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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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All of Time and Space: 50 Years of Doctor Who

There was a gap in time and space.

A gap between Grandstand and Juke Box Jury, primetime on BBC1. They needed something that could appeal to everyone, that could run and run, that would capture the imagination of the nation. And thanks to a team that included Sydney Newman, Verity Lambert, Waris Hussein, and William Hartnell, Doctor Who was born.

An Unearthly Child 1 - feat

The very first episode was broadcast 50 years ago today. This immense anniversary surely can’t have passed anyone by; it’s something that TV really can’t do that often – simply because not much lasts that long, not much can become compulsive television, not much is ingrained in society’s psyche quite like Doctor Who.

What’s its lasting appeal? Well, watch an episode. Longevity is ingrained in its very DNA.

Showrunner, Steven Moffat, recently called the show immortal. Even in The Wilderness Years (the 1990s and early 2000s, for those uninitiated), the Doctor and his wonderful TARDIS lived on in books and audio and comics and in the minds of many generations. It’s a living legend.

Despite its proud British iconography, that famous Time Lord has travelled the globe: tonight’s 50th anniversary celebration, which stars Matt Smith and David Tennant as the Eleventh and Tenth Doctors respectively, will be simulcast around the globe.

It would be easy to propose a toast to those who have made the show what it is. But the weight of those individuals would be incredible. Of course, let’s look at those Doctors – William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi – splendid fellows, all of them!

But then there are the companions, the guest stars, the writers, the directors, the producers, designers, floor managers, assistant directors, executive producers, showrunners… Oh, there have been so many.

So thank you all.

Doctor Who has changed my life; that’s no secret. And one day, I want to write for the Doctor. Yes, one day. But for now, I’m happy celebrating in my own little way. I’ve watched An Unearthly Child this morning; went to see the actual TARDIS last weekend (!); have been writing Introducing: Doctor Who feature articles for Kasterborous since January; rewatched Cold War (just because); am reading The Only Good Dalek; am poring through the latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine; and (something which I’m almost sure no one else in the world is doing to celebrate) am reading the TARGET novel, Doctor Who and the Invisible Enemy.

I can’t wait to find out what I’m doing on the show’s 100th anniversary.

Another amazing thing about Doctor Who is how it brings people together. I’m part of a fandom, a network of dedicated people, all who love the same thing. I now have friends I didn’t have before 2005, when I became a fan… No, actually, I now have friends I didn’t have before last year – and it’s all thanks to Doctor Who.

To paraphrase the Eighth Doctor – friends I’ve known: I salute you.

The show has also given me countless hours of entertainment. And there’s not a person in the UK who doesn’t know what the TARDIS is. There’s not a person in the UK who doesn’t know what the Daleks are.

And as a fitting paradox, there’s not a person in the UK who doesn’t know who the Doctor is – even though we don’t actually know much about him. Doctor… Who?

 
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Posted by on November 23, 2013 in Television, Uncategorized

 

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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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Celebrate, Regenerate Out Now – And it’s Free!

I’ve contributed to the new unofficial Doctor Who book, celebrating the show’s 50th anniversary, Celebrate, Regenerate.

Celebrate Regenerate

The book is made by fans for fans, and highlights every single episode of in-canon Who from An Unearthly Child to this year’s The Name of the Doctor – plus a few extras, including Curse of the Fatal Death, The Sarah Jane Adventures’ The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith and Death of the Doctor and Time Crash, which saw the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) meet the Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison). It also includes interviews with director, Joe Ahearne (Dalek; Father’s Day), 1960s companions, Anneke Wills (Polly Wright) and The Girl Who Waited writer, Tom MacRae.

My contribution is to The Power of Three (2012), though it also encapsulates every Steven Moffat-penned Who script up until then, and I’m very pleased to say that editor, Lewis Christian, has published my article in full! He says:

“This project, for me, sums up how awesome fandom can be when it comes together. We’re only a tiny percentage of Doctor Who‘s *entire fandom* but I think this makes its mark on the history of the show, and I think it’s a wonderful addition to the countless other celebrations going on – if I may say so myself. And, of course, this would not be possible without you guys. Yes I put it together, but you all *made* the thing, so a big collective pat on the back! (Or, if you can’t reach, just give yourself a big thumbs up.)”

The book costs £8.99 (black and white interior, but with a full-colour cover), including a £1 donation to Children in Need… Or you can read it for free over at the official website. A full-colour copy is also available, but it costs an astounding £45.20, due to self-publishing printing costs.

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2013 in Books, 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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Doctor Who: Series 7B Previews

My two big feature articles for Kasterborous preview the next eight episodes of Doctor Who, starting with tomorrow’s The Bells of St. John. I can’t wait to see it and, over the next two months, uncover the secret of Clara Oswin Oswald (Jenna-Louise Coleman).

Bells of Saint John

The spoiler-free previews are quite extensive, so are split across two articles, the first tackling the first three episodes of Series 7: Part 2, and the second covering the rest.

Read Part 1 here.

(Previewing: The Bells of St. John; The Rings of Akhaten; and Cold War.)

And Part 2 here.

(Previewing Hide; Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS; The Crimson Horror; Nightmare in Silver – previously known as The Last Cyberman – and the as yet untitled finale.)

Series 7B Finale

The series sees the return of the Ice Warriors and the Cybermen (and possibly other returning foes), as well as Madame Vastra, Jenny Flint and Strax.

Series writers include Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss, and Neil Cross; directors include Colm McCarthy, Mat King and Saul Metzstein. Of the finale, Matt Smith says:

“Towards the end of the season… I think we might have one of those clever Moffat creations. One of the new classic monsters. And they’ve got a great name and they are so brilliant.”

I cannot wait.

I’ve had some particularly nice comments about these two, and I’m really grateful for any feedback.

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2013 in Published work, Television

 

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