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Pre-Order Kasterborous Magazine #2 Now!

The second issue of the Kasterborous Magazine is now available for pre-order!

K Mag 2

This time, we’re focusing on video games, from 1983’s Doctor Who: The First Adventure to the most recent (very popular) mobile game, Legacy. And I’ve got a feature in the mag, looking at the MMO game, Worlds in Time, launched in 2012. Unfortunately, it closed earlier this year, but that didn’t reflect the massive amount of thought and care that went into it. I interviewed Ben Badgett, Creative Director of BBC Worldwide Digital Entertainment & Games, about the process; he told me:

“We really wanted to fulfill the fantasy of having the Doctor choose the player to take them on adventures through space and time. I think that’s a huge part of the appeal of the companions, and part of staying true to the show.”

I’m in good company: editor, Christian Cawley, has bought together some great writers, including Mez Burdett; Scott Varnham; James McLean (who also designed it – and it really does look fantastic); Elton Townend-Jones… and The Valeyard!

I’m especially impressed by the clever cover. Utterly brilliant.

As well as a print and digital edition, this issue will also be available as an instantly-readable PDF for £1.99, accessible through most e-readers and of course, your PC. Plus, if you go with this option, you get Issue 1 completely free – and that one includes my interview with Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith!

Believe me: a lot of work has gone into the issue and we’re all very proud of it.

Digital copies are expected to be available sometime next month.

The print version is available to pre-order today for just £9.99 from the Kasterborous Store.

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Interviewing Matt Smith: One Year On.

I can’t believe it’s been a year since I interviewed the Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith, at the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff.

Matt Smith Handprint 2

I’m immensely proud of the interview and all the articles that came from it, including a feature, All Monsters, Great and Small, which starred in the very first issue of the Kasterborous Magazine. But it’s not just professional pride. It’s also a very personal thing that will stay with me until the day I die (or regenerate). Reading through all the material, listening to it on the Dictaphone, or just going through the bits that I bought at their shop – it brings back the excitement of that day.

Matt Smith wasn’t the only person of interest there; though I didn’t get to meet him, one of my writing inspirations, showrunner Steven Moffat, was a surprise guest and gave a brilliant speech.

Not only was it an honour to speak to Matt and see Steven, but it proves an ongoing source of inspiration. This is the world I want to be in.

It’s a strange but wonderful feeling. Surreal, certainly, but there’s a fantastic excitement running through me, and I hope it comes across in my work. I can’t help but think, how amazing would it be to write for Matt, to write for other incredible actors, to work alongside the people I admire…

I was astonished at how nonplussed some of the other journalists were when faced with the Doctor. Most would not admit to the sheer excitement they must surely feel. But I’m not like that, and I know I’ll never become complacent. It was a mind-blowing experience.

Matt is my Doctor, and I’m gutted that he’s leaving at Christmas. But then, I love all the Doctors and I’m certain Peter Capaldi will be just as stunning.

Nonetheless, I want to thank my Kasterborous editor, Christian Cawley, for giving me such a unique opportunity. And I want to say a special thanks  – even though they’ll never read this – to Matt and Steven, who have given me not only a consistently exceptional era of my favourite show, but also a day I’ll never forget.

 

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Kasterborous Magazine Out Now!

The print version of the Kasterborous Magazine is out now, alongside an online edition and a copy accessible on tablets and mobile phones.

K Mag 1.1

For my editor, Christian Cawley, it’s been two years of hard work. The rest of us just breeze in sometimes, send him a feature or an interview or something, then our job’s done! But Christian and designer, James McLean have both delivered an exceptional magazine which celebrates both the show and fandom. As Christian explains in his Editorial, the Kasterborous Magazine is all about what makes the show: the fans.

After all, Doctor Who is run by fans, and has been for quite some years now! Notably, there’s Steven Moffat and Russell T. Davies, but going further than that, there’s Julie Gardner, Andrew Cartmel, Caroline Skinner, Phil Collinson, John Nathan-Turner… That’s just touching the surface. Everyone who stars in the sci-fi sensation seems to fall in love with it. Tenth Doctor, David Tennant, was a fan before, of course, as was Twelfth Doctor, Peter Capaldi. Matt Smith, the Eleventh Doctor, admits to not really watching it before he was cast – but now is as dedicated a fan as any.

And Kasterborous Magazine #01 features my exclusive interview with Matt, conducted last year at the Doctor Who Experience.

K Mag 1.2

Obviously, I can’t give too much away at the moment, but needless to say, it was an incredible, unforgettable experience, and I’m really proud of the final four-page feature.

So how did the magazine first come into fruition? “A pub was involved, perhaps 2, over the space of several months and under the guiding hand of [Vworp! Vworp! editor, Gareth Kavanagh],” Christian tells me. “The initial idea kind of followed on from Vworp! Vworp!, in which I contributed Time Leech part 1, and I was keen to find a new way of increasing Kasterborous’ reach, as Facebook and Twitter weren’t working too well and the podKast was on hiatus at the time. You know Doctor Who fans are the only people who say ‘on hiatus’?”

The magazine has a very fresh, unique look, and Christian says that James McLean “has done an awesome job balancing daily illustration work with the challenge of coming to terms with completely new software, so I doff my hat to him as I’d still be fiddling with borders at this stage. We decided to [create] emblems, which gave us some direction. You can see in the first issue how James’ use of the software has advanced as you read through from beginning to end, and I think with the Asylum of the Daleks feature, we found the best way of developing a look for an article, so expect more of that in issue 2…”

K Mag 1.3

The magazine isn’t the only new thing about Kasterborous, however: the K Store allows you to buy all version of the magazine alongside books and – coming soon! – t-shirts, as well as allowing free download of Rick Lundeen’s web comic adaptation of The Daleks’ Master Plan. “[It’s] something I’ve been planning since back when we released Ultimate Regeneration,” Christian says. “Back then, time and knowledge got in the way, as did technology. It’s much easier to launch a store these days.”

Issue 2 focusses on Doctor Who games, described as the ‘Digital Conundrum’ – but why does Christian think so many of the games have failed? “If we were only talking about one or two games then it would be difficult to say,” he considers. “Looking at it, I think the BBC’s idea of what a video game is, can and should be are vastly in opposition to what development teams might think. It’s an ongoing bugbear of mine.”

The second issue is planned for sometime this year, and yes, I’ve written a feature on the MMO, Worlds in Time. If you want to contribute to further issues, simply email Christian (christian@kasterborous.com) or contact him via Twitter or Facebook.

My co-contributors for #01 are: Elton Townend-Jones, Scott Varnham, Christine Grit, Alasdair Shaw, and Associate Editor, Brian A. Terranova.

And you can buy your copy here!

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2013 in Interview, Published work, Television

 

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My First Sub-Editorial: Negativity

We’ve had an incredibly strong run of Doctor Who stories this year, ranging from the beautiful (The Rings of Akhaten) to the creepy (Hide), from the funny (The Crimson Horror) to the shocking (The Name of the Doctor, obviously!) and plenty that tread the line between all the above.

They're here

But I got annoyed at the unfair negativity about the show. Thankfully, that seems to have subsided now – but in the midst of the season, my Kasterborous editor, Christian, offered me the chance to write my very first Sub-Editorial, tackling the unnecessary complaints.

Naturally, I jumped at the chance.

(A Sub-Editorial, by the way, is a glorified opinion piece, but it sounds more authoritative than just saying, ‘this is what I fink.’ I hope it’s a fairly genned-up argument, anyway…)

Here’s a brief snippet:

“[Showrunner, Steven Moffat has] also made the show too complex. Pure conjecture, there.

Yes, it’s complex – but it’s always been. There certainly are more timey-wimey stories, but that’s no bad thing, surely? It’s one of the main aspects of the show! As Peter Davison noted in the documentary for Mawdryn Undead, children seem to understand complexities more than adults, perhaps because they pay attention. Surely, a show that demands you take note is to be celebrated; it does not need to dumb down, and if it ever does, I’d prefer it be cancelled. TV should never strive to be dumb – nothing should. That attitude is disgusting.”

Okay, so it caused a stir. I bet you guessed that much.

I didn’t guess that it’d be one of the most-commented-on articles ever on Kasterborous. In fact, until Christian wrote How Leaks Are Spoiling Doctor Who’s 50th, it held the top spot. Naturally, I wept a bit when I found this out… but I suppose #2 isn’t bad, eh?

The Crimson Horror 4

Feel free to leave comments and help me reclaim that accolade, though. Go on.

Anyway, I’m happy that I provoked such an outpouring. And even happier that most agree with me, on the whole. There are some bile-filled comments, but that’s their prerogative. Let them get on with it, right!

Overall, thanks for supporting my articles. I won’t stop just because some people turn nasty. The positive ones are always the ones to listen to. Thank you for them.

Read my full Sub-Editorial here.

 
 

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100th Post: Reflecting on Nearly 3 Years

It’s really surprising to see that I started this blog nearly three years ago. And to find that this is my 100th post. Have I really had that many interesting things to say?! Excuse the self-indulgence here, then, as I look back at what’s changed since my very first blog post on 30th April 2010. (In no particular order…)

1. I’m now a freelance writer.
2. I’ve interviewed Matt Smith. (I know; I haven’t said anything about this massive event on this blog yet. But stay tuned!)

Matt and Moffat

3. I launched the Make Mine A Marvel Omnibus site in October 2010.
4. I had my first article printed in Real Travel magazine.
5. I work for the Doctor Who site, Kasterborous.
6. Amy and Rory left the TARDIS last year. (Don’t press me on the matter; I’m still a bit teary.)
7. I have an FdA in Professional Writing. (You can read more about that course here.)
8. Spooks has finished. (Thank God for DVDs!)
9. I’ve started my first novel.
10. I’ve written for the Weston College Higher Education Prospectus.
11. I did the web copy for Lovarzi’s Fourth Doctor Scarf for both their own website and Amazon.

doctor-who-scarf-4

12. As well as doing the official press release!
13. I’ve started my first children’s book.
14. The Amazing Spider-Man reached #700.
15. I’ve worked for Kasterborous’ sister site, CultBritannia (and you can read my first article here.)
16. I’ve learnt how to add videos to my blog!
17. I wrote The British Comedy Guide’s 10th anniversary celebratory article of The Office.
18. I’ve started a few scripts…
19. … And am searching for an agent.

Armstrong and Miller Guide2Bristol review

Armstrong and Miller Guide2Bristol review

20. I reviewed the Armstrong and Miller Tour for Bristol247
21. … And for Guide2Bristol.
22. The latter of which has been quoted on the official A&M website!
23. I copy-edit regularly for Kasterborous.
24. I reviewed the Day of the Daleks: Special Edition DVD for Kasterborous in two parts (here and here).
25. Then reviewed it for ItchyBristol here.
26. I’ve ran two blog advents across December 2011 and 2012.
27. I’ve worked on four Doctor Who ReKapped articles (learn more about that here), with another one in the works.

A Town Called Mercy 3

28. Clara Oswin Oswald has joined the TARDIS (sort of).
29. Neil Armstrong has passed away.
30. And so has Sir Patrick Moore.
31. The Killers have released a new album, Battle Born (and you can read a review of their single, Runaways here).
32. Avengers Assemble! has been released.
33. My review of the Doctor Who graphic novel, The Dalek Project went online here.
34. I’ve contributed two features to the upcoming Kasterborous Magazine (stay tuned for that).
35. Ray Bradbury has died.

The Illustrated Man

36. I’ve joined Twitter!
37. I’ve reviewed the last episode of Sherlock, The Reichenbach Fall, for Cult Britannia.
38. I have worked in a shop, Giggs, during the Christmas 2011 period – a shop which has since gone bust! (Nothing to do with me, I might add.)
39. I’ve read countless books – and you can see my top 10 reads of 2012 here.
40. Two episodes of 1960s Doctor Who have been found!
41. I reviewed Mission to the Unknown for Kasterborous’ Doctor Who@50.
42. The Gunfighters too! (And that’s certainly not the last of my involvement in the project.)
43. I created the Introducing: Doctor Who series for Kasterborous.

The Gunfighters 4

44. Doctor Who Confidential has been axed. (And was voted the best show ever on BBC3. Typical.)
45. I previewed Forbidden Planet’s Doctor Who Fun Day for ItchyBristol.
46. And in a short piece for The Mercury.
47. And finally for Bristol 247.
48. … For whom I also reviewed it.
49. The price of a 1st class stamp has increased to 60p.
50. I reviewed Lovarzi’s Fourth Doctor Scarf.
51. I write a regular column, Bristol Comics Corner, for Guide2Bristol.
52. Death in Paradise debuted on BBCOne.
53. Tuition fees increased, with a cap at £9,000.
54. … Something which I argued against in this Bristol247 article.
55. Brandon Flowers released his first solo album, Flamingo, and I reviewed it here.
56. I was thanked for my article about Jack Vettriano’s Bristol exhibition.

Vettriano on the Bristol247 homepage

Vettriano on the Bristol247 homepage

57. I previewed the Slapstick Festival in 2011.
58. I created my own website, using Moonfruit…
59. Then deleted it, as I wasn’t happy with the inability to update.
60. The Dandy ceased publication. (Read my article on that here.)
61. I’ve submitted an article to the Doctor Who book, Celebrate, Regenerate.
62. The Doctor Who Experience opened in London –
63. – Then moved to Cardiff.

JLC dress and Dalek

64. I reviewed Mack the Life, Lee Mack’s autobiography, for The British Comedy Guide.
65. I interviewed comic writer and artist, Jerry Holliday.
66. The Ice Warriors have been confirmed to return in the second half of Doctor Who, Series 7.
67. The world didn’t end on 21st December 2012. (Always a good thing, I find.)
68. The Bristol Comic Expo returned to Brunel’s Old Station.
69. I previewed the 2012 Expo here.
70. And reviewed it here.
71. The James Bond film franchise hit the big 5-0.
72. My former tutor, Marc Leverton, who’s a freelance writer, has written a guest blog post about his experience of publishers.

How To - Journalism

73. A review of his book, How to work as a Freelance Journalist, can be read here.
74. Steven Moffat has left Twitter. (Again, nothing to do with me!)
75. I’ve seen Steven Moffat at the Doctor Who Experience!
76. Sherlock burst onto television in July 2010.
77. I’ve helped Kasterborous begin their 50th anniversary celebrations with monthly Introduction articles.
78. January’s was Frontier in Space.
79. And this month’s is Vengeance on Varos.

Frontier 3

80. Tying into this, my editor called a second Frontier in Space piece I wrote one of the best articles the site has ever published. A massive compliment. You can read The World Behind: Frontier in Space here.
81. I reviewed Lee Mack’s Going Out live tour for Guide2Bristol
82. … And Bristol247!
83. I’ve visited the National History Museum for the first time.
84. Colin Baker appeared on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!
85. My article, Room with a View?, was the most-viewed article on Kasterborous in 2012!
86. I’ve begun work on a number of non-fiction books – but researching is a long task!
87. I reminisced on the anniversary of Matt Smith’s debut as the Doctor, Karen Gillan as Amy and Arthur Darvill as Rory here.
88. And celebrated Matt’s Doctor here.

The 11th Doctor

89. I’ve started a short story collection.
90. My jewellery article, With This (Time) Ring…, was surprisingly popular, making the Kasterborous top 10 list of the most-viewed articles of 2012.
91. I looked at the top 10 guest stars in the Tenth Doctor era here and here.
92. I’ve started reading the Sherlock Holmes novels by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
93. T4 On The Beach (held in my hometown) has been cancelled.

David Tennant

94. I’m working on a particularly-exciting documentary idea – though it’s only in development in my head at the minute!
95. I’ve seen Peter Kay live at Manchester’s M.E.N. Arena.
96. Parts of Doctor Who: The Snowmen were filmed in Bristol, as were bits of Night Terrors.
97. I previewed tours by Micky Flanagan, Ed Byrne and Stewart Francis for my local newspaper, The Weston and Worle Mercury.

Micky Flanagan Mercury preview

Micky Flanagan Mercury preview

98. I’ve seen the asteroid, 2012 DA14!
99. I’ve added a new section to my blog: Testimonials.
100. I’ve written 100 posts!

But don’t go anywhere. This is just the start.

Thanks for sticking with me this long.

 
 

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Sub-Editing Kasterborous

ADVENT DAY SEVENTEEN: Christmas. It’s not long away. And to celebrate advent, new content will be added to this blog every day in the countdown to the big day. You’ll see reviews, opinion pieces, links to some of my other work, videos – maybe even a short story! Remember to check back every day (in between the mad rush of packing presents, getting the freezer stocked up and watching Home Alone on repeat).

I’ve been lucky enough to be approached by my Kasterborous editor, Christian, to help sub-edit the site occasionally; a job I’ve happily taken on!

JLC by TARDIS

Aside from the usual editing tasks – checking spelling, syntax, grammar, punctuation etc – I’m responsible for adding images, tags and things like that.

My first published piece was Peruvian Who? by Meredith Burdett. I was quite nervous publishing anything that wasn’t, y’know, on this blog. Oh, the responsibility! But it went fine, and I got nice feedback from Christian. He was even supportive when I accidentally published an article before its featured image or tags had been added. (I basically pressed ‘publish’ instead of ‘preview’!)

When I first started, Kasterborous was having a bit of a makeover: there was initially a scrolling bar at the top of the homepage, featuring an image and some text to the left-hand side.

One of my jobs was picking these featured images, so once I tested the new site out, I realised that the text on the scroll bar obscured parts of the image. So I decided to pick images where the central character was offset to the right, with examples including Matt and Jenna’s “Good Chemistry”, which showed Jenna-Louise Coleman’s Oswin Oswald, and Hitchcock vs. Dream Lord.

Hitchcock vs Dream Lord

A few of my other sub-edited pieces include: Exclusive Nicholas Briggs Interview; So What (She’ll Be A Who Star?!); Andrew Cartmel Needs You!; What We Know About Christmas 2012; Matt Smith Wants Danny Boyle To Direct; and Matt Smith Teases 50th Anniversary, Live Events.

I was drafted in again to help out on the sub-editing front last week, and my most recent sub-edited articles include: Doctor Who Continues in April 2013!; Your Personal Desktop TARDIS!; and The Tiptons Talks Assimilation2.

Jenna - good chemistry

Big thanks to Christian for trusting me with one of the biggest Doctor Who sites, and fingers crossed he’ll let me loose again soon…

 

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Doctor Who ReKapped!

ADVENT DAY ONE: Christmas. It’s not long away. And to celebrate advent, new content will be added to this blog every day in the countdown to the big day. You’ll see reviews, opinion pieces, links to some of my other work, videos – maybe even a short story! Remember to check back every day (in between the mad rush of packing presents, getting the freezer stocked up and watching Home Alone on repeat).

Earlier this year, I was involved with a new project for Kasterborous: running alongside the new series of Doctor Who, we recapped each episode in prep for the next one.

Pond Life

Of course, this meant a surprising amount of work: rewatching episodes and creating a scene-by-scene breakdown, noting down important dialogue and making sure the final piece doesn’t take 45 minutes to read!

Here are all the reKaps (with a K!) – and remember that you can buy Series 7: Part 1 on DVD and Blu-ray.

Asylum of the Daleks

The first episode was recapped by my fellow-contributor, Scott Varnham. The experiment obviously worked well, so as Scott was busy the following weeks, I happily volunteered for the next four episodes. (Fingers crossed I get to continue writing them at Christmas and beyond!)

Asylum of the Daleks ReKap

Dinosaurs on a Spaceship

I feel that there are a few important things to get across in each rekap. Firstly, it has to be enjoyable, which is quite a challenge when what you’re essentially doing is retelling a story in basic terms, with little speech. Secondly, it has to be understandable – quite a task considering that many don’t really ‘get’ the complex narratives of many-a-tale by Steven Moffat! And lastly, it has to reflect the tone of the story.

Dinosaurs on a Spaceship has a wavering tone (that’s not a criticism; I loved this episode), ranging from funny – cue Rory’s dad, Brian – to the serious (mostly due to Soloman). It wasn’t tough to show, really; the serious side seeped through, just noting down the grim sides of the tale, like the Silurians being ejected out of the air locks.

Dinosaurs ReKap

The funnier/sillier sides of the story are mainly shown through paraphrasing: you can’t put words into their mouths – but it’s not just a transcript throughout.

A Town Called Mercy

A Town Called Mercy ReKap

A surprising highlight of the series for me, focussing on a town cut off by the cyborg Gunslinger. It’s bookended by narration, and I used that as an introduction and conclusion to the piece. The rest of the tale was all about morals, laced with typical-Toby Whithouse dry wit. Again, this was achieved through paraphrasing; for example, when Kahler-Jex tells Amy that the Gunslinger probably won’t fire if someone else is with him, she replies, “Oh, well, colour me reassured.” This translated into:

“Jex pulls a gun on Amy, intending to use her as a hostage in order to escape: the Gunslinger’s programming won’t let him harm innocents unless absolutely necessary (and Amy is coloured reassured!).”

The Power of Three

Power of Three ReKap

Due to the very nature of the ‘slow invasion,’ the structure of The Power of Three is quite disjointed, flitting between the everyday lives of the Ponds and their travels in the TARDIS. But it also maintains a sort of linear narrative. Again, this had to be reflected in the rekap, which was pretty tough.

It was made even harder as many of the scenes in previous episodes could be cut; not that they were unimportant, but little details could be skipped or incorporated later on. But most of the scenes in The Power of Three were important for either character development (the main thrust of the episode) or the threat of the cubes.

It had also become apparent how popular and likeable Brian is, so I tried to incorporate some of his quirks more, like calling him Brian “Diligence” Williams.

The Angels Take Manhattan

By far the hardest rekap to write: a fantastic story, naturally – but one which confused many and had to be a satisfying goodbye for Amy and Rory… and a whole era of Doctor Who.

Angels Take Manhattan ReKap

Once more, the narrative zig-zags between time zones, and I had to reflect certain aspects of the story’s tone and especially sadness. The best way to tell the story of The Angels Take Manhattan is, it occurred to me, how River Song told the story: in a book.

Obviously, a whole book would’ve been over the word limit by just a little bit – so instead, I split the action into chapters, utilising the headings from River’s novel, The Angel’s Kiss: A Melody Malone Mystery. It was quite a task, considering those particular chapter titles don’t fit entirely with the on-screen happenings!

Still, it worked out quite nicely, with a few friends saying that it cleared up some confusion.

Matt Smith had previously said that the end tied into 2010’s The Eleventh Hour, and I can proudly say that I correctly predicted that it was Amelia waiting in the garden – then the noise of the TARDIS engines. In fact, that scene had been niggling at me for a while. I even wondered if it was metaphorical or maybe that Amy was dreaming when the TARDIS wakes her! Thanks to Mr. Moffat for clearing it up.

Cherubs

So then it was down to the business of Amy and Rory’s farewell. I found myself relying on the dialogue to get the emotion across, as, hopefully, the reader would start hearing their voices.

Of course, I then got to the afterword – and I just had to transcribe it.

It may have been difficult to do, but I’m really happy with the finished article.

Finally, there’s that last chapter, not in River’s book, but vital to relate back to: what started it all, and a favourite of not just me but so, so many others:

The Eleventh Hour.

 
 

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