New series executive producer Russell T Davies is scheduled to be a guest on the Steve Wright Afternoon show on BBC Radio 2 on Thursday, March 10, as the host announced today on a run through of upcoming guests. The show is on Radio 2 from 2pm - 5pm; if you can't hear the radio station, you can visit the Radio 2 site that evening and listen to it on the BBC's Radio player. (Thanks to Jonathan Stockley, Steve Tribe)
Q Magazine, a popular UK music magazine, has published a glowing review of the new series in its latest issue, calling it "must-see TV for everyone". From the comments and some of the details given in the review it would appear that the reviewer, Boyd Hilton, has seen a number of episodes from the series - all of which impressed. Amongst many plaudits Hilton states that "the much-hyped return of rickety sci-f? classic Doctor Who lives up to all expectations: it's every bit as good as its mid-'70s heyday. Furthermore, this time around you don't have to be a geek to enjoy it." He goes on to comment on Eccleston's performance; "The inestimable Christopher Eccleston plays the ninth Doctor... replete with trendy leather jacket and wry sense of humour." As for Billie Piper; "the biggest surprise of the show is Billie Piper's performance as the Doctor's "assistant" Rose Tyler. Not only does Piper prove she can hold her own in the company of esteemed actors, but her feisty cockney character shows real depth. Importantly, Rose's relationship with the Doctor is as an equal, rather than just being there to whimper when the aliens show up." The special effects also impress: "Gone are the cardboard sets and naff-looking monsters of old, this time you see... [edited geographical location] ...landmarks come under thrilling alien attack, as convincing and exciting as anything shown before in a British TV series." Boyd ends by praising series writer and executive producer Russell T Davies for the "triumphant regeneration" of Doctor Who (the series rather than the person) and for "the slick, sharp dialogue". He ends by saying that "Doctor Who is no longer the domain solely of sci-fi spods, this is must-see TV for everyone". (Thanks to Roger Anderson / The Cuttings Archive)
Penguin Books will be co-publishing with BBC Books a new series of non-fiction releases tying into the first season of the new series, aimed at children. Due out on July 7, 2005, are The Doctor Who Sticker Guide, an 8 page paperback; The Doctor Who Activity Book (with a pull out board game), an 18 page paperback; and The Doctor Who Postcard Book, a 64-page paperback. Due for later release, on November 3, 2005, is Doctor Who: Make Your Own TARDIS, a 16 page paperback book. No further details are currently available on these titles.
Meanwhile, Panini (the company responsible for the monthly "Doctor Who Magazine") will be publishing the Doctor Who Annual 2006 on August 1, according to Amazon.co.uk. The book is released in hardcover. (Thanks to Steve Tribe)
Big Finish made several announcements about forthcoming plans at the recent Gallifrey 2005 convention, including the following tidbits (with thanks to John Hutton):
• Thicker Than Water is the title of the August 2005 release, written by Paul Sutton; it's a sequel to "Arrangements for War," and stars Colin Baker as the Doctor, Maggie Stables as Evelyn... and Bonnie Langford as Melanie!
• A second Sarah Jane Smith series will be released in 2006; the four-CD series, all by the same (as yet unknown) writer, will be produced by John Ainsworth and will take the character in a different direction.
• David Warner and Nicholas Courtney will return for an eighth installment of the Doctor Who: Unbound series, in a sequel to the Unbound audio "Sympathy for the Devil"; no official word on the writer, but it's probably "Sympathy" author Jonathan Clements.
• Three's a Crowd by Colin Brake (a "traditional corridor romp" on a space station) and The Council of Nicea by Caroline Symcox (an historical adventure) both star Peter Davison as the Doctor, Nicola Bryant as Peri and Caroline Morris as Erimem.
• Terror Firma by Joseph Lidster follows directly on from the cliffhanger at the end of the last Paul McGann story, "The Next Life"; the story "puts the Doctor through the wringer" and will hint about some of the things the Doctor was up to prior to the first Eighth Doctor audio, "Storm Warning".
• The second Gallifrey audio series will end with a double CD for the normal price; the series is also said to be serialized, moreso than the first.
• John Ostrander's Dead Man's Hand may be released in September this year, depending on the writer's schedule; if not, there are other scripts that can take its place as it is bumped again to next year.
• There will soon be more stories with Sarah Sutton (Nyssa). Mark Strickson (Turlough) also wants to do additional stories but his schedule is hectic. And Matthew Waterhouse may do an audio in the future, but defniitely not as Adric. Janet Fielding has made it clear she will not appear in any audios.
SFX Magazine revealed today on their official website the details of the forthcoming documentary series Doctor Who Confidential, which will air over thirteen weeks in half-hour installments on BBC3 immediately after transmission of each episode of the new series. Narrated by actor Simon Pegg (who appears in episode 7 of the new series), the show "will combine behind-the-scenes footage with interviews with the cast, the production team, and past Doctors." Seen above is the official logo of "Doctor Who Confidential," as revealed to SFX. To keep some details out of our readers' view, the information is spoiler protected; click on the spoiler tag for full details. (Thanks to Ian Berriman of SFX Magazine)
DOCTOR WHO CONFIDENTIAL
EPISODE 1: Back From The Future To link with the first sighting of the Doctor and first sighting of the TARDIS and, of course, the Doctor saving the world again. This episode reminds us of all the elements of Who that make his return so mouth-wateringà
EPISODE 2: Aliens û The Good, The Bad And The Ugly Making convincing aliens - behind the scenes of the space station, "Platform One" - behind the scenes making the prosthetics - showing how they work - we visit The Mill to show the CGI for the new series and take a look back at aliens from the past.
EPISODE 3: TARDIS Tales From behind the scenes of the Dickens set in Swansea we take a good long look at the TARDIS and its vital role in the DoctorÆs adventures. We look at all the different worlds that the present and past doctors visit and visited.
EPISODE 4: I Get A Side-kick Out Of You Rose and her predecessors. What does it take to make the grade as the Doctor's companion? We look back at companions from the past: Why does the Doctor need Rose? What does she add to the mix?
EPISODE 5 : Life On Earth The Doctor's links to Earth/relationships with humans/his humanity/ what makes him alien and why he appeals to us all.
EPISODE 6 : The Daleks Following the return of the Doctor's most feared foe. We watch the tests, see how they work, and meet the men behind the metal.
EPISODE 7: The Dark Side Evil genii and sudden death - the vital ingredients of Doctor Who.
EPISODE 8 : A Time And A Place Looking at each Doctor as a product of his time, and looking at how the Doctor has evolved over the last forty years.
EPISODE 9: FX Following the director in a meeting with The Mill (CGI), model makers and prosthetics people and looking at the first stages of talking through the FX through til they're finally finished. We follow the start to the finish of the making of episode nine - creating the look and sound of aliens and alien worlds. How do you light a spaceship? How do you make space?
EPISODE 10: The Weird Science of Doctor Who Starting with the sonic screwdriver's appearance, we look into the weird science that is Doctor Who. From "a hole in the time vortex" to "I'll tell you later"; from flying a helicopter to arguing with a small metal dog.
EPISODE 11: Unsung Heroes And Violent Death Coming off the back of an episode that deals mainly with death and justice, we look at the importance of death to Doctor Who and look at his moral code.
EPISODE 12: The Cult Of Who The conventions, the reactions, the anticipation of the fans who have had a feast of sci-fi treats over the past 12 weeks. We will look at the fans on-set, the clamour for sci-fi facts, the problems with confidentiality, through to the success of merchandising.
EPISODE 13: Finale Review of the past 13 weeks - the highs and lows of life with the Doctor and Rose.
The official Doctor Who site today featured a preview (with cover) of The Complete Seventh Doctor, the final "Doctor Special" volume due out from DWM, which is released on February 17, as follows:
The Complete Seventh Doctor
The Seventh Doctor's era is walking, talking proof - if any were needed - that Doctor Who and its fan following constitute a remarkably broad church. Every period of Doctor Who has its champions and its detractors, but when it comes to these three seasons the division of opinion is more acute than most.
Some fans consider them an abberation in both style and substance, offering little more than the prolonged death-rattle of a once-loved show; others have found a renewed spirit, imagination and commitment in the Sylvester McCoy era that puts it among the most inspired and inspiring periods in the show's history...
In this special issue, Philip MacDonald puts the Sylvester McCoy stories under the microscope and examines in detail these three highly-inventive seasons of Doctor Who. Meanwhile, resident Archivist Andrew Pixley provides a full behind-the-scenes history of Doctor Who between 1987 and 1989, while some of DWM's finest authors - including TV writers Steven Moffat, Rob Shearman and Paul Cornell - give their own thoughts on stories from the era.
There's also a full guide to the Seventh Doctor's adventures in audio, book and comic strip form, and an Afterword from Ace actress Sophie Aldred.
Packed with dozens of never-before-published photographs, this 100-page special is out on Thursday 17 February.
The BBC Shop has released details about Monsters and Villains, the first official Doctor Who tie-in book (rather than fictional novel) that includes characters and information from the new series. The cover and blurb are below; click the thumbnail for a larger version. "Monsters and Villains" is 96 pages and is due out on May 19.
Monsters and Villains, by Justin Richards
For over forty years, the Doctor has battled against the monsters and villains of the universe. This book brings together the best û or rather the worst û of his enemies.
Discover why the Daleks were so deadly; how the Yeti invaded London; the secret of the Loch Ness Monster; and how the Cybermen have survived. Learn who the Master was, and û above all û how the Doctor defeated them all. monsters and villains that have made Doctor Who the tremendous success it has been over the years.
Whether you read it on or behind the sofa, this book provides a wealth of information about the and the galactic phenomenon that it is today.
Warner Home Video and BBC Video have released the cover illustrations for the North American DVD releases of The Leisure Hive starring Tom Baker (WHV catalog #E2217) and Ghost Light starring Sylvester McCoy (WHV catalog #E2218), both due out on June 7. The extras on each DVD set match the ones on the original UK releases: For "The Leisure Hive," audio commentary by Lalla Ward, director Lovett Bickford and script editor Christopher H. Bidmead, "A New Beginning" featurette on John Nathan-Turner, music only track, interviews with writer David Fisher, script editor Christopher H. Bidmead, graphic designer Sid Sutton, composer Peter Howell and costume designer June Hudson, optional Dolby Digital 5.1 surround mix, photo gallery and production notes; and for "Ghost Light," audio commentary by Sophie Aldred, script editor Andrew Cartmel, writer Marc Platt and composer Mark Ayres, deleted scenes, extended takes, "Light in Dark Places" - Making-of featurette, "Shooting Ghosts" - Behind-the-scenes, 1990 convention Q&A with writer Marc Platt, music only track, optional Dolby Digital 5.1 surround mix, production notes. The standard North American 'Who's Who" feature is also expected on these discs. Click on each thumbnail below for a larger version.
Now online: the full-sized covers for all three Ninth Doctor and Rose books being released by BBC Books in May, as posted on amazon.co.uk: The Monsters Inside by Stephen Cole, Winner Takes All by Jacqueline Rayner, andThe Clockwise Man by Justin Richards. These are the final versions of the covers, and all three are due out May 19. (This replaces our earlier story from February 8 with the cover thumbnails only as posted on play.com.) As before, the cover blurbs have been on the Releases page for a while. Click each for a larger version.
Another set report from Paul Mount, who braved the elements today in Cardiff Bay to report on the current state of affairs from the outdoor production of the new series; click on the spoiler tag for more information.
Well there's cold and then there's cold. Then there's freezing. Then there's Cardiff Bay, mid february 2005 and my extremities have never felt more extreme.
Just back from a recce down to the Bay to see what's going on tonight. A hive of activity and some interesting bits'n'pieces. Firstly, as reported above, the TARDIS is there outside the Millenium centre, covered by its tarpaulin and curiously, when I passed at around 8.40pm, unguarded. I was tempted to run inside and fiddle with helmic regulators or at least turn the heating on but thought better of it. (On the way back not long ago there are security guards milling around and the Police Box is lit up, still underneath the tarpaulin)
Further on, on the esplanade of the Bay where a number of restaurants and bars cluster together, the unit's been busy filming otuside the long Terra Nova bar. Here Noel Clarke and Billie Piper's stand-in (Billie's sick, apparently) are filming a scene on a bench by the railings overlooking the bay (the same bench,I think, where I once ate chips with a now ex-girlfriend....ah, the romance!) A couple of rehearsals and the camera turns. Mickey (for it is he) is talking with Rose. A number of pedstrians are passing by. Suddenly, they start looking alarmed, looking up and all around. They start running and screaming, mass panic. Rose jumps up and runs off. Mickey, clearly annoyed, jumps up too. "It's him again, isn't it?" he says (or words very much to that effect). "It's the Doctor. It's always about the Doctor, isn't it? It's never about me!" The scene is recorded again - Noel fluffs his line and curses in fluent Ango-Saxon (Denis Nordern wouldn't approve) to the amusement of crew and onlookers. A quick break and the scene's rehearsed and recorded again, this time with the addition of a shower of polystyrene rubble being thrown on the fleeing crowd from the balcony of the Terra Nova bar.
Now it's getting seriously cold. Even a cappucino from the nearby coffeee mania booth can barely get my fingers tingling again. The unit starts to reposition their equipment (oo-er). More extras (and Billie's double) rush around in front of another nearby building and more rubble is thrown. Much screaming.
Sorry, my toes are dying. As I drift off back to the warmth of my car (ah, blessed heater!) the crew are positioning tables and chairs outside the coffee bar so they look as if they've been knocked over during some sort of panicky exodus. On my way back to my own private TARDIS (well, my car) I pass the real thing, glowing beneath the tarpaulin. I take a quick snap but the flash obviously attracts the attention of a security guard who starts to wander over as I'm wandering away. I suspect that if I linger he'll chase me away with a big stick.
The Audible.com website today opened up a new downloadable audio section featuring more than 500 hours of audio books licensed from the BBC, including 24 Doctor Who selections from the BBC Radio Collection such as the soundtrack albums for missing episodes, "Tales From the TARDIS," "Death Comes to Time," "The Paradise of Death" and many others. The selections are available in several audio formats, available for both PC and Mac, and carry a price comparable to, or less than, the retail cost of the CD's. Check out the website link to browse the catalog of BBC and Doctor Who items. (Thanks to Stuart Ian Burns)
While there is still no official confirmation from the BBC (and we stress that there's still plenty of time for this to change!), we've received enough information from various sources to safely conclude that the new series will indeed premiere on BBC1 on Saturday, March 26, 2005, likely at either 6:45 or 7:00pm (with the BBC3 "Doctor Who Confidential" series airing immediately afterwards at either 7:30 or 7:45pm.) Various sources have reported a range of rumored plans for a possible March 8 press launch, including radio and television trailers and broadcasts starting around that time; various radio interviews and photo shoots; new merchandise; a relaunch of the official Doctor Who website; and plenty of other publicity plans tying into the relaunch of the series. It also mentions that the show has been sold overseas in Canada, New Zealand and, surprisingly, Australia (for which a venue has not yet been announced), but omits the US as of this writing. As soon as we have a clearer picture of all of the various publicity plans, we'll pass the word along.
(Editor's note: Once again, I want to stress that this is not an official confirmation, but after checking with many sources, I'm now confident that this is indeed the broadcast date, barring any last minute change of plans, and that it will be announced through official channels soon. I've also been told that this date has only been finalized within the past month. More soon!)
Actress Isla Blair, who appeared as Isabella in "The King's Demons" and is married to actor Julian Glover, will appear in the new Faction Paradox audio CD series from Magic Bullet, joining Glover and actor Gabriel Woolf.
As well as Colin Baker's doodle for National Doodle Day, the Epilepsy Action organization now has a doodle by the Fifth Doctor, Peter Davison, which will be auctioned on National Doodle Day, Friday 25 February, along with all the other celebrity doodles, and can be seen at this website. Other new Doctor Who-related actors include Hannah Gordon (the Highlanders/Shada webcast), Sean Biggerstaff (Shada webcast/Harry Potter), Tony Adams (The Green Death/Crossroads) and Stephen Fry (Death Comes to Time/The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy). Doctor Who fans may also be interested to see the doodles from Terry Gilliam, Nick Park (creator of Wallace and Gromit), Graham Norton, Rob Brydon and Josie Lawrence. Visit www.nationaldoodleday.org.uk for more information on the charity event. (Thanks to Alan Jones)
The latest issue of Enlightenment, the fanzine of the Doctor Who Information Network -- North America's largest Doctor Who fan club -- says Goodbye To All That: Looking back fondly and saying farewell to the (mostly) TV-less Doctor Who universe of the past fourteen years. Looking back on the NAs and the books. Big Finish's contribution discussed. Scream of the Shalka and Death Comes To Time appraised. The final episode of The Key To A Time Lord. To order visit the website at www.dwin.org.
Rumors have circulated today based on posts on the Restoration Team forum concerning a possible deal with NBC/Universal, who own the Sci-Fi Channel and USA Network, for broadcast of the new series, potentially with the Sci-Fi Channel as first broadcaster and USA as syndicators, which would include the entire back catalog of Doctor Who serials. While there is no official word confirming this, it's the first indication in some time of a possible deal for US broadcast of the new show. Stay tuned!
According to a news report on BBC News this morning, Lorraine Heggessey, controller of BBC1, is leaving the BBC to become chief executive at Talkback Thames, the production company that produces both "The Bill" and "Pop Idol." Heggessey was instrumental in arranging for Doctor Who to return to television, and it was in an interview conducted with the Daily Telegraph in September 2003 that Heggessey let slip the news that the show was returning, causing a firestorm of coverage as the press confirmed the story was true. The report says she is not expected to leave until later in the year. This is not expected to have any impact on the production of the new Doctor Who series.
Paul McGann plays Captain MacNab in "Kidnapped," CBBC's adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic tale, which airs at the end of February or early March according to the BBC Press office. Says the report: "Iain Glen stars as Alan Breck and James Anthony Pearson as Davie Balfour in Stevenson's tale of treachery, romance and rebellion, along with Paul McGann as Colonel McNab, Adrian Dunbar as Uncle Ebenezer, Gregor Fisher as James of the Glens and Kirstin Smith as Catriona. Kidnapped chronicles the adventures of Breck and Balfour as they escape murder and shipwreck on a quest for justice, all set against the fierce social and political backdrop of 1760s Scotland. The BBC is working with South Pacific Productions (makers of the Oscar nominated film Whale Rider) on location in New Zealand." At right is a photo from the recent installment of "Features" from the BBC Press Office with McGann in the role. (Thanks to Paul Hayes)
In their latest installment of "Features," a weekly promotional circular, for Week 9 of the year, the BBC Press Office have photos and promotion for Doctor Who... although not as a current series, but as part of the "Coming Soon" section. "Christopher Eccleston plays Doctor Who in a new, 13-part series for BBC One," says the document. "Billie Piper, who made her acting debut in the critically-acclaimed Canterbury Tales - The Miller's Tale, stars alongside Eccleston as the Doctor's companion, Rose Tyler. Traveling through time and space, the Doctor and Rose come face to face with a number of new and exciting monsters - as well as battling with the Doctor's arch-enemy, the Daleks! The series also features Penelope Wilton, Noel Clarke, Annette Badland, Camille Coduri, John Barrowman, Richard Wilson, Simon Pegg and acclaimed theatre, film and television actor Simon Callow." The document also features a mention of Doctor Who exec producer Russell T Davies' other serial, "Casanova," as well as Paul McGann's turn as Colonel MacNab in "Kidnapped" (see separate story). (Thanks to Paul Hayes)
We've a few location photos from the past few weeks to show our readers today. Included are photos from Mark Davies taken on February 2 on location in Cardiff, photos that feature glimpses of Noel Clarke (Mickey) and, we believe, the first on-location shots of John Barrowman (Captain Jack), as well as a set report (in the SPOILERS area) from John Campbell Rees on a visit to Cardiff Bay, with the TARDIS being filmed in Plas Roald Dahl, and another by Alex Willcox from February 4 in Cardiff. Also below are six photos from a train station in Wales that was made up to look like a period location circa 1940 from the two-parter by Steven Moffat, taken by Peter Dickinson; while they don't have any stars in them, you may find them very interesting when the show goes to air. (Thanks to Mark Davies, John Campbell Rees, Peter Dickinson)
On the Waterfront - John Campbell Rees (February 2)
I decided last night that as I had finished my latest assignment for college, I would give myself a bit of treat, and take myself down to Cardiff Bay to have a nose at the latest filming for the new series of Doctor Who. I arrived outside the new Wales Millenium Centre, and there she was, the old girl herself, the TARDIS, with its white tarpalin to protect it from the curious. I was extremely fortunate that a crew from Doctor Who Confidential had just arrived on site, and where about to film a piece for their series, so off came the protective tent, and I got somene to take a photo of me with the prop that will be used in the new series, it was too good an oportunity to miss. The TARDIS was parked in front of the sixty foot aluminium wall of water that is at the head of Plas Roald Dahl, an oval ampitheatre that used to be part of the docks complex, but which is now used for open-air concerts in the Summer. I should imagine that the TARDIS materialising infront of this obelisk will be one of the moments of the series.
Next, I walked towards the waterfront of Cardiff, and could not help but notice where filming was taking place. Russell T. Davies and Phil Collinson had set up their monitors midway along Bute Crescent, the road that runs along the length of Plas Roald Dahl, and were monitoring the setting up of a scene on the waterfront. This was a few hundred yards from the restaruant that where filming occured last week. This is apparently filming for episode 11, the one with the working title Boomtown. It was speculated on the OG Forum that thi episode and the end of The Empty Child/Doct Dances were being filmed concurrently, I should imagine that this proves it.
The first thing I noticed was that the ground was covered in bits of sugarglass, remnants of an earlier scene.
At roughly 8.15pm Annette Badland was escorted onto the location, and a few minutes later I spotted her chatting with Christopher Eccleston. The scene was set for Eccleston and Badland to run from the waterfront, along Bute Crescent and down a set of concrete steps into Plas Roald Dahl. As well as the two leads, the scene featured a number of extras who ran around, giving the impression of panic. This scene was rehearsed and then filmed twice, before Joe Aherne was satisfied, and preparations were made for then next segment.
During the break, I had a chance to observe Christopher Eccleston. I have to say, that despite his reputation for being a miserable Northerner, he seemed to be full of life, and is obviously enjoying what he is doing immesly, laughing and joking with his guest star and Russell T. Davies, and even sliding down the metal bannisters on the steps leading down to the oval basin. This enthusiasm spilled over into his performance, his Doctor definitely enjoys life, and I cannot wait to see it.
The next snippet recorded was obviously from the same sequence, as the camera was on rails and followed Eccleston and Badland down the steps to a spot where the Doctor stops, and says "the rift, the rift its openning".
At 9pm, a sequence featuring Billie Piper as Rose was prepared. The last time I had seen Ms. Piper in costume, portraying the charachter of Rose Tyler, at the Swansea shoot last September, she looked every inch a Victorian young lady in a long skirt which swept the floor. This time, after discarding a warm sheepskin coat and jogging bottoms, she looked a very modern young woman, in a skirt that barely swept the top of her legs. It looks like Rose is going to be using the TARDIS' extesive wardrobes quite a bit. The snippet I saw recorded had no dialogue, it merely had Billie running into Plas Roald Dahl with a concerened look on her face. I am guessing, as I had to leave shortly afterwards, that this is leading to a scene where the Doctor and Rose come back together to share some information with each other. Noel Clarke was also somehere on site, although I did not see him. As all three main characters I saw tonight where heading in the genral direction of where the TARDIS is parked, and tomorrow is apparently a studio day, I would hazard a guess that they will all be in the TARDIS in the next scene.
Alex Willcox (February 4):
Just got back from this afternoon's shoot. Not a bad one all told....
I arrived at the University around mid-day, just in time for the recording of a shot of Rose running along an alleyway at the side of the building.
After a fair bit of nothing happening, I decided to go around to the back of the building. This, it transpired, was where most of the cast and crew were hiding out. Another shot was recorded featuring The Doctor, Rose, Mickey and Captain Jack all running down the alleyway at the opposite end of the building from the first shot. This scene was recorded several times, with the camera positioned further down the alley each time. I caught a snippet of dialogue shouted by John Barrowman; "...telephone! We'll never get her out. It's teeming!"
Shortly after this, Annette Badman's character, Margaret, was recorded running down the same alley.
The most exciting scene of the day came last. There's a balcony running the length of the rear of the bulding, and we spotted Chris peering through a french window above this. At the end of the balcony was scaffolding with a ladder down to the ground. Margaret ran out the window, along the balcony, over the edge onto the scaffold, down the ladder and an front of the building to the alley we'd previously seen her running down. As she reached the scaffold, Chris came through the same window and shouted "Margaret!". A chap in a suit came out behind him, and the two fought on the balcony. After throwing the other guy off him, Chris followed Margaret's route down to the ground.
This was the final exterior scene to be recorded. There was then a break for lunch, during which I bumped into Chris in town. He seemed only too happy to stop and chat for a few minutes and sign my DWM.
Getting back to the location for the afternoon, we were told by the crew that the rest of the recording would be inside and there'd be nothing more to see.
Issue 5 of Whotopia, the Canadian Doctor Who fanzine, is now out. It includes "From Rutans To Sontarans: Season 15 Overview," an examination Into the search for lost Doctor Who, reviews and other columns, including fiction and a continuing comic series. For more details visit the website.
Today's Liverpool Echo ran a story about Tom Baker, who is said to be facing a challenge in the film version of The Magic Roundabout. Tom was given a part in the movie, due at the end of the week, thanks to his disctinctive voice. "Tom has such a huge, mellifluous fun voice. He can play the camp villain absolutely magnificently, and that's what he"s done," says director Cameron McCracken. Baker waxes on the role: "I mostly earn my living on my voice now, because I haven't got the force in my legs to run anymore, even when I'm being pursued in Waitrose where I am a sex symbol for lecherous old upper class ladies of about 85." (Thanks to Paul Engelberg)
Today's icWales asks "WHO could that be rushing around Cardiff Bay? Surely not a Time Lord with the ability to turn back the clock?" There are two photos there featuring Eccleston and Piper standing around the TARDIS with miscellaneous crew and Eccleston running quite urgently.
New Welsh culture magazine Siarc Marw currently features an article about the new series of Doctor Who, including an interview with director Euros Lyn (who's a Welsh speaker). "I was surfing the web in a cafe in Siberia when I read that Doctor Who would be returning to our screens; from that second, I desperately wanted to work on a series which is such an unusual combination of humour, adventure and nonsense," Lyn told the magazine (translated from Welsh.) "I e-mailed the producers straight away, pleading with them to meet with me for a chat. Nine months later after five meetings with the show's execs, I was offered the chance to direct the second and third episodes. I was over the moon!" He says that the scripts for the new show "are successful because they work on many levels - they're exciting adventures and epic moral allegories, but also, there's a psychological depth to the characters of the Doctor and Rose... The aim was to juggle those virtues to create three quarters of an hour of exciting entertainment that would also demand a little thought." He was delighted that Doctor Who was filming in his hometown; "this was my childhood fantasy come true! Of course, as soon as the cameras started turning, there was no time to think of anything but my work (the same as my experience on all shows!) There were a lot of technical challenges - like trying to direct actors in rubber monster suits, or sets that were green screens to be added later by computers. It was an experience to direct actors as talented as Christopher Ecclestone, Simon Callow, Billie Piper and Eve Myles - and being able to stand in the Tardis doorway between takes was exciting too!" And he says he hopes people enjoy the spirit of the original which is alive and well in the new series. "It's a very British sci-fi series; full of irony, wit, and avoiding the sentimentality that's in a lot of the American shows. I hope people will also enjoy the better production values too - the modern shooting style, sophisticated computer effects and the naturalistic acting style." (Thanks to "selbog" for the translation)
Issue #128 of SFX Magazine is due out soon, with a new Doctor Who series cover. Says the blurb, "Who producer Russell T Davies is a fan of SFX, and a chum of the mag. So, naturally, with the series due to air in March, we went for a nice long chat. Find out what Russell means when he say he "doesn't care about the planet Zog" in the first part of our exclusive interview! Fanboys, prepare to self-combust: we've got Chris Achilleos (artist responsible for countless classic novelisation covers) to draw the new Doctor! Plus, we reveal the comeback starring Tom Baker that never came to fruition..." The issue is due out mid-month; cover illustration at right. Meanwhile, the SFX website currently features a brief report from a day's production including a selection of photos.
Tonight on Radio 2, the first of two one-hour episodes of this documentary airs, looking at the British TV viewing public's obsession with soap operas. Verity Lambert is one of those mentioned in the Radio Times listing as being interviewed, presumably concerning her work on The Newcomers and later Eldorado. It airs tonight at 8:30pm; you can listen online here. (Thanks to Paul Hayes)
Yesterday's Media section of The Guardian noted that BBC1 controller Lorraine Heggessey -- who was instrumental in bringing "Doctor Who" back to British television, and who stunned us all with the unexpected announcement in September 2003 -- may be leaving the job. The report notes that Heggessey is being tipped to replace Peter Fincham as chief executive of Talkback Thames, the independent production company responsible for some of the UK's biggest shows including "The Bill." The BBC controller neither confirmed nor denied she had been approached about the Talkback job when contacted by MediaGuardian: "I'm committed to BBC1. That's my focus," she told them. The article(registration required) also metnions other possible candidates, suggesting this may be conjecture; however, it has been reported elsewhere in the press. Co-executive producer Mal Young also left the BBC at the end of 2004, though his departure did not affect the production of the new series.
Big Finish has announced three standalone hardback books and two new audios for 2005, all Doctor Who spinoffs, as part of their "New Worlds" range. Iris Wildthyme, the character originally created for the BBC Books collection and who has been played by Katy Manning on several Big Finish audios, is featured in the short story anthology Wildthyme on Top, edited by Paul Magrs (who created the character), with stories by Jonathan Blum, Stephen Cole, Jake Elliot, Craig Hinton, Kate Orman, Lance Parkin, Philip Purser-Hallard, Jacqueline Rayner, Justin Richards and Stewart Sheargold. Manning will return to the role later in 2005 in two single-CD audios, the details of which have yet to be announced. Project: Valhalla by Cavan Scott and Mark Wright is a novel about the Forge, the clandestine organisation created for their audios "Project: Twilight" and "Project: Lazarus". And The Coming of the Queen by Iain McLaughlin and Claire Bartlett is a novel about the life of Erimem, the Fifth Doctor companion from Big Finish's audio range played by Caroline Morris, taking place immediately before her debut story, "The Eye of the Scorpion."
Many articles have run over the past several days regarding the new merchandise licence; among them, on theicWales network (with additional article here), Wales Evening Post, WaveGuide, in the Western Mail, Newsquest Media Group and other places. (Thanks to Chuck Foster, Paul Engelberg)
The new DWM notes that The Complete Seventh Doctor, the final edition of their "Complete... Doctor" specials, will be released by Panini on February 17. It includes interviews with Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred and script editor Andrew Cartmel, plus (as in previous installments) a complete guide to each episode of the Seventh Doctor's era. Also noted in the liner notes from the recent issue of DWM, that issue 354 (on sale March 3) will include an interview with co-Executive Producer Julie Gardner, a preview of the first episode of the new series, "Rose"; Gareth Roberts on post-1989 Doctor Who; The Fact of Fiction examines "Spearhead from Space"; an Archive Extra on "Daleks - Invasion Earth 2150AD"; and an article on the era of the Eighth Doctor.
The radio program Sacred Nation will air on Sunday, February 13 at 8:00am on BBC Radio 2. According to the press release, "Christopher Eccleston tells the story of religious belief in the British Isles. From long barrows to stone circles, from Druids to Romans, and through Holy wars, reformations and revivals, he discovers that Britain has always been a pluralistic society. Far from being a solely Christian country, Britain has a rich, multifaith heritage. Written by Michael Symmons Roberts, winner of this year?s Whitbread Prize for Poetry, Sacred Nation asks if there are lessons on tolerance and diversity to be learnt from the past." (Thanks to Phil Creighton, Steve Freestone)
Mad Norwegian Press have released the cover illustration for Warring States by Mags L. Halliday, their next installment of the "Faction Paradox" series of novels based on the characters and situations originally created by Lawrence Miles for the BBC Doctor Who novels. Click on the thumbnail for a larger cover. Outpost Gallifrey still features online the prologue preview for the book, courtesy Mad Norwegian. (Thanks to Lars Pearson)
The SFX Magazine website confirms that musician Murray Gold, previously announced as composing the incidental music for each episode of the new series, will be recreating the popular theme tune for the new series. "It's not as radical a remix as many thought we might get," says the article. "The new arrangement updates Delia Derbyshire and Ron Grainer's original, but keeps the basic sounds. Producer Russell T Davies told SFX that the production team did consider keeping the 1960s/70s original, but, 'When we watched it on the small screen, it just seemed a little bit empty and a bit old.'" The article notes that the new theme tune was delivered on January 17 by Gold, and quotes Davies as saying it's "brilliant, absolutely brilliant. I thought the original theme would be perfect though, but the version Murray's done is so faithful." Davies also told SFX that the show would bring back "the classic Jon Pertwee/Tom Baker 'cliffhanger screech'." The issue features an interview with Davies as well as artwork by famed Doctor Who illustrator Chris Achilleos; visit the website for more information.
On Friday 25 February, National Doodle Day 2005, a doodle by Sixth Doctor Colin Baker will be auctioned on eBay to raise money for Epilepsy Action and the Neurofibromatosis Association. Colin's doodle can be viewed at the National Doodle Day website. Other Doctor Who actors whose doodles are up for auction include: Bernard Cribbins, Brian Blessed, Jim Broadbent, Joanna Lumley, Richard Briers, Derek Martin, Honor Blackman and, from the new series, Richard Wilson and Andrew Marr. Other celebrities from the world of science fiction and fantasy include Brian Cox (X-Men 2), Gillian Anderson (the X-Files), Robbie Coltrane (Harry Potter), and the author Brian Aldiss. More celebrity doodles are coming in all the time. According to the site, anyone can join in by doing a doodle for National Doodle Day; just visit your local Lloydspharmacy, donate ú1 and pick up a Doodle Card, draw on it (this year's theme is 'My Favourite Things') and send it to us at the address printed on the back. Visit www.nationaldoodleday.org.uk for more information. (Thanks to Alan Jones)
Full details of the extras from the forthcoming DVD release The Claws of Axos have been revealed in the latest DWM. They include commentaries by Katy Manning, Richard Franklin and producer Barry Letts; an interview with director Michael Ferguson; "Who Was Doctor Axon?", a feature on the restoration of the story produced by John Kelly; another of Richard Bignell's "Now and Then" location features, on Dungeness (Nuclear Power Station), narrated by Katy Manning; a 30-minute compilation of "Vampire from Space" studio material, including all the Roger Delgado footage and some extended and deleted scenes; production subtitles; and a photo gallery. While the release is noted as May 2, the BBC Shop currently lists it as being released on May 9.
News regarding the new documentary series Doctor Who Confidential, broadcasting on BBC3 following each episode's transmission in the UK on BBC1: Each edition will have a title and a theme "covered by that week's episode [of Doctor Who] and looking back at how that theme has been developed in previous episodes with past Doctors." (The ratio of "New" to "Classic" Doctor Who will be about 60: 40, according to the report in DWM.) Interviews featured include Christopher Eccleston, Billie Piper, Russell T Davies, past Doctors and assistants, DWM and Big Finish, as well as interviews from fans (including, Outpost Gallifrey is aware, footage and interviews from several Doctor Who conventions.) The first edition is titled "Back from the Future" and examines "how the BBC approached the task of bringing back the Doctor." The second is "Aliens - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly", going behind the scenes on "The End of the World", including "making convincing aliens... prosthetics, and a visit to the Mill". The third - "TARDIS tales" - "looks at the role of the TARDIS, and the past times the Doctor has visited." Future editions will cover the return of the Daleks, the role of the companion and the possibility of time travel.
The latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine features some late breaking updates on the new series. As expected, there is now confirmation of our earlier report that there will be single, on screen episode titles for each episode of the new series. FX house The Mill has completed the new title sequence for the series, which will feature at the start of each episode (previous thoughts about pre-titles sequences have been abandoned, or so we've heard.) The issue confirms that Joe Ahearne will return as director, but notes that Ahearne is directing the final two parter (one episode of which is called "The Parting of the Ways") as the 'sixth block' of filming. However, they state that no director has yet been announced for the 'fifth block', consisting solely of episode 11 (it states that the final two parter is "too ambitious" to allow a third episode into this block; however, this does not discount Outpost Gallifrey's earlier report that Ahearne is directing episode 11, which could indeed be the case but is not 'official.')
The issue also has some new casting additions: In "The Long Game," Colin Prockter plays the Head Chef, and Judy Holt plays Sandra; the issue has several comments about this casting by exec producer Russell T Davies. Also in that story, previously announced cast members Christine Adams and Anna Maxwell Martin have now been confirmed as Cath and Suki respectively. For "The Empty Child" and its second episode, "The Doctor Dances," Florence Hoathplays Nancy; and in roles yet to be announced, Cheryl Fergison, Damian Samuels, Robert Hands, Martin Hodgson, Joseph Tremain, Jordan Murphy and Brandon Miller. The issue also confirms the arrival of John Barrowman as Captain Jack Harkness in the two-parter. Finally, Davies' production notes is a lengthy discussion of spoilers and the real instigators of such, the British press; he notes that it is very likely full synopses of each episode will be out prior to their broadcast, accusing the British press of being potential 'ruiners' of the series.