New faces for The Faceless Ones

ONE of the missing Patrick Troughton Doctor Who stories is set for release as an animation, according to BBC Studios.

The release of The Faceless Ones, the final story to feature Michael Craze as Ben and Anneke Wills as Polly, follows the success of animated versions of The Power of The Daleks, Shada and The Macra Terror. It will be released on DVD, Blu-Ray and as an exclusive Steelbook next year, and expected to be available from the DWCA Shop.

The Faceless Ones, first broadcast in six weekly parts from April to May 1967, is the mostly missing eighth serial of the fourth season in Doctor Who. Starring Troughton, the story involves the race of identity-stealing aliens known as the Chameleons.

Only two of the six original episodes survive in the BBC film archives with only snippets of footage and still images existing from the other four.

However, off-air recordings still exist, making the animation of the complete serial possible.

The six new animated episodes will be made in full colour and high definition. The 2020 DVD and Blu-ray release will also feature surviving archive material from the 1967 production.

The passing of Omega

The man who played Omega in the 1972 story The Three Doctors has died.

Stephen Thorne, a RADA-trained actor, died on 26 May at the age of 84.

He was best-known to the Whovian world for bringing to life three great Doctor adversaries during the early ’70s.

Stephen Thorne
11 Aug 2013

His towering presence and deep melodious voice were first came to the world of Who in the 1971 story The Dæmons, where he portrayed Azal, the last living Dæmon on Earth, in a story often cited as one of the most appreciated of the Third Doctor’s era and story emblematic of the close-knit UNIT team of the time.

He returned to the series in 1972 playing Omega, the renegade Time Lord fighting The Three Doctors, a character that would return to confront the Doctor in later years. In 1976 he opposed the Fourth Doctor playing the male form of Eldred, last of the Kastrians in the story The Hand of Fear.

Born in London he trained at RADA before spending several seasons with the Old Vic Company and the Royal Shakespeare Company.

His Television credits included roles in Z Cars, Crossroads, Sexton Blake, David Copperfield and Last of the Summer Wine however it was radio where he really shone. His radio performances included Aslan in The Magicians Nephew, Treebeard in The Lord of the Rings, and Colon in Terry Pratchett’s Guards! Guards!. He has played many characters for Big Finish audio productions including reprising the roles of Omega and Eldred.

Thorne also recorded more than 300 unabridged audiobooks including children’s stories and often gave readings at events in places such as Westminster Abbey. His awards include a Talkies Award 1996 for Enigma by Robert Harris and several Golden Earphones Awards from Audiofile Magazine.

 

Judoon platoon returning soon

No! Sho! Blo! The Judoon are set to charge back into Doctor Who when Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor returns next year.

The BBC announced this week that more than twelve years after they first stampeded onto screens to terrorise the Tenth Doctor and Martha Jones on the moon in 2007’s Smith and Jones, the rhino-headed intergalactic police are returning.

Showrunner Chris Chibnall said they would return for the series, currently being filmed in Gloucester.

“No! Sho! Blo! The Judoon are storming back into Doctor Who in full force, and the streets of Gloucester aren’t safe,” Chibnall explained.

“If anyone has anything to hide, confess now.

“The Judoon are taking no prisoners, and will stop at nothing to fulfil their mission! The whole team on Doctor Who are delighted and scared in equal measure to welcome them back: One of many treats we’ve got in store for viewers next series.

“And we’re over the moon (with Judoon), to be welcoming the wondrous Neil Stuke as guest star. We can’t wait to show you what happens when his path crosses with the Thirteenth Doctor.”

Stuke has an established career on stage, television and films and is a two-time Bafta nominee, whose recent credits include Doctor Foster, Silk and Silent Witness.

According to the BBC, the eleventh series of Doctor Who was the biggest series of the show in over a decade with an average audience of 8.6m viewers in the 28 days following broadcast, across all available devices.

The twelfth series of Doctor Who is currently in production.

 

New game goes to the virtual edge of time

The Doctor Who virtual universe is set to expand, with a new cinematic feature-length Doctor Who VR video game due for release in September.

The new “mission”, Doctor Who: The Edge of Time, follows hot on the heels of the recently released The Runaway – a short animated VR experience.

Published by PlayStack and developed by immersive entertainment studio Maze Theory, Doctor Who: The Edge Of Time will allow fans to embark on a brand-new and fully-interactive adventure, inspired by the show’s 55-year history and starring the Doctor’s current incarnation, played by Jodie Whittaker.

BBC Studios Digital Entertainment and Games head Bradley Crooks said VR was the perfect vehicle for Who.

“VR is the perfect home for a truly immersive Doctor Who adventure,” he said.

“Fans and newcomers alike will be able to experience the universe of Doctor Who like never before, working with the Doctor and facing enemies new and old.

“Gaming is a key part of the future of Doctor Who and allows us to tell new and exciting stories beyond the TV screen.”

Maze Theory Creative Director Marcus Moresby said they were committed to providing an innovative and immersive experience.

“Doctor Who is an incredibly exciting and timeless franchise with a passionate and committed global fan base,” he said.

“We are looking to give them an entirely new experience; an opportunity to team up with the Doctor and feel like they are in the show. This, of course, includes piloting the TARDIS, a dream come true for fans!”

Armed with a Sonic Screwdriver, players have the chance to solve mind-bending puzzles, grapple with classic monsters and encounter new horizons in a quest to find the Doctor and defeat a powerful force that threatens to destroy the fabric of reality.

This time around some of the show’s iconic “Big Bads” will be making an appearance including the biggest baddies of them all – the Daleks as well as some brand-new monsters.

This time around the Doctor has been hurled through time and space to the end of the universe where a virus is threatening to rip apart reality has been released.

Fans will have a chance to pilot the TARDIS across new and familiar worlds as they set out to recover a series of “powerful time crystals” that can repair space, time and ultimately save the entire universe.

Doctor Who: The Edge Of Time will launch on PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Vive Cosmos in September.

 

Win a trip to London with the 2019 Doctor Who Fan Art Competition

A Doctor Who-themed weekend trip to London is up for grabs in the 2019 Doctor Who Fan Art Competition, launched ahead of this year’s San Diego Comi-Con.

The competition, being run by BBC Studios, will give fans a chance to see their work on a Doctor Who T-shirt available in a limited quantity from the BBC America booth at San Diego this year.

The competition opened on 17 April at 10pm (AEST), will close on 15 May at 10pm and is open to legal residents (18 and over) of Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States and the District of Columbia, and Canada (excluding Quebec).

Entrants can create anything from a candy mosaic of Tom Baker to a bowtie collage of Matt Smith as long as the entry contains any Doctor and the TARDIS

A judging panel will select one grand prize winner and four runner-up artists, with the grand prize winner and a guest heading off to London.

The prize package includes: two nights accommodation and return economy flights from a major airport near the winner’s residence to London, UK, special afternoon tea for two, a Doctor Who Escape Room activity in Reading, England and an exclusive private screening of the fan’s favourite Doctor Who episode. The prize also includes a goody bag of iconic Doctor Who merchandise (worth $950 AUD) as well as having their artwork printed on limited-edition merchandise sold at San Diego Comic-Con.

Runners-up will also have their artwork featured and receive the merchandise bag.

To find out more, head to https://www.doctorwho.tv/competitions/fan-art.

 

Run away with the Doctor

The BBC has finally released both a trailer and a synopsis for the brand-new VR Adventure Doctor Who: The Runaway.

Set in the TARDIS, the adventure stars Jodie Whittaker in animated form and features brand new music from Doctor Who composer Segun Akinola.

The new story is 12 minutes long and will see the viewer join the Thirteenth Doctor on the TARDIS in an animated interactive story from the BBC and Passion Animations.

Players will get the chance to be the Doctor’s champion and help her with her adventure as both viewer and doctor find themselves facing a deadly threat. It will be available on selected VR headsets later in the year.

According to the synopsis:

You’ve been in a collision. You wake inside the TARDIS. The Doctor introduces you to the person, or thing, you collided with. He’s a strange and magnificent ball of living energy called Volta. Part surly teenager, part bomb, Volta is very unstable. In fact, he’s primed to explode. Big time. Unless he can be returned to his home planet, sharpish. The problem is, a squad of galactic busybodies has other plans for Volta. Bad ones. Drawn into a frantic chase, you become The Doctor’s unlikely assistant as she races against time to get Volta home to his parents. Armed with a sonic screwdriver, it is down to you to help The Doctor as she faces the forces of evil, and teenage angst, in this animated 13-minute VR adventure from the team behind Doctor Who Series 11.

Doctor Who: The Runaway was written by Victoria Asare-Archer and directed by Mathias Chelebourg – the man behind Alice, the Virtual Reality Play and The Real Thing VR. It has been produced by the BBC’s digital drama team, BBC VR Hub and Passion Animation Studio and is coming soon to Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, with versions for other platforms including YouTube.

 

Virtually in the TARDIS

BOUNDARIES are being pushed as the Doctor discovers the new world of virtual reality.

Fans will be able to step inside a VR version of the TARDIS in a new immersive adventure called Doctor Who: The Runaway, according to BBC VR Hub head Zillah Watson.

“Our team at the BBC VR Hub has been creating new experiences with the goal of helping to usher virtual reality into the mainstream, and Doctor Who is exactly the sort of series that can help more people to try this new technology,” Zillah said.

“The show has been pushing boundaries for over 55 years, and VR enables Doctor Who to explore a whole new dimension of storytelling.”

The new original story will see Jodie Whittaker voice an animated version of the Thirteenth Doctor and will also feature brand new music from Doctor Who composer Segun Akinola.

Viewers will join Thirteen on board the TARDIS for the 12-minute animated interactive story – written by Victoria Asare-Archer and created as a co-production between the BBC and Passion Animation studios. It will be available on selected VR headsets in coming months, according to BBC Digital Drama creative director Jo Pearce.

Jodie Whittaker becomes very animated in her next adventure as the Doctor.

Jo said viewers would get a chance to be in the TARDIS with the Doctor and help her on an exciting adventure – finding themselves at the centre of the action facing a deadly threat.

“Fans will experience the TARDIS like never before in this thrilling new interactive story,” she said.

“As ever, the Doctor is full of warmth, wit and charm – helped by a wonderful performance from Jodie – which puts fans at the heart of the story as they immerse themselves in this beautifully animated world.”

The Runaway is directed by Mathias Chelebourg, whose previous VR films include Alice, the Virtual Reality Play and The Real Thing VR. It has been produced by the BBC’s digital drama team, BBC VR Hub and Passion Animation Studios.

Farewell to Pat Gorman

One of the unsung heroes of Doctor Who, Pat Gorman, has died the way he lived – quietly this past October, as confirmed by UK Equity this past week.

Gorman appeared in so many episodes of Who over the years that legend has it script editor Terrance Dicks joked it was in the BBC Charter that they couldn’t make an episode of the series without Gorman in it.

His name wasn’t always in the credits but his face was often in the crowd – he had 73 minor roles in the show during the ’60s. In fact, he often popped up in all sorts of BBC shows from the ’60s through to the late ’90s, sometime just in the background or other times chiming in with a “Yes sir”, a nod or perhaps even just to deliver the milk.

Born in England, he is best known for his work on The Elephant Man (1980) as a “Fairground Bobby”; the movie’s star, John Hurt, of course went on to become the War Doctor. His other notable performances came in the 1989 version of Batman, Z Cars, Fawlty Towers, I Claudius and Blake’s 7. His final credited performance was in the television series Soldier Soldier in 1994.

But it was his performances between 1964 and 1985 in Doctor Who that will be most remembered. He played a Silurian in The Silurians (1970), a Primitive in Colony in Space (1971), a Sea Devil in The Sea Devils (1972) and a pilot in The Armageddon Factor (1979) among his many many roles. He was often a soldier, guard or policeman – only six other actors have appeared in more Doctor Who serials than him.

Gareth David-Lloyd talks gaming

GARETH David-Lloyd’s Ianto Jones was a flirt and a tease – in his own way.

But nothing compares to the Torchwood actor himself. The first time I interviewed him was just before the screening of series three of Torchwood. I had been sent just the first two episodes so was blissfully unaware that Ianto would buy the farm in the third and he played on that – big time, not in a mean way (it was one of the best and most fun interviews I’ve done in a three-decade career).

But he no-one could ever accuse him of breaking confidentiality and he got me big time. My story came out the day before the series went out without a hint of Ianto’s death and it was as big of a shock to this journalist as the rest of the fan base.

Now he’s done it again – most probably.

Late last year, as he prepared to come to Australia again for Supanova in Brisbane, we talked again.

He was quieter this time, more grown up – a dad now – not just weeks from his wedding last time and I thought I’d got a great honest interview.

But once again he was holding his cards close to his chest.

This time the question was about his roles in Dragon Age, the BioWare game where he followed in Torchwood cast mate Eve Myles’ footsteps and played and Elf.

“It’s Eve’s fault I got Dragon Age,” he’d joked.

“She was cast and they liked the accent – so all of the Elves are Welsh or Celtic.

“That’s why Solace has that nice Welsh cadence.”

And why, he explained, he got the part.

We talked about how much he enjoyed it – how different it was – and I asked the question, would you do more Dragon Age if you could?

He said yes he would, but there were no immediate plans.

Over Christmas my excited Torchwood/Dragon Age fangirl daughter almost bounced out of her skin – a teaser trailer had dropped for the fourth game in the series and guess who it seems the main villain is?

He’d got me again.

Though to be fair, looking back, he’d hesitated when I asked.

But not only does it look like he is back, but (spoilers) it seems Solace could now be tied to the main bad guy – Dread Wolf – in a fourth game that is still heavily under wraps, despite a teaser and a rumoured release date of the Australian spring – this year.

At the time he had been more talkative about his “other project”, Black River Meadow – a piece he had written, produced and crowdfunded for release on YouTube.

He joined forces with Twisted Showcase web anthology creator and writer Robin Bell to create Dark Valley Productions and bring the world of Black River Meadow to computer screens around the world. It is hoped that the trilogy (which featured his daughter in episode one) will be successful enough to become a full-length television drama.

“There is so much mystery and drama in the Welsh Valleys and the Brecon Beacons,” he said in our interview at Supanova and repeats on the Black River Meadows webpage.

“When conditions are just so. When the mist hangs in such a way that paths dissolve, valleys breath and mountains sway, feelings of awe, dread, wonder and terror can consume a person.”

Black River Meadow I: The Hiding can be viewed below. The Kickstarter campaign for Black River Meadow II: The Lure will be launched on 26 February.

The Daleks Are Coming

BBC Books will publish novelisations of two classic Doctor Who stories never released in book form before.

The Fifth Doctor’s Resurrection Of The Daleks and the Sixth Doctor’s Revelation of the Daleks are both set for release later in the year.

Both adventures will be novelised by original scriptwriter Eric Saward, one of the show’s longest-serving script editors. These stories are the only two classic-era Doctor Who adventures not in book form already and their publication more than three decades after their first transmission will fill a long-held gap in fans’ collections.

Saward, who has written for both radio and television, script edited Who for five years as well as writing four original stories. He is no stranger to novelisations of scripts, writing four during his time with the show as well as writing the first ever Doctor Who radio serial.

A jack of all trades, he has just finished a graphic novel based around the adventures of Lytton and has relished revisiting two of his best-known scripts.

“ ‘Resurrecting’ these tales may turn out to be a greater ‘Revelation’ than you’d expect!” he quipped in the announcement press release.

The books come in the wake of the success of the new-era Target novelisations last year.

BBC Books Publishing Director Albert DePetrillo acquired world rights from the author directly. Hardback editions will be published in the UK in July (Resurrection) and November (Revelation) this year, with paperback editions to follow as part of the Target range in 2020.

Resurrection of the Daleks

Synopsis: The Universe is at war. Action takes Courage.

The Doctor and companions Brisbane-girl Tegan and the mysterious Turlough, stumble on a warehouse harbouring fugitives from the future and they are soon all under attack from a Dalek assault force. It seems the Doctor’s oldest enemies have set in motion a plot to resurrect their race from the ashes of an interstellar war. However, for their plans to succeed they must set their creator Davros free from prison and force a reluctant Doctor to help them achieve total control over time and space. But Davros has plans of his own.

Doctor Who: Revelation of the Daleks

Synopsis: Beware the hands that heal…

The Doctor and Peri land on the planet Necros to visit the funerary home Tranquil Repose – where the dead are interred and the near-dead placed in suspended animation until such time as their conditions can be cured.

But the Great Healer of Tranquil Repose is far from benign and under his command, Daleks guard the catacombs where sickening experiments are conducted on human bodies. The new life he offers the dying comes at a terrible cost – and the Doctor and Peri are being lured into a trap that will change them forever.