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6/16/2005 12:17:00 am - Reported by Shaun Lyon


June 16, 2005 • Posted By Shaun Lyon
Once again, Outpost Gallifrey will be your no-spoiler zone for TV series news, so read on...!

Broadcasting alert! John Barrowman will be on Friday morning's edition of GMTV, 17 June, on the "Entertainment Today" segment which likely starts sometime before 9.00am.

At the last moment, the BBC Press Office has resumed its series of Press Packs with Phase Eight to promote the end of the first series, as well as officialconfirmation of the commissioning of Series Three and a second Christmas special. "The honest to God truth is I was shocked," Davies says about the reactions to the first season. "The weird thing is, it's everything we hoped for. In January we were all sitting there hoping millions of people would watch; hoping that people would love it. It's such a rare thing for everything to fit into place especially when all the signs were there. ... There were so many things mitigating against it. If we were in Los Angeles there would be 15 shows like it running at once. No-one's made anything like this in this country and we've pulled it off." He says that "Science fiction can be very bland, homogenized and steeped in American culture, and to make this British has been fantastic. I think as a kid watching the series you can feel a sense of ownership and that's made a massive difference." Discussing his being called a 'gay writer', "It just shows that anyone can write anything. All that pigeon-holing that goes on is nonsense. No writer should ever sit there and think û I'll only write gay things. I used to work in children's television and it was harder to move from children's telly and break into adult television. I was a young writer and no-one knew my name. People would just sit there and say, but youÆve only done children's. I knew I could write anything. I knew I could do adult drama, but everyone pigeon-holes everyone. What I love about Doctor Who is that it has come full circle, it's for adults and children; it's doing everything I like doing." About children's television: "I have sat with a group of 15 people watching Finding Nemo on a Sunday morning û one member of the group was five and another 55, and when you see things like that happening you know that the myth that family drama doesn't exist anymore is simply not true. We were told, Julie (Gardner) and I, to be careful aiming for a family audience because it doesn't exist anymore. I absolutely didn't believe it, that's why we built Doctor Who to be an event every single week." Davies notes about the Christmas episode, "Well it's an hour-long episode which is something we've never done before. It will be a great, Christmas adventure that's really big in scale. It will be Christmassy, there's nothing I like more than a Christmas Special set at Christmas! There's a big story in it for Rose as well as a massive threat to the Earth going on beneath the surface so Christmas as usual!" He says that there "have been a lot names coming through to our casting director," noting that a lot of celebrities have asked to be a part of the second season. He also notes that David Tennant "is like a whole new lease of life. I think one of dangers of success sometimes is that one can get too complacent. Putting David at the helm means we're all reinvigorated because we have got to be just as good, if not better just for him. So it's actually very exciting, but at the same time scary. It's back to square one for us so that's always a good place to be I think." Davies says that in the second season they have the Cybermen, "we're also going to alien planets which we didn't do in the first series because I wanted to be confident of the design and now I feel sure. We also have the best design and SFX team in the world. The series will remain connected to the Earth because I think that's important. There will be a couple of old faces, and lots of new faces. Trips into history with us going back to the 1700s at one point... that's all I can say at this stage I am afraid." Note there arespoilers so we've captured the non-spoiler stuff in this write-up!

Meanwhile spoilers are also in store in various newspapers' online editions... but Outpost Gallifrey won't be spoiling them (there's only two days left until the finale, after all!) If you'd like to read some articles about the finale -- including some 'first words,' some shots of a major villain and so forth, you can read them at BBC News, the Sun, the Guardian, the TimesMegaStar, and the Mirror (with another Mirror report here). But of course, you should probably avoid them until after seeing the episode. We're told that Friday's issue of The Sun will also have full screen grabs of the final episode, so best not to read it until after you see the show on Saturday!

More coverage of the third season renewal can be found at the MediaGuardianManchester OnlineRTEThe ScotsmanDigital Spy, and BBC News websites (a second BBC News article here, along with a report on the official Doctor Who website.

The CBC broadcast of Boom Town in Canada scored 735,000 viewers on Tuesday night... a spike in viewing figures back up over 700k. As our correspondent says, "We've had a great first run where Doctor Who has held the number 2 spot for the time, and hovered in the third and fourth range for Tuesday night's prime time on Canadian networks." Meanwhile, CBC will begun repeating the first season of "Doctor Who" before its first run is complete. "Rose" will be transmitted on Sunday 19 June at 7.00pm on CBC. (Thank you, by the way, to everyone who wrote in to correct the name of the episode transmitted Tuesday...)

Russell T Davies appeared on BBC1's Breakfast this morning, reflecting on the huge success that Doctor Who had been this series and to give a sneak preview of Saturday's finale. In the slot, lasting nearly ten minutes at the end of the BBC1 programme, clips from Father's Day, The Empty Child and Bad Wolf were shown. Interviewed by Dermot Murnaghan and Natasha Kaplinsky, the effusive Davies recalled how scary it had been taking on the show, as "it could have died a death", and described the major obstacles they had been faced with, namely, bringing back an old show, putting science-fiction in primetime, and the reputation of the programme. But, as he triumphantly put it: "Three big obstacles and we beat them all!" He told how fandom had been on their side - "phenomenally behind us" - and added that "the most important thing to do was to open it up to everyone". Davies said: "Families are enjoying watching it together. People who think they don't like science-fiction seem to be enjoying it . . . because it's funny as well. A lot of science-fiction is very sombre and military and self-possessed and self-aware, and you can have a good time watching Doctor Who." A 43-second clip from The Parting of the Ways was then shown, after which Kaplinsky commented on how the show's twists, turns and script had captivated people. Davies paid tribute to the "team of briliant writers" and then the focus switched to the casting and how important that had been. Talking about Christopher Eccleston, Davies said: "His willingness to do it single-handedly changed the programme's reputation, certainly within the industry . . . and then add Billie to the mix as well and all the guest cast . . . That was the greatest shift in perception . . . Chris and Billie together sent out a signal saying 'Come and watch this.'" Discounting media stories and speculation, Davies also confirmed that Piper would be "in all 14 episodes next year". Surprisingly, though, no mention was made of the show being commissioned for a third series, although Newsround earlier on BBC2 did include it. Murnaghan mentioned the Bad Wolf enigma and tried to glean some more information about it, to which Davies cannily responded: "All is revealed on Saturday night as to what that's about." Breakfast closed with the Doctor Who theme and the camera pulling back for a shot of Murnaghan, Kaplinsky and the police box that Davies appeared in - which was not the new series one.

BBC Radio Lincolnshire are celebrating 25 years on the radio by using a TARDIS as it's gateway entrance to their stall at the upcoming Lincolnshire Shownext week. The Lincolnshire Echo reported on the TARDIS being exhibited in the streets of Lincoln at the start of the week.

Although Radio Times in the UK did not have a Doctor Who front cover for the season finale, TV Times (a rival publication to the BBC edition) did, with the faces of Chris Eccleston and David Tennant on the front cover emblazoned with the words "The New Face of Doctor Who - The Last Episode Special". It also contains an a two page colour spread article interviewing Russell T Davies.

More coverage of the recovery of the Dalek at BBC NewsBristol Evening PostSomerset GuardianWestern Daily PressThe TimesThe Register.

Amazon has listed two several new Doctor Who tie-in books including a Doctor Who Junior Quiz BookDoctor Who Classified: A Confidential 3D Dossier and A Teaspoon and an Open Mind: The Science of Doctor Who, all due out in November 2005.

(Thanks to Steve Tribe, Paul Engelberg, Chuck Foster, Steve Freestone, Paul Quinn, Mike Doran, John Bowman, Rod Mammitzsch)