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Director MA Tamburro Talks Doctor Who: Dark Journey

Image of Doctor Who and Sherlock Holmes

Doctor Who?  Awesome.  Sherlock Holmes?  Yes please.  Doctor Who and Sherlock Holmes teamed up in the slums of London, pitted against the notorious Jack the Ripper?  Cool beans!

The increased integration of podcasts into mainstream media is allowing people to, once again, be entertained with their ears.  Audiodrama’s however, take the medium to new heights, with full blown productions of dialogue, musical scores, sound effects and theme songs.  Doctor Who: Dark Journey, the Canadian, award winning audio series written by Andrew Chalmers and directed by MA Tamburro takes advantage of each tool in its belt to deliver a polished, 5 episode series that is sure to satisfy any Whovian.  A recently regenerated and emotionally shattered Doctor on his last regeneration, arrives in London and becomes the unexpected companion to Sherlock Holmes. The Doctor and Sherlock are initially teamed up by Scotland Yard in an effort to stop Jack the Ripper’s murderous trail of terror.

I had the opportunity to speak with MA Tamburro, co- producer/director of the audiodrama, who clearly shares a passion for the fandom, along with his cast.


Question: Tell me about Dr Who Dark Journey.


Tamburro: The series is a Canadian written, recorded and produced Doctor Who audio drama. It’s a bit darker than your traditional Doctor Who but a take on the series that could easily fit within the expanded universe of the show aimed at a more mature audience. Oh and it’s funny too. Dark but funny. Did I mention it was funny? 
How did it get started?


Tamburro: It all started with the script originally titled ‘Blood Oath’ which was masterfully written by the AM Audio Media ‘Doctor’ Andrew Chalmers. Andrew originally wrote it as a sort of David Tennant series spec script. Tennant regenerated into Matt Smith’s ‘Doctor’ and it just didn’t seem right for him so I said to Andrew – lets just do it our selves! Andrew and I had done some short films and wrote a column together in the now defunct Toronto tabloid The Special but never an audio drama. When I proposed the idea he was sceptical – until I told him he could play the Doctor! That sealed the deal.
Where did the idea for a Sherlock Holmes/Dr. Who crossover come from?


Tamburro: Oddly enough the original idea and first draft was written way before the BBC series and Cumberbatch hysteria. We’ve sort of hit fandom at just the right time with the cross over but we never set out to do it. Andrew was always a fan of Sherlock Holmes and an even bigger fan of Doctor Who so putting the two together seemed like a natural fit that had never really been done before on audio.
Image of Dark Journey castThe cast you’ve put together is quite strong. How did you build it?


Tamburro: We purposefully went after proper actors rather than Doctor Who fans that do bad English accents. I don’t think our audition posting ever specifically mentioned Doctor Who or Sherlock Holmes. We stayed away from that to keep our ‘fan audio’ down to a reasonable quota of fans. We went through more than a hundred resumes and voice clips to make sure everyone was right for their roles. We hit audio gold with the cast we have including the multi-talented Kate Elyse Forrest (she can play damsel in distress, old lady and can cry like a baby on cue), Roy ‘the emotion’ Miranda who brings a regal quality to Sherlock Holmes, the Shakespearian Paul Thomas Manz channeling a classic series Timelord vibe and the frightening Rikki Wright who plays our lead villain as well as the Daleks.
What’s the best part about making the show?


Tamburro: The most exciting thing about making the show is how it’s an ever evolving creation. You can have the best script in the world but if you can’t bring together a team to make it then you’re sunk. Just today I was listening back to an edit on series two that our Sound Designer Kevin Gray was working on and could hear the lines and tone changing ever so subtly from take to take with the input of the actors, the writer and rather flatteringly, myself. Our philosophy at AM Audio Media is best idea wins. If someone has a good idea that works it goes in. 
What can we expect in series 2 and how will it be/is it different from series 1?


Tamburro: There is a rather unexpected twist resolution to the series 1 cliffhanger that ended with the Doctor laying dying in a pool of his own blood on Baker Street. I don’t think that fans of Dark Journey will see it coming really. There are also a lot more little nods and winks to the television series that when you recognize them you’ll smile.
What keeps you coming back for more Wholock?


Tamburro: I love the chemistry between our Doctor and Sherlock. Andrew and Roy have a very natural rapport that you can hear in their acting; like two old friends (which was odd because they actually met 10 minutes before they started recording together!). They were a delight to direct and even though they required some scolding to stop having so much fun during the recording sessions, I could listen to them talk for hours.  Oh wait, I have!
Doctor Who: Dark Journey is available online at www.amaudiomedia.com/episodes.  It is also freely available on iTunes here.  Series 2 is set to launch this spring (2015).
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