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3/25/2005 03:44:00 am - Reported by Shaun Lyon

March 25, 2005  •  Posted By Shaun Lyon
BBC Radio Wales' flagship breakfast show, Good Morning Wales will feature a short item previewing the new series and interviewing a local fan sometime between 7.15 and 8.30am UK time on Saturday, 26th March 2005.

The Evening Gazette has an interview with new series writer Mark Gatiss. "I didn't sleep for a week after the announcement it was coming back," Gatiss is quoted. "I thought if they don't ask me to write an episode, I'll have to shoot myself. Then Russell called and asked if I would like to do it. The 'it' was the big challenge. Because I'd talked to so many people over so many years about how would you tell a story about the Doctor. I wanted to avoid my story becoming an exercise in nostalgia for the show. But then Russell gave all of the writers vague storylines to work on. I was hoping I'd get the historical storyline and I did." The article also features a brief history of Doctor Who.

BBC South East Wales contacted us to let us know about their special Doctor Who section. "Our site has pictures and background information about the locations in South East Wales where the new series was filmed. We'll be adding detailed location guides and photogalleries as the series progresses."

BBC News today features an article that states that "thanks to Doctor Who, blue police boxes topped with flashing police lights became a national icon during the 1960s." The article goes into the history of the police box and its use in the show, including the new series.

Our correspondent went to the recording of tonight's Friday Night with Jonathan Ross show that featured Christopher Eccleston. There are going to be several spoilers in terms of clips on this show this evening, we're warned, as such: "The aliens running around number 10 - hitting people - the space ship crashing into the Thames - the infamous 'can you stop farting whilst I am trying to save the world' line - the captured Dalek shouting to exterminate the Doctor - the dragon creatures from Father's Day, a shot of Victorian characters being taken over, Gas masked zombies and The Doctor with Charles Dickens - asking who he was 'just a traveller - passing through' - etc." As he tells us, "Also, they get out the prototype toys on sale for next Christmas - they play with the sonic screwdriver and a Chris action figure (could be a talking Doc) it looked that size etc. He had the new gold remote Dalek from the series too (but sadly that never came out and stayed at the side of the desk). The interview was really good - Chris was extremely relaxed and having a nice time. JR took the general mickey about a scally manc Doctor and the size of Chris's ears - all of which was taken in very good humour by Chris. Jonathan did hassle him about how long he was planning on staying in the role and he did not let him off lightly - despite Chris's insistence about only being signed for a year."

The "Video clips" section of the official Doctor Who website now has interviews with script editor and former BBC1 controller (and our hero) Lorraine Heggessey. They're in the Video Diaries section of the Media Player, as "Script Editor" and "The Exec". The player also contains The 60s, the first of three musical tours through the show's history (formerly known, when they've been shown at UK conventions as "The Doctor Who Years").

Today's Guardian "enters the time-warped world of Doctor Who's assistants," with an article discussing the role of the companions. "Few appointments carry the gravitas of the role of Doctor Who's sidekick. Its social and cultural significance is perhaps on a par only with discovering which blue-blooded virgin the heir to the throne will choose to be his bride. With Doctor Who returning to our screens tomorrow after a 14-year absence, the nation will be forced to acquaint itself not only with a new incarnation of the Doctor, in the shape of Christopher Eccleston, but also a new accomplice, Rose Tyler, played by fledgling actor and former teen popstrel Billie Piper. But what can we expect? A continuing of the fine tradition of short skirts and screaming? Or could Piper change the role for ever?" The article quotes Clayton Hickman of DWM, David Howe of Telos Publishing, and Elisabeth Sladen. As Hickman notes: "Russell T Davies is into strong women. If you look at his earlier work, such as Bob and Rose and Queer as Folk, there's always a woman chaperoning the guys. So I don't think Billie will be hobbling down the corridor in high heels. ... Strong women is what you do now. You can't get away with a bit of totty on Doctor Who's arm anymore."

TV Zone Special #62 is out now, and features some nice Doctor Who content. The issue has interviews with Noel Clarke and Camille Coduri, and Lance Parkin talks about wrapping up the Eighth Doctor's fictional life in a special preview of The Gallifrey Chronicles. UK readers can visit the website here, while US readers have their own site here.

The Highbury and Islington Express discusses a party at the Printworks pub that states that "former doctors and stars of the cult series have been invited, along with hundreds of fans."

Yorkshire Today features an article with quotes from Christopher Eccleston. The Scotsman also features Eccleston comments, some re-run from articles in the recent past.

The Harveys furniture retail outlet has run a poll of the "Top 5 Most Frightening Moments" on British TV. Doctor Who weighs in at numbers two and five, with the Daleks and the Cybermen being on the list. The story is run in today'sScotsmanUTV,

Today's The Sun has tonight's "Friday Night with Jonathan Ross" on its "What to Watch Tonight" list today; Christopher Eccleston is on the show tonight. The Sun also notes today how stunning Billie is 'out of this world' while a second report has Billie as "Babe Of The Week". Also in today's Sun, a bit in their TV Biz about the mole being 'exterminated' from his job after leaking Rose on the Internet, and "Dr Whoo" on page 19 featuring a couple of stills from Unquiet Dead. There are several reports on the leak being stopped today, like other days, at the Register and Contact Music as well as a lengthy article at CNet News.

The Media Guardian is running a news report on this Saturday's ratings war between Doctor Who on BBC One and Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway on ITV. Says Timms: "Oxford will clashing oars with Cambridge this weekend and Ireland will be hoping to defeat Israel in the World Cup qualifier, but the struggle of truly galactic proportions will take place in living rooms across the UK on Saturday night." He goes on to outline the bookmakers' odds on which show will triumph, reporting: " 'Rather than wasting bets on sports events like the Boat Race, the smart money is going on whether Chris and Billie can pull in more viewers than Ant and Dec on ITV1, in a clash perhaps not seen since Jeremy Paxman took on Michael Howard and er... won. "What we are trying to weigh up is the BBC's endless plugging of Doctor Who against Ant and Dec's spoiler tactics of bringing in David Beckham," said bookmakers Paddy Power. "The BBC have been stuck in a time machine with their heavy promoting of the Time Lord's return while Ant and Dec are hitting back with an appearance from David Beckham." The result? Doctor Who is 1/2 while the ITV duo languish on 6/4. Despite all the free plugging and a significant marketing push, the Doctor and Rose face an uphill slog if they are going to overturn the sultans of Saturday night TV, who pulled in 8.2 million viewers last Saturday and 8.4 million the week before. And that's almost what Sporting Index, the darlings of high-rolling city punters, predict is going to happen. "The last price we had was that Doctor Who would attract 8.25 million," said Sporting Index's Bill Esdaile, before trading was suspended, perhaps because of the appearance of Beckham and Mariah Carey on Ant and Dec. But Blue Square is less bullish about Doctor Who, even given the added support of Graham Norton's new show Strictly Dance Fever, which will immediately precede the sci-fi series opener. "Even with all the press Doctor Who has generated, I still think Ant and Dec will win," said Blue Square, which makes Ant and Dec odds-on favourites at 1/3 and Doctor Who at 9/4. Those looking for a little more guidance before rushing out with their life savings may want to look at how the two shows are faring in terms of internet searches. According to web measurement specialist Hitwise, the pint-sized Geordies' share of online searches has fallen in the face of an intergalactic onslaught. Currently there are 50% more people looking for the phrase 'new Doctor Who' than searching for 'Ant and Dec.' "

DWAS's Antony Wainer was on BBC Radio Essex this morning on the Dave Monk show to talk about the series' return, and there were a few bits including a Russell T Davies interview on BBC Radio Wales's Nicola Heywood Thomas show.

The 25 March edition of the Yorkshire Post newspaper includes interviews with Christopher Eccleston and DWAS Coordinator Ian Wheeler. Wheeler also appeared on Radio York on the 25 March to promote the new series and will appear again on Monday 28th March to review the first episode.

The Winston Salem Journal in America features a mention of the new series in their TV Tidbits column. "Doctor Who will be making its return to television in Britain this weekend. But the enduring British science-fiction saga still hasn't found an American distributor," along with other comments about the program.

Today's Guardian covers the appointment of Peter Fincham as Controller of BBC One, and includes "advice" to him from various pundits, including John Whittingdale MP (the Conservative Party's spokesman on Culture): "It's a terribly important job - there's no shortage of programmes made by BBC1 which do not meet that public service remit. Less Fame Academy, certainly. And EastEnders is a whole different debate. I do, however, applaud the return of Doctor Who."

Tonight's Now Show (Friday March 25) features a number of Doctor Who gags as well as a new Doctor Who based song by comedy writer Mitch Benn. It goes out on BBC Radio 4 at 18.30 GMT and is repeated tomorrow at 12.30, and will be available on BBC radio player after the Saturday repeat.

On Radio 2 this morning, DJ Richard Allinson was asking listeners to nominate their "scariest Doctor Who monster". Allinson's approach was somewhat jokey - some listeners took it seriously, others less so! Allinson excluded the Daleks because he wasn't convinced by them (and is surely one of the few people in the country still doing the "stairs" comment!) Among the nominees were Sutekh, the Sea Devils, Aggedor ("a hairy pig thing who lived in the dungeons of a castle"), Scaroth ("who was Julian Glover until he took his mask off, and then he was a wet privet hedge with one eye"), K-9, Bonnie Langford, and "Billie Piper's eyebrows."

In an editorial in this weeks New Musical Express, NME writer Dan Martin gets enthusiastic about the new series, explaining why Dr. Who is a "classic rock'n'roll star." Some highlights: "... British folklore feeds off our history of exploration, mad scientists, freaks and (yes) libertines ... in other words, the history of rock'n'roll. And so, therefore, does our sci-fi. Which makes our greatest, soon to be revived export the ultimate libertine and the most rock'n'roll TV character ever."; "He's a renegade timelord on a vigilante mission with a series of scantily-clad chicks"; "Whether it's John and Yoko's bed-in, Rickey Manic cutting 4-Real into his arm to prove a point to a journalist or Bono using his superfame to shame the G8 leaders, rock'n'roll history is a succession of colourful eccentrics, all on their own ridiculous missions to help good triumph over evil."; and "For the first time ever, Doctor Who is about to become cool. And there's nothing any of you f**kers can do about it! (evil laughter, to fade."

Frazer Hines was on BBC Look North for East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire last night at 6.30 talking about the new Doctor Who series, though we don't have any details.

The BBC's weekly Science and Nature e-mail newsletter, which describes recent articles on BBC Web sites relating to science and nature, also has a section listing highlights of science and nature programming on the BBC in the coming week. This week they've included Doctor Who as one of the "TV and Radio Choices" in among the documentary and factual programs.

Morning Ireland, the Irish version of Today, broadcast an item on the return of Doctor Who to the BBC on March 23. It didn't feature clips from the new show but did use clips from older episodes. The spot was mostly Irish fans memories of Dr Who plus some comments about hope for the new series. The show's website is here.

Finally, Choices Direct now has blurbs for the first two DVD set releases in the UK for the new series, as in the box below.

(Thanks to Steve Tribe, Paul Engelberg, Chuck Foster, Paul Hayes, Timothy Farr, Ian Wheeler, Neal Douglas, Bob Fischer, Dan McGrath, Daniel Blythe, Darren Kramble, David Shepherdson, Michael Blumenthal, Stephen Graves, Steve Freestone, Jamie Austin, Nathan "Obstreperous" and the BBC South East Wales team)

DVD Release #1: May 16

Doctor Who is back. With his seemingly inexhaustible spirit of adventure, the Time Lord makes a welcome return, in his ninth incarnation, as he continues to travel space and time meeting friends and enemies, both old and new. Written by Russell T Davies (Queer As Folk, Bob And Rose, Second Coming, Casanova), the show stars Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor. He is joined by Rose (Billie Piper), his new companion, who hopes to escape her unhappy life and prove her true worth. Contains three episodes. Rose - The Doctor and Rose meet and soon face trouble in the shape of the Autons. The End Of The World - The two travel to the year five billion where representatives from many different planets have gathered to commemorate the end of the world... The Unquiet Dead - Victorian Cardiff is their destination. Here they meet Charles Dickens as well as some spooky aliens.

DVD Release #2: June 13

Doctor Who is back. With his seemingly inexhaustible spirit of adventure, the Time Lord makes a welcome return, in his ninth incarnation, as he continues to travel space and time meeting friends and enemies, both old and new. Written by Russell T Davies (Queer As Folk, Bob And Rose, Second Coming, Casanova), the show stars Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor. He is joined by Rose (Billie Piper), his new companion, who hopes to escape her unhappy life and prove her true worth. Contains three episodes: Aliens Of London, World War Three and Dalek.