Book review-Doctor Who:Scratchman

Roughly 40 years ago, one Thomas Stewart Baker sat in the pub with his Doctor Who co-star, Ian Marter and started writing a Doctor Who movie, Doctor Who meets the Scratchman.

Ultimately, it never secured the required funding and the un-produced film became the stuff of legend. Tom Baker later had to apologise, after kids started sending their pocket money to the BBC. After he joked that fans could fund it.

Over the years, you’d hear a rumour here and there at fan gatherings and meet ups. Some people even claimed they’d read it. It sounded bonkers, the fourth Doctor going up against the devil and at some point, pinball would be involved..

Now, after years of speculation and “what ifs” Tom Baker- with the help of James Goss, has adapted the screenplay into a novel.

The Doctor, Harry and Sarah Jane Smith arrive at a remote Scottish island, when their holiday is cut short by the appearance of strange creatures – hideous scarecrows, who are preying on the local population. The islanders are living in fear, and the Doctor vows to save them all. But it doesn’t go to plan – the time travellers have fallen into a trap, and Scratchman is coming for them.

With the fate of the universe hanging in the balance, the Doctor must battle an ancient force from another dimension, one who claims to be the Devil. Scratchman wants to know what the Doctor is most afraid of. And the Doctor’s worst nightmares are coming out to play…

Baker and Goss have taken full advantage of the novel medium. There’s a sense of freedom here, that a film probably wouldn’t allow. The story takes its time and feels like the fourth Doctor era, but it’s also clearly influenced by the big sci-fi/horror films from the 70’s. Mostly John Carpenter’s work, but I also got hints of Wicker man and the Omen. This blend makes for an intriguing read.

The first half reads very much like a standard Doctor Who story, it’s the second half that gets whacky, outlandish and high-concept. I don’t want to spoil it. It’s a bit far-out and some may feel it makes the book a bit disjointed. But it worked for me.

This is the most fun I’ve had with a book for years. Tom Baker claims this will be his last time writing a Doctor Who book, if that’s true then he’s left us with an entertaining read. However, I’m hoping he can be talked into another.

Trailer-John Wick 3

In John Wick, he came back to seek revenge. In John Wick: Chapter 2, he was forced to repay a debt. And now, after grossing a combined total of nearly $300 million at the worldwide box office, The Boogeyman returns for JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM.

In this third instalment of the adrenaline-fueled action franchise, super-assassin John Wick returns with a $14 million price tag on his head and an army of bounty-hunting killers on his trail. After killing a member of the shadowy international assassin’s guild, the High Table, John Wick is excommunicado, but the world’s most ruthless hit men and women await his every turn.

Returning to the John Wick universe are Keanu Reeves (The Matrix Trilogy, Speed) as the eponymous John Wick; Laurence Fishburne (Boyz n the Hood, The Matrix Trilogy); Lance Reddick (White House Down, American Horror Story); Tobias Segal (Sneaky Pete, Mindhunter) and Ian McShane (Deadwood, American Gods).

They will be starring alongside new cast members Halle Berry (Monster’s Ball, The X-Men franchise); Mark Dacascos (Brotherhood of the Wolf, Only the Strong); Asia Kate Dillon (Orange Is the New Black, Billions); Jason Mantzoukas (The Dictator, The Lego Batman Movie); and Angelica Huston (The Royal Tenenbaums, The Addams Family).

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum is directed by Chad Stahelski (the John Wick series), written by Derek Kolstad(the John Wick series), and produced by Basil Iwanyk (Sicario, The Expendables) and Erica Lee (Sicario, A Private War).

JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM will be seeing you in cinemas across the UK on 17 May 2019 by Lionsgate UK. 

Trailer-Torchwood: God among us volume 2

Big Finish has released the story details, cover art and trailer of the sixth series of Torchwood: God Among Us 2.

Norton Folgate rejoins Torchwood, Andy and Yvonne get very close indeed, and the world is truly going to hell…

Norton Folgate’s come from the 1950s to warn Torchwood it’s the end of the world. He might have a point – there’s an alien god wandering the city, and a sinister force manipulating events behind the scenes. Where are all the homeless people going? And why doesn’t it stop raining?

1. Flight 405 by Lou Morgan

Flight 405 went missing over 60 years ago, but tonight the plane finally lands. Norton Folgate is a Torchwood agent from the 1950s and he swears Flight 405 contains the secret to the end of the world, but can Torchwood trust him?

2. Hostile Environment by Ash Darby

An app’s been launched that allows you to tag the homeless. People think they’re doing a good thing and helping out. It does seem a remarkable success. After all, since it’s launched, there are a lot less homeless people on the streets – so it must be doing some good, mustn’t it?

3. Another Man’s Shoes by Tim Foley

Yvonne wakes up in Andy’s body – and both have difficult days ahead of them.
Meanwhile, Norton’s making himself very much at home in Tyler’s body, much to Tyler’s alarm, and Ng is worried she knows what’s going on.
Someone’s playing a terrible trick on Torchwood. But who will win?

4. Eye of the Storm by David Llewellyn

An alien power station is sending out waves of lethal energy, people are turning to stone and the water levels are rising. As Torchwood set out on a desperate mission, god takes tea with someone who has been playing a very long game. Has the time come for Norton Folgate to save the world?

Review-Stan & Ollie

I adore Laurel and Hardy, I remember the first time I discovered them-age 10, in 1992. I was captivated, I would memorise scenes and try to get my friends to act them out with me. It’s clear that the team behind “Stan & Ollie” love them even more.

The film opens in 1937 with Stan Laurel (Steve Coogan) and Oliver Hardy (John C. Reilly) making the classic ‘Way our west’. The duo are at the height of their careers. They’re popular, happy and enjoying a good-natured chat about alimony, filming schedules and attending a party with Clark Gable.

We then flash forward 15 years with the pair reuniting after a creative break-up, hoping to use a series of live performances to generate interest in a film they want to make.

The tour doesn’t get off to a good start, they’re staying in a second-rate hotel, whilst the youngster on reception tells them how much her mum loves them, highlighting their fall from grace. The audiences is sparse and their tour manager is more interested in promoting Norman Wisdom.

Steve Coogan and John C Reilly both put in tremendous performances in this ambitious film.

Coogan has Laurel’s mannerisms down to a T, he even sounds like him. Switching between an American accent when filming and a transatlantic accent when not (Stan Laurel was originally from Yorkshire). Reilly brings a light touch to Oliver Hardy and captivates in every scene. Watching the two of them re-enact classic sketches is an absolute joy to see.

Nina Arianda and Shirley Henderson star as Laurel’s and Hardy’s wives-respectively. They hold their own throughout and are portrayed as equal partners, as well as the most important people in either man’s life.

Stan & Ollie is a wonderfully sweet film, a proper love letter to true Hollywood icons. See it on the big screen.

Stan & Ollie will be in cinemas, 11 January 2019.

DVD review-The Festival

After his girlfriend Caitlin (Tointon) dumps him at graduation, Nick (Thomas) is convinced by his best friend Shane (Animashaun) to attend a music festival, they’d previously booked tickets for-even though it means running into her.

On the train, they meet the annoying Amy (O’Doherty).

Sure enough, they run into Caitlin and after a number of humiliating situations, Nick ends up getting himself and Shane arrested, which leads to Shane’s mum’s boyfriend(Clement) bailing them out.

Whilst the cast provide enough energy to make it watchable, the film feels like it’s made from rejected jokes from The Inbetweeners. Which makes sense considering it’s written by the shows co-creator and stars Joe Thomas.

The script is packed with gags-none of which land. In fact, some of the humour is so grotesque and tasteless that it’s jarring, alienating and cringe-worthy. The filmmakers abruptly cut scenes to distract from the thin plot and random set-pieces.

Jermaine Clement gives a great performance and steals every scene he’s in. Nick Frost and Noel Fielding manage to raise a few smiles, with their cameos. But there’s little substance here. Ultimately, the film feels like that random drunk guy on a train. Chattering endlessly, but never getting to a point.

James Marsters returns to Big Finish

James Marsters, the star of cult television shows Buffy The Vampire Slayer and, Angel. Is set to reprise his role as Captain John Hart, in a series of his own adventures in the Torchwood audio universe.

The rambunctious, deadly and ever-so charming captain will be back at the helm in a new four-story box set, The Sins of Captain John, created by Big Finish Productions in association with BBC Studios.

Captain John Hart made his audio debut in The Death of Captain Jack, released in March 2018. In this story he killed the entire Torchwood team – including John Barrowman’s supposedly immortal Captain Jack Harkness.

He also married Queen Victoria and had no less than three ‘relationships’ with characters from history. Who knows what he’ll get up to in this next box set of adventures!

James Marsters said:

“Doing The Death of Captain Jack was incredible! I have missed doing Torchwood so much. Beyond being proud of playing a part in it, the character itself is a blast to play, and those two episodes just weren’t enough.”

Set for release in January 2020, The Sins of Captain John will see Captain John Hart leading the universe into rack and ruin in four new adventures…

The Restored
Escape from Nebazz
Peach Blossom Heights
Darker Purposes

In these stories we’ll find the villainous anti-hero thriving in Restoration London, exploring gas planets, playing ‘Stepford wife’ and kissing (then killing) countless victims… Just a day in the life of a rogue Time Agent!

Writer, David Llewellyn added:

“Writing The Death of Captain Jack was a total blast, and both James Goss (producer of the Torchwood range) and I realised we could have a lot more fun with Captain John Hart, providing James Marsters was happy to return. Captain John is this chaotic, disruptive, insubordinate force of nature; completely amoral and unpredictable, so that gave me a lot of freedom! Writing is often a case of knowing when to hold back, when to tread a more subtle line, but with Captain John it’s the complete opposite. And setting it before Torchwood on television meant we were able to go to places where Torchwood can’t.”

Torchwood fans will also find answers to some of the questions and plot points that have so far been left hanging from the beginning of the television show. More details on this in the future…

Trailer-Hellboy

The trailer shows off the titular character working with the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD) as they fight against monsters that threaten the world.

This new film isn’t connected to the two previous, Guillermo del Toro directed Hellboy films. This is a complete reboot, directed by Neil Marshall.

Honestly, as a fan of the source material and of the two Del Toro films. This trailer has me worried. It’s tone is all over the place, one second it’s tongue-in-cheek, the next deadly serious. It’s also full of Americans doing “cock-er-knee” accents, that would give Dick Van Dyke a run for his money.

5 potential Doctor Who spin-offs

The BBC have tried multiple times over the years to launch a long running spin-off to Doctor Who, each of these have had varying degrees of success. For every Torchwood, there’s a Class. For every K-9 and company, there’s a Sarah Jane Adventures.

If you follow me on social media, you’ll know I’ve been predicting for a while that the BBC will launch a new Doctor Who spin-off, within the next 5 years.

Well, a source within the BBC has told me the organisation is in fact looking to make “a sci-fi show, set within an established universe”. No, I won’t tell you who. Yes, I understand how cryptic and frustrating “a source” can be to read. Logically speaking, that “established universe” can only be Doctor Who. The BBC doesn’t really have any other sci-fi shows and with the success of series 11, it would make sense to capitalise soon.



I don’t know quite what the BBC are looking for, but I’ve made a list of 5 potential spin-offs I think they should consider. I’ve left off any characters and spin-offs that are currently with Big Finish such as; Torchwood, River Song, Eighth Doctor etc. Because if they’re with Big Finish, it means the BBC have no plans for them.

5, The Ghost Chronicles.

Personally, I didn’t enjoy the Return of Doctor Mysterio. However, I do enjoy the core idea. Given the success of DC’s Arrowverse, there is clearly a market for fun/slightly camp superhero adventures and if I’m entirely honest, I’m always jealous when the Arrowverse does a huge ambitious cross-over, because Doctor Who could be doing that. Imagine the Journeys End/Stolen Earth storyline spread across Doctor Who, Torchwood and, The Sarah Jane Adventures. It’d be epic.

One of the problems with Class, is it didn’t feature any pre-established characters. The Ghost wouldn’t have this problem. Also, the character already has a comic book range, with Titan comics. So there’s clearly a market for it.

4, Time Agents.

When Captain Jack first appeared in Doctor Who, he was a loveable rogue on the run from “the time agency”. They mention the time agency has been disbanded in Torchwood and, Big Finish touch upon the organisation in ‘The Lives of Captain Jack’ but aside from that, we know very little about them. My head-canon has always included the time lord’s outsourcing to the Time Agency, when The Time War happened.

This show could have same basic principal as Doctor Who, but with a very different possibly darker dynamic. Think Torchwood, in space. Maybe even a guest appearance from a Doctor or two.

3, UNIT.

UNIT have been a major part of Doctor Who lore, ever since their debut in the ‘60s er 70’s er, 60’s. Now, I know you’re thinking ‘But Mart, you said you wouldn’t include spin-off’s that are with Big Finish’. I’m not, this would be a 70’s set X-Files type show, in the vein of Sapphire and Steel.

This idea would even lend itself to cameos from modern Doctors, as well as voice cameos from former Doctors and companions, imagine hearing Jo Grant’s voice from another room.

2, LINDA.

Alright, I know. Love and monsters sucks. But, the core idea is golden. The idea that people affected by The Doctor, would seek each other out and form a support group is genuinely fascinating. Why not expand on it?

This would also lend itself to modern and classic companions appearing, maybe LINDA (London Investigation ‘N’ Detective Agency) track down Ace, or Martha and Mickey, or Yaz, Ryan and Graham. The possibilities are endless.

1, Bannerman Road.

To many people, myself included, The Sarah Jane Adventures is still the best Doctor Who spin-off of all time. It was primarily aimed at the child audience. But some how, managed to simultaneously capture the spirit of the parent series, whilst being multilayered and enjoyable for all ages. A lot of the shows charm is down to the legendary, Elisabeth Sladen. Arguably, the true icon of the Whoniverse.

I knew who Sarah Jane Smith was, long before I’d ever seen an episode of Doctor Who. Fandom was left devastated in 2011, by Sladen’s untimely death. Not only did we lose an icon, we lost one of our favourite shows.

It’s been 12 years since SJA’s debut, so it would be a welcome treat for fans if the BBC brought the show back.

Though, obviously Sarah Jane could not feature. Fans would love to see what happened to her teenage friends and family. Maybe Rani is now a journalist, Luke a scientist, Skye might’ve just returned from university, perhaps Clyde is a teacher at Coal Hill. This show would also lend itself to appearances from classic and Nu-Who companions. Yaz, Ryan and Graham could also slot easily in, should any of them leave the TARDIS.

Obviously, in a universe as rich as Doctor Who, there are many different ideas that could be put forward for a Doctor Who spin-off.

But I feel the most logical is Bannerman Road. It’s modern day Earth and the characters all look human, so it would be relatively cheap to produce and I genuinely think there’s a story to be told here.

With Doctor Who having another gap year, there needs to be something to fill it. Especially, if this trend continues.

Doctor Who series 11 overview

Jodie Whittaker’s first year has come to a close and, as I’m a Doctor Who fan, it’s time to analyse it. Of course I’m going to analyse it. What else am I gonna do, talk to my family? Go outside, join a gym?

The casting of Whittaker ruffled a few feathers, when she was announced. A certain section of fandom just couldn’t accept The Doctor would now be played by a Northerner. But, it’s okay. We’ve been here before. Tom Baker, Paul McGann and, Christopher Eccleston were all from places North of Watford.

Whittaker wasn’t the only change, we also got three new companions, Graham, Ryan, and Yaz – played by Bradley Walsh, Tosin Cole, and Mandip Gill, respectively.

We also got a new composer, a slightly different structure, a different broadcast day, a shorter episode run and, a new show runner.

Chris “The Chib” Chibnall has always been clear on his intentions for the show. He wanted to go back to basics. He wanted historicals and smaller scale character-driven stories. He wanted to bring in new villains. He wanted stand alone stories and he wanted to make it entirely accessible to new/casual viewers. So, out went The Daleks and Cybermen. In came the bubble wrap and talking frogs.

Whether you like or agree with the changes, I think we can all agree The Chib is a man of his word.



The Chib’s style varies drastically to his predecessors. In 2005, Russell T Davies brought the show back in a more American style. He was inspired by the likes of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, which would feature stand alone stories for the most part. But would also drop little connecting threads, to reward the dedicated viewer. These threads would join together, for a massive crescendo in the finale.

Steven Moffat mostly continued with this template, although it could be argued he concentrated too much on making the series a riddle, wrapped in an enigma, inside a puzzle box. With narratives, that were impossible for the casual viewer to track.

I imagine that’s why Chibnall wanted to focus on standalone episodes, in an attempt to course correct the show. However, these choices have lead to absence of overall narrative. The cast have all been superb, each have put in a great performance. But neither of them had the opportunity to evolve.

The closest thing to character development, was the relationship between Graham and his step-grandson, Ryan. Their relationship bookended the series, but it fell a little flat, as their closure didn’t actually include The Doctor. Ten episodes in, I still don’t know what the thirteenth Doctor is about. She just comes across as ineffective.

And poor Yaz, she’s just sort of…..there. Even in an episode about her grandmother, she was just there. She’s had no attention, served no purpose. Other than to be spoken at in exposition.

Fans have expressed their displeasure with the series now taking a break until 2020, however I’m choosing to see the break as a positive.

In October 2006, The Chib-led series Torchwood debuted. Aside from a few episodes, it’s mostly considered a dud. However, the show took a mini-break. Series 2 debuted in January 2008 and was applauded by fans and critics alike. The Chib even made Ianto, who like Yaz, was just there and turned him into a firm fan favourite, the same could happen here.

Check out 5 potential Doctor Who spin-offs.

Spider-Man: Far from home synopsis

SPIDER-MAN Far From Home’s trailer have been allegedly delayed, however a synopsis for the film has been released. After some lucky fans were shown the trailer in Brazil.

“Peter Parker and his friends go on summer holidays to Europe. However, the friends will hardly be able to rest – Peter will have to agree to help Nick Fury uncover the mystery of creatures that cause natural disasters and destruction throughout the continent.”

Spider-Man Far From Home is released in July 2019.

The film stars Tom Holland, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Keaton, Jon Favreau, Jake Gyllenhaal, Zendaya, Marisa Tomei and Cobie Smulders.