Wednesday, 31 December 2003

Parsons' Honor


December 31, 2003  •  Posted By Shaun Lyon
Actor Nicholas Parsons, among whose many roles is that of Reverend Wainwright in "The Curse of Fenric," has been awarded the designation of OBE (Order of the British Empire) for the year 2004, according to the Fanderson site. The comedy actor and presenter was given the honor in recognition of his contributions to British television and radio over the last 50 years, including "Just a Minute," "Sale of the Century," "Carry On Regardless" and "Cluedo". The OBE was created in 1917 by George V and is bestowed by the Queen every year. This is, rather coincidentally, the third story about a member of the "Curse of Fenric" supporting cast in as many weeks, though this is by far the happiest one (as we previously reported the deaths of co-stars Alfred Lynch and Dinsdale Landen). (Thanks to Rich Kirkpatrick and Fanderson)

Story of Who Ratings and Recap


December 31, 2003  •  Posted By Shaun Lyon
The Story of Doctor Who aired on BBC One on December 30, as we previously reported. The hour-long documentary focused on the seven Doctors during the long-running series, but omitted Paul McGann and the 1996 TV movie. (Response from the BBC has been that the film was "an American production" and got low ratings, despite the fact it did far better than most of the series.) 4.4 million viewers tuned in (a 20% share), although the ratings peaked toward the very end.

Monday, 29 December 2003

Dinsdale Landen


December 29, 2003  •  Posted By Shaun Lyon
Dinsdale Landen, who played Dr. Judson in "The Curse of Fenric" and was a veteran of British stage, TV and film, died this weekend from cancer at his home in Norfolk. His TV roles, besides Doctor Who, included "All Creatures Great and Small," "The Avengers" and "Lovejoy"; he also claimed a huge repetoire on the stage, where he was nominated for a prestigious Olivier Award for his role in the West End play "Alphabetical Order". He was 71. Read the BBC news article about his passing here. (Thanks to Steve Freestone, Paul Hayes)

Reminder: The Story of Doctor Who


December 29, 2003  •  Posted By Shaun Lyon
A reminder to our UK readers: The Story of Doctor Who, the 40th anniversary documentary, airs tomorrow, Tuesday, December 30 from 6:30-7:30pm on BBC1. Here's the listing from the official BBC1 site (with thanks to Gareth Jelley):

The Story of Doctor Who
Tue 30 Dec, 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm 60mins

Be prepared to disappear behind the sofa once more.

The much loved and longest running TV sci-fi series, Doctor Who, is fondly remembered. All its unique components appear in abundance, rubber monsters, spooky music, terrifying villains, planets in peril plus behind the scenes gossip and of course the Doctors.

40 years after the cosmic hobo first landed on BBC television in his time travelling TARDIS, The Story Of Doctor Who interviews the main names associated with the series including all the surviving TV Doctors - Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy. The programme tells the tale of this unique British phenomenon from the viewpoint of those who were at the scary end.

Tuesday, 23 December 2003

Alfred Lynch

Alfred Lynch (Commander Millington in "The Curse of Fenric") passed away due to cancer December 16; read the obithere. (Thanks to Bill Spiby, Matthew Kilburn)

Davies in Welsh


December 23, 2003  •  Posted By Shaun Lyon
The Welsh-language magazine "Golwg" interviewed Russell Davies on December 18. Discussing the popularity of the show around the time Tom Baker played the part, "We can do that again!" he says. "It's a lovely old programme but it will be updated. ... I've been a fan of it since I was a very little thing. But over the years it has acquired something of a terrible old name for being a cult, minority. When I was little, everyone used to watch it." A lot of the research work has already been done, says Davies, and he will be starting to write the new series in January. "It will be very traditional, the same old Time Lord, the same old Tardis, the same old adventures in space and time. I'm using the best things it has, and giving them a kick up the backside!" The article also discusses much of the same thing we've heard before: the ideas for the new show and so forth (though we add that this is Davies' words translated from English to Welsh for the magazine, and then back into English for this report.) (Thanks to "Howard Hughes")

Davies Speaks Again


December 23, 2003  •  Posted By Shaun Lyon
Russell Davies spoke last week to BBCi about the current state of affairs on the new series. When he heard about it, he "was delighted. To be absolutely honest, I was busy - making Mine All Mine, to be seen on ITV, February 2004 - and I presumed the phone call was about a vague, tentative chat with the BBC. So I ignored it! (You can waste your whole life in TV just chatting about projects, so I refuse chat-meetings.) It took me a couple of weeks to realise that this wasn't chat, this was real, and mine." He says the best piece of advice he's gotten is "from the country's finest writer, Paul Abbott. He always says, 'The only way to work, is to work.' We can all sit and dream and hope and despair, but the only way to solve any problem is to sit there and write. It's not magic." To read the interview, visit the BBCi site.

Pyramids Confirmed Extras


December 23, 2003  •  Posted By Shaun Lyon
The British Board of Film Classification website lists over 94 minutes of confirmed extras for the forthcoming DVD release of Pyramids of Mars. While this has already been reported, the following is actually the official list itself from the BBFC site:

00:06:42:18 | OH MUMMY - SUTEKH'S STORY
00:07:50:12 | NOW AND THEN - THE LOCATIONS OF PYRAMIDS OF MARS
00:10:45:00 | PYRAMIDS OF MARS - THE GALLERY
00:02:24:23 | EASTER EGG
00:02:55:04 | DELETED SCENES
00:22:07:01 | OSIRIAN GOTHIC
00:41:56:15 | SERIAL THRILLERS

Companion Rumors


December 23, 2003  •  Posted By Shaun Lyon
The Sci-Fi Online website (which has frequently had good inside news in the past) features a story this morning about possible actresses to play the new companion, who has tentatively been named Rose Tyler. Says the site: "The first name to be pulled from the hat of unnecessary conjecture is Rachael Stirling, daughter of Diana Rigg, who cemented her reputation in the BBC landmark drama Tipping the Velvet. Like so many of the names being batted around for the Doctor this is almost certainly nothing more than groundless gossip fuelled by grapevine ardour although the talented young actress could easily fulfil producer Russell DaviesÆ casting brief of æstrong and independentÆ so who knows?" (Thanks to Helena Gammble)

Shalka Update


December 23, 2003  •  Posted By Shaun Lyon
BBCi's webcast animated serial The Scream of the Shalka, starring Richard E. Grant, Sophie Okonedo and Derek Jacobi, concluded last week, with episode six uploaded to the BBCi website. The serial will be available on BBCi for at least the next couple of months, pending a release on DVD. According to James Goss, BBCi producer, posting on the Outpost Gallifrey forum, BBC Worldwide has indeed licensed the rights to release "Shalka" on DVD from BBCi: "We're rather puzzled by the number of people who are querying the DVD release. We've not said much about it, 'cos we didn't think much needed to be said." Of course, Goss does point out that whether Worldwide does something or not with the material is up to them, but it looks very likely for DVD release. Meanwhile, "Scream of the Shalka" will be broadcast on the BBC's new interactive TV service starting on December 30 beginning at 7:30pm; viewers on the Sky Digital platform "will only have to press their red button" to watch the story. The schedule for the show is as follows:
  • Episode One: 30 December, 7.30pm - Midnight
  • Episode Two: 31 December, 7.30pm - Midnight
  • Episode Three: 1 January, 7.30pm - Midnight
  • Episode Four: 2 January, 7.30pm - Midnight
  • Episode Five: 3 January, 7.30pm - Midnight
  • Episode Six: 4 January, 7.30pm - Midnight
Says Goss, "This will be an enhanced version of the webcast... All the animation is 25 frames per second, with various lovely features that are slightly tricky to explain (um, for instance, when the house explodes in episode two, there's a lovely rippling 'whoomph' effect). Soundwise, this is also going to be a stronger experience than on the web - one thing that will have been largely lost through the compression used for the webcast are the various subsonic sounds used whenever the Shalka approach in the early episodes - a lovely, chest-rattling vibration." As of this time, this presentation will NOT be available on Freeview or Digital Cable. Make sure you check it out! (Thanks to BBCi, James Goss)

Daemos Rising


December 23, 2003  •  Posted By Shaun Lyon
Release of Daemos Rising, the sequel film to the DW story "The Daemons" from Reeltime Pictures, has been delayed to February 2004.

Telos 2004


December 23, 2003  •  Posted By Shaun Lyon
Telos Publishing has announced some of its 2004 offerings. The final two books in their Doctor Who novellas range, already previously announced, include Blood and Hope by Iain McLaughlin (February) and The Dalek Factor by Simon Clark (March). Also in release will be two books in their "Time Hunter" series, spun-off from the Doctor Who novella "Cabinet of Light": The Tunnel at the End of the Light by Stefan Petrucha (March) and The Clockwork Womanby Claire Bott (June). Meanwhile, their latest Doctor Who novella, Companion Piece by Mike Tucker, as well as the paperback versions of their books Ghost Ship by Keith Topping and Foreign Devils by Andrew Cartmel, are now in release. More details can be found on Telos' website. (Thanks to Telos Publishing)

Sunday, 14 December 2003

Revolver


December 14, 2003  •  Posted By Shaun Lyon
The Daleks will feature in a BBC comedy series called Revolver in January, a show that features actors in surreal situations. Actors taking part include Rodney Bewes ("Resurrection of the Daleks"), Honor Blackman ("Terror of the Vervoids") and actress Julie Goodyear, who plays a nosey neighbour who watches over the garden fence as Daleks attack the children next door. You can read more about it at an article today on BBC News by clicking here. (Thanks to Mark Murphy, Mark Oliver)

Head on Who


December 14, 2003  •  Posted By Shaun Lyon
Friday's Daily Express (UK) features an interview with Anthony Stewart Head, who makes note of the recent attention pegging him as a possible new Doctor. "I suppose I might be consider because of my sci-fi status," Head says. "If I did get the part I'd like to take him back to the kind of character that was played by Patrick Troughton. He was the best. He had whimsy but he had a dark side, too, and I think that the subsequent Dr Who's, there was too much emphasis on whimsy." The article makes note that he was picked the favorite successor by Radio Times. (Thanks to Mike Pitt)

Big Finish Update


December 14, 2003  •  Posted By Shaun Lyon
Big Finish has released the cover illustration and details for January's The Creed of the Kromon, the second in the new "season" of Paul McGann Eighth Doctor adventures; the blurb is below (click on the thumbnail for a larger version of the cover). Meanwhile, Big Finish revealed to DWM that its third series of Dalek Empire audios, six parts in total, will debut in May; also debuting at the same time will be a large-format script book for all eight plays of the first two seasons. "As well as the scripts themselves, there will be lots of extra bits and bobs, including cut scenes and alternative storylines," says writer Nicholas Briggs. 'I'm also going to do an ongoing commentary for each episode, although it'll be done in a Q&A interview format. Hopefully that'll get to the nub of what people actually want to know, and cut down on the waffle!" Concerning the stories themselves: "I've had the basic storyline mapped out for a while now, but in writing it I found it's taken on a life of its own. Some of the old characters will be returning, but there'll also be plenty of new ones. ... [The Daleks] are even nastier. They've become even more desperate - and even more cunning..." Finally, a newtrailer has been issued for the February audio release, The Natural History of Fear.

In another development, Big Finish's Bernice Summerfield series (featuring the further adventures of the former Doctor Who book companion) continues in both books and audios throughout 2004 and 2005, with four CDs and four hardback books due in 2004: April sees the release of a novel, followed in July by a collection of three novellas in one volume; another anthology edited by Paul Cornell follows in September, and a book similar in format to Big Finish's recent "Inside Story" written by Ian Farrington due in November, which will begin with Benny's first appearance in Love and War, and cover all her other appearances in books and audios. Meanwhile, Gary Russell told Outpost Gallifrey that the appearance of two new items on Amazon is incorrect: "I have emailed Amazon to point out that no such titles exist and have asked them to remove them . I'm not sure what would happen if you tried ordering them from Amazon. Who knows what one might get!! No one at Big Finish has supplied Amazon with these titles and whilst it's always nice to see our stuff offered by Amazon, in this case, I'm afraid neither The Swan Princess nor The Giant Robots are actually Big Finish/Bernice Summerfield titles." Finally, Big Finish posted the cover and blurb for The Axis of Evil, the latest CD offering, due out in January. (Thanks to Simon Catlow, Gary Russell, Big Finish)

The Creed of the Kromon, by Philip Martin

The Interzone is a fearsome nether-world protecting a zone ruled by the Kromon. Theirs is an arid land of dust and dying trees. Across the landscape are spheres that look like giant anthills. The Doctor believes that within one of these structures lie the clues that will lead him to his lost TARDIS.

The spheres are ruled by the insect-like Kromon who covet the TARDIS. When Charley is captured she is forced to metamorphosise into a hybrid-insect Queen and so to save her, the Doctor must barter his knowledge of space-travel technology, all the while knowing that he risks opening up all the realms of space to a rapacious race whose creed is not to create, only to plunder.

Starring Paul McGann (the Doctor), India Fisher (Charley) and introducing Conrad Westmaas (C'rizz), with Brian Cobby (the Oroog), Stephen Perring (the Kro'ka / Kromon voices), Jane Hills (L'da), Daniel Hogarth (Kromon voices). Directed by Gary Russell.

The Axis of Evil, by Paul Cornell

The Braxiatel Collection has been occupied by the Fifth Axis, led by a figure from Bernice's past.

As Bernice's friends rise up to end the occupation, Bernice embarks on a desperate rescue mission, to somewhere she last went long ago.

Braxiatel confronts his destiny, Jason risks all for his love, and lives are shattered and lost, as the battle of the Braxiatel Collection reaches its epic conclusion.

Our heroes will live free or die...

Starring Lisa Bowerman (Bernice Summerfield), other cast TBA. Directed by Gary Russell

Halflife Blurb


December 14, 2003  •  Posted By Shaun Lyon
Outpost Gallifrey has received the working cover blurb for the forthcoming April 2003 BBC Books novel Halflife by Mark Michalowski, as follows. Please note that this may change before it goes to print.

Halflife, by Mark Michalowski

æTo lose one set of memories may be regarded as a misfortune. To lose two smacks of carelessness.Æ

The Terran colony world of Espero seems the unlikely source of a sophisticated distress call. And the Doctor, Fitz and Trix are not the only ones responding to it.

While Fitz consorts with royalty, the DoctorÆs on the run with a sixteen year old girl, and Trix meets a small boy with a dark secret.

In a race for the minds and souls of an entire planet, the Doctor and Trix are offered temptations that may change them forever.

And at least one of them will be unable to resist.

Friday, 12 December 2003

Malcolm Clarke


December 12, 2003  •  Posted By Shaun Lyon
Composer Malcolm Clarke passed away yesterday, December 11. Says Mark Ayres, himself a Doctor Who composer and current member of the Restoration Team: "Malcolm was undoubtedly one of the most colourful characters ever to work at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, joining in 1969. Fuelled by his keen interest in the visual arts, his music - always anarchic, never boring - holds a special place in my affections." Clarke composed the incidental music for seven Doctor Who stories, including the very haunting and memorable score for "The Sea Devils," the ghastly cybernetic tones of "Earthshock" and the high-seas-adventure movements of "Enlightenment," as well as "Resurrection of the Daleks," "The Twin Dilemma," "Attack of the Cybermen" and "Trial of a Time Lord: Terror of the Vervoids." "His work for ... 'The Sea Devils,'" says Ayres, "is a benchmark in 'doing it your own way and hang the consequences' and made a deep impression on at least one young would-be composer. His award-winning 'August 4th 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains' (1976) is a beat-perfect lesson in pure radio." Clarke was one of the last to leave the BBC Radiophonic Workshop when it was dismantled in the mid 1990's and had been studying for a PhD in music ("at last he would be qualified to do what he had spent his life successfully doing," Ayres joked). Selections from his work were made available on a variety of CDs from Silva Screen and the BBC Radio Collection. (Thanks to Mark Ayres)

Thursday, 11 December 2003

Visitation Cover Controversy


December 11, 2003  •  Posted By Shaun Lyon
Yesterday (see below) Outpost Gallifrey revealed the final cover design for The Visitation UK DVD release courtesy Tenth Planet... which, as was discussed on our forums, features a reverse image of Peter Davison (with a backwards question mark on his lapel!) We were then informed that the cover art being used by BBC Worldwide differed from the original submitted by artist Clayton Hickman, so we contacted Hickman for information. "The final version of The Visitation DVD cover has been significantly altered from the artwork I submitted," Hickman told Outpost Gallifrey. "This is completely within BBC Worldwide's rights, and once I submit a cover I have no further say over the way it's presented. Sometimes deadlines are such that there is no time to consult the original artist about changes, so the BBC's in-house team make those which are deemed necessary by the high-ups (or whoever decides these things). It's a shame in this case that there's an error on their revised version (Peter's back-to-front question mark collar), so I did just want to point out that it wasn't me who made it! I had no idea that the cover had been changed until I saw it on OG this morning. Ah well. That's the cut-and-thrust world of Doctor Who covers for you. You can make up your own minds which you prefer..." At right is the artwork the way it wasoriginally submitted; click it for a larger version. (Thanks to Clayton Hickman)

More Benny Books?


December 11, 2003  •  Posted By Shaun Lyon
While Big Finish hasn't released any info about its plans for more Bernice Summerfield novels, two releases have suddenly materialized on the amazon.co.uk sales pages. The two books are identified as Professor Bernice Summerfield and the Swan Prince and Professor Bernice Summerfield and the Giant Robots, both due in 2004, with no authors identified. The series of novels, featuring the further adventures of the character originally created as a companion to the Seventh Doctor in the Virgin New Adventures novel series, was discontinued last year; Big Finish's audio series featuring the character is still in progress. (Thanks to John A.K. Gunther)

BBC Books 2004 - updated!


December 11, 2003  •  Posted By Shaun Lyon
The newest issue of DWM features the complete 2004 schedule of releases from BBC Books, which includes the following releases. Details on several of the books ("Sometime Never," "Scream of the Shalka," "Empire of Death" and "Eleventh Tiger") have already been released, including blurbs and some covers; visit our release guide for those details. The new information on the books is as follows (with several updates to the original story noted in red):
  • Sometime Never by Justin Richards (January)
  • The Scream of the Shalka by Paul Cornell (February)
  • Empire of Death by David Bishop (March) - Fifth Doctor and Nyssa tale set in Victorian England; the Doctor becomes Queen Victoria's advisor and investigates mysteries from beyond the grave
  • Halflife by Mark Michalowski (April) - A standalone Eighth Doctor adventure with no ongoing arc threads. It's set on an Earth colony in the future, where th Doctor takes up smoking and drinking and generally behaves very oddly (The novel is called "Halflife" not "Half Life" according to author Michalowski)
  • The Eleventh Tiger by David McIntee (May) - First Doctor pseudo-historical set in nineteenth century China with Ian, Barbara and Vicki
  • The Tomorrow Windows by Jonathan Morris (June) - A Hitch-Hiker-eque romp in the company of the Eighth Doctor Fitz, and Trix... and then there's a guest appearance from the current Mayor of London Ken Livingstone
  • Synthespians by Craig Hinton (July) - Sixth Doctor and Peri story set on a space station in the far future; kind of "Dynasty" meets "Spearhead from Space" and also allows the Sixth Doctor to behave at his most theatrical
  • The Sleep of Reason by Martin Day (August) - An Eighth Doctor adventure, also featuring Fitz and Trix, set in a mental asylum in present day Britain, a dark tale of evil and insanity... DWM reported this novel as being titled "Dreams Never End"; author Martin Day contacted OG to inform us that "The Sleep of Reason" is indeed the correct title and that "Dreams Never End" was a working title when the article was written
  • The Algebra of Ice by Lloyd Rose (September) - Seventh Doctor and Ace story set on Earth
  • The Deadstone Memorial by Trevor Baxendale (October) - A dark ghost tale set on contemporary Earth with the Eighth Doctor (the DWM report said "Dreadstone Memorial"; author Trevor Baxendale emailed OG to let us know of the proper spelling)
  • The Indestructible Man by Simon Messingham (November) - Second Doctor, Jamie and Zoe novel; fans of Gerry Anderson's Supermarionation series may recognise echoes of his work in here
Meanwhile, range consultant/editor Justin Richards discusses the rumors that the novel series might come to an end. "There's no notion of stopping and never has been, whatever the rumours," says Richards. "The cutback to one a month was partly forced on us by our American distributor going bust, which meant we had a warehouse full of books and there wasn't physical space to store anymore. So that was a pragmatic decision which came at a time when we needed people who normally worked on the novels to work on The Legend and The Dalek Survival Guide. Now we're waiting to see what happens with the new series. We're commissioned up to Febuary 2005 and we'll hang fire a bit now and see what develops. I know that people doing the series are keen to tie in with the books. My feeling is that we won't do novelisations - simply because people don't these days. That's not to say we wouldn't do an annotated script book of instance or original novels which use whoever the new TV Doctor might turn out to be." Meanwhile, Chris Boucher's novelMatch of the Day featuring the Fourth Doctor and Leela, confirmed some time ago, was pushed back to February 2005. (Thanks to DWM, Trevor Baxendale, Martin Day, Mark Michalowski, David McIntee, John Laurent, Dave Master)

Wednesday, 10 December 2003

Documentary in Radio Times

The Christmas/New Year double issue of Radio Times has hit shops in England, and the forthcoming December 30 documentary The Story of Doctor Who gets several plugs in. On Page 17, the documentary is included in a rundown of the best TV and radio of the fortnight. This is illustrated with a large picture of a Dalek family Christmas - three Daleks + a baby Dalek, wearing party hats, eating mashed potato (a reference to 1970s advertising hit 'Smash', which featured a family of robots...) and one of the Daleks carving the turkey! There's also a copy of the Radio Times from November 1999 on the table (Dalek cover) and a photo of Jon Pertwee with the message "A Very Happy Christmas From The Doctor". In that same preview on page 17, there are some comments from Verity Lambert, including 'I don't know that the Daleks are as scary as people make them out to be. I think kids really rather enjoyed them. They like to be scared. I certainly don't think we did anything to traumatise them more than anything else really.' It's not clear whether these are quoted from the documentary or whether Radio Times has interviewed her. She crops up again on page 168 as a 'TV Insider', promoting 'The Story of...', saying that she has high hopes for RTD as 'a very good writer' and that 'Back then, it was just trying to keep the programme on air and making it as entertaining and clever as possible.' There's also a publicity shot of William Hartnell. Also on page 168, 'The Story of...' is one of Today's Choices for Tuesday 30 December, under the heading ''Nostalgia', which notes what a good year it's been for Doctor Who fans, describes the documentary as 'terrific', with 'Marvellous, sometimes hilarious clips... from the creepy (Zygons) to the shambolic (Myrka).' The write-up concludes 'This is tremendous fun, and a reminder of what Saturday teatimes have been missing for years. It's a shame we can't all hop in the TARDIS and leap ahead to see how the new series turns out.' Finally in the Radio Times, there's the listing itself on page 170, illustrated with a couple of Daleks. (Thanks to Steve Tribe)

Shalka DVD and Release Swap


December 10, 2003  •  Posted By Shaun Lyon
According to the new issue of Doctor Who Magazine, BBC Books range consultant/editor Justin Richards says that a DVD release of the BBCi webcast The Scream of the Shalka was planned for February 2004, but does not know what is happening to it now. Either way, Restoration Team member Steve Roberts says that a release of "Shalka" on DVD would be "in addition to the normal DVD schedule, not replacing any of it." Roberts also makes note of the DVD release order ofPyramids of Mars and The Visitation; originally "Pyramids" would have been released first, but "we couldn't get the commentary team together until later in the year and I was ahead on 'Visitation', so it was just easiest to swap." (Thanks to Malcolm James, Steve Roberts)

Davies in DWM


December 10, 2003  •  Posted By Shaun Lyon
Russell T. Davies, in the newest issue of Doctor Who Magazine, comments on the new series that "at the moment, we're planning thirteen episodes, 45 minutes long. The 13 would be a mixture of one-off episodes, and two-parters, complete with cliffhangers." However, he does emphasize that all of this is subject to change. "I can certainly tell you that the BBC talks about this show as a potential long-runner," Davies says. "We aren't looking at a special one-off series for nostalgists only - we all want this show to succeed, to gather viewers, to exhilarate and stimulate and create new memories, and return every year. ... I did an interview with DWM a few years ago, where we speculated how Doctor Who could return. In that, I said that budgetary restrictions would make the show Earth-bound. Well now we're here, and it's real, and I'm looking at the budget and thinking to hell with it. Let's voyage. In time and space. As a programme, it's always going to use present-day Earth as a touchstone.... but it would be a shame to ignore the endless vistas offered by a fully-functioning TARDIS. The Doctor and his friend Rose will be able to travel anywhere, any time, every Saturday night." (Thanks to "Bobbyfischface" on the OG Forum)

Monday, 8 December 2003

Thirteen Episodes?

A report today on BBCi mentions the appearance of producer Mal Young last week on Liquid News and his statement about thirteen storylines. Says BBCi: "We contacted BBC Publicity for confirmation of this. Their response was that Russell T Davies has developed thirteen possible storylines. The keyword here is possible. It doesn't mean that thirteen episodes will be made, and it is unlikely that Russell will be writing them all." (Thanks to BBCi)

DWM 338

Issue #338 of Doctor Who Magazine is due out this week (cover image at right). Included in the issue are: "Sex Lies and Videotape," a discussion with Gary Downie about the days of taping the original series; a featurette about the DWM Awards at Panopticon; part one of "And Now On BBC1" by Andrew Pixley, a story about how the show's scheduling affected its success; the final chapter of "The Accidental Tourist" by Daniel O'Mahony; Justin Richards talks about his novel "Sometime Never"; the first chapter of "Bad Blood," the new comic strip by Scott Gray and martin Geraghty; plus new news, reviews, the 2003 poll and more. The issue is due out Thursday.

Pyramids DVD Details

The Restoration Team has shared details of the forthcoming DVD release of Pyramids of Mars, due out in early March in the UK. A feature article on the RT site discusses the process in which "Pyramids" was cleaned up, including the video dropout and re-grading of film sequences. Extras on the DVD release include:
  • Commentary by Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane), Michael Sheard (Laurence Scarman) and producer Philip Hinchcliffe, with input from director Paddy Russell (recorded elsewhere but seamlessly inserted)
  • Osirian Gothic, a 22-minute interview featurette which includes director Paddy Russell, Sladen, Sheard, Hinchcliffe, Bernard Archard (Shaun Lyon Scarman), Peter Copley (Dr. Warlock), Gabriel Woolf (Sutekh) and designer Christine Ruscoe
  • Serial Thrillers, a 42-minute featurette covering Philip Hinchcliffe's era as the show's producer, with Hinchcliffe, director David Maloney, writer Robert Banks-Stewart, designers Christine Ruscoe and Roger Murray-Leach, actress Elisabeth Sladen, writers Gareth Roberts, Alan Barnes and others
  • Now and Then: The Locations of Pyramids of Mars, an 8-minute feature shot on location at Stargrove, the country house featured in the story narrated by Michael Sheard (with Elisabeth Sladen and Jon Culshaw), music by Heathcliffe Blair
  • Deleted Scenes including the unused shot of the TARDIS materialising on the alternative future Earth of 1980, an alternative take of the poacher running away from the mummies after he shoots Shaun Lyon Scarman, and the full-length version of the war missile explosion, plus three sequences utilising roll-back and mix effects that Paddy Russell felt were not successful and subsequently cut out
  • Oh Mummy, a 7-minute comedy sketch focusing on Sutekh's career after "Pyramids of Mars" written by and starring Rob Hammond and directed by Matt West, starring Gabriel Woolf as Sutekh (this was screened at the Panopticon 2003 convention)
  • Plus a photo gallery, production notes and one easter egg

Saturday, 6 December 2003

BBC Books Update


December 6, 2003  •  Posted By Shaun Lyon
Outpost Gallifrey has received better copies of the covers -- and the working back cover blurbs -- for the forthcoming BBC Books releases The Scream of the Shalka (February) and The Eleventh Tiger (May), as follows (click on the thumbnail of each cover for a larger version):

The Scream of the Shalka, by Paul Cornell

When the Doctor lands his TARDIS in the Lancaster town of Lannet, in the present, he finds that somehing is terribly wrong. The people are scared. They donÆt like going out onto the streets at night, they donÆt like making too much noise, and they certainly donÆt like strangers asking questions.

What alien force has invaded the town? Why is it watching barmaid Alison Cheney? And what plans does it have for the future of the planet Earth?

The Doctor is helped (and hindered) by his new military liaison Major Kennet and his Royal Green Jacket troops. His old enemy the Master also plays a small part. During the course of this adventure he encounters a brand new race of ferocious alien monsters, and strikes up a friendship with his latest companion, Alison.

While starting with a small community under threat, this old-fashioned, very traditional but very up-to-date Doctor Who story takes in the entire world, from New Zealand to India, Siberia to the USA, and cosmic expanses beyond.

This is the novelisation of BBCi's acclaimed animated Doctor Who adventure, first broadcast over the internet in November 2003.

The Eleventh Tiger, by David A. McIntee

"May you live in interesting times."

The TARDIS crew have seen many times. When they arrive in China in 1865, they find banditry, rebellion, and foreign oppression rife. Trying to maintain order are the British Empire and the Ten Tigers of Canton, the most respected martial arts masters in the world.

There is more to chaos than mere human violence and ambition. Can legends of ancient vengeance be coming true? Why does everyone Ian meets already know who he is? The Doctor has his suspicions, but he is occupied by challenges of his own. Soon, the teachers must learn that sometimes the greatest danger is not from the enemy, but from the heart.
In interesting times, love can be a weakness, hatred an illusion, order chaos, and ten Tigers not enough.

This adventure features the First Doctor.

Friday, 5 December 2003

Gordon Reid


December 5, 2003  •  Posted By Shaun Lyon
Gordon Reid, who played Phillips in episode 1 of "Invasion of the Dinosaurs," died on stage in London on November 27. (Thanks to Ben Jolly)

Caroline John


December 5, 2003  •  Posted By Shaun Lyon
Caroline John has a small role in the Universal/Studio Canal film "Love Actually" starring Hugh Grant, Rowan Atkinson and Bill Nighy; she plays the role of "Sam's grandmother".

New Producer


December 5, 2003  •  Posted By Shaun Lyon
The latest issue of SFX Magazine (issue #112) has a small update on the new show including comments from Russell T. Davies that they have chosen a hands-on, day-to-day producer for the series, but he doesn't mention who it is. "Our lovely Chosen One is still finishing off on another drama," Davies comments. "I would tell you, except the moment the name gets announced, the e-mails flood in... so let's leave the poor soul in peace for now. See how I said all that without giving away their sex? Marvel at my avoidance, marvel at it!" (Thanks to Paul Hayes)

Mal Young Comments - Updated!


December 5, 2003  •  Posted By Shaun Lyon
In an interview on BBC3's Liquid News on Thursday, new series producer Mal Young made comments indicating that progress was actually further along than we'd expected. Young said that the thirteen stories for the first season were already written, by Russell T. Davies, and were "brilliant," contradicting earlier reports that the first season would consist of twelve episodes. Update: several other correspondents have written in to let us know that Young actually spoke about "storylines" completed, not actual scripts; this ties with the earlier claim that Davies would be involved in the overall story arc of the first season but not writing each individual episode. (Outpost Gallifrey maintains that Davies willnot be the sole writer of the new series.) Young also mentioned a "long short list" of potential Doctors had already been vetted, and they were currently working on casting. Young made comments on some female Doctor suggestions, including Caroline Quentin ("Jonathan Creek") and Michelle Collins ("Eastenders"). (Thanks to Phillip Madeley, Ben Morris, Alexander Dante, Darren Pickles)

Tuesday, 2 December 2003

Story of Who Date


December 2, 2003  •  Posted By Shaun Lyon
According to the BBC Press Office, on a press release on their website, the forthcoming anniversary documentary The Story of Doctor Who will air on Tuesday, December 30 at 6:30pm on BBC1. Check your local listings closer to the event. (Thanks to Steve Tribe)

More on Visitation DVD


December 2, 2003  •  Posted By Shaun Lyon
The BBC Shop has the following details about the release of The Visitation on DVD in the UK on January 19, 2004:

Doctor Who: The Visitation
Directed by: Peter Moffatt

The Doctor attempts to take Tegan back to Heathrow Airport but the TARDIS arrives in the 17th Century instead of the 20th. The time travellers discover that a space capsule has crash-landed nearby and that its alien occupants, three Terileptil prison escapees, intend to wipe out all indigenous life on Earth by releasing rats infected with an enhanced strain of the great plague. The creatures are also using a sophisticated android to strike terror into the local villagers. Aided by itinerant thespian Richard Mace, the Doctor tracks the Terileptils to their base in Pudding Lane, London. The creatures are ultimately destroyed when a fire breaks out and the Terileptil leader's weapon explodes - also setting off the Great Fire of London.

Extras include: 4 x 25 minute colour episodes with mono audio. Commentary - stereo. Music-Only option - mono Film Trims (dur. 5' 32") - including extended / deleted scenes. Directing Who - Peter Moffatt (dur. 26' 13") - a featurette about the work of the director of this and several other Doctor Who stories. Writing a Final Visitation (dur. 12' 50") - an interview with the story's writer, Eric Saward. Scoring The Visitation (dur 16' 19") - Mark Ayres interviews composer Paddy Kingsland about his music for the story. Picture Gallery (dur. 5' 12") Easter Egg Production Notes.

BBC Photo Gallery

BBC News today features a photo gallery tribute to the Doctor's companions over the years.

Monday, 1 December 2003

Bill Strutton

Author Bill Strutton, the author of the much-discussed Doctor Who serial "The Web Planet," died on November 23 at age 80. Says an article printed today in the Telegraph, "[W]hen Bill Strutton wrote the script of The Web Planet in 1965, he had a hard act to follow. At first the Zarbi, inhabitants of the bleak and desolate planet Vortis, seemed formidable enough; it transpired, however, that for all their malevolent chirping, they had originally been harmless scavengers. Only under the auspices of the Animus, a dark power who addressed Dr Who in sinisterly smooth and mellifluous feminine tones, had they been transformed into militant aggressors. Once the Doctor had outwitted the Animus, the Zarbi resumed their original unthreatening character. Strutton, for his part, extended his profits with a covering novel Doctor Who and the Zarbi (1965)." Strutton was born in 1923 in Australia and spent time as a prisoner of war during World War II; he was a novelist, journalist and television writer whose work includes "The Saint," "Ivanhoe" and, of course, "Doctor Who". He is survived by a son and two daughters. (Thanks to Jim Sangster, Steve Stratford)

Sidekicking

News is circulating (on the Ananova and Daily Scotsman web news services) that in a TV Times interview due to be printed on December 2, Russell T. Davies alludes to a Buffy-style sidekick in the new series. "His new sidekick will be a modern action heroine," says the TV Times interview, "and... shows like Buffy, featuring a butt-kicking Sarah Michelle Gellar, have raised viewers' expectations of female characters." Says Davies, "A screaming girly companion is unacceptable now. I don't mean in terms of women's rights - dramatically, we've got Buffy the Vampire Slayer now, so a screaming girly companion would be laughed out of the room." Also, while the TARDIS will stay in the picture, Davies says "I love the Daleks, but I wouldn't load the series with lots of old monsters. We want to make brand new ones." (Thanks to Steve Tribe, Andrew Harvey, Stephen Dunn, Phillip Madeley)