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5/19/2005 02:35:00 am - Reported by Shaun Lyon


May 19, 2005 • Posted By Shaun Lyon
Later Episode Previews

The Sun has printed some spoilers for the next standalone episode after the forthcoming two parter. That would be episode 11, "Boom Town!" and notes that the Doctor is accosted by someone he thought was dead. Meanwhile, theDaily Star has spoilers for the episode after that, "Bad Wolf" (episode 12). We've put the text of the reports in ourspoilers tag below, so click on it to find out the gory details!

Press Items

BBC Board Chairman and noted Doctor Who critic Michael Grade took part in a listener phone in on BBC Radio Leeds on Tuesday. Presenter Liz Green asked how he felt walking past a Dalek in reception - (the programme was broadcast from the BBC Radio Leeds studio at the National Museum of Photography, Film and TV in Bradford). Grade said he cringed but that "Doctor Who was now a production for the 21st Century". He also revealed his 6 year old son is a fan of the new show - "maybe I should ask for a blood test!" he joked. Later he said he was actually "enjoying the new series of Doctor Who".

The Associated Press has run a syndicated story that's appeared in a tonof newspapers internationally, all noting the success of the new series. (You can read the full article at MSNBC for example.) The article notes that the series "has become one of the biggest hits of Britain's television present" and that it is "packed with oddball aliens and frequent opportunities for the two heroes to save humankind. ... It's a welcome return for fans who'd been waiting more than 15 years for the comeback of the Doctor ù an alien 'Time Lord' who's taken the form of nine different human actors in the course of the show ù and his assistant, this time a working-class London girl named Rose Tyler." Says a DWAS spokesperson, "All the 'Doctor Who' furniture is there. That is the formula. And it still survives." Fan Fiona Moore notes that the series is "something that you grow up with, that's always there. [Now] you see children in the playground standing like Daleks or unzipping their heads like the bad guys." Read the full article at MSNBC or in a variety of international publications (they are pretty much all the very same article!)

AfterElton features a story about John Barrowman on Doctor Who, and specifically about the rumors that his character is bisexual. "The new imaginative BBC remake of the sci-fi series Dr. Who, created by producer/writer Russell T. Davis (the creator of the original UK-version of Queer as Folk), offers a reprieve. Beginning on May 21st, openly-gay actor and singer John Barrowman will join the cast of the brand-new British hit for the last five episodes of the first season as bisexual, inner-galactic time-traveler Captain Jack Harkness. Chances seem good that BarrowmanÆs character, who joins The Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) and his sidekick companion Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) on their time and space adventures, will also reappear in Season Two." The story notes that "with Dr. Who, Barrowman has a good chance to broaden his fame internationally, while also representing a bisexual man on TV. Filmed on widescreen DV [digital video] in Cardiff, Wales, the new Dr.Who has gotten rave reviews on its first handful of episodes for its slick special effects, witty writing, and contemporary take on the original 1960s series. Many comparisons have been drawn between it and the fantasy/horror genre shows created by Joss Whedon for the WB in the nineties. ... Creator Russell gladly acknowledges that WhedonÆs sharp, playful, but also dramatically-deep writing style had great influence on him with regards to Dr. Who: '[Buffy the Vampire Slayer] showed the whole world, and an entire sprawling industry, that writing monsters and demons and end-of-the world isnÆt hack-work, it can challenge the best. Joss Whedon raised the bar for every writerùnot just genre/niche writers, but every single one of us.'"

Australian Debut Update

The Australian Associated Press says that "The ABC is so confident about new episodes of Doctor Who they have scheduled them for prime time Saturday night. The national broadcaster has bumped off the quirky machinations and breathtaking scenery of Monarch of the Glen and replaced it with a show best remembered for decidedly dodgy special effects. But it was a calculated decision." Says ABC TV deputy programmer Ian Taylor, "I don't like to make predictions but I'd be disappointed if there was anything less than one million viewers. Whereas this is good science fiction, it's also good fiction and I think that's the case with the best of science fiction. It can raise issues that have relevance that remind you or take you on to other areas. I think it's the human element actually that has been given to the doctor and his sidekick, because you actually care about these characters. There's more to it than just science fiction, there's good fiction as well. ... Now, admittedly we're certainly a different territory with different tastes and opinions but I do think that enough people who are familiar with the original series and remember it fondly to at least take a peak at this. And I think too that younger viewers, be they anything from sort of 15 up, will be intrigued enough by what they read about this to have a look at one episode. Once you see one ep you'll be hooked and you'll be back for the rest of them."

ABC Regional Online has a collection of Doctor Who related stories, including a local astronomer hosting a preview screening of the new series in Brisbane in conjunction with 612 ABC Brisbane, and how listeners go to share in it. "The Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium, at Mt Coot-tha, was the venue for the screening. Around eighty listeners watched the first episode with Christopher Eccleston as 'The Doctor' and Billie Piper as his new companion Rose Tyler. Planetarium curator Mark Rigby then screened 'The Search for Life', narrated by Harrison Ford. Finally, 612 ABC Brisbane's 4-6pm presenter Spencer Howson chaired a discussion about the new "Dr Who". Prizes, including a limited edition scale model of the TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimensions in Space), were awarded for the best contributions to the discussion. Highlights from the forum were broadcast on 612 ABC Brisbane." The site has audio excerpts.

The June edition of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation magazineLimelight has a 15 page special on the new Doctor Who series, including a front cover of Chris and Billie. Most of the articles are previously published having been taken from the BBC and possibly Radio Times with some photos although there is also a new article on Aussie fandom. There is also a competition to win 7 Doctor Who DVD packs (three classic DVDs plus the whole new season) which requires fans to say in 25 words or less who is their favourite Doctor and why. (However, they claim there have only been 7 previous Doctors, asPaul McGann is not mentioned!)

In today's Sydney Morning Herald: "For The Weekend: Doctor who. 7.30pm Sat, ABC: This New-Age series involving the venerable time lord is briskly paced and very watchable, with Christopher Eccleston bringing an agreeable eccentricity to the role. It seems probable that Earth's destiny will be defended successfully from a bunch of articulated window dummies - the Autons - and a sinister force known as the Nestene Consciousness. Definitely an improvement on the old cardboard episodes of yore."

Today's Courier Mail (Queensland, Australia) says the new series is Doctor Who, "but not as we've known it. The new series screening from this Saturday is as far removed from the halcyon days of Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker as the latter-day Star Trek spin-offs are from the creaky originals of the '60s. The glacial pace which stretched story arcs over several episodes has been turbo-charged so each 45-minute instalment is self-contained. Amateurish efforts at special effects have given way to state-of-the-art magic. And the Tardis has been transformed from a whitegoods showroom to a surreal blend of gothic mechanics and whizz-bangery that appears to owe much to Terry Gilliam's 1985 Brazil." They note that the stories retain their inventiveness and touches of whimsical English humour save the show from the earnestness which weighs down the better American sci-fis. Newcomers and Dr Who nerds alike should be well pleased."

The Sydney Daily Telegraph says that "hiding behind the couch won't work any more. This is a darker, scarier Who that knows our old safety drills. One suspects it is only a matter of time before it reveals that couches are actually alien life-forms that feed on children cowering from TV monsters. For now, however, we only have to worry about wheelie bins and shop dummies ... and the London Eye ferris wheel. ... Christopher Eccleston... is downright chirpy, which takes some getting used to for those who associate the actor with dark, gritty roles such as Cracker and the recent The Second Coming. But the series is dark enough without Eccleston adding to it and his sense of humour is for us, like new human sidekick Rose... This is a real adventure in time, not just a mosey down memory lane. Great to have it back."

The Critic's View in today's The Age notes that "Yes, the Time Lord is back, in a knockabout new incarnation (Chris Eccleston) with a willing new assistant (pop singer Billie Piper), a brilliantly updated signature tune, '60s styling, CGI effects, some wonderfully retro props, a tardis that sounds more knackered than ever, and lots of red double-decker buses. Doctor Who has returned with a new series that's light years ahead of its predecessors. It looks and feels great, like an intergalactic Cool Britannia cross-pollination between the cult classic of old, Bridget Jones and the Goodies. Eccleston and Piper are fantastic, it's genuinely funny and it's just scary enough to send a new generation of kids scurrying behind the couch. ... Carry on, Doctor." Also, this morning's Green Guide, the television guide The Age, had a cover story on Doctor Who.

Miscellaneous Press Items

Christopher Eccleston apparently was thanked tonight in person at a meeting of Manchester United fans to protest against the attempted take-over of the club by Malcolm Glazer for his ú10,000 donation to the cause, and the chair of Shareholders United said that they were "delighted to have Doctor Who on board".

Channel 4's FAQ U (18 May) covered the BBFC's views regarding "Dalek", implying that the decision was ludicrous and that rather than torturing the Dalek the Doctor should have given it a big hug...

BBC Ceefax (18 May) addressed the cuts to "The Empty Child" with the title "Horrible Doctor Who Toned Down": "The next episode of Doctor Who has been toned down after producers decided one scene was 'a bit too horrible'. The episode, to be shown on BBC One on Saturday, sees the Doctor travel back to tackle a strange virus in the Blitz. It turns former One Foot In The Grave actor Richard Wilson's face into a gas mask - but producers have cut out the sound of his skull cracking. But producer Phil Collinson said it was still the scariest episode so far. 'It was about time we did a scary one'." The story was also covered on the Newsround site under the headline "Doctor Who Makers Edit Out A Scary Sound Effect". The details of the story also provided a link to pictures of the Brighton "Doctor Who" exhibition.

Update on the Fear Forecast column on bbc.co.uk: interestingly, in addition to noting that it's scary enough to need a recommendation to video it and watch it in the daylight, it seems to lack a 'next week' preview (identified in the text, somewhat mysteriously, as a 'recap').

Other items today: Empire Online discusses the Joe Ahearne-Eccleston project "Double Life"; the Times has letters on the BBFC issue with Daleks; and the cuts to "The Empty Child" are still being discussed at Northern Territory News, the Daily Mail, the Evening Times (Scotland), theSouth Wales Echo and The Londonist.

(Thanks to Paul Engelberg, Steve Tribe, Chuck Foster, Jamie Austin, Adam Kirk, Mike Noon, Matt Kimpton, Andrew Harvey, John Ryan and Paul Greaves)
Boom Town Spoiler: "WHO NO!," says the Sun. "A Slitheen is to be Mayor of Cardiff! Dr Who, played by Christopher Eccleston, thought he had got rid of the aliens that sneak inside humans. But one escaped. It takes over MP Margaret Blaine (Annette Badland) and terrorises the Welsh capital. The episode will be shown on Saturday, June 4."

Bad Wolf Spoiler: "GUESS WHOÆS IN BIG BRU," says the Daily Star, ". . . and who's the Weakest Link. Doctor Who is to face his biggest ordeal yet by becoming trapped inside the Big Brother house. And his sidekick Rose will come up against something more scary than a Dalek - a robotic Anne Robinson on The Weakest Link. The Time Lord, played by Christopher Eccleston, 41, and sexy Rose - Billie Piper, 22 - do battle in an adventure on the BBC sci-fi show when the Tardis ends up in futuristic reality TV land. The bizarre idea was dreamed up by writer Russell T Davies, 41, who said last night: 'It's one of my favourite episodes. When you see it on screen you'll be blown away.' The Doctor ends up as a reality TV star when he lands inside the Big Brother house in the penultimate episode of the series, called Bad Wolf, to be screened in June. Telly chiefs wanted the setting to look authentic so they asked Channel 4, who run the game show, to help. And they have been given permission to use the famous Big Brother theme music during the scenes where the Doctor is trying to escape from the house. They are still in talks with TV host Davina McCall to do a voiceover. Bosses want her to say: 'Big Brother House, this is Davina. You are live on Channel 4 - please do not swear.' Russell added: 'We're hoping Davina will be able to do this. She's busy, but we're keeping our fingers crossed.' During the weird episode, the Doctor's sexy assistant Rose also finds herself up against a celeb in the form of Anne Robinson. She lands on the BBC2 gameshow The Weakest Link and discovers the Queen of Mean has been replaced by a robot. TV bosses have persuaded Anne, 60, to do the voice of Anne Droid - and it's even more cruel than the real acidtongued host. The Doctor's new assistant Captain Jack (played John Barrowman, 38) also finds himself in trouble in the bizarre special. He gets a roasting from none other than Trinny Woodall, 40, and Susannah Constantine, 42, after stumbling into an edition of What Not To Wear. When they see the time traveller dressed up looking like Han Solo from Star Wars they give him a much-needed makeover." The story has been picked up at Digital SpyDeHavilland and the BigBrotherWebsite.net.