Doctor Whooligan: The Android Invasion, Barrowman Does The Hustle, Season 7 News, McCoy & Aldred At it Again, Cushing Radio Script Found,Timegate Adds A Guest!

It has taken a little longer then some of us would have liked but there is now a slow trickle of news coming out about the next season of Doctor Who. Hopefully this will lead to more news down the line.

Overall I think Season 7 will offer more twists and turns and see perhaps a darker and more sinister portrayal of The Doctor.

Also, Happy Birthday to Tom Baker who turns 78 on January 20th!

SERIES 7 NEWS

Mark Gatiss has been confirmed as a writer for Season 7. So far Gatiss and John Fay are the only writers named for the season.

Steven Moffat is also writing stories for the season as well.

The upcoming season will consist completely of stand alone stories.

Moffat spoke with the Radio Times this week about Series Seven and has promised fans ‘at least’ fourteen episodes for the season including a Christmas special.

Following exchanges on Twitter that began on January 11th with a tweet from Steven Moffat and continued this via her own tweets,  speculation exists that Sophia Myles may be returning to Doctor Who as the next companion or in a reprisal of her role as Reinette (Madame De Pompadour) during Season Seven.

TIMEGATE UPDATE

 

Caitlin Blackwood (Young Amelia Pond) will make her second American convention appearance at Timeate this year. Timegate is held in Atlanta each Mayand features Doctor Who and Stargate programming as well as other SF funness.

The convention recently announced that Caitlin Blackwood (Young Amelia Pond) will make her second American convention appearance at Timegate this year.

For more information visit: http://www.timegatecon.org

SYLVESTER MCCOY ON 50TH ANNIVERSARY

Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred got together recently for a chat for The Minister of Chance.  They were interviewed by shadowlocked .com and discussed the return of Ace that didn’t happen, the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who and generally have a nice time.

McCoy will be seen later this year in The Hobbit!

The Minister of Chance people will post a longer interview soon. Their website has all the lowdown. Check them out here: http://ministerofchance.com/

The shorter McCoy/Aldred interview is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=jCC5hmfljCg

Info on Shadowlocked.com and their interview is here:

http://www.shadowlocked.com/201201192351/interviews/exclusive-preview-of-chat-with-sylvester-mccoy-and-sophie-aldred.html

 JOHN BARROWMAN NEWS

John Barrowman’s website has announced that John Barrowman will be appearing in the Feb. 3rd episode of Hustle.  Ironically he is playing a doctor. His character will be called Dr. Dean Deville.

Also on that night John will be returning to BBC 4′s Chris Moyles Quiz Night on to do compete for the title of series champion. Barrowman appeared on the show earlier this past season and was a winner.

ADRIAN LESTER FOR WHO?

Hustle’s Adrian Lester appeared on The Graham Norton show this week where he announced that he would love to be in Doctor Who.

DOCTOR WHO RADIO SCRIPT FOUND

It is always pretty cool when a significant Doctor Who artifact is found  that sheds new light on the show’s early history.

Case in point the recent discovery in the BBC archives of, Journey To Time, a forgotten Doctor Who radio script from Malcolm Hulke.

In the late 1960s there was a plan to have Peter Cushing portray The Doctor in his own radio adventures. A pilot script was recorded but is now sadly, lost. In this production, the Doctor and his granddaughter find themselves in the thick of it during the American Revolution. Cushing was familiar with the role, having played The Doctor twice in the decade on the big screen.

 

If the pilot was greenlit for a full series there would have been fifty-two episodes commissioned for the BBC overseas markets. The series never got off the ground after it was flat out rejected by the BBC whose head of sound drama,  Martin Esslin, commented  “As a typical commercial production for unsophisticated listeners in Australia or even some parts of the United States, it stands up quite well. As a piece of science fiction, however, it strikes me as extremely feeble.”

The latest issue of Nothing At The End of the Lane has all the down and dirty details about this script and why a radio series with Cushing never took flight.

You can find out much more about the radio script via The Nothing At The End of the Line website: http://www.endofthelane.co.uk/

I am only guessing here but it would be awesome to see Big Finish do something with this script.

DARK HORIZONS BOOK

BBC Books will release Dark Horizons by J.T. Colgan  on July 5, 2012.

The novel is an 11th Doctor adventure featuring Vikings. The book features the tagline, ‘No One Can Escape The Burning.’

TORCHWOOD NEWS

The GLAAD Media Awards have tipped Torchwood: Miracle Day as a nominee in the category of Outstanding Drama Series. GLAAD recognizes excellence in the media images of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community that inspire change.

The 2012 GLAAD Awards will be held over three award events in New York on March 24, Los Angeles on April 21st and San Francisco on June 2nd.

THE ANDROID INVASION DVD REVIEW

As we wind down the completion of the the Tom Baker years on DVD we are offered Terry Nation’s Season 13 story, The Android Invasion. This is an interesting story despite some really weak continuity flaws and a rather lackluster alien race in The Kraals.

When it aired in 1975 it had the highest rating for the season, surpassing Pyramids of Mars and Brain of Morbius in audience numbers. It is a fun episode that further cements the relationship between Sarah Jane Smith and The Doctor while also deepening the horror and suspense elements that permeated through that season.

I remember that when I saw it on Public Television all those years ago I thought it was a bit convoluted. I remembering thinking it was an enjoyable story and that I loved Tom Baker in it. However, upon seeing it again, this time on DVD, I have had great enjoyment in watching it again.

For starters, as with all the DVDS,, I love how the Restoration Team have cleaned up the sound and video. I also forgot just how delightful Sarah Jane and Tom Baker were together in this story. Their dialogue featured a lot of improvisation and humor. There was also a very warm and wonderful dynamic between the two of them onscreen. It also is obvious that by this time Baker was in high gear and settled in his portrayal of The Doctor.

Despite being screened in 1975 it still holds up pretty well as a classic Doctor Who story. 2 Entertain has again done a marvelous job of restoring another classic episode.

This episode, the fourth of that season, offered Daleks creator Terry Nation another chance to write a story free of Daleks (he also wrote The Keys of Marinus). For this go round he used androids and a deadly race called The Kraals.  I was never a fan of the Kraals. They just didn’t seem to fit the overall theme of the story. Nonetheless I think they did their job of being adequate baddies.

This is a great DVD. It beings back a forgotten gem of Doctor Who and it is great to see Tom Baker and Lis Sladen at work. The story opens with the Fourth Doctor, complete with a spiffy new coat, and Sarah Jane Smith landing in what seems to be the rather quaint and quiet English village of Devesham. They are surprised to find the town relatively deserted. As they meander through the village they are surprised to discover that the village is nearly empty. There are some other strange things going on as well,  the telephones don’t work, calendars are stuck on the same date (July 6) and there are some dudes in white spacesuits hanging out. Plus UNIT is seemingly useless to help the situation.

The peculiarities of the situation arouse the Doctor’s interest and he begins to investigate. The Doctor slowly unravels everything, even making a few incorrect guesses as to what is really happening. Typical of the Baker era, his snooping and sussing things out leads to his being  captured. Ironically this leaves Sarah to rescue him.

Once she’s sprung him, he starts to realize what the Kraal’s are really up .  He deduces that they’re not on Earth but a simulation of it which the Kraals are using as a testing ground for the android’s they’ve built. Once the kinks are ironed out they hope to use their androids for a large scale invasion of the real Earth.

If that wasn’t bad enough the real UNIT on Earth has been infiltrated by the androids. This leaves The Doctor and Sarah Jane as the last hope for the planet.

As the story plays out we notice that the pacing is perfect. There are some serious moments of exuberant camaraderie along with some darker scenes  of impending doom, a la Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The performances from Baker, Sladen and the supporting cast are terrific. The plot, although a little predictable and filled with some holes, is suspenseful and eerie. However The Android Invasion remains a good episode that is worth revisiting.

The Android Invasion remains an enjoyable romp that sees the production team developing a show with further separation from the UNIT era. It also was the last time Ian Marter and John Levene appeared as Harry Sullivan and Sgt. Benton respectively. Sadly, Nick Courtney was in a play at the time and could not be included as The Brigadier in the story.

What I really like about the DVD release of Classic Who stories are the extras. The Android Invasion has some interesting extras that provide a lot of information on filming the episode.

I always read the info text and listen to the commentaries because they really give viewers a feel for what is going on with creating the story. They also offer a glimpse of what the mood on the set was like while filming and what issues arose as they shot the story.

The extras are not too shabby. Milton Johns (Crayford) and Martin Friend (Styggron) producer Phillip Hinchcliffe and production assistant  Marion McDougal provide audio commentary for the episode. Sadly there are no other actors involved with this. A few more voices would have made the commentary more interesting.

The Village That Came to Life is a well produced documentary about the making of The Android Invasion. Host Nicholas Briggs goes to where the episode was filmed and visits townsfolk from East Hagbourne where location filming occurred. Briggs walks us through the making of the story with great enthusiasm and keeps the pace up. An overview of Terry Nation’s career is provided along with details about filming the story.

Members of the cast are interviewed along with the late Barry Letts who directed the episode.

Producer Philip Hincliffe is interviewed as well. He discusses the various decisions that were made about the production and discloses his displeasure with the design concept of The Kraals. He also addresses some of the continuity issues of the story.

Life After Who was also very informative. This retrospective documentary examines the post Dr. Who career of Philp Hinchcliffe. I was not aware of the full range of work that former Who producer Philip Hinchcliffe had done after leaving the series. During interviews he reviews his work on other TV series including; Target, Shoestring, Private Schultz and Stranger and Brothers. He also has some great tales about  while working with Anthony Hopkins and Pierce Brosnan.

He is interviewed by his daughter Cecilia who now works in television herself. The documentary gives a great behind the scenes look at how careers unfold in British television and how British television shows are made. For Whovians, there are several great stories about working with Tom Baker as Hinchcliffe fondly looks back at his career in Doctor Who.

These two films bring the audience full circle to the impact that Philp Hinchcliffe had on Doctor Who while he was the producer. His keen understanding of drama and what makes good television is evident in these enlightening interviews.

Other DVD extras include a Photo Gallery, Radio Times Listing, a hilarious Weetabix commercial with the Daleks and an Easter Egg containing location sound rushes from the filming of the story.

I recommend The Android Invasion for those who love the Classic Series, particularly the Tom Baker era. It remains a crisp and tightly paced adventure that  exemplifies the early Tom Baker years where Hinchcliffe stood watch.

NEXT TIME… Invasion of the Dinosaurs DVD reviewed, Season 7  news and more!

 


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