Wednesday, 30 March 2005

Monday, Tuesday Coverage


March 30, 2005  •  Posted By Shaun Lyon
As previously reported Doctor Who was the big winner on Saturday night: the final numbers out for the top twelve Saturday night programs note that the show received 9.94411 million viewers, a 43.20% share of the audience, and at times peaked up to 10.5 million. The show's competition, ITV's "Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway" received a 31.38% share with 7.17512 million viewers to be the night's third highest rating program, after "Casualty" (with 7.45706 million viewers/33.21% share).

Also, Doctor Who: A New Dimension scored great ratings for its timeslot and genre; the 5.25pm documentary that aired on BBC1, produced by the same people as "Doctor Who Confidential," received a 26.08% share with 4.05670 million viewers, number eleven on the night's viewing charts.

Meanwhile, BBC3 scored a big night with their broadcast of Doctor Who Confidential, which according to ViewingFigures received 820,630 viewers (or 5.45% audience share). The numbers are said to be "huge" for a documentary on BBC3. BBC's Sunday night repeat of "Rose," the first episode of the new series, scored 484,020 viewers (or a 3.51% share).

With the imminent broadcast of the new series in Canada, the Canadian edition of TV Guide Magazine, the most widely-read magazine in North America, carries Doctor Who on its front cover. Click on the thumbnail at right for a larger version of the cover. Meanwhile, the Canada.com website has an article about the show; nothing really noteworthy beyond a vague description on how the Daleks have been updated in their look, and Phil Collinson stating that he thinks the series must be "adapted to the times."

Italy is the latest confirmation as a broadcaster of the new series, as a story in today's Media Guardian makes note that "the programme has been sold to CBC in Canada, Prime TV in New Zealand and Sky Italia's entertainment channel Jimmy." It also mentions Australia in the article: "Production sources said that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, which is currently broadcasting every Doctor Who episode since the beginning, would shortly buy the series after it has viewed all 13 completed episodes."

The official Doctor Who website now has the trailer for episode 2, The End of the World, on their site; click here for the media player to watch it. They've also made some, er, changes to their "Who is Doctor Who" site... the page "formerly" run by Clive from the first episode. Go to the front page of the Doctor Who site, and look next to Billie Piper's hands for a secret entrance to Clive's site.

Doctor Who Uncovered is a radio program to be broadcast after the BBC3 repeat of "The Unquiet Dead" on Sunday, April 10 at 7.45pm. The program lasts 15 minutes (running to 8pm). There's currently no word on the content of the program.

More broadcasting updates: Christopher Eccleston is scheduled to be a guest on "The Heaven and Earth show" on BBC1 at 10.30am on Sunday, April 3. One day earlier, on Saturday April 2, the CBBC Channel will be doing a feature behind the scenes on "End of the World" at 15.50 on the programme "Newsround Showbiz".

The new edition of Radio Times (2û8 April) is published today and continues its heavy promotion of the new series. Once again, Doctor Who is at the head of the recommended viewing for the week (page 4), with a small picture of Jabe and a brief description: "Rose learns the hard way on her first time-travel trip with the Doctor in this fresh, funny romp. Bizarre aliens ahoy, including Jabe." On page 10, there is a letter from a viewer complaining that the Mastermind special was won by the contestant with the lowest score in the Doctor Who round ("I was horrified..."). This week's big "Doctor Who Watch" feature runs on pages 12 to 15 and goes behind the scenes on creating the various aliens for episode 2, with comments from Phil Collinson, Neill Gorton, Davy Jones and Lucinda Wright, as well as eight colour photographs. (There's also coverage of both Quatermass and Casanova, featuring Mark Gatiss and David Tennant.) Saturday's televison pick of the day is illustrated with the Face of Boe, and a write-up that mentions that no preview tape was available, "so we can't tell you whether the promise of the excellent thrilling opener is realised and sustained." The listing for the episode (which includes a credit for Camille Coduri as Jackie Tyler) at 7pm has another alien's mugshot. The listing for Doctor Who Confidential says that "the focus is on the memorable monsters from the past 40 years of the show". UKTV Gold is listed as showing The Creature from the Pit and Nightmare of Eden in its weekend omnibus slots; BBC1's Heaven and Earth Show (Sunday, 10.30am) has an interview with Christopher Eccleston; BBC4 is reshowing its Fantasy 60s documentary, which deals briefly with Doctor Who, at 11.40pm on Saturday. Finally, on Monday 4, at 5pm, Blue Peter on BBC1 shows "how to make a Dalek out of a garden compost bin."

Heat magazine have more support for the new series in their new issue. In the Picks for Saturday night they have a joint pick for Doctor Who and Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway: "Doctor Who/Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, BBC1, 7pm/ITV1, 6.45pm. Now that you've seen the first episode of Doctor Who, or made your mind up sight-unseen on whether it's your particular cup of Saturday-evening tea, the nation can divide itself into Who people or Ant people - so to speak. We could all just use our videos or Sky+, but we don't all have time to press confusing buttons. On BBC1, it's the year five billion AD and someone's using spider-things to bump off the alien spectators who have gathered to watch the sun explode and destroy the earth. Will the Doctor and Rose sort it out in time? On ITV1 it's 2005 AD and Emma Bunton is stitched up like a blonde, musical kipper on Ant and Dec Undercover, Ainsley Harriott joins in the Grab the Ads fun in the studio and And and Dec go head-to-head in Kirsty Gallacher's Ant versus Dec challenge from last week. Not to mention the weekly treat that is Little Ant and Dec's celeb interview. Make your choice now! "

Fans on the air: Timothy Farr of TIMELESS (the DWAS local group South Wales) and Julia Raysight of the Guardian were on the BBC Radio Wales morning programme "Good Morning Wales" at 8:55am chatting about the success of the weekend. Also, on BBC Radio Five Live, Nicky Campbell and Shelagh Fogerty discussed the series on their "Breakfast" show with Boyd Hilton, edtitor of Heat Magazine, at 8:55am. Its around 02:51:00 in on Radio 5 Live's Listen Again Service (Monday). And the Preston Doctor Who group in England appeared on BBC Radio Lancashire today to review the first episode. The 20 minute segment formed part of the Ben Thompson show at 2.15pm. It was a follow-up appearance to a show in December 2004, again discussing Doctor Who.

Monday's issue of the Daily Express has yet more coverage of the new series. A quarter-page photo of a smiling Billie Piper on the front cover is captioned: ôBILLIE HELPS YOU KNOW WHO WIN THE RATINGS WARö, promoting a full-page feature on page three which covers the ratings victory. The page three headline is ôBillie the Whizz Kidö with ôDr Who wins Saturday night TV ratings warö. The article is accompanied by a large photo of Billie, a smaller inset photo of Chris and Billie from the second promo photo, and a picture of Ant and Dec. Amusingly itÆs a recent photo of the ITV pair (Dec has his arm in a sling from a recent injury) and is captioned ôLOSING OUT: Ant and Dec were TV warÆs casualtiesö. Perhaps a little unfairly though, the article compared Doctor WhoÆs peak figure with Ant and DecÆs average, saying: ôITV wheeled out a line-up of celebrities, including soccer star David Beckham, but the BBC pulled in an audience of 10.5 million compared with Ant and DecÆs Saturday Night Takeaway at 7.2 million.ö On page 13, the paperÆs TV reviewer Charlie Catchpole gives the episode a glowing review, his only complaint being the new arrangement of the theme tune. The review is headlined ôThis Doctor is the right prescriptionö, and his comments include: ôThe Tardis has landed. The Doctor is among us and allÆs well with the world. Or pretty much all. Christopher Eccleston makes a marvellous new Doctor Whoà The special effects are dazzling, the script by Russell T Davies is sharp and wittyà The opening episode was perfectly in tune with the showÆs traditions but it could just as easily have stood alone.ö Then on page 24, the newspaper has its top 10 ôOK Magazine Celebrity Chartö, with Christopher Eccleston equalling his No. 2 position from the week he was cast as the Doctor last year, and Billie going straight in at No. 3 (they must be so proud, eh?). The write up for Chris is ôThe Salford-born actor is showered with praise as he brings Doctor Who back to television screens as the ninth Timelord.ö And for Billie: ôThere is praise too for Billie, who plays Doctor WhoÆs companion Rose û with critics impressed by Chris EvansÆ estranged wifeÆs acting talent.ö They were both beaten out by David Beckham at No. 1. Interestingly, the Daily Expres also quoted from a review posted at Outpost Gallifrey by David Farmbrough (using the words 'Billie's performance is spot-on, and very easy on the eye' from it) to indicate that fan reaction to her has been positive.

Monday's Times had a bottom-page panel with a pic of Piper and Eccleston and the headline "Happy landing" and sub-heading "New Doctor Who wins acclaim - and an audience", directing readers to page nine where it was the page lead under the headline "Who's the daddy as 10m find time to see the Doctor". Readers were also invited to e-mail their comments on the subject "Is Dr Who the way forward for the BBC?" to debate@thetimes.co.uk - a section (separate to the Letters page) where readers' views are printed. In today's debate@thetimes.co.uk section, the invite is repeated, albeit worded slightly differently, saying "What do you think of the new Dr Who?" - the responses will appear in the next day or two. Page 20 of The Times also had a cartoon utilising a Dalek chanting "Exterminate" inside Conservative HQ while someone exclaims "Crisis? What crisis?"; it's a comment on the latest Conservative party turmoil and borrowing a phrase misattributed to former Labour premier Jim Callaghan - whose death was announced straight after Rose had aired on Saturday. By one of those strange Doctor Who-world coincidences, when Callaghan (who was born in Portsmouth - where I'm writing this) was ennobled in 1987, he became Lord Callaghan of Cardiff, which, of course, nobody needs reminding is where the new series was made! Reviewing the weekend's TV in The Times, Paul Hoggart gave the show a definite thumbs-up, calling it "a joyful, exuberant reinvention".

Monday's Daily Star made the show's ratings triumph against Ant and Dec its page one splash, with the full story on page six. It was the lead piece in a two-page feature that also had two other (non-DW) programme-related stories. The headline, stretching across pages six and seven, was "Who's The Daddy!" and the strap was "New look Doctor makes dummies out of Ant 'n Dec as the fans go wild for a trip in the Tardis and another monster showdown". There was a positive review by Peter Dyke and a negative one by Iain Burchell. There was also a preview pic story for episode two that mentioned Rose likening Cassandra to Michael Jackson because of the number of cosmetic ops she's had! (I don't think that counts as a spoiler, does it?) Charlie Catchpole's piece in the Express is repeated - with a slight edit - on page 15 in the Star (both newspapers are owned by the same organisation).

Many other new series episode reviews have been published the past two days, including at the following sites: The Great LinkicWales, the Mirror (a very negative review, sadly), Leeds TodayLogicvoiceBlogcritics, two articles in the Times here and here, and the MediaGuardian. Other papers such as the Leicester Mercury and Daily Express also carried printed reviews.

Several papers have run stories about the wide variety of merchandise marketing that will be done, including some quotes of up to 70 pieces of merchandise for the new Doctor Who series alone: Daily RecordMediaGuardian (also noted for its broadcast info, above), and Telegraph (with another story here).

Lots of additional coverage of the ratings for the first episode: Times Online ("Who's the Daddy?"), the Mirror("Decterminate"), icWalesSky NewsIGNRealityTVWorld (also here as well), Brand Republic, the New York TimesExpress NewslineThis is LondonExpress and StarMediaWeekYabedoLeeds Today,Monsters and CriticsDeHavillandSydney Morning HeraldInTheNews and ContactMusic.

Some general articles germaine to the new series: The Western Mail ran an article about the various locations used in the shooting of the episode "Rose". Yorkshire Today ran some of Christopher Eccleston's comments from previous papers. The Sun ran a brief version of its paper story on a burnt up police box! And BBC News ran an article about a "Tardis builder [who] awaits new Daleks".

The April issue of the horror magazine Rue Morgue (the one with "The Amityville Horror" on the cover) is on newsstands now and contains an extensive article on Doctor Who examining the classic seriesÆ relationship to the horror genre, with particular attention to the Hinchcliffe-Holmes era, written by our correspondent Joe O'Brien. You can find out more at the website.

BBC Radio 4 still has "The Now Show" available on their 'listen again' feature. From 2 minutes to 3 minutes in they sing a nice acoustic ditty called 'Call me during Dr Who and I'll kill you...'

And finally... The Sun on Tuesday still reckons Doctor Who makes good copy, for it carries a woeful tale (apparently an exclusive) about Washington DC fan Richard Briggs, 47, who flew over to recover a plywood Tardis said to have been used by the BBC in 1983 and left behind after filming at Plas Brondanw, north Wales (presumably during the Five Doctors shoot) - only to discover that the gardener who had been keeping it in his shed had got fed up with it and dumped it on a bonfire two weeks beforehand. Story was accompanied by a pic of Briggs and a mock-up of, er, what a police box would look like if being consumed by flames. (Presumably readers' imaginations needed that bit of extra help.)

(Thanks to Paul Engelberg, Steve Tribe, Paul Hayes, Chuck Foster, John Bowman, Mike Doran, Graeme Burk, David Farmbrough, Joe OÆBrien, Robin Shannon, Michael Luchka, Paul Wheeler, Mick Snowden, Tim Harrison, Jonathan Massey, Macfadyan, Peter Nolan, Ken Moss, Robert Booth, Mustafa Hirji, David Brodie, Andy Davidson, and Liam Burch for the TV Guide scan)