DOCTOR WHO RE-WATCH – SEASON FIVE

We are so very lucky to have so much of season five available to us on DVD. There was a time when all we had was The Tomb of the Cybermen, and over twenty years ago we didn’t even have that! In late-2012, early-2013 I had to re-watch the entire series for my book Companions, and during that re-watch the only way I could research season five was with audio soundtracks and reconstructions online! Two years on…?

Victoria_in_Tomb_of_the_Cybermen

Thanks to some wonderful animation we have The Ice Warriors complete, and with the discovery of The Enemy of the World and most of The Web of Fear in late 2013, we now have over half of that season on DVD! Yay? Oh god, yes!

What with the huge gap of missing stories through season three and, especially, season four, we don’t really get to see the development of the series, only snapshots here and there. As such re-watching season five is almost like watching a completely different show. Yes, it’s still features the Doctor and the TARDIS, but in every way that counts it feels different. The performances are more polished, the scripts more coherent and layered, the direction is smart with some really fantastic location work peppered throughout. And then there’s Jamie… In the small amount of material we have from season four we don’t get to see a lot of Jamie. In The Moonbase, the only full Troughton story available on DVD (completed with animated episodes) Jamie is not in it a great deal, and when he is he’s mostly been given lines originally written for Ben and Polly. But in season five his full character hits you in the face — the humour, the loyalty, the protectiveness… For the Second Doctor there is no doubt that Jamie is the companion (and hardly surprising as he was in all but one Second Doctor adventure).

It is so very difficult to choose a favourite story from season five. I thought adding the orphaned Moonbase might help, but it really doesn’t as the quality of that story only adds to the superiority of the fifth season. I can honestly say that, as of now, season five is right up there among my favourite season of Who, sitting alongside such greats as seasons one, seven, thirteen, and twenty-six. Which is new, as season six used to be my favourite of Troughton — mostly by default as that season almost exists in its entirety.  So, to my favourite story… I feel an obligation to pick The Web of Fear out of fealty to the Haismans and my connection with them, and of course the historical first appearance of Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart, but I have to be honest in my re-watch and consider what else is around that story. With The Moonbase included I have five extremely good productions to pick from…

And this is my, very difficulty chosen, run down of season five (a list of all brilliant stories!):

  • The Tomb of the Cybermen
  • The Moonbase
  • The Ice Warriors
  • The Web of Fear

… which makes the winner David Whitaker’s tour-de-force

81EIbhxo9UL._SL1500_

Lethbridge-Stewart: The Schizoid Earth details revealed!

It’s with great pleasure we can finally unveil the cover for the next book in the Lethbridge-Stewart series; The Schizoid Earth by David A McIntee…

Candy_Jar_The_Schizoid_Earth_cover_small
click to enlarge

“Lethbridge-Stewart was supposed to be in the mountains of the east. Things didn’t quite go according to plan.

On the eve of war, something appeared in the sky; a presence that blotted out the moon. Now it has returned, and no battle plan can survive first contact with this enemy.

Plagued by nightmares of being trapped in a past that never happened, Lethbridge-Stewart must unravel the mystery of a man ten years out of his time; a man who cannot possibly still exist.

Why do the ghosts of fallen soldiers still fight long-forgotten battles against living men? What is the secret of the rural English town of Deepdene? Lethbridge-Stewart has good reason to doubt his own sanity, but is he suffering illness or injury, or is something more sinister going on?”

David A McIntee has written novels for Star Trek, Final Destination and Space: 1999 and over fifteen books and audio dramas for Doctor Who since 1993, including the Brigadier-centric novel, The Face of the Enemy. David said: “To be honest it (the series) is something I’m amazed hasn’t been done before – it’s just such a natural and obvious thing. The form it’s taking is also cool because it has the flexibility to move between styles and genres – thriller, SF, horror, etc – while maintaining a definite identity. As for the Brig himself, he’s one of those characters where the casting was so perfect that it just made the character so memorable, and who (usually) feels so right.”

The cover art is by Nathan Hudson, who works for Cosgrove Hall as a background artist. Cosgrove Hall is the animation company who produced the animated episodes for the DVD release of the 1969 Doctor Who adventure The Invasion, which featured Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart and the first appearance of UNIT. Nathan has worked previously with Candy Jar Books as the cover artist for the runaway time travel hit Tommy Parker: Destiny Will Find You and the acclaimed See You in September.

The Schizoid Earth also features an exclusive foreword written by Amanda Haisman, daughter of Lethbridge-Stewart creator Mervyn Haisman, in which she publicly talks about her father and the legend he created for Doctor Who.

The next in the series (due out in September) is Beast of Fang Rock by Andy Frankham-Allen and Terrance Dicks, followed by Mutually Assured Domination by Nick Walters.

Andy Frankham-Allen has been a Doctor Who fan since his childhood. Andy is the former line editor of Untreed Reads Publishing’s series Space: 1889 & Beyond, and has penned several Doctor Who Short Trip stories for Big Finish and Candy Jar’s Lethbridge-Stewart: The Forgotten Son, as well as Companions: Fifty Years of Doctor Who Assistants. He said: “There’s been such a warm reception to the first book, I must thank everybody for all their kind words. My next book is a dream come true. It’s an idea I’ve had rattling around in my head since 1998, so it’s great privilege to be able to make it a reality, and even more so due to Terrance Dicks’ involvement with it.”

Nick Walters has written five novels for Doctor Who since 1998. Nick said: “After the Doctor himself the Brigadier is the best-loved character in Doctor Who. I met Nick Courtney a number of times and he really is a splendid fellow. He brought a real humanity and vulnerability to the role without compromising the essential toughness of the character. Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart is the chap you’d want on your side in a fight – any fight – and it is a real privilege to be exploring what made him into the character we came to know and love.”

The story of Colonel Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart is fully licensed by the Executor of the Haisman Literary Estate, Mervyn Haisman’s granddaughter Hannah Haisman, and endorsed by Henry Lincoln.

The Schizoid Earth can now be pre-ordered directly from Candy Jar, on it’s own or as part of two different bundles…

DOCTOR WHO RE-WATCH – SEASON THREE/FOUR

wpid-ark-doctor-who-steven-dodoRe-watching Doctor Who has its downside. With most of seasons one and two still in existence and on DVD, it’s fascinating to see the series develop in its formative years, as the production team start stretching their creative abilities, and the ethos of the series is built. And then we come to season three… Le sigh!

Only three complete stories are commercially available, and they’re good examples of the upheaval and doubt going on behind the scenes. There’s an eight-month gap between The Time Meddler (the last story of season three) and The Ark, the next available story. Eight months is a long time, especially back then! As a result there is such a jump in the way the stories are told and made, and it leaves the viewer with a bit of a disconnect. So much has moved on. Vicki has gone, Dodo has joined (almost come from nowhere, in fact). Fortunately the three remaining stories only have one story between each of them missing, which at least allows a sense of continuity when watching them back, and once again you can see a little of the development of the characters. Alas, we don’t get to see Steven leave, which is a great pity — as is the lack of good material for Steven. Only three complete serials exist with this companion, and so you only get to see a hint of how good he actually was.

For the purposes of this re-watch, I’m lumping Hartnell’s final adventure with these three stories, since Hartnell only had two stories in season four, and only one of those exists (albeit without the show-changing fourth episode — the first to feature the Doctor regenerating!). 44eb867f064788ca981763b4b04e68ab0acc25df

All this does mean choosing my favourites is a rather limited experience, with only four stories to choose from (not unlike Doctor Who in 1987-1989), so without further ado, this is my rather limited countdown of the final four Doctor Who stories featuring William Hartnell from 1966.

  • The War Machines
  • The Ark
  • The Tenth Planet

With the winner being…

The Gunfighters DVD Cover

Doctor Who Re-Watch – Season Two

vickistevenIf the first season of Doctor Who was something new and original, something quite unlike anything else produced on British TV at the time, then season two took that even further. Fortunately, the first two seasons of Doctor Who exist almost in full, both only missing one story (well, in season two’s case some of The Crusades exist, unlike season one’s Marco Polo), which means as a viewer I get to (almost) fully experience the birth of Doctor Who and see the Doctor develop into the basic character we’ve all come to love over the last fifty-one plus years. By the end of season two he’s every bit the hero we know, a man guided by a strong sense of morality, someone who will put himself on the front line to defend the every-man, and a man with a lot of humour.

Season two sees a lot of changes, both behind the scenes and on screen. We see, first, Susan depart in the epic Dalek Invasion of Earth (the first story to truly utilise location filming), and then a few stories later the departure of Ian & Barbara (in one of the most touching photo montages ever produced). Replacement companions are not far away; first in the shape of orphan Vicki, a child from the 25th Century, and later astronaut Steven Taylor. Behind the scenes Verity Lambert is all set to depart by the end of the season, with new producer John Wiles trailer her during the production of the final serial, The Time Meddler. David Whitaker, the original script editor, departs at the start of the season, replaced by Dennis Spooner, who brings with him a new level of humour to the stories, notable almost immediately with his own story, The Romans. Spooner departs at the end of the season, with the final story under the supervision of new script editor Donald Tosh. Interesting aside; Terrance Dicks, a man whose association with Doctor Who begins in 1968 and continues to this day, often tells an anecdote about how he created a ‘tradition’ in 1975 in which the outgoing script editor writes the first story for the incoming script editor — it was a ‘tradition’ Terrance claims to have invented to simply give himself a little bit of work. As it turns out, though, this ‘tradition’ is not without precedent, since Dennis Spooner writes the first story for his replacement, The Time Meddler. Perhaps Terrance knew more than he was letting on?

Season two was a time of great change for Doctor Who; what began as a serious, part-time educational series of adventures, becomes a more lightweight and fun show by the end of the series. Straight historical are replaced with comedy visits to the past, and the creation of the ‘pseudo-historical’, where history and science-fiction merge. We even get one story set on a world populated by giant insects and butterflies, without a single human in sight! And, to top it all off, we finally meet another time traveller — one of the Doctor’s own people no less!

And so, the countdown of my favourite stories for season two:

  • The Rescue
  • The Chase
  • The Space Museum
  • Planet of Giants
  • The Time Meddler
  • The Dalek Invasion of Earth
  • The Web Planet

The winner of best story of the season is, for me, the historical comedy…

Romans_novel

Alas, the next few seasons are in bad shape with only a handful of stories still existing for each season, which does make the re-watch a little less fun. So, to that end, the next entry will cover the remainder of the Hartnell stories available on DVD…

The Forgotten Son by Andy Frankham-Allen

frankhamallen:

Nice little review…

Originally posted on Trap One:

photo.PNG-15

In the aftermath of the Great Intelligence’s invasion of the London Underground, Staff Sergeant Arnold’s corpse has vanished and Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart’s mother is also missing. All the clues lead back to his childhood village of Bledoe.

It seems like an opportune time for a series of standalone Lethbridge-Stewart stories. With the re-discovery of his debut appearance in The Web of Fear eighteen months ago, and what is likely to be the character’s final appearance in last year’s Death in Heaven, his profile with the younger generation of fans is probably as high as possible.

brigadier

The character Alastair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart was created for the story The Web of Fear by writers Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln. They retained the rights to the character and were paid for his appearance in all the subsequent stories he appeared in. Arguably they only really named the character, he’s not yet what he would become…

View original 259 more words

Readers Speak Out

As we look forward to the next book in the Lethbridge-Stewart series, I want to look back briefly and consider the wonderful comments made by the readers.

Candy_Jar_LS_Front_BFormat_classic_SmallMany things are said by many people — among them negative things, usually by people with agendas and people who haven’t even bothered to pick up the book and read it for themselves. Fortunately, the readers are speaking out and giving their reviews. It’s the readers whose views mean more, of course, since they have spent the time to read and give a thoughtful response to the hard work of all involved. So, a personal thank you from me, and a thank you on behalf of everybody at Candy Jar Books who worked hard on launching the Lethbridge-Stewart series and continue to work hard on its future.

“This works as not only a fitting tribute to one of Doctor Who’s most beloved supporting characters, but a credible engaging science fiction story in its own right.” Wink Taylor (children’s entertainer)

“Excellent storytelling, superb writing, and a brilliant idea, all combine to make this a must read book (and series) for fans of both Doctor Who and the Brigadier.” Bryan Simcott (Amazon five-star review)

“A great story, well-paced with good characterisations and interesting supporting cast.” JB McKellar (Amazon five-star review)

“Andy Frankham-Allen produces an Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart who acts like the confident, go-ahead action-hero who featured in The Invasion, Spearhead from Space, and Mind of Evil, not the pale reflection from The Three Doctors… The story itself builds interest and intrigue as it weaves together elements of the colonel’s past, present and future… There are old friends here from The Web of Fear, all instantly recognisable; while the plethora of new characters are all distinct enough to keep track of who’s who, and who is doing what.” Geek Girl Project

“Suspenseful, keeping you guessing at every page with a really satisfying conclusion and nice tie-ins to the larger mythos of Doctor Who.” Stephen Hartwell (Goodreads five-star review)

The Forgotten Son is a unique book. It captures the tone of modern Doctor Who novels but also mixes in a nostalgic feel comparable to the Target novelisations of old… A well-paced, superbly atmospheric and detailed story that will transport its reader back to a time when you could truly hide behind the sofa as the Yeti menace stalked London.” Will Barber-Taylor (The Consulting Detective Blog)

“The characters are well written and interesting. We discover Lethbridge-Stewart in a new light that perfectly contributes to building the character of Brigadier as we know it. Andy Frankham-Allen has written a superb start to this series of novels.” Gallifrance Online Magazine

“Some of the choices that have been made for the series are going to surprise fans of the show, but that’s as it should be. If Candy Jar can maintain the standard of this opener, then those fans will be in for a treat.” – Sci-Fi Bulletin

The Forgotten Son is a superb opener to the series, mixing recognisable Doctor Who lore, suppositions by cast members, tear-jerking dedications, a foreword by the great Terrance Dicks, and the familiar smile of the man we came to know as the Brigadier. Because, really, this is his book, and his series, and had Andy Frankham-Allen failed to bring the old soldier to life then we probably wouldn’t be talking about these books for much longer. Happily, the opposite is true. He may not be hijacking Liz Shaw’s research scientist career or bellowing ‘chap with wings, five rounds rapid!’ but this is an absolutely perfect representation of Lethbridge-Stewart in his younger days.” Kasterborous Online Magazine

And a reminder, The Secret Files is now available for free on pdf, and 99p for your Kindle…

LETHBRIDGE-STEWART- Announcements!

I am very pleased to announce another freebie — this time an Easter thank you from everybody at Candy Jar Books. An eBook introductory pack for the Lethbridge-Stewart series.

Candy_Jar_Ambush_cover_SmallThe ebook includes:

  • The Ambush! – A short story originally published in Doctor Who Magazine #438, now extended with new scenes. It is set during the Doctor Who serial The Web of Fear, and serves as an introduction to the Lethbridge-Stewart book series.
  • We Won’t Let Him Down – An extended version of the final chapter of Candy Jar Books’ Companions: Fifty Years of Doctor Who Assistants, focussing solely on the television adventures of the Brigadier.
  • What Lies Beyond – A brief look at some of the Doctor Who novels that have featured the Brigadier over the years that pertain to the future of the Lethbridge-Stewart series of novels.
  • Graeme Harper – An extended interview with Doctor Who director Graeme Harper (the only director to have worked on the classic series and the revived series) from the book Calling the Shots, in which he talks about Nicholas Courtney, the man who brought the Brigadier to life.
  • Original Prelude – Never-before-seen original prelude that was written to open The Forgotten Son, set during the final moments of the Brigadier’s life.
  • The New World – The opening chapter of The Forgotten Son, the first novel in the Lethbridge-Stewart series.

The Lethbridge-Stewart ebook can be downloaded for free as a pdf from Candy Jar Books or downloaded for 99p on Kindle from Amazon.

We can also announce that sadly Lance Parkin is stepping away from the project for the moment. Shaun Russell, head of publishing at Candy Jar, said: “Lance is such a huge talent in the world of Doctor Who and we have left the door open for him to return. Hopefully, one day, Lethbridge-Stewart will make it to Det-Sen.”

Doctor_Who_and_the_Horror_of_Fang_RockAs a result we’ve had re-organise our 2015 release schedule, bringing forward David A McIntee’s The Schizoid Earth to a June release. A replacement novel will follow a few months later, which is a prequel/sequel to Terrance Dicks’ acclaimed 1977 Doctor Who serial, Horror of Fang Rock which starred Tom Baker. Beast of Fang Rock will be written by Terrance Dicks and me. And, as originally planned, 2015 will still be rounded off with Mutually Assured Domination by Nick Walters.

And the news doesn’t end there. We are finally able to announce the details of our authors for the 2016 schedule. They are, in no particular order;

  • John Peel (whose Doctor Who books include the first original novel published by Virgin Books in 1991 and the critically acclaimed War of the Daleks, as well as novelisations of four Dalek serials from the 1960s)
  • Jonathan Cooper (ex-Doctor Who correspondent with the Mirror.co.uk and author of two Space: 1889 novels)
  • Lizbeth M Myles (author of several licensed Doctor Who short stories)
  • Adrian Rigelsford (author of the aborted thirtieth anniversary special The Dark Dimension, and Doctor Who reference books The Hinchcliffe Years and The Harper Classics).
  • David A McIntee (our first returning author, this time with an authorised prequel to one of the most epic Doctor Who adventures of the 1960s).
10312626_10152744185665197_5251775474161766425_n
(l to r) Jonathan Cooper, Ralph Watson, Shaun Russell, Nick Walters, Terrance Dicks, Andy Frankham-Allen, Hannah Haisman

So, exciting times ahead! In the meantime, while I edit David’s book and work on Beast of Fang Rock with Terrance, I hope you enjoy the free eBook. More special releases coming soon from this site!

Poll Results! And news update…

And so, the results are in. Over two hundred voted, and the ‘best era by producer’ has been decided by the fans. And the winner is, by quite a stretch, Philip Hinchcliffe who produced Tom Baker’s first three years as the Doctor.

Interestingly John Nathan-Turner, the man who saw Doctor Who to its initial conclusion in 1989, came second place with Russell T Davies who brought Doctor Who triumphantly back to our screens in 2005.

Screenshot 2015-04-01 13.41.16

In other news, plans for Lethbridge-Stewart continue apace with, currently, eight books in various stages of production. Included in this list of books are five authors new to the range — the names of which will be announced soon!  Also coming soon, brand new cover art, blurb for the next title, and a very special something for fans of the series.

Stay tuned!

Doctor Who Re-Watch – Season One

And so that was season one, running from 23rd November 1963  to 12 September 1964. Oh wait, getting a little ahead of myself…

doctor-who1963

For no reason other than I wanted to, I’ve decided to re-watch Doctor Who in its entirety — well, I say entirety, but of course there are many episodes, from the ’60s, that no longer exist. Thus I will be watching every full story that is commercially available, and for the purpose of the re-watch that includes stories completed with animated episodes. This does, unfortunately, mean I will be skipping certain stories entirely — which becomes a problem from the third to fifth seasons especially, as so little exists from this three years.

This past week I’ve been watching the first season, which pretty much exists completely. It’s a good thing — no, scratch that, it’s a great thing! The first season is a solid piece of television in its own right, and sets the building blocks for the Doctor Who that everybody loves so much these days. It’s a gradual build, though; much like the first series of Nu Who, the first season of Doctor Who builds things up slowly. It’s not until the penultimate story, for instance, that the Doctor begins to simply get involved in the adventure to help out others. Up to that point, the Doctor was only concerned with himself and Susan, his granddaughter and then, as the season progressed, his circle of concern encompassed Ian and Barbara, his initially reluctant companions. Indeed, at first, the Doctor was very much opposed to the presence of Ian and Barbara, thinking only of himself and, occasionally, Susan. It was his selfish desire that got them into trouble, for instance, in The Daleks. Another important thing to note about this first season; the main characters are very well defined, rounded and real. They’re not defined by particular traits which remain the same throughout, but their views and reactions are entirely dependent on whatever situation they find themselves in. Much as would be the case with any real person when put into extreme situations. And they don’t always get on — Barbara is in direct opposition with the Doctor in The Aztecs, the Doctor is more than willing to cast suspicion on the school teachers in The Edge of Destruction… The list goes on.

So, minus Marco Polo as it doesn’t exist any more, this is my run down of season one from least favourite to favourite. (Although I must stress, the very first episode is a masterpiece, but is let down by the subsequent three episodes. And there are not really any dud stories in this first season.)

  • The Keys of Marinus
  • The Edge of Destruction
  • An Unearthly Child
  • The Sensorites
  • The Daleks
  • The Aztecs

And the winner of BEST STORY OF SEASON ONE is…

81ZDuoYOIJL._SL1500_

Please do share your thoughts and comments on the triumphant first season below…

Producing Who

We’ve all got our favourite era of Doctor Who, but such eras are often voted by Doctor, but that ignores the fact that some Doctors had more than one producer guiding their adventures. So now’s your chance to vote on the best era of Who, by producer…

*Choosing the producers was fairly straightforward, since the 'showrunner' (to use the modern term) has always been well-defined on television. I have, however, included Gary Russell in this list due to one important fact; during the wilderness years of no televisual adventures, he was the producer of official BBC-licensed material featuring the original cast from the TV series and was, arguably,the only real contender for 'true Doctor Who' during the years when Who was off our screens. (You are free to disagree with this, and if you do, then just don't vote for him. No issue.)

News from the literary worlds of editor and author, Andy Frankham-Allen

Trap One

A Doctor Who Blog

L. M. Myles

Follow That Trebuchet

The Consulting Detective

The latest in news, reviews and interviews from The Consulting Detective

Sincerely, James

The Life of a Teenage-Traveler

It scarcely seems possible

the blog of Nick Walters, Bristol-based author, poet, cyclist and oik

Richard Dinnick

Award-Winning Screenwriter

Renegade Press

Tales from the mouth of a wolf

View From A Fridge

Rogue and Queen - broken hearts, amazeballs, smut

Storytime with John

Pull up and listen...I've got a funny one for ya...

BookRepublic

Books and things that matter

FLASHBACK

A site to promote the up-coming Audio series.

Call Myself a Writer?

A place for me to write it all down

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 394 other followers

%d bloggers like this: