Review: The War Doctor Begins – Comrades in Arms

Review by Cavan Gilbey

Its time to dip back into Doctor Who’s most prominent bit of space-opera; The Time War. Another set of War Doctor stories are upon us and, as the title of the box-set suggests, we’re really focusing in on the relationship between the Doctor and Dalek cyborg warrior Case that first brought up in Warbringer. Across the three stories we get to see the level of trust and mistrust that plays on the minds of these tow characters, finally getting a true glimpse of how far the War Doctor is willing to go to stop the war and save his friend. But his friend may not think she needs saving from what she is, and by the final story you begin to question; is Case finally embracing the Dalek side of her personality?

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Review: Doctor Who – Short Trips Volume 12

Review by Cavan Gilbey

Doctor Who has had a great history of short fiction, this particular range is a testament to that and quite a few of my favourite stories in the franchise have come from Big Finish’s output on the Short Trip front. It’s nice to have these shorter stories which deal with smaller scale sci-fi concepts, often putting character and theme above all else to give us more intimate narratives. In recent years they’ve even been willing to experiment with the format with stories like How To Win Planets and Influence People and Regeneration Impossible essentially being more like mini audio dramas rather simply a prose story. On a side note I would really recommend giving both of those stories a go since they are pretty cheap and help ease you into the style of story seen in this particular boxset. We’ve got six stories here so I’m not going to bore you with any more details, just know now that this boxset is going to be hard to recommend despite my overall positive response to this set.

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Our top Pride Month reads

To celebrate LGBT+ Pride Month is month this June, check out our list of the 10 best books to read this month that reflect and celebrate the diversity of the modern LGBTQ+ experience.


From ground-breaking autobiographies and books by prominent queer authors to the newest love comedies on TikTok, and from definitive works on activism and allyship to perfect introductions on inclusivity and LGBTQ+ issues for children.

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Kim Cattrall to Return as Samantha Jones for Season 2 finale of And Just Like That

Kim Cattrall will reprise her iconic role as Samantha Jones in the Season 2 finale of And Just Like That, HBO Max’s revival of HBO’s Sex and the City.

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MCM London Comic Con – May 2023

MCM Comic Con’s spring edition returned to EXCEL London (May 26th-28th 2023). Once again we attended this event as official press thanks to MCM.


Celebrating it’s 20th birthday MCM London has become one of the largest and premier pop culture events in the UK offering attendees a wide range of attractions, opportunities and experiences covering a wide range of interest areas. Continue reading

Indira Varma joins Doctor Who

Award-winning actress Indira Varma is crossing galaxies as she joins the new series of Doctor Who. First entering the world of Doctor Who as Suzie Costello in Russell T Davies’ spin-off series Torchwood, Indira now steps aboard the TARDIS in her new mysterious role as the Duchess.

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First look at Jonathan Groff in Doctor Who

Jonathan Groff has landed and has begun filming on the new series of Doctor Who and here is the first look of him in character in his mysterious key role alongside Ncuti Gatwa and Millie Gibson.

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Review: Doctor Who Once and Future – Past Lives

Review by Jacob Licklider

Mild spoilers

Let’s take a moment to discuss integrating a theme into a story and how an author’s intent may perhaps become muddled by a production. Once and Future is the overarching name given to Big Finish Productions’ 60th Anniversary miniseries, planning to release monthly installments until the anniversary month and a coda in 2024. Like all anniversary specials the announcement came with a slew of guest stars and returning characters, with the premise being some incarnation of the Doctor has been attacked and is degenerating into previous incarnations of themself. This is the overarching plot of the miniseries, established at the start of Past Lives, Robert Valentine’s introductory story.

With the title and behind the scenes interviews, Valentine lays out this idea about anti-nostalgia and the pain of nostalgia, which is a laudable idea to inject into an anniversary story, especially one for a franchise that has been going for 60 years and shows no signs of stopping. It is especially prescient for an audio drama which is supplemental to the main show and whose company has had criticisms for an over reliance on nostalgia in recent years to stay in business.

This could have been an interesting examination of the need to keep referencing things and drawing people in as Valentine clearly intended, however, Past Lives just doesn’t do anything to explore those themes in its hour-long runtime. There are hints, Sarah Jane, played by Sadie Miller, is brought in right at the end of The Hand of Fear and the UNIT characters of Kate Stewart and Petronella Osgood, played by Jemma Redgrave and Ingrid Oliver respectively, right before The Day of the Doctor, is a clear choice to parallel characters from after and before their involvement with the Doctor proper (though Kate had appeared in The Power of Three). The Meddling Monk being the antagonist of the story, played by Rufus Hound, also could have been a larger presence of preserving some sense of nostalgia but the script never crystalizes any of its ideas. As it stands, the plot of Past Lives is actually quite condensed, the opening and conclusion being dedicated to introducing the central idea and mystery box of Once and Future’s arc which means that Valentine only gets about 40 minutes to actually tell his story from front to back. A lot of the introduction feels incredibly rushed, with points where it feels as if Helen Goldwyn in the director’s seat has realized how tight the script needs to be to fit in the CD time limit and has some scenes just move quick. The recreation of the end of The Hand of Fear is perhaps the biggest example of this, Sadie Miller almost rushing through her lines before she is brought into the story. The conclusion is also just a lead in to the fact that the Doctor, played by Tom Baker here, is changing his appearance again and going off to find his daughter.

When the story is actually dealing with the Meddling Monk and the Hyreth invaders, crocodilian invaders whose leader is voiced by Ewan Bailey with aplomb, there’s a pretty fun story to be had there. Okay so it’s a bit standard but it genuinely feels like Valentine had a much bigger scope story to tell, but having only an hour means that a of the five major players of the Doctor, Sarah Jane, the Monk, Kate, and Osgood are competing for time in the spotlight while also exploring a new species of alien invaders and setting up a mystery box. The resolution of the story is great, with the Hyreth turning themselves into UNIT which indicates maybe there’s hope for peaceful existence with aliens which is nice. The downfall of the Hyreth feels like the point where Valentine meant to explore the idea of holding onto the past, but it just doesn’t get enough time to shine. Past Lives as a story is a perfectly fine story on its own, but as the beginning of a story arc it strays far too much into just setting up a basic premise, when more time should have been given to Valentine to actually tell the story he wanted to tell and expand on the themes that suffer from only being a small thread in the corner of the story. 5/10.

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Big Finish announce eight-part multi-Doctor audio drama series celebrating the 60th anniversary of Doctor Who

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