DWCA Western Sydney Tavern – on again 9 April

It’s back on 9 April 2021 – the next DWCA Western Sydney Tavern! You can meet up and hang out with organizer Dallas Jones and other Who fans from about 6.30pm at the Lone Pine Tavern, Rooty Hill, located at 15 Rooty Hill Road, Rooty Hill, NSW. The plan is for attendees to meet in the dining area, so look for a table with a TARDIS model. The Lone Pine Tavern is within a short distance of Rooty Hill Station for those people who want to come along via public transport and the venue has plenty of parking for those coming by car. The more the merrier!

The Britbox Interview (or how to stream every episode from Hartnell to Whittaker)

Since the earliest days of the program fans of Doctor Who have sought ways to hang onto the experience of watching their favourite show. In the 1960s telesnaps and reel to reel tapes were the only way to record it, but these gave way to audio cassettes in the 1970s and 1980s, VHS tapes in the 1990s, then the opportunity to buy official releases from video to LaserDisc, DVD and BluRay. Since the advent of streaming services, Australian fans have been given the opportunity to carry the ability to watch the show around with them wherever they go on a mobile phone, although there has never been a consistent service offering everything across the entire range from Classic to Modern Who… until now. The DWCA caught up with Sarah Kenny, Head of Content at BritBox Australia, to talk nitty gritty on what this streaming service has to offer Australian Doctor Who fans…

Currently BritBox Australia has a comprehensive collection of Doctor Who content from William Hartnell’s First Doctor right through to Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth. My understanding is that BritBox Australia may be the only territory that covers both classic era and post-2005 Doctor Who – is that true? If so, how did Australia get to be so lucky?

Yes that’s true, or in Australia at least. BritBox is home to the largest collection of Doctor Who in Australia, which includes all time classics and recent seasons. We are unsure about how we stack up against other territories and services worldwide, but we certainly hope to eventually be able to take the #1 spot.

There are some extant episodes of Doctor Who in the BBC archives from incomplete stories that are not currently on BritBox. Currently The Wheel in Space is the only story with the remaining episodes available to stream, with the remaining episodes from incomplete stories like The Crusade, Galaxy 4, The Daleks’ Master Plan, The Celestial Toymaker, Evil of the Daleks, Abominable Snowmen and The Space Pirates absent. Will the remaining individual episodes from these incomplete stories be added?

There is nothing we would love more than to be able to add some of these titles to the BritBox catalogue. Unfortunately we are unable to license the rights to these at present, however rest assured we are definitely working on adding these to the collection for Australian Doctor Who fans.

There are some animated reconstructions on BritBox, such as The Macra Terror and Power of the Daleks. There are also some incomplete stories with their missing episodes animated, such as The Tenth Planet, Moonbase, The Ice Warriors and Invasion. Those currently missing though that do have animations available are The Reign of Terror, The Faceless Ones and Fury from the Deep – will these be added to the catalogue soon?

These animated episodes are certainly on our radar and we are currently working on adding these episodes to the collection if possible. We hope to be able to keep you updated in the future!

The Faceless Ones is the first animated reconstruction where episodes still extant in the BBC archives were also animated along with the missing ones. If added to BritBox would you make available the black and white animated reconstructions with the remaining episodes, or the full colour animated only version – or both?

We can confirm that we always work tirelessly to ensure we have the best content for Doctor Who lovers and BritBox fans. While we don’t currently have the rights for The Faceless Ones, we can confirm that if we were able to add this to BritBox, the final content we include would absolutely fit the best interests of our audience – whether it be black and white, full colour, or both.

BritBox has included telesnap reconstructions of missing episodes for The Underwater Menace and The Web of Fear – are there any plans to do the same for other missing episodes that have not yet been animated, such as Marco Polo, The Crusade, Galaxy 4, Mission to the Unknown, The Myth Makers, The Daleks’ Master Plan, The Massacre, The Celestial Toymaker, The Savages, The Smugglers, The Highlanders, Evil of the Daleks, The Abominable Snowmen, The Wheel in Space and The Space Pirates?

We are huge fans of these animated telesnaps as well. BritBox Australia is unable to license the rights to this content at present, however as we add more to the service, we hope that some of these episodes will feature on BritBox Australia in the future.

The first part of the missing Episode One of The Wheel in Space was animated back in 2018 and included as an extra on a Blu-ray/DVD release – does BritBox have any plans to include it on the streaming service?

While we won’t be streaming the animation of The Wheel in Space in the near future, we are really excited to share that BritBox in the US did a telesnap recon of the missing episodes. We are currently working to get the rights to these so Aussie Doctor Who fans will be able to stream these on demand!

The missing episode Mission to the Unknown was recreated in 2019 by students at the University of Central Lancashire. Are there any plans to include this recreation on BritBox?

While we would love to be able to include this missing episode recreation on BritBox Australia, unfortunately we have not been able to obtain the appropriate clearance at the moment.

BritBox currently has the 2016 animated version of Power of the Daleks available, but this was recently updated by the same animators to create a new and improved version in 2020. Will the 2016 version be replaced by the 2020 one at some stage?

We are really happy to have the 2016 animated version currently available on BritBox. We are currently working behind the scenes to get the appropriate clearance to be able to add the 2020 version at some point in the future.

Radio Times recently confirmed that 2021 will see the release of animated reconstructions of The Abominable Snowmen and Evil of the Daleks. How soon after such new animations are released on Blu-ray and DVD will BritBox be able to offer them to subscribers?

This is a work in progress. We can’t give a firm answer on the timeline for this one, but what we can say is that we’re working with the team to confirm availability and clearance. We really hope to add these to BritBox at some stage in the future.

Episode One of Invasion of the Dinosaurs is currently only available in black and white on BritBox. A colour version of it (albeit of lesser quality) was included on the DVD release for this story – does BritBox have any plans to make the colour version available as an extra?

Episode One of Invasion of The Dinosaurs is currently available on BritBox in black and white. We don’t plan on having the colour version available.

The Eighth Doctor is currently represented on BritBox by the 1996 telemovie, but there are two other Eighth Doctor appearances available in visual form – the alternate version of Shada that he featured in, with simple animation accompanying, and the short film Night of the Doctor showing his regeneration to the War Doctor. Is BritBox likely to add either of these to their Eighth Doctor collection?

Unfortunately we were unable to obtain the rights for the alternate version of Shada, however, we do have the 2017 Tom Baker version in our collection for Doctor Who fans. As for Night of the Doctor, BritBox Australia doesn’t currently stream shortform content. This is already widely available online in places such as YouTube and we recommend Doctor Who fans tune in to find and enjoy this specific content there.

The War Doctor was only ever featured in the 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor. Would BritBox consider compiling clips featuring him from that into a short Time War episode, including his regeneration scene, to bridge the narrative gap between the Eighth and Ninth Doctors? If so, would you also include the short Time War film The Last Day?

As a whole, BritBox doesn’t take shortform content. As such, streaming The Last Day on BritBox isn’t something we would consider including on the service in the future.

There are two multi-Doctor specials currently not available on BritBox – Dimensions in Time and Time Crash. Are there any plans to add these?

We don’t have plans to add either of these multi-Doctor specials to BritBox at the moment even though we would love to include them! Unfortunately, these specials are not able to be cleared for BritBox Australia.

There are two Tenth Doctor animated stories – The Infinite Quest and Dreamland – are there any plans to make these available through BritBox?

Absolutely! We hope to include both the Infinite Quest AND Dreamland to our collection at a later date. Keep your eyes peeled for these new additions!

The latest Thirteenth Doctor story Revolution of the Daleks isn’t currently available on BritBox – how soon will that be added to the catalogue?

We are big fans of Revolution of the Daleks as well here at BritBox. We are working to be able to add this to BritBox in Australia as soon as possible.

BritBox currently has some Doctor Who extras and spin-offs, including the original pilot episode from 1963, the docu-drama An Adventure in Space and Time and K9 and Company. With BritBox so close to having a complete catalogue of all Doctor Who episodes in its archives, are there any plans to also add the spin-off shows Class, Torchwood, The Sarah Jane Adventures and K9?

There’s nothing we would like more than to be able to have a complete catalogue of Doctor Who on BritBox. We can confirm that both Torchwood and Sarah Jane Adventures are titles we hope to add to the collection in the future.

The BBC recently released the animated series Daleks! on their YouTube channel as part of the Time Lord Victorious event – are there any plans to add this to BritBox as well?

This is already available in full on YouTube. From our perspective, we don’t have any current plans to add the animated series of Daleks! to BritBox due to clearance and access.

There are a number of unofficial spin-offs set in the Doctor Who universe, featuring Doctor Who actors, produced over the years by Reeltime, BBV and Dreamwatch Media, the most recent being the award winning Sil and the Devil Seeds of Arodor. Would Britbox consider adding more obscure productions like these to their list of Doctor Who extras?

We are always open to adding more Doctor Who to BritBox, however in this particular instance, adding this unofficial spin-off of Sil and the Devil Seeds of Arodor is not currently on the agenda for BritBox in Australia due to clearance.

There were two Dalek movies made in the 1960s featuring Peter Cushing as the Doctor – is there any chance these might be added as extras?

We are very excited to say there is a big chance these will be added to BritBox! Both of these titles will be coming soon to BritBox, so please stay tuned for further announcements.

A lot of behind the scenes documentaries have been made about Doctor Who over the years – are there any plans for these to be added to the available extras on BritBox?

We understand behind-the-scenes and documentaries regarding Doctor Who are of great interest to fans of the series and we hope to be able to add some of these to the collection at some stage in the future.

The BBC has produced a number of other iconic science fiction shows over the years, many of which are also of interest to Doctor Who fans. From A for Andromeda to Quatermass, from Blake’s 7 to Red Dwarf, there are a lot of other programs BritBox could add to consolidate its position as the number one location for British science fiction. What are the long-term plans for programs to add and expansions in this area?

We know there is a huge love for British Sci-Fi content and at BritBox we absolutely plan to grow our Sci-Fi offering and hours of content over time. BritBox launched just three months ago so we are still very new in the market, but we will absolutely look to add more classic and new British Sci-Fi to ensure that our loyal and discerning Doctor Who viewers continue to have access to exclusive British Sci-Fi shows all in the one place. Suggestions for new content and series are always welcomed!

The DWCA would like to thank Sarah Kenny and the BritBox Australia team for taking the time to answer our questions. You can now stream every complete Doctor Who story from An Unearthly Child to The Timeless Children on BritBox Australia for $8.99 per month or $89.99 for a year long subscription, with a 7 day free trial available to check it out before you decide.

Big Finish Milestone

Way back in May 1999 Big finish kicked off its range of monthly Doctor Who releases with the multi-Doctor story The Sirens of Time. Almost 22 yeas later and the company has decided to end the monthly adventures, focusing instead on box-set releases. The 275th consecutive monthly Doctor Who adventure from Big Finish will be the last in that range, so they’ve decided to go out with a bang with another multi-Doctor story, appropriately titled The End of the Beginning.

Featuring Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann, along with Mark Strickson, India Fisher and Miranda Raison, the story promises to be a celebration of over two decades of monthly audio adventures, as well as a toast to the exciting future that still lies ahead.

Writer Rob Valentine stated: “I wanted it to be a big celebration of The Monthly Adventures Doctors, and also something of a promise that their adventures are far from over. Knowing it was the last story of the range, I knew it had to have a certain weight and a bit of a ‘victory lap’ feel to it. And I also wanted to make it as fun and exciting as I possibly could.”

Executive producer Nicholas Briggs, writer of The Sirens of Time way back in 1999, commented: “The change to the Main or The Monthly Adventures range is simply a re-organisation to make Big Finish’s Doctor Who audios more accessible to a wider audience. To anyone visiting us for the first time, trying to work out where to start or which set of adventures to embark upon first, it’s very confusing that each Doctor doesn’t have their own separate range. And that confusion creates a barrier between a potential listener and Big Finish, and a listener losing out. By reorganising the way we release things, we’re not stopping/cancelling/ending anything. You can see which Doctors feature in which adventures. This really is the beginning of something very exciting… so many thrilling adventures ahead.”

The End of the Beginning has just been released and is available now from Big Finish.

 

Global Fans Unite for The Seven Doctors Audio

During the worldwide lockdown brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, Doctor Who fans from across the globe sought to support each other through friendship and collaboration. In the spirit of sharing the Doctor Who Club of Australia offered digital copies of its various fan publications to members of the US based Guardians of Gallifrey, just as the Guardians themselves shared their own publications with members of the DWCA. In the aftermath of this mutual appreciation, a further collaboration was instigated – the dramatic recording of readings of fan fiction stories from the pages of the Guardians of Gallifrey publication Tales from the Matrix, bringing the tales to new life through audio productions. And the first of these has just been released!

Read by the author, US based David W. Dietz III, who just happens to be an actor, stage-screen writer, filmmaker and audiobook producer/narrator, with editing and sound production from Australian based musician and audio engineer Roger Reynolds, the tale sees all seven of the classic era Doctors face off against the triple threat of the Master, Omega and the Daleks! Make sure you check it out on the DR Productions podcast website, where you will also find some of their earlier productions, including dramatic readings of Fourth Doctor story Wertham, and Ninth Doctor stories Extinction Day and The Blue Tree, along with the full cast audio productions Nexus and Rainbow Serpent.

You can check them all out at the DR Productions podcast site.

Russell T Davies lost classic

Back when he was just a lowly fan, before he became the architect of Doctor Who’s resurrection, Russell T Davies decided to try his hand at writing a Doctor Who script. Envisaged as a two part story for Colin Baker’s Sixth Doctor and Bonnie Langford’s Mel, Davies wrote the entire first episode along with a full synopsis of the second. Then he put it on his shelf and promptly forgot about it… until now! Unearthed during a Lockdown related clean up, the script has now been completed in collaboration with Scott Handcock. The resulting story, Mind of the Hodiac, will see release as a collectors edition CD box-set from Big Finish! Just going to show all those fans with forgotten scripts on their shelves – hang on long enough and maybe they will see the light of day! Davies himself described it as: “a galaxy-spanning adventure, as the mysterious Hodiac begins a deadly hunt, putting an ordinary Earth family in terrible danger. There are psychic powers, Tungsten Warriors and a vital role for the Doctor’s coat…”

 

DWCA Western Sydney Tavern – on again 12 March

It’s back on 12 March 2021 – the next DWCA Western Sydney Tavern! You can meet up and hang out with organizer Dallas Jones and other Who fans from about 6.30pm at the Lone Pine Tavern, Rooty Hill, located at 15 Rooty Hill Road, Rooty Hill, NSW. The plan is for attendees to meet in the dining area, so look for a table with a TARDIS model. The Lone Pine Tavern is within a short distance of Rooty Hill Station for those people who want to come along via public transport and the venue has plenty of parking for those coming by car. The more the merrier!

Books and Magazines Galore

Without any new Who on our screens for some time, a variety of publishers are working overtime to ensure there is plenty of reading material available for fans in the interim. The latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine (562) features a focus on illustrators and their role in visualising the Doctor Who universe. For anyone who has seen The Dalek Book and The Dalek World publications from the 1960s, you’ll instantly recognise the ever so slightly wrong illustration of a Dalek, recreated for the DWM cover (complete with alien writing on the head, which was actually replicated from an image with an on set post-it note from the Director, stuck on during rehearsals just so he could tell the Daleks apart!). The article features contributions from such illustrators as Chris Achilléos, Colin Howard, Martin Geraghty, Stuart Crouch, Anthony Dry and Anthony Lamb. Plus there are a slew of other articles and features in the issue as well, including an interview with John Lloyd about an unmade script he wrote for the show that is soon to be released as a Big Finish audio.

Other publications from the makers of DWM include a new series titled Doctor Who Chronicles. The series will focus on pivotal years of the show’s history, with in depth analysis of the milestone moments of that year. The first to be released is 1965 – the year of Dalekmania! These follow issue 561 of DWM which focused on Target books (new and old) and  the recent reprint of The Dalek Chronicles comic book series.

New Target books are due out this month, including novelisations of such stories (reissued in the Target format if released before) as the Eighth Doctor TV Movie, Resurrection of the Daleks, Revelation of the Daleks, The Pirate Planet, Dalek, The Crimson Horror and The Witchfinders. Plus BBC Books are bringing out The Ruby’s Curse – A River Song / Melody Malone Mystery, written by none other than Alex Kingston! And Candy Jar Books have announced the second novel in series eight of their Lethbridge-Stewart series, Fear Frequency written by George Ivanoff.

There are a number of non-fiction books hitting the shelves as well, including a book from Fantom Publishing that looks at the life of Doctor Who Director Douglas Camfield, simply titled Directed by Douglas Camfield. Also, the long out of print behind-the-scenes book Script Doctor by classic series showrunner Andrew Cartmel has not only been reissued but also updated, with a new introduction by Steven Moffat, delivering the ultimate inside look at Doctor Who from 1986 to 1989.

So there are plenty of great books for fans to dive into while we are all awaiting new episodes, animated reconstructions and those beautiful Blu-Ray box sets!

The Doctor Returns on Blu-Ray

The expanding range of Doctor Who – The Collection on Blu-Ray continues in 2021 with more releases from the classic era of Doctor Who. Jon Pertwee is back in the Season 8 collection, as is Sylvester McCoy in Season 24. From Autons to Tetraps, these collections highlight two very different eras of the show and continue to bring fans unrelentingly comprehensive editions with a slew of old and new material available for the first time in one complete package. Plus the tradition of creating new short films to advertise the releases has seen more classic era actors reprise their roles and reunite.

The Season 8 release contains an eight-disc box set with such special features as Behind the Sofa with Katy Manning, Stewart Bevan, Janet Fielding, Sarah Sutton, Sacha Dhawan and Anjli Mohindra, A Devils Weekend featuring Katy Manning and John Levene on a personal trip back to Aldbourne where The Daemons was filmed, The Direct Route with directors Michael Briant, Graeme Harper and Tim Combe on road trip to filming locations, a feature on Terrance Dicks, an extended version of the first episode of The Claws of Axos, a 90 minute version of The Daemons, studio footage and 5.1 surround sound options for Terror of the Autons and The Daemons.

The Season 24 release contains extended versions, 5.1 surround sound and isolated score options on all stories, previously unseen material, Behind the Sofa with Sylvester McCoy, Bonnie Langford, Sophie Aldred, Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, Sarah Sutton, Colin Baker and Michael Jayston and The Doctor’s Table featuring Sylvester McCoy, Bonnie Langford, Sophie Aldred and Clive Merrison discussing the making of the season.

There are no announcements yet about First and Second Doctor full season releases of The Collection on Blu-Ray, but the Radio Times has confirmed that the next two animated productions due for release in 2021 are Evil of the Daleks and The Abominable Snowmen. The completion of these would leave four episodes of The Smugglers, four episodes of The Highlanders and two episodes of The Underwater Menace remaining to animate to complete Season Four (the transition from William Hartnell to Patrick Troughton). Season Five would still require one episode from The Web of Fear and four from The Wheel in Space (or at least three and a half, since animation was completed for the first part of Episode One of Wheel back in 2018). Then there is always the hope that Patrick Troughton’s final season could be completed with the animation of six episode story The Space Pirates for a Season Six release. No matter which gets completed first, the future certainly looks bright for Doctor Who fans to be able to find new life in the timeless classics of yesteryear.

Fury from the Deep returns

The long lost classic Fury from the Deep is set to return with a three disc Blu-ray release containing all new animation set to the original audio track. The set will contain the surviving clips from the original 1968 production as well as full colour and black and white versions of the animated story. Three of the original cast members, Frazer Hines, June Murphy and Brian Cullingford, revisit the filming locations with production assistant Michael Briant, assistant floor manager Margot Hayhoe and helicopter pilot Mike Smith in a special feature about the making of the show. There are also archive interviews, audio commentaries and more. The set is due for release in the UK on 14 September but there is no date available yet for the Australian release. The DWCA Shop will obtain copies as soon as possible and we will spread the news when the release date is known. The updated animated version of Power of the Daleks has just been released in Australia and is currently available along with Jodie Whittaker’s Series 12.