Christopher Eccleston to appear at LFCC

News-wise, It’s been a busy couple of weeks for Christopher Eccleston. Last week he opened up about his experiences on Doctor Who.

This week Showmasters announced he’ll appear at  London’s Film and Comic Con in July. This will mark Eccleston’s first ever convention appearance.  The actor will be appearing at the convention event on Sunday, July 29.

He won’t be the only Doctor Who actor in attendance either, fans will also get the chance to meet Peter Capaldi, Pearl Mackie, Sylvester McCoy, Colin Baker, Bonnie Langford and David Bradley.

Full details about all guests, prices and timings can be found on London Film and Comic Con’s website.

Audio review:Criss-Cross

Pete and I had a chat about Doctor Who: Criss Cross, by Big Finish.

Martyn: With over 16 years of audio adventures, the biggest problem with the Doctor Who range used to be ‘where do you start?’

Pete: In a way, everyone jumps into Doctor Who in the middle; there’s a certain joy to discovering the world we’re dropped into, in our own order.

M: It can still seem daunting for new listeners to climb on board the Big Finish train. Recently they’ve decided to play down the continuity of the first 200 and provide a fresh jumping on point for new listeners. The first three focused on the Seventh Doctor and Mel.

P: Return of the Sontarans was really fun; I liked your review.

M: Criss-Cross kicks off a brand new trilogy for the Sixth Doctor and Constance Clarke. In a very time-wimey way, we met her in The Sixth Doctor: The Last Adventure.

P: The extras for that mention how Colin Baker needed some convincing to sign his character’s death warrant. But he needn’t have worried; it just left me wanting more. It must have helped him, though, to have a glimpse of the future in there.

M: Written by Matt Fitton, Criss-Cross tells the story of the ‘Wrens’ working at the Bletchley Park codebreaking facility in World War II. They start out dealing with and becoming suspicious of the eccentric ‘Doctor John Smith.’

P: This is super timely, too. There’s a new book by Tessa Dunlop about the women of Bletchley Park, BBC2 have just done a doco on somebody besides Alan Turing and of course there’s the Imitation Game film with Cumberbatch.

M: This one’s a gripping war-time story – suspicion and espionage, with hints of sci-fi thrown in. The characters are spies, double agents, Nazis and code-breakers. Matt Fitton manages to perfectly encapsulate the horrendous situations people in war often found themselves. The period feels authentic and Constance Clarke is very much of her time.

P: They’ve given her an absent husband like Emma Peel had, but perhaps not like that; we’ll see. Mrs Clarke is both a foil and an asset, which is really good for ‘old sixie.’ Miranda Raison pitches it just right; I remember her from Wreck of the Titan. I’m also hoping to see her in A Winter’s Tale, a new live HD theatre project Kenneth Branagh is doing.

M: Colin is at the top of his game here, the chemistry with Miranda Raison is impeccable, it’s up there with the Seventh Doctor and Ace, or Ten and Donna.

Audio Review-We are the Daleks

We are the Daleks kicks off a band new era for Big Finish, after 200 releases they’ve decided to draw a line in the sand and provide a fresh jumping on point for new listeners.

Each Doctor will be heading up a new trilogy of stories, first up is the Seventh Doctor and Mel.

The year is 1987, and Britain is divided. In Bradford, strikers are picketing and clashing with the police. In the City of London, stockbrokers are drinking champagne and politicians are courting the super-rich. The mysterious media mogul Alek Zenos, head of the Zenos Corporation, is offering Britain an economic miracle. His partners wish to invest – and their terms are too good to refuse.

While the Doctor investigates Warfleet, a new computer game craze that is sweeping the nation, Mel goes undercover to find out the truth about Zenos’s partners.

The Daleks have a new paradigm. They intend to conquer the universe using economic power. The power of the free market!

This is a great place to jump on. It’s an old school Dalek story that works on multiple levels – it feels familiar, yet new. It pays homage to previous Dalek stories of that era. It also takes a satirical look at Thatcherism and the “greed is good” campaign.

McCoy shines in this, he’s my favourite classic era Doctor-he’s my Doctor. His final speech to the Daleks is chilling, it’s is up there with Matt Smith’s speech in the Pandorica Opens/Big Bang.

What’s also great about Big Finish is that they’ve managed to give characters a second chance. Bonnie Langford was extremely underserved on the TV series. Producer JNT wanted her to play Mel as Violet Elizabeth Bot. Big Finish have unlocked the potential of Mel Bush, they’ve turned her into the companion she should have been on TV.

This is a multi-layered story about ambition, greed and the exclusion of all that’s decent. There’s also a dig at Michael Fish. This is a great start to the new era of Big Finish.