Planet Gallifrey: July 2011

Sunday, July 31

stevedvd Frontios DVD Review

Frontios DVD Review - starring Peter Davison (Season 21)

The Tardis is drawn to Frontios, a planet in the far future ravaged by meteorite bombardments where the last survivors of the human race fight for survival. However the colonists little realise that the real danger lies not above them from the skies but beneath them under the earth.
The Doctor, Tegan and Turlough must convince these paranoid survivors that they are not the enemy and that there is a more sinister threat at work, the Tractators.

Frontios is a funny old story in some ways. It sits in the middle of Season 21, a season best known for its hard edge and unrelenting violence where in at least three of the stories nearly all the main protagonists are destroyed.  Yes this is the era of Eric Saward as Script Editor and that means unless you are one of the Tardis crew your number is probably up...............and even being one of the Doctor’s companions is no guarantee of survival! Ask Adric. However although this story maybe a little more placid than some of its season counterparts there are still some unsettling moments that I will mention later.

Frontios is a good story for the character of the Fifth Doctor. Written by Christopher H Bidmead it re-introduces some of the “stuffy professor stuck in a young man body” aspects that we saw first introduced in Castrovalva, even to the point of the needless glasses making a return!  He is also a Doctor who is very mindful that his role in the events of Frontios should not be mentioned stating “you can tell them I came and went like a summer cloud”. A nice nod to the sometimes forgotton non-interference policy of the Timelords.

We also see Turlough now really settled into the Tardis crew and used prominently again as his rather over the top race memory scene brings the Tractators fully into the story. Tegan is the same as in every story, moaning about pretty much everything although she is not as irritating in this one as usual.

The human survivors are a mixed bag. The young leader Plantagenet is played with nice layers of paranoia and helplessness by Jeff Rawle. Lesley Dunlop, at the beginning of her TV career, is fairly endearing as Lorna and William Lucas is lovable as Range, the only character talking any real common sense and embracing the Doctor’s desire to help.  Peter Gilmore is somewhat wooden as Brazen which even Mark Strickson remarks about on the accompanying documentary.

And then there are the Tractators, based on woodlice like creatures that Bidmead noticed in his house at the time. I personally think aesthetically they look ok albeit the costumes restrict movement so much that all they can really do is waddle and turn. A far cry from what was originally envisioned as they were supposed to curl around their victims. Only their leader, the Gravis, is given any character and the rest just shuffle around in the background. However they don’t deserve the lambasting they have received in some quarters and the idea of having monsters suck people through the earth is a good one. So good in fact that Steven Moffat allowed it to be used again!

As I mentioned before there is still some violence in this story. The scene of the retrogrades (the social outcasts of the society) beating up one of their own leaves a bit of a bad taste and the site of Captain Revere’s (the original leader of the colony) cadaver strapped to a mining machine the Tractators are using is particularly gruesome. A more horrific image of further cadavers being used was cut from final transmission as JNT felt it might have gone a little too far.
There are some memorable scenes too such as the humans being sucked into the ground by the Tractators and the Tardis being broken up; these remain images from my childhood.  The denouement of the story is also interesting in that the Doctor tricks the Gravis into willing the Tardis back together again. A clever solution in a season all too willing to blow something up or invoke a massacre to create an ending. The soundtrack is also worth a special mention with a haunting quality throughout.

Overall Frontios is a bit of a curiosity. Decent story, quite good characters and a decent monster. And yet is all still falls just a little flat for reasons hard to explain. There just does not seem to be any pacing and therefore the urgency of the threat is not given enough gravitas...or should that be Gravis.

Overall Story Score 6/10

DVD Extras

As usual Peter Davison is always good value on a commentary track, Eric Saward is his usual sardonic self taking veiled pot shots at John Nathan Turner (get over it Eric). Also present are Jeff Rawle, John Gillett who played the Gravis and Dick Mills (Sound Designer). Davison does his usual role of holding it all together with general irreverent humour while never being disrespectful to the programme.

The rest of the extra’s are quite flimsy with even the “Making of...” featurette Driven to Distraction being a somewhat dour affair. Mind you this hardly surprising as it features the story of Peter Arne who was originally cast to play the part of Range who was murdered during the making of this story. 

The other features are those present across all the Doctor Who range such as Photo Gallery, Deleted and Extended Scenes and an Isolated Score track.

DVD Extra’s Score 4.5/10

Frontios Overall Rating 5.5/10 – By no means a classic but if you are a massive fan of the Fifth Doctor you will want to see this as it features a quite different portrayal from Peter Davison than the usual energetic hero with boundless enthusiasm.

Friday, July 29

The Doctor & Ace reunited...

...but not as you may think!

David Tennant and Sophie Aldred will be voicing characters on an upcoming Cbeebies show called 'Tree Fu Tom', set to air in early 2012.

Kay Benbow, controller of CBeebies, said: "We have a fantastic cast on this show, who work brilliantly as a team. Their rapport permeates through to the programme reflecting the characters as a group of friends working together. We are delighted to have David on board as part of the team. The physical energy in his performance works so well for animation and his sense of fun and cheeky humour will delight the older CBeebies audience."

Sophie Aldred played Ace, companion of the Seventh Doctor, whilst Tennant played the Tenth Doctor.

Wednesday, July 27

Super Dooper Roundup

Doctor Facebook

In a new venture for BBC Worldwide, the BBC’s commercial arm will tomorrow offer a series of digitally remastered Doctor Who stories to rent via Facebook. By using Facebook credits, users visiting the official Doctor Who page will be able to stream a selection of nine stories (each containing several episodes) from the history of the Time Lord, including digitally remastered classics such as 'Tomb of the Cybermen' as well as modern day favourites 'Silence in the Library' and 'End of the World'. 'The Greatest Show in the Galaxy' will be a Facebook exclusive, having never been released on DVD.

The episodes will be available for Facebook users in Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Once rented, episodes will be available to view for 48 hours.

John Smith, Chief Executive at BBC Worldwide said, "As we have grown internationally, we've seen through our Facebook channel that fans who are loving the new series are asking for a guide into our rich Doctor Who back catalogue. Our approach to Facebook and other leading edge platforms is to be right there alongside them in fostering innovation. We see this service as a perfect way to give our fans what they want, as well as a great way for them to get their fix between now and the autumn when Series Six continues".

"Millions of people engage with their favourite TV shows on Facebook every day and we're now seeing broadcasters look at innovative ways to use Facebook tools to connect their fans with exclusive content," said Christian Hernandez, Director, Platform Partnerships, Facebook. "Through its Facebook page, BBC Worldwide is giving Doctor Who fans a quick and easy way to access these iconic episodes."

Sunday, July 24

Comic Con Updates!

Here's a running reel on what is happening at Comic Con...


  • Start date announced... Doctor Who is back on Saturday August 27th!
  • A picture of Matt and Karen.
  • "Will the Daleks be back?" Answer: "Spoilers!"
  • "Is there going to be a five Doctor special?" Whitehouse: "You'd have to ask Moffat but why not!"
  • "Is the Doctor's Daughter coming back?" Matt: "That's one for Moffat."
  • "Does Matt know what the switches do on the TARDIS?" Answer: "Yes, he got the manual on the first day."
  • Matt's favourite Doctor Who villains are the Weeping Angels; Karen's are the Sisters of Plentitude.
  • SPOILERS! Series 7 trailer shows an aged Amy, Weeping Angels, clowns, Cybermen, River Song with an eye-patch and a castle.
  • Karen's favourite Doctor (apart from Matt) is Chris Eccleston. Matt's are Patrick Troughton and Tom Baker.
  • River's eyepatch looks very Madame Kovarian!
  • Shots from 'The God Complex' show a creepy clown.
  • The trailer is here!

Trailer for The God Complex:

  • Matt would love to appear on The Big Bang Theory.
  • Karen would love a Star Trek TNG crossover!
  • Non UK-ers, watch the trailer here.
  • Karen and Toby Whithouse would have loved for Roald Dahl to write an episode.
  • Panel is over!

Karen's Coming Back!

Amy fans rejoice, Karen Gillan has confirmed that she will be returning for Series Seven of Doctor Who!

Speaking to Zap2it, she said, "I am going to be coming back, yes, that's the first time I've said that today!"

The Doctor Who panel at the Comic Con will begin later today.

Book Reviews: Monster Miscellany, Annual 2012

Take the best bits from the annuals, the Encyclopaedia and general Doctor Who-ness and what do you get? This little wonder! Monster Miscellany is amazingly up-to-speed with Doctor Who, which makes it a perfect addition to anyone's growing Who collection. With a detailed look into the past, it also makes a great gift for kids who have just started to get into Doctor Who. Older fans will enjoy classic legends such as the Sandminer Robots and Quarks getting mentions. The book is a great source of knowledge and the creators have certainly worked very hard in compiling lots of quotes and facts. 4/5 

This year's annual is lit up with amazing imagery and a hauntingly attractive cover. As with many previous annuals, the games and little tid-bits are really well written and descriptive.  'Snow White and the Seven Keys to Doomsday' was a particular favourite, echoing back to a tale of Ye Olde Gallifrey.  However, some observant Whovians may notice some image errors (this is not Rose's Doctor from Journey's End!) But the best thing is, it comes with a free poster! 4.5/5

Matt & Karen at Comic Con!

Torchwood at Comic Con! [Updated]


Here's the entire thing, thanks to Starz!:

Torchwood SDCC 2011 Panel from treena on Vimeo.


stevedvd - The Seeds of Doom - DVD Review

The Seeds of Doom – Starring Tom Baker (Season 13)

The Hinchcliffe/Holmes Years.  Hammer Horror. The Gothic Era. All these well worn terms refer to a period, still relatively early in Tom Baker’s tenure as the Fourth Doctor, that is commonly regarded as the golden age of Doctor Who.

In Phillip Hinchcliffe and Robert Holmes you had a Producer and a Script Editor who had decided they were going to frighten their audience which was largely made up of children, or in their vernacular “scare the little buggers to death”. They were going to achieve this by using many Hammer horror film pastiches which had been very popular throughout the previous decade. In the case of The Seeds of Doom they clearly chose Day of the Triffids.

The plot is fairly straightforward. A group of scientists discover a pod in the icy climes of Antarctica which they calculate has been buried there for over twenty thousand years. Sure enough the pod opens and infects the scientists who then turn into the Krynoid, an alien carnivore intent on destroying all human life. The Doctor and Sarah have to fight in a race against time to stop the insane Harrison Chase, a wealthy botanist and plant life sympathiser, from helping the Krynoid to achieve its aim.

The Seeds of Doom is often referred to as a classic and this is a term well deserved. The plot is not complicated but the pacing is excellent with the first two parts set in Antarctica and the next four back in England. The guest cast are uniformly excellent with Sylvia Coleridge as the eccentric Amelia Ducat, John Challis as the thuggish lout Scorby and Tony Beckly as the genuinely unnerving Harrison Chase all deserving of special praise.

Lis Sladen is excellent as always but Tom Baker gives a different spin on his incarnation in this story. The Doctor is much more violent in this tale, punching a chauffeur, throwing Scorby around and waving a gun at the evil protagonists. He is also much more short tempered when dealing with the beurocrats at the World Ecology Bureau when they are resistant to take action against Chase, famous telling Sir Colin Thackeray that that a Krynoid takeover will mean the end of everything, “even your pension!”. This gives the Fourth Doctor a fascinating edge which is uncomfortable to watch at times but makes for gripping television because of this.

Overall The Seeds of Doom is a wonderful exciting romp that has images that will long live in the memory such as the first time a character turns into a Krynoid or the full grown alien sat atop Chase’s mansion. Yes even the special effects are pretty good in this one if you squint when the Krynoid is roaming the ground of Chase’s home. They didn’t quite get away with that one.

Overall story rating: 8.5/10   

DVD Extra’s
The commentary track is extremely entertaining with Tom Baker, John Challis, Philip Hinchcliffe, Robert Banks Stewart (Writer) and Roger-Murray Leach (Designer) popping in and out of the recording booth. Joggs Camfield (Director Douglas Camfield’s son) even features giving some insight into the military style operation that his dad used to run on location. Baker and Challis are like two old mates meeting up for the first time in a while and this gives the overall track a friendly, fun and accessible feel.

“Podsock” is essentially “The Making Of....” feature and contains interviews and recollections from all the main players in the show. It is perfectly acceptable but nothing on this one really elevates it above the norm.
We also have the usual Stripped For Action and Now & Then features as well as a Photo Gallery, Coming Soon trailer and Production Information Subtitles.

Two additional features include “Playing the Green Cathedral” which features the music of Geoffrey Burgon which is integral to this story. Most interesting though is “So What Do You Do Exactly?” – a feature looking at Graham Harper who at the time was a Production Unit Manager or PUM. Harper is as excitable as ever and gives an interest insight into the responsibilities and skills needed to carry out that role. It he also displays the sort of knowledge and drive that has made him such an integral part of Doctor Who both old and new. More extras of this nature would be welcome on future releases.
Overall Extra’s Rating: 7/10

Seeds of Doom Overall Rating: 8/10 – A must for any Doctor Who DVD enthusiast. Tom Baker and Lis Sladen at their very best together saving the world once more.

Saturday, July 23

Site Update

Introducing... Steve's DVDs!

Planet Gallifrey's new writer, Steve, is an amazing expert on all things Who and one particular speciality is his fantastical DVD reviews. Every week, Steve will be travelling back in time to review and rate classic episodes! With the 50th anniversary of the show looming next year, I think it's a great time to revisit what was amazing and what... wasn't.

Friday, July 22

Karen Gillan's West End debut

Ginger goddess Karen Gillan is soon to make her West End début as Shirley, a secretary in the John Osborne-penned Inadmissable Evidence.

Director James Lloyd praised her, saying that she "can do the text convincingly and she feels as if she comes from that Sixties British Mad Men world."

Osborne had previously written Look Back In Anger, which was previously performed by Who-alumnae David Tennant and Alexandra Moen.

Karen's début will be running from October 13th to November 26th.

Thursday, July 21

Torchwood - Episode 3 preview

New Executive Producer announced!

Say hello to Caroline Skinner, who will be Doctor Who's new Executive Producer alongside Steven Moffat!

Caroline previously worked on The Ruby in the Smoke, which starred Doctor Who-alumni Billie Piper.

Speaking about Caroline's role, Moffat said, "The exec joining me on Doctor Who is Caroline Skinner - fresh from the wonderful Five Days, and still finishing up on a brand new show called The Fades (a fantasy horror series, written by Jack Thorne - I've seen episode 1, and it's BRILLIANT.) Somewhere between me laughing in a basement and choosing planets to invade, and Marcus Wilson raising armies, there has to be a Prime Minister actually running the whole thing. That's the job Piers Wenger and Beth Willis have been doing so wonderfully for the last few years. Now that Piers is off to movie land, that's the furnace Caroline will be walking into."

Wednesday, July 20

Eccleston reveals why he left Doctor Who

The Ninth Doctor, Christopher Eccleston, has revealed why actually left Doctor Who.

“I left Doctor Who, because I could not get along with the senior people. I left, because of politics. I did not see eye-to-eye, with them. I didn’t agree with the way things were being run. I didn’t like the culture that had grown up, around the series. So, I left. I felt, over a principle. I thought to remain, which would have made me a lot of money and given me huge visibility, the price I would have had to pay, was to eat a lot of s**t. [...] My face didn’t fit and, I’m sure they were glad to see the back of me. The important thing is that I succeeded. It was a great part. I loved playing him. I loved connecting with that audience. Because I’ve always acted for adults and the suddenly, your acting for children. Who are far more tasteful, they will not be bullshitted. It’s either good, or it’s bad. They don’t schmooze at after show parties, with cocktails” [read more here]

Eccleston had previously stated that he left in fear of being typecast as the Doctor.

Torchwood Round o' News

Spoilers ahead...!

Monday, July 18

Watch: Torchwood - Miracle Day Episode 2


Sunday, July 17

An Interview with Steve Gallagher

When I decided to attend the Vworp 4 mini Doctor Who convention in Manchester I had one real goal in mind and that was to have a chance to interview one of my favourite Doctor Who writers from the classic series, Steve Gallagher.

Steve, who penned Warriors Gate (Season 18) and Terminus (Season 20), does not attend conventions very often although I find it hard to believe that he “does not get asked much” as he is a very engaging and fascinating gentleman.  He is quite conscious of not being one of those people who earns a living from convention going like some do for “holding a spear once in 1974” but equally appeared to be delighted to have been asked to Vworp 4

Not only did Steve grant me an interview but he insisted we moved outside in the blistering sunshine (yes that was the one day of summer!) so I could record the interview better and granted me 30 mins of his time which I am extremely grateful for.

Hi Steve – Do you find it amazing that here we are in 2011 talking about a show that started in 1963?

It is amazing to me that even though Doctor Who is a flagship show once again, the BBC still does not understand what it has. There are people in the organisation who seem to feel that such a programme embarrasses the institution. They'll play around with scheduling and budgets just like they did when Michael Grade was in charge, and claim that it’s the show's fault if ratings are affected. However, its longevity and success cannot be denied by anyone.

Your first contribution to the show came in 1980 with Warriors’ Gate? How do you regard that show now?

Quite a few of the key elements that I wrote remained within the episodes, but a lot of things were stripped out. Because I was young and relatively naive I asked for things that weren’t achievable on the budget. As I got older I learned what you could push for and what you couldn’t

Was that the case with Terminus which followed three years later?

The same situation, really. I do remember Eric Saward telling me to shoot for the sky ideas-wise, but obviously there was a limit on what could be done. On that show I wrote in a small robot which gave them all sorts of problems on the studio floor, way out of proportion to its story value. Though when it came to the Garm, I described it as essentially two glowing red eyes in a dark silhouette, and nothing more. They didn’t take the easy option and ended up creating this elaborate Hector's House doglike creature!

Your ideas are very visual and your concepts complex at times. What was the level of disappointment when you saw your ideas not transferred successfully to screen?

I suppose I was a bit crestfallen at the time. You almost want to buttonhole every viewer and tell them what you really wanted them to see, but of course that is not feasible. A lot did get through, though. That derelict castle in Warriors' Gate is spot-on. And the core ideas of Norse mythology in Terminus are there if you look for them.

Early on I remember being left in the Production Office, and as you do I took the chance to sneak a look at some of the other submissions on the editor's desk. I quickly realised that other, more experienced writers were writing to budget. But I was encouraged not to do that. I was told to work up whatever concepts I could imagine. The job of bringing it to life on the screen would be someone else’s problem. Which can be a recipe for conflict, if you think about it.

Did you have a preference between working for Christopher H Bidmead and Eric Saward?

Well it was Chris that gave me my break which, of course, I am grateful for. He was very much into science and numbers; he was the first person I knew to have a word processor. We both believed that things in the show should have some sense of a connection to reality. For example the concept of Dwarf Star Alloy (which recently made a re-appearance in Day of the Moon) may not be scientifically possible, but within the context of the show it flies by with a certain plausibility.

As for Eric, well, he was more of a details man. As I mentioned before he would tell me to shoot for the stars but I remember getting a note from him on one of my proposals saying, “it's another million pound production and we just can't do them.”

You have referred to yourself as “old guard” and that you and new Doctor Who wouldn’t mesh. What do you think of current Doctor Who? 

I like the new version a lot, though I think the sonic screwdriver solves far too many issues and is essentially a magic wand. But having said that, it's probably the new fairytale-inspired approach of Steve Moffat that has drawn me back in. The Doctor and Amy – they're basically Peter Pan and Wendy, aren't they? We even had a shot of Amy flying outside the Tardis in her old-fashioned nightdress!

I appreciated the Russell T Davies era on an intellectual level, but I think I fell out of synch with it and drifted away after a couple of seasons. Davies did a great job but he has much more love and tolerance for irritating characters than I have. I kept recording the episodes but they just sat there on the DVR. I thought Tennant was very good, though, and I made a point of watching “Blink” and “Girl in the Fireplace” because of Moffat and thoroughly enjoyed them. I raised an eyebrow when he took over. I thought, why take over a show that is already a franchise and runaway success? Why not branch out on your own? I don't think that now.

Could you not argue he has done that with Sherlock?

To a degree. I loved the approach, though I found the stories a bit uneven. But story points are less important than the 'take' because if that doesn't work, the show never will. All the intangibles are there and they feel right, which is why it worked right from the beginning.

Obviously Sherlock has eccentricity in abundance in Benedict Cumberbatch. But what about our own Matt Smith. Has he made the role of the Doctor his own?

When I first saw he had the role I thought ‘my God, that'll never work, he's 12 years old!’ But as I watched him I could see the same reasoned eccentricity that you see in Sherlock, the same kind of thought patterns there on the screen. Smith plays it like a ninety five year old man let loose with a teenager’s energy and he plays that character really well.

As a writer which shows have really caught your imagination in the last couple of years?

There was Terriers, which starred Donal Logue and Michael Raymond-James. It only lasted for one season of 13 episodes before it was axed. But imagine the two guys in a pickup truck from Tremors working as unlicensed private investigators. The writing on that show was superb. Thankfully they gave the season a logical story arc with a conclusion, so at least viewers weren't denied closure when it was cut.

I also loved Damian Lewis in Life, as a convicted police officer who is released after twelve years in jail for a crime he did not commit. He appears to have taken a Zen approach to find inner peace, but the real joy of the show comes when his hidden desire for revenge is revealed. This one lasted two seasons but again it had a perfect story arc to conclude the show.

Your experiences with American networks will allow you to empathise with these shows plight surely?

Of course. But the American readiness to kill shows is matched by a readiness to take a big gamble on just about anything. And when it comes to cancellations they're not anti-quality, they're just pro-numbers. Shows get picked for their potential appeal and killed for their bottom line, but in the space between the two there's always going to be something interesting to see. And when cancellation comes you learn to shrug your shoulders and move on to the next project. The US version of my Eleventh Hour delivered a season average of 12.15 million viewers for CBS, peaking at 15 million. This would be excellent even or a prime time 9pm show, but we were on at 10pm.

CBS broadcast the show, but their studio didn't make it. Warner Bros was the studio, so they stood to collect all the non-broadcast profits. It made more economic sense for CBS to bring Medium (which their own studio made) over from NBC, who'd just cancelled it, than to continue with our show despite its ratings. We were all disappointed. But that's 18 hours of TV that I'm proud of, and in the next 6 months I sold two more pilots.

The one thing I have learned from being a TV writer is this is not a just universe!

Friday, July 15

Torchwood - Miracle or Hysterical?

The ratings are in, and the first episode of Miracle Day clocked in 4.4 million viewers in last night's premiere on BBC One. It gained 21% of the audience share, and was the fifth most watched programme of the day.

In Canada, The New World gained a respectable 2 million viewers altogether.

>> Our review

10 Teasers for Miracle Day #2

Spoil yourselves under the cut...

Thursday, July 14

Whovians UK, are you ready for Miracle Day?

Miracle Day airs tonight on BBC One at 9.00pm!

Monday, July 11

Torchwood - Web of Lies #1

Here is the first in a mini web series by Starz to be seen alongside Miracle Day.

Sunday, July 10

Hello, Thank You and Vworp 4

Hi fellow Doctor Who fans! 

First of all thank you to Mac for choosing me to be the new writer for Planet Gallifrey out of all the applications. I can’t wait to get started and there is no time like the present is there!

I wanted to share with you all a recent experience I had at a Doctor Who convention. Now I would not describe myself as a regular convention attendee these days. Back in the ‘wilderness’ years (that is an official term now you know!) I used to go all the time because it was one of the few ways of obtaining any sort of access to the programme. These days it takes something special to entice me out. Well Vworp 4 managed that by describing some excellent guests, and a perfect setting....a pub! So off I trundled.

The pub in question was the Lass O Gowrie in Manchester, an intimate venue which provided some dark and dingy respite from the intense blazing sunshine that bathed Lancashire. Perfect for chat about Doctor Who! The crowd could not have totalled more than 70 people which allowed the professionals affiliated with various aspects of the show to mingle with the fans between Q and A sessions. This leant a lovely personal touch to proceedings.

And the interviews themselves were with a very eclectic line up. Up first was sixties era Script Editor Donald Tosh. Now you don’t get many surviving members of the William Hartnell production team these days so his anecdotes around the mad panic to get ‘The Dales Master Plan’ to screen or his disappointment with the finished article of ‘The Celestial Toymaker (which many consider to be a classic) were fascinating. His tale of writing a wonderful speech for Hartnell at the end of ‘The Massacre’ was also interesting and the speech being played on audio in the pub received a lovely round of applause.

Next up was Adrian Salmon. This gentleman has worked on the Doctor Who Magazine comic strips for years but for me personally his most telling contributions are the pictures he does to accompany DWM’s ‘Time Team ‘feature. I absolutely love those and it was interesting to hear the man behind the art.
We then had the Doctor Who Magazine team, original Editor Dez Skinn, current Editor Peter Spilsbury and Assistant Editor Peter Ware. Later on I was able to speak briefly with Tom and a bit more in depth with Peter (who I finally got to thank face to face for giving me a chance to write for DWM) which was probably just as well as their panel was the Dez Skinn hour to a large degree!

Dez is a fascinating man who is very opinionated but also evidently extremely passionate about the subject matter and it was that passion that will have kept Doctor Who Magazine going for so many years, he is in the Guinness Book of Records after all for this very fact. Tom and Peter had obviously witnessed first hand  the Dez Skinn experience before and soaked it all in with wry smiles. I did manage to ask them about the most recent DWM, the tribute to Nick Courtney, which I thought was an exceptional piece of work and of course they were rightly very proud of it. Genuinely lovely blokes all of them.

We then had the irrepressible Katy Manning who simply does not need an interviewer to hold a crowd. She is as manic, off the wall and completely endearing every time I have seen her on stage and had the audience lapping up her anecdotes.

Then came the personal highlight for me. I had contacted Steve Gallagher (writer of Warriors’ Gate and Terminus) prior to the event about perhaps grabbing a quick five mins with him to ask some questions. Not only did Steve agree to this but he suggested we go outside so my recording would be able to pick the interview up better. For 30 mins we stood outside in the gorgeous whether and chatted about his stories, Chris Bidmead, Eric Saward, Sherlock and American TV. Steve is a highly intelligent and absolutely fascinating guy and I will share that interview with you all at a later date. Thank you Steve!

We also then had a Q and A with Ben Aaronovitch (writer of Remembrance of the Daleks and Battlefield) and Seventh Doctor era Script Editor Andrew Cartmel. This session felt a little disjointed and perhaps a little fatigue had set in with the audience at this point. However Andrew Cartmel is always an interesting chap to listen to and his anecdote about Ace seeing the ‘No Coloureds” sign in the window of the B&B in Remembrance and whether to look in disdain or rip it up was fascinating. I believe they chose the right outcome for subtlety. 

It was then time for me to depart having had a wonderful time. Vworp 4 is a unique convention and you are unlikely to ever attend another where you will have the opportunity to speak to people heavily involved with the past and present of the series in such close quarters. My thanks to all those that arranged the event and all the people who participated. A truly memorable day.

Saturday, July 9

The New World - A Review

Spoilers inside...

Watch: Torchwood - Miracle Day Episode 1

Watch it here.


Coming up on Torchwood - Miracle Day...

Spoilers below...

Wednesday, July 6

John Barrowman is the Doctor!

John Barrowman has received his honorary degree from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.

John said, "21 years ago, I actually did my first audition for Anything Goes here opposite Elaine Paige, got the job and wasn't able to finish my degree. And here I am, 21 years later, I've finally got it."

"You can call me Doctor now. I'm glad I'm back up in Scotland and able to celebrate in full highland dress."

Congratulations John!

Related topics:
> Torchwood clips
> News roundup
> Air dates announced
> Behind the Scenes of Miracle Day

Let's Kill Hitler synopsis

The BBC have revealed the synopsis for the next instalment of Doctor Who, to be aired in Autumn.

Following on from A Good Man Goes To War, it reads...

Miracle Day clips

Cameron, king of Blogtor Who, has kindly uploaded some clips from the new series of Torchwood.

Spoilers after the cut!

Tuesday, July 5

SJA comes to Manchester

The Sarah Jane Adventures gang are coming to Manchester on July 30th, and you could see them!

Daniel Anthony and Anjli Mohindra, who play Clyde and Rani on the show, will be visiting the first Manchester Comic Con. For more information, check out the website.

As it is the first convention there, kids under 10 will be admitted free (up to two with a paying adult.) From experience, the MCM conventions are great fun because of the vast range of things available there, from rare merchandise to events and fighting robots, complete with cosplay fanatics alike.

Torchwood Roundup!

Lots happening on the Torchwood front, so here's a news roundup.

Sunday, July 3

Still Not Ginger!

We've only gone and regenerated. Check out the new features of the site...

Doctor YOU
Doctor Who is nothing without its fans, which is every reason for embracing them! Send us your work - whether that be fanfics, pictures of your chocolate Daleks or snapshots of your trip to the Doctor Who Experience - and we'll proudly show it on the site. We've already got some.. check them out!

The Citadel
Chat about the site, the show and anything in between on our new chatting board. But make sure you stick to the rules and be nice to everyone else. To use it, you must sign up or log in with the multiple options available.

New New New Earth Gallifrey
Our regeneration has moved all the cluttered links to a tidy 'Guide' section at the top. Don't worry, all the stuff is still there if you want to look back. And if you are desperate to see the old site again, an archive will be arriving shortly. As well as that, we have a shiny new logo and layout to scintillate your corneas.

The Sociable Earth
Planet Gallifrey is now on Facebook, where you can see our Tweets and news posts in one place. Also, we now give you the option of sharing the news with your mates on over 300 different platforms in the comments section of each post. The old style of comments are now yesterday's news due to the immense spam, which makes it hard to trawl through the real comments, so we have embedded a new, sleek commenting system which allows you to comment via Twitter and other platforms and also add polls! We will also be using more polls and Q&As to keep your voice heard.

The Dalek's Music Plan
We've put our fave picks from the Doctor Who soundtracks onto a playlist that you can listen to whilst reading stuff on the site. We'll be adding more every week!

and last but by no means least...

Introducing our new writer... Steve!
Through many amazing entries, Steve's was the winning one. Hailing from Bradford, Steve has had an eclectic writing past, including having written for the legendary Doctor Who Magazine and on various e-zines. We are very proud to have him on board and are dead excited to see what he has to offer! Check out Steve's blog here and be sure to leave him congratulatory messages!

What do you think of the new site?

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