Monday, May 29, 2006

Half Time

The Idiot’s Lantern was episode 7 of the current run of Doctor Who, and as such it’s half-way point. I have to say that at the moment things are leaving me a little cold…

What has happened to Doctor Who in Series 2? Last year had its faults, but everything seemed to be pulling in the same direction. It all reached an ultimate end with the “Bad Wolf” meme that was in various degrees successful. The overall quality in 2005 was pretty much uniform; even if the story wasn’t very good, the direction and the cast made up for it. This year however, we’ve had a marked levelling off of quality across the board, with poorer scripts, questionable casting and re-used special effects.

That last one is particular bug-bear of mine. The old Glen A Larson series of the 1980s often reused special effects – notably KITT’s “turbo boost” in “Knight Rider” or various “Airwolf” manoeuvres. It seems strange that a BBC show in 2006 is reusing explosion visuals from an episode in 2005 – in particular its most-watched episode!

Granted, the series has got darker as the season progresses, and that seems set to continue as the Doctor and Rose encounter The Impossible Planet this Saturday. Finally the new series will discard its Earthly shackles and venture out into the universe…

So in light of the impending FIFA World Cup, I present a list of manager-style objectives for the second half of the Doctor Who season:
  • More consistency with the plot down the right flank
  • Less mercy in front of goal – you’re supposed to be thrilling audiences, not baffling them
  • A better range of guest players
  • Let’s build towards a rousing finale
  • Drop the Torchwood tactic. We keep getting caught out at the back…

Thursday, May 25, 2006


Ah, there's nothing like a bit of a change. It's as good as a rest, apparently, and is certainly something the Doctor Who fans should not be afraid of.

We invariably are, however...

To stick to the point, however, the new forum is only the beginning of the changes that we have in store for Kasterborous. In the near future, users can expect a new dedicated fan fiction section and a couple of very secret sections...

The response to the new forum has been astonishing, actually, and hanks go to everyone who has visited and posted, and sent the emails of approval – it means a lot to us!

If you haven’t checked it out, the forum is pretty much what you would expect from a 21st century forum – polls, attachments, private messaging, custom avatars, extensive profiles as well as a special feature called "karma", which allows any member with over 50 posts to commend or denigrate other posters. Now we want to underline that this is an experimental feature, and shouldn’t be abused – it’s about establishing which forum members have a good reputation. It should be used wisely…

There have been some reports of the forum page not opening at all. They came later than expected, but the workaround is simple – use the forum URL and you’ll get straight in!


Okay – so Rise of the Cybermen wasn’t all that, but its concluding episode, The Age of Steel was nothing short of nailbiting. It was excellent stuff on the whole, with perhaps a fraction of the faults of the previous episode.

There’s a review of The Age of Steel courtesy of Brian A. Terranova. You’ll notice that we’re alternating the reviews this year – it’s purely to provide you the readers with a different voice, as well as to allow me to divert more attention to my study…

This week’s Doctor Who is restored to its 7 pm broadcast time. Set in the 1950s during the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, The Idiot’s Lantern is by Mark Gatiss, who previously wrote last season’s The Unquiet Dead as well as the excellent Seventh Doctor book Nightshade. It promises to be a slightly unsettling episode…

[picture from]

Affiliate Links...

A little bit can go a long way... we've made a small change to the forum to allow for a bit of assistance in paying the hosting fees - this post is from the new Kasterborous Forum:

It would be completely amiss of us to to implement this without informing our loyal members.

In the next couple of days, we're going to start trialling affiliate links. Words such as '', "" and "" etc will be automatically hyperlinked. These links will contain affiliate codes and should anyone visiting click on the links and end up making a purchase, then will benefit.

Anthony, Brian and myself pay for Kasterborous' hosting out of our own pockets, and are happy to do so. However this isn't an ideal situation, and you will notice that there isn't a single advert on Kasterborous other than the links to Doctor Who websites.

You will find these links unobtrusive, and there is my no means any compulsion to click them. Forum users are encouraged to use full URLs for commercial websites should they intend to link to DVD, books or auctions, whatever.

For instance where you might have once simpy typed "" and hyperlinked it to the Genesis of the Daleks DVD, now you will need to simply type "Amazon". Typing will, as you can see, produce an affiliated hyperlink.

If you have any queries or observations, please feel free to let us know.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The New Kasterborous Forum

It’s finally here at last – and I have to say, not before time!

Our regular forum users will notice that I haven’t been too chatty lately – and this is the reason, a brand new forum utilising the excellent and supremely flexible SMF (Simple Machines Forum) software.

There’s added functionality and a new URL for the forum – – which will enable the forum to run unhindered by Kasterborous, and vice-versa. The link in the top left of your screen will take you there!

Existing members of the forum – no doubt starved by the 24 hour downtime – have each received an email explaining the changes. Those of you who aren’t members, simply lurkers – you can join any time, and the forum is still free to view!

The new Forum has been a long time coming. Last September we knew that as the main site grew, so would the database. Two databases running the same website resulted in performance issues which now will be a thing of the past.

But why, when other Doctor Who websites use vBulletin forum software, did we choose the rarely used SMF? Economics, mainly. And flexibility. Whatever the old Snitz database could do relied on custom-made modifications - but these were becoming rarer as use of the software begins to decline. SMF meanwhile is a nice solid piece of software that is used on the website. If it's good enough for one of the greatest rock bands of all time, its good enough for Kasterborous!

Thursday, May 18, 2006


Now that’s what I call a cliffhanger – no "Next Week" trailer to spoil it!

Just when we were all expecting to find out what was going to be on the table in next weeks episode, the spoon-feeding we got last series has gone! And Rise of the Cybermen was all the better for it, I would say.

But you should have all noticed that we are approaching Episode 6 –which means this time next week we’ll be halfway through the season. You could call it the unknown country – after all, most of the promotional material for this series concerned clips from episodes 1-6. We know very little of what will come towards the end of the series.

Which is just how we like it, isn’t it? Last years events were by and large unknown and surprising, for better or for worse. We also knew that fate would catch up with Eccleston’s Doctor around Episode 13 – but this year, save some rumours about Billie Piper and some unconfirmed news about Noel Clarke, we’re kept in the dark.

Spoilers or no spoilers, though, nothing can beat a Doctor Who cliffhanger without a "Next Week" trailer.

Poster Competition Update

Thanks to every single one of you who entered – it’s good to know people are reading this part of the site!

We’re sorting through the entries, and will let you lucky winners know by email when the posters will be dispatched!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Cyber Tribe

The Cybermen are coming. There is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.

Giant augmented humans with a skin of steel – they’re everywhere! Saturday night’s Doctor Who showcases the return of the Doctor’s second most famous enemy – a re-imagined Cybermen army created on a parallel Earth. It looks fantastic, it has a great cast, it has a director who was involved in Doctor Who in the 1970s and 80s, and looks as though it might have something that Series 2 as a whole has been missing – darkness.

There’s been no edge, has there? It’s been nice so far – apart from New Earth - and cosy and very "family". But last year we were discussing the impact of the loss of Gallifrey and the Time Lords, and the Doctor’s ability to deal with the Time War.

Then there was Bad Wolf, and the sneaking "conspiracy theory" feel that the series developed. There was more talk, on the whole, outside of the Saturday night comfort zone. Will Rise of the Cybermen see the beginning of this for Series 2?
We certainly hope so…

Poster Competition Update!

Ladies and gentlemen, by midnight tonight this Poster Competition will be turned inside out.
There will be nothing left.
So get your entries in – send to!

Monday, May 08, 2006

It's a busy old week...

Anthony Dry is sitting in on my blog-writing duties this week...

So, The Girl in the Fireplace comes and goes and not without its controversy. I've actually rewatched it and thought it not as bad as my immediate viewing. Ah well what can you do, shoot the reviewer? Well actually don't...

Anyway we have the small matter of The Cybermen invading our screens this weekend, in Rise of the Cybermen, something i have personally been looking forward too for quite some time and the trailer looks fantastic.

The new Radio Times is also giving out free sticker books of Doctor Who and its out tomorrow.

And thats not all.

If you are interested in grabbing yourself a free poster check out the recent competition in the news section, there's 50 to give away courtesy of the wonderful folks at Radio Times, so get your names and addresses sent in to And if you fancy trying to double your advantage, our friends at have sets to give away too.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Remote Controlled Daleks...

...and David Tennant figures, Slitheen walkie-talkies, Davros cookie jars, postcards, Top Trumps decks, TARDIS playsets, mugs, noisy pens, Sonic Screwdrivers new and old, DVDs, videos, books about science in Doctor Who, guest stars, old stars, book deals at 23 and new magazines.

What do the above all have in common? They are, of course, all part of the big Doctor Who Cash Cow, The Franchise, the capitalists dream, and of course the shifting back into mainstream for everything that is Doctor Who merchandise. I'm sat with a 1990s Dapol 4th Doctor figure on my desk who is looking on aghast at the range of new material listed above - at least he would be if I hadn't blu-tak'd a photocopy of the 10th Doctor's face onto his bonce.

The main point is yes, the above are all examples of the vast amount of cash that is flowing into Doctor Who now, but there is also a key sub-point... is unique among Doctor Who websites not only in that it features pages upon pages of original - and dare I say it well-written content, but it is also stunningly designed and features beautiful art not only by Anthony Dry but also other contributors such as Nigel Parry and Carolyn Edwards.

Rather good material for a book, you might say...

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

To Debate is Great!

Ahhh, Sarah Jane Smith. It was as though she had never been away. Actually there were some who wished she had. My wife was completely bemused by her presence and that of K9 - surely Romana took K9, she remarked.

Most of Saturday night was, therefore, spent detailing the lives of the various K9s.

Could have been worse, I suppose. She might have asked me how the Master keeps escaping and changing form...

It's very easy to get carried away watching an episode of Doctor Who. Take New Earth for example. Here we are, new series, new Doctor and the first episode turns out to be a damp squib.

Yes, it was funny in places. But so is The Ribos Operation, and that was much better. Being more akin to something that occured when Doctor Who was in it's doldrums (Time and the Rani) is not a good thing at all.

However, at the end of the day it was of course my review and my opinion (with a further few observations by Anthony Dry). It isn't necessarily fact or gospel or set in stone or even something that anyone else should agree with. Although I should point out that I have impeccable taste... :)

We very much encourage any debate on not only the latest TV episodes but also any of the articles, news, reviews and interviews found here on Kasterborous. There isn't another site like this one - I mean that universally, not just in the Doctor Who sense - so can be difficult to gauge the popularity or impact of some of the items we produce. Page hits don't necessarily mean that an interview is good, after all. Just that lots of people read it...

So feel free to email us, or join the forum and start a discussion!