Doctor Who

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?

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.

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.

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.

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!

Lovarzi's Series 9 Guide: The Woman Who Lived October 24, 2015 08:42 - Philip Bates

Transmission: 24.10.2015.

Writer: Catherine Tregenna.

Director: Ed Bazalgette.

Guest Starring: Maisie Williams; Rufus Hound; Gareth Berliner; Elisabeth Hopper; Struan Rodger; John Voce; Ariyon Bakare; and Karen Seacombe.

It's 1651, Hounslow, and the Doctor is using his curioscanner to track down an alien artefact – when he accidentally interrupts a highway robbery. This is the notorious highwayman, The Knightmare, and his sidekick, and they form an uneasy alliance. But both sides have secrets.

The Knightmare, for instance, hasn't mentioned the lion-esque fire-breathing alien...

If you've seen The Girl Who Died, you'll know exactly who the title of this episode refers to: Maisie Williams is back as Ashildr, having had the responsibility of immortality thrust upon her by the Doctor. Or maybe she's learnt about recklessness, because here, she's not the trustworthy storyteller we saw defending the Viking village last week.

"Maisie's fantastic," writer, Catherine Tregenna told Doctor Who Magazine. "What she has to encompass, in this case of this particular character, is huge and I think it requires a lot of layers. She's got to be a match for the Doctor and outwit him... It's an incredibly layered and nuanced performance and I'm really impressed."

This is Tregenna's first script for Doctor Who¸ but fans will recognise her name from Torchwood of which she wrote four episodes, Captain Jack Harkness, Meat, Adam, and the fan-favourite Out of Time. Since then, she's been working on shows including Law & Order: UK, Lewis, and DCI Banks. Though she particularly loved last year's Listen, penned by showrunner Steven Moffat, this script is more akin to Robot of Sherwood – at least in the way the Doctor deals with the people around him.

We'll obviously explore Ashildr further, but producer, Brian Minchin says "comedian, Rufus Hound [steals] every scene." Hound, who appeared on 2013's The Next Doctor Live when Peter Capaldi was announced as the Time Lord, plays highwayman, Sam Swift, and he says he's pretty keen to return... as the Doctor's companion!

"What he represents is a kind of 'seize the day' attitude," Tregenna explains. "Bless him, he's got most of my silly jokes."

Ed Bazalgette returns for directing duties, while another familiar face also returns. Sort of. You might recognise his voice but he played another face: the Face of Boe. Struan Rodger was the (mostly telepathic) voice of the giant head that the Ninth Doctor and Rose first met in The End of the World (2005), but who returned for New Earth (2006) and 2007's Gridlock. This time, we'll actually get to see what he looks like!

This episode mainly focuses on the Doctor and Ashildr, exploring the consequences of the latter's seeming-immortality, so it's a somewhat companion-lite story. But don't worry: Jenna Coleman will be back for the following week's The Zygon Invasion...

The Woman Who Lived airs on 24th October on BBCOne at 8:20pm. Keep your eyes peeled for our review over the next few days.

Lovarzi's Series 9 Guide: The Girl Who Died October 16, 2015 20:50 - Philip Bates

Transmission: 17.10.2015.

Writers: Jamie Mathieson and Steven Moffat.

Director: Ed Bazalgette.

Guest Starring: Maisie Williams; David Schofield; Simon Lipkin; Ian Conningham; Tom Stourton; Alastair Parker; Murray McArthur; and Barnaby Kay.

Captured by Vikings, the Doctor and Clara Oswald have just 24 hours to train the villagers –farmers, fishermen, and shepherds – into a fighting force. Because one of the villagers, Ashildr has declared war on the galaxy's deadliest mercenaries, the Mire.

"Now, I'm not going to lie to you," the Doctor says. "We are facing a force with vastly superior weaponry, training, armour, posture, and personal hygiene."

But the Mire bring the Vikings' God, Odin, with them... and the Vikings don't take too kindly to having their All-Father questioned by the Doctor.

Linked with next week's The Woman Who Lived, this isn't your typical two-part adventure. They have different writers, different enemies, and a mostly different cast – but one thing they do have in common is Maisie Williams. Casting of the Game of Thrones star has caused quite a media storm with everyone asking how she's connected to the Time Lord. Could she be Susan, the Doctor's Grand-daughter? Or a splinter of Clara? Or what about Romana, a much-loved former companion?

Actually, she's playing Ashildr, a spirited young villager who wants to defend her home from the would-be alien usurpers. The Doctor, however, recognises her somehow...

"It’s so refreshing to have this futuristic element linked into [the Viking setting] too; that’s what has kept me going really, not just beards and dragons," Maisie says."There’s a whole new element that’s fed in to the sides. It just looks so great with all of us in our Viking outfits, Jenna in her space suit and the Doctor in his cool coat with his crazy sunglasses. It makes for a really cool and interesting dynamic on screen."

Jamie Mathieson returns to Doctor Who, having written last year's stand-out episodes, Mummy on the Orient Express and Flatline, so we've plenty to be excited about. "It's The Magnificent Seven," he told Doctor Who Magazine. "Structurally, I realised that fairly early on. Good guys trying to train up weak villagers to fight powerful bad guys, with the clock ticking down."

Described by many as a 'romp', somewhat in the same fashion as Robot of Sherwood (2010), The Girl Who Died is directed by Ed Bazalgette, who is perhaps best-known for the stunning visuals from the hit BBCOne series, Poldark.

And to top it all off, co-writer and showrunner, Steven Moffat teases that we might just find out where the Doctor got his face from. Could this be a return visit to Pompeii?

The Girl Who Died airs on 17th October on BBCOne at 8:20pm. Keep your eyes peeled for our review over the next few days.

Preview: Before the Flood October 9, 2015 11:25 - Philip Bates

This weekend, the Doctor comes face-to-face with the terrifying Fisher King..

Anyone else getting a Curse of Fenric (1989) vibe?

In last Saturday's Under the Lake, the Doctor and Clara were up against mysterious ghosts chanting four words over and over again under their breath. Now, separated from his companion, the Doctor has gone back in time to see if he can find out more about the major threat on this underwater base.

On a remote Army outpost, a fearsome alien warlord – the Fisher King – sets in motion a twisted plan to ensure his own survival. The ripples will be felt around the universe. Is this chain of events inevitable? And can the Doctor do the unthinkable?

Here's a brief clip to whet your appetite, with Peter Capaldi's incanration of the Time Lord alongside O'Donnell (Morven Christie) and Bennett (Arsher Ali).


In our review, we called Under the Lake "a triumph", and added:

"Please excuse such untempered enthusiasm for Under the Lake, but it's already become my favourite Twelfth Doctor story so far. Considering it's got competition from Mummy on the Orient Express and Flatline (2014), that's a great feat."

Before the Flood airs on Saturday 10th October 2015 on BBCOne, at 8:25pm and concluding at 9:10pm.

Lovarzi's Series 9 Guide: Under the Lake/ Before the Flood October 3, 2015 11:08 - Philip Bates

Transmission: 03.10.2015/ 10.10.2015.

Writer: Toby Whithouse.

Director: Daniel O'Hara.

Guest Starring: Morven Christie; Colin McFarlane; Sophie Stone; Arsher Ali; Peter Serafinowicz; Zaqi Ismail; Steven Robertson; and Paul Kaye.

It's 2119 and a mining crew discovers a spaceship and hauls it aboard their underwater base. When the Doctor and Clara arrive, the base is plagued by hollow-eyed ghosts – but as the Doctor says, "They're not ghosts; we're not nine years old." So what really are they? What are their intentions? And is it possible to meet you own ghost?

The time-travellers have a several more questions: "What’s death like? Does it hurt? Do you still get hungry? Do you miss being alive?"

Teased as having elements of The Impossible Planet/ The Satan Pit (2006), 42 (2007), and 2009's The Waters of Mars, the action then moves a few hundred years into the past, where, on a remote army outpost, the Doctor must stop the seemingly-inevitable as an alien warlord, the Fisher King, tries to ensure its own future.

This is the first base-under-siege story for a while, but there's a timey-wimey twist, while writer, Toby Whithouse told Doctor Who Magazine: "Death is the one thing which defines every single species... And what the Doctor finds so fascinating about [the creatures in this two-part tale] is they seem to have overcome this one limitation that every single lifeform has. Every sane person would regard that as terrifying, but to him, it's fascinating."

It's a welcome return for Whithouse, who has worked on Doctor Who since 2006 when his debut episode, School Reunion, reintroduced Sarah Jane Smith and K9. His last episodes was 2012's A Town Called Mercy, but it's actually a race created for The God Complex (2011) that briefly gets revisited in this two-part tale: Paul Kaye (Ripper Street; Game of Thrones) plays Prentis, a native of Tivoli (aka the most invaded planet in the galaxy!

Whithouse is reunited with Daniel O'Hara, whose worked on two previous franchises created by the writer: Being Human and last year's The Game. This is O'Hara's first gig on Doctor Who, but he's also directed four 2012 episodes of Wizards vs. Aliens, the family series created by former Who showrunner, Russell T Davies, and Into the Dalek writer, Phil Ford.

The Fisher King is voiced by Peter Serafinowicz (Shaun of the Dead) – his scream provided by Skipknot's CoreyTaylor – but the alien itself is from Arthurian legend. He's the last in a long line to protect the Holy Grail, a relic supposedly with special powers: it has the ability to give eternal youth...

Ghosts. An underwater base-under-siege. Questions about immortality. Time travel. This is Classic Doctor Who at its finest...

Under the Lake airs tonight on BBCOne at 8:25pm.

Preview: The Witch's Familiar September 24, 2015 21:16 - Philip Bates

Doctor Who Series 9 continues this weekend with The Witch's Familiar - and sees the Doctor surrounded by his deadliest enemies, the Daleks, and faced with a tough decision that could change the whole of time and space.

Trapped and alone in a terrifying Dalek city, the Doctor is at the heart of an evil Empire: no sonic, no TARDIS, nobody to help. With his greatest temptation before him, can the Doctor resist? And will there be mercy?

The BBC has released this clip of the forthcoming episode, with Peter Capaldi's Twelfth Doctor lashing out at Davros (Julian Bleach).

In our review of The Magician's Apprentice, we particularly praised Bleach:

"It's been seven years since he last played Davros (in 2008's Journey's End), but he slips back into the role effortlessly. His dialogue with the Doctor is naturally electric, and the two bounce off one another perfectly. He immediately cuts down the Doctor's assertion that the Daleks should never have been created with a simple line, accusing him of being a broken record: 'This is the argument we've had since we met.'"

The Witch's Familiar airs on Saturday 26th September, on BBCOne, at 7:45pm.

Lovarzi's Series 9 Guide: The Magician's Apprentice/ The Witch's Familiar September 19, 2015 11:28 - Philip Bates

Transmission: 19.09.2015/ 26.09.2015.

Writer: Steven Moffat.

Director: Hettie MacDonald.

Guest Starring: Michelle Gomez; Jemma Redgrave; Clara Higgins; Jaye Griffiths; Jami Reid-Quarrell; Nicholas Briggs; and Daniel Hoffman-Gill.

Doctor Who Series 9 is upon us, with Peter Capaldi's Twelfth Doctor at the helm of the TARDIS alongside his ever-reliable companion, Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman).

But with news that Jenna is leaving, what do these next 12 episodes hold for an Impossible Girl running out of time? The series kicks off with the Doctor missing, the Daleks searching for the Time Lord, and Clara driven into an uneasy alliance with Missy...

The skies over the Earth have frozen – planes suspended above skyscrapers and fields – and the one man who can help is missing from time and space. Where is the Doctor? And what is he hiding from?

Teased with the last will and testament of the Doctor, the return of Michelle Gomez as Missy, and the Doctor making a cataclysmic mistake, this opening story sets the run's precedent for two-parters: indeed, showrunner, Steven Moffat recently said that Series 9 will blur the lines between what constitutes as a multi-part tale. We've at least four two-parters this series, and that's without episodes 5 and 6, which, we're assured, are linked.

In the Radio Times, Moffat posed some very intriguing questions, namely "Why did [the Doctor] really leave Gallifrey all those centuries ago?"

Hettie MacDonald returns to the director's chair for the first time since the fan-favourite Blink (2007), which introduced the Weeping Angels – and this time, she gets to work with Daleks from all eras of the show! Because the Doctor is trapped on Skaro, the planet of the Daleks, as a prisoner of the creatures that hate him most... Taking

The irradiated deserts of Skaro were filmed in Tenerife, and Peter Capaldi told Doctor Who Magazine: "We were in a very isolated location. You had to drive quite a distance to get to it. It's not on a touristy bit of the island; it's way, way up. It looks great. It works very well."

Rather interestingly, these episodes also credit former showrunner, Russell T Davies, and further writers, Toby Whithouse, Chris Chibnall, Gareth Roberts, and Stephen Greenhorn – most likely for creating aliens that have cameos. For Whithouse, this could be the Krillitanes (from 2006's School Reunion); for Greenhorn, we're betting on the Hath (2008's The Doctor's Daughter); and Roberts' monsters include the Carrionites (2007's The Shakespeare Code), the Skovox Blitzer (last year's The Caretaker), and the Graske from the 2005 Interactive Red Button game.

Davies, of course, created a vast array of aliens (including the Slitheen, Sycorax, and the Adipose), while Chibnall's contributions also span both Doctor Who and Torchwood.

Jemma Redgrave reprises her role as UNIT's Kate Stewart, Kelly Hunter as the Shadow Architect from 2008's The Stolen Earth, and Clara Higgins returns as Ohila, a member of the Sisterhood of Karn, which she previously played in 2013's The Night of the Doctor.

The Magician's Apprentice airs tonight on BBC One at 7:40pm.

Images: BBC.