The BBC has confirmed the recovery of nine episodes of th Patricke Troughton era Doctor Who, a complete set of The Enemy of the World, and all but part three of The Web of Fear. Both adventures are available now from iTunes, with DVD releases to follow. Part three of Web of Fear, still missing, is included with a restored audio track and a series of telesnaps. It’s unknown if it may at some time receive the animated treatment that many past adventures have gotten.
The rumors circulating around fandom since the early summer have ended up being truer than many assumed, but not as true as most hoped. The episodes, hailing from Nigeria (not Ethiopia, as the rumor claimed) and ended up falling far short of the outlandish tales of a hundred or more episodes.
While it was standard practice to record the broadcasts onto 16mm film, those films (And those of many shows, both British and American) were lost as stations wiped tapes and destroyed films as a cost cutting measure. In the early days of television, most assumed there’d be no desire to re-watch television programs, also resulting in the lack of residual agreements for so many stars of early American TV.
The episodes were sold to foreign markets after their initial broadcast, and many times the episodes were passed on through several countries as they continued to be sold. The tapes/films usually came with an order to return or destroy the masters upon broadcast. It’s only through that ordered being ignored that allows these episodes to be found today.
It can only be hoped that more episodes may be found in TV station vaults, but as time passes, the possibilities dwindle. Unless more episodes were found here and are secretly awaiting restoration, this may be the last big score we’ll see in quite a while.
Until the discovery of time travel of course, which will likely first be used to recover our recent history than ancient history. Yeah, it’s be nice to record the Sermon on the Mount, but I for one would rather get all those Ernie Kovacs Shows back.
The BBC have announced a press conference on Tuesday, presumably to share specifics. Insiders are suggesting the missing episodes include Enemy of the World and The Web of Fear. Enemy of the World features a lookalike for The Doctor attempting to (dare I say it) rule the world in the mid twenty-first century. The Web of Fear is the second appearance of The Great Intelligence, just seen in the latest series of the show, and features the returning Abominable Snowmen androids, and first appearance of Alastair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, here a Colonel, but eventually promoted to Brigadier General, will go on to lead UNIT in the Pertwee years, and on through the run up to actor Nicholas Courtney‘s passing.
This is a minor confirmation of a rumor that has run roughshod over Doctor Who fandom for most of the Summer. The story, broken first by the folks at Bleeding Cool, involves as many as 106 episodes of the series being discovered in an Ethiopan TV stations vaults. This trove allegedly contained episodes from both the Hartnell and Troughton years, including completely lost stories, and missing episodes from partially complete adventures. Taken with grains of salt by most, the story gained suggestions of corroboration as times passed; members of the restoration team came out staunchly against the rumor, and then tactfully amended their positions. The BBC went with the very popular “Cannot confirm or deny”, which, thanks to a world where shows like The Thick of It and House of Cards are often mistaken for documentaries, was taken as a tacit “yes” by many optimists.
The story got a new life when UK tabloid (and all that that implies) The Mirror posted a story “confirming” the find this weekend. The story was light on facts, and appeared mostly to parrot points made in the original Bleeding Cool article from the early summer, leading most Who-fen to wave it off. But the Radio Times announcement, combined with the press conference, has caused a resurgence in the hope that the rumor may have far more than its current one to two percent veracity ratio.
Considering the long time frame between the alleged discovery and now, one could envision a scenario where episodes have been getting a top-secret restoration treatment to tie into next month’s anniversary. But with the DVD release of the final hartnell adventure The Tenth Planet having been hastily rescheduled for October 14th in the UK, many are wondering if the currently announced contents of the disc may change radically at that press conferences. At least one report of the massive lost episodes haul claims it includes a complete copy of Tenth Planet. The final episode, featuring the first regeneration of The Doctor, is one of the most desired missing episodes. The only existing footage of the regeneration is a brief clip from an episode of children’s show Blue Peter.
The original number may not be true, but the recovery of ANY episodes of the series is newsworthy, and the management entreats hopeful Whovians to bear that in mind when definitive details are released this Tuesday.
But so help me, if they’ve recovered The Web Planet, I may break my fingers pulling my wallet from my pocket.
New Pulp Publisher, Trinity Comics has announced that Frank (Lance Star: Sky Ranger) Dirscherl’s debut novel, THE WRAITH, is now available to buy (in paperback) in a new revamped and represented edition. This is the first novel in The Wraith novel series.
Go back to where it all began. Currently only available from the Trinity Comics Store, Frank Dirscherl’s The Wraith will soon also be available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble et al as well as an eBook. Stay tuned here for further details. For now, the paperback can be ordered from the Trinity Comics on-line store here.
About Frank Dirscherl’s The Wraith: In a world not far removed from our own, a city lies ravaged. Crime overruns its streets, its citizens are
helpless. Crime-lord Robert Latham, to the world at large a legitimate businessman, holds the city in his sway. Fear and intimidation rule throughout. One man stands above the rest, willing to fight for freedom. That man is The Wraith. The Wraith, the city’s bogeyman, is known to exist only by a very few, and seen by even fewer. Those that do know of him, especially Latham, know to fear him, for his fury at those who commit evil knows no bounds. By day, The Wraith is the reclusive millionaire Paul Sanderson, a man more mysterious and less seen than his night-time counterpart. Sensing the desperation of Latham and that his own time may be limited, Sanderson readies a replacement–Michael Reeve, an honest cop drawn inexorably into a world he may not be ready for. Can the new Wraith save his city even while he struggles to save his own soul?
Learn more about Frank Dirscherl’s The Wraith here.
About Frank Dirscherl: Frank Dirscherl AssDipArts (Lib Prac) CertIIIInfTch (Tech Sppt) ALIATec AIMM
Frank Dirscherl (b. 1973) is a professionally certified library technician and has been working in libraries since 1992. Over the years he has also covered and packed books and other material for a book wholesale company, worked as a data assistant at an ENT surgery and as a lecturer to children on the merits of the comic book. His written work includes The Wraith (filmed in 2005), Valley of Evil, Cult of the Damned, the non-fiction The Wraith: Eyes of Judgment – The Official Script Book & Movie Guide (with
Stephen Semones) and more. He lives on the south coast of NSW, Australia with his wife, where he’s currently working on his fifth Wraith novel amongst other works of fiction.
I was considering doing a piece on how I can’t figure out why I haven’t seen any of my comic collector friends on Hoarders. You know, those people who keep moving to cheaper, bigger houses in worse and worse neighborhoods so they can have a living room big enough for those little, narrow walkways among their 437 eight-foot-high stacks of long boxes? Fear of ending up like that is the main reason I never got into collecting. Or so I thought.
But then I looked around my own claustrophobic living space and realized that people who live in Mylar snuggies shouldn’t throw weighted-based maquettes.
But I’m not a collector. I’m an accumulator. I haven’t paid for a comic book in 20 years, but people keep sending them to me. I can’t get them to stop. So I put them aside, saying I’ll get to them eventually. But I hate clutter. So today I finally forced myself to spend the day opening stacks of boxes of comps from the major publishers. And wasting several hours on one of my favorite pastimes (not): cutting open those shrink-wrapped bundles of “floppies” and searching for a cover on which I could tell what was going on without having to stare at it for half an hour.
I’ll award my own personal version of the No Prize (you don’t wanna know) to anyone who can me tell what’s going on here. Or here.
Y’see, I just blew my mortgage payment on a new pair of glasses with lenses thicker than the mirrors on the Hubble, so I know it’s not my eyes.
So engrossed was I in trying to find points of focus and resolving all those hyperthyroidal ink strokes and manic bursts of color into coherent images that I didn’t notice right away that I’d sliced my finger with the box cutter and was bleeding on the comics. In fact, it took a while to notice the flecks of blood on the pages.
No, not because of the gory, violent content (Since when does Superman need to bleed from the nose? Oops, better not get myself started. That’s another rant for some other week) … but because the interior pages are even more incomprehensibly busy, busy, busy than the covers, and in this particular book, the digital colorist’s efforts to cram 137 shades of red into a grad in the background of a panel that printed at 3” wide made it impossible to see the blood.
It finally struck me that what has now made most mainstream super hero product unreadable to me is the very same thing that made it impossible for me to get into collecting, but until today I’d never fully made the connection.
For those of us schooled in certain design principles, minimalism and the use of “negative space” is more effective at arresting the eye than throwing in everything including the kitchen sink. Minimalism in composition, at least ‑ such as that employed here. And here. (And if you don’t believe me, consult Alex Toth.
Since the beginning of this industry, up until relatively recently, many comic book artists have had to be forced by knowledgeable art directors and editors to understand that less is more.
And therein lies part of the problem.
Are the art directors and editors asleep at the switch? No, they’re just impotent. What, exactly, editors and art directors are expected to do these days isn’t abundantly clear. But what role could they play that they aren’t playing in preventing the indecipherable train wrecks that are most mainstream super hero comics?
And what if the very survival of the medium depended on their ability to change course? Could they do it? (Hint: I’ll argue that it does, and they can’t.)
Be here for Part II when we dissect these weighty issues (no, not the floppies). And if you’re one of those eyestrain fans who actually enjoys this stuff while sitting cross-legged in a 3-foot-square floor space between stacks of long boxes, and any of this got your knickers in a twist, just wait’ll next week.
Everyone has secrets. The thing is, secrets want to be told. The level of intimacy we have with another person is reflected by the number of secrets we share with them.
There are many different levels of secrets. Some would seem mundane – your name, for example. Unless you’re wearing a name tag, a stranger won’t know it. You have to choose to share it and there are occasions when you wouldn’t or would only give your first name or maybe even a name that isn’t your own. In the latest Star Trek film, Uhura doesn’t give James T. Kirk her full name. In the same movie, a young and defiant James Tiberius Kirk gives a police officer (policebot?) his full name. Both are choices that say something of the character.
There are other levels of secrets, some mundane, some deeper. Boy meets girl. Boy wants girl’s phone number (or vice versa). At the moment the question is asked, the answer is a secret. A decision is made to share it or not. I have known many ladies not always eager to share that phone number with me and some with whom I did not want to share mine. Sometimes you can tell crazy pretty quick.
There are deeper levels of secrets. Your address, are you in a relationship, your social security number, your password on different sites. There are secrets you share with your friends but maybe not your family and vice versa. There are secrets you share only with your best friends or with that one special person. There are secrets you share with no one, keeping them to yourself. There are secrets, truths about you, that you keep even from yourself.
In writing, secrets can be powerful tools for creating and understanding a character. There are all kinds of secrets, great and small, that will help you define the character for yourself and your readers.
Secrets can also define the plot. Who does a character choose to tell what secret and when? Most important, was it as good idea? We have all chosen to share something with someone and it turned out to be a bad idea. If that’s true for you, it’s true for your character. Ever hear something that you labeled TMI – Too Much Information? The character being told the secret may have the same reaction. How do you feel when you’ve told a secret and turned out to be TMI for the person hearing it? Awkward? Embarrassed? Or were you oblivious to it?
The reverse can be true as well. Should a secret have been told at a given moment and wasn’t? What effect does that have on the characters and the plot? What opportunities may have been missed? We all know moments like that in our own lives; what is true for us should also be true for our characters.
Why was the secret told or not told? Why was that moment chosen to tell or not tell? What was the character trying to get or achieve by telling it? Why did they not choose to tell a secret at the right moment? Fear? Fear of what? These all define a character.
Was telling the secret to a given person/character a good idea? Again, think of your own life. Did you ever share something with someone and later wished you hadn’t? When reading a story or watching a movie or TV show or a play, did you even hear a character tell a secret to another character and wince, knowing it was a bad idea even if the character didn’t yet know it?
There’s also telling someone else’s secret. Sometimes it’s a betrayal; sometimes it’s necessity. Which is it and, again, why did the character choose to share that secret at that moment and with whom? Why would you?
In writing, in life, secrets tell us a lot about someone. Knowing them is powerful. We never, however, can or should know all the secrets of a person or a character. As writer, I often know more about the character than I share with a reader. There should always be a bit of mystery, a secret not yet shared hiding within us, within the character.
It comes down to trust. You have to trust in order to share. Sometimes that trust is misplaced and sometimes it’s not. All that drives story – our own or in the stories we create.
PRESS RELEASE: CAPTAIN HAZZARD The Citadel of Fear By Ron Fortier & Martin Powell NEW AIRSHIP 27 EDITION Airship 27 Productions is happy to once again announce the availability of its second Captain Hazzard adventure; Citadel of Fear by Ron Fortier & Martin Powell. In 2011 Airship 27 Productions parted ways with their former publisher and many of their titles soon sold out at distributors such as Amazon etc. Eventually copies could only be found at various independent bookstores selling for exorbitant prices. “It was always our intention to get all our titles back out in these new Airship 27 editions,” explains Managing Editor & Co-author Fortier. “Of course we have to juggle doing these reprint editions around our schedule for releasing new titles. It’s not always an easy task. Over the past year, many Captain Hazzard fans have written us complaining of the book’s unavailability at a fair and reasonable price.” Fortier also notes that the remaining two Captain Hazzard novels that he has written; Curse of the Red Maggot and Cavemen of New York will also be offered in new editions as time allows. “Obviously it’s our goal to have all of them up soon and we thank our loyal fans for their patience in this process.” When scientists from all studies begin disappearing, Captain Hazzard and his team of adventures take up the mystery which leads them to a secluded city of wonders deep within Rocky Mountains ruled by the daughter of a would-be world conqueror. The book is the first co-writing venture between Fortier and Powell, long time friends and features interior illustrations by Art Director Rob Davis with a stunning cover by Laura Givens. Fortier is currently writing a fifth Captain Hazzard novel he hopes to have completed soon. CAPTAIN HAZZARD – CITADEL OF FEAR Now available at – Create Space (https://www.createspace.com/4148616_) Soon at Amazon and Kindle. Currently still available at their website – (http://robmdavis.com/Airship27Hangar/index.airshipHangar.html)
Oh, Steven Moffat, you magnificent bastard. The return of a villain before it and The Doctor have ever met, a reunion with a character The Doctor’s never actually met, the team-up of three characters, one of whom died in the far future, and a couple of surprise guests. A nice little Christmas present, and what’s Christmas without…
By Steven Moffat
Directed by Saul Metzstein
A young boy is met by a talking snowman, one who promises he can help him. Fifty years later, and Dr. Walter Simeon has become quite a successful man, head of a prestigious institute, and still working with the sentient snowstorm to prepare for a coming assault on the earth. Madame Vastra and Jenny are curious as to Dr. Simeon’s plans, but get nowhere. Meanwhile, a young barmaid named Clara has noticed a snowman pop up out of nowhere, and though the man she asks randomly about it seems disinterested, his curiosity is piqued, something The Doctor has been trying to avoid.
Clara is quite a mystery – she’s living a double life as the Governess for two young children. Their previous governess drowned in a pond outside their manor last winter, which froze over so quickly and thickly they never even found the body for a month. During that time, the Snow had time to analyze her DNA, providing them a perfect blueprint with which they plan to use to create more sturdy and permanent forms for itself. The challenge is not for The Doctor to defeat the Snowmen and its secret leader…but to get The Doctor interested enough to care.
Brilliant episode from head to toe. The chemistry between Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman is positively captivating, as we saw in Asylum of the Daleks, but here, with both on screen at once, it’s explosive. Dan Starkey pulls in a leaves-you-breathless comedic performance as Strax, one so good it’ll be hard to take him seriously if (when?) he appears again. Unlike most of the previous Christmas specials, this one has a more direct connection to the narrative of the show. They’re usually a rather done-in-one story that can be enjoyed on its own. But here, as with The Christmas Invasion, the story leads right into the start of the new semi-season this Spring/Summer.
Once again, Moffat has created a character rippling with mystery. Why was she working for Captain Latimer, and more importantly, why does her face seem to be spread across time?
THE MONSTER FILES
The Great Intelligence has been rumored for a return to the show for at least two years. Of course, so has damn near every other villain. Appearing twice during the Troughton era, it was a disembodied consciousness that was able to remotely animate constructs, created with the help of wiling human compatriots. Its favorite form in past battles have been giant robotic Yeti, also know as Abominable Snowmen, which was also the title of their first adventure. It appeared again in London in The Web of Fear, the adventure that also introduced us to then-Colonel Alastair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, who would soon receive a promotion, and assignment to U.N.I.T.
The prose novels added a great deal to the history of the Intelligence, as it did for many of the villains of the series. In them it was revealed that it is in fact Yog-Sothoth, one of the Old Ones chronicled in the H.P. Lovecraft stories. Neil Gaiman revealed in an interview that he had initially intended House, the villain from his previous episode The Doctor’s Wife, was to have been the Great Intelligence, or at least was to have been heavily hinted as such. While none of those allusions remained, its modus operandi is sufficiently similar as to still make the connection possible.
Madame Vastra is a Silurian, an ancient lizard race who escaped under the Earth’s crust to save themselves from what they saw as an extinction-level threat in the form of an asteroid heading for the planet. When the asteroid was instead captured by the Earth’s gravity and became our moon, it allowed other races to rise to planetary dominance, namely Humanity. The Doctor has faced the Silurians several times both in the new and original series. Madame Vastra and her human partner Jenny, were introduced in A Good Man Goes to War, as was Strax, the Sontaran clone warrior, sentenced to the ultimate shame, to serve as a nurse.
GUEST STAR REPORT
Richard Grant (Dr. Simeon) has been a staple of British comedy and drama for years. He first came to note in Withnail and I, co-starring with the future Eighth Doctor, Paul McGann. He’s been in mad satiric comedies like How to Get Ahead in Advertising and Hudson Hawk, has played the Scarlet Pimpernel, starred in the underrated Warlock, and been in far too many more to list. He has also had quite a history with Doctor Who. He’s played The Doctor twice, once in Moffat’s oft-referenced Comic Relief sketch The Curse Of Fatal Death, and once in an animated adventure The Scream of the Shalka. That had been intended as a sort of pilot for a new Who series that never materialized. It was quiet shuffled out of continuity when the new series started with a different ninth Doctor.
Ian McKellen (voice of the Intelligence) is Magneto and Gandalf. Get Over It.
Juliet Cadzow (voice of the ice governess) has had a long career on British television and on film, but is likely best known as Edie McCredie from the cult favorite children’s show Balamory.
BACKGROUND BITS AND BOBS – Trivia and production details
CREDITS WHERE CREDITS ARE DUE – New credit sequence, and a new mix of the theme, but even then, a return of some old motifs. The Doctor’s face has been missing from the opening sequence ever since the new series began, but its made a happy return here. Also, The TARDIS seems to traveling through space for more of the sequence than through time. The vortex has gone through some changes as well. In the initial credits sequence it seems made of energy, much resembling a “laser tunnel” effect. In the first Matt Smith sequence, the vortex took on a more smoky look, one that became progressively more violent in the episodes of this season. Now it’s taken a look of a column of flame. One theoy has suggested that the change represented a change in The Doctor’s mood and experiences, rather than mere a change in the vortex itself.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION – The episode was filmed in Bristol, which features a number of Victorian style locales, and makes for easy conversion.
THE ROSE AND CROWN – well, “Rose” is rather obvious, but one could also argue that a Crown is worn by someone who is…Noble.
YOU DON’T NEED THEM, YOU JUST THINK THEY MAKE YOU LOOK CLEVER – The Doctor is wearing Amy Pond’s glasses, last seen in The Angels Take Manhattan. It’s the only bit of clothing or accessories remaining from his previous costume. Even the bow tie is different.
DON’T KNOW WHERE, DON’T KNOW WHEN… Note Clara’s birthday – November 23rd, same day Doctor Who premiered in 1963.
“Those were the days” – What’s interesting is that we have NO clue exactly how long The Doctor has been out of the Saving The Universe business. Take a look at the TARDIS – the exterior is a weather-beaten mess. And even though the interior has a brand new design, I’ve already suggested that it is in fact the ship’s “default” setting, indicating that he didn’t care if it had any character anymore.
‘You realize Dr. Doyle is almost certainly basing his fantastical tales on your own exploits” – And that sound you hear is reality folding in upon itself. Moffat is, of course, also the showrunner on the new Sherlock series starring Smaug and Bilbo Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, and fans have been doing crossovers between the two series for some time now.
“And remember…” Clara is another woman that The Doctor is meeting out of order. Like River Song, there’s clearly much more going on with her than any average woman. Unlike Amy Pond, she’s got a very inquisitive nature, and was involved in her own little mysteries before the Doctor even arrived. She lives a double life, as the governess of the two children, who just happen to be in the middle of a dangerous situation. Rather like how Sarah jane and Donna Noble were inspired to investigate and help people after they met The Doctor. But Clara hadn’t MET The Doctor yet. Or has she?
BIG BAD WOLF REPORT – There’s two possibilities here. Rumors abound that the Great Intelligence will return throughout the back end of the season as the Big Bad. This story works perfectly as a stand-alone origin story for the entity, but could also serve as the start of a “You created me” story that could wind up in the season finale.
It seems very clear that one theme of at least the beginning of the semi-season will be the search for Clara. The clips in the Coming Soon teaser show that Clara’s influence is all across time – note the painting, and the fact that she seems to be wearing many different outfits. Yes, she could certainly be just changing clothes…but who’s to say it’s not a different Clara in each episode?
NEXT TIME ON DOCTOR WHO – As is traditional at these points, that’s quite up in the air. We know we’ll be seeing…
A Cyberman episode by Neil Gaiman
Diana Rigg and her daughter in another Victorian era adventure
Pro Se Productions, a leading Publisher of New Pulp, Heroic Fiction, and Genre Adventure continues its excellent tradition of terrific short stories with the latest issue of its award winning magazine- PRO SE PRESENTS #14!
Fear and Fantasy reign in PRO SE PRESENTS #14! First, an exclusive excerpt of James Palmer’s Occult Mystery novel- SLOW DJINN! Then Kevin Rodgers explores what fear really means in CLAUSTROPHOBIA! Finally, Pro Se introduces the world to Kristy Zebell and her debut tale WARMTH OF THE ICY SOUL! Featuring Stunning Cover Art as well as Interior Art by Sean E. Ali, this issue is a sight to see!
PRO SE PRESENTS #14 available at Pro Se’s store HERE! And at Amazon HERE! for $6.00! Coming soon as an Ebook!
Guns, Terror, Swords, and more in this month’s PRO SE PRESENTS from PRO SE PRODUCTIONS- Puttin’ The Monthly Back into Pulp!
NOTE: This serial takes place out of order chronologically with the Challenger Storm novels, which are being written with a definite timeline in mind. “The Valley of Fear” happens after at least book 5 or 6, but this shouldn’t hinder the reading experience. I’m flying by the seat of my pants here, so I make no guarantees in regards to quality or coherence.
A second Challenger Storm novel, The Curse of Poseidon, has been announced for 2013 release.