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Bookmark and Share Anthony Read (1935-2015)

11/24/2015 09:30:00 p.m. - Reported by Chuck Foster

Anthony ReadThe writer Anthony Read has died, aged 80.

Born in 1935, Read attended the Central School of Speech and Drama and, following National Service, worked in Fleet Street in advertising, journalism and publishing before deciding to become a full time writer. He joined the BBC on 2nd November 1963 - just some three weeks before the show we remember him for launched on television! Early work included being a writer for The Indian Tales of Rudyard Kipling and script editor for the Peter Cushing incarnation of Sherlock Holmes, but it was in the latter half of the decade when he became known for The Troubleshooters, a series he script edited, wrote and later produced for.

During the 1970s he returned to being freelance, working on shows such as Marked Personnel, The Black Arrow, Crown Court and Z-Cars (a return to one of the first shows he had written for in 1962). However it was in 1977 when he came to be associated with Doctor Who, invited by producer Graham Williams to take over from Robert Holmes, working alongside the outgoing script editor on Image of the Fendahl and The Sun Makers before formally taking charge of scripts with Underworld. Having co-written The Invasion of Time with Williams, the pair went on to devise the umbrella-themed Key to Time Season Sixteen, with Read also taking on producer duties when his colleague became ill. Having 'discovered' a talented writer during that run, he then recommended the reins of script editing be passed to 'newcomer' Douglas Adams, and returned to write a story for the following season, The Horns of Nimon. After leaving Doctor Who he contributed scripts to The Omega Factor (which starred his first 'companion' Louise Jameson).

Other programmes during this prolific time included The Professionals and the science fantasy cults Into the Labyrinth and Sapphire and Steel; he also dramatised/wrote all three series of Chocky, devised from the book by John Wyndham. A return to the world of Sherlock Holmes with The Baker Street Boys earned him an award from the Writers' Guild of Great Britain. During the 1980s he moved away from writing for television, though he did contribute to the medium occasionally, notable writing several episodes for The Adventures of Swiss Family Robinson in 1998.

A long-time friend with David Fisher (hailing back to the 1960s), the pair collaborated on a number of non-fiction works, including The Fall of Berlin, The Proudest Day: India's Long Road to Independence and Colonel Z: The Secret Life of a Master of Spies. He also wrote a number of solo works focussed around the Second World War, including winning the Wingate Literary Prize for Kristallnacht; however he also kept up his fictional ties, especially with regard to his soft spot, The Baker Street Boys.

(Anthony Read, 21st April 1935 - 21st November 2015)

Bookmark and Share Publicity: Heaven Sent

11/24/2015 12:37:00 p.m. - Reported by Chuck Foster

A roundup of publicity for the penultimate episode in the current series of Doctor Who, Heaven Sent.

Trapped in a world unlike any other he has seen, the Doctor faces the greatest challenge of his many lives. One final test. And he must face it alone.

Pursued by the fearsome creature known only as the Veil, he must attempt the impossible. If he makes it through, Gallifrey is waiting…

Writer / Steven Moffat
Director / Rachel Talalay
Producer / Peter Bennett

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Heaven Sent: Known Broadcast Details
United KingdomBBC OneSat 28 Nov 20158:05pm
United States of AmericaBBC AmericaSat 28 Nov 20159:00pm EDT(2:00am GMT)
CanadaSPACESat 28 Nov 20159:00pm EDT(2:00am GMT)
Asia PacificBBC EntertainmentSun 29 Nov 201510:00am SGT(2:00am GMT)
New ZealandPRIMESun 29 Nov 20157:30pm NZDT(6:30am GMT)
AustraliaABCSun 29 Nov 20157:40pm AEDT(8:40am GMT)
Europe (Benelux)BBC FirstTue 1 Dec 20159:00pm CEST
United KingdomBBC TwoFri 4 Dec 20153:35am(British Signed Language)
South AfricaBBC FirstSat 5 Dec 20156:00pm SAST
IndiaFXSun 13 Dec 201511:00pm IST
FinlandYLE2Mon 14 Dec 20156:05pm EET
DenmarkDR3Fri 1 Jan 2016~8:00pm CET(unconfirmed broadcast)
GermanyFOXThu 21 Jan 20169:00pm CET(dubbed into German)

Bookmark and Share Christmas Special: new synopsis and publicity image

11/24/2015 12:01:00 a.m. - Reported by Chuck Foster

The BBC have released a new synopsis and publicity image for the forthcoming Christmas Special, which stars Peter Capaldi as the Doctor with Alex Kingston as River Song, and also features Greg Davies as King Hydroflax and Matt Lucas as Nardole.

Doctor Who Christmas Special: The Doctor and River, as played by Peter Capaldi and Alex Kingston (Credit: BBC/Simon Ridgway)

Previous images:

Alex Kingston (Credit: BBC/Jon Hall) Alex Kingston as River Song in the 2015 Christmas Special (Credit: BBC/Jon Hall)

It’s Christmas Day on a remote human colony and the Doctor is hiding from Christmas Carols and Comedy Antlers. But when a crashed spaceship calls upon the Doctor for help, he finds himself recruited into River Song’s squad and hurled into a fast and frantic chase across the galaxy. King Hydroflax is furious, and his giant Robot bodyguard is out of control and coming for them all! Will Nardole survive? And when will River Song work out who the Doctor is?

All will be revealed on a starliner full of galactic super-villains and a destination the Doctor has been avoiding for a very long time.

Radio Times (5-11 Dec 2015) (Credit: Radio Times)The new edition of the Radio Times, published today, features an interview with writer Steven Moffat, during which he confirms where in River's convoluted timeline this meeting takes place:
It doesn’t really matter, but for those who care it's immediately after The Angels Take Manhattan: River’s just seen Matt Smith’s Doctor lose Amy and Rory, and obviously before The Name of the Doctor because she’s dead in that.
The Radio Times website has also revealed that the now traditional Doctor Who cover for the Christmas period will be on the issue dated 5th-11th December, covering both the special and this year's series finale, Hell Bent. It is due to be published on the earlier date of 28th November as editions begin to roll out for the festive season.

The Christmas Special is (of course) due to be broadcast on BBC One on Christmas Day, but the first channel to confirm exactly when they will broadcast the episode is FOX in Germany, whose schedules show that it is due to air there on Thursday 28th January at 9:00pm! This is later than in recent years (where the episode has aired on or close to the same day as the UK) owing to a delay in being able to dub the episodes into German.

Though no other regions have confirmed when they will show the episode as yet, last year's special, Last Christmas, was broadcast in over thirty countries within 24 hours of the UK premiere!

Bookmark and Share Sleep No More - Official Rating

11/23/2015 10:12:00 p.m. - Reported by Marcus

Doctor Who: Sleep No More had an official consolidated rating of 5.61 million viewers.

The rating issued by the Broadcasters' Audience Research Board, or BARB, includes all those who watched the programme within one week of transmission. It does not include those watching online via iPlayer

Doctor Who was the 14th most watched programme on BBC Television, and 4th overall on Saturday. The episode finished at 28th in the chart.

Strictly Come Dancing topped the ratings for the week with 11.71 million viewers. Events in Paris resulted in many News programmes entering the Top 30 for the week.

Bookmark and Share Australian overnight ratings for Face the Raven & final ratings for The Zygon Inversion

11/23/2015 11:43:00 a.m. - Reported by Adam Kirk

Face the Raven has debuted in Australia, averaging 481,000 viewers in the five major capital cities. The story, written by Australian screenwriter Sarah Dollard, was the highest rating ABC drama of the day and the eleventh highest rating program of the day overallThese ratings do not include iview, regional or time-shifted viewers.

Meanwhile, including time-shifted viewers, The Zygon Inversion averaged 596,000 consolidated viewers in the five major capital cities. With 130,000 extra viewers it was the third highest time-shifted program of the day and the thirteenth highest rating program of the day overallThese ratings do not include iview or regional viewers.

Bookmark and Share Face the Raven - AI:84

11/23/2015 10:35:00 a.m. - Reported by Marcus

Publicity: Face The Raven (Credit: BBC/Simon Ridgway)Doctor Who: Face the Raven had an Audience Appreciation or AI score of 84.

The score is a return to form for Doctor Who, following last week's episode, Sleep No More, which scored an unusually low 78.

The Appreciation Index or AI is a measure of how much the audience enjoyed the programme. The score, out of a hundred, is compiled by a specially selected panel of around 5,000 people who go online and rate and comment on programmes.

The highest score for Saturday, on the five main channels, was for Field of Dreams on ITV, which scored 87.

Bookmark and Share Doctor Who: 52 Years of Broadcasting

11/23/2015 10:21:00 a.m. - Reported by Chuck Foster

In 1963 an unassuming science-fiction/fantasy series made its debut on the BBC. Capturing the imagination of some 4.4 million children and adults in the United Kingdom on that dark, late afternoon Saturday, in 2013 the show was officially acknowledged by the Guinness Book of World Records for the simultaneous broadcast in some 94 countries around the world of its fiftieth anniversary special, The Day of the Doctor.

With a single episode broadcast in one country back in 1963, we take a look at what is being shown on 23rd November 2015 (GMT) some fifty-two years later ...

It won't have escaped fans' notice, but we once again have a current series of Doctor Who airing over the anniversary, and whilst several countries broadcast the latest episode over the weekend, others are at different stages of the run: today it's the turn of YLE2 in Finland, which will be showing Vaikea valinta (aka The Zygon Inversion) this evening. Other channels are repeating episodes, with ABC2 in Australia and BBC Entertainment in Asia showing an encore of Face the Raven, the latter channel and BBC First in the Benelux countries showing Sleep No More, and FX India having an afternoon of Who broadcasting The Magician's Apprentice through to The Zygon Inversion.

In Europe, the Polish and Nordic variants of BBC Entertainment are currently stuck in a "chronic hysteresis", showing Series 6 and 7 episodes for a number of months now. Each episode is shown several times a day, with today's installments being The Almost People and A Good Man Goes to War. The main European channel (also broadcast in the Middle East) is currently showing series seven, with The Rings of Akhaten shown in the early hours of the morning. SyFy in Portugal are also in a "Series 7 loop", beginning again today with O Asilo dos Daleks (aka Asylum of the Daleks).

In the United States, Doctor Who's current "home", BBC America, shows older episodes during the week, with today's broadcasts from Matt Smith's first series, The Vampires of Venice and Amy's Choice. Meanwhile, PBS stations have been broadcasting the previous series over the last few months: for today, Louisiana Public Broadcasting reach the finale, Death in Heaven. Another PBS station, UNC (North Carolina) is currently working through Series 4, today reaching The Sontaran Stratagem and its associated Doctor Who Confidential, Send in the Clones.

TV Cultura in Brazil are also in Series 4, with their weekday broadcasts similarly at O Estratagema Sontaran (aka The Sontaran Stratagem), broadcast in Portuguese.

As well as ABC, Australia also has SyFy which shows a mix of classic and modern Who; today's servings are Kinda part one and Blink respectively (plus The Hand of Fear part one early morning of Tuesday in local time).

BBC Entertainment in Asia also have a regular run of episodes as well as the latest, with today seeing The End of Time: Part One being shown; the channel is also showing Torchwood Declassified, today's being the first episode, Jack's Back.

Jeem in the Middle East is showing Doctor Who Series 8 at the weekends, with The Sarah Jane Adventures on weekday evenings - for today it's the first episode of The Mark of the Berserker. Episodes are shown in Arabic.

Last but not least is the British stalwart of the classic series, Horror Channel, which today embarks upon either the Jon Pertwee swansong Planet of the Spiders or a 'repeat' of Planet of the Daleks from a couple of weeka ago depending on sources!

In summary, fifty-two years since a single episode was broadcast, there are 22 different episodes of Doctor Who on air today (including all ten of the current series starring Peter Capaldi), which are being shown in some 73 countries around the world (country count based on channels' availability listings).

Full details on broadcasts of the series around the world can be found via the This Week in Doctor Who website, with regular updates on Facebook.

Bookmark and Share Doctor Who Festival Australia

11/22/2015 03:33:00 p.m. - Reported by Chuck Foster

Doctor Who Festival, Sydney Australia: Ingrid Oliver, Peter Capaldi and Steven Moffat on stage (Credit: BBC Worldwide)

BBC Worldwide have released a number of photos taken on the first day at the Doctor Who Festival taking place in Sydney, Australia this weekend; guests on stage included current Doctor Peter Capaldi, former Doctor Sylvester McCoy, lead writer Steven Moffat and the human (or Zygon!) half of the Osgoods, Ingrid Oliver.

(with thanks to BBC Worldwide)

Bookmark and Share Face the Raven - Press Reaction

11/22/2015 12:08:00 p.m. - Reported by Marcus

Face the Raven: Clara, as played by Jenna Coleman (Credit: BBC/Simon Ridgway)This item Contains Plot Spoilers

Press reaction to the latest Doctor Who episode, Face the Raven dwells mainly on the tragic demise of Clara Oswald. The most dramatic for over 30 years is how The Telegraph described the event, praising the performance of the actors. "The final farewell between the Doctor and Clara may have teetered onto the wrong side of overwrought, but the story was beautifully played out with yet another stand-out performance from Capaldi."

The Independent thinks the episode will leave the fans reeling. "While writer Sarah Dollard’s influences are clearly on show, this feels like an episode of television you could only ever see on Doctor Who. A heady mixture of science fiction, Gothic whodunnit and emotional rollercoaster, it doesn’t just leave you breathless – it leaves you wanting more."

The Guardian thought the ending was fitting for Clara. "It was a canny move to bring back Rigsy for her exit; remember that the cheeky graffiti artist served as her proxy-companion when she turned proxy-Doctor in last year’s Flatline. In taking on his quantum shade, it was the combination of schoolteachery pastoral instinct and reckless abandon that finally did for her."

Supurb is how Digital Spy classifies the episode. "The execution is fast-paced and energetic without losing any coherence. The dialogue is sparkling and Justin Molotnikov directs with a great deal of verve, drawing animated and emotional performances from the entire cast."

While many will mourn the departure of Clara, Radio Times thinks it was time for a change. "Jenna Coleman and Peter Capaldi perform her farewell with conviction, all the more effective for their restraint. Several young viewers I know will be inconsolable. I didn’t shed one tear. I will miss Clara/Jenna but am ready for a shake-up; it’s time for a gear change in what Steven Moffat terms the co-leads."

IGN felt the end was missing something. "Did Clara’s death feel lacking in some way? I love the character; I really do. But I wasn’t quite as moved by the events of this episode as I was when, say, the Eleventh Doctor regenerated, or when Rose left."

However Games Radar disagreed. "Doctor Who was back on blistering, series-best, form with “Face The Raven”. Even more impressive: it’s writer Sarah Dollard’s first script for the show."

Finally Den of Geek had no doubt about the triumph of the episode suggesting you go back and rewatch the ending. "With superb audio accompaniment from Murray Gold (and it really was something special), as the episode clocked past the 35 minute mark, both Jenna Coleman and Peter Capaldi earnt every penny of their fee. Look how they act this sequence out, with Capaldi’s eyes instantly filled with sorrow as he sees what Clara's done, and Coleman’s gradually changing as the realisation hits her. Never mind the excellent dialogue for a second: just watch them."

You can read the Doctor Who News review in our reviews section.

Bookmark and Share Face the Raven - Overnight Viewing Figures

11/22/2015 08:54:00 a.m. - Reported by Marcus

 4.42 million viewers watched Doctor Who: Face the Raven, according to unofficial overnight viewing figures.

The programme had an overnight share of 19.6% of the total Television audience. 

Top for the day was Strictly Come Dancing with an average of 10.3 million watching and peaking at 11.1 million. On ITV The X Factor had an average of 6.8 million viewers, ITV's biggest audience was for I'm a Celebrity, Get me out of here, which had an average of 7.4 million.

Pointless Celebrities also scored high with 5.1 million watching, making Doctor Who the 5th highest programme for the day.

Final figures will be released next week.

Bookmark and Share Face the Raven: Behind the Scenes

11/21/2015 10:29:00 p.m. - Reported by Chuck Foster

The BBC have released a number of videos going behind the scenes of the latest Doctor Who episode, Face The Raven.
Note: video titles might be considered as spoilers for those who have yet to see the episode.

Bookmark and Share Underwater Menace gets North American Release

11/21/2015 08:16:00 a.m. - Reported by Marcus

Reported by Dan Collins
The Underwater Menace (Credit: BBC) North American Doctor Who fans may be able to purchase The Underwater Menace in the new year.

 Tvshowsondvd.com has reported that it will be on sale January 19, 2016. The BBC has not yet confirmed the date. No cover art or special features for the R1 version have been announced yet.

The R2 version of The Underwater Menace was released October 26 2015. It featured previously missing episode two whose recovery was announced in December 2011, the extant episode three as well as reconstructions of episode one and four.

Bookmark and Share The Essential Doctor Who: Davros and other Villains

11/20/2015 10:52:00 p.m. - Reported by Chuck Foster

The latest of the "Essential" special edition magazines from the makers of Doctor Who Magazine has been published, focussing on masterminds and megalomaniacs...

The Essential Doctor Who: Davros (Credit: Panini)Panini’s lavish series of bookazines – The Essential Doctor Who – continues with a 116-page issue devoted to Davros and Doctor Who’s other notorious villains.

Editor Marcus Hearn said:
The last issue dealt with monsters, so this time we’re turning our attention to the Doctor’s humanoid adversaries. Davros made a huge impact in the recent story The Magician’s Apprentice/The Witch’s Familiar, so he leads the charge!

Davros and Other Villains includes exclusive interviews with Davros actors Terry Molloy and David Gooderson, Andy Wisher (son of original Davros actor Michael Wisher), Peter Miles (Nyder in Genesis of the Daleks) John Challis (Scorby in The Seeds of Doom), Paul Darrow (Tekker in Timelash) and 1960s companion Anneke Wills. We reveal the story behind the stage play The Trial of Davros and examine the careers of Kevin Stoney (Mavic Chen in The Daleks’ Master Plan and Tobias Vaughn in The Invasion), Michael Gough (the Toymaker in The Celestial Toymaker), Tony Beckley (Harrison Chase in The Seeds of Doom) and Roger Lloyd Pack (John Lumic in Rise of the Cybermen/The Age of Steel).

The centrepiece of this issue is an epic countdown of the 50 most villainous plots in Doctor Who history, from the early black-and-white episodes to the most recent series. What will be number one?

The Essential Doctor Who: Davros and Other Villains is on sale now.

Bookmark and Share Big Finish audios to be released in Germany

11/20/2015 03:15:00 p.m. - Reported by Pascal Salzmann

German book distributer Bastei Lübbe is going to release audio adventures of Big Finish on the German market in 2016. In its recent sales magazine for German bookstores, Lübbe announced six releases for 11th March 2016. All stories will be in English and priced 14.99 EUR.

Stories announced so far:
  • The Light at the End by Nicholas Briggs
  • Blood of the Daleks Part 1 by Steve Lyons
  • Blood of the Daleks Part 2 by Steve Lyons
  • The Juggernauts by Scott Allen Woodard
  • Destination Nerva by Nicholas Briggs
  • Short Trips - Volume 1 by Scott Allen Woodard
So far it is not known whether these releases are a one-off or if Lübbe plans to continue the releases on a regular basis. A spokesperson from Lübbe told Doctor Who News that they cannot announce further plans right now but that there will be more Big Finish releases should these audios sell well.

Bastei Lübbe ad (Credit: Bastei Luebbe)

Bookmark and Share Doctor Who Festival - Pictures

11/19/2015 12:12:00 a.m. - Reported by Marcus

The BBC has released a large number of pictures taken at last weekend's Doctor Who Festival, held at the ExCel Centre in London.

15,000 fans attended across the weekend to an extravaganza of cast and crew panels, behind-the-scenes demonstrations, workshops, stunts, explosions, sets, monsters, props and costumes.

Paula Al-Lach, Head of Exhibitions and Events at BBC Worldwide, told Doctor Who News
We were incredibly pleased with how it went, and the feedback from fans has been overwhelmingly positive. We had over 15,000 fans attend across the weekend, and have had an overwhelming response on email of great customer feedback. The fans particularly loved the Cosplay Showcase Competition, which 600 fans took part in over the weekend.

What were the highlights? The creativity and obvious excitement from fans is always the highlight of an event like this. The fans love the Festival – 600 ticket holders took part in the Cosplay Competition and look AMAZING. It‘s always great to see how dedicated the fans are to the show and how they interact with all the content that was at the event. Many shared their love of the Festival through social media and the response has been fantastic. Other highlights include seeing visitors act with a Dalek coached by Nick Briggs and Barnaby Edwards and being directed by Director Douglas Mackinnon in a scene from Listen. Of course the emotional farewell to Jenna Coleman as she bowed out as Clara was sad but a memory that I’ll take away from the weekend.
The Festival now moves to Sydney, where it opens this weekend.