The Ianto Shrine

This past week I went to Cardiff as I had never been there and wanted to go somewhere new. I also thought that as the Doctor Who experience was closing down soon, it was the perfect time to go and see what Cardiff had to offer. I’ll go onto the Doctor Who Experience another time but this time I will talk about the Ianto Jones Shrine. It was something that I had heard about before and thought that whilst I visiting Cardiff and the DUntitled-1octor Who Experience, I would visit the shrine which even appears on Google Earth.

Only in the Doctor Who Universe would fans set up and shrine to a deceased character. I had booked a room at the nearby Travelodge and walked down past that the Millennium Centre and the Welsh Assembly, round the corner and there it is. The Ianto Shrine which I imagine has seen better days but even faded pictures and rain soaked letters doesn’t detract from what an impressive sight it is. I say it again, only in the Universe of Doctor Who would a deceased character have a shrine dedicated to them. 20170321_090340There are a couple of things that I liked whilst browsing the different tributes on there. First is the amount there. I didn’t count them but there must be hundreds on there and that’s not including the ones hidden and the ones that have fallen off over the years. Secondly is a simple little plaque that was placed besides the shrine which explains what this shrine is and why its there.

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It must be quite strange to anyone who hasn’t seen Doctor Who or Torchwood why this is significant and again only in the Doctor Who Universe could this happen. It put a smile on my face when I read it and thought that it was a nice touch to what was a shrine that has seen better days.  I think if you are a fan of Torchwood or a fan of Doctor Who in general then you should definitely visit this. You could easily spend several minutes looking at all the little notes and gifts that have been placed there.

Some of them are quite nice things added to it and it doesn’t take long to see just how much people loved Ianto even if until fairly recently I didn’t understand. Ianto Shrine (15)Ianto Shrine (11)

And then there are some which seem a bit……odd.

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I know it might seem a bit odd but the thought was there and I suppose there could have been worse things to find.

20170322_101327Where the plaque is placed is the door which is the exterior door to lead into the Hub. There was a small part of me that was curious exactly what was behind it. I obviously knew that it wasn’t going to lead to the Hub and the Ianto wasn’t going to behind a desk making coffee but it was a bit of a disappointment that this is what I saw. Below the picture was loads of rubbish that had been washed up but at least I know now instead of spending the rest of my life wondering.

I think if I ever visit Cardiff again then I will definitely visit the shrine to see if it is a) still there and b) if anything new has been added to it.

 

 

The Problem with Class

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As I write this in March 2017, there is no official word as to the second series of Class. There have been rumblings that the show has been cancelled and to be honest I cant say that I would be surprised.

Back in October 2015, the BBC announced that there was big news on social media which many (including myself) assumed that must have meant a lost episode had been found but we were let down when it was announced a new spin off series would launch. I was miffed like most people but after a few weeks thought that I would it might be ok but then the first sign that it might not be a total success came when it was announced that it would debut on BBC Three. Back in 2006, Torchwood launched on the channel and eventually moved to BBC One. However in February 2016, the channel ceased as a traditional TV channel and became online only so basically you would only be able to view it via the BBC iPlayer. I think I remember someone saying that it was a bit of a test to see whether launching dramas on the iplayer would draw people to the service. Ratings were never going to be sky high but ratings were between 20,000 and 60,000.

Like most stuff on the new BBC Three, it made its way to the main channels and despite this being tagged as Young Adult, the episodes were stuffed in the late-night timeslot in double bill instalments. This was another sign that things were going badly wrong with the series. Ratings would be ok for the first episode but come the second, the ratings would slide. Take for example the first two. For Tonight We Might Die got just over 1 million viewers. The second episode The Coach With the Dragon Tattoo got around half a million. As each week progressed, the ratings for the first episode got lower.

So why hasn’t the show connected with fans like Torchwood or Sarah Jane Adventures? There isn’t one single reason but I’ll try and give my theories as to why this is the poorest spin-off.

The first reason might be because we were getting a show that nobody wanted. Imagine that you’re a Manchester United fan and your use to getting regular matches, and then they decide they are taking a break for a year so the manager can do something else and in its place your going to get some amateur players who are going to be playing at Old Trafford instead. It’s football but not the sort you want. Well that’s what Doctor Who fans experienced when it was announced that Class was coming. I think that there was a lot of bad feeling aimed at the show which wasn’t really the fault of the show, that anger/frustration should really have been aimed at the BBC. Maybe the next time that the BBC want to make a big song and dance about a new spin-off they might want to warn fans beforehand that its not a lost episode or don’t announce it when we know we aren’t getting any new Who for a long time.

Another theory isn’t that there was no real link between Doctor Who and Class. Yes the Doctor appeared in the first episode and it had Coal Hill but that was it. At least with Torchwood there was Captain Jack and you had his presence to keep you going until you got to know the other characters. In Class, the Doctor appears and then says bye and we are left with these new characters and that was a mistake. There was also the principal that appeared in a few episodes of Doctor Who but he gets killed off. Also it wasn’t Coal Hill School. If your gonna called it Coal Hill Academy then it needs be the same Coal Hill that appeared in Doctor Who. It might as well have been called something else for the good it did.

Another problem was for me with the characters. They just didn’t gel. Even after six episodes it seemed like they were just random people who had not connection with each other. Lets start with Greg Austin who played Charlie Smith. I actually thought his character was quite good and at least there was something to the character. I think that largely stemmed from Charlie’s story with Quill but out of all the student characters, his was the best by a clear mile. Fady Elsayed who played Ram Singh was on a hiding to nothing. His character was just annoying because he was someone who didn’t fit in with the rest of the group but not in a good way. If he hadn’t been in the show then I don’t think the show would have suffered. Lets be honest, had he not lost his leg then there would be very little of note to say about the character. Next was Sophie Hopkins who played April MacLean who started out quite well but then just became a rather unbelievable hero. Vivian Oparah deserved better as Tanya Adeola. I thought that there was potential and there were moments of potential dotted throughout the series but largely wasted by the structure of the show. Then there was Katherine Kelly who was the best thing in the show. As Miss Quill, she had a nice sense of disdain for those around her and her attitude was perhaps the only lively thing in the entire series.

As I said they just didn’t gel. I know that it takes time but when Torchwood launched it seemed like the team connected and whilst they were all different and were a bit frosty with each other, they at least seemed like they were a team whereas the gang at Class just seemed like they had been cajoled into a room and told to get into a situation together. If there is a series two then the first thing that needs to be resolved is how to get them to at least seem like to the viewer they were on the same page.

I’m not going to talk about the quality of the scripts because they were ok and I thought that the opening episode was good and The Coach with the Dragon Tattoo was a very good episode. Nightvisiting was also another well written episode and at this point when I was watching, I thought that the show might work out but then the rest of the series carried on and it lost some of its punch and come the end of the series it never had the epic finale that I thought it should have done.

Class has some serious problems but then the first series of Torchwood wasn’t perfect by any means. It had different problems but it was a mixed bag that improved in series two. If there is a series two of Class then they need to sort out the characters and the way they interact with one another. If they manage to solve that then there is hope for the show because any new writers (or the ones used in the first series) would know the characters and the show and when you know what your writing then the quality improves.

I know that there are many who would be happy for Class to never return. I’m not one of them. I cant say that I was a huge fan of the series but I would be prepared to give it a second go and I don’t think I am the only one who thinks like that. Class is possibly going to go down in the history of Doctor Who as the spin-off that only ran for one series. Torchwood managed four, Sarah Jane Adventures did five and even K9 and Company has a sort of naff charm to it. I don’t think in 30 years, Class will have the same guilty pleasure vibe to it. I could be wrong but  I don’t think so.

Blog #7 – Captain Scarlett, Doom Coalition & The Eternal Battle

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Well another week has gone and the news was released this past Monday where Big Finish announced that they would be releasing Captain Scarlett material to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Captain Scarlett. This comes out in September and there is a load of stuff. I think at this moment in time I am torn as to whether I want to buy it. I think that it there would be some good stuff but its not a Big Finish production from what I can tell but stuff produced back in the 60’s. If it turns out they are producing new stuff then I might be interested but there is six months to go so there is plenty of time for stuff to be announced.

This week has been a bit light on the listening front but the fourth and final volume of Doom Coalition which from what I can gather on Twitter is going down rather well. I think that this range has been much better than Dark Eyes. I think that’s because it was stated from the beginning (somewhere) that it would be four volumes whereas with Dark Eyes it felt like it was never clear how long it would go on for. Also I think that the story arc is not as complicated as the one in Dark Eyes. I almost don’t want to start listening to this final boxset because I don’t want it to end. The only question that remains is what is next for Paul McGann’s Doctor?

As well as Captain Scarlett, there was some big news this week. Concerning the Main Range, it has been spotted that Hex is making a comeback in June’s Shadow Planet/World Planet. What isn’t clear is whether this is a one off appearance or his return after the character was written out in September 2014’s Signs and Wonders. I thought that the character of Hex was a good one and I thought it was a shame that he got dropped from the range. Another piece of news announced this week is that the Daleks are returning to the Companion Chronicles. They will appear in Volume 2 which comes out in June, the story is called The Plague of Dreams and its only the second time that they have appeared in the range having previously appeared in the second ever story in the range 10 years ago.

The only BF new release I listened to this week was The Eternal Battle which is the second story of The Fourth Doctor Adventures’ sixth series. I thought it was another cracking story and I am really happy with how good this series has progressed considering that the start of the previous series wasn’t as good. It’s been announced that the third series of Torchwood will start on Tuesday and I am really happy with that news because I am off to Cardiff a week on Monday (20th) and will be staying just a stones throw away from Cardiff Bay and it will be fun to listen to Visiting Hours and Torchwood One whilst walking around where the show was filmed. Also I will be visiting the Doctor Who Experience so my next blog but one will be mainly about that. I am looking forward to that but there is a full week before I get on that train to Cardiff.

So that’s it for this blog. Thankyou for taking the time to read and all that is left is to hope that you all have a very good week and enjoy listening to Big Finish.

The Blog #06 – John Hurt, Cicero, Doom Coalition 4 & The Eighth Doctor Adventures

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It’s been a while since I posted my last blog, so I thought that I would make up for it by cramming four Doctor Who/Big Finish topics into one blog post.

I have got the final two volumes of the War Doctor on my Big Finish app and to be honest I am a little bit reluctant in listening to it. As silly as it sounds I don’t want to listen to them because when I finish the final story then I know that there are no more John Hurt/War Doctor stories and that is something that is quite sad. I know that we are lucky that we got 12 stories with him in and The Invisible Man to enjoy but knowing that there is no more isn’t the greatest feeling.

Moving onto happier topics, I recently bought Cicero after listening to the Big Finish podcast and they were talking about it being a pilot and I thought that I would give it a go. Well to be fair it was only £5 and I’ve wasted more money on things that weren’t any good and BF’s track record is pretty good so I was confident that I would get a good story and within 10 minutes I was so glad I did. It has the same sort of vibe as most detective/criminal dramas where they try and find out who did the murder. I loved it and hope that it will lead to more in the future.

As I write this there is about 48 hours until the final part of Doom Coalition is released. I have enjoyed Doom Coalition and thought that it has been more satisfying than Dark Eyes. I know a lot of people have complained that there wasn’t as much of Eleven as they would have liked but I thought that enough was going on to make it a fun range and I think its a shame that its coming to an end but by the looks of the promotional posters, its going to end on a high and that’s the best you can ask for.

I have been spending the last week working my way through the Eighth Doctor Adventures. I have been slowly working my way through the first series and got to Max Warp and stopped, on my day off from work, I got through the rest of the second series in one day and decided that I was going to try and get through the rest of the Eighth Doctor and Lucie Miller stories. Out of the three series that I have listened to I thought the first series was the best but the third series had the best finale. I thought that despite my loathing of spiders, the stories themselves worked rather well. I am approaching the fourth series (after Death in Blackpool) knowing that there are some epic stories coming and the end of Lucie Bleedin Miller.

Well that’s all for now. I will mostly be spending the week listening to the Eighth Doctor Adventures and reminding myself of what happened in Doom Coalition before listening to Volume 4.

Bye for now

The Weekly Blog 05

It’s been a while since I posted my weekly blog and that’s because Christmas and New Year got in the way as well as my running of the Tomstardis Awards.

On the subject of the awards I have to say that it was another great year for the number of votes.210 There was just under 1,300 votes cast and whilst that was slightly down on last year I still think it was an impressive number. The main headlines from the awards was that Colin Baker won the Favourite Doctor award for the fifth time and Lisa Greenwood won the Favourite Companion for the first time. The Main Range Story was won by The Peterloo Massacre which didn’t win the Favourite Main Range Writer award. That went to John Dorney who wrote The Two Masters.

There has been some news on the old Torchwood front. Since the last post Torchwood One was released which I am currently listening to but the big news is that Burn Gorman is finally returning to Torchwood. Gorman was the only regular member of the cast that hadn’t appeared in a Big Finish story and that is such good news. It will be interesting to see what they do with his character but the Torchwood range has been going from strength to strength and 2017 looks like its going to be a good year.

It’s been a while since I mentioned the backlog. Well there is no backlog. There are releases that I have yet to listen to but I don’t consider it a backlog. I’ve still got Star Man and Torchwood One to listen to but that’s it. I have decided to restart my listen on main range stories to rate and I have gone back to the plan of listening to random stories instead of listening to them in order. I don’t know how long that will last but at the moment I am hoping this will move me along.

That’s it for this blog. It’s a bit shorter than usual but hopefully more next time.

 

Another Awards Update

This is the final update of the Awards. Here is a quick list of who is leading each of the individual categories. There are a few categories that have more than one person in the lead.

Voting will close in one at 6pm. I will post the full results shortly afterwards.

Doctor – Colin Baker
Companion – Lisa Greenwood

Main Range
Story – The Two Masters
Writer – John Dorney (The Two Masters)
Director – Jamie Anderson (The Two Masters)
Music & Sound Designer – Nigel Fairs (The Peterloo Massacre)
Cover Designer – Simon Holub (Order of the Daleks)
Series – Fifth (The Waters of AmsterdamAquitaine/The Peterloo Massacre)

Fourth Doctor Adventures
Story – The Trouble With Drax
Writer – John Dorney (The Trouble With Drax)
Director – Nicholas Briggs (The Trouble With Drax)
Music & Sound Designer – Jamie Robertson (The Trouble With Drax)
Cover Designer – Anthony Lamb (The Labyrinth of Buda Castle)

The Early Adventures
Story – The Sontarans
Writer – Simon Guerrier (The Sontarans)
Director – Ken Bentley (The Sontarans)
Music & Sound Designer – Toby Hrycek-Robinson (The Sontarans)
Cover Designer – Tom Webster (The Ravelli Conspiracy)

The Churchill Years
Story – Living History
Writer – Justin Richards (Living History)

Torchwood Story – Made You Look & Outbreak Writer – Joseph Lidster (Broken)

Short Trips Story – A Full Life Writer – Joseph Lidster (A Full Life) Performer – Matthew Waterhouse (A Full Life), Peter Purves (This Sporting Life)

War Doctor
Story – The Neverwhen
Writer – Matt Fitton (The Neverwhen)

Doom Coalition
Story – Absent Friends
Writer – John Dorney (Absent Friends)

Novel Adaptions
Story – Cold Fusion
Adaptor – Lance Parkin (Cold Fusion)
Director – Jamie Anderson (Cold Fusion)
Music & Sound Designer – Fool Circle Productions (Cold Fusion)
Cover Designer – Tom Newsom (Cold Fusion)

Jago and Litefoot
Story –The Flickerman
Writer – Simon Barnard & Paul Morris (The Flickerman)

New Adventures of Bernice Summerfield
Story – Planet X Writer – Guy Adams (Planet X)

Third Doctor Adventures
Story – The Transcendence of Ephros
Writer – Guy Adams (The Transcendence of Ephros)

UNIT Story
Story – Square One

Companion Chronicles
Story – The Mouthless Dead
Writer – John Pritchard (The Mouthless Dead)

The Prisoner
Story – Departure and Arrival

The Avengers
Steed and Keel – Nightmare
Steed and Mrs Peel – Return to Castle De’ath

Survivors
Story – Forgive and Forget/The Second Coming/Angel of Death
Writer – Matt Fitton (Forgive and Forget)

Counter Measures
Story – Who Killed Toby Kinsella?/The Dead Don’t Rise
Writer – Ken Bentley (The Dead Don’t Rise), Guy Adams (Nothing to See Here

Diary of River Song
Story – Five Twenty-Nine
Writer – John Dorney (Five Twenty-Nine)

Classic Doctors, New Monsters
Story – Judoon in Chains
Writer – Simon Barnard & Paul Morris (Judoon in Chains)

The Tenth Doctor Adventures
Story – Death and the Queen
Writer – James Goss (Death and the Queen)

Dan Dare
Story – Voyage to Venus/The Red Moon Mystery/Marooned on Mercury
Writer – Marc Platt (Marooned on Mercury)

Dark Shadows
Story – Blood and Fire

Vienna
Story – Impossibly Glamorous
Writer – Guy Adams (Big Society) & Steve Lyons (Impossibly Glamorous)

Blake’s 7
Story – Punishment
Writer – Guy Adams (Capital) & (Punishmen)

Terrahawks
Story – Return to Sender/Chain of Command/Lights, Cameras, Disaster/Count Anaconda’s Magnificent Orbiting Circus/My Enemy’s Enemy
Writer – Chris Dale (Return to Sender), Geraldine Donaldson (Chain of Command), David Hirsch (Lights, Camera, Disaster), Terry Adlam (Count Anacondas Magnificent Orbiting Circus)

Confession of Dorian Gray
Story – One Must Not Look at Mirrors
Writer – Guy Adams (One Must Not Look at Mirrors)

The Tomstardis Awards – Update

This is the first big update of the Awards since they were launched. Here is a quick list of who is leading each of the individual categories. There are a few categories that have more than one person in the lead.

Doctor – Colin Baker
Companion – Lisa Greenwood

Main Range
Story – The Two Masters
Writer – John Dorney (The Two Masters)
Director – Jamie Anderson (The Two Masters)
Music & Sound Designer – Nigel Fairs (The Peterloo Massacre)
Cover Designer – Simon Holub (Order of the Daleks) Series – Master

Fourth Doctor Adventures
Story – The Trouble With Drax
Writer – John Dorney (The Trouble With Drax)
Director – Nicholas Briggs (The Trouble With Drax)
Music & Sound Designer – Jamie Robertson (The Trouble With Drax)
Cover Designer – Anthony Lamb (The Labyrinth of Buda Castle)

The Early Adventures Story – The Sontarans Writer – Simon Guerrier (The Sontarans) Director – Lisa Bowerman (The Sontarans) Music & Sound Designer – Toby Hrycek-Robinson (The Sontarans) Cover Designer – Tom Webster (The Ravelli Conspiracy)

The Churchill Years
Story – Living History
Writer – Justin Richards (Living History)

Torchwood
Story – Made You Look & Outbreak
Writer – Guy Adams (More Than This & Moving Target)

Short Trips
Story – Lost and Found
Writer – Tony Jones (Rulebook)

War Doctor
Story – The Neverwhen
Writer – Matt Fitton (The Neverwhen) & David Llewellyn (The Shadow Vortex)

Doom Coalition
Story – Absent Friends
Writer – John Dorney (Absent Friends)

Novel Adaptions
Story – Cold Fusion
Adaptor – Lance Parkin (Cold Fusion)
Director – Scott Handcock (Nightshade), Ken Bentley (Original Sin), Jamie Anderson (Cold Fusion)
Music & Sound Designer – Blair Mowat & Iain Meadows (Nightshade)
Cover Designer – Tom Newsom (Cold Fusion)

Jago and Litefoot
Story – Picture This & The Flickerman
Writer – Simon Barnard & Paul Morris (The Woman in White)

New Adventures of Bernice Summerfield
Story – Planet X
Writer – Guy Adams (Planet X)

Third Doctor Adventures
Story – The Transcendence of Ephros
Writer – Guy Adams (The Transcendence of Ephros)

UNIT Story Story – Square One

Companion Chronicles
Story – The Mouthless Dead & The Story of Extinction
Writer – John Pritchard (The Mouthless Dead)

The Prisoner
Story – Departure and Arrival

The Avengers
Steed and Keel – Nightmare, Crescent Moon & Death on the Slipway
Steed and Mrs Peel – Return to Castle De’ath

Survivors
Story – The Second Coming
Writer – Matt Fitton (Forgive and Forget)

Counter Measures
Story – Who Killed Toby Kinsella?, The Dead Don’t Rise, Troubled Waters, A Gamble with Time
Writer – Ken Bentley (The Dead Don’t Rise), Guy Adams (Nothing to See Here), Ian Potter (Troubled Waters) & John Dorney (A Gamble with Time)

Diary of River Song
Story – Five Twenty-Nine
Writer – John Dorney (Five Twenty-Nine)