Tuesday, 10 May 2011

It's the end...but the moment's not been prepared for.

Well, you will have seen by now the rather sad announcement of The Third Zone's premature demise. As Joe has already said, time and 'creative differences' (that old chestnut!) have resulted in this unfortunate event, but as to whether it'll reappear at some point...who knows? Never say never, but certainly not in the foreseeable future.

I hope Joe reconsiders removing his pieces, as there's some fine work that does the site proud. Regardless, mine shall remain should anyone wish to view them.

Apologies to all, and I hope you've enjoyed the ride.

To other times and places,

Andy (co-editor)

The End is Nigh...

Unfortunately due to time constraints and editorial differences issue three will be the last issue of The Third Zone.

My pieces will be removed from the website soon and posted on my other blogs elsewhere.

Apologies to those of you who have been enjoying the zine so far,

Joe Ford
Co Editor

Friday, 15 April 2011

Issue 3

Issue 3! So quickly! Where's the time gone? Another big thank you to all who've been reading issues 1 and 2, and I hope you continue to enjoy this latest installment. So, what is there this month? Well, there's...

Plenty of Eighth Doctor action with the second half of Joe's look back at series 4 and exclusive interviews with Nic Briggs, Alan Barnes and Tamsin actress Niky Wardley;

The conclusion to The Shadow Makers, featuring the Fifth Doctor and Tegan;

Reviews of Mara Tales, Industrial Evolution and The Forbidden Time;

The Rani is under debate as we ask: ridiculous, or revelatory?;

The Apocalypse Element is under scrutiny in 'The Evelyn Escapades';

What will Simon and Charlotte make of The Claws of Axos in 'Non Fan Opinion'?;

'A Matter of Perspective' takes a look at Camera Obscura;

There's a look at the top five Babelcolour YouTube clips in 'Who Online';

And a rather special interview with the one and only Katy Manning.

Don't forget you can follow us on Twitter, just search for @TheThirdZone. Issue 4 will be available from May  15th, and if you missed issue 2 it's been relegated to the Archive.


Andy (co-editor)

Poll results for issues one and two...

What is your favourite Hartnell Historical?
1) The Aztecs - 33% (54 votes)
2) The Romans - 19% (32 votes)
3) The Massacre - 14% (23 votes)
4) Marco Polo - 13% (22 votes)
5) The Crusade - 11% (17 votes)
6) The Gunfighters - 4% (7 votes)
7) The Myth Makers - 3% (5 votes)
8) The Reign of Terror - 2% (4 votes)
9) The Smugglers - 1% (3 votes)

What was your favourite story from Series five?
1) Vincent and the Doctor - 24% (34 votes)
2) The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang - 21% (30 votes)
3) The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone - 20% (28 votes)
4) The Eleventh Hour - 13 % (19 votes)
5) Amy's Choice - 9% (11 votes)
6) The Lodger - 5% (8 votes)
7) Victory of the Daleks - 3% (5 votes)
8) The Beast Below/Vampires of Venice/The Hungry Earth & Cold Blood - less than 1% (1 vote each)

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Issue 2

Firstly let me say a big thank you for everybody who took the time to look at issue one. The response has far exceeded our expectations and we received a very impressive 4500 hits in the first month of the first issue being released and received some wonderful feedback via the Gallifrey Base and Big Finish forums. We enjoyed ourselves immensely putting the first issue together and it is fantastic to see that so many of you enjoyed it too.
Enough with the Oscar victory speech and on with issue two!
Lurking on the site this month we have the following exciting material…

The latest merchandise has been reviewed. From Big Finish we have The Feast of Axos, The Perpetual Bond and Andy has tackled both The Mutants and The Ark on DVD. Note – we were going to include the latest eighth Doctor audio Lucie Miller but we have decided to review the two-part storyline as a whole.

This months Matter of Perspective sees Steve Lyons popular New Adventure, Conundrum come under the limelight. Reversing our roles from last month, Andy has been reading away and has a good grilling by yours truly.

The Evelyn Escapades seems to have been one of the most popular elements on the site with the most hits (the reviews excepted) and this month we have completed and have posted our responses on The Spectre of Lanyon Moor.

Charlotte and Simon, our non-fan cohorts have been watching the William Hartnell classic, Planet of Giants.

This month’s debate is contemporary topic – Amy Pond, heavenly or whore? Andy stands in defence of the Doctor’s latest companion whilst I try and convince you that she doesn’t quite work.

Exciting interviews with two of Big Finish’s most exciting current writers, Jacqueline Rayner (Wolfsbane, Dr Who & the Pirates) and Simon Guerrier (The Perpetual Bond). They share their thoughts on their latest work.

Who Online this month praises the Big Finish review and voting site, The Time Scales.

I look back at Nicholas Courtney's contributions to Doctor Who and include my top five favourite Brigadier stories.

All this plus part two of our exciting three part fiction piece, The Shadows Makers written by Joe Ford and an essay looking at the delightful Big Finish spin off The Companion Chronicles Seasons 1-3

Any comments can be posted on the site or sent to thethirdzone@hotmail.co.uk and we will once again post some in the next issue.

Issue three will be released April 15th – happy reading!

Joe Ford (co editor)

This month's splendid cover image is courtesy of the very talented Dandy cartoonist Andy Fanton, and more of his work is available to view here. Also you can purchase a rather grand Who related T-shirt designed by Mr Fanton if you follow this link.

If you would like to read Issue One - it is now archived at the following address: http://the-third-zone-archive.blogspot.com/

Feedback from Issue One:

Max Marble on Gallifrey Base: Doc Oho--I love The Third Zone. Just took a look around there, and I think it's fab. User-friendly, looks great, and very well-written reviews, articles, etc. And to think you've just started!

I am especially interested in the Non-Fan perspectives. I'm looking forward to seeing what they think of the Classic (capital C intentional) stories like Talons, Caves, Inferno, stuff like that. That debate is really good too. (I'm pretty much on the pro-McCoy side, as long as I'm not thinking about Silver Nemesis. If I get a chance I'll elaborate my thoughts on it for you.)

Keep up the great work!

On the contrary, I think that really enlivens the experience to have different perspectives bouncing off one another. Well done, you guys, and I'll be looking forward to further issues!

Rcarni on Gallifrey Base: Seconded. It's superb. I thought the interviews with Lisa Bowerman and David Richardson were particularly fascinating, but I enjoyed the whole thing. Definitely agree with the user-friendliness.

Fadladder from the BF forum: I really enjoyed the Time Team piece on Evelyn, nice work!

Dana C on the BF forum: I particularly enjoyed the non-fan reviews. Really nice angle, very original.
Timata 1705 on the BF forum: Just reading the reviews section and one tiny thing, it would be handy if there were links to the individual reviews on the page from the top :) Possibly, also, now I think about it, a summary of the ratings and a single sentence at the top, so spoilers can easily be avoided...(its true I mostly read reviews after I've listened, but I did wonder what your take on Quinnis was, as I haven't heard that yet, and I skipped past it so I could avoid spoilers)
Dan Tessier on Facebook: Loving the fanzine Joe!

Paul Quinn via email: Well done on the much-needed Hartnell essay but I wonder about the inclusion of The Time Meddler. All historicals are in a sense 'pseudo-historical' (whoever coined that phrase has much to answer for) because of the role of the Tardis crew but the The Time Meddler, like sections of The Chase, introduces a further alien or/and anachronistic element.  The historicals of the first three years - as Wood and Miles rightly point out in About Time 2 - gave way to obvious quasi-literary adaptions before being dropped all together.  What is under acknowledged is the extent to which the version of the historical that survives was established by Lambert and Spooner in season two.I wonder too whether something should have been included regarding The Myth Makers staging legend as fact. Great work.

In Memoriam

Nicholas Courtney Tribute by Joe Ford

What a terrible loss. Not just to Doctor Who but to the fans. Nick Courtney was a firm supporter of the programme and dazzled audiences in conventions and appeared in various spin off programmes when the show was of the air. He was a fine actor and true gentleman of the sort there are very few about anymore.

The Brigadier is not the obvious choice of best friend for the Doctor. He works for the military, he works by a rulebook and he is the living embodiment of the establishment. As they say opposites attract and when the Doctor is exiled to Earth he turns to his old ally for a function in this world he has been dumped in. They didn’t get on at first; there was always a distant respect but their opposing ideologies kept them at each other’s throat throughout their first year together. Things soon softened and as we progress into season eight the Doctor is confronted with far more officious idiots that make the Brig seem palatable in comparison. The Brigadier saves the Doctor’s life on so many occasions but you wont here a word of gratitude, it’s an unspoken ritual that he will always have the Doctor’s back and he will always be criticised for his methods or last minute timing. It’s like a miniature version of Dad’s Army as the team develops and settles down; cuddly Sergeant Benton, dippy Jo Grant and dolly bird chaser Mike Yates! Along with the Brig and the Doctor they are the rocks of the Pertwee years and their warm chemistry and friendships make even the weakest of stories worth watching. When Jo finally leaves the fold the Brigadier is almost parentally proud of her and comforts Mike on his lost love. When the Doctor headed out into the universe once again, the Brigadier was always there when he needed him, even when he was long retired. As well as all the wonderful television stories he appeared in lets also remember how the novels, audios and comics also fleshed out the character and allowed him to meet the Doctor’s he was denied on the telly. The Brigadier appeared in 22 novels, 18 audios, 16 short stories and made 23 appearances in the comic, which makes a whopping 104 different stories he has delighted us in, including the 25 TV appearances. No matter where Doctor Who spreads the Brigadier is always in its writers hearts.

Here are my five personal favourite Brigadier stories…

Inferno – Where else could we get to see such a wonderfully portrayed anti-Brigadier in the form of the cowardly and fascistic Brigade Leader? He’s just horrible. He knocks the Doctor around, bullies his men, is perfectly willing to sacrifice people’s lives so he can survive and yet when it comes down to actually working out a solution that could save the Earth he only thinks about himself. When he gets the chance to stand up like man and sacrifice himself to let the Doctor return to his own world and save it he pulls a gun out and insists that he takes him with him. The Brigade Leader fights to the last breath, proving what a coward he really is. Nicholas Courtney loved playing this part because it was so different and deliciously villainous compared to the straight laced Brigadier back home but as a result of exploring this darker Brigadier, our Brig seems more charming than ever. Inferno features one my all time favourite Brigadier scenes where the Doctor says he will miss Liz but has had quite enough of this ‘pompous military idiot!’ and materialises the console away in a fit of pique! Unfortunately it lands on a rubbish tip and with his tail tucked between his legs the Doctor returns to his old pal to ask for some help retrieving it, piling on the charm. It beautifully encapsulates their funny, turbulent, warm relationship.

The Mind of Evil – The ultimate Brigadier as an action hero story and just how dashing does Nick Courtney look in this story? He looks gorgeous in his uniform! The Brig turns his nose up at the suggestion that his men take bribes and I love the scene where he scolds Benton ('You're too delicate for intelligence work Benton you better go an lie down!'). You can't help but sympathise with him when he escorts the Doctor to the Chinese delegates room, he is trying so hard to be the professional investigator and he is ignored and insulted (and treated like a maitre'd!). A typical example of the Doctor’s blasé attitude towards his friend. This is a story where we get to see just how busy a day in the life of the Brig is, he's got so much on here he’s sleeping at his desk (at least he has Corporal Bell to lay on some coffee). This is one of the few times we get to see the Brigadier as a proper soldier rather than a deskbound strategist. He thinks through his ambush on the prison, goes undercover very effectively and fights his way viciously through to the Doctor. There’s also a quiet moment that reveals that the Brig is human after all, his embarrassed reaction to Barnham perfectly encapsulates peoples discomfort around the mentally ill. The Brig could never resist a big bang so he tries to blow up the missile from the ground and take the Master with it – you could imagine him rubbing his hands with delight as the explosion goes off!

The Green Death - ‘Cheap petrol and plenty of it!’ is exactly how the Brigadier would react to the idea of Global Chemicals! After mis characterising him in The Time Monster and The Three Doctors as a sitcom character The Green Death story is one of the finest showing for Lethbridge Stewart yet. He seems almost paternally proud of Jo when she mutinously heads off to Wales to follow her beliefs. In a story that really domesticates the Pertwee era it is wonderful to see the Brigadier in civvies and driving around in a sports car. The Brig proudly tells Cliff that Jo works for him and she can take care of herself, his feelings for her are clearly beyond professional and they really leak out in these scenes. I love the scene where he is brilliantly out politicked by Stevens, the Prime Minister chewing his ear out! The Brig makes a charming dinnertime companion, stolidly determined. There’s even some wonderful comedy moments, I couldn’t help but laugh at the Doctor bibble bibbling his chin after he accidentally hypnotises him! When Jo and Cliff announce their engagement Mike looks devastated for a second before congratulating them and the Brigadier quietly says ‘never mind Mike, lets have a drink.’). He kisses Jo and drinks and dances, it’s enough to make a grown man weep. You really get a sense of family with the five of them throughout.

Mawdryn Undead – Another story where you get double the Brig for your money and another great example of what an extraordinary actor Nick Courtney is, playing the character with gentle differences from two difference time zones. This is the story when the fifth Doctor became the Doctor for me – he might have fought against the Cybermen already but the scene where the Brigadier remembers all those glorious days fighting monsters and recognises the Doctor cements Davison in the role because this is the Brigadier accepting him. Courtney plays the older Brigadier with a weariness we have rarely seen in him and even gets a few moments where he struggles with his breakdown – it’s a brilliant new spin on an established character. The scene where the two Brigadier’s meet is a seminal Doctor Who moment and I love his stroll into the TARDIS at the end of the story, just like old times.

The Shadows of Avalon – It be a little controversial choosing a book but the characterisation of the Brig is so special I had to include this novel. He has been severely wounded by the death of his wife and is described as being dead on the inside and still walking about. He wants the Doctor to heal him, to go back and save her but finds when the time comes he cannot ask him. He no longer fights for fair shares all around, life isn’t fair and every one has to look out for their own. He is described as being only human and that is the beauty and the horror of him. When he thinks the Doctor is dead too it is the final straw and he snaps, choking on maniacal laughter and a control freak to the last who refuses to let himself heal. He attempts suicide, which is so sensitively written it brought tears to my eyes but when he doesn’t go through with it considers the act dishonest and foolish which is more like the Brig of old that we know and love. Pragmatic, he realises with grim determination that the enthusiastic soldiers around him are going to die. ‘Every day moments became moments of great pain’ he admits, ‘I can’t move on because I’ll never stop loving you!’ He realises that loving Doris so wholeheartedly made him incredibly vulnerable but he wouldn’t have had it any other way. He realises with great sadness that the reason life, and his relationship with Doris, was so special was because it doesn’t last forever. The very first choice he makes when he has chosen to live his life again is to save Mab’s life and it is very touching to experience them beginning a new life together. He is described at the climax as a warrior turned peacemaker. Amen to that. As the Doctor says, “Alistair, you continue to astonish me.” Given recent events, this novel aches with poignancy and a love for the character. Check it out.
Farewell Brig. You will always be my hero.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Coming Soon - Issue 2

Hi all,

A slight delay for issue 2 just so we can make it up to the standard you've already come to expect! Issue 2 will now be online from Sunday March 20th and will feature:

Part two of 'The Shadow Makers';

DVD reviews of 'The Ark' and 'The Mutants', and audio reviews of 'The Perpetual Bond', 'The Feast of Axos' and 'Prisoner of the Sun';

'The Evelyn Escapades' features 'The Spectre of Lanyon Moor';

'Who Online' looks at the BF rating site 'The Time Scales';

The other halves watch 'Planet of Giants';

The first three series of the Companion Chronicles are put under the spotlight;

Joe quizzes me on Steve Lyons' 'Conundrum';

We debate Amy Pond - innovative or irritating?;

Plus interviews - including one with Doctor Who's first lady Jac Rayner - and a tribute to that most splendid of chaps Nicholas Courtney.

You can now follow us on Twitter too - just head here or look for @TheThirdZone.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Issue 1

It’s the beginning...and the moment has been prepared for. For precisely a month – or at least that’s been the gestation period of issue 1! So here we are, our very first issue of The Third Zone and we have a wealth of wisdom to impart!

We have reviews both by myself and by my esteemed colleague Mr Joe Ford, covering all the latest releases in the worlds of DVD and audio.

We have ‘The Evelyn Escapades’, a look at the Big Finish audios in the manner of ‘The Time Team’, taking one character at a time. No prizes for guessing who’s first up!

There’s fiction in the form of The Shadow Makers, part 1 of a 3 part tale, this month featuring the First Doctor and written by yours truly.

‘A Matter of Perspective’ offers a new look at the world of Who in print, as I quiz Joe this month about Steve Lyons’ The Witch Hunters.

We have not one but two exclusive interviews this month with Big Finish producer David Richardson, and Bernice Summerfield actress and director of Big Finish audios Lisa Bowerman.

The Seventh Doctor’s era comes under the spotlight in our debate section this month, while ‘Who Online’ takes a look at ‘The History of the Doctor’.

There’s ‘Non-Who Opinion’, as both mine and Joe’s other half watch a Doctor Who story and share their thoughts. Be warned, there may be some colourful language!

Last, but by no means least, Joe has written an essay on the joys of the Hartnell historicals – and if that doesn’t convert you, nothing will!

We hope you enjoy reading issue 1 as much as we enjoyed putting it together. Any comments can be added on the site or be sent to thethirdzone@hotmail.co.uk, and we’ll post some next issue.

Issue 2 will be available in four weeks on the 15th March, but for now, enjoy our premiere issue! Thanks for reading,

Andy Weston (co-editor)