Help Atlantis Rise! Saving The Underwater Menace!

A few days ago I came across a post online regarding the status of The Underwater Menace on DVD. BBC WW seem to have no plans to release The Underwater Menace any time soon. Fans are up in arms with the delay and want reassurance that the story will be physically available at some point. Enter Chris McAleer. He has started a petition on change.org to get the story released. I asked Chris a few questions about the whole thing.

Why did you start this petition Chris?

I started the petition because, at present, it’s incredibly unclear as to whether BBC Worldwide still intend to release The Underwater Menace on DVD. Since its announcement, it’s previously at least held a place in the DVD release schedule – even if only an intended year of release – but as far as I’ve seen, this is the first time it’s been removed from the schedules altogether. This was a potentially worrying development as it leaves no clear indication of when or if the title is planned to release. Additionally, there were suggestions that the viability of the release itself was being looked into, and with the rest of the classic Doctor Who range complete there seemed a very real danger that this release could slip through the cracks and never see the light of day. So I thought it would be useful to try to organise a way to demonstrate to BBC Worldwide the release is indeed viable, and that there is still support from fans for a DVD release of The Underwater Menace!

The decision to remove The Underwater Menace from the schedule was revealed in an email from the BBC DVD enquiry line. What led you to email them in the first place?

The DVD release of The Underwater Menace already has a history of delays. The plan to give it a standalone release with animation for the first and final episodes was originally announced in 2013, and at the time fans seemed hopeful for an early 2014 release date. It was later confirmed for a 2014 release by the BBC and even advertised on the DVD release of The Moonbase - however, subsequently no firm release date was forthcoming. The Restoration Team made it clear that work on restoration of the existing episodes had been all but completed, and that all DVD extras had been produced and were just waiting for delivery. I saw a lot of uncertainty amongst fans as to what was happening with the release, so I decided to e-mail the BBC DVD enquiry line to see if I could get some answers. At the time, the official word was that the release was still planned and was under active development.

2014 passed without any sign of the release, barring a statement given to Doctor Who Magazine in December that the release had been pushed back to 2015, and that it was still planned to animate the two missing episodes. However, with no more word since then I’d started to see a lot of uncertainty amongst fans, including frequent queries as to whether the release had been cancelled outright. For this reason, I decided to e-mail the enquiry line again for an updated statement. Given that only two months previously BBC Worldwide had stated their commitment to the release, I was incredibly surprised to hear that the DVD had been removed from the release schedule, and that the viability of the release itself was being worked on.

What do you hope to accomplish with your online petition?

My hopes for the petition are two-fold: to demonstrate to BBC Worldwide that there is definitely a market for this release, and hopefully to get a firm confirmation that they still intend to release it. Although work on the existing episodes and DVD extras is all-but-complete, there’s no indication that work has progressed on any animation or reconstruction for the missing episodes 1 and 4, so whatever form they would take, time would of course need to be spent on these prior to any release. But as far as I’m concerned this isn’t a “we want it now” situation – all we want is for BBC Worldwide to confirm that they will definitely issue The Underwater Menace on DVD and are not cancelling the previously-advertised release.

How many signatures are you hoping to get?

To be honest, as many as possible! Our current goal is 1,000 signatures, and I think it’s really important for us to break that four-figure barrier in order for BBC Worldwide to take the petition seriously. But beyond that, the more the merrier – the higher the number of signatories, the better it illustrates that there’s market demand for the release.

Why is it so important for the BBC to release The Underwater Menace on DVD?

There are many reasons this DVD’s release is important for Doctor Who fans. The most obvious reason is it would give fans he chance to own Episode 2, recovered in 2011 and still unreleased officially. It’s the earliest surviving episode featuring Troughton’s Doctor, and offers the only visual glimpse of the slightly-different take on the character from his first three serials, where he was a little more prone to clownishness, and had a pronounced love of both hats and disguises, all of which pretty much disappear as of The Moonbase.

Also, while I’m aware The Underwater Menace doesn’t exactly have a stellar reputation among fans, in my opinion if people are content to let Episode 2 slip through the cracks and remain unreleased it could set a precedent for future releases. Hunts are still ongoing for further missing episodes, and there’s always the potential for more finds to come to light. So if you’re someone who isn’t that bothered just because it’s The Underwater Menace, ask yourself – would you feel the same if the unreleased episode was one orphaned from Marco Polo, The Power of the Daleks or one of the other better-regarded missing serials? Another reason it’s important is that the Restoration Team have already completed work on restoring the episodes and creating DVD extras, and DVD is definitely the best format on which to enjoy the full fruits of their labours. If, for example, it was decided to shelve the DVD and release the story as a digital download, comparing the iTunes release of The Enemy of the World to the DVD shows that the full extent of their restoration work isn’t done justice through the digital release, thanks to a combination of lower resolution visuals and a non-interlaced format, the latter of which destroys the effect of their VidFIRE process for restoring the fluid motion of scenes originally shot in studio. Finally, BBC Worldwide have actively advertised the DVD release of The Underwater Menace on the DVD of the following serial, The Moonbase - since they’ve advertised the product, I feel it’s only fair that they deliver it to market.

Who are you hoping will sign this petition, just fans of the 2nd Doctor?

Not at all! Fans of Patrick Troughton’s Doctor will of course have a great interest in this release, not least because it would be the first official release of his earliest surviving episode in the role. However, they’re by no means the only group that this petition is meant for – anybody with an interest is encouraged to show their support! Any fans of Doctor Who are more than welcome, as are fans of sci-fi, of archive TV in general, or anyone else for that matter! The more people who show their support, the better we’ll demonstrate to BBC Worldwide that the release of this DVD is still viable for them.

Besides signing the petition, what other ways can people let BBC WW know they want to see Underwater Menace on DVD?

It’s very important that, as well as signing the petition, people also take the time to send a direct message to BBC Worldwide, if possible, expressing their interest in this release. Although the petition is a great way of showing support in numbers, it’s less likely to be noticed right away by BBC Worldwide. However, through my contact with the DVD Enquiry line I’ve been informed that the number of direct enquiries they receive regarding specific titles are periodically passed on to the relevant departments; so the more individual enquiries they receive regarding The Underwater Menace, the more of a potential market they’ll see for its release.

With this in mind, I’d strongly suggest that anyone who signs the petition also sends a message to BBC Worldwide in one or more of the following ways:

  • Send a polite letter expressing your interest to the following address: BBC Worldwide 33 Foley Street London W1W 7TL UK
  • Send a tweet to @bbcwpress and @classicdw stating your support for the release, including the hashtag #SaveTheFishPeople

If fans who sign the petition also take the time to directly messaging BBC Worldwide in this manner, I’ve no doubt the voices of fans who want to see this DVD released will be heard!

Thanks Chris for the interview and good luck with the petition. If you haven’t signed it yet, you can head over to change.org  and do so right now.

Pascal Salzmann Timelash Convention Founder Interiew

Pascal Salzmann is one of the organisers of the first German Doctor Who convention, TimeLash, which takes place on the weekend of 24th and 25th October 2015 at the KulturBahnhof facility in the city of Kassel, in the northern Hesse district of Germany. This e-mail interview with Pascal took place on 1st February 2015.

Hi Pascal. Firstly, can you tell me a little bit about how you came to create the first dedicated Doctor Who convention in Germany?

A Doctor Who Convention for Germany has been on my mind for quite a while. In the last few years the popularity of the show increased and after sold-out cinemas at the 50th anniversary I felt the show finally “arrived”. We are now getting DVD releases of the Classic Show and also German translations of the novels, which I heard sell very well. So a Doctor Who convention has always been a No-Brainer to me. There are several other sci-fi/fantasy conventions established in Germany already but when fans asked for actors from Doctor Who they usually got a reply “too niche” for Germany or something along those lines. I never believed that.
I later met Ralf Schmidt at the 50th Anniversary Event in London and found someone who also believed in the idea of a German convention. Also he had experience with the convention scene, as he hosted the “Weekend of Horrors” Convention in Germany. Later Simone Violka joined us and the three of us founded the TimeLash Event organisation.
And the reception we received was amazing from the start. So much that not long after we began to announce details, another huge Con in Germany announced two actors from Doctor Who. I am not sure this would have been possible without the positive reactions we received for the TimeLash.

TimeLash logo

Of the guests announced so far, which one has excited you most?

Although it isn’t my favourite era of the show, I am looking forward to meeting Nicola Bryant. I met her before several times by coincidence but I don’t think she will remember me.
I am also excited to meet Catrin Stewart, who plays the wonderful Jenny Flint. I’m also watching “Stella” right now, so I appreciate her in that show, too.
And I’m also very, very excited for the Doctor-actor. Due to complicated reasons we cannot reveal which Doctor is coming to our event, though we are hoping to announce who that is in a few weeks. I’m sure he will make many fans very happy.

How many guests are still to be announced? And can you give any hints about them?

Well, when we started out developing the convention we planned with three guests. And look where we are now! Our budget is limited, though we have just added Big Finish writer Nev Fountain to the line-up.
Our guest list is finished for now, with the exception of the Doctor.

What are your earliest memories of Doctor Who? Which story or stories got you hooked?

Paradise Towers. I watched it on German television in 1993. I was eleven and it hooked me right from the start. After that I watched Greatest Show in the Galaxy and Curse of Fenric. I then found some German versions of the Target novels in my local library. One of them had a chapter about the history of the show. In 1994 I went to London for the first time in my life and discovered all the wonderful Doctor Who merchandise. Not long after I subscribed to the Doctor Who Magazine and found out about a German fanclub. I think the club had around 15 members back then. But it was great to get together with other fans. Otherwise it could get very lonely as a fan in Germany in the 90’s.

You also set up last year what has become a very successful discussion group of Facebook dedicated to the missing episodes of Doctor Who. Which story would you most like to see returned in full and why?

Oh, there are so many. I especially love The Daleks Masterplan, as it feels really epic and it has so many magic moments: Katarina’s sacrifice, the Sarah Kingdom-arc, her gruesome death. This has to be one of the bravest Doctor Who of the 60’s and I would really love to see it in its entirety.

Tough one I know, but which is best, Classic or New series?

I love them both, for different reasons. Is this reply satisfying enough?

Who is your favourite Doctor? And who is your favourite companion?

These things change for me constantly. Right now Patrick Troughton is my favourite and I really love what Series 8 has done with Clara Oswald as a companion.

Returning to the convention, what aspect of it are you most looking forward to?

We have so much exciting things planned, which will be revealed in the coming weeks. Toby Hadoke will perform one of his shows. I’m very excited for this as I wanted to see him live for years. Never being able to come to the UK when he was touring, I just invited him to Germany. We will also have a Cosplay-Contest with some exciting prizes for the winners.

How much time do you estimate has already gone into the preparation of the TimeLash convention?

Hard to say. Most of my free time in the last few months. We have been preparing the event since September 2014.

What has been the most challenging part of organising TimeLash? And the most fun?

Challenging and fun has been to contact and communicate with all the agencies of the actors. It is something I wasn’t used to, but I think I learned a lot on the way and most of the agencies have been very helpful.
Organising an event like that is always challenging. Every day there are new challenges. But if it was not fun, I wouldn’t do it.

Where can people find out more about TimeLash?

You can find out everything about the TimeLash at our website http://www.timelash-event.de. So far it only exists in German but we are planning to do an English version, too.
If you want to be up-to-date with the latest news, then like our Facebook Page at http://www.facebook.com/timelashevent.
And then there is our Crowdfunding site at Indiegogo: http://igg.me/at/timelash/x. You can pre-order tickets from there. The campaign runs until 12th March 2015.

Pascal Salzmann, thank you very much for your time.

Thank you.

The Son of “Staff” Interview

Every once in a while the stars align and something magical happens. One of my favourite moments as a Doctor Who fan was this past October when the Doctor Who Missing Episodes Discussion Group on Facebook celebrated the 1 year anniversary of the miraculous return of Enemy Of The World and Web Of Fear by Phil Morris. There was a lot of planning and preparation put into the event. We held a week long contest, had a cavalcade of random facts each day and votes on the episodes. The whole thing culminated in a comment a long to the final episodes of Web and Enemy.

As a part of the event I had come across a website about Jack Woolgar, the actor who played Staff Sergeant Arnold.  The website was run by his son Tim. I invited Tim to join our group and informed him about the comment a long. He graced us with his presence for both and the result was truly magical. Over the 22 odd minutes that Web was running, we had an online love in where Who fans got to express their gratitude. The praise wasn’t just for Phil Morris, who’s hard work and dedication allowed us to see these wonderful episodes that had been lost for 45 years, but also to Tim for the fantastic performance his father had given.

I recently had a chance to talk with Tim about the website and his father.

 

TIMD: Why did you decide to start the website?

Tim Woolgar: I thought that a website would make a great memorial to dad as at the time we hadn’t done anything with his ashes and there was no memorial to him except of course the hours of footage that must exist and that he regularly turns up on the TV screen – so the 25th anniversary of his death seemed a fitting point to make a web site. It’s a place to collate photos and writing about him for me and the family and of course fans of his work. I have always intended to grow it regularly and for others to contribute but life just gets in the way. I did do some finishing and editing some years in and have every intention of rebuilding the site… soon

TIMD: Have you had many visitors?

Tim: Web counters were de rigeur in the early days of web sites but I never put one on this site so who knows – there are probably some google analytics to be had but it’s one thing I don’t seem to have a need to count !

TIMD: Have you learned anything surprising about your father as you were doing research for the site?

Tim: Nothing in a BBC “Who do You Think You Are?” way; all the family skeletons were well out of the cupboard but it is interesting to realise that the adage ‘it’s not what you know but who you know’ is very true. A lot of dad’s work was for the same producers or directors. You get to work with one or two and then they use you for different projects. He did a lot of work for Pamela Lonsdale for instance. The web is great for finding new stuff I found a film I never knew he was in and only last week found a drama he did in Sardinia on Vimeo that I’d never seen.

TIMD: How does the rest of your family feel about your endeavor

Tim: They like it I think but aren’t involved in the upkeep.

TIMD: What role of your dad’s stands out most in your memory?

Tim: The ones that stand out to me are

Lion the witch and the wardrobe – enabled us to go on a family holiday

Professor Branestawm – lots of excitement “a bomb of my own invention’

The Borrowers (radio) – lots of tiny stuff

Barlow of the Car park – produced the line ‘Choc- o- lates for meee?’

Dr Who – of course well it was dr who

TIMD: Do you know which role was his favourite?

Tim: He liked the drama work on 30 Minute Theatre and Play for Today I think like Barlow and The Discharge of Trooper Lusby. I think he just liked working so may be Carney in Crossroads

TIMD: He did a lot of work, but he will probably be best remembered (at least by my readers) as Staff Sergeant Arnold from Web Of Fear. That story was lost for 45 years, but returned a year and a half ago by Philip Morris. How did it make you feel to hear the news?

Tim: Very very excited. I had heard that some lost episodes had been found and had that sort of oh it might be web of fear feeling you get like oh I might win the lottery but you know you won’t. But it was – when it was released I downloaded it straight away from iTunes and watched the first couple of episodes but then saved the rest as a treat.

TIMD: What was your reaction to seeing the story for the first time in all those years?

Tim: Honestly it feels a bit wooden in places and the story quite simple but it was simpler back then and a kids’ show and only watched once and once a week. We have higher expectations now and tv shows have to stand repetition. There were some great performances and it felt quite theatrical.

TIMD: Jack sure acted his pants off in that one, especially the final episode. How did he feel about that story? Was it one that he was proud of or just another job?

Tim: It’s always nice to play the character with the twist and therefore have good lines and scenes. I can’t honestly say how he felt I was only 7 years old but the feeling at home was good and exciting and he brought home a rubber death mask which was great to play with!! I’m sure he was pleased with his performance, he watched everything very critically, he wanted to be the best that he could be.

TIMD: You joined the Doctor Who Missing Episodes Discussion Group on Facebook during their anniversary celebration for a comment- a- long of episode six. How did it feel to watch the outpouring of love and respect from the members for your father and his performance?

Tim: I was very touched and surprised at the interest in a very old black and white TV show. You’re all mad !!

TIMD: On the website you refer to his story telling and there is a wonderfully evocative passage where he tells us in his own words about running a W.H. Smith stall at the train station, and later on you reveal that he was a published poet.  Jack had a great way with words, didn’t he?

Tim: He was very proud of his self- education and loved words. I wish he had written more prose and more of his life story. He was doing it but didn’t expect to drop off the twig at 64.

 

Thanks to Tim for taking the time to talk to me and please take a moment to check out the website www.jackwoolgar.org.uk it’s incredibly interesting.

 

 

Happy New Year from TIMD

Well January 1st has rolled around once more and from everyone here at TIMD let me wish you a happy New Year! It’s been quite a year for us. Last January I was just getting my start in the world of Doctor Who news.

Starting at Doctor Who Worldwide on January 6th,  I made the leap to my own sit in March, continuing on as a mainstream DW news site. Over the past year we have gotten a few awesome interviews (Neil Perryman and Andrew Cartmel) and talked about missing episodes and Series 8 spoilers, all before I decided a change of direction would be nice.

Any site can talk about the latest news and rumours, so I broke away from that pack and decided to focus on the fans and what they are doing to make Doctor Who one of the world’s biggest franchises.  I talked to fans who made their own tardis consoles, fans that published their reviews in e-books and fans that have made their own audio dramas!

So, from me to you, thanks for sticking with me and making this last year awesome! And to all those who were active participants in my venture, writers like Martin, Gary and Andrew, interviewees like Museum Dave, Andrew Chalmers and Mike Tamburro, I consider you friends, one and all!

The pace of posts may have slowed slightly, but I remain committed to being the number one site by fans, for fans and about Doctor Who fans!

Roy Miranda Wins Audio Verse Award

Doctor Who Dark Journey and the folks from AM Audio Media were up for 4 Audio Verse Awards. The voting ended in early December and the results were just announced.

Congratulations to Roy Miranda. His role as Sherlock Holmes won him “Best Actor in a Fan/Adaptation Leading Role.” Unfortunately that was the only win for Canada’s #1 fan produced Doctor Who audio, but there’s always next year and next season.

Speaking of series 2, have you heard the latest? Check out our news round up with all the details.

Dark Journey Season 2 News Round Up

I’ve been posting bits and pieces of news here and there as they come, but I decided it’s time to round up all the information. So just what do we know about series two of Canada’s number one fan produced Doctor Who audio, Dark Journey?

Joshua Hemming, pictured far left, joins the crew for series 2
Joshua Hemming, pictured far left, joins the crew for series 2

Audio:

Sound designer Joshua Hemming will be joining the crew this time around. From AM Audiomedia.com:

“Joshua Hemming brings a wealth of sound recording/production experience that will bring music to listeners ears…”

On the visual side

Coverart

The guys have added a few new members, Aaron Gittoes of Doctor Who Fan Art and Dave Ladkin of Doctor Who artwork by VortexVisuals will on board as cover artists.

But what can the listeners expect from series 2 itself?

Roy Miranda and Andrew Chalmers very into character
Roy Miranda and Andrew Chalmers very into character

“Dark Journey Series 2 features a completely unexpected turn of events for Holmes and his companion The Doctor. The story changes a lot from the blood soaked streets of 18th century White Chapel to a subterranean supernatural hell storm where the stakes have never been higher for our heroes. Sherlock Holmes is forced to confront his past and faces his worst weaknesses and fears as we discover a lot of things about the Doctors past that he would rather no one knew.” – Andrew Chalmers Writer/Actor Dark Journey

DJmike
MA Tamburro and new comer Joshua Hemming

“Everything about Series two is big. Bigger stories, bigger characters, bigger sound. Dark Journey had a heck of a start with our initial 5 episode run but the next five feature a super action packed, funny, emotional Doctor, as so skillfully scripted by our writer Andrew Chalmers who also plays the troubled Timelord. Our key cast members make a memorable return as well as a few guest cameos that you’ll have to hear to believe. Who will live? Who will die? Who nose!” – MA Tamburro Producer/Director Dark Journey

Series 2 finished recording earlier this month and is now in post production. Stay tuned for more details as we get closer to the release!

Dark Journey Up For 4 Audio Verse Awards

Canada’s #1 fan produced Doctor Who audio drama has made it through the preliminary round of voting for this year’s Audio Verse Awards. Dark Journey is up for 4 awards including Roy Miranda for Best Actor in a Fan/Adaptation Leading Role, Kate Elyse Forrest for Best Actress in a Fan/Adaptation Supporting Role, Andrew Chalmers for Best Writing of an Ongoing Fan/Adaptation Production and Clayton (Claytech) Turner for Best Audio Engineering in an Ongoing Fan/Adaptation Production.

Congratulations to the four of them for making it through to the final round, but now they need your help now more than ever! Please take a moment to check out the Audio Verse Awards website and vote for them. Voting closes on December 3rd so there is still time!

Doctor Who News and Opinion

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