The first DWM and Big Finish produced under lockdown arrive, and Staying in the TARDIS makes a host of BBC content free and online for the first time. It’s week six of lockdown!
Week six. Days 36-42. Long enough to have watched the entire 57 year run of Doctor Who in one sitting, and then get over halfway through your second one. Living in lockdown. Whichever way you measure it, t’s been a while. Some elements of Doctor Who fandom’s response have become comfortable routine. But as a community we’re also still finding new ways to inspire, encourage, and entertain. So here’s what happened this week…
DWM enters the Covid-19 era with issue 551, while Big Finish unveil their first audio recorded in isolation
The lockdown has been going on long enough now that its effect has begun to catch up on some of Doctor Who’s biggest institutions. This month’s Doctor Who Magazine, issue 551, is out now and includes the first interviews to be conducted in isolation. While Big Finish released Shadow of the Sun, a full cast audio adventure for the Fourth Doctor and Leela. Created remotely with the entire cast and crew in their own homes, it’s an inspiring accomplishment. One so successful that Big Finish consciously brought its release forward to this week to show off just how well it worked. It’s a move regular listeners with also find reassuring. Lockdown or no lockdown, it’s business (almost) as usual for Big Finish. Both DWM 551 and Shadow of the Sun are available to buy from the links above.
Big Finish also continued their Lockdownload strand with a free audio available from their site for one week only. This week it was the turn of part one of Doctor Who: 1001 Nights. The 2012 anthology saw Nyssa spin a different yarn from her time in the TARDIS in each episode. So this single episode still gives listeners a short but sweet adventure for the Fifth Doctor.
Staying in the TARDIS with the official site
The official Doctor Who site wasn’t to be outdone either. This week they launched Staying in the TARDIS, a new online strand aimed particularly at keeping younger fans entertained during lockdown. (Though in the best Who tradition, the whole family are welcome). Spearheaded by digital marketing manager Luke Spillane, it mixes new content, fun activities, and material from the BBC Books cupboards. All made free and online for the first time.
Week One was headlined by a challenge to create your own unique Doctor costume from your own wardrobe. There was also a recipe for making Dalek cupcakes (from The Doctor Who Cookbook), an Impossible Astronaut colouring page (from The Doctor Who Colouring Book), a Tenth Doctor paper doll with costume accessories (from Paper Dolls), and a word search (from Are You as Clever as a Time Lord?). And to cap it all off, an entire free digital copy of The Thirteenth Doctor #1 from Titan Comics. Written by Jody Houser and with art by Rachael Stott, it’s a fabulous slice of Doctor Who action.
Good Omens Lockdown
Stepping just a toe outside the world of Doctor Who, this week we also got one of the slickest and most impressive lockdown minisodes yet. Writer Neil Gaiman (The Doctor’s Wife) teamed up once again with erstwhile Tenth Doctor David Tennant and Michael Sheen in their roles as Crowley and Arizaphale for Good Omens: Lockdown. Stylishly directed by Douglas Mackinnon and marking the 30th anniversary of the publication of the original novel, it gave us an update on just how the angel and demon friends are getting on amidst the current pandemic.
Of course, the professionals and fans of our own fandom were keeping to their own high standards too. The latest of the live tweet watchalongs organized by Emily Cook celebrated the 2005 episode Dalek. Writer Robert Shearman was on hand to discuss the process of creating the episode, alongside voice of the Daleks Nicholas Briggs, and body of the Daleks Barnaby Edwards. Plus we got brand new fiction to go along with the event.
Sven and the Scarf, written by Andrew Ireland (the man behind last year’s remount of Mission to the Unknown) and starring Leo Flanagan (Charlie in Kerblam!) as Sven, it’s a cheeky trip down memory lane. And you can learn more about Sven in Shearman’s upcoming Target novelization of Dalek. Shearman himself also contributed selected pages from previously unseen drafts, revealing a number of other classic Who monsters were considered for the starring role.
It isn’t common knowledge, but the Daleks were only one of the old monsters under consideration to return to the series for its revival.
— Emily Cook (@Emily_Rosina) April 30, 2020
Time Space Visualser: Dalekmania!
The Daleks also dominated the Fantom Events latest online convention, as the team continued their fabulous work to keep the con scene alive. Streamed for free on their YouTube channel, Dalekmania featured a host of new interviews from across the world of Doctor Who. Guests included Colin Baker (the Doctor), Arthur Darvill (Rory), Terry Molloy (Davros), David Gooderson (also Davros), and Nicholas Pegg and Barnaby Edwards (Daleks). Plus a puppet sketch from Steve Lyons, and Toby Hadoke presenting another recipe from the Doctor Who Cookbook. Catch up on the whole thing for free on their official YouTube channel!
Coming up, a rewatch of The Girl in the Fireplace with Steven Moffat and Sofia Myles. Plus another outing for the Quiz of Rassilon, more from Staying in the TARDIS, and a free Doctor’s Daughter download from Big Finish.