Mad Norwegian Press has announced that their Faction Paradox comic series is being discontinued; the series, which further expands on the characters and situations originally created in the BBC Doctor Who novels, published two issues and is being halted due to changes in the comics industry and at its publisher, Image Comics. The novel series, however, which just had its second release, "Of the City of the Saved" by Philip Purser-Hallard, will continue. A full Q&A about the comic cancellation can be found here. (Thanks to Lars Pearson)
The BBC Books novel Synthespians™ by Craig Hinton, which was originally to be released in early July, has been delayed several weeks and will now be out on July 19. The reason: an alteration to the cover, likely due to legal reasons (as it was originally based on a "Dynasty" image), which resulted in a reprinting of the book stock. At right is a thumbnail of the final cover illustration; we hope to have a better copy shortly. (Thanks to Tenth Planet)
Composer Mark Ayres updated us today on the status of the Resistance is Futile CD. "No, the 'Resistance is Futile' CD ('Resistance is Useless' - if I have my way!) is not out yet. Nor has it been finally scheduled. Many retailers have been taking pre-orders, true...but it has certainly not been cancelled, so have no fear! The reasons for the delay are complicated. Firstly, getting all the artists together and assembling the masters took time, and the tracklisting is still not finalised. Secondly, BBC Music have been rethinking their distribution arrangements over the past few months and this has meant - sadly - a lot of projects being delayed. New distribution systems are being worked on, and as soon as there is any news, I am sure I will be able to pass it on..." (Thanks to Mark Ayres)
The music web zine Kerrang today has a statement regarding the recent press reports that US band Slipknot were in talks to record the new series theme tune (which OG already noted was not true.) "Slipknot are not in talks to record the theme tune to the classic TV show Doctor Who," says the article, "despite a report in a tabloid last week. The Sun 'revealed' that the masked metallers were working on a song to be used for the showÆs comeback at the end of the year, but a spokesperson for the band denied the claims when contacted by Kerrang!" (Thanks to Steve Tribe)
All the slots for extras for an upcoming audio from Big Finish are now full. "Thanks to everyone who answered I thought I might get 10 replies," producer Gary Russell told Outpost Gallifrey. "Ten times that by Sunday and they're still coming... As I only needed about 25, I'm now closing this request cos I've got what I needed. But a very, very heartfelt thanks to everyone who responded. We at Big Finish Towers are enormously grateful, and flattered, that so many volunteered. Next time I'll hire a cathedral rather than a studio and we might fit everyone in."
Music lovers should check out Orbital's new 'Blue Album', out today (Mon 21 June), which features on the fifth track entitled "You Lot", a sample featuring the voice of Christopher Eccleston from the ITV 2003 drama 'The Second Coming'. Orbital, of course remixed the Dr Who theme tune on their last album "The Altogether" which was used to accompany the 40th Anniversary celebration on last years' Doctor Who DVDs. (Thanks to Richard Allison)
There's a change at the top level on the continuing Doctor Who novel series at BBC Books -- commissioning editor Ben Dunn will be leaving BBC Books this summer to join HarperCollins, steering a new humor book line starting in August. Range consultant Justin Richards, who has been responsible for much of the interaction on publication of the books with the various authors on the range, today told Outpost Gallifrey, "For the record (and the fans) Ben's leaving makes no difference to schedules or projects currently committed." Justin did not comment on who would actually take over for Dunn on the book series. We wish Mr. Dunn well in his future pursuits, and meanwhile are delighted that the range will continue unabated. (Thanks to Justin Richards)
According to a message from retailer Galaxy 4, the expected Doctor Who audio CD title Resistance is Futile has run into problems. Says the note from Galaxy 4, "The BBC have now removed this title from the 2004 schedule with no new date assured. This is due to copyright issues regarding the theme tune and the new Doctor Who TV series. We have therefore suspended all orders pending rescheduling or cancellation." This is a surprising turn of events, considering that the long-delayed CD release was actually promoted quite heavily with free giveaways at last year's official Doctor Who anniversary event, Panopticon 2003. (Thanks to Galaxy 4, Steve Tribe)
According to the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification), the following is the list of running times for the extras being included on the forthcoming DVD release of Ghost Light in the UK, which we've previously reported on.
The North-West Evening Mail ran a brief story about London collectors "planning to exterminate all opposition to get their hands on BarrowÆs Dalek," referring to the Dalek model currently guarding the entrance to Furness Auctions at Oldham Street.
The Times (London) finally ran an obituary for Anthony Ainley on June 15 (better late than never!) It's the first indication of cause of death, which is listed as cancer (and it also says he was 66, born in 1937... still no confirmation!)
According to a rumor on the SciFi Online site, the multi-disc "orphan episodes" DVD box set due in November we first reported about some time ago won't feature any photo galleries. We've no independent confirmation of this rumor so far. (Thanks to Rich Kirkpatrick)
Tales of Hyspero by Paul Magrs is a new novel series from Simon & Schuster's Children's Books. Recognize the name? That's because Hyspero is the planet from the BBC Doctor Who novel "The Scarlet Empress" that Magrs wrote, and now he's setting this new series on that magical planet. "Hyspero is a huge world," says Magrs. "Really huge. In Hyspero, there's a fabulous mix of the weird and the utterly everyday. It's funny and has lots of creatures in it. Evil sloths! Acrobatic super-intelligent foxes! Widescreen lizards! It's a book about REAL kids discovering a magical land. Not the made-up kind of well-behaved kids that no reader ever believes in." The first book is entitled A World of Her Own and is due out in September.
Gary Russell of Big Finish let us know about an upcoming audio taping on June 23 where fans can participate. "If you fancy being one of about 25 people, men and woman, screaming yourself hoarse in a variety of ways and can be in south London next Wednesday evening 23rd June, drop an e-mail ASAP to email@example.com and we'll get back to you. Sorry, no fee, but heaps of tea and coffee. And maybe a cake or two... generous, aren't we..."
Max Rosenberg, the co-producer of the two films "Dr. Who and the Daleks" and "Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150 AD," died last Monday. Rosenberg created such memorable B-movies as "The Curse of Frankenstein" and "The House that Dripped Blood", and was responsible for fostering the careers of such film notables as Terence Stamp, Donald Sutherland, Tuesday Weld and Peter Cushing, who would later go on to star as Dr. Who in the two films. He was 89. You can read his obit at the MST3Kinfo website. (Thanks to Steve Manfred, Paul Engelberg)
Further to our earlier story, The Web of Fear Episode 1 will be airing on BBC4 on Saturday June 26 at 8:50pm. This broadcast, from restored masters, is part of the BBC's Sixties event; see earlier news reports for details. (Thanks to David Harold)
A couple of brief press mentions (thanks to Steve Tribe, Rich Kirkpatrick & Paul Engelberg, among others)
Over the past few days we've received numerous emails and heard various pieces of gossip alleging that Christopher Eccleston may have quit the new series production. Indeed, several of our readers have picked up on this on anotherwebsite (Sci-Fi Online). Though some of the rumors of the past couple of days have come from quite reliable sources, we think it's a bad rumor gone wild, and at this point Outpost Gallifrey has heard nothing to indicate that this might be true and would like to assure our readers that we'll report this if and when we see anything official.
The Doctor Who Appreciation Society's newest edition of "Celestial Toyroom" (#316) has a note from Christopher Eccleston to the DWAS readership. "I won't be giving interviews on Doctor Who until I've got something to brag about," Eccleston writes. "But here's a quote: I'm very excited to be the ninth Doctor Who, I want to honour its past but also bring something new, I look forward to the reaction of your readers/members."
Writer Steven Moffat says he is "a little embarrassed" that the new series has already picked up its first award even before filming has begun. "Even before a single frame has been shot, we have already picked up an award for Best New Hope from a science fiction magazine. I did feel slightly embarrassed about receiving it." Moffat, meanwhile, told the Paisley Daily Express on June 14, "I was well known in TV circles as a Dr Who fan and I'd always made it known that I'd like a go at writing it if the opportunity arose. ... Doing this, I think, ends your position of being a fan."
North Carolina's Winston-Salem Journal featured a Q&A article about the new show, in response to a question if PBS would be carrying the series. The answers are quite familiar... being as though they were taken from the Outpost Gallifrey new series FAQ (with all due credit given in the article!)
Purple People, a new compilation CD from Purple Records, is out in June and features a special bonus track of Jon Pertwee's "Who Is the Doctor"? There's also details on the site of the history behind this song. (Thanks to Keith Hollinshed)
According to the Bucks Free Press on June 7, Colin Baker recently visited Wycome High School in Marlow Road last Thursday for a discussion with students about the science fiction genre. "Legends and myths have always fascinated me," Baker told the Press. Students were quite pleased and seemed to take more interest in science fiction, one student discovering that like himself, Colin is a John Wyndham fan. (Thanks to Paul Engelberg)
Artist Jeff Cummins, whose many covers for the Target Doctor Who novelisation range includes "The Talons of Weng-Chiang," "Horror of Fang Rock," "The Three Doctors" and the exquisite painting for the cover of "The Face of Evil," has a new website in which he showcases his Target covers and other pieces of illustration including the sleeves for out of print records he designed. Visit the site at www.jeffcummins.com. (Thanks to Jeff Cummins)
This Sunday's Points of View on BBC1 will feature a brief on the TARDIS in the new series... a question about whether or not it'll be in the shape of a London police box! The program airs on June 13 at 3:45pm. (Thanks to David Brider)
Issue #69 of Time Space Visualiser, the journal of the New Zealand Doctor Who Fan Club (and one of the best DW fanzines still in print today, in our opinion!) is out and features Rob Shearman's episode by episode critique of Season 21, Paul Cornell's experiences writing Scream of the Shalka on his New Zealand honeymoon, Fan video productions in New Zealand, Invasion of the Dinosaurs reappraised - with the aid of diagrams, The Horns of Nimon gets taken Beyond the Sofa, Andrew Pixley documents cut script extracts from The Daleks' Master Plan, the full results of the TSV 40th anniversary survey, reviews of the latest DVDs, audios and books and much more. For ordering details go towww.doctorwho.org.nz. (Thanks to Paul Scoones)
Updates on two forthcoming books from Mad Norwegian Press. The re-release of Lawrence Miles' Dead Romance, originally printed by Virgin as part of the New Adventures series, will be this August, not October as we had previously reported. And due to work on another project, MNP has delayed the release of I, Who 4 to "sometime in 2005"; the book is the fourth in their series examining Doctor Who fiction, both printed (Virgin, BBC Books, Telos) and audio (Big Finish, BBV). (Thanks to Lars Pearson)
The play Forever Mine, a black comedy fantasy written by Rob Shearman, the popular Doctor Who audio dramatist and writer of one of the forthcoming episodes of the new series, will be broadcast on Radio Four on Monday June 14 at 2:15pm. The radio play stars Richard Briers ("Paradise Towers"), Pauline Collins, Janie Dee and Jane Goddard, and is directed by Martin Jarvis ("Vengeance on Varos"). Check it out! (Thanks to Rob Shearman)
The new MP3-CD release of Death Comes to Time, which went on sale on June 7, has a technical fault that apparently has been noticed and will be rectified in a second printing. "There is a slight problem with the first pressing which computer users may spot when watching Episode Three of the original animated version," says the press release from the BBC Radio Collection, "everything grinds to a halt three quarters of the way through. This is a technical glitch, which has now been solved, and the second pressing - due at the end of June - will be bug-free. If you're dissatisfied with your disc and would like to have it exchanged, you can contact BBC Audio customer services on tel. 01225 443400, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Meanwhile, the problem with Episode 3 can be circumnavigated by selecting the 'Play All' option, in which the whole episode plays well. Range editor Michael Stevens said, 'We're very sorry about this hiccup. Joseph Conrad wrote that it's only those who do nothing that make no mistakes, and according to James Joyce errors are the portals of discovery. Here at BBC Audio, we say 'Hear, hear' - and add an epithet of our own. 'When adventuring with Doctor Who in the frontiers of technology, there's always a lull in Episode Three!'" (Thanks to Laura Burch at BBC Audiobooks)
The June 8 edition of the web magazine lowculture features an article about how "Doctor Who is about to become cool! Not the shonky old version where everything was made out of egg boxes and bubble wrap, of course (although we still think that was a little bit cool). We mean the new one, the one they're about to start filming in Wales with Christopher Eccleston and (shriek!) Billie Piper." There are the usual facts and lots of comments about such, most of which are quite positive. (Please note: the language and terminology used are definitely for adults only!) (Thanks to Paul Condon)
The Fashion section of the Weekend Magazine in this past Saturday's Western Mail featured an article called "Dr. Who's Back in Fashion" about various Doctor Who fashions over the years, comparing various previous companions with the fashion sense of new companion Billie Piper. "It is the fantastic costumes of some of the Doctor's female companions which really stick in your mind," says writer Claire Hill. "Well, they do have to compete with the Doctor's multi-coloured scarf." Pictures of Piper along with such former assistants as Bonnie Langford, Louise Jameson and Sophie Aldred are featured. (Thanks to John Campbell Rees)
As promised, Outpost Gallifrey is able to reveal the cover illustration for the forthcoming Howe's Transcendental Toybox: 2003 Update by David Howe and Arnold T. Blumberg, the guide to Doctor Who merchandise and collectibles. Click on the cover for a larger version (the full wraparound cover.) The 2003 update, as we previously noted, covers all material from that year and updates the previous release of the "Toybox" book, instead of a mere reprint of the same volume. We hope to have a special preview of the book up at OG soon! (Thanks to David Howe)
A recent posting by one of the hosts on the BBC Four message boards confirms that Episode 1 of The Web of Fear, the classic Patrick Troughton serial in which said episode is the only extant segment of the story, may be broadcast as part of the forthcoming Sixties Season event on BBC4 on June 26. "We are attempting to clear The Web of Fear, but it's not been confirmed yet; we're trying," said the forum host. We know that the Restoration Team recently lent out a cleaned up episode to be transferred for broadcast; meanwhile, the Sixties Season section of the BBC Four website has had a Cyberman as part of that particular week's lineup, but no confirmation of a Doctor Who story as yet. We'll keep you posted. (Thanks to Barry Piggott)
According to ABC Shop Online, The Green Death will be out on DVD in Australia (and presumably New Zealand) in August 2004, a mere two months after its UK release. Pyramids of Mars has just been released there as well.Update: June 10: The Australian release date is August 5 but the New Zealand release date is September 2. (Thanks to David Dungey, Paul Scoones)
The Scotsman interviewed Steven Moffat, creator of "Coupling" and a writer of the forthcoming first season of the new Doctor Who series. Moffat discusses writing for the new show, including the controversial topic of sex in the TARDIS. "There always was," Moffat says. "Patrick Troughton had pretty girl, and boy, assistants, both in skirts. Russell is quite keen on an element of sexiness and, anyway, all TV now is cast with this question high up the list: do we want to go to bed with these characters? But that will never be the central element of Doctor Who. The show is still about saving the universe. You canÆt be thinking about lovey-dovey stuff when thereÆs that level of jeopardy involved." And there's even a hint of dialogue: "Doctor, no! ... " Ur, right. You can read the full interview at the Scotsman website.
Outpost Gallifrey has received both the cover illustration and cover blurb for the forthcoming BBC Books novel The Sleep of Reason by Martin Day, due in August. The blurb itself is more detailed than the earlier short-list blurb we posted from amazon.co.uk (and gives slightly less of the plot away!) Day sent us a scan of the tentative cover illustration (it will likely be the final version, but could possibly include minor changes as it goes to press); click on the thumbnail at right for a larger version. (Thanks to Martin Day)
The Sleep of Reason, by Martin Day
The near future: a man in a psychiatric hospital claims to be an alien time-traveller called 'the Doctor'. He once adventured across countless galaxies, fighting evil.
The past: an asylum struggles to change Victorian attitudes to the mentally ill. It catches fire in mysterious circumstances.
Now: a young woman takes an overdose and slips into a coma. She dreams of Death falling like a shroud over a benighted gothic building.
Caroline 'Laska' Darnell is admitted to the Retreat after her latest suicide attempt. To her horror, she recognises the medical centre from recent of an old building haunted by a ghostly dog with glowing eyes. She knows that something is very wrong with the institute. Something, revelling in madness, is growing ever stronger.
The mysterious Dr Smith is fascinated by Laska's waking dreams and prophetic nightmares. But if Laska is unable to trust her own perceptions, can she trust Dr Smith?
And, all the while, the long-dead hound draws near...
The next issue of Doctor Who Magazine, #345 interviews Russell T Davies on his quest to find "the perfect new companion for Christopher Eccleston's Doctor: 'It wasn't exactly the search for Scarlett O'Hara, but it was close! Billie Piper was perfect - shining and clever and independent...'" Also, new script editors Elwen Rowlands and Helen Raynor are interviewed and Davies discusses the "tone" of the new series ("and you can find out which episode contains the words 'zig-zag,' 'Hannibal' and 'decanter'!"); a tribute to Master actor Anthony Ainley; the final episode of the current comic strip, "Sins of the Fathers," conclusion of the series examining the workings of the Doctor's TARDIS, an interview with the series' first director Waris Hussein, part five of "Marco Polo" in telesnap form, and the usual news, views and previews. DWM 345 is on sale on June 24. (Thanks to Clayton Hickman)
New series concept artist Bryan Hitch spoke to the readers of the Outpost Gallifrey forum today and made some comments about the current state of affairs on the new series. "Ed [Thomas, series designer] and I attached to the project around the same time in very early pre production and we've both been active on the game for about six weeks to two months," Hitch posted. "The crew is all set (just about) and major design work with the whole design team has been running about a month. A series this ambitious doesn't get done quickly and something as iconic as the TARDIS design is a lengthy process of approvals (though it actually went swimingly.) And to clarify, as Production Designer Ed's genius is employed in overseeing and coordinating the overall visual scope of the series from locations, costumes, lighting, set construction and of course design. He's a member of staff, I'm freelance. As Russell puts it, I'm more of a "consultant" who rushes into meetings, flings ideas and sketches at anyone and everyone and runs out leaving folks scratching their heads and looking shell shocked. I do have specific design duties such as the TARDIS set and other key wonders I can't say anything about. And the TARDIS is looking just doozy." Hitch also mentioned that, from all the speculation in the OG Forum, what he's seeing on the new show "is beyond all of your expectations. There as never been a more visually ambitious show made in this country and the BBC has never done anything like this before. I'm not teasing here either, Russell has it nailed." Finally, a joke about the TARDIS: "We are going for something completely different this time around by making the TARDIS much smaller on the inside than on the outside, sort of a novelty really; inside it will be the size of a poodle kennel." Or is it? Time will tell! (Our thanks to Bryan Hitch)
According to today's Daily Record, Sylvester McCoy, our beloved seventh Doctor, has "threatened to chain himself to the BBC's gates in London to make them broadcast Still Game nationally." He's referring to the Scottish TV comedy series that isn't networked across the UK, created by Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill. Says the Scotsman McCoy, "'I find it completely incomprehensible why this series has not been shown down here. It is very well written and visually very funny. I can't understand it. There's no excuse. The BBC are desperately looking for good stuff and there is not one ounce of doubt that this is brilliant comedy." Read the full article by clicking here. (Thanks to Paul Engelberg)
New Doc Christopher Eccleston is a featured player in "Crossing the Dark Sea", a 30-minute play on BBC Radio 4, 23:30 [BST] on Saturday 5th June. Eccleston plays the role of soldier Alec. The program should also (hopefully!) be available on the Radio 4 web-site for playing at any time during the following week at www.bbc.co.uk/radio4. (Thanks to Tom Boon)
The cover illustration for Synthespians™, this summer's BBC novel by Craig Hinton with the Sixth Doctor and Peri, is now online. Outpost Gallifrey previously brought you the cover blurb in late April; it's on the releases page. Click on the thumbnail at right for a larger version of the cover.
At right is the cover illustration for the forthcoming novel Warlords of Utopia by Lance Parkin, the next chapter in the Faction Paradox novel series (based on the Faction characters and situations created by Lawrence Miles in the BBC Doctor Who novel series). The cover is once again by Steve Johnson, who has been the series' regular illustrator. Click on the thumbnail for a larger version. (Thanks to Lars Pearson)
Tenth Planet has provided us the cover illustration for the forthcoming Dalek Empire: The Scripts book from Big Finish, featuring the complete scripts for their popular Dalek Empire series. The cover illustration is a full wrap-around (although we're told that the fonts on the back cover may change by press time); click the thumbnail for a larger version.
Award-winning comics artist Bryan Hitch, the man behind titles such as The Authority and The Ultimates and winner of last yearÆs SFX Reader Award for Best Comic Book, is the concept artist for the new series. Says Russell T Davies, "This is entirely thanks to SFX. The Head of Drama at the BBC had talked about getting a concept artist right from the start, so we were already beginning to think about it. Then out of the blue Nick Setchfield at SFX got in touch, saying that Bryan Hitch had heard about the new series of Doctor Who and wanted to help. Now, IÆm an old comics fan... and I couldnÆt believe this was the Bryan Hitch. IÆve got the Ultimates collection, and that beautiful hardback of The Authority. ItÆs just brilliant... I showed Julie and Phil [producers Julie Gardner and Phil Collinson] the comics, they went mental, we summoned the Hitch, and here we are... Now Bryan can give us concepts and wild ideas to spark us off in new directions. Thank you SFX, itÆs really appreciated!ö Hitch will be in charge of the signature look of the new series, working alongside production designer Edward Thomas; the two will develop the TARDIS interior, new aliens and technology for the series. Hitch's previous Doctor Who work was a one-issue comic strip in DWM 139 and the cover for Mad Norwegian's "I, Who 2". More details are in the new SFX, due out June 9. (Thanks to SFX Magazine)
Telos Publishing has sent Outpost Gallifrey the official pre-press release for the forthcoming Howe's Transcendental Toybox Update 1, the 2003 supplement for the bestselling guide to Doctor Who merchandise and collectibles. We mentioned that Telos was publishing this yesterday, and publisher David Howe kindly sent us the release (below) about the forthcoming book, due out in September. Meanwhile, Telos has updated their website with the cover illustrations for the next three installments of the Time Hunter series, the spinoff novella series which features characters and situations from the Doctor Who novella "The Cabinet of Light"; you can find them, and the book blurbs, on our Releases page. (Thanks to David Howe)
HOWE'S TRANSCENDENTAL TOYBOX: UPDATE Number 1: THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO 2003 MERCHANDISE
David J Howe and Arnold T Blumberg present the definitive collectorÆs guide to Doctor Who merchandise. From the rare and obscure to the commonplace and disposable, every facet of Doctor WhoÆs penetration into the marketplace is detailed.
This update volume covers all the items released in the 40th anniversary year, 2003, and also contains updates to the main book, as well as market reports and comments from both the people who produce the merchandise and the people who sell it à HoweÆs Transcendental Toybox is both a fascinating tour through the many ways that Doctor Who has been presented and an entertaining guide to the world of Doctor Who collecting.
* Product descriptions * Black and white photographs of the majority of items * Market report from both the manufacturers and the sellers * Overview of 2003
The book covers Doctor Who merchandise around the world, including items released in America, New Zealand and Australia as well as the many UK-produced items.
104pp approx. A5 paperback. ISBN 1-903889-57-X (pb) ú7.99 UK $8.95 US $11.95 CAN PUB: SEPTEMBER 2004 (UK) JANUARY 2005 (US/CAN)
Someone's in the kitchen! Nicola Bryant and Sylvester McCoy will be appearing together on June 4 at 9pm on ITV's popular reality series "Hell's Kitchen," the celebrity cooking challenge, as celebrity diners at the restaurant where contestants are competing to win. And speaking of Nicola Bryant, check out her new official website. (Thanks to Gary Finney)
According to the Galaxy 4 retail store, the originally planned BBC Radio Collection CD release of The Crusade starring William Hartnell has been postponed to 2005, instead of this August as originally planned. Update: According to Play.com, the release of "Crusade" is slated for February 7, 2005.The Underwater Menace is also a likely release for the first half of next year. (Thanks to Galaxy 4, Gary Reed)
According to Amazon.co.uk, an update supplement to Telos Publishing's Howe's Transcendental Toybox will be out in September, and will feature "all items released worldwide in the anniversary year 2003, as well as main updates to the book, market reports and comments." Also listed at Amazon is a book entitled Doctor Who Error Finder: Plot, Continuity, And Production Mistakes In The Television Series And Films by R.H. Langley, due out in September from McFarland & Company Publishing. (Thanks to Planet Who)
Magic Bullet Productions, producers of the "Kaldor City" audio spinoff range, have added another series to their list: the Faction Paradox Chronicles. BBV has announced that they have ceased production of the FP line (though they retain the rights to continue selling the first six, already released). The Faction Paradox audio series features adventures using the time-travelling 'voodoo cult' first created by author Lawrence Miles in the BBC Books Doctor Who series; in addition to this ongoing audio series, Mad Norwegian publishes an independent comic series using the characters and situations. There is no word on whether the same cast from the BBV audios will continue under the Magic Bullet banner.
As announced at TV Shows on DVD, the forthcoming release of Pyramids of Mars in North America will once again feature the infamous Howard DaSilva 'introductions' as a separate extra. This is the fourth DVD release to contain the extra item, which compiles the introductions and voiceovers provided by actor Howard DaSilva when the series was first syndicated to PBS stations in the late 1970's; they've been cleaned up or, in some cases, entirely reconstructed from Betamax tapes and audio recordings, as the original masters no longer exist. "Pyramids of Mars" is due out on September 7. (Thanks to David Lambert at TV Shows on DVD)
The Sunday Mirror on May 30 published an article entitled "Tardis Girls Who Just Disappeared" which notes how most of the various Doctor Who female companions over the years have apparently "disappeared". It discusses several of the ladies in order of their appearance, starting with the late Jacqueline Hill, although it really doesn't add any insight on what they've done since they were in the series. The same day, the Mirror printed an article called "Watch It Billie, Curse of Dr. Who Ruined My Life" which features comments from Lalla Ward about her history with the show, her one-time marriage to Tom Baker, and advice to new companion Billie Piper. About Ward, says the article, "And now she says that she wishes that she'd never set foot in the Tardis. Afterwards, like many of the assistants in the hit BBC1 series she became typecast and virtually unemployable on TV. .... And Lalla, assistant to Tom's scarf-wearing hippy version from 1979 to 1981, had some timely advice for her. 'Billie should bear in mind that the show is very hard work - and she could easily become typecast. All the girls had the same problem, you came out of it feeling you had to prove you weren't just the Time Lord's floozy.'" Of course, Ward does mention a fringe benefit: "I'd never have met either husband if I hadn't been in the series," referring to both Baker and her current husband, Richard Dawkins. The Mirror also held a strange comment that day: "Well done to Billie Piper, just confirmed as the new Doctor Who girl. Isn't she married to his brother Chris?" Very curious... Update: A lot of our readers have written us about this comment, i.e. husband Chris Evans being related to him... as in "Chris Who?" A very poor joke to be sure.
May 31's Sunday Express interviewed Sylvia Young, drama teacher of Billie Piper. "Sitting here looking through her file, every report from every teacher said she was brilliant, " Young told the Express. "In one, when she was in Year Eight and just 13 years old, a drama coach described her as 'very talented, indeed potentially brilliant'. He went on to say that she had an incredible comedic talent, too. This is one of the hardest kinds of acting, and Billie excelled." Young then makes a comparison with Piper and another star, calling her Britain's answer to Nicole Kidman! "She was without doubt of National Theatre quality. From the second she stepped into our school for her first audition, I knew there was something special about her. There wasn't an area she was weak in, she just did very well all round. Teachers always noted her application, her talent and her wide repertoire. We always knew that her real talent lay in acting. She only got into the singing side by mistake."
The May 28 Express and Echo interviewed Mary Tamm, which mentions her current stage acting work in this summer's run of "Mixed Feelings" at the Theatre Royal in Plymouth, and also briefly, both the classic and the new Doctor Who series. "When Mary appeared in the cult children's show in the 1970s, Tom Baker was the doctor. Together they fought blood-sucking rocks which were roaming the English countryside in Stones of Blood and contended with a killer queen, a space pirate and a robot parrot in Pirate Planet. She admits that being associated with the show is something of a blessing - and a curse. 'Actors crave recognition and then when we get it we don't always like it! But it is nice for people to ask for your autograph.'" Tamm on the new show: "I don't know whether the new Dr Who is going to be as child orientated as it used to be."
The Sun on May 31 features an article which says that the metal band Slipknot may be remaking the theme tune... although, it looks like just a quest for publicity for the band. Yet the article says that the "BBC are interested in getting them involved. ... It turns out the nine-strong nu-metal band are obsessed with the time travelling doctor." Says drummer Joey Jordison, "I'm so excited Doctor Who's coming back. It's a great show, wild and exciting. I watched it as a kid and it freaked me out. I'm 29 now and it was only a couple of years ago that I figured out what was going on." The article mentions that "Slipknot are such Doctor Who anoraks they have even dedicated Prelude, a track on new album Volume3 (The Subliminal Verses), to the show." The article was picked up by several syndicates such as World Entertainment News and Ananova.
BBC News' online 'Magazine' section includes a 'Faces of the Week' report every Friday; last week included a summaryof the Billie Piper story.
The Observer's Radio Choice article on May 30 lauded Christopher Eccleston's turn in "Crossing the Dark Sea" on Radio 4. "Christopher Eccleston brings his customary passion to the part of a wartime squaddie crossing the Channel."