The latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine has started to reach subscribers and some retailers, and its attention is already turning to Series Two and this year's Christmas special. The magazine went to press before negotiations between the BBC and Billie Piper for her appearance throughout the next series were completed, although Russell T Davies is quoted advising readers "don't worry too much about scare stories in the papers or other magazines." DWM is, however, able to confirm that both Camille Coduri (Jackie Tyler) and Noel Clarke (Mickey Smith) will be returning for "a good few episodes". The same report (again perhaps suffering from printing deadlines) suggests that John Barrowman will not be back "for the time being" (Series Three is mentioned in this context), although this seems to be at odds with statements made at the BAFTA screening of "The Parting of the Ways" last week; Davies attributes any non-appearance for Captain Jack to "the results of the DoctorÆs regeneration. Jack [à] would take regeneration in his stride. We need to see RoseÆs dilemma." Also revealed are some working titles for the second series: the third episode, School Reunion, is by Toby Whitehouse; Russell T Davies is writing Army of Ghosts, which is the twelfth episode. The Christmas Invasion, meanwhile, is referred to as æEpisode XÆ to avoid confusion in the production office! Block One, directed by James Hawes, comprises "The Christmas Invasion", Episode 1 and "School Reunion". Block Two, directed byEuros Lyn, and Block Three directed by Graeme Harper will be two and four episodes respectively, although it is not yet known exactly which episodes these will be. There is also a new script editor, alongside Helen Raynor: with Elwen Rowlands moving on to Life on Mars, Simon Winstone (who has worked on EastEnders and is a former editor at Virgin BooksÆ Doctor Who range in the 1990s) has joined the crew. There will also be changes at Wardrobe and Make-up, as Lucinda Wright, Davy Jones and Linda Davie depart and discussions are being finalised with their replacements. The Mill and Neill Gorton have renewed their contracts. Finally, Russell T Davies comments that the Tenth Doctor "will encounter one or two elements from Series One", then muddies the waters by saying, "the presence of Jackie and Mickey might already have given away that little secret!" Beyond that, heÆll give nothing away. Pick up issue 358 of Doctor Who Magazineon the shelves on Thursday.
DWM has also confirmed that this November's boxed set release of the first season on DVD will feature all 13 episodes in 5.1 stereo surround sound mix for the first time, and that the set will have over 200 minutes of special features, with "a special episode" of "Doctor Who Confidential", exclusive to this release.
Canada's Planet of the Doctor web documentary has been completed, with parts 5 and 6, Doctor Who and Culture I and II, now available online. An additional special episode, The Nine Doctors, is also available. All can be viewed at the CBC website.
More comments about "Parting of the Ways"... in today's Daily Star: "It's the ones you love that always break your heart and, after my tidal wave of gushy emotions over Dr Who, blow me if the last episode wasn't . . . well . . . a little bit pish. Don't get me wrong. I was gripped throughout and tears were in my eyes when Eccleston gave his farewell speech. And that's what made the writing so brilliant. Because these flowery speeches masked the fact that actually the plot of the last episode was bollocks."
An article at Rainbow Network discusses Crusaid's recent Walk for Life, a charity event that raised ú325,000 to fight HIV and AIDS with 4200 register walkers. John Barrowman participated and said, "Walk for Life shows me that there are five to six thousand people who are in support of people living with HIV; that they're in support of finding a cure for HIV; and that they're in support of having fun. ItÆs a great day out and a great way to see London."
The official BBC website is asking for feedback about how fans have enjoyed the site this year and what they'd like to see in the future. "Help us plan what we should be doing in the future, and tell us what you think about the website so far... What are your favourite/least favourite bits of the website? What kind of video content would you like to see more of? Should we make more of sites like badwolf and UNIT? Are there enough pictures? Should WhoSpy return - and if so, how could it be different? Do you have any ideas of the kind of content you'd like to see on your phone/interactive tv/infra-red head set?" A list of comments are also available on that page. (And thank you to the folks who have made kind comments about Outpost Gallifrey in the process!)
Down in Australia, the Courier Mail says of "Dalek": "Saturday marks the return to the small screen of the most evil creature to trundle through the universe. Yes, it's the moment every Doctor Who fan has been waiting for -- the Daleks are back. ... The return of the Daleks this Saturday night should be cause for celebration. Alas, they have been hijacked by the hand-wringing forces of political correctness. ... Don't let this put you off watching this episode, because there are some marvellous developments, the least of which is discovering how Daleks have finally mastered the art of climbing stairs. But be aware that the ending, in which the Dalek succumbs to the ultimate expression of self-pity after being infected with human DNA, is a cop-out of the first magnitude. It entirely misses the point of the Daleks. They are there to be hated. Their absolute evil is essential to the balance of the universe." And in The Age: "For the filming of this very special and interesting episode of the remastered, new-millennium Doctor Who, all cast and crew were issued with extra-large umbrellas to protect them from the flecks of spittle flying from Christopher Eccleston's mouth, such is his overacting. ... It's been tempting to jump aboard the backlash bandwagon against the return of Doctor Who, and though I was never really a fan, I've always had time for the wacky concepts, cheesy low-end production values and sheer pace of this most enduring of television space operas - an appreciation that has been enhanced by DVD. Even non-fans should find this episode a corker and I just know everybody will get a hearty chuckle as the show knowingly confronts that age-old joke: How does a Dalek climb stairs?"
The Independent reported today on a rather interesting proceeding in Parliament. "Yesterday, as Parliament debated the draconian Racial and Religious Hatred Bill, the Labour backbencher Harry Cohen was hit by a pressing example of heavy-handed political censorship," says the article. "Earlier in the week, Cohen tabled an Early Day Motion praising the BBC's recent series of Doctor Who, starring Christopher Eccleston, right. But before publication, Commons authorities altered the text, to delete references to 'the episode with farting aliens in Downing Street'. Apparently, parliamentary officials were unable to agree on what language (if any) was appropriate to describe bodily functions."
In today's the Newsquest Media Group syndicated column: "I had been forced to watch the late-night repeat of the programme on BBC3, having made a botched attempt to tape the original broadcast on BBC1. We were moments from the end. Christopher Eccleston had just made his exit from the programme and we had been given our first sight of his replacement, David Tennant. He opened his mouth to say his first lines. And exactly at that moment, a blue bar appeared across his face, bearing the words 'Next: Doctor Who confidential.' Yes, this was one of those channels where the programmers think you constantly have to be told what's coming next, no matter how much it might interfere with your enjoyment of what you're seeing at the moment. ... Terrestrial channels already annoy their viewers by squishing up the picture and running intrusive trailers over the credits. This means that, in the unlikely event of a peak-time drama actually leaving you moved or thoughtful, you will instantly be snapped out of the mood and exhorted to watch something much less worthwhile. ... I think this is not just about television. It's about a society where we can't seem to be happy with where we are and what we're doing, just in case we're missing out on something."
Other stories: the Mirror and Scotsman cover an arrest at BBC Wales; and we're told there will apparently be a scene on Monday's edition I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue involving the Doctor and a Dalek in a most romantic scene from "Brief Encounter".
(Thanks to Steve Tribe, Paul Engelberg, David French, Matt Clemson)