Tuesday, 23 May 2017

B is for... Brethren of the Wolf


Around the year 1540, in the reign of James V, something fell to Earth near the Glen of St Catherine in the north of Scotland. The Glen was home to a monastery. An alien creature, which manifested itself as a wolf during the full moon, survived the crash. This caused the monks to become corrupted in their faith. They began to worship and cultivate it. They would abduct boys from the local area to become hosts for the alien. Over the centuries, legends grew of a werewolf stalking the region, devouring local crofters.
The monks - now Brethren of the Wolf - developed oriental fighting skills, so that they could better serve the entity. They protected themselves from the creature by giving it an aversion to mistletoe.
By the late 19th Century, conditions were right for the Brethren to help the creature gain dominance. Technology had advanced enough, and the reigning monarch - Victoria - often visited the area. The wolf would harness this technology, and establish itself in the royal bloodline in order to take over the planet. The Brethren were led by Father Angelo at this time. He ensured that the Queen's train would be halted by an obstruction on the line, so that she would be forced to travel by carriage instead whilst on her annual visit to have the Koh-i-Noor diamond recut in Aberdeen. This had been an obsession of her late husband's, and he regularly stayed at the MacLeish home at Torchwood House when he made the trip.


The Brethren arrived at the house and overpowered the servants, locking them in the cellars with the latest Host. Sir Robert MacLeish was forced to co-operate with them as his wife was held hostage.
Fr Angelo assumed the guise of the butler, with his Brethren as servants, as a trap was laid for the Queen.
Fortunately for Her Majesty, the Doctor had joined her party en route to the House. He worked out that Prince Albert and Sir Robert's father had set up a trap of their own already, involving the Koh-i-Noor diamond. Fr Angelo was shot dead by Victoria, and the alien creature was later destroyed. Presumably the monastery would have been shut down by Victoria. The fate of the Brethren is unrecorded, though they may have fallen foul of the new institute set up by the Queen, named after Torchwood House.

Appearances: Tooth And Claw (2006).

B is for... Brendan


Brendan Richards was the young ward of Sarah Jane Smith's Aunt Lavinia. When Sarah went to stay at her aunt's country home to write a book, she found her relative missing, whilst Brendan turned up early from his boarding school for the Christmas break. He announced that he was thinking of giving up the school to pursue more practical studies - perhaps helping Lavinia run her market garden business.
Sarah unpacked a crate that had been transferred from her Croydon home whilst she had been abroad, and discovered that it contained a present from the Doctor - K9 Mark III.
Brendan quickly bonded with K9, having a keen interest in science and computers. He tasked K9 with analysing soil samples from Lavinia's gardens.
The local area was home to a pagan group who worshiped the Goddess Hecate. Intent on overturning a run of bad harvests, they decided to make a human sacrifice - and Brendan was abducted for the purposes. He was rescued by Sarah and K9, and the Hecate worshipers were taken into police custody.

Played by: Ian Sears. Appearances: K9 and Company (Pilot) - A Girl's Best Friend (1981).

B is for... Brazen


Mr Brazen had been the second-in-command on the human colonist ship which crash-landed on the planet Frontios in the far distant future. He was right hand man to Captain Revere, helping to enforce discipline in the harsh environment in which the colonists found themselves. Brazen ensured that the colony was never informed of the true circumstances surrounding Revere's "death", and he took on the role of mentor to his son - the new leader, Plantagenet.
As the young man grew, Brazen kept his grip on the fragile colony. He took action whenever anyone tried to delve too deeply into the planet's secrets. His control was upset by the arrival of the TARDIS crew on the planet, followed soon after by Plantagenet's apparent demise - sucked down into the earth like his father before him. Brazen insisted on going into the tunnels beneath the colony when the Doctor elected to investigate. He learned the truth about what had been happening - of how the planet was infested with gravity-influencing Tractators, who used human bodies to drive their mining machines. This had been the fate of Captain Revere, but Brazen was able to help Plantagenet escape a similar fate. Brazen was ensnared by the mining machine, and was killed when it went out of control and exploded - allowing the others to escape.

Played by: Peter Gilmore. Appearances: Frontios (1984).

  • Gilmore is best known for his long-running title role in the nautical drama series The Onedin Line.
  • He also has the distinction of appearing in more of the Carry On... movies than any of the so-called regulars.

B is for... Brannigan


A Catkind from the planet New Earth, encountered on the Motorway by the Tenth Doctor. Thomas Kincade Brannigan, who spoke with a pronounced Irish brogue, and who dressed like a WWII fighter pilot, was travelling with his human wife Valerie to a new home when the city of New New York was struck by a deadly virus originating from a mutated Bliss mood enhancer. The Face of Boe, assisted by Novice Hame, was able to seal off the Motorway and save the millions travelling on it. The drivers and their passengers were oblivious as to what had happened.
Brannigan's children were born on the Motorway, as he and everyone else drove round for years seeking an exit. He had a number of friends whom he could contact - such as the Cassini sisters, whom he refused to acknowledge were really a same sex couple. He also had many tall tales to tell about life on the Motorway, and knew of the danger that lurked in the Fast Lane on the lowermost level.
The Doctor helped the Face of Boe open the Motorway, so Brannigan and Valerie could finally reach the city and make their new home.

Played by: Ardal O'Hanlon. Appearances: Gridlock (2007).

  • O'Hanlon has recently become the third person to take the lead in the popular crime series Death in Paradise, but he will forever be best known as the nice-but-dim Father Dougal in Father Ted. He featured in Russell T Davies' series Cucumber.

B is for... Bragen


Head of Security for the human colony on the planet Vulcan. He harboured ambitions to take over the running of the colony from Governor Hensell, and planned to use the Daleks to help him. Concerned that a small but active rebel group was growing in strength, whilst Bragen's troops seemed ineffectual to stop it, Deputy Governor Quinn called in the assistance of an Examiner from Earth. He was assassinated soon after his arrival, and the newly regenerated Second Doctor came to be mistaken for him. He was more interested in stopping scientist Lesterson's experiments with a Dalek he had found in a spaceship, buried in the mercury swamps. When it became clear that the Daleks could be used as a weapon, Bragen took the opportunity of Hensell's tour of the outer regions of the colony to stage his coup. He had been the secret leader of the rebels all along. He had Hensell exterminated on his return. Fearing the rebels might then turn against him, he was content for the Daleks to kill them as well as any others who stood against him. He soon found that they would obey no human. His own men were cut down. The rebel Valmar shot Bragen dead when he learned of his plan to kill all the rebels.

Played by: Bernard Archard. Appearances: Power of the Daleks (1966).

Sunday, 21 May 2017

May's Figurines


Two figurines this month, both from the Classic Series, and both representing leaders of their respective races.
The earliest figure is the Black Dalek, from The Dalek Invasion of Earth. Not much to say about this. We have already had the Saucer Commander variant, with the alternate black and silver skirt sections, which formed a halfway house to the first of the Dalek Supremes. The accompanying magazine confirms that this was unintentional.
Then we get the Cyber-Controller, as it appeared in Attack of the Cybermen. It has to be said that they have allowed a little artistic licence with this figure, as he is much more svelte than he appeared on screen. The part was originally offered to David Banks, but he decided to stick with the Cyber-Leader role.
Next month, we have the Roger Delgado Master and a Tetrap. The following month sees the release of Alpha Centauri (Curse of Peladon version) and a blue Voord. The next special edition will be Azal, the Daemon.

Extremis - The Review


It's actually been a while since Steven Moffat served up a twisty-turny storyline. Last night we were treated to two seemingly unconnected plot lines, and one of these turned out to have been entirely a computer simulation. Everything that we saw from the point the Doctor got an e-mail took place in an elaborate Matrix-style domain which the Monks have created in which to test out their invasion plans, Kraal style.
Of course we don't know this until the conclusion. Up until then, it was a doom-laden affair, and you wondered how they could possibly wrap it up with less than 10 minutes to go. The Veritas has been driving everyone who reads it to commit suicide. A young priest shoots himself soon after e-mailing a transcription to CERN, and the team there are all set to blow themselves up. That's because the book lets you know that the world isn't real. You think of a string of numbers, and the sequence is there, printed over the page. Everyone thinks of those same numbers, because they are all part of the computer program.
There was a bit of humour early on - with Bill's disastrous date with Penny. Clara had some bad dates with Danny Pink, but nothing so laugh-out-loud funny as the sudden appearance of the Pope in Bill's flat and Penny's priceless reaction.
Matt Lucas had a lot more to do as Nardole this week. In the other plot-line, where the Doctor was tasked with executing Missy, he turned up posing as a priest - sent by River Song from that last night on Darillium.


Initially we thought that it was the Doctor who was to lose his life, but instead he was there to kill his old foe / best friend. Quite why this was happening remains unanswered. Hopefully all will be explained later in the series. That it is Missy who has been in the Vault all this time is, to say the least, a disappointment. I think we were all hoping for some big new revelation, perhaps the return of an old character from the Classic era of the series. Moffat could still throw a curve ball, and it isn't Missy in there at all, but we know that the Doctor has been inside recently.


The Monks make for a great new alien race. There's a hint of the Silents about them, as well as the Pyroville Sibyl. They have mummified features. Quite why an advanced alien species would look like this remains to be seen. Indeed, we know they want to invade the Earth, and we have seen how they have prepared for this, but why they should do so, we will have to wait for. They will be featuring in the next two episodes, forming a sort of three-parter.
A strong start to what looks to be an intriguing set of episodes.