January 27, 2012

Doctor Who Insider cancelled

Doctor Who Magazine’s spin-off publication, Doctor Who Insider, launched last spring as a vehicle for promoting the franchise in North America, has been cancelled after nine issues, its publisher announced.

According to a report on the Doctor Who News Page, Panini – publisher of both DWM and DWI – announced in an e-mail on Jan. 27 that it was ending publication of DWI immediately, with Issue No. 9, which was first released to comic shops in Canada and the US on Dec. 8, being its final issue.

During its run, DWI ran a mix of articles on both the current and classic series, as well as large posters. Initially only available in the US and Canada, midway through its run distribution expanded to the UK and a special British-exclusive compilation of the first four issues was released there last summer.

As a regular reader of DWI, I felt it never really lived up to its promise. Launched amid fanfare as the first North American-focused (licensed) Doctor Who monthly, it very quickly became apparent it was simply DWM-lite. Offering shorter articles and extensive illustrations, it was pretty to look at, but always came off as lesser when compared to DWM (which, despite initial concerns it might not be, continued to be circulated to comic shops and magazine racks here, with DWI and DWM often filed side-by-side at places like Chapters and Indigo). And while DWI did turn the spotlight on some North American aspects of Who fandom, you were also just as likely to find promotional articles with little direct connection to North American fandom.

That doesn’t mean DWI didn’t have its moments, such as a great interview with Louise Jameson, and the final issue gave rare coverage to the Scream of the Shalka webcast. And unlike DWM, which suffers from a one-month lag between UK publication and North American sale (hence we got the Christmas issue of DWM in mid-January), DWI was able to provide more-timely promotion of upcoming episodes like the Christmas special. But, really, the magazine never seemed to find its place, not with it mostly covering stuff already covered in more in-depth form by DWM. Add to that the fact DWI was the only (licensed) Doctor Who-franchise magazine to offer no original fiction (neither comic strips – presumably disallowed due to IDW Publications having the rights for those over here – nor short stories), and it was a noble attempt always overshadowed by DWM, which during the same nine-month period released its first 100-page issue, two massive tribute issues to Nicholas Courtney and Elisabeth Sladen, and several Special Edition standalones. Even though they shared some editorial staff, DWI just couldn’t compete. 

At this point I’d normally bemoan the loss of yet another print publication and go into a woe-is-us tirade about the fading away of, to paraphrase what “Impossible Astronaut” alumni W. Morgan Sheppard once called as Blank Reg in Max Headroom, “permanent non-volatile physical media” like magazines, but in this case the magazine’s short life was wholly predictable. The good news is its demise will likely free up resources (editorial and otherwise) at the mothership, and reportedly subscribers are being offered a transfer to DWM. Which suggests DWM, now in its 33rd year and soon to hit issue No. 450, isn’t going anywhere, for now.

Nor is DWIN’s own Enlightenment, which recently published its 164th issue and which will continue to hold Canada’s end up for nationally focused Doctor Who franchise coverage.

(6) Comments

January 17, 2012

Land of the Lost

If you are interested the story behind Doctor Who’s lost episodes, have need of historical background on the BBC’s production of early Doctor Who, or required an (un)healthy OD level dose of television nerd serum. Then this book might be for you! 

Author Richard Molesworth has produced a wonderful book that shows great respect for the subject matter.  He’s provided us with a compelling and well researched tome.  It can be a bit technical and one wonders if that might turn off a number of fans. I however work in the television industry and enjoy it on that level too.  Too bad the cover is a bit rubbish.

It’s also the first Doctor Who book I’ve purchased since RTD’s A Writer’s Tale.  So in the modern era I’m 2 for 2!  WIN! 

read more....

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January 11, 2012

The 2012 Timelash Awards - Part Three

Continuing our month long award ceremony for the best and worst in Who in 2011, today’s award goes to something most North American (and international) viewers really could do without…

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January 10, 2012

The Mystery of April Walker

Rod scooped me on the news yesterday that the last great secret of Doctor Who’s past has been revealed, our version of the identity of Deep Throat: Who was originally cast to play Sarah Jane Smith? The identity yesterday was revealed to be April Walker, an actress who later (though not in 1973, Rod!) appeared in Fawlty Towers and other programs over the past several decades.

As I indicated a few years ago on this blog, this was one of those mysteries that fascinated me. I’m sort of disappointed that it’s turned out to be April Walker and not my own pet theory that it was Fiona Gaunt from Moonbase 3 (in the same way I’m sure people were disappointed Deep Throat turned out to be Mark Felt and not John Dean). But there are still some fascinating mysteries to be addressed, such as…

  • Why is a revelation like this tucked away in the DVD text commentary?

  • Will we actually see something about this casting on a future Season 11 DVD? Perhaps an actual interview with April Walker?

  • How the hell did this information manage to avoid discovery for all these years? You would think there would have been a paper trail somewhere in the BBC Records Centre in Cavesham.

  • Why is it coming out only now? Presumably someone knew and decided with Jon Pertwee, Barry Letts and Lis Sladen all gone now it was safe to release the information. Or did something else come to light?

  • Was April Walker cast to play Sarah Jane Smith? I’ve heard some experts say over the years that the character of Sarah hadn’t been invented fully yet and Walker was cast to play either “the next companion” or someone else entirely

  • Finally, do we actually believe the story that the reason Jon Pertwee didn’t want April Walker was she was too tall and too buxom?

    It’s nice that some smaller mysteries still persist. I’m sure many of them will be solved in the coming days and months…

    (2) Comments

    Casting News via Time Vortex

    New Doctor Who Companion, Sarah Jane Smith, to be played by Fawlty Towers’ APRIL WALKER!

    Or so the headlines might have read back in 1973.

    The secret is out…..according to SFX magazine.  Word has it that several days into rehearsals April Walker was dropped and a new Sarah Jane sought. Elizabeth Sladen apparently knew who the mystery actress was but kept the secret for over 35 years.  Good for her.   

    “April Walker, apparently – not a household name, but an actress with a very heavily-populated CV including guest roles in everything from Dad’s Army and Terry And June to Judge John Deed and Waking The Dead. Here’s a clip of her playing Jean Wilson in the Fawlty Towers episode “The Wedding Party” (4m 45 secs in), and in The Two Ronnies.”

    “Why was she replaced? Well, the story goes that Pertwee liked his Doctor to be a paternal, protective figure, and felt that his co-star should be young, petite and vulnerable (Sladen’s take on this was that Pertwee was the sort of man who “likes to impose themselves physically on smaller women”). Walker – tall and in her early ‘30s – didn’t fit the bill, as far as the star was concerned. And so her contract was cancelled.”


    What would Doctor Who have been like with April Walker as Sarah Jane Smith?  Opposite Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker’s Doctor?  Would it have worked?  What of her stint in modern times as the hero of her own Sarah Jane Adventures?  Was it the character or the actress?  Or a singular synergy that made Sarah Jane so endurable? 

    We will never know…


    (5) Comments

    January 08, 2012

    The 2012 Timelash Awards - Part Two

    Continuing our coverage of the good, the bad and the new Daleks of Doctor Who in 2011. Today we have an award that demonstrates if at first you don’t succeed… write another script four years later.

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    (1) Comments

    January 05, 2012

    Yellow is the new Black -  A UFC Special Announcement

    Zanak?  ZANAK!  Dust ball of the galaxy! ...and in the span of one week we see another UFC team seek their fame and fortunes in the Octagon. First it was Queen Xanxia’s announcement of her pending brawl with Binro The Heretic.  This time it’s TEAM MENTIAD who will, for the first time in UFC history, enter the ring together as a single unified force for UFC’s first ever Royal Rumble Caged Thunderydomey Special Event! 

    Their opponent?  DEVO!,  the American New Wave band from Akron Ohio.  In a recent interview Devo said [the fight] “is a dream come true, and the culmination of years of road and studio work.  Our first album asked the question ‘Q: Are We Not Men?  A: We are Devo!’  That album was a call to arms.  A challenge to all!  The robed hippies of Zanax are but a speed bump on the road to our glorious ultimate victory in the ring.  We’ll send those pasty faced sandal wearing, time-dam destroying prog-rockers back to their hollow planet in a de-evolved disgrace.  They will wish they’d never heard the sound of Devo.  Whip It?  Bah…  We’ll Whip Them good!”.  The blustering boastful rants of the band continued well into the night.  Word has it they continued their tirades even after the media went home.  The Mentiads only had this to say: ” Granola.  We seek Granola.”  A bold and shocking statement to be sure.  This may very will be the UFC Match of the decade.

    The match will be shown Live on Tavern TeeVee as a Pay-Per-View Special Event.  ORDER NOW.

    Report Filed by Rod
    for DWBlog Sports

    (6) Comments

    January 04, 2012

    The 2012 Timelash Awards - Part One

    Back when I used to edit Enlightenment I used to devote my end-of-the-year editorial to what I called the Timelash Awards, given to various aspects of Doctor Who over the past year. As we depart 2011 and enter the future of 2012 I thought it would be fun to revisit that august award, so throughout January I shall be awarding the good, the bad and the outright bizarre of Doctor Who in Two thousand and eleven…

    Let’s get started!

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    (1) Comments

    January 03, 2012

    The Oodman Cometh - UFC Match Preview

    LISTER Von OOD had plenty of distractions heading into last night’s UFC main event against former UFC heavyweight champion BROCK NIMON at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

    He’d left Sontaran Glory, his fight team he’d trained with for years. His pet Macra was ill, and he’d had to deal with the Nevada State Athletic Commission, who was none too pleased with his decision to postpone his prefight drug screening for Vraxoin.

    Despite all the pressure and distractions, “The Oodman” rose to the occasion, obliterating Nimon with a first round technical knockout.

    So what’s next for him?  This summer’s blockbuster title fight where he’ll face South America’s feared Javier Jezus Santos El Sensorite. Sensorite is expected to employ his dreaded mind games before and after entering the ring this July. Ood’s orb glowed, and his tentacles twitched with anticipation stating to the awaiting media “Some may call me Abaddon. Some may call me Krop Tor. Some may call me Satan. Or Lucifer. Or the King of Despair. The Deathless Prince. The Bringer of Night. Whatever you call me…just don’t call me late for dinner”.

    The this Summer’s “Bitter Rivals” match night also features the much awaited battle between two historic and storied figures of the Octagon.  Enter BINRO THE HERETIC, Ribos’ 28 time Champion and believer of the unbelievable.  The challenger… tyrant QUEEN XANXIA of Zanak.  Her history as an MMA gladiator spans several hundred years making this event an inevitable and awesome clash of geriatric titans.

    The match will be carried live on Tavern TeeVee as a Pay Per View Special Live Event.  ORDER NOW.

    Report Filed by Rod
    for DWBlog Sports

    (0) Comments

    December 28, 2011


    Doctor Who theme remixes and covers have a long history among fans who are both professional and amateur musical artists.  The most famous of which are KLF, Orbital and Foreplay’s renditions.  Google them…  you’ll see.  There’s also a entire catalog of home made, fan produced cuts of our favourite theme song.  I won’t go yabbering on about middle Eights or the usage of E minor,  but rather ask you to just let your long hair down, and BANG YOUR HEAD! 

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    (0) Comments

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