Monday, 20 November 2017

Big Finish Reviews+ The Early Adventures: The Outliers by Tony J Fyler

Doctor Who – Early Adventures: The Outliers

The latest in the Early Adventures range of Doctor Who audio adventures from Big Finish takes us back to the era of Patrick Troughton’s Second Doctor, with companions Jamie, Polly and Ben. It’s a spacefaring tale of the far future from Simon Guerrier, with a big drill, a big company, a potentially lethal mineral, and an ocean where something is going very quietly, very creepily wrong.  

In terms of what The Outliers is about, it’s ‘Jaws In Space,’ with a colony of human miners threatened by a sentient, seemingly malevolent sea that picks people off when no-one else is looking.

As a threat, the ‘hungry sea’ feels like it should work a treat, but it actually comes across as a second-string villain compared to the more philosophical evil here, which is wilful human blindness motivated by profit. How much are human beings prepared to turn a blind eye to the suffering and death of their fellows if it’s in their interest to do so is the main question of the piece.

Outliers, in the science of statistics, are rogue numbers, rogue results in a calculation that can be dismissed or discarded from a trend, and it’s this that brings the sinister in this story. How many lives will we allow to be snuffed out as ‘outliers’ to maintain our way of life, especially if they’re not immediately presented to us? If we have to ask questions, defy authority, and go beyond what is told to us by trusted sources, would we want to know how many people suffer and die to keep us comfortable? Those are the really troubling questions that pin The Outliers to your ears as the Tardis team arrive on the unnamed alien world and start asking awkward questions about the disappearing people and the eerily empty houses of the miners, flooded with water.

The Jaws In Space comparison grows more valid when you realise what you’re dealing with in The Outliers – all of the Tardis team are one composite Chief Brody shouting about sharks, while Richard Tipple, the mining operations manager with a silly title and superciliousness to spare, insists that there’s nothing to be afraid of in the water, and that the number of unexplained deaths is merely an outlier, a nothing, an insignificance compared to the importance of his work. Alistair Petrie makes him a very Sixties villain, very snide and sure of himself, while delivering 21st century marketing-speak, so you really want him to get eaten by the sea. Does he? That would be telling.

In case you need even more deep and meaningful philosophical roughage in your Doctor Who, the decision over who lives and dies on the planet of the creepy hungry sea has another message hidden inside it – that being certain of your position is often a dangerous mistake, and that the future is written not in the stars or by the gods, but by the decisions you make today, tomorrow, and the day after that.

Balanced against these deep themes is some cracking characterization, especially from Frazer Hines, who takes on two roles, as Jamie, the companion he played in the show in the Sixties, and as Patrick Troughton’s Second Doctor (in which role he has an uncanny ability to make you forget he isn’t Troughton). Matilda Ziegler deserves some characterization props too as Chatura Sharma, the good company woman whose mind is opened to questioning the truth she knows by the arrival of the Doctor and Co.

The point of the Early Adventures, really, was to bulk up the kinds of audio adventures that could be told using the first two Doctors, and explore both the absolutely archetypal types of stories from their era and the things that couldn’t be done then in terms of budgets or ideas, but can be brought to a new life in audio. The Outliers would never have been called The Outliers back in the Sixties, that would have been far too vague and a little too philosophical. But in terms of what it offers, its Sixties right down to its bones – stupid, blind authority, money, power, and an alien force that is able to more or less fight back before it’s even been attacked. Deadly seas, weird coral, vanishing people, and the growing, creepy sense that the humans on this piece of space rock are rather bringing their deadly fate upon themselves. It has a vibe of Fury From The Deep, but with a layer of uncomfortable questions about our own nature, our own potential wilful blindness to the suffering of others, that has a very modern feel.

The Outliers has a questionable ending, with the people killed by the Things In The Water written off as having deserved it simply by virtue of being closed-minded, but short of a fairytale magic ending where they all come back to life, that’s almost unavoidable. In terms of atmosphere, philosophical clout, characterization and creepy, tension-building pace though, The Outliers is a story you’ll come back to listen to again and again. 

Big Finish Reviews+ The Behemoth by Tony J Fyler

The Behemoth

By Tony J Fyler

The Behemoth begins a new set of three adventures for the Sixth Doctor, and a merging of two of his previous streams – with both Flip Jackson (now Mrs Ramon after her marriage to Jared) and Mrs Constance Clarke, former leading WREN at Bletchley Park, aboard the Tardis. Colin Baker has proved over his history at Big Finish to be astonishingly adept at altering the nuance of his Doctor to accommodate different companions with different demands and rhythms, and in this script by Marc ‘frequently confusing as hell, but always worth a listen’ Platt, he proves that adaptability once more. Platt also does some work here that is genuinely wonderful in building a sisterly bond between the thirtysomething 1930s WREN and the barely 19 year-old 21st century girl.

So, the first reason to check out The Behemoth is for the quality character-work laid down by Platt, and elevated by Baker, Miranda Raison as Constance and Lisa Greenwood as Flip, all of whom are on top form in this adventure.

The second reason to check it out is because it goes somewhere that for all its toing and froing, Doctor Who has seldom if ever gone before – the existence of the slave trade. Not the science-fiction, blue-skinned underclass slave trade of some potential future, the actual slave trade between Britain and the Americas, where people were judged to be chattel simply by virtue of the colour of their skin. We pay a visit to the super-sophisticated city of Bath in 1756, and we see the lives of those in polite society, those in the murderous, messy business of slaving, and we go down the social ladder to the slaves themselves, to witness some of the grimness of a life literally owned by other humans. It’s a brave move, and Platt plays it with a straight bat – it’s far easier to empathise with the slave characters here, Sarah and Gorembe (Diveen Henry and Ben Arogundade respectively), than with anyone else, but there’s nevertheless sympathy to spare for some of the more genteel, privileged characters who are duped and tricked along the way by some of the slavers. The slaver characters are more or less straightforward in their evil and their immorality, so there’s little by way of murkiness to interfere with the message. Slavery bad. To which of course the modern response is ‘Ya-huh!’

As to what the ‘behemoth’ of the title actually is – ooh, it’s a Plattish peculiarity of the first order, and to reveal what it is would rob you of some of the pleasure of the audio, because the nature of the Behemoth is a point of contention at least halfway into the story. Suffice it here to say that whatever you think it might be, you’re going to be wrong. Oh, so, so wrong.

It would be true to say that the mysterious nature of the Behemoth means that you’re kept guessing for a long while as to what ‘kind’ of story The Behemoth is. When you finally realise what it is, you’ll smile at the slightly old-fashioned nature of what you’ve just experienced, especially when contrasted with the exceptional characterisation work of the three leads and the subject matter. Like many Platt stories, it’s an odd listen, but you’ll finish it, scratch your head, smile a bit, listen to one or two more releases and then find yourself drawn back to The Behemoth for another listen. And when you hear it the second time, with its secrets already known, you’ll get a lot more from it in terms of the dance on which it leads you, through the strata of society of a pretty, privileged, grim, bloody, complex, horrifying world, the stain of which still marks our societies to this day.

Reviews Torchwood - Aliens Among Us, Part 2 by Tony J Fyler

Torchwood – Aliens Among Us, Part 2

Tony’s getting a classic Torchwood vibe.

Aliens Among Us is the official fifth series of Torchwood, and in many ways it’s delivering a ‘Classic Torchwood’ vibe, albeit with a few new twists – the team are back in the Hub, dealing with an alien incursion-cum-migration into Cardiff and the complexities of giving a welcome to visitors from elsewhere in the galaxy while still maintaining the human world in its (at least perceived) ‘normality.’

The first story in this box set, Love Rat is absolutely classic Torchwood – almost to the point of being a re-tread of the Day One storyline. Buckle up, everybody, it’s alien sex-parasite time again. This time with added rat-glands. So…that’s special. Especially when you have Jack Harkness, Tyler ‘anybody’s for a cute smile’ Steele and Orr on the team. It’s fast-paced, fun and entertaining, without being overly demanding in terms of its social conscience, meaning it gets you into the set quickly, almost before you realise you’re in.

A Kill To A View, by Mac Rogers, is rather meatier fare and a parable of modern shallowness, the will to power, and the fight to be the king of any given swamp – it’s a pitched battle for the best apartment in a block, and death by dinner party, a kind of Come Die With Me, without the arch narration. That said, if it’s arch narration you’re looking for, A Kill To A View brings back Torchwood’s middle-manager of death, Bilis Manger (played as ever by Murray Melvin), organising the ascent of the most brutally bloody-minded ‘winners’ among the apartment block’s tenants. As with the on-screen Bilis Manger story, there’s a logic to why he’s doing what he’s doing, but compared to the action that it motivates, the logic falls away and cowers in the background, leaving A Kill To A View one to enjoy on its own terms. Those terms thankfully include a shining turn by Mr Colchester (Paul Clayton), as his husband (played by increasingly omnipresent member of the Big Finish Repertory Company Ramon Tikaram) is threatened by Manger’s schemes and the tenants from Hell.

Zero hour, by Janine H Jones, is a tale that gets its curiosity-hooks deep into the listener early. It develops a theme that’s been toyed with in Doctor Who and Sherlock – the people who move through our cities and lives without us ever really noticing them, and what they might actually be up to – but delivers on the strength of its core concept with a beautifully dark Torchwood touch as it takes Tyler Steele into a courier firm with several differences. ‘Deliverables’ is a firm with an alien touch, and it plots its workers’ movements down to the ever-productive second, with an app that drives their schedules – but where is it taking them, and why? There’s some deliciously geeky science at the heart of this story, but capped with the nihilistic doctrine that claims individual human lives don’t matter in the picture of the whole. While Love Rat is fun and easily digestible, and A Kill To A View has a touch of the sardonically satirical that makes it irresistible, it’s in Zero Hour that you’ll probably stick with Aliens Among Us Part 2 for the sheer power of the concepts and the storytelling – and it’s the episode of this box set that will stay with you longest and make you think hardest afterwards.

That said, The Empty Hand by Tim Foley punches at a heavyweight level too, especially in the era of ‘fake news,’ the ‘post-truth society’ and the delicate balance between believing victims who have the courage to speak up about abuse and the potential to direct an emotional public into a lynch mob. Sergeant Andy ‘Nice Guy’ Davidson has been accused of a race-hate killing. What’s more, there’s CCTV to prove he did it. But Andy has no memory of the action – with Cardiff balanced on a knife-edge of acceptance and hate between various groups, is it possible that Andy’s gone off the deep end of a nervous breakdown? Or is someone manipulating the public into a frenzy and using Andy as a trigger?
This is Torchwood, don’t forget – nothing’s ever entirely as certain or as straightforward as you might think, and The Empty Hand is a deeply effective and affecting piece of writing and performance, most particularly from Tom Price as Andy. Ultimately, the question remains – whoever’s right or wrong in a complex case, can anyone’s life ever be the same again after incendiary events tear lives apart?

The third box set is destined to round out Torchwood – Aliens Among Us. While the first set kicked us off with a degree or purpose and direction, the second box set is far more loosely connected, like the episodes of Series 1 or 2, rather than part of a bigger overall picture, as with Children of Earth or Miracle Day. There is a thread running through the episodes of the second box set, but it’s much more thinly woven than it was in set 1, leaving each of the episodes here to focus on the issues and situations with which they deal. As such, the second box set is a well-chosen collection of stories, rather than a layered arc that builds episode by episode. It’s new Torchwood, certainly, with a very early feel, updated for the post-Brexit world.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Articles Welcome to Issue 52 - WATNOW? Cyberwoman

Issue 52

WATNOW: Cyberwoman

Contents Guide

Where Are They Now? Cyberwoman

Big Finish Reviews+
The Behemoth

The Crown

Frank Cottrell Boyce
Gareth David-Lloyd

(Torchwood) Reviews
Aliens Among Us, part 2 – Tony J Fyler

Who Reviews
The Taking of Chelsea 426 – DJ Forrest
The Eyeless – DJ Forrest
The Ice Warriors – Jeffrey Zyra
The Great Detective (minisode) – Tony J Fyler
The Whoniverse Round-Up
Good Omens
Call of Duty: WWII – Nazi Zombies
Black River Meadow

Editor’s Note

Hi everyone, welcome to Issue 52, and boy do we have a lot to share with you this month! Not only do we have our regular reviews and news updates, we also have two excellent interviews too, from children’s novelist and screenwriter – Frank Cottrell Boyce, talking books, films and Doctor Who, we also have Gareth David-Lloyd, talking passionately about his new project, and about his new role as director, and writer for not just Black River Meadow, Be My Head, but also for Big Finish. Do please check these out!

We’ll bring Mitchell back next month – as I’m having a little trouble finding my feet for this one, due to the fact, I seem to have mislaid the Chapter somewhere and have to try and remember what I wrote 3 years ago. Yeah, difficult!

So, tempted as I am to continue wittering on, I feel, you’re as keen as I am to visit the Interview section and read and comment to your heart’s content.

Tony’s articles for Who Reviews, Torchwood Reviews and Big Finish Reviews will be added later on in the week.

Croeso i Issue 52: Cyberwoman


Articles Where Are They Now? Cyberwoman by DJ Forrest

Where Are They Now?

Cyberwoman Cast

The ultimate betrayal, using Torchwood Three, using Jack and the team, sneaking in a Cyber conversion unit, a Cyber girlfriend, bluffing them all, with his butler approach, his quiet demeanour. Who would have thought that mild mannered Ianto Jones, hid a deep and dark secret in the Torchwood basement?

While Jack and the team head out for a few drinks, Ianto awaits the arrival of one Dr Tanizaki, to fix his girlfriend and make her as near human as possible, but things in the Frankenstein workshop fail, because once a cyber, always a cyber.

That old adage that Love is Blind, rings true, as Ianto defies all logic and only wants his lover back. Lisa. How could he refuse her the life they used to have? Those picnics and camping, where dogs pissed on their tent, but unrequited love, smitten all the things that love is, can’t compare with how wrong his decisions were in keeping Lisa quiet from the rest of his team.

Where are they now? What roles do they play? Are they still acting? How much have they altered after ten or so years? Sometimes, some change so much that you can’t quite believe they are the same person, whereas others, who we see regularly on Twitter, social media in general, or on our television screens, barely change at all.

Burn Gorman

Dr Owen Harper

‘Look, I’ve shared cars with women before and I know what’ll happen. There’ll be an emergency. All raring to go, I jump in, what do I find? Seat’s in the wrong position, the rear view mirror’s out of line and the steering wheel’s in my crotch. In the time it takes to sort it all out, aliens will have taken Newport.’

Owen Harper had a dry wit, that was so cutting it's surprising he didn't injure himself. The thing with Owen however, was that, when you chipped away at the outer layer, his shield he protected himself by, you discovered a man with incredible emotions, and one that ideally only needed one woman to love - and yet, would shag anything with a pulse, just to fill the emptiness in his life.

Losing your wife to what you had initially believed to be a brain tumour but was in fact an alien parasite living on her brain, must have been one hell of a thing to deal with. And that alone would be enough to throw up the defences, and throw sarcastic undertones at anyone he met, blocking out his grief with brief shags in bars, with women he'd lured with alien body sprays.

Since Owen was killed off at the end of Series 2, Burn Gorman has been extremely busy, from playing one off roles such as Hindley in Wuthering Heights, PC Renwick in Cemetery Junction, and Reverend Marley in Lark Rise to Candleford, to playing series characters such as Richard Gates in The Runaway and Thomas Kish in The Hour, to providing additional voices in Star Wars: The Old Republic video game in 2011, but it’s his well-known roles, that he's most remembered for. Characters you want to hate because of how evil they are, but deep down inside you know you won't, because it's Burn Gorman, and you can't help but watch, and admire, and loathe, but love, despite everything. But then, Burn Gorman's trademark roles are those of cold, devious bastards.

Such as Karl Tanner in 2014, in Game of Thrones which he played for all of 4 episodes, but this is Game of Thrones, and often you're lucky to survive beyond two, or three. A year earlier he played Herman Gottlieb in Pacific Rim, and reprises the role in the sequel, Uprising next year (2018). Herman, I might add, isn’t a cold devious b*stard, but he is a little annoying.

In 2012, I was surprised to find Burn in The Dark Knight Rises, as yet again, a bit of a bad guy, known as Stryver, who played a businessman working with the Bane, although perhaps not pally with the Bane, given the fierceness of the man behind the mask.

In 2015, Burn played Detective Sergeant William Blore in the three part Agatha Christie story ‘And Then There Were None’, where a group of people were invited to stay on an island as guests, but each held a terrible secret which over the period of the three episodes came out. Of course, each one suffered at the hands of another and the killer remained anonymous till the very end. It was compelling viewing.

I think his character in Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day wasn't as bad as all other roles he's played since or before this film, but it was only a small role - one blink and youd missed it.

What has been exciting since Big Finish took up the reins of Torchwood however, is that Owen is back, and long may the old stories play out, every now and then.

Caroline Chikezie

‘Lisa Hallett’

‘Run! We all ran!’

Ianto’s cybernetic girlfriend seemed at home in her basement, where given any person willing to cure her, could be given an upgrade by way of a thank you. Of course, unlike Ianto and the team, Lisa is far from cured, and as said before, once a cyber…. can only think like one. The team have to work together in order to prevent the Cyberwoman exiting the building.

Lisa, having found a way of transplanting her brain into another, in a bid to become human, is gunned down when her ideas of loving Ianto are screwed up, by the whole transplant idea. The pizza girl is not Lisa. Ianto can only mourn the loss of the woman he fell in love with, and not what she has now become.

Since Torchwood, Caroline’s roles moved to the big screen, often with a sci fi theme, apart from The Sweeney, which I still find one heck of an awesome role, and she wasn’t in there pushing paper – no, Caroline’s role was part of the Flying Squad, as DC Kara Clarke – what a kick ass performance.

Caroline returned to television and appeared in two episodes of Casualty as two different characters with a good thirteen years apart. In 2013, played Dr Retentive in CBBC M.I. High, as Zelda in Everly, Stevie Shields for Doctors, Queen Tamlin in The Shannara Chronicles episode Druid this year (2017), and The Siren in Mayhem. Has just completed a film short A Mother’s Journey, playing Lola Ogunwole.

Bethan Walker

‘Alice – Pizza delivery girl’

‘You always said you didn't love me for what I looked like. Last time you said that, it was a Saturday. We were hungover. You made cheese toasties, and moaned I hadn't descaled my kettle. That night, we camped on a beach in Brittany. It got so freezing we wore our coats and shared one sleeping bag. When we woke up the next morning, a dog was pissing on our tent. Hold me, Ianto. I need you to hold me. I need you to tell me it's all right.’

Alice was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, when she entered the Hub with Ianto’s pizza order that night. When Ianto returns to the basement to deal with Lisa, he discovers the true horror. Lisa has transplanted her brain into the pizza girl’s in a bid to become human.

Bethan Walker is no stranger to the Whoniverse, as she voiced Aranda in Big Finish audio story White Ghosts, and voiced Javon, Pyrrha and Queen Antigone in Psychodrome, including Kiani in The Eleven – all for Doctor Who stories.

There are large gaps in her television and film credits, but this was easily explained as I delved further discovering her theatre performances in Still Life with Figs and Acanthus Flowers with the Menagerie Theatre Company, including Forgive Our Paranoia. King James Bible, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Timon of Athens at Shakespeare’s Globe, Beauty and the Beast for Sherman Theatre, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe at Birmingham Rep/West Yorkshire Playhouse, Cinderella at Watford Palace Theatre, Into the Wall with RSC/Dust House, The Winter’s Tale with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

In 2014 Bethan played The Contractor’s Secretary in The London Firm. Was the voice of Alisaie in Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood video game in 2017, and played Sister Bernadine in Heretiks which is currently in Post Production, and will be released in 2018.

Togo Igawa

‘Dr Tanizaki’

‘Some elements have been augmented. Some are still human. Sensory capacity, for instance. Her breathing and hearing appears completely cybernetic. And yet there's also bare flesh. Amazing. Perhaps fifty five percent augmentation with forty five percent awaiting completion. Do you think? Or perhaps, maybe sixty forty. It's fascinating.’

Togo Igawa trained to be an actor in Japan with The Haiyuza Theatre Company Acting School and Toho Gakuen College of Drama and Music. He has worked mostly in British films and television. He was born in 1946, in Sasazuka, Tokyo, Japan. He has been acting since 1979 in many television programmes including Gems, Never the Twain, Small World, Forever Green, The Ginger Tree, Chancer, Wilt, Murder Most Horrid, Lovejoy, Class Act, Bugs, Drop the Dead Donkey, Thief Takers, The Tribe, Topsy Turvy, Karaoke.

Since Torchwood, Togo has appeared in Primeval in 2008 as Mr Nagata, The Day of the Kamikaze, a film documentary as Admiral Matome Ugaki. As Hideyoshi Toyotomi in Heroes and Villains, a television documentary in the episode Shogun. In the series Robotboy from 2006 – 2008 played the voice of Professor Moshimo for 16 episodes. 2008 was a busy year for Togo with appearances in several television programmes, including The IT Crowd, one of those annoying programmes that you still find yourself watching. When Togo joined Thomas the Tank and Friends, well, he was certainly busy as the little train Hiro, with videos left right and centre, and voice credits everywhere from 2009 – present (2017). Aside from Thomas the Tank, Togo has also appeared as Professor Yahida in That Mitchell and Webb Look in 2010. In the series Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist played two characters in 2014, Gôtetsu and Gôma. In the series Archer played Kintaru Sato in 2015. In the Amazing World of Gumball, played the Narrator and Mr Yoshida for 2 episodes in the same year.

In 2017, you might have been surprised seeing Togo in Doctor Who episode, The Pyramid at the End of the World, as the Secretary General, I know I was. This year, he was also in Doctors, the afternoon television series about a busy GP practice in the UK. He played Akio Tanaka for the episode Sticky Butterfly.

His film credits include Coded Hostile in 1989 as Captain Chun, Some Other Spring in 1991 as Yamada, Yamada ga machi ni yatte kita in 1993 as Isono, Dirty Old Town in 1995 as a Japanese Waiter, Murphy’s Law in 2001 as Fuji, Memoirs of a Geisha as Tanaka in 2005. Look out for Togo in Star Wars’ latest story: The Last Jedi out in December, he plays the Resistance Bridge Officer. In 47 Ronin he played Tengu Lord in 2013.

His video game credits include Urban Chaos in 1999, Shogun: Total War the following year. Genji: Dawn of the Samurai in 2005, Perfect Dark Zero in the same year as Zhang Li. Since Torchwood Togo has voiced for Medieval II: Total War, and Genji: Days of the Blade as the voice of Benkei and Nether Genji Warrior B both in 2006. 2008 played voice of Colonel Lee in Warhead. Was the narrator and voice of Master in Mini Ninjas in 2009. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 was the voice of Watanabe in 2010. Total War: Shogun 2 as Narrator and Generals in 2011, and in 2012 in the new game Fall of the Samurai presumably in the same role. Voiced Jiro in Payday 2 in 2013. He played voice of Jake Hama in The Secret World: Issue 10 – Nightmares in the Dream Palace in 2014.

Did you know, Togo became the first Japanese actor to become a member of the RSC in 1986.

Gareth David-Lloyd

‘Ianto Jones’

‘Like you care. I clear up your shit. No questions asked and that's the way you like it. When did you last ask me anything about my life? Her name's Lisa. She's my girlfriend...
Torchwood exists to destroy alien threats. Why would I tell you about her?’

Gareth played Ianto for 3 seasons of Torchwood from 2006 - 2009, till Jack forgot to bring along gas masks to save them both, or get his darn VM fixed and teleport them out of there.

Since Torchwood, Gareth has appeared in many different television and web dramas, from Caerdydd, Girl Number 9, The Bill, Warehouse 13, Casimir Effect and Holby City, along with his recurrences in Twisted Showcase episodes, Payback, Peter and Paul and his latest, Be My Head. He's also appeared in three episodes of Waterloo Road as Rob Hutchinson in 2015, was the voice of Solas in Dragon Age: Inquisition - Trespasser video game, which isn't the first time he's provided his voice for a video game, as back in 2011, he provided the voice of Adam Hale in Red Faction Armageddon

In 2015, Gareth played the role of Jacob Fitts for the zombie horror film I Am Alone written and produced by Robert Palmer and Michael Weiss who we've interviewed in the past. Although not out on release yet in the UK, we do hope the DVD will eventually make its way to us.

Gareth has also narrated Enoch the Traveler for the audio drama mini series written by Lady Soliloque also in 2015.

This year, 2017, Gareth embarks on a new project, Black River Meadow which will begin as a web series, and with enough funding, and success, will hopefully become a television series. Copy and paste this link and give as much as you can for this brilliant new project.

We wish Gareth and his team the very best of luck with this.

Gareth has also written a Big Finish Torchwood story which is out in 2018 and develops his relationship with Yvonne Hartman at Torchwood One, but to find out more about this and another possible story, do please read our interview with Gareth. 

Connections The Crown by DJ Forrest

DW & TW Connections

The Crown

2016 – present

In 2016, Netflix introduced us to a wonderful insight into the life of Queen Elizabeth II, from the time she was a young princess, to her marriage to Philip Mountbatten, and her role as our Royal Monarch, the Queen. It starred Matt Smith as Prince Philip, whose character I felt quite sorry for, in the fact that he’d given up so much for the Queen and the royal order, by which the House of Commons seemed to rule quite heavily in – of what was the ‘done thing’ back then. It’s probably quite understandable then, that Philip strayed a few times, although that doesn’t come to light until the second series of this wonderful drama. Claire Foy, plays the Queen, and she’s absolutely outstanding in her role. The actress who played her sister, Margaret, is uncannily like the real princess.

Naturally, my Doctor Who eyes were spotting quite a few of the cast of the show, but I was surprised at just how many more were in the series, than I’d first thought. Did you see them all?

Of course, as the show is likely to continue for another few seasons, and I’ve only listed those up to 2017, I may need to update this as time goes on.

But for now,


Matt Smith played Philip, Duke of Edinburgh for 14 episodes from 2016-2017. Played the 11th Doctor from 2010 - 2014 for 54 episodes.

Nicholas Rowe played Jock Colville for 9 episodes in 2016. Was the voice of Rivesh Mantilax in Doctor Who: Dreamland in 2009 for 5 of the 6 episodes.

Pip Torrens played my least favourite character Tommy Lascelles for 9 episodes in 2016. Played Rocastle in Doctor Who episodes, The Family of Blood and Human Nature in 2007.

Jonathan Newth played Page at Buckingham Palace for 4 episodes in 2016. Played Orfe in Doctor Who story Underworld episodes 1 - 4 in 1978.

Ronald Pickup played the Archbishop of Canterbury for 4 episodes in 2016. Played the Physician in Doctor Who episode, The Tyrant of France in 1964.

John Woodvine played the Archbishop of York for 4 episodes in 2016. Played Marshal in parts 1 - 4 and 6 of Doctor Who The Armageddon Factor in 1979.

Patrick Ryecart played the Duke of Norfolk for 3 episodes in 2016. Played Crozier in Doctor episodes 5 - 8 of The Trial of a Time Lord in 1986.

Jo Stone-Fewings played Collins for 2 episodes in 2016. Played the Male Programmer in Doctor Who two parter Bad Wolf and The Parting of the Ways in 2005.

Anthony Edridge played Equerry at Clarence House for 2 episodes in 2016. Played the Pilot in Doctor Who episode The Bells of Saint John in 2013.

Bern Collaço played a Portuguese VIP for 2 episodes from 2016-2017. Played a Georgian Soldier in Doctor Who Thin Ice episode in 2017 and an Office Operator in The Return of Doctor Mysterio in 2016 both uncredited.

Michael Bertenshaw played Master of the Household for 1 episode in 2016. Played Mr Cole in Doctor Who episode, The Next Doctor in 2008.

Ian Porter played a U.S. Department Aide for 1 episode in 2016. Played the Foreman in Doctor Who two parter Daleks in Manhatten and as the Hybrid in Evolution of the Daleks in 2007.

Garrick Hagon played John F. Dulles for 1 episode in 2016. Played Harold Potter in Tale of a Timelord short in 2016. Played Abraham in Doctor Who episode A Town Called Mercy in 2012. Played Ky in All six episodes of The Mutants in 1972.

Simon Poland played Chief Scientist for the Met Office for 1 episode in 2016. Was the voice of the 456 voice in Torchwood: Children of Earth day 2 - 5 in 2009.

Anthony Flanagan played Thurman for 1 episode in 2016. Played Orin Scannell in Doctor Who episode 42 in 2007.

Michael Cochrane played Vice Provost Sir Henry Marten for 1 episode in 2016. Played Redvers Fenn-Cooper in Doctor Who story Ghost Light parts 1 - 3 in 1989 and Lord Cranleigh in Black Orchid in both parts in 1982.

Rebecca Benson played a Nurse for 1 episode in 2016. Played Kar in Doctor Who episode (new) The Eaters of Light in 2017.

Garry Lake played Journalist #2 for 1 episode in 2016. Played Vic in Torchwood episode Meat in 2008.

Catherine Bailey played Lady Elizabeth Cavendish for 1 episode in 2017. Played Miss Wyckham in SJA episode Lost in Time, part 2 in 2010.

Bertie Carvel played Robin Day for 1 episode in 2017. Played the Mysterious Man in Doctor Who episode The Lazarus Experiment in 2007.

Richard Elfyn played Selwyn Lloyd for 1 episode in 2017. Was the voice of the Knights in Doctor Who episode Robot of Sherwood in 2014.

Richard Price played a member of the Scots Guard uncredited for 1 episode in 2016. Was uncredited for his Doctor Who roles as Wedding Guest and standard Guest in The Runaway Bride in 2006 and The Lazarus Experiment in 2007, a Passerby in Partners in Crime in 2008, A Takran Soldier in The Doctor's Daughter in the same year, and RTD and Modern Cybermen in 2017. Played a Passerby in SJA: The Mark of the Berserker parts 1 & 2 in 2008.

Film Editing

Úna Ní Dhonghaíle was film editor for 2 episodes in 2016. Was film editor for Doctor Who episode A Good Man Goes to War in 2011.

Makeup Department

Chris Lyons did special effects teeth for 3 episodes in 2017. Did Special Effects teeth for 8 episodes of SJA from 2009 - 2010.

Amy Riley was makeup artist for unknown episodes. Was make up supervisor for 5 episodes of Doctor Who in 2014 and makeup artist for one episode in the same year.

Second Unit Director or Assistant Director

Michael Llewellyn Williams was crowd runner: dailies and crowd third assistant director for 5 episodes in 2016. Was uncredited as Barry Leonard in Torchwood episode, Reset in 2008. Was an uncredited Slab in Doctor Who episode Smith and Jones in 2007. Was assistant director credited as Michael Williams for Doctor Who episode Flatline in 2014.

Art Department

Richard Rowntree did additional greens for 6 episodes in 2017. Did additional greens for 41 episodes of Doctor Who from 2011 - 2015, all of which were uncredited.

Sound Department

Patrick Christensen was adr mixer for 6 episodes in 2017. Was ADR mixer for 7 episodes of Doctor Who from 2015 - 2017.

George Atkins was adr mixer for 1 episode in 2017. Was ADR mixer for two episodes from 2014 - 2017 and ADR recordist for one episode in 2013.

Special Effects

Peter Kersey was Special effects floor supervisor / special effects technician for 10 episodes in 2016. Was uncredited as special effects technician for Doctor Who movie in 1996.

Leon Harris was special effects technician for 2 episodes in 2016. Was special effects crew for 3 episodes from 2012 - 2013, and special effects for 2 episodes in 2013.

Mike Crowley was special effects technician for unknown episodes. Was special effects supervisor for 8 episodes of Doctor Who in 2006.

Chris Reynolds was special effects supervisor for unknown episodes. Was senior special effects technician for 4 episodes of Doctor Who in 1989, special effects technician for 1 episode in 1986 and special effects for 1 episode in the same year.

Visual Effects

Joseph Batten was digital compositor for 10 episodes in 2016. Was digital matte painter for 19 episodes from 2007 - 2010, and matte painter for 3 episodes in 2008.
Was digital matte painter for 4 episodes of Torchwood from 2006 - 2008 and digital matte painter for SJA for one episode in 2007.

Roy Peker was roto/prep artist: One Of Us for 5 episodes in 2016. Was digital compositor for 3 episodes of Doctor Who in 2017.

William Phillips was matchmove artist for 4 episodes in 2016. Was a matchmove artist for 1 episode of Doctor Who - The Return of Doctor Mysterio in 2016 but was uncredited.

Frederic Heymans was digital compositor for 2 episodes in 2017. Was digital compositor for 8 episodes of Doctor Who in 2014.

Kim Phelan was visual effects producer for unknown episodes. Was visual effects co-ordinator for 4 episodes in 2006, and visual effects co-ordinator for 1 episode in 2006.
Was visual effects co-ordinator for 13 episodes in 2006 and 2D artist for 1 episode in 2005.

Camera and Electrical Department

Jeremy Braben was aerial director of photography for 7 episodes from 2016-2017. Was aerial director of photography for one episode of Doctor Who - The Day of the Doctor, uncredited in 2013.

Costume and Wardrobe Department

Rose Goodhart was crowd costume for 10 episodes in 2016. Was assistant costume designer for 20 episodes from 2006 - 2010 for Doctor Who and costume supervisor for 1 episode in 2006.

Barbara Harrington was wardrobe mistress for 1 episode in 2016. Was costume assistant for 28 episodes of Doctor Who from 2005 - 2010. Was costume assistant for Doctor Who: Music of the Spheres in 2008. Was costume supervisor for 1 episode of SJA in 2007.

Editorial Department

Ben-Roy Turner was digital intermediate operator for 2 episodes in 2017. Was digital intermediate operator for 5 episodes of Doctor Who in 2017.

Location Management

Andrew Ryland was location manager for unknown episodes. Was unit manager: London and uncredited for Doctor Who episode The Bells of Saint John in 2013.

Miscellaneous crew

Jonathan Wayre was film projection / newsreel camera technician / radio & broadcast equipment / vintage BBC radio equipment supplied by for 9 episodes in 2016. Was vintage lab equipment supplied by for one episode for Doctor Who in 2010.

Karen Jones was script supervisor for unknown episodes. Was also production assistant for 4 episodes of Doctor Who story The Trial of a Time Lord parts 5 - 8 in 1986.