The new issue of Doctor Who Magazine, on sale tomorrow, features several pieces of information about the forthcoming first season of the new series, including the working titles of the first two stories and a breakdown of the writing assignments on the show. Since this is a spoiler subject, click on the spoiler button below to bring up the information (a brand new feature on our News pages!) (Thanks to DWM)
From a press release from the West Yorkshire Playhouse about the new drama "Electricity" starring new Doctor Christopher Eccleston: "The Tardis will have to wait! Last week was a busy one for Christopher Eccleston, as well as opening Electricity in the Courtyard and being announced as the Doctor Who to take the Tardis into the 21st century, he was also nominated for a Best Actor BAFTA award. The nomination was for his role in ITV's The Second Coming by Russell T Davies who will also be writing the new Doctor Who series. Despite all the excitement of the past week, Christopher only has one thing on his mind at the moment, 'IÆm very excited to be playing Doctor Who. However, at the moment the most important thing to me is Electricity the fantastic new play by Murray Gold that IÆm rehearsing at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, a place that I love and one that I hope to work at many times in the future. ItÆs an ensemble piece and a comedy and IÆm playing a role unlike anything IÆve ever done before.' Electricity with Christopher Eccleston, Sophie Ward, Andrew Scarborough, Patrick Brennan and Oliver Wood is one of seven world premieres to be staged at the Playhouse as part of the Spring/Summer season. To book your tickets call the Box Office on 0113 213 7700 or book online." A side note: an article in today's Mirror called "Sorry, Dr Who Did You Say?" by Fiona Cummins mentions Eccleston and the infamy of recent weeks, or lack thereof. "He may be the new Dr Who," says the article, "but Christopher Eccleston was Mr Nobody when he tried to waltz into a nightclub. The 40-year-old was stopped by bouncers who failed to recognise him as the star who's just landed a pounds 1million deal to play the ninth TV doctor. An onlooker at the Wardrobe club in Leeds said: 'He was with friends and tried to walk straight in but the bouncers weren't having any of it. They didn't have a clue who he was and stopped him straight away. He wasn't acting like a prima donna. He just seemed embarrassed.' Eccleston, who had been starring in a play in Leeds, was eventually let in after the club's management intervened." (Thanks to Ian Wheeler, Paul Engelberg)
BBC Worldwide sent us confirmation of our earlier reports about the releases of The Wheel in Space (narrated by Wendy Padbury, due out May 3), Death Comes to Time (MP3-CD version due out June 7), Tales from the TARDIS(both installments due out July 5) and the individual re-releases of Power of the Daleks and Evil of the Daleks (due out August 7). The news is that the "Death Comes to Time" MP3-CD release will contain not only the audio but the actual webcast itself. "This incredible and groundbreaking special edition combines MP3-CD and CD-ROM elements to present, for the first time, the original BBCi webcast animation of Death Comes to Time plus the award-winning remastered CD version," says the press release. "Also included are cast video interviews, outtakes, spoofs, online character biographies, full-colour illustrations, initial artwork æroughsÆ, a TARDIS-themed web viewer, and excerpts from other Doctor Who CDs." Screen shots from the release are seen below; click on each for a larger version. (Thanks to Laura Burch/BBC Worldwide)
According to a report at BBCi, a new chairman to replace outgoing BBC Chairman Gavyn Davies, who resigned in January, has been picked and will be announced in the next few weeks. Michael Grade, the former BBC controller who was responsible for canceling Doctor who in the mid-1980's, has been widely rumored as one of the contenders; however, as has been explained to us, the job of BBC Chairman has little to do with actual decisions on content on the channels themselves, and Grade, while possibly one of the leads, is not the only contender. (Thanks to Andrew Harvey)
The Welsh newspaper Wales on Sunday is revelling in the fact that the news series of Doctor Who is being produced in the Principality, and appears to have started a weekly "Doctor Who" column. This week, with an article entitled "Exterminated?" it is reporting on-going legal tussles between the BBC and the estate of Terry Nation over the use of the Daleks in the new series. (The Wales on Sunday journalist Jon Harry claims this as an exclusive for the paper, but the report was actually rehasing what's been reported elsewhere). There is also a sub-article, which in 200 odd words sums up the career of Terry Nation, emphasizing the fact that he was born in the Welsh cathedral city of Llandaf. (Thanks to John Campbell Rees)
The new Radio Times, out today, also features an item about Piper, but this one has a direct quote from Piper's agent: "It may be that the idea has been mooted, but it's not a conversation I have had." They go on to quote a "BBC spokeswoman" who said "an announcement wasn't expected for another two months". The rest of the article catches up on the Eccleston casting, with Eccleston saying he's "delighted" and Tranter's quote about being a modern hero taken from the press release. Another report at the "This is Somerset" site of the Western Daily Press rehashes the same rumors that Billie Piper may play the role of Rose Tyler. "Billie, married to DJ and TV producer Chris Evans has told friends she would dearly love to work on the new series of the cult show watched by audiences across the globe," it says. "The BBC remained tight-lipped yesterday but told the Western Daily Press it is not ruling Billie out for the part of the Doctor's glamorous sidekick Rose Tyler despite her limited acting experience." (Thanks to Chuck Foster, Paul Hayes, Steve Tribe)
Today's Daily Star newspaper features an article, on page 3, entitled "Return of the Daleks." The paper says that the rights issues have been resolved and that they've been completely redesigned (the paper says "they'll look more like something out of the Terminator movies"). Quotes the Star from a BBC source: "We spared no expense to get the Daleks and we're going to drag them into the 21st Century". The Daily Mail on Monday also included a piece on this, entitled "Exterminate exterminate!", and suggested that the BBC came to an agreement last Friday in a deal that they paid "well over the odds" for, for a "ratings guarantee" that the Daleks will bring; it also suggests that the budget for the series is a million pounds per episode, apparently "the costliest drama" the BBC have ever done. Of course, at this point we've heard that the negotiations over the Daleks, and other rights issues with the Terry Nation estate, have not yet been resolved. A website called DeHavilland repeats the Dalek reports and the Billie Piper rumor. (Thanks to Phillip Madeley, Paul Mount, Mark Smith)
Other coverage of the series this week have been in TV Times and TV Quick; in the latter there is news about Tom Baker joining the cast of "Monarch of the Glen". In Canada a short article appeared in the newspaper the Globe and Mail on Monday. Titled "But will this doctor have a long scarf?" Meanwhile, a piece from the Australian newspaper The Advertiser on Billie Piper and some other reports on Christopher Eccleston and the new series; all of these will be up at the Cuttings Archive in the next day or two. (Thanks to Roger Anderson)
The next issue of SFX Magazine, due out April 14, will contain interviews about the new series with producers Russell T. Davies and Julie Gardner as well as writers Mark Gatiss, Rob Shearman, Steven Moffat and Paul Cornell. They'll be going into depth on the casting of the new Doctor, Christopher Eccleston. "When Mal Young, Julie Gardner and I first got into the same room together in September, he was the very first name mentioned," explained Davies. "And that's a fact. Of course, there were other names, there had to be, but he was first. Who'd have thought we'd actually get him?ö Said Julie Gardner: "Christopher is, first and foremost, a wonderful actor. He's energetic, passionate, professional and instinctive. And he's got a great sense of humour. He loved the first episode, did an amazing audition, and here we are. I couldnÆt be more delightedà" Gardner also gives SFX some details about productions. "We start filming in the Summer with principal locations and studio work being done in South Wales. Being based in Cardiff offers endless possibilities - urban landscapes, countryside, beaches, historical houses are all within easy reach. There are many decisions to be made before that first camera rolls. We are currently receiving pitches from SFX companies and CGI specialists and we're still in the early stages of meetings with heads of departments." (Thanks to Steve O'Brien)
The DVD release of The Leisure Hive has been confirmed by the Doctor Who Restoration Team for release in the UK on July 5. The single disc release will consist of all four episodes remastered with their original mono audio as well as an optional Dolby Digital 5.1 surround mix and an isolated music track (in mono) as well as several extras, including commentary by Lalla Ward, director Lovett Bickford and script editor Christopher H. Bidmead; A New Beginning(30'18") where production staff recall radical changes made by producer John Nathan-Turner, with particular emphasis on 'The Leisure Hive'; From Avalon to Argolis (14'19"), an interview with writer David Fisher and script editor Christopher H. Bidmead, examining the making of the story from the screenwriter's POV; Leisure Wear (6'49"), an interview with costume designer June Hudson; Synthesizing Starfields (9'14"), interviews with graphic designer Sid Sutton and composer Peter Howell about the new title sequence; Blue Peter (3'57"), a look around the Longleat Doctor Who exhibition as well as John Nathan-Turner's first-ever on screen appearance as the show's producer; plus a photo gallery, easter egg, program subtitles, commentary subtitles and production notes. (Thanks to the Restoration Team)
Although the papers have quieted down, there have been a few reports over the past couple of days:
In the Australian press, the Adelaide Sunday Mail has issued an apology, and something of an explanation for last week's erroneous story stating that Bill Nighy had been chosen to play the new Doctor. To paraphrase they 'blame' the UK's Daily Mail for originating the report which subsequently went into syndication and was then published in the Sunday Mail and "in other Australian Sunday newspapers"!
The UK's The Sun newspaper included an interview with Christopher Eccleston in it's Saturday edition, titled "I look like a gargoyle ... enough to scare any dalek." "My bony face is like a car crash," Eccleston told the Sun. "I haven't got good looks, just weird looks, enough to frighten the fiercest monster." While he is famous for serious, gritty roles, he says he doesn't have a snobbish attitude toward anything; he just wants a decent script. "I've played a lot of characters who are very troubled and dark but I can't wait to get into the Tardis - it's going to be brilliant." Eccleston goes into his personal life and history and his attitudes toward many things. You can read the interview on the Sun's website now.
The Manchester Online website says that the Doctor may never meet the Daleks in an article about the new series. "Doctor Who star Christopher Eccleston could be denied a showdown with the dreaded Daleks in his latest role - because of a legal row," says the article. "The corporation does not own the copyright to the metallic-voiced alien robots and producers have been forced to negotiate with representatives for the late sci-fi writer Terry Nation, who created the Daleks in the 1960s. So far, no agreement has been reached and Dr Who's Manchester-based writer, Russell T Davies, is battling against his script deadlines as negotiations continue. Mr Davies said: 'The estate is protecting an important property, after all, and I can appreciate why they are being so careful.'" The Nation estate is currently in negotiations, as has been previously reported, and at this point nothing has changed; this article likely is commenting on that but has no new information. (Thanks to Paul Engelberg, Chuck Foster)
An article in the Scotsman about this weekend's time change in the UK also mentions Doctor Who, albeit briefly: "but this weekend itÆs not only him who will be experiencing a little time travel."
The Cuttings Archive now has some articles from the past several weeks that haven't previously been seen including articles from Broadcast magazine, the Western Mail, BBC Ceefax Entertainment, TV Times UK (which discusses who might take the role of Rose, including mentioning Billie Piper, Helena Bonham Carter and Anna Friel). (Thanks to Roger Anderson)
21-year-old actress / singer Billie Piper is being touted as "in the running" to play female companion Rose Tyler in the new series according to a news report on BBC News, but according to the BBC (and confirmed by our sources) the role is still quite a long away from being cast. The article (which misidentifies the role as "Rose Taylor") will be "feisty" rather than a traditional companion role. "A screaming girly-style companion is unacceptable nowadays," Davies told BBCi. At this point, the production team has only begun casting and previous reports elsewhere that an announcement was imminent are untrue; we don't expect the actress taking the role to be announced until at least May, and this is likely publicity from the actress' own press agent. (Thanks to Steve Tribe, Paul Engelberg)
The online retailer Play.com is reporting that a Cyberman Tin collection of audio CD's will be released on November 1, 2004. This would tie in with previously published reports that the Patrick Troughton story "The Invasion" will be released on audio at that time by the BBC Radio Collection. Last year's "Dalek Tin" release featured the stories "The Evil of the Daleks" and "The Power of the Daleks" as well as the one-off CD "My Life as a Dalek," and was a successful item. Meanwhile, Outpost Gallifrey previously reported that a boxed DVD set entitled The Beginning was to be released this fall; however, we have learned that the plans for that have changed. (We actually altered the forthcoming release list on the news page some time ago but didn't note in the news column itself.) We'll keep you posted. (Thanks to Tim Parker, Gary Reed)
The new issue of TV Zone Magazine is due out on April 1 and features a look at Christopher Eccleston's career and the casting of the new Doctor; there's also a feature on Russell T Davies and the new series writers, examining what qualities they bring to the series; Colin Baker contributes an article with his thoughts on the casting and the new series; Terrance Dicks is interviewed, drawing on his considerable experience to offer some words of advice for the new production team; and there's a feature on the Telos novellas, and a run-through of "Doctor Who's 20 best cliffhangers." The cover of the new issue is at right. (Thanks to Stephen Graves)
Some changes at licensed merchandiser Product Enterprises have been announced. First, their planned Talking Davros action figure that was expected later this year has been cancelled, with the following explanation: "We have no plans for the Talking Davros action figure to go into production at the present time. The simple reason is economics. Based on experience of other products in our range, the quantities we would sell would not equal the investment made. As much as we would like to produce the figure, at the end of the day, if we can not make a profit, it does not make good business sense." They also announced that two lines, the Dalek Roll-a-Matics and the Talking Cybermen, have been discontinued. However, their range of Radio Control Daleks will be relaunched in September 2004, and in october, a new Gold Dalek will be added to the new range. For more details, visit productenterprise.com. (Thanks to Gallifrey 5)
Bill Nighy, once considered the frontrunner to play the Doctor in the new series due to press comments from Russell Davies about him being his first choice, spoke to today's Daily Mail about the casting of Christopher Eccleston. "These things happen and sometimes the best man wins," Nighy told the Mail reporter. "He's taller, stronger and better looking - just. I think a great tradition is in great hands."
According to Blackstar, the Tom Baker serial The Leisure Hive is the next UK DVD release and is due out on July 5. No confirmation has been received at this time from BBC Worldwide, but this has been listed as "tentative" on our release list for some time. (Thanks to Richard Mawson)
Update: A British DVD store called DVD Concept has posted a list of reported extras for this disc, which include the following: commentary with Lalla Ward and director Lovett Bickford; a separate commentary with script editor Christopher H Bidmead; "A New Beginning"; "From Avalon to Argolis"; "Leisure Weir"; "Synthesizing Starfields"; "Blue Peter"; plus photo gallery, easter eggs and production notes. (Thanks to Aidan Brack)
Michael Grade, the one-time controller of BBC1 and the man who put Doctor Who on hiatus for eighteen months in the mid 1980's, has been touted as one of the likely candidates to step into the role of BBC Chairman... and a cross-party group of MPs in Parliament have written him a letter to say "hands off!" Tim Collins, Shadow Education Secretary and a Conservative MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale -- and an ardent supporter of Doctor Who who was interviewed on the "Earthshock" DVD release -- is a signatory on the letter to Grade, which includes representatives from all three major UK political parties, the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties. "The multi-million pound new series of 'Doctor Who' is weeks away from the start of filming," says the press release issued today. "The MPs, from each of the three main parties, are concerned that significant resources for licence payers could be wasted if Mr Grade seeks to derail the project. The signatories include the Culture spokespeople from both the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties." The text of the letter is reproduced below. Thanks to the Honourable Tim Collins, MP, for contacting Outpost Gallifrey directly to share this with us. Update 26 March: the UK paper The Guardian is now carrying the story; and theWestmorland Gazette, the newspaper of the district that MP Tim Collins represents, today features an article about the letter to Grade. (Thanks to Chuck Foster)
HOUSE OF COMMONS London SW1A 1AA
25 March 2004
Dear Michael Grade,
Congratulations on making the shortlist for the next BBC Chairman. This role is of course traditionally a non-executive one, but we would like to ask you for a reassurance on one specific point.
In your memoirs and in several interviews you have confirmed that the suspension of production of "Doctor Who" in the mid-1980s was motivated, at least in part, by your strong personal dislike of the programme. For example, you have said "I hated it - I thought it was awful" (This Morning, ITV, 13 November 1999). Two years ago (15th April 2002) you called for it to be sent into oblivion when you appeared on the BBC's "Room 101" chat show.
As you will know, the BBC is currently committing substantial financial and creative resources to a major revival of "Doctor Who". Some of the UK's leading writing and acting talents are involved, and the export and merchandising potential is very significant. The programme's impending return was celebrated last autumn at a reception at the House of Commons, attended by a large number of MPs of all parties.
Some however are concerned that, were you to become BBC Chairman, the project would be derailed û potentially wasting significant sums of licence payersÆ money.
Are you therefore prepared to guarantee that, should you be appointed to the post, you would not interfere in any way with decisions about ôDoctor Whoö?
Copies of this letter go to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and to the media.
Tim Collins MP (Westmorland and Lonsdale - Con) Don Foster MP (Bath û Lib Dem) Stephen Pound MP (Ealing North - Lab) Julie Kirkbride MP (Bromsgrove û Con) Bob Russell MP (Colchester - Lib Dem) Eric Pickles MP (Brentwood & Ongar û C)
Outpost Gallifrey spoke to Mark Gatiss, script writer for the forthcoming first season of the new Doctor Who series, novelist and writer/actor of "The League of Gentlemen," about the recent casting of the next Doctor. "Chris Eccleston's casting is sensational," Gatiss told OG. "He's a fantastic actor and a lovely man and is just the right kind of 'serious' choice to forever banish those tiresome tabloid stories about various TV weathermen or magicians being chosen as the Doctor. And for those who think he's 'too serious' for the part, I'd point to the casting of William Hartnell all those years ago. He was known for a particular type of role and seized upon Doctor Who as a chance to show his versatility. Besides, when Chris did a cameo in 'The League of Gentlemen' he told me he was fed up with playing miserable bastards so this will be just what the Doctor ordered!"
Original series producer Verity Lambert is interviewed in the new "Dreamwatch," discussing her time on the show (including attempts to move her on mid-tenure) as well as her thoughts on the later Doctors and the new series.
We heard that the new companion, Rose Tyler had been cast, but it now appears that one of the UK papers that was prepared to run the story (about a joint press call) got it wrong, and they're still involved in the initial casting process. We'll let you know as soon as we do (with all the news flying the past few days, it's almost impossible to keep it all sorted!) One thing we do know: earlier reports that there was a planned press call after the actual date the news was announced, or that there was a separate photo call, or that the two actors were supposed to be announced together... are all incorrect.
The press news is slowing down (thankfully!) The Cuttings Archive (whose editor, Roger Anderson, is working almost as hard as we are... almost!) has the most recent press clippings available for download online, including an article in the "Newsbites" section of Ariel, the BBC's in-house newspaper. Meanwhile, we've updated the list of websites carrying the Eccleston announcement below. This should bring us to the tail end of the main new series news stories from the past week.
Last, but most certainly not least... Outpost Gallifrey spoke to Rob Shearman, one of the four new series writers announced recently, about his thoughts on the casting of Christopher Eccleston as the new Doctor. "About a year or so ago," Shearman told the Outpost, "my wife and I were spellbound watching The Second Coming on TV. 'This is by Russell T Davies,' I told her - and, in a vain attempt to convince her I was as good a writer by connection, said, 'He's a Doctor Who fan, you know.' My wife - who is not like you or I - grunted non-committally. At the first commercial break, I said, 'Wouldn't it be great if this was Doctor Who? Back on the telly?' and she grunted again. At the next break I sallied with a 'And wouldn't it be great if he was the Doctor?' And, to my surprise, she didn't grunt, but agreed. Because she'd realised as I had that Christopher Eccleston is the perfect choice to play the Doctor. Extraordinary - someone entirely 'other', who'll always stand out from the crowd. Charismatic - if he can pull off being a modern day Jesus, you know he can pull off a modern day Time Lord too. Capable of great passion, anger, and warmth. And, obviously, an astonishingly good actor. I can't tell you how delighted I am to be writing for such a talent. And my wife is jolly pleased too." You can read comments from the other three newly commissioned writers -- Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffat and Paul Cornell -- in the past few days' editions of the new series news column.
Today's (March 25) edition of the Sydney Daily Telegraph brings up the subject of the new casting... and touts a possible new director in Russell Mulcahy, a film & TV director among whose credits are the US version of "Queer as Folk" and the recent Showtime series "Jeremiah". We're told that it's highly likely to be wrong -- and likely due to an error at the popular Dark Horizons media news site earlier in the week (confusing Mulcahy with Russell Davies). (Thanks to Alex Rohan, Jeremy Phillips)
The hype surrounding the Eccleston casting continues, and Outpost Gallifrey continues to keep you updated...
An article in today's The Guardian discusses that BBC shows are 'dominating' the British Academy of Film & Television Awards (BAFTAs) this year. New Doctor Christopher Eccleston has been nominated for Russell T. Davies' "The Second Coming" (originally broadcast on ITV), while one of the recent contenders to play the Doctor, Bill Nighy, was nominated for "State of Play" on BBC1, as was actor David Morrissey. Also nominated was Jim Broadbent (for BBC1's "The Young Visiters"), who portrayed one of the future Doctors in the 1999 comic relief presentation "The Curse of Fatal Death". The BAFTA nominations are also mentioned in the Independent and the Telegraph, and the Telegraph discusses Eccleston's casting in Doctor Who.
In another Guardian article titled "Who dares, wins," Andy Bodle discusses the phenomenon of Doctor Who, it's fans and longevity, as he points out "When Christopher Ecclestone steps out of the Tardis next spring, Doctor Who, scourge of fibreglass lumps everywhere, will have been off our screens for 16 years". The article includes quotes from Mark Gatiss (League of gentlemen and new series writer), Nev Fountain (Dead Ringers), Will Baker (Kylie Minogue's creative consultant), and Clayton Hickman (Doctor Who Magazine) who makes the following interesting assertion: "The Doctor Who mafia. That's why the show's coming back. If it wasn't for all the fans in high places, it would just have faded away." In the print edition the piece is accompanied by a caricature/sketch of Eccleston stepping into the TARDIS. Also mentioned in the article is the monthly London Tavern fan gatherings. In another article in the Guardian, Matthew Norman's "Diary" column, the writer refers back to a diary piece in October 7 2003 when, he apparently, mentioned that a campaign was announced "to prevent Alan Davies becoming the new Doctor Who" and went on to suggest that there were "rumours that Christopher Eccleston" was interested. Norman goes on to modestly point out that "at this stage, it's too early to be sure how this uncanny piece of prescience came about". The print edition also carries a cartoon about showing a Dalek and captioned "THE GOVERNMENTS CHOICE FOR THE NEW BBC CHAIRMAN." You can see them all tomorrow at the Cuttings Archive. (Thanks to Roger Anderson, John Cooper)
The official Doctor Who site at BBCi has a photo gallery of Eccleston's various television and film appearances; check it out, there's some good stuff!
As we mentioned yesterday, even some of the big American broadcasters are now mentioning the casting of Eccleston. "Fox Report" anchor Shepard Smith, a nightly report on the Fox News Channel, mentioned the return of the show and the casting. (Thanks to Carl Kleffman)
Clarification on our mention the other day about Eccleston's position on the OK! Celebrity Chart... Peter Nolan wrote in to let us know that the OK! Chart is based on column inches. "Basically they read every article in every newspaper in a given week and count up the number of inches of text about each person. So only one person has had more written about them in the UK newspapers this week!"
Outpost Gallifrey spoke to Steven Moffat, writer of two episodes for the forthcoming first season of the new Doctor Who series, about the Christopher Eccleston announcement. "It's a fantastic casting," Moffat told us. "Not just because he's a brilliant actor, though clearly he is, but because he'll bring people to the audience, who wouldn't touch the show with a barge pole otherwise. The morning of the announcement, I went into the Coupling rehearsals, and the cast - trendy lovelies that they are, hardly the natural Who audience - were bouncing around about the news. Clearly rather more excited about that than the fact that a good friend of theirs was now writing it. So I sacked them all." We look forward to Mr. Moffat's sense of humor shining through in the upcoming season!
An upcoming edition of the BBC2 educational program Schools: Watch features an episode called "Toys with Magic Granddad," in which a grandfather and kids "explore toys from 1969, have tea with a Jamaican family and watch Dr Who." It's on Tuesday March 30 at 10:50. (Thanks to Steve Freestone)
A report in today's Daily Mirror suggests that the BBC South video project being undertaken by Bill Baggs (of BBV) has been shelved due to the arrival of the new Doctor Who series. We contacted Bill Baggs, who let us know that the project was not scrapped and he's still working on it. There are rumors that Alan Cumming was approached to take part although nothing has been confirmed at this time. (Thanks to Kenny Smith, Bill Baggs)
According to DWM editor Clayton Hickman, "Due to circumstances beyond DWM's control, 'The Iron Legion', the first volume of collected comic strips from Panini Books has been delayed by several weeks. Originally due out in late March, the Graphic Novel will now hit UK shops on or around April 15. Apologies for the delay, but there have been certain printing problems which needed to be solved before we were happy for the book to be released to shops. We've spent many months ensuring that the comic strips collected here look their very best, and the printing also needed to be top-notch to do them justice. We hope you'll agree that the delay was worth it when you see the finished item." (Thanks to Clayton Hickman/DWM)
Issue #342 of Doctor Who Magazine will be out April 1. Included in the next issue are comments from Christopher Eccleston on winning the role of the Doctor as well as notes from Russell T. Davies and producer Phil Collinson; the first part of the "Marco Polo" telesnap archive; Alan Barnes writes about "The Evil of the Daleks" in The Fact of Fiction; the Time Team revisits the newly discovered episode of "The Daleks' Master Plan" with commentary by Andrew Pixley; part three of Pixley's "Scheduled for Success" column; the climax of the comic strip "Bad Blood"; plus the usual reviews and previews. (Thanks to Clayton Hickman)
The current issue of The Wisden Cricketer (number 7, April), features an article on cricket in film and TV written by Huw Turbervill, with an accurate and affectionate short review of Black Orchid, taking it to task only for some of the minor cricket details being wrong! (Thanks to Paul Cornell)
Updated March 24, 1600 GMT. Outpost Gallifrey's comprehensive list of press coverage and press links for the Christopher Eccleston casting has been updated and is here below (with thanks to Steve Tribe, Andrew Harvey, Jon Preddle, Roger Anderson, Chuck Foster, Robert Byrne, Paul Engelberg, Kenny Davidson, Scott Woodard and DWAS):
BBC Drama Faces: an in-depth look at Christopher Eccleston, including his work, some personal background and other facts.
The official press release has now been published by the BBC Press Office, but we've reproduced it at the end of this article for your reading pleasure.
Outpost Gallifrey has revealed the cover for issue #342 of Doctor Who Magazine, which features Eccleston on the cover... obviously a rushed job over the weekend by amazing editor Clayton Hickman just in time to get it to the printers! "Christopher Eccleston is the Doctor!" cries the cover... you can check it out on the main News Page.
Mentions of the Eccleston casting today hit two large American news networks, both CNN and the Fox News Channel.
No More Props for "Darker" Doctor is the headline on BBC News today. "Enthusiasts think he may portray a darker character than many of the previous doctors, who were often quirky, offbeat and replete with props," says the article, which features quotes from the DWAS' Antony Wainer and Boyd Hilton, TV editor of Heat magazine. "I think it's quite exciting," said Hilton. "He's one of the best actors of our time, and rather than going for a colourful character actor as they've done in the past, they've gone for a brilliant actor." Said Wainer: "It's about the quality of the writing and the audience expectation, and things that just catch on."
Doctor Who Fans Endorse Eccleston was another article at BBC News, which includes comments from fans around the world.
The Daily Express reports that "NEW Dr Who Christopher Eccleston has shot to number two in this weeks OK! Celebrity Chart..." How the chart is compiled and who decides who (no pun intended!) comes where is anyone's guess! Meanwhile, the Western Morning News wonders why nostalgia has "such compelling appeal" (the article mentions the new series of Doctor Who but in no great detail.) The Guardian features an article on "Why I Love William Hartnell" (also mentioned here on our main news page); that particular item can also be read online here. All three can be also seen at theCuttings Archive.
Our comprehensive list of press links has been updated three times today and is seen in the separate story below.
The press release is as follows:
BBC Press Release Christopher Eccleston to play Doctor Who
Acclaimed British actor Christopher Eccleston is to play Doctor Who in the forthcoming 13-part drama series for BBC ONE, it was announced by Jane Tranter, BBC Controller of Drama Commissioning.
Eccleston, star of Flesh & Blood and The Second Coming, will take Doctor Who into the 21st century û travelling through time and space, fighting monsters on all fronts, in a fresh and modern approach to the popular science fiction series.
He said: "I am absolutely delighted to be playing Doctor Who.
"I am looking forward to joining forces again with the incredible writer Russell T Davies and taking both loyal viewers and a new generation on a journey through time and space û which way is the Tardis? I can't wait to get started!"
Jane Tranter says: ôWe are delighted to have cast an actor of such calibre in one of British television's most iconic roles.
"It signals our intention to take Doctor Who into the 21st century, as well as retaining its core traditional values - to be surprising, edgy and eccentric.
"We have chosen one of Britain's finest actors to play what, in effect, will be an overtly modern hero."
Executive producer/writer Russell T Davies adds: "We considered many great actors for this wonderful part, but Christopher was our first choice.
"This man can give the Doctor a wisdom, wit and emotional range as far-reaching as the Doctor's travels in time and space.
"His casting raises the bar for all of us. It's going to be a magnificent, epic, entertaining journey, and I can't wait to start!"
Filming in Cardiff later this year for transmission in 2005, Doctor Who is produced by Phil Collinson.
The writers are Russell T Davies, Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss, Paul Cornell and Robert Shearman.
Executive producers are BBC Controller of Continuing Drama Series, Mal Young; Head of Drama, BBC Wales, Julie Gardner and Russell T Davies.
Paul Cornell, the Doctor Who novelist penning of one of the teleplays for the first season of the new series, spoke to Outpost Gallifrey today about the choice of Christopher Eccleston as the new Doctor. "I think it's wonderful that we've got such a high calibre actor in the role," said Cornell. "Along with everyone else, it was great to get the rush of a 'new Doctor day' again. My Dad called to read me out a news item about it, just like he always used to. Chris is going to have to get used to being beloved by parents and small children everywhere!"
Julie Gardner, new series executive producer, was interviewed on the BBC Wales Evening News program this evening. When asked what the most enduring element of Doctor Who was that she personally wanted to bring back to the show, her considered answer was very simple: "Fear." She also confirmed that the production team was working hard to ready the series by "early next year," drawing closer to the rumored January start than in previous statements. The program is available to be watched for the next 24 hours; you can watch it by visiting the Wales Today section of BBCi. (Thanks to Kenny Davidson)
I've never heard of him, Tom Baker told the Sunday Mail, "but I wish him well." According to the report in the Mail, Baker admitted "I thought I was the only Dr Who but there again I never watched it, even when I was in it." You can read the article by clicking here.
Christopher Eccleston yesterday told ICWales, "Dr Who? And Russell T Davies! Tell me which way to Cardiff because I can't wait." It's the first direct quote from Eccleston, cast as the new Doctor in the forthcoming series. Producer Julie Gardner said, "Chris is so professional and hard-working and he's a very writer- friendly actor. ... We are very lucky to have such a great actor working with us." And Russell T. Davies has noted, "This man can give the Doctor a wisdom, wit and emotional range as far-reaching as the doctor's travels in time and space. It's going to be a magnificent, epic, entertaining journey, and I can't wait to start!" You can read the full article, featuring more quotes from Davies and Gardner, by clicking here. (Thanks to Paul Hayes, John Campbell Rees, Steve Tribe)