

Series 12 confirmed for 2020

The Thirteenth Doctor, Graham, Ryan and Yaz will be returning to our screens in the 2019 New Year’s Special, followed by a new series in early 2020.

Titled Resolution, the special promises to see our heroes encounter what the Thirteenth Doctor describes as “the most dangerous creature in the universe”. The ABC has confirmed that it will be screening the New Year’s Special on Wednesday 2 January at 7:30pm, with the episode also available on iview from the early hours of the morning, immediately after its broadcast in the UK.

And the Team TARDIS will be back again in 2020, with Series 12 of the programme set to air “early” in the year according to the BBC.

Showrunner Chris Chibnall said “We’re off again! Well we never actually stopped – as Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor and friends have been winning the hearts of families across the nation this autumn, we’ve been busy with a whole new set of action packed adventures for the Thirteenth Doctor. We adore making this show and have been blown away by the response from audiences, so we can’t wait to bring more scares, more monsters and more Bradley Walsh, Mandip Gill and Tosin Cole to BBC One. Brilliant!”

Charlotte Moore, Director of Content added, “We’re delighted that the Doctor and her friends will be returning to thrill audiences in 2020. I know Chris and the whole team are already working on a whole new set of exciting adventures. In the meantime we’ve got a very special episode on New Year’s Day for everyone to enjoy.”

Data Extract #241 is out now

Issue #241 of Data Extract, the official magazine of the Doctor Who Club of Australia, is now in the mail for all DWCA members!

Along with all our regular features, the new issue features an interview with none other than Mandip Gill (aka Yasmin “Yaz” Khan), as well as with Big Finish writer Emma Reeves. There’s also fiction for the Thirteenth Doctor and co, and a Christmas special comic featuring the Eleventh Doctor, original companion Eleanor and a surprise guest…!

The new issue is available exclusively to DWCA members, so click here to sign up today. Select back issues of the magazine can also be purchased from the DWCA Shop.

The Macra DO exist… in animated form!

The BBC have announced that Second Doctor serial The Macra Terror, which has been completely missing from the archives since not long after its original broadcast back in 1967, has been animated for release on digital download, DVD and Blu-ray.

The four-part story sees the Doctor (Patrick Troughton), Ben (Michael Craze), Polly (Anneke Wills) and Jamie (Frazer Hines) unravel a mystery on a human colony world in the far future. But while the colony has the vibe of a giant holiday camp, one of their number swears the colony is being terrorised by giant clawed creatures that only come out at night…

While no full episodes of this serial are known to have survived on film, a complete audio recording of all four parts still exists. Now, the episodes have been brought back to life in both colour as well as the original black and white, with the DVD and Blu-ray release set to include special features including an animation gallery, behind-the-scenes film and audio commentary.

Check out the teaser trailer for the story below!

The Macra Terror will be available on digital download, DVD, Blu-ray and special edition Steelbook in the UK on 18 March 2019; an Australian release date is yet to be announced. A special screening will also be held at the BFI Southbank, London on 16 March.

The Macra Terror isn’t the first Second Doctor story to receive the animation treatment, with an animated version of The Power of Daleks released in late 2016. The debut story for Patrick Troughton’s Doctor, it is available on DVD and Blu-ray from the DWCA Shop.

DWCA Book Club February – The Good Doctor

Series 11 may be drawing to a close, but the DWCA Book Club is not quite ready to say goodbye to the Doctor, Graham, Ryan and Yaz. That’s why our next book is the first in a new trilogy of novels released by BBC Books: The Good Doctor, by Juno Dawson.

On the planet of Lobos, the Doctor halts a violent war between the native Loba and human colonists. Job done, the TARDIS crew departs – only for Ryan to discover he’s left his phone behind. Again.

Available from all good bookshops, The Good Doctor will be discussed at the DWCA Book Club meeting on Friday 1 February. You can also comment on our Facebook page if you can’t make the event.

And for more information about book’s author, award-winning YA novelist Juno Dawson, read our article here.

SEND US YOUR REVIEWS AND WIN A PRIZE!

Do you consider yourself something of an armchair critic? Send us a written review of the current Book Club text, and your words just may end up published in our club fanzine, Data Extract. What’s more, you will go into the running to win a $5 voucher to spend at the DWCA Shop!

Reviews should be sent to Dom Kelly at fsq@doctorwhoaustralia.org.