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4/10/2005 07:09:00 pm - Reported by Shaun Lyon


April 10, 2005 • Posted By Shaun Lyon
A slow news day (for once!)...

Episode three, "The Unquiet Dead", and its companion series Doctor Who Confidential (on BBC3), aired today. Preliminary ratings should be in tomorrow.

In "The Guide" this morning, The Guardian's listings magazine, the normally vituperative Charlie Brooker, in his "Screen Burn" column, finally turns its attention to Doctor Who. Says our correspondent Steve Tribe, "Everyone who reads Brooker's column does so in the knowledge that he will generally be more horrible to any show he deals with than any other reviewer; he's also the co-writer with Chris Morris of the recent Nathan Barley." Today, however, he has writen the following: "Before I go, a quick mention of Doctor Who (Sat, 7pm, BBC1), despite the blanket coverage the series has received elsewhere. Thing is, I simply can't stand by and let this week's episode, The Unquiet Dead, pass by without comment, for the following reason: I think it may be the single best piece of family-oriented entertainment BBC has broadcast in its entire history. It's clever, it's funny, it's exciting, it's moving, it's got shades of Nigel 'Quatermass' Kneale about it, it looks fantastic, and in places it's genuinely frightening. TV really doesn't get better than this, ever. Resistance is futile..." You can read the full review here. Another Guardian article indicates that Doctor Who is achieving some impressive penetration of the culture with the new series, rather than thirty-year-old gags about scarvesà

The Western Mail discusses Russell T Davies' recent serial "Mine All Mine," and notes that "He may be causing a stir with his scripts for Doctor Who but Russell T Davies has admitted that his last TV series proved to be a flop simply because it wasn't good enough." Says Davies: "People are always quick to blame the slot but when I found out when the first episode was going out I was dancing on air," as he spoke about his career at the Celtic Film and TV Festival in Cardiff yesterday. "It was the best possible start as we were up against nonsense on the other channels, including dull documentaries and a repeat. But it (Mine All Mine) still died - people started seeking out these dull documentaries!"

ITV1's Saturday children's magazine show, 'Ministry of Mayhem', featured a mad scientist sketch, featuring what was presumably his latest crazy creation: a sort of stretched web of skin on a rectangular frame, with a man's face poking through the middle (he was evidently just behind it, rather than CGI!). Yes, ITV is so impressed by the new series that they're doing instantly recognisable send-ups of Cassandra. Says Alex Wilcock, "Guess what they reckon all their Ministry of Mayhem audience watches on a Saturday night?"

A brief note in the Independent regarding the influence of the new series on the Doctor Who toys: "Television- and film-related items are particularly popular, especially if they are currently being aired. Dr Who toys are experiencing a revival, for example. A 1965 Daleks snowstorm with its original box recently made ú640 at a Vectis auction."

Issue #188 of the UKÆs TV Zone Magazine features an interview with Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper. Says Billie, on when she accepted the role of the DoctorÆs companion, "I didnÆt want to look at what had been, because weÆre dealing with a whole new thing. [Executive Producer Russell T. Davies] was very keen to make it contemporary, and deal with things that are occurring today. From what IÆve seen IÆve found that other Doctors and their assistants...I found it quite chauvinist at times, slightly patronizing. In this [series], theyÆre on a par, they work together through and through, and they celebrate each otherÆs brilliance and they educate each other." Eccleston adds that "thereÆs been no heroine out there for 8-to-12 year old girls, or women watching the programme û and weÆve now got one. [Rose] carries the series with me, we do it together. SheÆs a heroine û she saves his life in the first episode, she teaches him huge emotional lessons." When asked to pick his favourite villain in the series, Christopher chooses the Dalek, "because of the psychology that goes on between the Daleks and the Doctor. They know more than you all do about the DoctorÆs history, and they use it on him. ItÆs no so much the suckers and the lasers, itÆs the insight they have about the DoctorÆs history, and his personal and emotional history." According to Chris, æDalekÆ wonÆt be the only episode to have fans scurrying behind the sofa, "[æThe Doctor DancesÆ and æBoomtownÆ] are absolutely terrifying....you know, weÆre going end up with children ringing Childline because of what weÆve done." These excerpts are courtesy theGreat Link website, which has other stories about Doctor Who and other science fiction TV; check them out!

Finally... Doctor Who is back on the front page today of the BBC home page, which reminds everyone to tune into BBC3 on Sunday night for the repeat of "The Unquiet Dead."

(Thanks to Paul Engelberg, Steve Tribe, Alex Wilcock, Chuck Foster, Mark Ainsworth and Chris Howell of The Great Link)