Doctor Who

Uses For Your Fourth Doctor Scarf #2 May 22, 2019 14:27 - Philip Bates

Our Tom Baker (Doctor Who)18ft Scarf is long and warm enough to keep you toasty, whether you're visiting the snowy climes of Tranquil Repose, the Ood Sphere, or, indeed, Earth!

Ambassadors of Skaro have also ensured Lovarzi that any visitors to the Dalek Asylum won't be immediately exterminated, as long as they're wearing our exclusive Dalek Scarf.


Uses For Your Fourth Doctor Scarf #1 May 22, 2019 14:25 - Philip Bates

Maybe the Mara wouldn't have been so miffed if he'd have had our Fourth Doctor 18ft Scarf to wrap around him. We're sure its warmth and accurate colours would calm even his disposition.

Apologies to our alien friends: we offer free UK delivery, but postage to Deva Loka might be difficult without the aid of a TARDIS!


Check Out This Great Cosplay at the Doctor Who Experience! May 22, 2019 14:24 - Philip Bates

We love this great photo of Katherine O'Connell, complete with bow tie and fez – and being menaced by a Cyberman!

It doesn't matter if you're a new fan or if you've been an avid viewer since 1963: the Doctor Who Experience is the perfect place to spend the day. You can see sets, props, and original monsters across two floors, as well as taking a trip in the TARDIS!

If you feel brave enough to pose alongside any monsters – including the latest additions, restored by Mike Tucker and his Model Unit, like a Tetrap (Time and the Rani), Mandrel (Nightmare of Eden), and the renegade Time Lord, Morbius (The Brain of Morbius) – we'd love to see your photos,  or share on our Facebook


We Want to See Your Selfies with Doctor Who Stars! May 13, 2019 10:00 - Philip Bates

Even the emotionless Cybermen can't resist smiling while having their photo taken with the Doctor and Missy!

Have you met any Doctor Who stars recently? Did Tom Baker try on your Fourth Doctor Scarf? Was Peter Davison impressed with your Fifth Doctor Jumper? Did you meet Peter Capaldi on-set and shelter from the rain under a TARDIS Umbrella? We love seeing your pictures so get in touch on Facebook or Twitter!


K9 Raising Money for Charity? Affirmative! May 13, 2019 09:58 - Philip Bates

In 2012, Lovarzi was proud to help out the Hyde Fundraisers by donating our Fourth Doctor Burgundy Scarf, a replica of the beautiful design worn by Tom Baker during Season 18.

The group was set up in 1985 to help charities including Children in Need, the Royal British Legion, and RSPCA by producing high-quality replicas of characters from sci-fi shows; we were particularly impressed with their rusted K9 Mark III from School Reunion (2006). "Hyde Fundraisers goes from strength to strength," enthuses John Leeson, the voice of the Doctor's faithful robotic companion, "earning the warm thanks of many deserving charities which have benefited from its activities."


Cybermen Scarf, The Pandorica Opens Gloves and Doctor Who Christmas Sweater Available Soon November 7, 2018 22:49 - Philip Bates

We are making 3 new Doctor Who products available for you to buy in next few weeks: including a festive jumper; Eleventh Doctor era gloves; and a celebration of one of Doctor Who's most memorable enemies, the Cybermen.

Doctor Who Christmas SweaterAfter his battles with the Sycorax, the Master, and Harmony Shoal, the Doctor probably prepares for trouble around Christmastime. But you can gear up for the festivities with the TARDIS and Dalek Christmas Sweater, an exclusive pattern which incorporates the Doctor's faithful time-space ship and his most prolific foes. The design is complete with killer Christmas trees (like the ones seen in The Christmas Invasion and The Runaway Bride) and snowflakes… or is that the Great Intelligence?

Made from high-quality Acrylic, this yuletide jumper will keep loved ones warm while defending Trenzalore, listening to the Singing Towers of Darillium, or wandering around the South Pole after an invasion of Cybermen.

Doctor Who has been an important part of Christmas for over a decade now. Our original Doctor Who Christmas Scarf and Hat hit shelves in 2016 and we were nonetheless blown away by demand. Our new sweater is a perfect accompaniment to these items, and we're sure you will love them.

Pandorica Opens Doctor Who Women's GlovesFor the first time ever, we're also releasing officially-licensed women’s gloves this year. The Pandorica Opens Scarf proved popular, and it's such a beautiful painting, we thought it was the ideal image to launch this extension to the range.The Pandorica Opens Gloves feature the piece by Vincent van Gogh, created as a warning to Matt Smith's Eleventh Doctor, depicting the disaster that cracked the universe: the TARDIS exploding, leading to total event collapse. The stunning picture is digitally-printed on high-quality velvet-feel fabric, so shows the screen-accurate image in all its glorious detail.

Alternatively, you can get an exclusively-designed Cybermen Scarf, which takes its repeated pattern from the ice-tombs of Telos, first seen in the Second Doctor serial, The Tomb of the Cybermen (1967). This classic story starred Patrick Troughton as the Time Lord, Deborah Watling as Victoria Waterfield, and Frazer Hines as Jamie McCrimmon.

Cybermen Doctor Who Scarf

From The Tenth Planet (1966) to Earthshock (1982), Rise of the Cybermen/ The Age of Steel (2006) to World Enough and Time/ The Doctor Falls (2017); the cybernetic race has thrived for over 50 years. Made from high-quality wool and Acrylic, The Tomb of the Cybermen Scarf is fittingly completed by the Cyber-Controller's promise: "We will survive"!

The TARDIS and Dalek Christmas Sweater (RRP £34.99) and The Tomb of the Cybermen Scarf, priced £34.99, will be available to buy from 12th November from Lovarzi.co.uk and Amazon.

The Pandorica Opens Gloves (RRP £24.99) will be available to buy in last week of November.

Members of our exclusive Doctor Who Fan Club can take advantage of a 15% discount on the Burgundy (Shorter) Scarf - and further discounts whenever new Doctor Who items are added to the range!

Become a member by clicking here

 

 

 


Doctor Who Season 18 Burgundy Scarf Available Soon in New Shorter Size October 11, 2018 23:38 - Philip Bates

Following the sell-out success of Fourth Doctor Season 18 Burgundy Scarf, you will soon be able to order this iconic look in a shorter, more manageable size.

Doctor Who Season 18 Tom Baker Scarf in Shorter Size

In 2013, we released a 12ft Season 18 Scarf – and it quickly became a fan favourite. Due to popular demand, we have made a new shorter version which is 195 cm long. That's around half the length of the previous one, meaning you can wrap up warm without dragging the tassels on the floor/ swamps of Alzarius (as Tom Baker did).

When we released a shorter version of our original Tom Baker Season 12 Scarf, we were overwhelmed by the response, especially at the Doctor Who Festival. Our full-sized scarves are great for conventions, but we know they can be unwieldy in everyday life. That's why we've made this shorter version of the Burgundy Scarf, perfect for fans to show off their credentials wherever they are.

The Fourth Doctor returned to television screens in 1980 with a new look which was fresh and bold, but still paid homage to the past. Designed by June Hudson, this darker outfit was made at the behest of incoming producer, John Nathan-Turner, and debuted in The Leisure Hive.

Baker wore this throughout his swansong season, as the Doctor faced a spiky duplicate in Meglos; explored E-Space in Full Circle, State of Decay, and Warrior's Gate; met The Keeper of Traken; and took a final fall in Logopolis.

The Fourth Doctor Season 18 Burgundy (Shorter) Scarf is made from high-quality lightweight Acrylic Chenille, staying true to the original. It also comes in a specially-designed carry-case, ideal for storage, so it's great for cosplayers and collectors.

The Fourth Doctor Season 18 Burgundy (Shorter) Scarf will be available to buy from 19th October 2018, priced £24.99, from Lovarzi.co.uk and Amazon.

 

Members of our exclusive Doctor Who Fan Club can take advantage of a 15% discount on the Burgundy (Shorter) Scarf - and further discounts whenever new Doctor Who items are added to the range!

Become a member by clicking here

Doctor Who Season 18 Scarf - Shorter Size

 


Materialising from The Vortex: A New TARDIS Knitted Tie November 23, 2017 23:41 - Philip Bates

When you're running late for work, wouldn't it be great if you could harness the power of the Time Lords and materialise in the office, five minutes early? Sadly, TARDIS Knitted Tie won't make that possible - but at least you'll look awesome!

The TARDIS has been an iconic symbol of Doctor Who since the show's very first episode in 1963; this exclusively-designed tie is our celebration of the blue box that's as instantly-recognisable as the Daleks, Cybermen, and the Fourth Doctor's multi-coloured scarf!

Made in Italy from high-quality wool and acrylic, the TARDIS Knitted Tie is soft, and resistant to fading. Available in blue and grey, it's ideal for smart and casual wear. And because it comes in a black presentation box, foil-printed with the Doctor Who logo, you can keep it as a cherished part of your collection.

Dimensionally transcendental - meaning it's bigger on the inside! – the Doctor's faithful space-time ship has carted the Time Lord all around the universe; not always where he wanted to go, but certainly where he needed to go.

Every time the TARDIS materialises in a new location, within the first nanosecond of landing, it analyses its surroundings, calculates a 12-dimensional data map of everything within a 1000-mile radius, and determines which outer shell would blend in best with the environment... and then it disguises itself as a police telephone box from 1963. It's all due to a faulty Chameleon Circuit - but we wouldn't want it any other way.

This is the second Doctor Who tie that we have manufactured, following a popular multi-coloured Fourth Doctor Knitted Tie in 2015.

The TARDIS Knitted Tie is available now, priced £24.99, from Lovarzi.co.uk

Click here to order


Doctor Who Merchandise: We Love the Official Cookbook November 16, 2017 23:33 - Philip Bates

Tired of snacking on Jelly Babies? Can't stomach another visit to the Kandy Kitchen? Fed up of Jammie Dodgers? Doctor Who: The Official Cookbook is the perfect book for you.

Written by Joanna Farrow (200 Cupcakes; Dress Your Gingerbread), this hardback from BBC Books contains recipes for 40 Doctor Who-inspired treats, including Ood Head Bread, Kookie K9, and – sure to be fattening but delicious – Adipose Pavlova!

Or you can wrap yourself up in our Pandorica Opens Scarf and tuck into some fish fingers and custard…

Grab a chance to win a FREE Doctor Who product. Click here to participate

 


Everything You Need to Know About The Power of the Daleks November 20, 2016 22:19 - Maninder Sahota

To celebrate the release of The Power of the Daleks animation on DVD and as a download through the BBC Store, we're giving away five Grey Dalek Scarves, a design exclusive to Lovarzi.

Learn more about Patrick Troughton's first serial as the Second Doctor in the infographic below, then share it on Twitter or Facebook.

To participate in free Dalek Scarf offer, simply click here and answer a Doctor Who related question, and we'll select five winners who will be notified via email. Good luck!

The competition closes on 15th December 2016. One entry per email address. Enter your details now for a chance to win a free Dalek Scarf

 The Power of The Daleks - Free Scarf Offer

Enter your details now for a chance to win a free Dalek Scarf

Full Terms and Conditions


Official Doctor Who Christmas Scarf and Hat Available Now! November 4, 2016 10:07 - Maninder Sahota

 

Get in the Christmas spirit with two new Doctor Who products from us - and members of our VIP Fan Club get 15% off!

Since 2005, Doctor Who has been the jewel in the crown of BBC1's Christmas Day schedule, and the show makes a welcome return this December after a brief hiatus. To celebrate, we are releasing a TARDIS and Daleks Christmas Scarf, and a knitted Hat with the same exclusive pattern.



Doctor Who Christmas TARDIS and Dalek Scarf                   Doctor Who Christmas TARDIS and Dalek Hat

Both scarf and hat are made from 100% premium quality Acrylic, so are soft and warm.

You've got to feel sorry for the Doctor: every time he tries to enjoy the festivities, he instead has to battle an assortment of his greatest enemies like the Master, Cybermen, and – of course – the Daleks. He even defended a town called Christmas on Trenzalore for over a thousand years...

Make sure a loved one's Christmas is a lot merrier with this exclusive design featuring the TARDIS, the Daleks, and snowflakes – or is that the Great Intelligence in its original form? It's topped off with some killer Christmas trees, just like those used by the pilot fish in The Christmas Invasion (2005) and The Runaway Bride (2006)!

The Doctor certainly has a penchant for hats: A Stovepipe satisfied the Second; the Fifth and Seventh perfected the Panama; and the Eleventh favoured a fez. We lose most of our heat through our heads (which is a particular problem for the Aplans of Alfava Metraxis!), so Christmas Hat is a perfect accompaniment for the Scarf, something we're sure even the trigger-happy River Song would approve of.

We're also offering 15% off the Christmas Scarf and Hat at the time of launch for our Doctor Who Fan Club – but there's limited stock put by for members, so register now to avoid disappointment."

You can sign up to the Fan Club for free here, and as soon as you signup you will get code to get 15% discount. All existing members will get email from us with discount code. Fans will also be the first to be notified of upcoming products and from 2017 we are planning to give free Doctor Who goodies to members of the Doctor Who Fan Club.


Lovarzi's Fourth Doctor Scarf in Have I Got News For You? Trailer November 2, 2016 22:52 - Philip Bates

In the run-up to Doctor Who's 50th anniversary celebrations in 2013, we loved this trailer for the 46th series of Have I Got News For You?, BBC1's hit panel show. Team captains, Ian Hislop and Paul Merton certainly demonstrated their great sense of style with our original, best-selling Fourth Doctor Scarf!

Have I Got News For You? has a long history of hilarious panellists and guest presenters, but our favourites are undoubtedly Tom Baker (in 1998 and 2008) and David Tennant, who acted as host in 2015 and earlier this year.


Did You Spot June Hudson in Doctor Who Spin-Off, Class? November 2, 2016 22:28 - Philip Bates

We were in for a treat when watching the first episode of Doctor Who spin-off, Class, which featured a great little cameo – and no, we're not talking about Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor!

Chased by shadows in For Tonight We Might Die, Tanya (Vivian Oparah) hides in a shop. There, we meet Mrs. Linderhof, played by June Hudson. You might not recognise her name, but you'll definitely know her work: in the 1970s and 1980s, she was a costume designer on 8 Doctor Who serials starring Tom Baker's Fourth Doctor.

This included redesigning his iconic costume, resulting in the darker outfit the Doctor wore throughout Season 18.

Lovarzi owes her a debt, as our replica Season 18 Burgundy Fourth Doctor Scarf remains hugely popular with fandom. Although June's last credit on the show was Logopolis (1981), she also had a hand in Peter Davison's outfit, which eventually resulted in the Fifth Doctor's Jumper.

Written by Patrick Ness, Class airs on the online-only channel, BBC Three every Saturday, with episodes available to watch on iPlayer.

Are you enjoying Class? Did you spot June Hudson? Which further easter eggs did you particularly like?


Doctor Who Merchandise: Peter Davison's Autobiography Out Now! October 6, 2016 01:00 - Philip Bates

As the cold evening draw in, it's great to wrap up warm in a Fifth Doctor Sweater and read a good book. And we can think of nothing better than Is There Life Outside The Box?: An Actor Despairs, the autobiography of Peter Davison.

Davison became a household name in All Creatures Great and Small, and was soon chosen to fill the considerable shoes of departing Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker in Doctor Who. He debuted as the Time Lord in 1982's Castrovalva, and across three seasons, faced Daleks, Cybermen, Silurians and Sea Devils, Omega, the Mara, and plenty more besides!

He was the incumbent Doctor for the show's 20th anniversary, but left the following year in The Caves of Androzani, a four-part serial written by Robert Holmes which frequently tops lists of fan favourite stories.

Peter then returned to the role in 2009 for the charity short, Time Crash, in which he appeared opposite the Tenth Doctor, David Tennant. As part of Doctor Who's 50th anniversary, Davison also wrote the comedy special, The Five(Ish) Doctors Reboot, starring himself alongside numerous celebrities including Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, and Paul McGann.

His autobiography has been a long time coming, and is full of his characteristic self-deprecating wit. Its subtitle, An Actor Despairs, is a riff on An Actor Prepares, an inspirational book often used by studying actors to help master their craft. Here's the synopsis for Is There Life Outside The Box?, out now:

His fans have spoken, but despite their requests, Peter Davison has gone ahead and written his autobiography anyway. It wasn't the book they tried to stop; it was more like the book they didn't want him to start. An aspiring singer-songwriter, once dubbed Woking's answer to Bob Dylan (by his mum, who once heard a Bob Dylan song).

From colonial roots - his dad was Guyanese and his mother was born in India - the family settled in Surrey where Peter's academic achievements were so unspectacular, he even managed to fail CSE woodwork, eliciting a lament from his astonished teacher ("All you have to do is recognise wood!").

Despite this, Peter has secured his place in science fiction history, becoming the fifth Doctor Who, despite nearly turning down the role. The Time Lord connection continued with the marriage of his daughter Georgia to Dr Who number ten, David Tennant.

The artist formerly known as Peter Malcolm Gordon Moffett has starred in a number of television series including Love for Lydia, A Very Peculiar Practice, At Home with the Braithwaites, and The Last Detective, and became a national treasure for having his arm up a cow in his role as Tristan Farnon in All Creatures Great and Small. He was also in a Michael Winner movie...

He made his first stage appearance with an amateur dramatic company, but The Byfleet Players' loss is now the West End's gain as he now has a number of musicals to his name, including Legally Blonde, Chicago, and Spamalot. Most recently, he starred in the box office record-breaking Gypsy where he rubbed shoulders backstage with Dames Meryl Streep, Maggie Smith, and Judi Dench, all asking him for directions to Imelda Staunton's dressing room.

One thing is for sure: of all the British screen and stage actors of the last fifty years, Peter Davison is certainly one of them and, within these pages, intrepid readers will at last have the dubious honour of sharing in his life and times as he despairs over whether there truly ever can be life outside the box.


Chris Chibnall to Replace Steven Moffat as Showrunner January 24, 2016 21:04 - Philip Bates

Chris Chibnall will take over from Steven Moffat as showrunner on Doctor Who.

Only one episode will be on screens this year - the 2016 Christmas special - while Moffat's last 12-part run, Series 10, will air in spring 2017. Chibnall's first series will be on BBCOne in 2018; it's unknown whether the show will continue with this spring transmission once Steven departs or if it'll be in the autumn slot it's occupied for the last two years.

Series 1- 5 were all transmitted in the spring, while Series 6 and 7 were split between spring and autumn.

It's unknown if a new companion will debut this Christmas, but a replacement for Jenna Coleman's Clara Oswald will be in place for Series 10.

Moffat has been head writer and executive producer since Series 5, broadcast in 2010, and has worked alongside Chibnall on The Hungry Earth/ Cold Blood (which reintroduced the Silurians), Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, and The Power of Three. Chris' first work on Doctor Who was 2007's 42, and has since created the hit crime-drama, Broadchurch for ITV.

"Feels odd to be talking about leaving when I’m just starting work on the scripts for season 10, but the fact is my timey-wimey is running out," Steven Moffat said. "While Chris is doing his last run of Broadchurch, I’ll be finishing up on the best job in the universe and keeping the TARDIS warm for him. It took a lot of gin and tonic to talk him into this, but I am beyond delighted that one of the true stars of British Television drama will be taking the Time Lord even further into the future. At the start of season 11, Chris Chibnall will become the new showrunner of Doctor Who. And I will be thrown in a skip."

Chibnall, too, is a massive fan of Doctor Who, and was head writer on the first two series of Torchwood. "Doctor Who is the ultimate BBC programme: bold, unique, vastly entertaining, and adored all around the world. So it's a privilege and a joy to be the next curator of this funny, scary and emotional family drama," Chris enthused. "I’ve loved Doctor Who since I was four years old, and I’m relishing the thought of working with the exceptional team at BBC Wales to create new characters, creatures and worlds for the Doctor to explore. Steven’s achieved the impossible by continually expanding Doctor Who's creative ambition, while growing its global popularity. He’s been a dazzling and daring showrunner, and hearing his plans and stories for 2017, it’s clear he’ll be going out with a bang. Just to make my life difficult."

Steven ushered in two Doctors: Matt Smith's Eleventh and Peter Capaldi's Twelfth, and the former said this about his departure: "I’m sad to see Steven Moffat leave. He was a wonderful, wonderful asset to the show and I had the most amazing time with him. He’s a great friend, one of the greatest writers on the planet, and I think he’s just done wonders for Doctor Who. I’m forever indebted to him."

Naturally, everyone at Lovarzi would like to congratulate Chris Chibnall on his new appointment, and we look forward to the brilliant timey-wimey days ahead. And we also have to say a fond farewell to Steven... but not just yet. There's still 13 episodes of his wonderful tenure to go!

Images: BBC


Doctor Who Festival Free Scarf Offer Winners Announced December 16, 2015 22:50 - Maninder Sahota

We are happy to announce the winners for our Free Tom Baker Shorter size scarf offer. Random entries were selected from all the entries we received at Doctor Who Festival.

Congratulations to following winners:

Luci Blatch-Hanlon 
Darren Chandler 
Paul Sparrowham 
Claire Griffiths 
John Hundson 
Moray Grant 

We will like all of you to get in touch with us via email sales@lovarzi.co.uk with your address so we can ship the scarf to you soon. 

Sorry for delay in announcing the winners, we misplaced our entries box and just found that last week so have announced the winners today. 

In 2016 we will run a free Doctor Who product offer every two weeks. So follow us on facebook and twitter to know when next offer goes live. 

We wish you Merry Christmas and Very Happy New Year.


Lovarzi's Series 9 Guide: Heaven Sent November 28, 2015 16:03 - Philip Bates

Transmission: 28.11.2015.

Writer: Steven Moffat.

Director: Rachel Talalay.

Guest Starring: Jami Reid-Quarrell.

The Doctor is trapped and alone.

Stuck in a seemingly-endless castle, nightmarish remnants of his past surrounding him and a photo of his dead companion staring down at him, this is a challenge the like of which he's never faced before. Teleported from the Trap Street, he finds himself pursued by the deadly Veil.

And if he survives, his reward will be the one place he's longed for.

"I confess," he says. "I am afraid."

This is the penultimate episode of Doctor Who Series 9, and sees the mysteries of the previous 10 episodes unfold. What is the Hybrid that's been talked about since the Doctor faced Davros on Skaro? The Doctor knows... Is Clara really gone? And what are the contents of the Time Lord's Confession Dial?

This is the very first 'one-hander' in Doctor Who history: that is, aside from the sole monster, only Peter Capaldi's Twelfth Doctor features. "It's the first time we've ever done an episode like it," Brian Minchin, executive producer, says. "And it's the most virtuoso, fantastic piece of writing from Steven [Moffat, showrunner]."

"It occurred to me that I had just written a huge monologue for him at the end of [The Zygon Inversion]. Ten minutes. I was typing forever in that," Moffat explained to Radio Times. "And I just thought, 'maybe we don't need anyone else – we don't need to cut to anyone nodding – it's just him?'"

Capaldi adds that it's "undiluted Doctor Who" that reminded him of The Mind Robber, the 1968's Second Doctor classic. Indeed, it'll be as experimental as that story, as well as recent outings like Midnight, Listen, and Sleep No More.

This concluding two-parter is the directorial return of Rachel Talalay who helmed last year's finale, Dark Water/ Death in Heaven, and she enthused to Doctor Who Magazine: "I was relived and delighted when the invitation came in, to come back. I had no idea how different it was going to be this time in terms of scripts. They couldn't be more different o last year, or to each other – a two-parter where each part is so completely different."

It's also the return of Jami Reid-Quarrell, the only other actor apart from Capaldi in Heaven Sent: we last saw Jami as Colony Sarff in the Series 9 opener, The Magician's Apprentice/ The Witch's Familiar.

So will the Doctor survive this never-ending maze? What is the Veil? How will Series 9 be wrapped up?

Heaven Sent airs tonight on BBCOne at 8:05pm, with a duration of 55 minutes.


Review: Face the Raven November 27, 2015 20:20 - Philip Bates

End of the line. Here we are again, saying goodbye.

It seems only yesterday that we were bidding Amy and Rory a fond farewell, and even though Clara's been travelling in the TARDIS for a long time, it's still just as tough. Is she properly gone? We'll find out over the next couple of episodes, but for now, this is it.

We'll get it out of the way: it was immensely sad. A little odd, too.

Face the Raven is the first Doctor Who by Sarah Dollard (Being Human; The Game) and what a way to debut! Not only does she bring back two supporting characters, she also gets rid of a main companion and throws in as many aliens as possible. And all brought together thanks to the neat concept of trap streets.

They're real. Well, not entirely, but Clara's tale of cartographers including a fake street so they'd know if their work had been copied by others is entirely true – it's one of those interesting nuggets of information Doctor Who frequently unearths. With a whole world available to us online, maps on our phones and courtesy of Google, the idea of hidden streets is fascinating.

It's realised as a typical magical location, cobbles and olde worlde houses, shadows and the alien. Having an unknown landscape potentially around each corner once again harks back to those early First Doctor days when the otherworldly could be found anywhere.

A stark contrast to the futuristic visuals of last week's Sleep No More, the trap street gives director, Justin Molotnikov something new to explore. It's not as impressive as his work in the La Verrier Space Station but that's to be expected; Sleep No More reveled in its directorial brilliance, its whole premise hinging on how well it was framed.

Nevertheless, Molotnikov impresses. The trap street is bookended by bright explorations of the modern world, with echoes of The Day of the Doctor (with Clara hanging from the TARDIS, just as the Eleventh Doctor did in the 50th anniversary special), and her first 'proper' adventure, The Bells of St. John in its vibrancy.

Whether it's intentional or not, an alien mask used in The Rings of Akhaten and Nightmare in Silver also turns out to be the true face of Kabel (Simon Manyonda). Maybe there's also a bit of the town called Christmas (The Time of the Doctor) in the trap street too: regardless, with aliens cropping up left, right, and centre, viewers are reminded of the recent past with startling regularity. Judoon, Sontarans, Ood, and Cybermen turn up: Clara might not have met all of those aliens on-screen but it does round off her adventures well.

Her send-off doesn't feel entirely perfect, however. For someone so intrinsic to the Doctor – scattering herself through his time stream, talking him out of destroying Gallifrey, helping him come to terms with his new incarnation – her death is shockingly pointless.

Why does she die? Because she messes up.

She's fashioned herself in the Doctor's shadow and has been heroic through and through. Her love of life aboard the TARDIS has consumed her absolutely, but not in the same way Donna, for example, was captivated by it. Donna wanted to stay to see the universe. Clara, it seems, wanted to stay so she could save the universe.

Her final act, then, is to save as many as she can from the Doctor's revenge. She sacrificed herself for a friend she'd seemingly only met once before. Ultimately, her death comes as a result of two supporting characters, Rigsy (Joivan Wade) and Ashildr (Maisie Williams) – or Me or Mayor Me, if we must.

You can't dislike Rigsy for it, though. He was great in Flatline, and he was great here as well. Sadly, he's not given an awful lot to do: Rigsy's merely a means to an end, caught up in something out of his control.

It's Ashildr who will take much of the blame from fans, I'm sure. Williams was superb in The Girl Who Died, but she was an entirely different person in The Woman Who Lived – and not a nice one. She might've carried out her plan for altruistic reasons, to save the street, but she remains far from likeable. What's more, her final scene in The Woman Who Lived, in retrospect, seems a missed opportunity. Maybe she'll return and there'll be a narrative reason for her essentially threatening the Doctor, but for now, it falls flat.

Her promise to the Doctor that humans in general (but Clara specifically) "blow away like smoke", though, is beautifully literal.

The Quantum Shade is one of the most successful aspects of the tale. The Raven is a great presence, a truly effective piece of symbolism, as is the chronolock, hanging around the necks of Clara, Ashildr, and Rigsy. The notion isn't properly explored; that's actually a good thing, adding to this almost mythical idea of a creature intent on delivering death, no matter what.

Honestly? I never suspected Clara would be killed. Not properly, and not so violently. It was a painful death. Many notable deaths of previous companions have been off-screen – yes, even Amy and Rory's living-to-death demise – but this was presented with horrific honesty.

There was nothing timey-wimey about this. Her splinters weren't involved. She didn't save the Doctor. She just died.

It's an extraordinarily brave move. We saw the Quantum Shade take her, and we saw her fall to the ground. So did the Doctor. There's something anti-climatic about it, but certainly not in a bad way. If anything, that made it even more touching.

The intimate conversation, and the words that were never said, exposed the leads' admirably. Clara was strong until the end. She was selfless and accepting. The Doctor fell apart so subtly. His rage caved in as he asked her to stay by his side. "Don't run," he says, pained. "Stay with me."

Next week, it's the Doctor's time to run. But for now...

Goodbye, our Impossible Girl. We'll always remember you.


Review: Sleep No More November 20, 2015 18:33 - Philip Bates

"You must not watch this."

That's a deceptively clever opening line. Because whenever someone says that, the thing they're trying to warn you off suddenly becomes immediately compelling, certainly to the point where you have to watch it. In fact, Sleep No More relies heavily on you keeping your eyes wide open and paying close attention.

Yep, that's just what everyone wants.

It's a major bug-bear of mine that people complain they don't understand what's going on, but don't actually pay attention. They're too distracted by social media or the phone going off. Doctor Who, however, is something that you really need to keep an eye on; dedicated fans especially won't turn away from the screen. Gagan Rassmussen (Reece Shearsmith) – and thus writer, Mark Gatiss – is betting on this.

Sleep No More is a whole different layer of 'meta,' not content with blurting out "Doctor Who?" at given opportunities or wishing all of us at home a very merry Christmas. Because the whole point of this episode is... the episode. That, in itself, is the monster, and on repeat viewings, we're still not party to what's 'real' and what's not.

That's a fascinating conceit, giving a solid reason for the experimental nature of the story's presentation. Why is it a found footage serial? Because that's the whole point.

Thanks to a lack of proper titles and soundtrack, you really feel like this was salvaged and immediately aired. The makeshift title was a welcome one-off change, smartly executed, while the absence of Murray Gold's typically-wonderful tracks puts you on the backfoot. Gold's greatly experienced with adding layers of tension to tales, but here, you still get that effect because it feels more true to life.

It's not entirely without music, of course, and Mr. Sandman is a useful plot point throughout. Actually, it's a great representative of the Morpheus creature: you'll be singing this infectious song long after the credits roll. There's also something eerie about the rendition – that only an earworm like that, first recorded in 1954, could still crop up in the 38th Century and so completely at odds with the environment. The La Verrier Space Station is now a dark, grim place to be and those cheery pop singers juxtapose with that and the supposedly cosy Morpheus Machine. It blurs the definition of dreams and nightmares.

Ah yes, an earworm. An argument could be made that there's a link between this episode and Under the Lake/ Before the Flood, just a few episodes ago. I loved the two-parter, but this arguably handles the notion more deftly. Instead of carving the alien symbols on the minds of the Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman), and co., the electrical connections are forced onto the viewer.

Although there are many 'firsts' for Doctor Who in this episode, it nonetheless alludes to various other stories and definitely has a similar tone to adventures like The Impossible Planet/ The Satan Pit, 42, and even Image of the Fendahl. Sleep No More references Frontios (and I love Frontios!) and Doctor Who and the Silurians, once again bringing up Homo Reptilia's naming problem.

I can't help but feel that its close cousins are The Edge of Destruction and Midnight. Both encapsulate the experimental nature of the show, sometimes by necessity and sometimes as the main purpose of the plot. The two stories are poles apart, but the restrictions make them divisive and massively interesting.

That's Doctor Who down to a tee. It's why the show is celebrating its 52nd birthday very soon.

(Similarly, audio adventures like Whispers of Terror and Dead Air also utilise their own format well, both incredibly effectively. If you've not heard them, you need to.)

The Edge of Destruction, Midnight, Sleep No More: these are stories that enrich the series and showcase how malleable the format is; they will never become the norm but they still needed telling. They're important.

All three feel rather restricted – in a positive way. Last series, I got annoyed by Deep Breath and, to a slightly lesser extent, Into the Dalek because they felt like they needed to be widescreen movie-esque pieces but instead their visuals were oddly stunted. In Sleep No More, that's the whole point.

If you're well-versed in Who, you'd have likely picked up the impossible camera angles, particularly those from Clara's POV. Viewer immediately presume the rescue crew have headcams, and it's only when Nagata (Elaine Tan) says they don't have those, that the implications start to sink in.

Director, Justin Molotnikov should be applauded for such a stunningly-realised episode. His work is a real pleasure to behold; every shot has really been agonised over. The bold, striking visuals are reminiscent of Silence in the Library/ The Forest of the Dead, The Bells of St. John, Cold War, and even stories as far back as the first episode of The Sensorites.

Steven Moffat, showrunner, has previously said that every new writer and director needs to mould Doctor Who, to make it their own, and Molotnikov does this expertly. Sleep No More is a masterclass in first-person storytelling.

And yet it's not wholly satisfying. While the rescue crew generally feel real, the nature of 474 (Bethany Black) leaves a lot unexplored. Maybe we'll come back to the Grunts in future – there's definitely something interesting about the concept – but for now, she seems somewhat undercooked. It might've tied into the wider Whoniverse a little better if she were Flesh, for instance...

Another point of confusion is its conclusion. Sometimes, the Doctor loses. Fine. Good, even! We can't have a perfect hero. But the structure does leave something to be desired. Can you imagine the Doctor really just disappearing in the TARDIS and letting the wider issues resolve themselves?

Like so many experimental episodes, I do wonder what the casual viewer would make of it. The show shouldn't shy away from being edgy and decidedly different in favour of a typical Monster of the Week drama simply to satisfy the masses. Still, the narrative would seem awfully segmented if you're not one to rewatch the story in light of Rassmussen's final admission.

These problems make the story extremely divisive: one group will no doubt call it a terrible, dull, and ultimately unenjoyable story, while the others would call it fantastic art. In case you're wondering, I'm part of the latter group.

The biggest shame is that Sleep No More doesn't give Clara enough to do. Seen as it's looking increasingly likely that next week's Face the Raven will see her leave the TARDIS, it really does taint this episode. Even if she stays until Series 9's end, we still don't have much longer with Ms. Oswald.

Please do excuse me. I think I've something in my eye.


Lovarzi's Series 9 Guide: Sleep No More November 12, 2015 11:17 - Philip Bates

Transmission: 14.11.2015.

Writer: Mark Gatiss.

Director: Justin Molotnikov.

Guest Starring: Reece Shearsmith; Elaine Tan; Neet Mohan; Bethany Black; Paul Courtenay Hyu; and Zina Badran.

"You must not watch this," warns Professor Rassmussen. That might not seem the brightest thing to say to entice viewers in – but it's actually remarkably clever. After all, if someone tells you not to do something, isn't that the very thing you're going to do?

The Doctor and Clara arrive on the Le Verrier Space Station where the Professor has created the Morpheus Machine. In five minutes, it can give you all the benefits of a good night's sleep, and then you don't have to rest again for another month. "Congratulations, Professor; you've conquered nature," the Doctor says. "You've also created an abomination."

It's used on the Indo-Japanese space station that orbits Neptune – but suddenly, everything goes silent.

This is a Doctor Who first: an episode comprised of 'found footage', ie. where the story is told through camera recordings, with characters not only addressing each other and the threat but also the audience. "This episode is assembled from footage found in the wreckage of a crashed space station," producer, Brian Minchin teased. "We're just putting it out as it was discovered."

Writer, Mark Gatiss finished the script back in March, and promises scares-a-plenty. "It's been quite a challenge to make because you have to break a lot of the usual rules in terms of what you can actually show," he says. "Anything you can do to shake the format up is very exciting and that's what we've done."

It's a very different tale to his previous two, The Crimson Horror (2013) and Robot of Sherwood (2014), both of which were humorous affairs (though the former remained admittedly dark). Gatiss has been working on the show since 2005, and his previous contributions include The Idiot's Lantern (2006), Victory of the Daleks (2010), and Cold War (2013).

Sleep No More will air on the weekend of the Doctor Who Festival, which Mark will be attending (and so will Lovarzi – so keep an eye out for us at Stall DW18!).

Guest star (and friend of Gatiss), Reece Shearsmith plays the creator of the Morpheus Machine, Rassmussen, and he says the found-footage angle of the episode was an interesting challenge: "Time was taken during filming to make sure we never broke the conceit of the episode, and so a lot of time was spent capturing the action from various characters POV's. It was quite meticulous and the action I think feels very raw and ‘captured’... It's very odd doing that because it is counter intuitive to the way you film anything else ever!"

Sleep No More airs on 14th November on BBCOne at 8:15pm.


Review: The Zygon Inversion November 11, 2015 20:40 - Philip Bates

It's very hard not to be overly enthusiastic once a particularly exciting episode of Doctor Who airs. That adrenaline still courses through you, and you start to use all sorts of superlatives. It's the reason the Internet is often littered with people exclaiming serials to be "best Doctor Who ever!"

Let's not fight over how enjoyable The Zygon Inversion is. It's already seen by many as a 'classic.'

In fact, perhaps the only reason this serial won't be remembered as one of the best is its opening part, The Zygon Invasion which somewhat muddies the water. Quite often, it's the case that the first episode is generally considered far superior to the following parts: namely, these include An Unearthly Child, The Ark in Space, and Utopia. (Let's be clear, though: this is all so subjective because The Ark in Space is a masterpiece in its entirety, and An Unearthly Child just has a bad rep.)

Here though, I can't help but feel that if you could compress the narrative from Invasion into Inversion, this would've been the most successful two-parter of the Twelfth Doctor era.

The Zygon Inversion is very different to its preceding episode and that makes things far more interesting than if writer, Peter Harness delivered just the same. The international scope is missing, as is a main UNIT attack force, Colonel Walsh (Rebecca Front), and the rather irritating "President of the World" strand.

Instead, we get an intense personal piece that makes you genuinely care about the characters involved. And that makes this stand out as an exceptional piece of television.

We'll get it out of the way: there were two incredible performances here, and they're both from the leads. Peter Capaldi is an absolutely brilliant tortured soul, and Jenna Coleman is great, as ever, as Clara Oswald and even more captivating as Bonnie the Zygon.

Without a doubt, the Twelfth Doctor's speech about war will go down as definitive. It ranks amongst the Fourth Doctor's "indomitable" monologue and the Eleventh Doctor's stand at Stonehenge (in The Pandorica Opens) and Akhaten (The Rings of Akhaten). Actually, the Eleventh Doctor had loads of stunning speeches, including pieces in The Eleventh Hour, Vincent and the Doctor, The God Complex, and The Time of the Doctor. Bizarrely, though, we weren't given an iconic Peter Capaldi speech in Series 8 – the closest we came was in Flatline – so frankly, it's about time!

He shows a tempered anger and anguish as he explains that, "When you fire that first shot, no matter how right you feel, you have no idea who's going to die. You don't know whose children are going to scream and burn; how many hearts will be broken; how many lives shattered! How much blood will spill until everybody does what they're always going to have to do from the very beginning: sit down and talk."

And finally, we get an allusion to The Day of the Doctor that feels genuinely right. The Doctor was once going to press another button and wipe out all of his own kind. The thing that stopped him then was Clara – and this Zygon now wears her face. In a beautiful inversion of that scene from the 50th anniversary, he has to beg her to change her mind.

Except, if you know Doctor Who at all, you'd have realised very early on that the boxes were always going to be empty. The Doctor would never hand any race the capability to wipe out everything and everyone.

Remarkably, that doesn’t matter: it remains a startlingly intense scene, one with real peril.

Peter Capaldi has spoken in the past about how he initially found acting opposite the Daleks difficult because they don't offer a conventional eyeline. It was, then, a genius move to have him play off Jenna Coleman, who has never been anything less than fantastic.

It's immensely pleasing to see an 'evil' version of Clara. She's unsettling, stunning, and affecting. Jenna really gave this her all – which makes it even sadder to think she'll be leaving imminently.

It's not fair, however, just to highlight these two actors. Let's not forget Jemma Redgrave as Kate Stewart, who has become such an important part in Doctor Who so easily, it's astonishing. For her, too, the scene in the Black Archive is memorable, one of her best so far. In one episode, she goes from quoting her father – "five rounds rapid" – to apologising to the Doctor.

Sure, she'll return to her gun-toting ways, thanks to a handy memory-wipe, but this was a touching nuance to a character that could've just been a mere soldier. It's reminiscent of The Power of Three where she was witty and intelligent. Since that, she's been diminished, but at least there's a glimmer of hope again.

Ingrid Oliver also puts in a solid performance and Osgood's return feels justified now; last week, it simply felt shoe-horned in, but the very idea of the Osgood Box (well, boxes) is smart and feels true to both her and the Doctor.

Osgood will return once more, I'm sure, but fingers crossed it won't be a further opportunity for a Zygon story. I'd like to see her as an active member of UNIT, not just a cosplaying fan of the Doctor.

There's not a huge amount of narrative in The Zygon Inversion, but that's certainly not to say it was an insubstantial story. The dialogue is where this tale excels, and no, not solely in that scene in the Black Archive. That one does tend to swell in your memory to shadow other excellent plot strands, namely the claustrophobic dream sequence with Clara (a la Last Christmas), and that sole Zygon, Etoine (Nicholas Asbury) forcibly being revealed living among his human neighbours.

There's a wonderful juxtaposition there: body horror as the true alien emerges but real sadness in his rhetorical "I never wanted to fight anyone; I just wanted to live here. Why can't I just live?" Still, Bonnie's plan seems half-baked at best: without what the Osgood Box supposedly can do, does she really intend to personally visit 20 million of her own kind in order to force them out into the open?

It's all perfectly lit and the direction by Daniel Nettheim is ideal for this confined story with a huge scale. Nettheim is more than capable of presenting atmospheric scares alongside international environs: he's got a great sense of what Doctor Who actually is and how it can look. Here's hoping he's invited back for Series 10.

Niggles persist – the biggest being that it's the Doctor's former companion, Harry Sullivan (a personal favourite) who created the Z67 gas. It's simply not something you can ever envisage Harry doing.

Nonetheless, it is hard not to be overly enthusiastic about The Zygon Inversion because it has so much going for it. Great performances, great dialogue, great direction: these all combine to make truly great Doctor Who.


Preview: The Zygon Inversion November 7, 2015 11:46 - Philip Bates

Who do you trust?

The Doctor thought he knew. And then his plane was blown up. Tonight, we find out what happens when a rebellious Zygon faction wants to take the world - and has already succeeded in taking over London.

Shapeshifting Zygons are everywhere in the UK, and there is no way of knowing who to trust. With UNIT neutralised, only the Doctor stands in their way. But how do you stop a war? And what can the Doctor do to save his friends?

The BBC has released two spoilerific clips, but if you'd already gathered that the Doctor and Osgood survived that explosion, this one isn't going to ruin your enjoyment of The Zygon Inversion:

In our review of The Zygon Invasion, we said:

"Although it's been billed as such, it's simply not a thriller. Tonally, too, this isn't a sequel to The Day of the Doctor. It stands as an entirely separate entity, and with expectations altered, and the plot set up, I have every hope that next week's The Zygon Inversion will excel."

Written by Peter Harness and Steven Moffat, The Zygon Inversion airs tonight (7th November) on BBCOne at 8pm.


Review: The Zygon Invasion November 6, 2015 11:28 - Philip Bates

Once upon a time, there were three Doctors, two Osgoods, and one peace treaty.

The Day of the Doctor seems so long ago now, the show tonally changed, but I'm definitely behind the school of thought that Doctor Who should link to the past, building on that continuity, without leaning too heavily on its history. Series 9 has done this well with nods and allusions to Harold Saxon, Destiny of the Daleks, Journey's End, and Kill the Moon. The Zygon Invasion is the only one so far, however, that directly follows on from a past story.

That might sound a brave move, but the 50th anniversary special was watched by 12.8 million in the UK alone (not including cinema screenings or iPlayer) and this was a dangling plot-thread that needed to be cleared up. It's fair to say the majority who saw The Zygon Invasion recalled the events of The Day of the Doctor.

But was it a wise move? It's an interesting step, almost asking for comparisons between a blockbuster event and this two-parter, nestled near the middle of Series 9.

Just like Day, it changes the pace of the show quite considerably, moulding it into something slightly more akin to Spooks (or MI5 in America) at times – with lashings of Invasion of the Bodysnatchers.

As a 'sort of' sequel to The Day of the Doctor, Death in Heaven, and even Terror of the Zygons, with political ideals, morality questions, UNIT, and the task of bringing back Osgood (Ingrid Oliver) in a justified way, this episode had a long checklist, and as such, it ends up being a real mixed bag.

Its sombre tone is a good extension of the last episode; fortunately, a lot more happens to keep us interested. Nonetheless, there's something missing. The Zygon Invasion doesn't instantly grab you and refuse to let go. Previous serials like The Caves of Androzani, The Waters of Mars, and The Impossible Astronaut/ Day of the Moon manage to remain brooding but are still fast-paced and engaging. They have a drive and excitement about them that this week's offering simply doesn't.

The story is certainly an interesting one, though. Anyone could be a traitor; anyone could turn out to be someone else. There's suspicion in the air, and indeed, someone everybody trusts turns out to be a Zygon. It was quite obvious, especially after Clara, a responsible teacher, leaves a vulnerable child in a decidedly dodgy situation – not to mention her glee at supposedly despatching Zygons in the underground tunnel.

It doesn't matter: Jenna Coleman is utterly brilliant here. Her reveal is perfectly handled. It looks as if next week's episode will focus largely on Clara/Bonnie, and after her barely being in The Woman Who Lived (and considering she's leaving sometime during this run), this is more than welcome.

In fact, I'm really pleased we get to see an evil take on the character!

Knowing UNIT has been almost completely eliminated is shocking, but this UNIT is far removed from the force we saw in serials like The Daemons, Battlefield, or even The Power of Three. Still, it was surprisingly horrible to know Jac (Jaye Griffiths) had been killed, and so horribly too. After briefly appearing in The Magician's Apprentice, she wasn't afforded great dialogue – "pardon my sci-fi, but this is beyond any human technology" is not a line any member of UNIT should be using – so it's testament to Griffith's performance that she comes across as a warm and smart person.

The most stand-out element of The Zygon Invasion was its direction and location work. This is a stunning-looking story, unlike anything we've seen; the nearest comparison would be the Eleventh Doctor tales set in America, including A Town Called Mercy. The colours and light are stark and rich, the environs immediately beautiful. I'd be more than happy to see Daniel Nettheim return to the show on a regular basis.

So if the plot isn't to blame for its less-than-captivating feeling, it might be the failing of characterisation and individual narrative strands. Frankly, there were too many dumb things crowding an otherwise smart tale. Several things just didn't ring true.

Kate Stewart (Jemma Redgrave) is remarkably slow when confronted with supposedly the only person to survive a Zygon attack on the city of Truth or Consequences. (My money's on her shooting the alien with the gun she had tucked away in her jacket, and impersonating the Zygon.) Similarly, why did the head of UNIT not have any back-up with her at all?

Probably the dumbest scene is at the church in Turmezistan: you can maybe believe one officer falling victim to the pleas of an alien pretending to be his mum... but all of them? Not one soldier kept their wits about them; not one decided not to shoot but nonetheless keep their distance. It's very unlikely.

The attack on the village using the drone was far more realistic. One person's inability to carry out a strike on people who have taken the faces of loved ones is entirely believable.

Elsewhere, however, this was a very clever story, paralleling real-world events and forcing us to confront topics that are permanently in the news. It brings us back to the meaning of the words 'alien' and 'invaders'. The Doctor aptly notes, "This is a splinter group. The rest of the Zygons - the vast majority - they want to live in peace."

The opening gambit from the two Osgoods also hits home the message straight away. Sure, it's a little on-the-nose, but sometimes, we need that. It remains a grey area, with plenty to talk about, and that's what Doctor Who is about a lot of the time – the Third Doctor era most notably!

The message does tend to get in the way, sadly. Its moody tone doesn't really let up: that's fine, except the Twelfth Doctor here is written as if he's in the same mindset as during Series 8. But he's not that man anymore. I've praised the fact that Capaldi's Time Lord has had an extra injection of humour this series, but that's absent throughout The Zygon Invasion (bar one or two lines). Even the scene with the Doctor in the playground lacks anything to raise a smile.

This is such a massive shame because Peter commands better than that.

And despite his admittedly blood-soaked hands, the Doctor's care-free "try to kill as few of them as possible; I need to have someone to negotiate with" isn't right at all.

If this all sounds very negative – unfairly so, in fact - it's because the story stumbles under the weight of expectations. The pace isn't break-neck, so it's not engaging enough, despite conveying intriguing notions that really should capture the audience. Although it's been billed as such, it's simply not a thriller. Tonally, too, this isn't a sequel to The Day of the Doctor. It stands as an entirely separate entity, and with expectations altered, and the plot set up, I have every hope that next week's The Zygon Inversion will excel.


Lovarzi's Series 9 Guide: The Zygon Invasion/ The Zygon Inversion October 30, 2015 19:58 - Philip Bates

Transmission: 31.10.2015/ 07.11.2015.

Writer: Peter Harness.

Director: Daniel Nettheim.

Guest Starring: Jemma Redgrave; Jaye Griffiths; Ingrid Oliver; Rebecca Front; Aidan Cook; and Tom Wilton.

The Zygons are back – and so is Osgood, the Doctor's biggest fan. But she's dead... isn't she?

We're officially in the second half of Series 9; episodes 7 and 8, and the third two-parter of the run (or fourth depending on how you categorise The Girl Who Died and The Woman Who Lived)! This one has an international scale: because the Zygons are amongst us. Everywhere.

Following the events of The Day of the Doctor (2013), there's an uneasy peace on Earth. Humans and Zygons live together – but not in perfect harmony. The Doctor and Clara are called in by UNIT when Osgood, somehow now alive, is kidnapped by a troublesome faction of the shape-shifting aliens.

We're on the brink of a global crisis, and the Doctor has to learn that peace is never easy.

Rebecca Front's Colonel Walsh sets out the problem quite succinctly: "Any living thing in this world, including my family and friends, could turn into a Zygon and kill me any second now. It’s not paranoia when it’s real."

"If it's about anything," Peter Harness told Doctor Who Magazine, it's about the difficulty of maintaining a ceasefire. That's something Steven [Moffat, showrunner] really drew out of it; how in a very realistic way, in a very human way, how difficult it is to stop people fighting each other."

Harness returns to the series, fresh off the TV adaptation, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, and showrunning Wallander; last year, he contributed probably the most controversial episode of Doctor Who Series 8, Kill the Moon. This year's contribution is very different, however: more of a political thriller... with an added injection of Invasion of the Bodysnatchers.

Peter Capaldi is particularly enthusiastic about having the Zygons back. He told Blogtor Who: "I was very lucky, I made a film many years ago with a very little part called Dangerous Liaisons with Glenn Close and John Malkovich which was set in the 18th Century and had the most beautiful costumes. The costume designer was James Acheson, who had created the Zygons. Because he worked on Doctor Who, before he went on to great success and acclaim in the movies, all I wanted to do was talk to him about Zygons! He created those things with limited resources; I think it’s a great testament to his talent."

Director, Daniel Nettheim is new to Doctor Who, although he did work on four episodes of K9 in 2010. Further credits include Line of Duty, Humans, and Whitechapel. He's responsible for giving the show an international feel, with a narrative that takes us to New Mexico, through London, and to the fictitious Turmezistan.

UNIT is back, spearheaded by Kate Stewart who we last saw in the series opener, The Magician's Apprentice – and Osgood is a further returning face. Yes, she died in 2014's Death in Heaven, but when has death ever got in the way of a good story? With shape-changing aliens involved, for anyone thinking they've got the solution to her resurrection down to a tee, Peter Harness says, "It isn't quite that simple..."

The Zygon Invasion airs on BBCOne at 8:15pm on 31st October 2015, only the second episode of Doctor Who to ever screen on Hallowe'en!