Death in Heaven falls upon the Earth as the dead rise from their graves and the Doctor battles to save humanity from the machinations of his oldest enemy.

Oh, don’t be so slow, it’s embarrassing. Who could fool you, like this? Who could hide right under your nose? Who could change their face any time they want? Hmm. You see, I’m not Clara Oswald. Clara Oswald has never existed.

By the conclusion of Death in Heaven two things are abundantly clear. Firstly, Peter Capaldi’s a magnificent Doctor, quite possibly the best NuWho incarnation. Secondly, it’s way past time for Steven Moffat to relinquish his stewardship of the series. Series 8’s finale is one of the most nonsensically disjointed stories ever delivered under the banner of Doctor Who. It’s stuffed fuller than a Christmas turkey with Moffat’s increasing desire to produce illogical shock revelations. The writer’s fallen in love with his own supposed cleverness and sacrificed all attempts to produce a coherent narrative flow.

Doctor Who - S8 E12 Death in Heaven

Clara’s claim to be the Doctor (accompanied by Jenna Coleman’s name coming first in the opening credits and her eyes appearing in place of Peter Capaldi’s) is Moffat’s most ludicrous, idiotic and plain stupid supposed shock revelation to date. Emerging from nowhere with zero buildup it’s sole intention seems aimed at getting fans trending Doctor Who on social media as their fervour ignites. Everything’s then shot down as logic kicks in. Come on, all the bloody Cybermen had to do was scan Clara to realise that she’s not a Time Lord. She may have been a pseudo-Doctor in Flatline but it’s patently obvious that she’s not a future or alternate version of the genuine article. Read the rest of this entry »

Louder Than Words. The final song from The Endless River – the final Pink Floyd album

The nature of death itself provides the backdrop for the return of two old adversaries as Steven Moffat’s Dark Water plunges Doctor Who into contentious territory with its risqué adult-orientated themes.

Danny, I’ll never say those words again. Not to anybody else, ever. Those words, from me, are yours now.

It’s nigh on impossible to comprehend that Dark Water stems from the same creative mind as the writer who kicked off Peter Capaldi’s time as the Twelfth Doctor with the atmospheric brilliance of Deep Breath. After being excised for the first 10 episodes of Series 8, all that’s been bad about Steven Moffat’s oversight of Doctor Who makes an unwelcome comeback. As was the case with The Day of the Doctor and The Time of the Doctor, stupidity is rife. Ludicrous character development, inappropriate sexual innuendo, supposed jaw dropping shock revelations that fail to stand up to sober followup consideration.

Doctor Who - S8 E11 Dark Water

If Amy (Karen Gillan) had threatened to destroy all the TARDIS keys in order to blackmail the Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) into bringing Rory (Arthur Darvill) back from the dead, the shock to the audience would have been profound. Not so much the shock of Rory being dead (that tended to happen a lot) but more that Amy was prepared to betray her beloved Raggedy Man. Gillan and Darvill had fantastic characters and genuine chemistry in that respect, even when the writing got ropier towards the end of their tenure.

Clara (Jenna Coleman) throwing away everything she’s built with the Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors for the sake of the sopping wet blanket that’s Danny Pink (Samuel Anderson) is patently ridiculous. Since his introduction in Into the Dalek this ex-soldier turned maths teacher has remained utterly devoid of an interesting personality, despite emotional chains wrapped tight around him. The intimation that Danny killed a child during his military service in Afghanistan receives confirmation in Dark Water. And it leaves an unsavoury aftertaste as Doctor Who is dragged into the real world in an unpleasant fashion. Granted the bullet-ridden corpse of the Afghan child Danny shoots in the fog of war isn’t shown but the implication is there and the results too easily imagined. The realistic representation of warfare isn’t appropriate for Doctor Who. Imagine a Patrick Troughton story featuring a massacre during the Vietnam war or a Tom Baker story revolving around the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Read the rest of this entry »

The Doctor is powerless as the Tree Age comes to Earth. The planet is on the brink of destruction. And not even the sonic screwdriver can help him this time!

Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

For generations to come the children of Earth will be taught how trees sprouted planet wide overnight in order to protect their world from the onslaught of an apocalyptic solar flare. Eventually fact will become fairytale and legend as all good truths do. No need to mention the presence in London at the time of the mysterious Time Lord known as the Doctor in London – he’s completely superfluous to what unfolded.

Doctor Who - S8 E10 In the Forest of the Night

You people, you never learn. If a child is speaking, listen to it!

That’s right the Doctor is completely unnecessary to the plot of In the Forest of the Night. Nothing he does in this episode affects the outcome. The Doctor spends his time blundering around the newly manifested forests trying his best not to get himself, or the children on an overnight outing from Coal Hill School, eaten by an escaped tiger. Read the rest of this entry »

Flatline is a classic NuWho adventure. It’s a glowing advert for the potentiality of a female Doctor, an ingenious twist on the “Doctor-lite” format and a slice of old school horrific Doctor Who.

Could you not just let me enjoy this moment of not knowing something? I mean. it happens so rarely.

All too frequently in NuWho the Doctor’s armed with almost omniscient foreknowledge of his foe of the week. Here in Flatline he’s completely in the dark about the two-dimensional beings he comes to label as “The Boneless”. For once the Doctor’s immense deductive skills and scientific knowledge are showcased rather than simply witnessing him reciting from his prodigious memory. It’s a fantastic journey for the audience as the Doctor frantically pick over clues, develops and rejects theories, and strives to protect his home and the Earth from destruction. It’s a reminder of a time when he’d open the doors of the TARDIS without any clue of where, what or who laid beyond the sanctuary of his timeship.

Doctor Who - S8 E9 Flatline

Despite being confined to the TARDIS console room for the majority of the episode (a return of the “Doctor-lite” stories that featured in the David Tennant years) Peter Capaldi is once again mesmerising as the Twelfth Doctor. Nine episodes in and he’s well on the way to being one of the greatest Doctors of all time. The fine balancing act between the Twelfth Doctor’s scariness and benevolence is becoming more apparent as his first series heads towards its conclusion. Yes he’s often a frightening presence for the unwary but he remains the universe’s greatest champion against evil. And in Flatline Clara gets a rare insight into his nature as she’s to forced to assume his mantle… Read the rest of this entry »

The Doctor and Clara reunite for a final outing together aboard the Orient Express. In space. Just one small problem. There’s a killer mummy on the loose. And once someone has seen it they’ve only 66 seconds left to live…

There’s a body AND there’s a mummy. I mean, can you not just get on a train? Did a wizard put a curse on you about mini-breaks?

Taking its lead from Agatha Christie’s most famous whodunnit, Murder on the Orient Express, Jamie Mathieson’s impressive debut script for Doctor Who, is one of the most rounded and enjoyable adventures for the Time Lord in quite a while. “The Queen of Crime” meets Universal Horror’s 1932 The Mummy and Hammer Horror’s 1959 The Mummy.

A gloriously lavish, scary, entertaining base-under-siege romp, Mummy on the Orient Express also contains strong echoes of Horror Express, the criminally underrated 1972 Peter Cushing/Christopher Lee starring horror yarn set aboard the Trans-Siberian Express in 1906. This is a film worth hunting down simply for Cushing’s classic line of “Monster? We’re British, you know” in retort to the suggestion that he or Lee may have been infected by the mind transferring monster.

Doctor Who - S8 E8 Mummy on the Orient Express

Peter Capaldi’s lugubrious Twelfth Doctor and the fastidious little Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, who investigated the original Murder on the Orient Express, are polar opposites in terms of character and appearance. Looking reminiscent of a Victorian undertaker, the Doctor spends much of Mummy on the Orient Express predicting doom, death and destruction. Capaldi’s Doctor owes much to the obsessive anti-heroes that Cushing and Lee played during their years at Hammer Horror, Amicus Productions, and other cinematic horror outings. Ultimately on the side of the angels but unafraid to use dark methods to achieve their victories. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s once again time for that new Hallowe’en tradition of All Hallow’s Read. On 31 October, or the days preceding, give away a scary book or three rather than handing over tricks or treats.

More information on All Hallow’s Read can be found here. Use the hashtag #AllHallowsRead on social media.

And once again Introverted Wife has done splendid posters for All Hallow’s Read. Posters for the years 2011, 2012 and 2013 can be found at the blog too.

All Hallow's Read 2014 1 How is a Raven like a Library?
All Hallow's Read 2014 2 The Pool of ReflectionsAll Hallow's Read 2014 3 Some BookAll Hallow's Read 2014 4 Light Grave Reading

 

As terror stalks the Moon and the Earth’s constant companion faces destruction, the Doctor’s alien nature finally becomes too much for Clara to cope with.

We have a terrible decision to make. It’s an uncertain decision, and we don’t have a lot of time. The man who normally helps – he’s gone. Maybe he’s not coming back. In fact, I really don’t think he is. We’re on our own…

If this series of NuWho had been split in two, as happened with Series 6 and 7, then Kill the Moon would have been the obvious point of separation. Although it’s nice to have a straight run of episodes once more (for the first time since 2010) this would’ve been a hell of a cliffhanger to leave viewers on at the end of Series 8, Part 1. Imagine the echoes of Clara’s storming out of the TARDIS in the wake of the Doctor’s actions on the Moon remaining unresolved for seven months instead of seven days.

Doctor Who - S8 E7 Kill the Moon

Peter Harness’ first script for Doctor Who was a curate’s egg of delights, horror and atrocious humour. Told to “Hinchcliffe the shit out of it” for the first part of Kill the Moon, i.e. deliver the kind of spine-chilling horror that infused Doctor Who when the legendary Philip Hinchcliffe was the producer. With cobwebbed-festooned corpses, goosebump-raising scuttlings and giant spider-like killer bacteria, this horror-tinged quota was fulfilled and exceeded. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s a comedy of errors and confusion as a mysterious Doctor with a Scottish accent once again tries to save Coal Hill School from an alien incursion.

So, if anybody needs me just, you know, give me a shout. I’ll be in the storeroom just getting the lie of the land. Yes, nobody’s taking any notice at all. Absolutely good news because it means I must be coming across just as an absolutely boring human being like you. Deep cover, deep cover.

The Caretaker is a science fiction romantic comedy. At its heart lies a bizarre love triangle between Clara (Jenna Coleman), Danny (Samuel Anderson) and the Doctor (Peter Capaldi). Clara loves Danny romantically and the Doctor platonically; Danny loves Clara romantically and dislikes the Doctor for his superior attitude; the Doctor needs Clara to reign in his recklessness and can’t understand why she’s chosen Danny over Eleventh Doctor lookalike Adrian (Edward Harrison).

Doctor Who - S8 E6 The Caretaker

Clara’s efforts to balance her dual identities of plain old English teacher and voyager through space and time have an air of almost Shakespearean farce and superhero concealment to them. Her desperate attempt to forge a loving relationship to balance out the madness experienced with a wandering mad man in a box. The Caretaker is where the wheels come off as Danny and the Doctor meet. And immediately hate each other…

A Skovox Blitzer. One of the deadliest killing machines ever created. Probably homed in here because of Artron emissions. You’ve had enough of them in this area over the years. There’s enough explosive in its armoury to take out the whole planet.

Since 1963 Shoreditch’s Coal Hill School has experienced its fair share of surreptitious alien visitations. An Unearthly Child revealed the Doctor’s granddaughter Susan (Carole Ann Ford) studying at the school. Then, mere days after Susan’s sudden departure (along with two teachers), the school was evacuated in Remembrance of the Daleks as it became a battleground for a conflict between Imperial Daleks, Renegade Daleks and the Seventh Doctor (Sylvester McCoy). Now there’s an extraterrestrial war machine called the Skovox Blitzer roaming around – attracted to the school due to all the artron energy gathered there from time traveller visitations… Read the rest of this entry »

Currently dubbed Project One, the new James Bond novel by Anthony Horowitz, creator of Foyle’s War and Alex Rider, will be published on 8 September 2015. The novel will be unique amongst the continuation novels in that it will be based on previously unseen material written by Ian Fleming. 

Set in the 1950s Project One will contain a section based upon a story treatment entitled Murder on Wheels that, along with material contained within the For Your Eyes Only and Octopussy and The Living Daylights story collections, was originally developed by Fleming for a potential James Bond TV series before the film series was created.

Set at the Nurburgring in Germany, Murder on Wheels would have seen 007 thwart a Russian plot to cause racing legend Stirling Moss to crash. Series regulars M and Miss Moneypenny are also included in the treatment.

Anthony Horowitz

Previously responsible for brilliantly resurrecting Sherlock Holmes in 2011’s The House of Silk (with a followup of Moriarty due this month) Horowitz will be following in the steps of recent continuation authors Sebastian Faulks, Jeffrey Deaver and Wiliam Boyd. Of the novels penned by this trio only Faulks’ Devil May Care has come close to evoking the spirit of Fleming’s 007. Deaver’s modern day reboot Carte Blanche failed to impress and Boyd’s Solo felt like a novel about African civil wars with Bond shoehorned in.

With a truly impressive author on board and the spirit of Bond’s creator as a jumping off point the signs for Project One are extremely positive.

The full press release from Ian Fleming Publications Ltd and the Ian Fleming Estate can be read here.