Thursday, 12 April 2018

Who Reviews The Abominable Snowmen by Simon Mallinson

 The Target Zone

Doctor Who and the Abominable Snowmen

By Simon Mallinson

ISBN 0-426-11455-8
Publisher: Target Books, WH Allen & Co
Writer: Terrance Dicks

A single blow from the giant, hairy paw smashes the explorer to the ground.  Terrified, he flees from the monster's glowing eyes and savage fangs... Why are the peaceful Yeti now spreading death and destruction?  And what is the secret behind the glowing cave on the mountain.

When DOCTOR WHO discovers that a long-dead friend is still alive, he knows why his visit to the lonely Himalayan monastery has led to a struggle to save the Earth!

For the older of us that can remember Doctor Who with no repeats and no chance of seeing old stories, Target brings great and happy memories. How many times have I visited the local library as a kid hoping the latest book was in? No internet, no Amazon and no Twitter, was it a dark age, no we had Target.

Is it cold outside? Yes! Well pull up a seat and warm yourself with a much missed story from the Troughton era. Terrance Dicks stays true to the original script but seems to beam a picture of a furry yeti, monks and silver balls in your minds.

The story starts pretty slowly with Tardis scenes that will make the modern viewer groan for action, and scream ‘get on with it.’ Though the older viewer will start smiling from the off, the interplay between Victoria and Jamie is classic Who. 

The Doctor bumbles around as usual but always seems to be in the right place at the right time. Shifty monks (ahh the 60s stereotypes), make you wonder who is evil and who is well short of a few pennies. An old eccentric explorer who at times makes you think ‘shoot him now please.’

The story itself seems to lack the stamina of the later stories, but this adds to the general enjoyment of it, more fooling but with a touch of warning.

So, if you want a short smiling story please read this book and enjoy.

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Articles Welcome to Issue 57 - WATNOW: Random Shoes

Issue 57

WATNOW: Random Shoes

Content Guide

Where Are They Now: Random Shoes Cast

Big Finish Reviews+
Serpent in the Silver Mask
The Third Doctor Adventures, volume 4

Beyond the Hub
Everest Movie

Beyond the TARDIS
Bafflegab: Blood on Satan’s Claw
Golden Years Movie
The Circle
SJA: Invasion of the Bane – Pilot
SJA: Revenge of the Slitheen Episode 1


Fans Fiction
Mitchell: Patience, Part 4

Interview with Ffion Wilkins

TW Reviews
Aliens Among Us, part 4
Death of Captain Jack

Who Reviews
New Earth
Partners in Crime
Planet of the Daleks
Planet of the Ood
Revelation of the Daleks
Revenge of the Cybermen
The Way Through The Woods
The Forgotten Army
Apollo 23
System Wipe

Editor Note

In March, one of Britain’s funniest men, in my opinion, Sir Ken Dodd, passed away, in his 90th year. What I hadn’t realised until quite recently was that, Ken had appeared in the Doctor Who episode ‘Delta and the Bannermen’.

Sir Ken was a really funny man. His songs, antics and his ventriloquist acts had me in stitches, as a child and as an adult. His ‘Audiences with…’ programmes had tears rolling down my cheeks, and his ‘Dicky Mint’ made me realise that it wasn’t a euphemism for your downstairs buddy but was in fact his Diddy Man character.

Tatty Bye Sir Ken!

This month we’ve a packed Issue, with tons of reviews, articles and a wonderful interview with singer songwriter Ffion Wilkins. As well as our usual look through the latest Big Finish audio and Who episodes and our latest catch up with Mitchell – and how he fared against old Major pincer claws in our final Patience chapter.

With The Sarah Jane Adventures returning to our screens on CBBC for a few months, we will be reviewing each episode or two over the following months, introducing a new reviewer to you.

We’ll also be introducing a new Torchwood reviewer into our team who will read and review the short stories found in the old Torchwood magazines, that many have collected over the years.

Our Buster Smith competition ended abruptly this week after Buster’s story was revealed in a Digital Spy article. (Thanks!)
Francesca Gorman will receive her signed photo of Buster actor Nathan Sussex as soon as they become available. Thank you to everyone who contributed their ideas – they were all brilliant.

Updating the website is taking a bit of time given the number of articles we’ve written over the five years we’ve been running our little magazine. My initial plan had been to have the entire 50 odd Editions completely cleaned up, and covers and updates all completed by next month, but that doesn’t give me enough time to sleep, eat or go to work – so I think it’s going to have to be one of those projects that will be worked on over 12 months and we’ll take it from there.

It’s surprising, and enchanting in a way, going back through old posts and realising how much we’ve grown in confidence and style since the early days, especially with interview techniques, and reviews and articles, in fact, in everything we do.

We’re also thankful that many of you have stuck by us and supported us throughout, and as always, we thank you so much for that.

Right, before I set the Weevil off, best step aside and Welcome you to Issue 57 - WATNOW Random Shoes.


Articles Where Are They Now? Random Shoes Cast by DJ Forrest

Where Are They Now?

Random Shoes Cast

By DJ Forrest

Originally broadcast 10th December 2006

Random Shoes told the story of one of life’s losers, Eugene Jones. He was an ordinary bloke who grew up with the stigma that his father had left because Eugene had let him down – during the Maths tournament at school.

Eugene was fascinated by alien artefacts, which stemmed from the kindly teacher who gave him a Dogon Sixth Eye, that he’d found during a golf game. Convinced that the aliens would one day come back and reclaim their eye, Eugene decided to auction it on eBay, in order to help out a friend, and was surprised when the bidding upped to £15,000.

Arranging to meet up with the prospective buyers – the aliens – he was surprised to find his mate Gary, and Josh sitting in a booth at the Happy Cook on the A48. Determined not to give either mate his ‘Eye’, Eugene swallows it with the help of a large glass of banana milkshake and legs it out the door and across the field, and out onto the road, suddenly feeling very alive – then is hit from behind by a drunk driver and killed.  

Throughout the episode, realising he is dead, he follows Torchwood back to the Hub, manages to get inside Gwen’s head, and uncovers the truth behind his Dad and the alien marble, and just before he ‘walks into the light’ saves Gwen from the same fate that befell him.

Paul Chequer

‘Eugene Jones’

‘Apart from a buzzing in my ear where Josh whacked me, I felt good. I was running across a field on a Saturday morning. The smell of exhaust and banana milkshake, a slight nausea, heart beating too fast cos I wasn't that fit. All the stuff that tells you you're alive.’

Eugene Jones worked with Gwen to piece together the events that led up to his untimely death. He finally entered the hallowed ground of the Hub and saw the amazing and wonderful artefacts laid out before him. He saw his own body on the morgue table and saved Gwen’s life when it really mattered.

Since Random Shoes, Paul Chequer has played a variety of characters in known television dramas from Darren in Hotel Babylon, Steve Atwell in Law & Order: UK, Nathan Merceron in Whitechapel, DI Dimmock in Sherlock and Arnold Letts in Casualty in 2017. Check out our interview with Paul on our Interviews Page.

Luke Bromley

‘Young Eugene’

“Dad took the day off work to come and see me, but when the moment mattered, I blanked, let the side down, made a mess of it. Everyone blamed me for losing the final, but it must have been what happened afterwards that started this whole thing off.” (V/O by older Eugene)

Young Eugene sulked throughout the tournament and even afterwards, sitting in Garrett’s classroom while the old man talked about aliens and eyes falling out of the sky.

Luke Bromley, Hogwarts student - check out our interview with Luke to find out more – only has credits up to 2013, when he played Young Oliver in the film The World’s End (brilliant film), as well as playing Charlie Thompson in Silent Witness, and an Autograph hunting Teen in the series documentary Dark Matters: The Philadelphia Experiment/Ape-Man Army/Zapped to Death.

Nicola Duffett

‘Bronwen Jones’

‘He went cos of his job. He has a very important job. He works for a big corporation in America.’

Poor Bronwen, thought she knew her husband well enough that he was indeed doing well for himself in America, when in fact he was working as a night cashier at a garage on the Filey Road. One thing was for sure, she did love her children, and it broke her heart when Eugene was killed.

Since Random Shoes, Nicola Duffett, who played Debbie in Eastenders back in 1993 – 1995, has played an array of different characters, some memorable, some less so, from Poppy’s Mum in Doc Martin, Phoebe/Zapphia Sharon Feeney in Casualty, Big Mo in Dustbin Baby in the same year, Daisy Skelton in Waterloo Road, Mrs Bird in Corrie, Geri Wakefield in Holby City in the same year. Played Alice Stone in Collateral in 2018, and Mrs Driscoll in Rémi sans famille currently in post production. (2018).

Roger Ashton-Griffiths

‘Mr Garrett’

‘I play golf, and one day when I was playing really badly, I was stuck in the first bunker whacking away at all the sand, and this fell out of the sky. And landed, plop, beside me. It looks a bit like a golf ball, so I picked it up and put it in my pocket. But when I had a proper look later. I realised it was an eye. And I thought, well, Where could that have come from? It fell from the sky. Isn't that amazing?’

Mr Garrett was a kindly teacher, someone who could turn a frown upside down – someone who you wish was in all your classes at school. He lifted Eugene’s spirits with tales of a Dogon Sixth Eye, that led the boy on a journey of alien artefacts.

Since Torchwood, Mace Tyrell, I mean Roger, has appeared in many well known television programmes, often in period costume. From Roman Mysteries as Tascius Pomponianus, General Doppet in Heroes and Villains. Henry VIII: Mind of a Tyrant as Cardinal Wolsey, Sir John Hutton in The Tudors, an Elderly Priest in The Musketeers series. He played Quayle in the Doctor Who episode Robot of Sherwood back in 2014 and played a neurosurgeon in Corrie. For 2 years Roger played Mace Tyril in Game of Thrones series, playing a man of the cloth again in the television series Quacks as Bishop of Lambeth and plays Ralph Butterworth in the new Christopher Robin film currently in post production.

Steven Meo


‘Eugene, man. I'm as partial as the next guy to a bit of sci-fi but, what, a green geezer with six eyes? Get real, guy. I checked the bid history. Mister C Blackstaff is a collector of alien ephemera and Nazi memorabilia. Also Beanie babies. Teeny bit cuckoo, but endearingly rich. And if he's willing to pay fifteen thousand…’

Josh was one of those greasy characters you were never going to be mates with, and after pushing the other bidder out of the picture, Gary and Josh waited in the Happy Cook for Eugene to arrive with the Eye. He was happy to hand over a tiny portion of the cash for the Eye, but when Eugene refused, and promptly swallowed it Josh was determined to try the Heimlich manoeuvre in order to retrieve it. It wasn’t to be.

Despite a thin on the ground resume according to IMDB, Steven plays Huw in the Peter Stray film Canaries, about alien activity in a quiet mining village in Wales. Prior to that, Steven has been the voice of Pilot Kelvin in the Doctor Who: The Infinity Quest animated series, played Hoffman in the series High Hopes. Played Grant in Grown Ups and also in the series Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, was Owain Hughes in Gavin & Stacey, played Rich in the Baker Boys, Franklin Ward in Doctors, a mixture of characters over 8 years in Casualty, and Mike in the series Drifters.

Celyn Jones


‘I’m not proud of what I’ve done. I created three or four online aliases and used them to inflate the price. At first, just to cheer him up. He was miserable. But then the bidding took off and we got, I mean, I was involved at first. I was just helping Eugene make money, and then one morning…’

Gary, was a mate of Eugene’s, but he was also Josh’s mate and although Josh had the emotional range of a teaspoon, Gary felt bad about Eugene’s death, and how the bidding had got out of hand, and how Eugene had been led to believe that aliens were going to be collecting the Eye from him.

Celyn Jones has appeared in a lot of television drama series’ since 2006, from The Bill, Casualty, Above Suspicion, Leaving, Jo, Shameless, Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, Inspector George Gently, Da Vinci’s Demons, Castles in the Sky, A Touch of Cloth, as well as playing Brother Alan in Stella. He has two pre and two post-productions for 2017/2018 playing Kipper Jones in Say My Name, Sgt Willis in Six Minutes to Midnight, Born a King as Winston Churchill and in Manhunt and is currently filming Gareth Jones.

Robyn Isaac


‘He wouldn't talk about it. Anyway, I was fed up too because Craig had. Well, anyway, I said, I'd love to get away from it all and go to Australia. Eugene suddenly got very excited. He said, yes, you've got to go. I said, but I haven't got the money, and he said he'd get it for me.’

Linda worked in Passmore Telesales, alongside Eugene and Gary. Eugene decided that selling his Eye would give Linda the money she needed to travel to Australia.

Since Random Shoes, Robyn has played an Immigration Receptionist in The Last Enemy mini series, Cynthia in Expectation Management 2, a film short, a girl in XIII The Gift, another short, and Red in I Tides.

Gareth Potter

‘Shaun Jones’

‘Oh, Danny Boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling from glen to glen and down the mountainside. The summer's gone and all the flowers dying. Tis you must go and I must stay behind. But come ye back When summer's in the meadow, or when the valley's hushed and white with snow. And I'll be there in sunshine and in shadow.’

Shaun Jones, was Eugene and Terry’s Dad, who had led them all to believe he was working in a corporate job in America and not as a night cashier in a garage on the Filey Road. At the funeral he wished he could have seen him before it was too late, and sang a haunting rendition of Oh Danny Boy as Eugene’s coffin lowered to the cremation.

Since playing Shaun in Random Shoes, Gareth has played Oscar in Y Pris, a Museum Attendant in Young Dracula, A wounded Soldier in Caesar and Cleopatra, Lewis in Made in Wales, and a Slaughterhouse Worker in Hinterland. In 2017 he played a man in film short Fire in My Heart.

Joshua Aaron Hughes

‘Terry Jones’

‘He's dead. He may have been able to square the root of the square friggin' root, but he couldn't cross the friggin' road.’

Terry was Eugene’s younger brother. He retaliated verbally when his mother continued to believe her ex husband worked in America and put her straight without holding back.

Since Random Shoes, Joshua has played a Scouse School Boy in the television mini series Mobile, and played A Villager, an Arcade Customer and a Student for Uncanny X-Men in 2014.

Amy Starling

‘Waitress at Happy Cook’

‘Well, that's just not acceptable behaviour. Not at a Happy Cook. They were making a public spectacle of themselves. And that was it, he was out the door and gone.’

When Gwen visited the Happy Cook the waitress remembered serving Eugene and his two friends. She was surprised to see Josh and Gary back enquiring after Gwen who was just out of shot of them seeing until it was too late.

Since Torchwood, Amy has only played two other characters – Mercedes Jones in Caught in the Act, and Karen in I Vituoso. Since 2014, there’s no mention of her.

Leroy Liburd

‘Café Owner’

(When asked if he knew Eugene Jones)
‘No, what can I do for you, love?’

The Café Owner served Gwen as she came in to ask about when the video store was open. Eugene was alarmed that the owner didn’t know him, since he’d been in to order two eggs, ham and chips every day.

Leroy’s acting credits began in 2002 when he played Paul Eccles in Holby City, since then he played a Detective Constable, Café Owner and a Security Guard. His acting credits take him only as far as 2007.

Ryan Chappell


‘No. Who’s it for then? Shit. Can you rub it out?’

Pete worked in Passmore Sales, and had often signed cards for members of staff, so unwittingly wrote ‘Good Luck in your New Job’ in the card for Eugene’s Mum.

Ryan Chappell has no further credits since playing Pete in Random Shoes.

Helen Holman

Policewoman (uncredited)

Since Torchwood, Helen has played a Junior Doctor, a Waitress, a Wedding Guest, a Church Member, a Golfer and Interventionist, a Woman walking to Church, Emily, Sadie, and Laura, from 2006 – 2013.

Interviews Interview with Ffion Wilkins by DJ Forrest

Interview with singer/songwriter
Ffion Wilkins

By DJ Forrest

Carmarthen born Ffion Wilkins began her acting career as Hannah Bain in A Mind to Kill, starring alongside Philip Madoc, who played her Dad in the series. Since then, apart from an episode of Doctors, and her role as a WPC in Torchwood: Small Worlds, Ffion has moved from acting into music. I caught up with Ffion recently while putting an article together for the WATNOW series and last night, I enjoyed a wonderful interview with her. Thank you!

Hi Ffion, what came first, music or acting?

Ffion: Music. From a very early age really. My mother played hymns on the piano and I went to chapel. I started playing by ear from around 6 I think. Acting came later around 11 although I always performed and sung at school and chapel.

You played a police officer in both A Mind to Kill and in Torchwood. As some actors choose those kinds of roles, or military or other, was this a decision you took or was it that these roles came available by your agent?

I realise it was a long time ago

Ffion: I was offered the part in A Mind To Kill at the age of 15 as I’d previously worked for the same director who gave me my acting break. The late Peter Edwards. I auditioned for Torchwood and was surprised I got it as I’d played a high-profile cop in A Mind to Kill!

Were you in a band when you were acting, or did this come much later?

Ffion: I was in several bands as a teenager. I was a drummer.

Did you improve on your music knowledge at uni, or college, or were you self taught?

Ffion: I’m self taught as far as playing by ear but I was classically trained on the piano from the age of 6/7 and did all the exams. Went on to study music at Goldsmiths College, University of London. Auditioned on piano but came out singing. I was also classically trained on Tenor Sax.

Do you sing a broad spectrum of songs or is there a specific style of music you prefer to play?

Ffion: I’ve always listened to a broad spectrum really. Been lucky also to sing lots of different styles from all the different projects I’ve been involved with over the years. I love to sing jazz and the older styles of songs if I’m honest where melodies and harmony are challenging although simple on the surface to sing. Songs like “Smoke gets in your eyes” by The Platters is a good example. Walker Brothers, Frank Sinatra, George Michael and Rufus Wainwright are all huge influences on my singing,
More male singers than female I add!!!

Sinatra has quite a deep voice and quite powerful vocally, does that pose a problem when you're singing some of his most familiar of songs?

Ffion: Sometimes but I have a deep voice so when I work with Tuxedo Jazz often songs are in their original keys but if they need taken up that’s no problem, of course.

When I looked up initially at the band Tuxedo Jazz, I thought this was your band but it's not is it?

Ffion: It’s a band I’ve worked with since Uni over 20 years ago. My dear friend James Reader runs it and we also work together as a duo upwards to a sextet. It gave me the most perfect grounding for setting up my own band to do my original stuff. I owe that band everything and all the guys I’ve ever worked with. Very lucky. Very.

I've just been reading up on James - on LinkedIn. Wow!

Ffion: Yep top bloke. Great Jazz Piano player and songwriter too

It's pretty impressive

Ffion: I’m so lucky to work with the guys: Michael Curtis Ruiz – bass, Michael Coates – Saxophone, Jim Fleeman – drums, Mark White – Trumpet/Flugal and Nigel Hopkins – keyboard, who co produced the album with me. The other drummer who does the live stuff on Youtube is Jiffy Griffiths, Vic Bynoe on bvs and Hywel Maggs on guitar.

Do you write ALL the songs in the band or do you have other members of the band write songs too?

Ffion: I write all the songs: Lyrics, Melody and chords. I also co-produce and arrange bvs and some brass lines when required. Nigel is a genius though. He knows what’s in my head and gets on with it. He’s produced some amazing orchestrations on Chris de Burgh’s last 4 albums I think. He’s MD for him. Super talented and lovely man Nige is. Honour to work alongside him.

It's great when you find that one person who just knows where you're coming from.
Out of all the songs that you've written, what was the hardest one to put together, for whatever reason?

Ffion: “Let me Go”. It’s a tricky semi prog rock affair and that particular brass arrangement is Nige’s as he’s a huge prog fan. Bass on that features the amazing Laurence Cottle. Sublime playing from him. To be honest all the songs were a pleasure to work on and develop from scratch. I think I speak for Nige too and the boys tell me they are also great to play. That for me is the best compliment from peers I admire and look up to.

Is your music on mainstream radio, such as Radio 2 and beyond?

Ffion: My songs have been played on numerous Radio Stations both online and network here and abroad. However, when we were promoting the album initially at Radio 2 they loved it and thought it was very R2 friendly but I wasn’t or hadn’t been on their radar enough yet to warrant a slot on one of their play lists of which there are three categories: A main, B and C.
Very hard to get in with them. Very closed off and producer driven. Takes a lot of time and promoting it seems but we plough on!!!

In the coloured photo of you with the band, your recording studio looks like a church from the wooden fixtures behind the band. If it is, the acoustics must be wonderful.

Ffion: The church is Acapela Studio in Cardiff and we did the Welsh Album launch there and revisited on the tour last year. We recorded most of the album in Studios in London and Nige’s studios in Wales.

Are you working on any new songs at the moment?

Ffion: I’m always writing so yes got a few new songs on the go!

Thank you so much for the interview

Ffion: Thanks very much I really enjoyed your questions.

You can find Ffion’s album Never on Amazon by following or copy and pasting this link.