Who’s he? Podcast episode 322

Phil was kind enough to invite me on his podcast, to present my case that Martha Jones is the most important companion Doctor Who has had.

Martha Jones is a fictional character played by Freema Agyeman in the long-running sci-fi series, Doctor Who. The character would also appear in the spin-off show Torchwood, on TV and BBC audio.

Follow Phil on Twitter-@whos_he_podcast

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.

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…

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.

My thoughts on Doctor Who taking a break

In news that won’t surprise anyone, The BBC confirmed last night that series 12 of Doctor Who will not return until 2020.



There’s been a bit of a backlash to this news. But I’m choosing to view it’s delay in a positive way.

Here’s another example of a Chibnall lead sci-fi show benefitting from a break. Torchwood.

Series 1 launched in October 2006 and aside from the odd episode here or there, it wasn’t quite right.

But, when series 2 rolled around in January 2008. The production team had learnt from the mistakes of the first series, ditched what didn’t work and improved what had. The result was a tighter, much better show.

This break in Doctor Who, might just be what the doctor ordered. A chance to look at what worked, what didn’t and improve it.

Also, side not regarding Torchwood. Everyone thinks they toned down the swearing in series 2. In fact there’s actually more swearing in series 2. They just use it correctly and because they use it correctly, it doesn’t jar when you hear it.

Episode 197: A Few Chibs more

In which Martyn goes solo, to review what’s left of Doctor Who-series 11.

The eleventh series of Doctor Who began its initial run on 7 October 2018 and consists 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.

The podcast is available from all good podcast services, such as;

Audioboom, Player fm and Itunes.

Follow the Bad Wilf team:

Martyn – @BadWilf

Pete – @BeeblePete

Gerrod – @ingerrodsmind

Check out the Bad Wilf Vlog.

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Billie Piper gets Big Finish spin-off

Billie Piper is returning to the Doctor Who universe in Rose Tyler: The Dimension Cannon, a new audio series made in association with BBC Studios.

It follows Rose’s journey through dying parallel worlds, and also stars Camille Coduri as Rose’s mum Jackie, Shaun Dingwall as her dad Pete, Mark Benton (Legend!!) as alien investigator Clive Finch and Elli Garnett as Caroline Finch.

The four episodes follow Rose’s mission to seek out the Doctor, the only person who can save the doomed multiverse.

Picture credit-Big Finish

Billie Piper said:

“I love how normal Rose is, and yet really extraordinary. She lived a normal average life but she is incredibly curious and has an enormous capacity for love and empathy and is really spirited. She is extraordinary.”

The four new adventures are:
1.1 The Endless Night by Jonathan Morris
1.2 The Flood by Lisa McMullin
1.3 Ghost Machines by AK Benedict
1.4 The Last Party on Earth by Matt Fitton

From the worlds of Doctor Who, Rose Tyler – The Dimension Cannon will be released in September 2019, available for pre-order now on CD at £25 on CD and £20 on download.

Geeky gift ideas

With Christmas fast-approaching, it’s time to start seeking out that special gift for the geek in your life. However, that presents its own challenge, as your average geeky will probably already have the latest toy, gadget or gizmo.

So, If you’re going to find the perfect gift, you’re going to need to think outside the Pandorica.

Below, we’ve compiled 4 of the hottest trinkets, for the geek in your life.

No matter what your budget is, we’ve got something to fit into it.

1, PS4 vinyls wraps

These are a great way to personalise your PS4. This premium quality vinyl wrap comes with two free matching stickers for your controllers. The precision cut to the exact dimensions. The panel comes as a separate piece for an easy application and a better way to show off your gaming console to all of your friends. The vinyl will ship within three days and is made from the highest quality in Oxford in the United Kingdom. The wrap skin does not have any residue upon removal. There are several video tutorials on applying the vinyl on your console or controllers, sure to help you get everything on in the correct place each and every time. There are a lot to choose from.

2, Doctor Who scarf

What better gift for the Doctor Who fan in your life, than this 13ft scarf? This is a replica of the scarf worn by Tom Baker, as The Fourth Doctor. I got this recently, when I went as The Doctor to a fancy dress party. I turned a lot of heads. This is perfect for both casual and hardcore fans, alike. This stunning scarf is truly iconic. It can be worn to battle Daleks, Sontarans and even Cybermen. Just be careful when running down corridors.

Lovarzzi also offer a shorter, more practical version of the scarf.

3, Bullshit button

This giant red button will make a hilarious statement to whoever needs to be confronted on their bullshit. Simply press the red button and make it light up and then the button will buzz loudly and announce “bullshit!”.

4, Star Trek enterprise pizza cutter

The Star Trek lover in your family is sure to appreciate this! And who doesn’t love pizza? Now you can have your pizza with a little Star Trek on it as well.

Slices Pies At Warp Speed Now you can own this genuine, licensed U.S.S. Enterprise” pizza cutter, formerly available only through Federation Restaurant Supply depots. And only to Star Trek” mess personnel. The solid zinc-alloy, chromium-plated body is in the shape of the starship itself. It’s 8-1/2″ long overall, with a 4″ dia cutting wheel marked “USS Enterprise NCC-1701.” Gift-boxed for your favorite Trekker. Functions well in zero gravity, but not for use on Tribbles.



Tom Baker writes Doctor Who novel

Doctor Who legend Tom Baker, has written his first Doctor Who novel. Based on his original idea for a film Doctor Who: Scratchman sees The Doctor, Harry and Sarah Jane Smith arrive on remote Scottish island, when their holiday is cut short by the appearance of strange creatures – hideous scarecrows, 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.



Tom Baker said:

“I love the improbability of Doctor Who. Reason plays no part at all. As in religion, the overriding thing is faith. It may be improbable, but just believe in it and it’ll all come right.”“When I was approached about the book, I thought, ‘Why not?’ I’m always on the lookout for a novelty. I’m very enthusiastic as I get close to darkness.”

 

Doctor Who Meets Scratchman began out of boredom somewhere in the 1970s, an idea for a story formed by Tom Baker and Ian Marter between set takes and pauses in filming during the Fourth Doctor era.

Despite great enthusiasm and valiant attempts, funding Scratchman proved difficult (Baker accidentally made a newspaper appeal to the British public for help, and found himself deluged with children’s pocket money – which he had to return.)

For a long time, Scratchman was forgotten, until a script was found in 2006. It was donated to the British Film Institute by former Doctor Who producer John Nathan-Turner before his death in 2002.