Bookmark and Share The Tides of Time - Update

5/29/2005 02:30:00 am - Reported by Shaun Lyon


May 29, 2005 • Posted By Shaun Lyon
The release date for Panini's next graphic novel, The Tides of Time, has now been announced: the complete collection of Fifth Doctor comic strips from Doctor Who Monthly will be available in June. The cover illustration is at right; yesterday's news column featured a scan from Doctor Who Magazine but we've been provided a higher-resolution copy of the cover which you can now see by clicking on the thumbnail. (Thanks to Tenth Planet)

Bookmark and Share Sunday Series Update

5/29/2005 02:29:00 am - Reported by Shaun Lyon


May 29, 2005 • Posted By Shaun Lyon
The overnight ratings for The Doctor Dances are in. The episode was watched by an average of 6.17 million viewers with a 35.9% viewing audience share, peaking in the second quarter-hour of the episode with 6.30 million. "Doctor Who" was the most watched programme of Saturday, day or night (versus 3.2 million for the ITV showing of "X-Men" at the same time) and while the overall viewer ratings are the lowest so far, this was during a major bank holiday weekend in Britain.

Meanwhile, a report on this week's airing of Father's Day on CBC in Canada: the episode was viewed by 809,000 viewers, down due to its main competition, the season finale of "American Idol". However, "Doctor Who" continues to hold on to 8pm's number two spot on Canadian networks, while rounding out the top four for all primetime (8pm to 11pm).

An update on the Billie Piper situation. Today's "News of the World," a tabloid, reports that Piper is not leaving the series at all, and will appear in all episodes of the next series despite reports to the contrary. "The People" also reports today that Piper "is to earn ú120,000 after agreeing to star in four extra episodes of Doctor Who. The actress announced that she was quitting the show last week, and originally planned to star in just three episodes of the show's second series. However, Billie, who plays Rose Tyler, will now appear in seven episodes of the next series. 'It's great news she's on board for more,' an insider told The People." The reports on her possible departure vary widely, obviously; time will tell as to whether she stays for the entire season or leaves at some point therein.

Today's Telegraph covers the sale of the series to South Korea. "Pagishikinda! Pagishikinda! This is the blood-curdling cry of the world's first Korean-speaking Dalek. Doctor Who, the popular science fiction drama, has made history by becoming the first BBC drama series to be sold to South Korea." The series will be known in the country as "Dacter Who" and the Korean broadcaster KBS 2 will show two different episodes each week, starting with its debut next weekend, to make it easier for viewers to get to know the character. Says Russell T Davies, "The Doctor has travelled far and wide and knows no boundary and now the programme is doing much the same." Jungwon Lee, executive director of KBS Media, said: "We are very excited to launch Dr Who on the network. We anticipate a great reaction from all age groups."

Also notable about the Telegraph article is that it mentions expanded airings of the show on various airlines. Previously the series had been announced as airing on Thomsonfly Airlines, a local carrier (and only the first episode) but the Telegraph article says that the series "has also been sold to some of the world's biggest airlines including British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand who will begin broadcasting it from next month."

Last week's Dead Ringers didn't have a Doctor Who sketch proper, but did have a spoof news item on the DVD getting a PG rating for scenes of cruelty to a Dalek. They claimed the BBC had pointed out that there was a helpline number at the end of the show for Daleks who had been affected by any of the issues in the programme. The show also featured a piece on the resignation of former BBC political editor Andrew Marr (seen as himself in "Aliens of London" and "World War Three"). Marr explained that it was because he had evolved into an uber-correspondent, and would from now on exist as a being of pure energy, reporting news from throughout the universe.

BBC News illustrated a story on the revelation that space-time wormholes can't function as a stable means of achieving time-travel (apparently) with a screengrab from the new series titles, mentioning in the text that the tunnel seen in the credits of Doctor Who looks suspiciously like a wormhole, "although the Doctor's preferred method of travel is not explained in detail".

(Thanks to Steve Berry, Rod Mammitzsch, Paul Hayes, Peter Weaver, Matt Kimpton)

Bookmark and Share Tenth Planet Posters

5/28/2005 02:33:00 am - Reported by Shaun Lyon


May 28, 2005 • Posted By Shaun Lyon
Tenth Planet have given us details on two new full colour posters available for the new Doctor Who series. "Now available: TWO large full colour posters featuring the Doctor and Rose and the last Dalek from the TV series starring Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper. Large Posters measure 915x610mm (36x24") each and retail for ú3.99 each." Thumbnails of each are below.

Bookmark and Share Doctor Who Magazine 357

5/28/2005 02:33:00 am - Reported by Shaun Lyon


May 28, 2005 • Posted By Shaun Lyon
DWM 357
Issue #357 of Doctor Who Magazine has been released. Below is the press release and a thumbnail of the cover; click on the thumbnail for a larger version (as always, a high-quality version only found here!)
Who's afraid of the Bad Wolf?
Doctor Who Magazine previews the final episodes of the current series...

"These episodes are going back to 1960s Doctor Who - the way it was on my head before I became awkward or embarrassed or analytical," says writer Russell T Davies about the thrilling climax to the series. "The black-and-white years... those were the days when great space fleets existed, where cosmic wars happened, where the lead character could do anything, and nothing was safe cos nothing was set in stone. That's what I wanted to create: an outer space epic..."

Meanwhile, the latest issue of the magazine chats to the Doctor and Rose's latest travelling companion, Captain Jack Harkness - alias actor John Barrowman - to find out about what he thinks about taxing tongue-twisters, stripping off for the cameras, and Rose's excellent bottom!

Voice artiste extraordinaire Nicholas Briggs presents the second part of his Diary of a Dalek, while DWM also goes Dalek-hunting under the Millennium Stadium to meet the cast and crew of Episode 6! Meanwhile the authors of the new Ninth Doctor novels chat about shaping new adventures for the Doctor and Rose, Billie Piper's interview from March's launch party is presented in its entirity, and all the usual regular features.

Plus: There's the exciting conclusion to the latest comic strip adventure The Love Invasion, as the Doctor and Rose try to foil Igrix's plan to destroy the moon!

DWM 357 is on sale from Thursday 26 May, priced ú3.99.

Bookmark and Share Big Finish Update

5/28/2005 02:32:00 am - Reported by Shaun Lyon


May 28, 2005 • Posted By Shaun Lyon
Big Finish has updated its pages with the cover illustration for the forthcoming audio release Scaredy Cat by Will Shindler, starring Paul McGann; and the forthcoming original short story anthology Wildthyme On Top edited by Paul Magrs, featuring the character Iris Wildthyme (as played by Katy Manning in the Big Finish audios). Click on the thumbnails below for larger versions. The Big Finish site also notes recent mailings and releases, including the first installment of the Sapphire and Steel range starring David Warner ("Sympathy For the Devil") and Susannah Harker ("Shada").

Bookmark and Share BBC Books Update

5/28/2005 02:32:00 am - Reported by Shaun Lyon


May 28, 2005 • Posted By Shaun Lyon
Cover illustrations have now been posted on Amazon.co.uk for two forthcoming Doctor Who novels from BBC Books:Island of Death by Barry Letts, a third Doctor/Sarah Jane book due out on July 4; and Spiral Scratchby Gary Russell, the sixth Doctor/Mel book due out in early August. View each by clicking the thumbnails below; brief synopses for each are on ourReleases page. (Thanks to Dan O'Malley, Jim Trenowden, Philip Purser-Hallard)

Bookmark and Share Revelation, Web Planet DVDs

5/28/2005 02:31:00 am - Reported by Shaun Lyon


May 28, 2005 • Posted By Shaun Lyon
The cover illustration for the forthcoming UK DVD release of Revelation of the Daleks has been issued by the BBC Shop; click on the thumbnail for a larger version. The DVD's official release date is July 11, 2005. Meanwhile, the BBC Shop also confirms the release of The Web Planet on DVD (reported as "being considered" in the latest DWM), as previously reported by Outpost Gallifrey some time ago; the William Hartnell serial is due out September 5 in the UK, followed on by "City of Death" in November and "The Beginning" in January 2006 as previously reported.

Bookmark and Share The Week's TV News Coverage

5/28/2005 02:30:00 am - Reported by Shaun Lyon


May 28, 2005 • Posted By Shaun Lyon
Editor's Note: As reported on Outpost Gallifrey's front page, I've been out of commission for a week due to illness. The following news article wraps up the series related highlights from the press on May 21-28:

The Billie Piper Story

The Dreamwatch exclusive that Billie Piper may not be appearing in all 13 episodes of Series Two -- reported on Outpost Gallifrey prior to the break -- was picked up in a large number of international news reports on Monday 23 May and throughout the following week. First off was the Daily Star, which gave the story front page status, and also set the tone of a show in crisis, its stars abandoning shipà With Rose's second-series episode count reportedly as low as three,The Sun soon joined the fray, along with the Daily Mirror, theDaily MailDe HavillandBrand Republic's Media BulletinThe Scotsman, the Daily RecordIreland OnlineU.TVHello!, the Irish Examiner, theicNetworkRTE InteractiveCBBC Newsround,Manchester Online, Contact Music, Female First, the Daily Express, World Entertainment News Network, the Herald-Sun (Aus), Newsquest, theEvening StandardDigital Spy,SyFyPortalThe Guardian, theMelbourne Herald Sun, the Sydney Morning HeraldNews.com (Aus),The Mercury (Aus), Dark HorizonsMega Star, the Press Association, Northern Territory News (Aus), the Newcastle Herald, the Courier Mail (Queensland), The Age (Aus), Sky ShowbizAnanovaITV.com, the Western Mail, and the Doctor Who Appreciation Society rounded up much of the coverage on its own site.

BBC News and BBC Cult also reported on the reports, which prompted the press release that emerged on Monday afternoon from the BBC Press Office: "The BBC today confirmed that Billie Piper - who plays Doctor Who's companion Rose - will return for the second series on BBC ONE. A spokeswoman said: 'Billie Piper will return for the second series of Doctor Who. It has not been confirmed how many episodes she will be in. We are awaiting storylines and scripts.'" However, this is a not a denial that the actress is leaving, merely the official statement made by the production at this time.

The Daily Mirror was the first of many of the above papers to speculate on likely replacements for Rose, although its definition of 'likely' probably differs from the BBC's, including various singers and ex-singers, along with some familiar names from the acting and entertainment worlds. Among the names most often mentioned this past week were Michelle Ryan (Zoe Slater in EastEnders) and Jennifer Ellison (formerly in Channel 4's Brookside, now a regular in various 'celebrity' reality TV shows). The latter, at least, seems to have cropped up so often thanks to assiduous efforts by her agent: she's blond (like Billie); she can sing (like Billie); she's a celebrity (like Billie); and she's also been firmly reported in recent weeks as the next Bond girl amongst several other projects. The Mirror notes that "auditions began last week and TV bosses are keen to sign a dark-haired girl with a posh accent."

Episodes 10-12

The official site was as usual updated earlier this week to preview the new episode, #10, The Doctor Dances. This week's Fear Factor preview gives the episode a score of 4: Chilling. The episode has also been previewed in the Sunday Times ("ingenious"), the Taunton Times, and The Stage, which concentrates on John Barrowman's role as Captain Jack.

As usual, this week's Radio Times continues to give plenty of coverage, once again selecting Doctor Who as its top pick for Saturday ("RT recommendsà", page 4): "an enjoyable, even uplifting adventure set during the Second World War." There's another letter on the new series, although this one has its writer taken aback by sight of "that little patterned dress I'd noticed in Top Shop!" ("Letters", page 10). After a two-page feature on Peter Davison's return in The Last Detective, this week's full-page "Doctor Who Watch" (page 16) is headed "To be continuedà" and concentrates on the importance of cliffhangers in Doctor Who, via an interview with Steven Moffat ("it is wonderful to build it up to that screaming pitch, and the series does -- and this is a matter of absolute fact -- have the best cliffhanger music ever in the world") and a couple of colour shots from The Doctor Dances. There's also an opportunity for RT readers to get a free copy of Pyramids of Marson DVD, as part of a DVD rentals promotion (page 17). Episode 10 recaptures the Pick of the Day slot ("Saturday's Choices", page 64, with a large photo of Captain Jack): "the Doctor's way of dealing with the advancing hordes [of zombies] is as sweet as it is unexpected. It's the first of many pleasing surprises in tonight's episode [à] if any watching grown-ups still can't remember why they fell in love with the show originally, this story ought to do the trick. Full of wonder and wit, it's also Christopher Eccleston's finest hour." The Doctor Dances also regains the photo (Richard Wilson and Eccleston) slot at the head of the evening's BBC1 listings (page 66), with the episode details including promotion for the Volume 1 DVD release, and Doctor Who Confidential's listing says that "this programme looks at some of the gizmos and gadgets at the good Doctor's disposal." The BBC3 repeats are confirmed for the 12.15am on Saturday night and 7pm on Sunday evening (with another Confidential Cut Down at 7.45pm).

The BBC Press Office has released its weekly programme information documents (note: all documents are PDFs) for the week beginning Saturday 4 June. The Saturday highlights document previews Bad Wolf episode 12 as follows: "The Tardis crew fight for their lives on the Game Station in Russell T DaviesÆs penultimate adventure through time and space. The Doctor, Rose and Captain Jack have to fight for their lives on board the Game Station, but a far more dangerous threat is lurking, just out of sight. The Doctor realises that the entire human race has been blinded to the threat on its doorstep, and Armageddon is fast approaching. Christopher Eccleston plays The Doctor, Billie Piper plays Rose, John Barrowman plays Captain Jack Harkness, Camille Coduri plays Jackie Tyler, Noel Clarke plays Mickey Smith and special guest star Anne Robinson plays Anne Droid."

Ratings and Broadcasting

Episode 9, The Empty Child was well received by the UK press, with the Daily Express calling it "a brilliantly crafted episode". However, the overnight ratings for the episode were noticeably lower than for any other episode in the series, following the shift to an earlier timeslot to accommodate the Eurovision Song Contest, football-inspired last-minute changes to BBC1's Saturday evening schedule, and competition from a Star Wars film on ITV1. The episode scored a 6.6 million viewer average in its initial Saturday 21 May airing, but still placed a 34.9% share; the ratings peaked late in the episode 6.7m, and a 35% audience share, against 19% with 3.5m for The Phantom Menace. Once again, Doctor Who was top in its timeslot, although the FA Cup Final, Eurovision and Casualty all attracted higher ratings across the day. It also rated 181,390 viewers (4.2% share) in its 12.20am repeat late that night, and 669,400 viewers (4.2% share) in its Sunday night BBC3 repeat. It is interesting to note that the Sunday repeat is the highest-rated repeat of this season, meaning that it's possible that large numbers of people that intended to watch it Saturday missed out. Doctor Who Confidentialepisode nine had 405,130 viewers (3.2% share) in its initial airing at 7.10pm on Saturday 21 May, with 101,510 viewers (3.5% share) in the 1.05am repeat late that night.

The final UK ratings are in from BARB for episode 8, Father's Day: 8.06m, first in its timeslot, first for BBC1 on Saturday, fifth (behind four episodes of EastEnders) on BBC1 through the week, and 17th in the week's top terrestrial programming, behind the usual round of soaps, Heartbeat and the British Soap Awards. More detailed ratings information for the whole series so far is also available in the Outpost Gallifrey Forum.

"Rose" made its ABC Australia debut on Saturday 21 May and was among the weekend's top-rating shows, with 1,109,686 reported viewers. The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) noted that the series "was first in its 7.30pm timeslot for the ABC. It won in four of the five major capital cities, only just edged out by Channel 7's Inspector Lynley in Brisbane."

In addition to our announcement last week about South Korea getting the series, Benjamin Elliott of "This Week in Doctor Who" reports that TV2 inFinland is the latest acquirer of the new series. TV2 airs English language programming in English with subtitles - no dubbing. The station's statement (in Finnish, translated), says that it "has purchased the rights to Doctor Who, the cult youth sci-fi series, from the BBC. The BBC has produced an impressive new version which will be shown on TV2." This means that Finland is added to the list that includes the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Italy and South Korea.

Canada's CBC has scheduled repeats of Doctor Who Sundays at 7PM (7:30PM Newfoundland) starting June 19. This will make the CBC the first network around the world to give the Doctor Who episodes a second airing (not counting same week encores). It also means that the repeats will begin before the first run of the series on Tuesday nights ends on June 28.

20th Century Roadshow will be transmitted on Sunday, June 5 at 6.45pm on BBC1. The special features Doctor Who merchandise and memorabilia. The Doctor Who Appreciation Society has a review/preview available at their website.

Merchandise

Volume 1 of the Doctor Who new series DVDs, comprising "Rose", "The End of the World" and "The Unquiet Dead" was officially released on Monday 16 May, to great reviews and sales success. It made a Top 10 debut in several charts of DVD sales, including at Number 9 in the Official Chart listed on the BBCs' Radio 1 site. Several high street stores have also featured the DVD in their top tens (although these tend to be for promotional purposes rather than sales based), and the release was the bestseller at the BBC Shop as of 27 May, ahead of all other DVDs, CDs and books. Reviews have appeared in various Newsquest Media titles. (If you'd like to order it from Amazon.co.uk and support the Outpost,click here.)

The first three BBC Books novels featuring the Ninth Doctor and Rose were officially published on Thursday 19 May and, according to Friday 27 May'sPublishing News, are already into a second printing after extremely strong sales. Publishing News reports that the three books "were reprinted before they even officially hit the shops on Thursday of last week. The original print run was 100,000 for all four, and the reprint was 75,000." "They're very, very successful, which isn't surprising considering the publicity and reviews that Doctor Who has had," Jon Howells, Press and Communications Manager for Ottakar's, told Publishing News. "They've had great sales, and I think that will continue." The novels have received strong promotion from UK booksellers, with Ottakar's and Tesco amongst those offering all three for the price of two. Friday 27 May's edition of The Bookseller also reports that the three novels are at five, six and seven in the "Top 20 Fiction Heatseekers" chart. Meanwhile, The Independent had Justin Richards' "Monsters and Villains" paperback at Number 3 in the Cinema and Television chart.

Looking ahead to September, the latest issue of DWM confirms the three Ninth Doctor novels previously reported on Outpost Gallifrey as "The Deviant Strain" by Justin Richards, "Only Human" by Gareth Roberts and "The Stealers of Dreams" by Steve Lyons. The same issue carries an interview with the authors of the current range, Richards, Stephen Cole and Jacqueline Rayner, and previews the provisional cover for "Only Human".Amazon.co.uk has released the cover for Only Human which can be seen at right; click on the thumbnail for a larger version.

Amazon now has a brief synopsis for Doctor Who: The Shooting Scriptscoming later this year. "This book collects together the entire shooting scripts for the first series. Seven of the scripts are by Russell T Davies, with the remainder by Stephen Moffat, Robert Shearman, Paul Cornell and The League of Gentlemen's Mark Gatiss. Each of the scripts will be illustrated with screen grabs, ensuring the book appeals to broad audience. Introductions by the writers will explain the inspirations for the new series and the fascinating process of creating a Doctor Who script."

Series Two News

The new issue of Doctor Who Magazine began to reach subscribers on Monday 23 May (its official publication date being Thursday, 26 May) and has one big -- if probably unavoidable -- spoiler for Series 2 which we have placed in theSPOILER TAG at the bottom of this news update. The magazine alsodenies rumours that David Walliams of BBC3's Little Britain comedy series will be writing an episode of the next series. Producer Phil Collinson states that there is "no truth in the tabloid rumours". Meanwhile, Russell T Davies is working on the as yet untitled Christmas special, which is confirmed as having a duration of 60 minutes. In his "Production Notes" column, Davies also reveals that Tom MacRae has delivered his first episode ("brilliant"), which contains the words "sickness", "mole" and "meat", and that episode numbers have yet to be allocated to the stories for Series 2.

Several news reports this week have suggested that Christopher Eccleston will be in the Christmas special; however, we do not believe he will be, instead appearing for the final time in episode 13 of this series.

Press Coverage

An article entitled "The return of Doctor Who" has been circulated widely by the Associated Press over the past week, appearing in a variety of mainstream press in North America, including at CNN.com and in a variety of local papers.

Press response to the series in Australia has been as generally positive as elsewhere with lots of reviews, previews and other articles, including several pieces in the Sydney Morning Herald ("Thank goodness for Who weekly -- there's no knocking the return of the wild-eyed chap in the big blue Tardis"), Northern Territory News, the Sunday Mail, the West Australian (Perth), The Australian, The Advertiser, the Courier Mail (Queensland), the Melbourne Herald Sun, The Age, Townsville Bulletin (Aus), the Newcastle Herald

It appears that certain press reports of Christopher Eccleston's post-Who intentions were, once again, inaccurate. He has not, according to bothEmpire and Moviehole, been cast as Silas in the forthcoming adaptation of "The Da Vinci Code", the role having gone to Paul Bettany. Eccleston was, however, seen by various newspapers taking part in the Great Manchester Run, which raised ú1 million for charity.

John Barrowman is interviewed by the Rainbow Network in which he says that "It's been great, but it's about to get much better! The thing is, is that I know what's going to happen, so I'm not watching it with the same baited breath that everybody else is. I know all the little secrets and storylines, but I am enjoying it; I think it's one of the better things on Saturday evening television." He notes that he is "in it until the end of this series, which is a cliff-hanger, and then we'll to wait and see what happens in the second and third series." On working with Eccleston and Piper: "It was just fantastic. When I initially started, which was just before Christmas 2004, I went into a series that had been filming since July. Everyone knew I was joining the team because I was hired at the same time as they were, but it was weird to walk into a situation where they'd been working together for a while. However, after we shot the first couple of scenes things just clicked and we had a great time together." He also discusses his next role, in the film version of Mel Brooks' "The Producers".

In an interview with The StagePeter Davison has said that his young children find the new series of Doctor Who "too scary", and ask to see old videos of "Daddy" playing the character instead. "They reckon the new Doctor Who is too scary and asked if they could watch Daddy playing him instead," Davison tells the Stage. "Although in fact, I'd say that was a compliment to the new series, as it implies that my episodes weren't scary at all and they merely wanted to be comforted by them." He also notes his feelings about Eccleston's departure: "I feel sorry for the fans, as I feel they've been rather let down. What it really needed, after all the effort and dedication of the fans over the years to get the show back on air, would be to have someone committed enough to stay with the role for two or three years. As it is, the fans must be disappointed and left feeling up in the air a bit."

Also in this week's The Stage, a note that "Jane Tranter, BBC head of drama commissioning, has pledged to open up early evening schedules on weekends and bank holidays to family-oriented drama, following the widespread success of Doctor Who. The show consistently attracts ratings of more than 7 million viewers and has already been credited with reviving BBC1's Saturday night fortunes. Now executives are hopeful it could mark a renaissance of family drama, a genre that has fallen out of favour in recent years with broadcasters and demographics experts blaming a lack of demand for it." Tranter tells the Stage that she thinks Doctor Who "has shown there is a real appetite for part of the week being set aside for family drama. ... It is clear that certain genres, such as fantasy or some real life situations, have the potential to get lots of people interested but if you are going to appeal to an 11-year-old and a 41-year-old there has to be something in its presentation that is universal."

Brand Republic's Digital Bulletin has reported on the huge online success of the Dalek game. The story says that "The Last Dalek" has "amassed 500,000 separate plays in just three weeks [à] More than 275 websites now list the game and its popularity is said to be spreading around the world from players in countries including Australia, Switzerland and Japan. The game was also a top-three entry into the Lycos Viral Game Chart".

In the Guardian over a week ago, there was a note in the Smallweed column with an ultimatum, which we reported on these pages: "Don't do away with our Daleks, Davies." May 28's Guardian featured a reply from Russell T Davies: "Dear Mr Smallweed, I surrender. You win. My neighbours have stuck your campaign message in their car windows and keep driving past me, shaking an angry fist in my direction. All right, all right, all right, the Daleks will be back. Hundreds of 'em. No more girly consciences either, they're back to being mean metal bastards. What d'you fancy next year? Cybermen?"

Some TV mentions: During discussion on the London Eye controversy on "Richard And Judy" on Tuesday 24 May, Richard suddenly introduced a clip from Rose featuring the London icon. Friday's "Lenny Henry Show" had a brief bit on the news about Billie's departure (and Daleks serving in the Queen Vic (Eastenders)!). The Beeb showed the wrong trailer after "Neighbours" Friday evening, put on the Father's Day one instead! The correct one was shown after the news and Eastenders. And another comment about Doctor Who budgets on "Have I Got News For You!"

Some other brief press mentions: the Times mentions Billie Piper in a list of suggested replacements for Kylie Minogue at Glastonbury; the Scottish Daily Record features an article on John Barrowman (and his Scottish connection); and theBristol Evening Post notes that a "junkie burglar who worked on Doctor Who set" has been jailed.

(Thanks to Steve Tribe, Paul Engelberg, Peter Anghelides, Andy Parish, Chuck Foster, Paul Greaves, Robert Booth, Ryan Piekenbrock, Duncan Rose, Paul Hayes, Scott Matthewman, Peter Weaver, Adam Kirk, James Sellwood, Widya Santoso, Jim Trenowden, Doug Vermes and Rich Finn)
According to issue 357 of Doctor Who Magazine, the Cybermen will return to the series for its second season. There is no word on how many stories they will appear in but it is expected that they will be in multiple episodes.

Bookmark and Share Friday Series Update

5/20/2005 02:34:00 am - Reported by Shaun Lyon


May 20, 2005 • Posted By Shaun Lyon
BARB has now released the consolidated viewing figures for The Long Game: 8.01 million viewers, making the episode Saturday's second most watched programme (after Casualty, 8.35m), top in its timeslot, sixth on BBC1 in the week ending 8 May and seventeenth in the terrestrial top 30. In terms of its performance against the preceding six episodes of the series, it's in fourth place, behind "Rose", "The Unquiet Dead" and "Dalek". And today's Broadcast magazine confirms that the audience share for Dalek was 45%.

South Korea is the latest country to pick up the series. South Korean public TV station KBS (equivalent to BBC) is going to broadcast the new Doctor Who series from the 5th of June, every Saturday at 11.15 pm. No further details as yet.

On the official site, there is confirmation that the final appearance in the series of Christopher Eccleston will be in Episode 13, contrary to theories elsewhere that he will be appearing in the Christmas special, and that the remaining editions of Doctor Who Confidential will be cut to fifteen minutes for their Sunday evening repeats. The details of the episode titles for the last few shows in the run of Doctor Who Confidential have also been revised: "The Cult of Who" becomes "The World of Who" and focuses on the show's global appeal and its fans. Episode 13, "Finale", is retitled "The Last Battle". The show relives the highs and lows of the Ninth Doctor's time with Rose, and sees Christopher Eccleston taking his final bow. It's looking increasingly likely that all the remaining Sunday night repeats will be trimmed to fit a 15-minute slot, so be sure to catch Confidential on Saturdays if you want to see the uncut versions."

The BBC Press Office has released its weekly programme information documents (note: all documents are pdfs) for the week beginning Saturday 4 June. The Saturday highlights document (note: PDF file) includes a photograph of John Barrowman and Christopher Eccleston and a non-spoiler preview of Episode 11: Boom Town: "Building plans for the heart of Cardiff conceal a plot to destroy the world in Boom Town, written by Russell T Davies. When the Tardis crew take a holiday, the Doctor encounters an enemy he thought long since dead. It soon transpires that plans to build a nuclear power station in Cardiff city are disguising an alien plot to rip the world apart. And when the Doctor dines with monsters, he discovers traps within traps à Christopher Eccleston plays The Doctor,Billie Piper plays Rose and John Barrowman plays Captain Jack Harkness."

John Barrowman was on BBC Breakfast this morning at a little after 9am.BBC News is reporting on the item, which includes a RealPlayer file of the interview, which lasts a little under five minutes.

The Lincolnshire Echo is reporting that Christopher Eccleston could be filming in Lincoln this summer for the new movie "The Da Vinci Code" in which he has been widely reported to be participating. Filming will be focused in Lincoln Cathedral.

(Thanks to Steve Tribe, Paul Engelberg, Ross Fitzpatrick, Steve Freestone, Chuck Foster, Chris Winwood)

Bookmark and Share Piper To Leave Series?

5/20/2005 02:34:00 am - Reported by Shaun Lyon


May 20, 2005 • Posted By Shaun Lyon
The next issue of Dreamwatch magazine will feature an exclusive report that the agent for Billie Piper has confirmed to the magazine that she will be leaving the series during its second season. "She's not doing the full season," the agent told Dreamwatch, indicating that she will likely appear in three to seven episodes of the second series. This is the first print indication that Piper may leave the show, although nothing official has yet been announced (we simply report what the magazine itself is reporting). Issue #130 of Dreamwatch will be available starting this weekend (and it also features interviews with Piper, Camille Coduri and John Barrowman).

Bookmark and Share Thursday Series Updates

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.

Bookmark and Share Gallifrey Chronicles Issue

5/18/2005 02:38:00 am - Reported by Shaun Lyon


May 18, 2005 • Posted By Shaun Lyon
Several fans noticed this week that pre-orders for Lance Parkin's novel The Gallifrey Chronicles were canceled at Amazon.co.uk, but the issue has been fixed and new pre-orders are being taken.

Bookmark and Share Colin Baker's Sunday Life

5/18/2005 02:38:00 am - Reported by Shaun Lyon


May 18, 2005 • Posted By Shaun Lyon
Colin Baker this week tells Sunday Life about his time in Doctor Who, vampires and appearing in Little Britain. "It seems like a distance of many light years between intrepid time traveller and grumpy old man, but former Dr Who Colin Baker is very comfortable with his latest incarnation," writes Liz McPherson. Colin Baker notes that "I suppose I am just a grumpy old man," going on to recite a long list of pet hates, which include bad manners, loud music in pubs, computerised switch boards, and fox hunting. He discusses his current role in Dracula at Belfast's Grand Opera House, and discusses being in Northern Ireland. "I'm having a lot of fun with it," he laughs. While I'm in Belfast, I might just jump on a plane and go to Cork, because I've got ancestors there. My mother's father was born there." Asked about the new Dr Who series, he replies: "I think the new series is fabulous. The scripts are excellent, and the production values are very good." Baker says he's now looking forward to his next role, a cameo in the irreverent comedy, Little Britain. "I enjoy doing comedy after drama. It's a bit like a diet. You need variety."

Bookmark and Share Pocket Essentials: Doctor Who

5/18/2005 02:37:00 am - Reported by Shaun Lyon


May 18, 2005 • Posted By Shaun Lyon
The revised edition of Mark Campbell's Pocket Essentials: Doctor Who will be released in July 2005. The updated and revised edition will be 160 pages with larger type than the original and will feature ratings, episode titles and novelisation details. "Each Doctor's era is put under the microscope with facts, figures and informed opinion on every televised Doctor Who story right up to the present. There's a list of spin-offs on TV, radio, cinema and stage; updated Big Finish audios; a section on missing episodes; and all topped off with an in-depth reference section. An ideal companion for the casual viewer or the hardcore fan." Click on the thumbnail at right for a larger version of the cover. (Thanks to Mark Campbell)

Bookmark and Share Power of the Daleks Reconstructed

5/18/2005 02:37:00 am - Reported by Shaun Lyon


May 18, 2005 • Posted By Shaun Lyon
The BBC Press Office has issued a press release regarding the June 20 publication of Doctor Who Reconstructed: The Power of the Daleks, which is a "groundbreaking release from BBC Audio which reconstructs a classic Doctor Who serial that no longer exists in the BBC Television archives." It says, "There are over one hundred episodes of Doctor Who missing from the BBC television archives. Of these episodes only two elements survive: off-air sound recordings and off-screen 'telesnaps' showing images from the lost film. This brand new and unique MP3-CD from BBC Audio has brought these two elements together for the very first time - presenting the telesnaps from this classic Doctor Who episode as a visual slide show of images over the original soundtrack, going some way to 'reconstructing' the original film episodes. Starring Patrick Troughton as the second Doctor, The Power of the Daleks sees the first ever Doctor Who regeneration, in which his companions Ben (Michael Craze) and Polly (Anneke Wills) suspect that he is an impostor after his whole body apparently transforms before their very eyes. But when the TARDIS materialises on the planet Vulcan, they must unite and fight for their lives together - against the evil Daleks!" The cover has been in our Release Guide since last month.

Bookmark and Share Tuesday-Wednesday Series News Roundup

5/18/2005 02:36:00 am - Reported by Shaun Lyon


May 18, 2005 • Posted By Shaun Lyon
The Empty Child

Press Pack Seven is now available on the BBC website. The press pack discusses the two-part story starting with this weekend's The Empty Child. "Discovering he had been chosen as one of the writers on the new series of Doctor Who helped to seal a perfect day for Steven Moffat, writer of Coupling. 'I heard I'd got the job on the way to the Comedy Awards, where we won for my BBC TWO series Coupling, and I got to meet (former Doctor Who) Peter Davison,' he recalls. Like the other writers working on the Doctor's return, Steven is a big Doctor Who fan. 'I remember me and (fellow Doctor Who writer) Mark Gatiss drunkenly pitching the return of the show to the BBC's Head of Comedy at a party once and him saying 'It sounds very interesting, but I'm comedy'. Getting involved in the new series was absolutely thrilling, but I guess I took a deep breath before I started writing my episodes.'" The press pack notes that Moffat scripted one of three two-parters in the new run, a sinister tale set in London during the Blitz, where a mysterious presence is mutating humans into something not of this world. Best known for his comedy work, he says: "Comedy is just another sort of drama really, and there's always been comedy in Doctor Who to offset its scariness. To my mind, Doctor Who should be predominantly scary, but you can't make it too terrifying if you're aiming it at a family audience. I've always seen it as a kind of badly-behaved children's show. It scared and thrilled me as a kid and will hopefully do the same to a new generation of viewers this time round." Also interviewed are Richard Wilson and John Barrowman, who star as Dr. Constantine and Captain Jack Harkness. "He can't quite believe it. But Richard Wilson was happy to take on the role of a second doctor in the continuing adventures of a certain Time Lord. The 'One Foot In The Grave' star plays Dr Constantine, a bemused hospital medic in a new two-part story..." says the article. "I thought the writing was of a very high standard and very interesting," explains Wilson. "I think that is one of the strengths of the new series of Doctor Who." Barrowman notes that his character is "actually a Time Agent - part of a kind of space CIA - and he's trying to find two years of his memory that have disappeared. He's a rogue Time Agent and he knows he's done something in the past and he's not sure what it is or whether it is good or bad, because his memory has been erased. But he's also an intergalactic conman and he starts off by trying to con the Doctor and Rose." Read the whole interview at the website. (Manchester Online has reprinted some of this.)

The weekly revision to the official site is now in place for The Empty Child, this week with sound: "Please let me in, Mummy. I'm scared of the bombs." As usual, the first part of the photo gallery for the episode has been added, concentrating on the regulars and guest star Richard Wilson, with more photo stories and video diaries promised for Saturday evening. There are also a couple of news items, covering Russell T Davies' appearance on Radio 4's Front Row last night (with a link to the listen again service) and a review of The Clockwise Man, the first of the Ninth Doctor novels published this week. The Fear Forecast childrens' column is also posted.

The week's best television in the new edition of the Radio Times has the FA Cup Final as its top pick for Saturday, ending Doctor Who's previously unbroken run, but The Empty Child is still included (page 4). With an illustration of guest star Richard Wilson, the RT says "I don't believe it! Richard Wilson crops up as a doctor - but not the Doctor - while Rose hangs around London in a giddy Second World War mystery." The full-page behind-the-scenes feature (page 15) concentrates on the introduction of John Barrowman ("When I was told I'd got the job... I literally screamed and jumped around") as Captain Jack, who is pictured with Christopher Eccleston, alongside a main picture of a number of gas-masked figures and a repeat of the Richard Wilson shot from earlier in the magazine. A half-page advertisement for the Volume 1 DVD appears, rather cunningly, on the same page as the cast lists for this week's soaps (page 47), and includes a quote from The Guardian: "TV really doesn't get better than this, ever." In the listings section (page 64), Saturday's episode is again in second place (this time behind the Eurovision Song Contest): "... the show has had to adapt and become slicker... it's best for the old guard to sit back and enjoy the ride. ... an enticing mystery set in a Blitz-ravaged London ... There's persuasive period detail and a crazy barrage-balloon flight, but the episode also contains nightmarish imagery (including a grotesque morphing sequence) that's probably too much for little ones." Also recommended is the ninth edition of Doctor Who Confidential: "This zesty little series is a goldmine for those who like their special effects with a little bit of elucidation ... Tonight we learn how Billie Piper 'flew' across London, while a brilliant montage of classic (ie rubbish) Who effects reminds us how far the series has come." he programme listing for the epsidoe (page 66) reads, "At the height of the Blitz, Rose meets the dashing Captain Jack Harkness", while on the next page that for Confidential offers, "Gone are the days of wobbly sets - for this 21st-century transformation of the perennial sci-fi classic, CGI effects have given the Doctor some state-of-the-art aliens to battle." As previously reported on Outpost Gallifrey, Saturday's episode is listed as running from 6.30pm for forty minutes (with Confidential following 7.10pm) while both repeats (Saturday 12.20am, Sunday 7.15pm) apparently run for forty-five minutes; no repeat of Confidential is listed for Sunday evening.

The next episode of the series has apparently been cut because of tone issues and also some ruminations of bisexuality.BBC News reports that "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.' 'It's a little thing involving the scene with Richard Wilson's character and the gas mask,' said producer Phil Collinson." Several press reports also focus on the fact that the episode "reveals that the Time Lord attracts the attentions of a bisexual character in a later storyline. Producers have axed a scene in which skulls could be heard cracking in what has been billed as the scariest episode of the new Doctor Who series yet. And at a media screening of the show yesterday, it emerged that 'time agent' Captain Jack Harkness flirts with the Doctor in a future episode." It is too early to tell what, exactly, has been cut, or if the story is simply more hype. Also reported at the MirrorMedia GuardianManchester Online,Breaking NewsIrish ExaminerCBBC NewsWaveguide,the ScotsmanPress AssociationYahoo News.

Pre-airing reviews of The Empty Child are being posted. Heat magazine's Boyd Hilton gives it 5 stars: "The esteemed brains of the BBC Press Office are dubbing this 2-part story 'the scariest Doctor Who yet'. And they have a point. There's something about the sight of a bunch of zombie-like mutants with gas masks for faces that really gives us the willies. Add to the mix a hunky new love interest for Billie Piper's Rose and a wonderful cameo from Richard Wilson, and you have yet another triumphant episode." Closer magazine comments on the episode: "This series just gets better and better. Tonight, we're in London in 1941, at the height of the Blitz. The army is guarding a mysterious cylinder, while homeless children living on bomb sites are being terrorised bya scary kid infected with a strange virus. In the midst of the mayhem, love hearts are flashing in Rose's eyes when she meets a hunky captain. And look out for One Foot In The Grave's Richard Wilson as Dr Constantine, a GP in charge of a busy wartime hospital ward."

Doctor Who on the Web

The website of The Stage is carrying a feature by Paul Hayes on theinternet streaming of BBC One that allowed many overseas fans to watch 'Dalek' on April 30. "When plans of a secret BBC test to stream its UK channels over the internet leaked out, overseas users logged on. Many said they would be prepared to pay to do so again." The article notes that "The BBC's research and development arm, based at Kingswood Warren, was conducting a test for the streaming of the BBC's television channels to UK-based broadband internet customers, in a move to provide a service similar to that already offered free for all by BBC Radio, whereby all stations are available to listen to live over the internet, with selected programmes stored in a æListen Again' archive for at least a week following transmission. Offered free of charge, the radio services are available to any internet user in the world and are extremely popular with expatriates and overeseas fans of the BBC. The television equivalent would most likely not be available internationally, as quite apart from complicated rights issues, there would be a storm of complaints were television services paid for by the licence fee to be freely available to a potential audience of millions outside of Britain. But the tests being conducted of the broadband streaming service were just that - tests." Liz Mitchell of the BBC press office explained that it was "an internal demonstration stream which was intended for an internal audience." However, "the website addresses for the channels being tested for internet broadcast - BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Four and BBC News 24 - were either deliberately leaked by somebody or accidentally stumbled across by some lucky user. The links first appeared on a message board on a fan website of comedian Chris Morris and the internet being what it is the news quickly spread, finding its way to the message boards of Outpost Gallifrey, an American Doctor Who fan website hugely popular in the science-fiction community, with over 10,000 registered members. It so happens that Saturday, April 30 was the transmission date for Dalek, the sixth and perhaps most highly-anticipated episode of the new series of Doctor Who, which saw the return of the eponymous pepperpot. The sudden revelation that if they had a broadband internet connection they could watch the episode completely free of charge at exactly the same time as their fellow fans in the UK was greeted with considerable surprise and delight by those posting on the message board." The article quotes several fans on their reactions to the live feed and discusses the obvious market for streaming BBC television over the internet. "The idea is fraught with problems. These are not simply technical - how do you make a service free for users in the UK but ensure overseas users can only access it by subscription? - but there are rights issues too. Films and sports events held by other broadcasters in other countries could not be streamed and there may also be difficulties with showing BBC programmes that have been purchased by foreign networks. Doctor Who, for example, is already showing in Canada on CBC, is due to start in Australia on ABC in late May and has also been sold to New Zealand, Italy and the Netherlands. It is unlikely that any of these countries' broadcasters who have paid a great deal of money for the screening rights to the programme - entering into a co-production deal in the case of CBC - would be particularly thrilled to know that a substantial chunk of the fan audience in their countries has had the opportunity to see such an eagerly-awaited episode already, for no charge and no profit to them." It notes that the this was a one-off and the feeds were cut. "While this was not an ideal situation as the URL was not intended for a public audience, it was a simple technical error made while investigating technologies for encoding and transmission protocols, which was fixed as soon as possible," said Mitchell.

People

James Hawes, director of "The Empty Child" and "The Doctor Dances," will direct this year's Christmas Special that introduces David Tennant as the tenth Doctor, says TV Zone Magazine's next issue due out on May 26, which includes an interview with Hawes.

Confirming the reports that Christopher Eccleston will soon be filming "Double Life" with writer/director Joe AhearneSFX reports that Ahearne will also not be returning to the series for its second year. "I won't be working on the second series," Ahearne tells SFX, "but not because of this. I don't know exactly when the film is going to go. It's slated for this year but you never know with movies, dates change all the time. I'm not involved with the second series because I've just done five episodes of the current series and spent seven months living in Cardiff since September last year, and as wonderful and fantastic and amazing as it is it does take you over. I just want to get back to London really..."

Eccleston's interview with SFX magazine has been reprinted by several newspapers. Today's Daily Star says that Eccleston told them (when in actuality, he told SFX) that the series took its toll on him. "You can't have a life. You can't socialise. It's like having a Tardis in your skull and every time you open your mouth you see a Tardis. There were days when I got psoriasis, I got eczema. My face blew up in the Dalek episode. I looked literally disfigured with tiredness and poor skin." Eccleston admitted that playing the Doctor was still a lot easier than the labouring jobs he took while he was a struggling actor in his twenties, but he pointed out that the hours were a grind. "It is actually hard graft. With TV, you do a 14-hour day and then you're doing your line-learning. I think that's what would p*ss off most labourers and people who work in factories - get up at 6.30am, leave 7.30 at night, then starting learning lines, six days a week. I ain't moaning about it, but if you play the Doctor the hardest thing is you can't have a life." Despite his decision to leave the series, Eccleston said he loved playing the character alongside co-star Billie Piper: "I loved being part of that amazing team. By and large, it was a joy." Other places picking up the story include Female FirstDigital Spy,Contact Music.

This morning's edition of Metro, a free newspaper distributed in London, has a short item attributing a quote to Christopher Eccleston: "Christopher Eccleston would like to return as Dr Who - but not on TV. 'If there was a radio version I would definitely look at that as it won't take up so much time,' he said." Metro might be picking this up from the SFX interview. There has been no official word from either BBC Radio or bbc.co.uk concerning any plans for further audio/online adventures, and Big Finish's licence from the BBC covers only the "classic series" up to and including Paul McGann's Doctor, so BF would need a new licence to produce audio adventures for the Ninth Doctor. But there's always hope!

More Australia Coverage

The new series has been getting a lot of promotion in Australia both on radio and TV before the first episode airs on Saturday. Besides the obligatory TV and radio promos, the Eoin Cameron breakfast show has been running a competition asking simple Doctor Who questions over the air with the prize being an advanced screening of "Rose" at the ABC studios. Additionally, Wednesday's program was devoted to the series with interviews from Katy Manning and Phil Collinson as well as local identities. Listeners were also asked to phone in and impersonate a Dalek voice. Additionally the ABC have filmed an item for the show "How the Quest Was Won" which is fun newsy lifestyle type show where one of their reporters Jane Cunningham visits the "West Lodge" (The Perth DR WHO Fan Club) and meets Beta the Dalek. They also travel to Pingelly a small town 150km from the city. The air date is not yet known but should be shown nationwide in the next few weeks.

The Herald Sun reviews this weekend's episode, "Rose": "New series. We've seen many actors play the famed doctor since the sci-fi series started in 1963. This new 13-part series stars Christopher Eccleston (left) as a smarter, more contemporary Doc, but after the 13th episode, Eccleston, fearing he'd be typecast, said no more and quit. The opener is all about department-store employee Rose, who's sent to take a package to an electrician working in the basement. However, the sparky isn't there and Rose becomes locked in with several store-window dummies who come to life and threaten her, which is about when you-know-Who comes to the rescue. Fear not, the good doctor is at hand."

News.com Australia notes that "THE Time Lord is back and better than ever. The scarf has been replaced with a leather jacket and best of all, there's a whole new breed of daleks to contend with." There are interviews with production designer Edward Thomas.

Other news notes: The Advertiser Age article posted the other day now has a web edition posted. ABC News Australia discusses making Daleks locally as a tie-in to the debut.

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More on the DVD rating issue: The Irish Independent says that "The whole fun of Doctor Who is hiding behind the sofa at the scary bits. Granted, it looks a bit tragic when you're 33 and your arse is too big to fit behind any normal sofa, but it's our Saturday night and we'll do what we want. But that delicious sense of terror is being withheld from kids by those idiots in the British Board of Film Classification, who have refused to give the new Doctor Who DVD a PG Cert, because of scenes of cruelty to . . . wait for it - a Dalek. 'However cross one might be with a Dalek, being cruel is not the way to deal with the issue. Some children might take it into the playground.' Of course, maybe the Doctor should have talked to the Dalek. Perhaps he should have opened a dialogue with him. Maybe they should have made daisy chains together? Where do these idiots come from? Gallifrey? We particularly liked their fear that kids might take it into the playground. Yeah, because kids really need inspiration to be beastly to each other during recess." Also, In the Newsalso has an article on it.

Part two of Planet of the Doctor, the CBC.ca Canadian network website's six-part documentary about Doctor Who, is now available on the site.

(Thanks to Steve Tribe, Paul Engelberg, Chuck Foster, Paul Greaves, Peter Weaver, Ian Berriman, Alan Creaser, and Paul Hayes)