Author: Kelly Fiveash


UK to implement age-verification system for porn sites

The wobbly, squabbling, minority Tory government—propped up by Northern Ireland’s DUP[2]—has laid before MPs its first commencement order for the recently passed Digital Economy Act[3], in which it confirmed that an age checker system for access to porn sites will be brought in next spring.

“We have taken steps to implement the new age verification requirement for online pornography as part of our continuing work to make the Internet safer,” said digital minister Matt Hancock. “The new scheme is complex and will not be fully in place until April 2018, but today we are bringing into force powers to designate the regulator and powers to allow guidance to be issued.”

When quizzed by Ars, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) declined to reveal more technical details about the system, opting instead to give us some notes it had already spoon fed to the Mail On Sunday. It also refused to comment on which third party will be developing and operating the government’s age verification system.

Under the yet-to-be-implemented measures, free and fee-based porn operators—many of which are based abroad—will be required to insert age checkers on their sites in the UK, forcing users to dish up their credit card details to prove that they are 18 or over before being granted access to smut.

Sites that refuse to cooperate face the wrath of earmarked regulator the British Board of Film Classifications. It will have the power to dish out fines of up to £250,000[4] for non-compliance, cut loose misbehaving porn operators from their payment providers[5], advertisers, and other ancillary services that they use in the UK, or they could be blocked by ISPs[6]—a method that the government’s DCMS parliamentary under-secretary Lord Ashton previously insisted[7] “would be used sparingly.”

Despite the fact that new powers will be difficult to implement effectively—given that so many sites are overseas which can be accessed by porn fans using, say, VPN workarounds[8]—Hancock is convinced that “the UK will have the most robust Internet child protection measures of any country in the world.”

But privacy campaigners have repeatedly expressed concerns about what they say is the censorship of perfectly legal material that is served up online. While others are worried about the implications of an age checker mechanism that could build up a picture of Brits’ porn habits across the country.

“Age verification could lead to porn companies building databases of the UK’s porn habits, which could be vulnerable to Ashley Madison style hacks,” argued Open Rights Group director Jim Killock.

“The government has repeatedly refused to ensure that there is a legal duty for age verification providers to protect the privacy of Web users,” he said, adding: “There is also nothing to ensure a free and fair market for age verification.”

Notably, the regime won’t be extended to free content ad networks such as Twitter[9], even though it struggles to rid the site of naked flesh.

Now read: The Tory government’s war on porn is doomed to fail, and here’s why[10]

This post originated on Ars Technica UK[11]


Doctor Who: Jodie Whittaker spectacularly unveiled as the 13th Doctor

Jodie Whittaker, who worked with new Doctor Who showrunner Chris Chibnall on Broadchurch, has been unveiled as the 13th Doctor.

She will be the first female actor to play the Time Lord in the history of Doctor Who.

In a publicity chat with the BBC, Whittaker urged Whovians to be open about the Doctor’s gender switcheroo. “I want to tell the fans not to be scared by my gender. Because this is a really exciting time, and Doctor Who represents everything that’s exciting about change. The fans have lived through so many changes, and this is only a new, different one, not a fearful one.”

In January, Peter Capaldi confirmed he would be quitting the TARDIS[2] after a three-series run. He joined as the 12th actor to play The Doctor when he replaced Matt Smith in 2013, during the show’s 50th anniversary year. His departure coincides with showrunner Steven Moffat’s departure from Doctor Who[3].

I understand that Oliva Colman, who also starred in Chibnall’s Broadchurch alongside 10th Doctor David Tennant, was offered the part of the 13th Doctor but turned it down.

Meet the Thirteenth Doctor #DoctorWho #Doctor13[4][5][6]

— Doctor Who Official (@bbcdoctorwho) July 16, 2017[7]

In our recent Ars poll, readers—after some very heated discussions—settled on Kris Marshall to play the next Doctor[8]. Richard Ayoade was a close second on that particular wish-list.

Now read all our reviews of season 10 of[9] Doctor Who[10]

This post originated on Ars Technica UK[11]


  1. ^ 22 posters participating, including story author. (
  2. ^ Peter Capaldi confirmed he would be quitting the TARDIS (
  3. ^ showrunner Steven Moffat’s departure from Doctor Who (
  4. ^ #DoctorWho (
  5. ^ #Doctor13 (
  6. ^ (
  7. ^ July 16, 2017 (
  8. ^ Kris Marshall to play the next Doctor (
  9. ^ reviews of season 10 of (
  10. ^ Doctor Who (
  11. ^ Ars Technica UK (

Doctor Who review: Time tumbles out of control in The Doctor Falls

Simon Ridgway/Ray Burmiston/BBC
This is a post-UK broadcast review of Doctor Who: The Doctor Falls. River Song always warned the Doctor against spoilers, so be sure to watch the episode first. Doctor Who, season 10, airs on Saturdays at 6:30pm UK time on BBC One, and 9pm EDT on BBC America.

Bookends are a common theme in the final episode of season 10 of Doctor Who—the reading material in between places Missy and the Master in the same time stream, and the 12th Doctor and, tantalisingly, the first Doctor also collide in the final moments of The Doctor Falls.

And the seed was there from the very beginning of Steven Moffat’s swansong season at the helm of Doctor Who. “Never underestimate a crush,” the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) tells Bill (Pearl Mackie) in The Pilot[2], after he manages to see off the ever-advancing, drippy goth monster Heather (Stephanie Hyam). In The Doctor Falls, Heather returns to bring Bill back to life and mend her broken heart. All the while, Bill is oblivious to the fact the Time Lord is still alive, albeit fatally wounded.

It also means we once again see a companion exploring time and space with a sidekick who isn’t the Doctor. A similar idea was planted right at the end of Clara Oswald’s Doctor Who storyline. She was last seen racing off in a stolen TARDIS with Me[3]. Could these worlds be stitched together to form a new, female-led spin-off, somehow? “Is the future going to be all girl?” the Master (John Simms) asks. “We can only hope,” the Doctor replies.

Intriguing, too, is Bill’s appeal to the Doctor to regenerate as a young woman next time around. Is this explicit request there to see how it plays out among the fans? Or have the producers already bagged their Doctor? (I would love to see Zawe Ashton in the role.)

We’re certainly seeing that a major reboot of Doctor Who is now underway—thrillingly through the prism of the upgraded, gone viral Mondasian Cybermen. And by cleverly bringing it right back to the beginning with William Hartnell’s original Doctor, played here by David Bradley, the intent is clear about which way the next series is headed for showrunner Chris Chibnall: it won’t be business as usual.

Bill may well be ousted for good, Nardole (Matt Lucas) is left babysitting some humans seemingly for an eternity, and the Doctor needs some weighty help to return himself to factory settings bringing with it a yet-to-be-revealed fresh face. All of which promises a far superior Christmas Special to last year’s flimsy superhero pastiche The Return of Doctor Mysterio, that’s for sure.

While The Doctor Falls—deftly directed by Rachel Talalay and penned by Moffat—was a fairly strong exit for what has been a duff-in-places series, it’s disappointing that the symmetry of the Master and Missy (Michelle Gomez) doesn’t get more screen time. The Master’s return isn’t blockbuster enough for me, even with the good versus evil Superman III undertones in his cheeky exchanges with Missy.

I like that they wipe each other out in pure, ludicrous, backstabbing fashion, though I have a wee bit of melancholy for the demise of Missy. It seems to point to the Master regenerating into someone new. Gomez’s contract is up and Simms seems to be passing through rather than returning for good.

Plenty of action was squeezed into this hour of solid telly, after we saw the Doctor trapped against the clock in World Enough and Time[4]—this season’s best episode of the bunch. But Moffat’s decision to pack it so tightly, not only with the battle between Missy and the Master, but also with the onslaught of the Mondasian Cybermen, a heartbroken CyberBill (or RoboMop), and a small cast of country bumpkins living on a spaceship meant that the whole thing felt a little suffocating at times.

  • Missy (lady version of the Master) hangs out with the Master (bloke version of Missy).
    Simon Ridgway/BBC
  • Mondasian Cybermen prepare to visit Level 507.
  • The Doctor faces the Master and Missy.
    Simon Ridgway/BBC
  • The Doctor takes in the lovely country air.
    Simon Ridgway/BBC
  • Not-so-happy families between the Doctor, CyberBill, and the Master.
    Simon Ridgway/BBC
  • Cyberman Bill is heartbroken and isolated. But her fate is different to that of Danny Pink.
    Simon Ridgway/BBC
  • Missy and the Master are in full-on PLAY mode.
    Simon Ridgway/BBC
  • Hazran (Samantha Spiro) has a crush on Nardole. “She’s only human,” he says.
    Simon Ridgway/BBC
  • The Doctor pleads with Missy to stay by his side. Her struggle to be good continues to haunt her.
    Simon Ridgway/BBC
  • Heather returns to save Bill.
  • Cracked mirror: the Doctor meets the Doctor.
  • The 12th Doctor faces the original Doctor in the Christmas special.

New faces

The Doctor and his impending regeneration is a little lost in the noise of this episode, even as Capaldi continues to deliver a stellar performance. It’s a relief, really, that the audience is spared a first sight of the 13th Doctor. We’ll need bellies full of turkey/goose/nut roast for that big reveal, which will be Moffat’s final episode of Doctor Who.

But what of the appearance of the original Doctor here? It would be odd if Chibnall’s reboot for season 11 literally means returning to the very beginning of the show. So, presumably, Bradley’s Doctor is here merely to coax out the next version of the beloved Time Lord, rather than be in it for the long game.

The 12th Doctor faces the original Doctor in the Christmas Special.

Enlarge[5] / The 12th Doctor faces the original Doctor in the Christmas Special.

We’ve also seen the new iteration of the Doctor’s regenerative abilities: in this series he has been able to prevent himself from changing into someone else—for now. In 2013’s The Time of the Doctor, he notably received a new cycle of regenerations and a different way of controlling those powers. Might we finally see an entirely different flavour of regeneration come Christmastime?

Despite some sloppy plot points, hurried storylines, underwritten characters, crap monsters, and too much exposition (phew!), I have enjoyed season 10 of Doctor Who. Capaldi has been a terrific Doctor, bringing the same gravitas to the role as Tom Baker with an added bit of gusto. Bill, for me, is one of the all-time best companions, and Nardole grew on me as the series went on. But Missy flitted too briefly into view only to be killed off at the end, while leaving Simms’ Master fiendishly free to regenerate supervillain-style, no doubt.

To paraphrase the Doctor, new faces—like sewage, smartphones, and Donald Trump—are just inevitable. Get over it!

Now read all our reviews of season 10[6] of Doctor Who

This post originated on Ars Technica UK[7]


  1. ^ 21 posters participating (
  2. ^ The Pilot (
  3. ^ stolen TARDIS with Me (
  4. ^ World Enough and Time (
  5. ^ Enlarge (
  6. ^ reviews of season 10 (
  7. ^ Ars Technica UK (

Doctor Who: World Enough and Time review

Simon Ridgway/Ray Burmiston/BBC
This is a post-UK broadcast review of Doctor Who: World Enough and Time. River Song always warned the Doctor against spoilers, so be sure to watch the episode first. Doctor Who, season 10, airs on Saturdays at 6:45pm UK time on BBC One, and 9pm EDT on BBC America.

Season 10 of Doctor Who has been incredibly lopsided—floating in and out of decent stories, while teasing us with a subtle Missy narrative that is finally, tantalisingly coming to full fruition in World Enough and Time. It’s just a shame that the engines have been on reverse thrust a little too often over the past few weeks.

There have been some good standalone episodes and an excellent opening[2] to a deeply disappointing trilogy[3]. The popular sci-fi-on-a-shoestring-budget drama has also failed to bring an instant hit with any of the new monsters introduced over the last 10 weeks: too much cheap CGI in the absence of made-you-look, made-you-jump detail, perhaps with the exception of Knock Knock[4] and its quirky use of 3D surround sound. And while lead performances have been one of the highlights—particularly with the introduction of Bill, played by Pearl Mackie—some of the flimsier scripts have made the series feel like a washout.

But we’re back on firm ground with World Enough and Time. It’s a very strong episode that manages to weave an agreeable timey-wimey spaceship yarn into the climax of this season’s gently brewing Missy story, complete with Cybermen. The big reveal doesn’t disappoint, either, even though it’s immediately obvious to me that Mr Razor is inhabited by the Master (John Simms).

The episode feels like a mashup of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Singing Detective, and 12 Monkeys… in space. It seems particularly influenced by the dystopian landscapes of Terry Gilliam films. I love that it explores the human condition through the eyes of Bill as the Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Missy (Michelle Gomez), and Nardole (Matt Lucas) are more than 1,000 floors away on a 400-mile long, 100-mile wide tin can spaceship (Button Moon[5], anyone?) that is very slowly reversing out of a black hole. Ten minutes at the top of the ship can be measured in years for Bill, who is stuck below deck on a deranged hospital ward that looks out onto a desolate, fume-filled urban scene. “It’s a battle of time,” the Doctor says.

So what of the fate of a heartless-mechanical heart Bill, who is now a Mondasian Cyberman after waiting in vain for the Doctor to find her? Is it a coincidence that Bill is shot by a trigger-happy alien who could be the brother of blue-skinned Dahh-Ren from Oxygen? Is there a significant link here, or were the producers keen for the make-up department to use up the last of the blue paint? But then, Oxygen is notable for another reason: the Doctor first lost his sight during his time on Chasm Forge. Are we now seeing the result of that physical damage with the Time Lord’s despair over his imminent regeneration?

There are so many exits expected this year that it’s hard to know where to begin: showrunner Steven Moffat[7], Capaldi[8], and Gomez[9] are on their way out, so should the fresh-faced, lippy-in-a-good-way Bill (known simply as “exposition” to the ever-brilliant Missy) exit stage left, too? There hasn’t been anything to suggest that Bill or, indeed, Nardole will be toast. But it would be bold if Bill is ditched after just one season. A factory settings-level reboot for Doctor Who‘s new showrunner Chris Chibnall, perhaps?

  • Gravity keeps dragging me down.
  • Missy’s misadventure.
  • Missy says Bill is one of her disposables.
  • Blue guy sees red.
  • Yes, that is quite a big hole!
  • Bill recuperates at the bottom of the ship where time moves much faster.
  • Creepy conversion doctor looks creepy.
  • Bill meets some of her “kill me now” fellow patients.
  • Mr Razor looks a bit like Fagin—so everyone should be worried, really.
  • Nurse Ratched innnn spaaace!
  • Bill foolishly trusts Mr Razor.
  • Pensive Bill waits for the Doctor.
  • Hands up, baby, hands up, Gimme your heart, gimme, gimme your heart.
  • Time for some Cyberman-conversion therapy, Bill.
  • Nardole, Missy, and the Doctor take the lift 10 minutes after landing on the tin can spaceship.
  • A devious grin, Mr Razor!
  • Missy is haunted by her past.
  • The Doctor goes in search of Bill.
  • Nardole and the Doctor have a look around the conversion theatre. But they’re too late!
  • Very Earth-like…
  • Mr Razor prepares to reveal his true self to Missy.
  • The Doctor discovers a freshly uploaded Cyberman.
  • “I am Bill Potts.”
  • Bill waited, but the Doctor didn’t make it in time.
  • Master mixer is about to drop the mic…
  • The Doctor is reunited with his not-so-chummy nemesis.
  • “Give us a kiss!”
  • The genesis of the Cybermen!

Stand still, yet we will make him run

There are lots of lovely flickery-trickery moments in World Enough and Time, which is penned by Moffat and directed by Rachel Talaly. At last, the visuals and action very much do the talking. And Murray Gold’s excellent score here is by far the best of the season. It’s also a terrific return after seven years for Simm’s the Master—”I’m very worried about my future,” he tells Missy. “Give us a kiss!”

Missy’s reformed ways are dreadfully unsettling for the Master. So are we about to see both versions of the renegade Time Lord go to war with a weakened Doctor, who might be forced to sacrifice Bill? How can he rescue her at this point, anyway? It’s possible there is a way back: Clara, remember, was very nearly entombed in the case of a Dalek but she escaped. So perhaps there’s still hope for Bill.

I also like the idea—from Bill’s desperate “I waited” POV—that the Doctor has taken years to track her down. But his problem-solving takes just 10 minutes at the top of the ship—which is speedy even by the Time Lord’s standards. But he does seem blindsided about the ship’s Mondas origins and only too easily walks into the Master’s trap. It must all be part of the Doctor’s master plan, surely?

Bonus round: regeneration is on the cards for the Doctor come the Christmas special, but there’s also bold promises that Doctor Who will never be the same again. There are hints—and one very intriguing rumour about a person who already turned the role down—that the next Doctor will be played by a woman. So don’t rule it out yet!

The next episode of Doctor Who, entitled The Doctor Falls (season 10, ep 12), will air on Saturday, July 1. As ever, check in for Ars’ review straight after broadcast.

This post originated on Ars Technica UK[10]


  1. ^ 7 posters participating (
  2. ^ excellent opening (
  3. ^ deeply disappointing trilogy (
  4. ^ Knock Knock (
  5. ^ Button Moon (
  6. ^ Oxygen (
  7. ^ showrunner Steven Moffat (
  8. ^ Capaldi (
  9. ^ Gomez (
  10. ^ Ars Technica UK (

Doctor Who: The Eaters of Light review

Simon Ridgway/BBC
This is a post-UK broadcast review of Doctor Who: The Eaters of Light. River Song always warned the Doctor against spoilers, so be sure to watch the episode first. Doctor Who, season 10, airs on Saturdays at 6:45pm UK time on BBC One, and 9pm EDT on BBC America.

The Eaters of Light is one of those Doctor Who episodes that could easily serve as a gentle intro to the Time Lord’s universe. And it’s probably up there with this season’s Thin Ice[2] in terms of pure, there-be-monsters entertainment for the kids.

Fire breathing dragons are the stuff of Welsh legend, so I guess it follows that light eating locusts—which look nothing like locusts—might be found in Scotland. Better still, the wee beastie that’s heavy on its hoof comes equipped with thin, glassy blue tentacles that could be the altnet saviour that some of the Scottish islands stuck in the broadband slow lane need.

But this episode is set in 2 AD, so maybe it’s a little premature to search for a signal. It doesn’t stop the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) from dad-joking about a Wi-Fi code, though.

So yes, a good ep for newbies to the Doctor Who world. There’s a portal that has trapped a hungry beast between dimensions; the Doctor jigs his way through problem-solving while reminding Nardole (Matt Lucas) and the audience that he’s an old hand at this kind of thing (“trust me, this is not my first rodeo”); and a classic Who story device features: sidekick Bill (Pearl Mackie) is separated from her time-travelling pals for much of the episode—leaving her to untangle yet more of the Time Lord’s powers, such as the telepathic link from the TARDIS that auto translates any language to English.

In another nod to the original run of Doctor Who, this week’s scribe is Rona Munro. She penned the three-parter Survival back in 1989, when Ace (Sophie Aldred) and Sylvester McCoy’s seventh Doctor encountered the Master (Anthony Ainley).

And there are parallels here: Missy (Michelle Gomez) is once again on board the TARDIS. Despite Nardole and Bill’s protests, the Doctor says she’s been helping him out with a spot of maintenance to the police box.

A teary-eyed Missy is bio-locked out of playing with the controls. But it’s difficult to work out if she’s now in full-on scamming mode. The Doctor hopes they can be friends (we’ve been here before, of course). “That’s the trouble with hope, it’s hard to resist,” he says.

The Roman legion-themed episode, set in a damp and ancient Aberdeenshire, works OK as a standalone story. But once again, it does also feel well-worn and as snug as Nardole’s retro bathrobe (which is a sweet homage to Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, surely?).

Meanwhile, the Doctor is really just a bystander offering some comforting and wise words. The farmers and Roman soldiers team up as gatekeepers of the inter-dimensional temporal rift—which looks a lot like one of those aquarium screensavers everyone had back in the ’90s—even as the Doctor tells Bill: “I’ve been standing by the gates of your world keeping you all safe since you crawled out of the slime. I’m not stopping now.” But he’s easily convinced, after a gentle knock on the head, to look the other way.

This is just one of the reasons why The Eaters of the Light story arc remains planted firmly in the hillside. It suffers from having to remain simple, allowing space at the end for the inscrutable exchange between the Doctor and Missy.

  • A truly delightful homage to The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. And this is Nardole’s best episode to date.
    Simon Ridgway/BBC
  • Bill and Vitus (Sam Adewunmi) unite for survival.
    Simon Ridgway/BBC
  • Kar (Rebecca Benson) wields her TV aerial-like weapon. But can she get a signal?
    Simon Ridgway/BBC
  • The Doctor tries to hold back the wee beastie.
    Simon Ridgway/BBC
  • Bill looks pretty relaxed considering she’s been separated from the Doctor and is stuck in 2 AD.
    Simon Ridgway/BBC
  • The Doctor and Nardole go in search of some Romans.
    Simon Ridgway/BBC
  • Kar faces the not-so-shy-and-retiring light eating monster.
    Simon Ridgway/BBC
  • Bill and Vitus look on as the eater of light lurks nearby.
    Simon Ridgway/BBC
  • The Doctor and a sleepy Nardole trudge through damp, Scottish countryside.
    Simon Ridgway/BBC
  • The barbarians advance.
    Simon Ridgway/BBC
  • The Doctor’s misty mountain hop.
    Simon Ridgway/BBC
  • Don’t mess with Kar!
    Simon Ridgway/BBC
  • Nardole ingratiates himself with the barbarians led by Kar. The Doctor keeps it grumpy.
    Simon Ridgway/BBC
  • The Doctor is losing his patience.
    Simon Ridgway/BBC
  • Give us your toughest grin, Kar!
    Simon Ridgway/BBC
  • Baby-faced barbarian Ban (Daniel Kerr) tries his best to look scary.
    Simon Ridgway/BBC
  • Do not adjust your TV set, this isn’t Knightmare—but it could be!
    Simon Ridgway/BBC
  • Kar, Bill, and the Doctor plot a plan to overcome the light-eating monster.
    Simon Ridgway/BBC
  • Lucius (Brian Vernel) is nicknamed Grandad. He’s 18.
    Simon Ridgway/BBC
  • Things are a bit heated between Bill and the Doctor.
    Simon Ridgway/BBC
  • The Doctor insists on teamwork between the baby-faced barbarians and the rakish Romans.
    Simon Ridgway/BBC
  • Inter-dimensional temporal rifts are real a drag, y’know.
    Simon Ridgway/BBC

Darkest hour

So what can we expect next? The Doctor seems a bit jammed and inactive. Missy even asked him if he was OK at the end of Empress of Mars[3]. Is this a subtle signpost for the audience? It would seem that Missy and John Simm’s Master will go face-to-face on screen. So where does the Doctor fit into all of this? How many renegade Time Lords will the finale bring?

I think I’m finally over the idea that the Doctor, Bill, and Nardole are still trapped in the Monks’ simulation world. But could that be one of the Monks who flashed before us in the trailer for next week’s episode? Plus: Mondasian Cybermen are incoming and Missy’s seemingly on a mission to be good. What could possibly go wrong?

The next episode of Doctor Who, entitled World Enough and Time (season 10, ep 11), will air on Saturday, June 24. As ever, check in for Ars’ review straight after broadcast.

This post originated on Ars Technica UK[4]


  1. ^ 3 posters participating (
  2. ^ Thin Ice (
  3. ^ Empress of Mars (
  4. ^ Ars Technica UK (
Apps & Games Clothing Electronics & Photo Large Appliances
Baby Womens Apparel Garden Lighting
Beauty Mens Apparel Outdoors Luggage
Books Girls Apparel Health & Personal Care Pet Supplies
Car Boys Apparel Home Shoes & Bags
Motorbike Computers & Accessories Kitchen Equipment Sports & Outdoors
Fashion DIY & Tools Jewellery Toys & Games