Review-Doctor Who – The Ninth Doctor Adventures Vol 1: Ravagers

Let’s be honest. None of us saw this coming. This time last year, we’d have thought the announcement was a cruel joke. It seemed so unlikely. But Sixteen years after his thirteen episode run reignited the Doctor Who franchise and brought it into the consciousness of a new generation. Christopher Eccleston is back and it’s about time.

The Ninth Doctor Adventures – Ravagers, written and directed by Nicholas Briggs, is the first in a four-volume set of audio adventures.

I’ll admit, that I’ve struggled with this review. On one hand, Ravagers is an impressively ambitious set. Eccleston’s return is arguably the biggest coup Big Finish has achieved since Tom Baker returned in 2012. Billie Piper once said that when she was last in Doctor Who, she spent 3 hours looking in a mirror unable to find Rose. Eccleston doesn’t have that problem, he slips right back into character. It’s an utter joy to hear him back in the role that made me a Doctor Who fan. It’s like he’s never been away. The supporting cast is all outstanding, especially Camilla Beeput and Jayne McKenna as Nova and Audrey. Dan Starky puts in a fun performance as Marcus Aurelius Gallius. The music and sound design are flawless and match the pace of Briggs’ excellent direction. His love, passion and enthusiasm for this era of Doctor Who absolutely shines through. However, the biggest flaw is the plot. It’s a really decent 45-minute episode, stretched to 2hrs 30mins. On the bonus disc, Briggs talks about how he entered “several blind alleys” whilst trying to write this. What we end up with, is an amalgamation of various stories he couldn’t get off the ground and I think it shows.

We join the Ninth Doctor in the middle of an adventure and we work backwards, which I think is a risky move. Big Finish excels at non-linear storytelling, they do it a lot. But for many people, this would have been their gateway to the world of Doctor Who on audio. I consume a lot of Big Finish, (at least two full box sets a day) and even I, at times, struggled to keep up with the convoluted non-linear narrative. I found myself constantly rewinding a minute or two, just to see if I had missed something. At one point, I even thought I had started the wrong episode.

Overall, Ravagers is a bit of a mixed bag. I enjoyed the set, but I’d have prefered if they had gone with three individual stories. I’m excited for the future of this range.


Review-Ninth Doctor #1

Following last year’s successful five-part mini-series. Titan Comics and writer Cavan Scott have brought back the ninth Doctor for an ongoing series.

Eccleston’s Doctor is easily the most tragic incarnation in Doctor Who’s history. War-torn and holding the belief that he wiped out his entire species, he finds comfort and solace in the friendship with an Earth-woman, Rose Tyler and, another mysterious time traveller named Captain Jack Harkness. I’ve always felt there’s a romantic aspect to Eccleston’s portrayal, as he was “one and done”.

The story takes place sometime after Jack joined the team.

After escaping a giant worm, the TARDIS trio soon picks up a transmission from a past version of Captain Jack-sent before he had his memories erased. They then land on a planet where the Doctor is hailed as a celebrity, on this planet he is the star of a show called ‘Doctor Who’ (No, really) as soon as the trio step out the TARDIS, the Doctor is mobbed by people wanting selfies-much like Eccleston would have been at a Doctor Who convention in 2005.

“Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor” #1 could easily fit in the 2005 series. The story is fast-paced, adrenaline-fueled and filled with humour. It’s as if Cavan Scott spent an entire week watching and re-watching series 1. He gets the characterisation of 9, Rose, and Jack down so well. You’ll wish even more, that Eccleston had done another series.

This is essential reading for fans of the ninth Doctor.

Ninth Doctor #1 is out tomorrow, from Titan comics.

Happy Birthday Mr. Christopher Eccleston

Christopher Eccleston was born in Salford, Lancashire on the 16th of February 1964. After being classically trained as an actor Chris won the role of Derek Bentley in the great British Film “Let Him Have It.” I best remember Chris for his long-running role as the lead detective in the ITV show “Cracker” alongside Robbie Coltrane and for his excellent acting the well-cast BBC drama “Our Friends in the North” with Daniel Craig and Mark Strong, amongst others. He has had a moderately successful film career with hits such as “The Others” with Nicole Kidman. Strong-willed, he’ll only take parts that appeal to him as am actor; not for the fame. He even turned down a role with Steven Spielberg in “Saving Private Ryan.”

When rumours surfaced that acclaimed writer Russell T. Davies was relaunching the Doctor Who character, Chris emailed his old friend and asked to play the title role. Even though Chris admits publicly that he was not a fan of the show and was just after the opportunity to work with Russell again, he became the first actor born after the original 1963 transmission to take on the role. Maybe it was the qualities of his acting or disregarding the expectations of fans but when Chris became the 9th Doctor he set a benchmark for future actors in the role. He brought humour, humility and darkness to his portrayal and brought a new style to the Doctor/companion relationship with Rose Tyler, played by the brilliant ex-pop star Billie Piper.

We are probably not going to see Chris amid the forthcoming 50th-anniversary celebrations as he doesn’t like to talk about Doctor Who and doesn’t tend to go back to roles once he has left them; that will be a great shame. Christopher Eccleston made the Doctor character his own and made sure any future portrayal would have to be top class.

Happy 48th Birthday, Mr Eccleston.

Last year Bad Wilf broke the news as to why Chris left the role – check it out



Eccleston explains why he left Doctor Who

In an acting master class at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, Christopher Eccleston was asked why he left a such a high paid job as Doctor Who. He responded:

“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 shit. I’m not being funny about that. I didn’t want to do that and it comes to the art of it, in a way. I feel that if you run your career and– we are vulnerable as actors and we are constantly humiliating ourselves auditioning. But if you allow that to go on, on a grand scale you will lose whatever it is about you and it will be present in your work.

“If you allow your desire to be successful and visible and financially secure – if you allow that to make you throw shades on your parents, on your upbringing, then you’re knackered. You’ve got to keep something back, for yourself, because it’ll be present in your work.  A purity or an idealism is essential or you’ll become– you’ve got to have standards, no matter how hard work that is. So it makes it a hard road, really.

“You know, it’s easy to find a job when you’ve got no morals, you’ve got nothing to be compromised, you can go, ‘Yeah, yeah. That doesn’t matter. That director can bully that prop man and I won’t say anything about it’. But then when that director comes to you and says ‘I think you should play it like this’ you’ve surely got to go ‘How can I respect you when you behave like that?’

“So, that’s why I left. 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 then suddenly you’re 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.”



Eccleston victim of phone hacking

Christopher Eccleston revealed today that he was a victim of the News of the World phone-hacking scandal that is currently gripping the nation. At the Theatre Royal Haymarket he spoke to aspiring actors attending his acting master class and said that the Metropolitan Police had confirmed to him he had been hacked back in 2005 when he was starring in Doctor Who. He is pursuing legal action against News International, the parent company of News of the World.

He said:

“I will be putting the boot into Murdoch”