Episode 196: The good, the bad and The Chib

Bad Wilf is back! In this exciting instalment, Martyn and Gerrod discuss life, work, holidays and the Doctor Who series 11 episodes, The woman who fell to Earth, Ghost monument and, Rosa.

The eleventh series of Doctor Who began its initial run on 7 October 2018, and will consist of ten episodes. The series is the first to be led by Chris Chibnall as head writer and executive producer, alongside executive producers Matt Strevens and Sam Hoyle.

The series introduces Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor, with Bradley Walsh, Mandip Gill and Tosin Cole playing her companions.

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Review-The Time Tunnel blu-ray

As a child of the nineties, I have fond memories of Channel 4 showing repeats of high-quality American shows from the 60’s, during school holidays. 

I wasn’t sporty, so when all my friends were out playing football. I was at home. Enjoying shows like Man from UNCLE, Get Smart and, the time tunnel. Out of all those shows, it was The Time Tunnel that really captured my imagination and probably sparked my passion for sci-fi, before I even really knew what sci-fi was.

It’s extremely dated by today’s standards, but if you look passed that, passed the special effects, passed the fashion sense, you’ll find a highly entertaining show that feels like a prequel to Quantum Leap, Stargate and timeless.


The series is set in an imagined 1968, the near-future to when the show was made, two years to be precise.

Make-up clad James Darren and former pop star, Robert Colbert play our scientists Tony Newman and Doug Philips.

Tony and Doug have been working on Project Tic-Toc, in a top secret government facility under the Arizona desert.
After the military start to interfere and shift the deadline for results. Tony takes it upon himself to test the time tunnel and ends up onboard the time tunnel. Doug follows to mount a rescue mission and the pair find themselves following one time travelling caper after another.

The time tunnel is the brain child of Irwin Allen, the man behind such classic series’ like; Lost In Space and, Land Of The Giants. His hallmarks are all over this. There’s dodgy science, dodgy sets, glaring plot holes and a lot of camp. But that’s what makes this so brilliant.

The premise is a sandbox for any writer. Nothing is off limits, there’s no logic to hold you back. You can just go. The time tunnel doesn’t just send the users back in time, it also teleports them to different locations. Tony and Doug find themselves on The Titanic, the first manned mission to Mars, Ancient Greece and even, the American civil war.

The transfer to HD is good, considering the show was not shot that way. There’s also the option to hear the sound in it’s original mono, or in the remixed 5.1. Both work well. 

Overall, there’s a lot to love here, there is even music from John Williams. This is a pretty decent set and it’s absolutely criminal the show didn’t get a second series.

The set will be released on 5th November 2018. It would make a perfect Christmas gift, for the sci-fi fan in your family. 

Extras:
• Original Unaired Pilot Episode (HD Version)
• 2002 Unaired TV Pilot
• Time Travellers TV Movie
• Cast Interviews
• Irwin Allen’s Behind-The-Scenes Home Movies
• Promotional TV & Radio Spots
• Visual Effects
• Camera Test
• Stills Galleries

Review-The women who lived: Amazing tales for future timelords

The Women Who Lived is a A 224 page hardcover book that features profiles of 75 women from the history of Doctor Who.

From Sarah Jane Smith to Bill Potts, from Susan Foreman to Agatha Christie, to the Thirteenth Doctor. Doctor Who has featured many heroic women, who have helped prevent alien invasions or thwarted maniacal plans. Pick a female character from Doctor Who’s rich history, she’s in here.

This book explores their adventures and celebrates their legacy.

Each profile is written by Christel Dee and Simon Guerrier and accompanied by beautiful full page art pieces. A team of female artists, at various stages in their careers were especially assembled for the project. The book includes artwork from Sophie Cowdrey, Emma Price and Rachel Smith to name a few.

The profile pieces are written with genuine affection, Dee and Guerrier have put a lot of love into this and it shows. The decision to have a team of artists work on the book, is an inspired choice. Each artist brings their own unique talent. Which brings out the uniqueness of the characters, whilst also clearly defining their era.

All of this is collected under a stunning new cover by Doctor Who artist Lee Binding.

This is a must buy for the Doctor Who fan in your life.

Review-The Diary of River Song 4

After adventures with the eighth, seventh and sixth Doctors. River Song finally meets with the legendary Fourth Doctor, in The Diary of River Song Series 4.

When River Song visits a place where time has vanished, a genie escapes its bottle… the Discordia are freed – nihilistic time pirates, in devilish form, altering the past to make sure they never lose.

Emma Reeves and Matt Fitton’s Time in a bottle, has a fascinating story idea. There’s a place in space with no time. That’s such an interesting concept for a story. However, I can’t help but feel this story is wasted in a box set format. There’s nothing wrong with it, it’s a strong concept, with great writing and a superb cast, with writers at the very top of their game. I just feel the time constraints of a boxset limit the stories true potential.

This would’ve made a very interesting four-part story in its own right.

Regardless, it’s a solid introductory adventure that sets up the premise and introduces the main villain. It also takes the interesting angle. It feels like a good old fashioned pulp adventure. James Bond-esque in places. It pits River against her intellectual rival and shows her at her most Doctor-like state.

7/10

‘Kings of Infinite Space’ may not have the most original plot, but it is very entertaining and rewards repeat listening. It’s easily the strongest of the set. It’s well paced, paradoxical and fun. Alex Kingston and the rest of the cast are on top form. It feels like a Moffat era Doctor Who story. There’s action, humour, with a great use of the vortex manipulator and the locations that time travel opens up. It’s everything you could want from a River Song audio.

8/10

‘Whodunnit’ is an oddity in this boxset. Now, that isn’t me saying it’s bad. Far from it. The concept is interesting, with some thought-provoking philosophical discussions, the characters are three-dimensional and it’s well paced. However, it just doesn’t fit this box set. Like time in a bottle, this would’ve made a great main range story. Given more time to fully explore the premise, this could’ve been great. But I felt it interrupted the flow of the story ark.

That said, it’s an interesting listen with a fun take on the cliches of murder mysteries.

7/10

Someone I once knew, is the big one. The season finale, the one fans are excited for and it delivers. John Dorney brilliantly subverts expectation and puts an interesting spin on the River/Doctor dynamic.

Tom Baker and Alex Kingston have an instant rapport and a naturally brilliant chemistry. I would welcome future stories with this duo. Their chemistry is so natural, it’s difficult to believe they only met on the day of recording.

7/10.

Series four of ‘The Diary of River Song’ perfectly meshes the unique styles of the Steven Moffat era and Big Finish originality.

Not every story works completely and suffers from what most prequels do. Giving River companions is always going to be tricky, as we’ve never encountered or heard mention of them in the main show, you know they’re a goner the second they’re introduced.

At times the fourth Doctor feels more like a plot device, than an active companion. But this set is an absolute joy to listen to and has left me excited for series 5.

Written By: Emma Reeves, Matt Fitton, Donald McLeary, John Dorney

Directed By: Ken Bentley

Cast:

Alex Kingston (River Song), Tom Baker (The Doctor), Adele Lynch (Gammarae), Fenella Woolgar (Professor Jemima Still / Formidian Queen), Josh Bolt (Spod), George Asprey (Melak), Nicholas Asbury (Dante), Ewan Bailey (Human / Alien / Robot Voices), Tim Bentinck (Franz Kafka / Samsa), Alex Tregear (Miss Vermillion / Vermillion), Christopher Naylor (Lord Simon Whist / Captain Bartholomew / Discordia Underling), Shvorne Marks (Cissy / Thelma Sketch), Nigel Anthony (Rakkezar / Drayl), Nathalie Buscombe (Garen / Galerayna). Other parts played by members of the cast.

Producer David Richardson

Script Editors Matt Fitton, John Dorney

Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs.

Big Finish review-The Siege of Big Ben

Jackie Tyler has everything she’s ever wanted: a loving husband and two children. But a terrible, far-reaching plan is underway, and only Jackie and a single friend stand in the way of it.

But the Doctor isn’t the man he was…

The Siege of Big Ben is a highly anticipated release. Ever since we left the Tylers and the meta-crisis tenth Doctor at the end of series 4, (10 years ago!) fans have wondered what happened next. Thankfully, Big Finish has given us some answers with this release.

This can’t have been an easy thing to write. Not only did Joe Lidster have to tell a gripping story that lives up to the fans expectations. He had to re-introduce us to the parallel Earth, or “Pete’s world”.

A base under siege scenario is a stablemate for Doctor Who. But Lidster manages to beautifully subvert what could be a repetitive format and turn it into a glorious character piece.

The script draws parallels between The Doctor being more human, and the human, being more like The Doctor we know and love. Having Jackie be the most Doctor-like character in the story adds an interesting dynamic.

The script is sharp, the direction is smooth and David Roocroft’s sound design is inspired. All in all, The Siege of Big Ben is a story about love, loss and the difficulties that come with moving on. You feel all of these things whilst listening. Camille Coduri oozes charm and instantly reminds you, why we all love Jackie Tyler.

This world is waiting for further exploration and I hope, this leads to some full-cast adventures.

10/10.

The Siege of Big Ben can be purchased here.

Episode 193:The Running Man

In which Martyn and Gerrod discuss the 1987 film ‘The Running Man’.

The podcast can be accessed via different places, including Audioboom, Player fm and Itunes.

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Big Finish review-Torchwood: Goodbye Piccadilly

Sgt Andy Davidson wakes up in the 1950s. He’s chained to a bed, his clothes are missing and the building’s on fire. Norton Folgate needs his help. The streets of Soho are swarming with gangsters, rumours and betrayals. Somewhere out there is a mysterious alien artefact, and Andy and Norton have to get to it first. Because tonight they’re going to save Torchwood.

I’ve been looking forward to another adventure with Andy and Norton, since last year’s Ghost Mission. There’s just something about this pairing that works so well.

Goodbye Piccadilly is absolutely gripping, from start to finish, the script is sensational. The direction is smooth, the sound design is flawless. Tom Price, Samuel Barnett and the supporting cast all give pitch-perfect performances.

What’s great about this audio, is that all of the London events-bar the alien invasion and the time travel, are real.

James Goss took his research for this story extremely seriously, he looked at books such as ‘hidden London’ for inspiration and it shows. The life drawing class, the police raids and, gay men being hosed down are all things that actually happened in the 1950’s.

Big Finish has once again proved that Torchwood Big Finish, is Torchwood at its best.

Torchwood contains adult material and may not be suitable for younger listeners.

Review-Ocean’s Eight

On paper, an all-female instalment in the Ocean’s series, featuring a great cast-lead by Sandra Bullock sounds like everything you need for a great time. In practise however, Ocean’s Eight never really hits the mark.

There’re a lot of parallels in this film to Ocean’s Eleven. The movie starts at the parole hearing of Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock). Once released, she reunites with her old partner in crime Lou (Cate Blanchett, Thor: Ragnarok) to pull off a $150 million diamond heist at the Met Gala.

They assemble a heist team; fashion designer Rose Weil (Helena Bonham Carter, Big Fish), jeweller Amita (Mindy Kaling, The Mindy Project), hacker Nine-Ball (Rihanna, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets), pickpocket Constance (Awkwafina, Dude) and Tammy (Sarah Paulson, The Post).

The idea behind this film, seems to be to just chuck a bunch of famous names together and see what sticks. The script really doesn’t have anything to say, the camera work is basic and, the characterisations are one-dimensional and this talented cast just go through the motions, with very little to work with.

They really hammer home the George Clooney/Danny Ocean references. I get that they need to establish that this is in the same universe as the previous films, but it’s done incredibly sloppily.

There is clearly a lot of potential here and the cast are clearly having a great time, but they deserve a movie worthy of their talents, Ocean’s Eight isn’t it. Perhaps they can convince Steven Soderbergh to return for Ocean’s Nine…

Review-Sancho: An act of remembrance

Rather shamefully, I knew nothing about Charles Ignatius Sancho prior to this play.

Sancho was born into slavery, but went on to become a classical actor, a composer, an anti-slavery campaigner, property owner, and the first black British person to vote in a general election.

Paterson Joseph begins his one-man play, in a bold and unusual way. He comes out as himself and explains the driving force that made him write the play. He explains that after seeing his contemporaries get cast in costume dramas, he was keen to join them. However, he was constantly told he couldn’t, as there were no black Britons before the Windrush generation.

Image credit-Robert Day

It’s impossible to not be drawn in by Paterson Joseph’s charm, wit and energy. He’s an extremely characteristic man. His entrance is fantastic and a great way to launch a solo show. There is no fourth wall in this production, Sancho will lock eyes with audience members, pull them up on stage, ask why they’re laughing. The play defies theatre traditions, much like Sancho’s life defies our perception of black history in Britain.

The 70 minutes fly-by, the script is sharp, witty and political. The set and sound design are both exceptional. The backdrops are wooden and help hint and Sancho’s origin. The sounds help truly immerse the audience into the period.

Joseph fully embodies Sancho. He’s clever, witty, a raconteur and ever so slightly camp.

Image credit-Robert Day

Sancho: An act of remembrance is masterfully acted, beautifully written and reminder about the power of theatre. I left the with a greater knowledge than when I entered. Sancho’s life should be a TV series.

I hope this kick starts a re-evaluation of our history.

Sancho – An Act of Remembrance is at Wilton’s Music Hall until June 17th. For more information, click here.

REVIEW: BIG FINISH: JENNY — THE DOCTOR’S DAUGHTER

She’s got planets to save, civilisations to rescue, creatures to defeat… and an awful lot of running to do!

It’s difficult to believe the character of Jenny debuted in Doctor Who 10 years ago. Since then fans have wondered whatever happened to The Doctor’s daughter?

The character was rife for further exploration and it’s amazing the BBC never thought to bring her back.

Thankfully, we have Big Finish. They’ve taken the character and given her a range of her own.

The scripts are sharp, funny and perfectly honed. A lot of work and love has clearly gone into this box set. The stories are kinetic and full of real world allegories; which in lesser hands could’ve come across as clunky.

Georgia Tennant and Sean Biggerstaff have an instant chemistry as Jenny and Noah. A personal highlight, is the fact that they allow Jenny to be fun. She makes jokes, which work well and relives tension in scenes. The mystery surrounding Noah is intriguing and you finish the audios with even more questions about him.

Big Finish have done it again. The Doctor’s daughter is fantastic, a breath of fresh air. The theme music is epic. familiar but different. It perfectly encapsulates the Doctor’s nature in Jenny. The stories and the cast are engaging. The sound design is flawless.

Jenny-The Doctor’s daughter is firing on all cylinders. A perfect synergy between cast and crew. I’m practically begging for series 2.

Written By: Matt Fitton, John Dorney, Christian Brassington, Adrian Poynton

Directed By: Barnaby Edwards

Cast

Georgia Tennant (Jenny), Sean Biggerstaff (Noah), Siân Phillips (COLT-5000), Stuart Milligan (Garundel), Sarah Woodward (Vesh Taralesh), Clare Corbett (Lukaku), Arabella Weir (Angie Glazebrook), Silas Carson (Ood Leader), Rosalyn Landor (Vanessa Elledge), Olivia Darnley (Emily Cole), John Dorney (John Macguire), Pik-Sen Lim (Old Woman), Arina II (Shoon-Wei), Sara Houghton (Alitta), Paul Courtenay Hyu (Po), Adèle Anderson (Dreyda), Anthony Calf (Cal). Other parts played by members of the cast.

Producer: David Richardson
Associate Producer:Georgia Tennant
Script Editor:John Dorney, Matt Fitton
Executive Producers: Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs