Back after a few days' break with a rundown of the latest news stories...
Will Stephen Fry write an episode of the second season of "Doctor Who"? That's the rumor, according to BBC News: "Comedian Stephen Fry is in talks with the BBC about the possibility of writing an episode of Doctor Who. The acclaimed author, director and actor may contribute to the series, which returns later this year with David Tennant as the next Time Lord. A BBC spokeswoman said: 'We are in talks with Stephen about the possibility of him writing an episode of Doctor Who.' There were no plans for Fry to appear in the series, the spokeswoman added." Stephen Fry, who has most recently starred as the voice of the Book in the big-screen adaptation of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," was a popular choice to play the Doctor with the public prior to the casting of Christopher Eccleston; he also played the Minister of Chance in BBCi's webcast Doctor Who serial "Death Comes to Time". Also reported atContact Music, The Advocate.
John Barrowman appeared at the London Film and Comics Convention this weekend and told the audience that, contrary to rumor, he would be back in the second season as well as the third, though he isn't in the first block of episodes being filmed (which he said included the Cybermen, so he won't be in that story). He noted that being on Doctor Who was a "bleep bleep bleep dream come true" as he was a fan as a child, and refused to be drawn into who the better kisser was (Eccleston or Piper)! Barrowman noted that he'll be taping a commentary for the DVD boxed set (due out in November) on July 20 along with Russell T Davies, Billie Piper and Joe Ahearne.
The Mirror reports that "New Dr Who David Tennant will speak in his Scots accent in the next series of the show. Scottish fans were shocked to hear the Paisley-born Tennant speaking in posh English tones during his debut as the Doctor last Saturday. It was all the more surprising because Tennant had said he hoped to give the role a tartan flavour. The accent sparked an outcry among Scottish Who fans and now producer Russell T Davies has hinted Tennant will be speaking naturally come his first full adventure at Christmas. He said: 'Every planet has a Scotland. You'll have to wait and see, there are revelations on the way.' The line about Scotland refers back to when Billie Piper asked why the Doctor - as then played by Christopher Eccleston - sounded Mancunian and he replied: 'Every planet has a North.' A BBC insider said: 'The accent will be up to what Russell and David want to do during filming.'"
Too much Cardiff this year? Former BBC Director General Greg Dyke apparently thinks so, stating that he thinks using the city as a setting was a "flaw" and accused the BBC of trying to produce the series for peanuts. "As a lifelong Doctor Who viewer, I don't believe the series was without flaws. Given that the Doctor is a time traveller, able to go anywhere at any time, he did end up on earth a disappointing number of times during the 13 episodes and, even worse, he kept turning up in Cardiff. I haven't got anything against the capital of Wales, but if I could land anywhere in the universe at any time, would I really go to Cardiff more than once? Of course, any connection with the fact that the series was made by BBC Wales, and that for the production team, Cardiff was a cheaper location is purely coincidental." Several news reports say that BBC Wales has brushed off Dyke's comments and insist the next series, due to start shooting later this summer, will continue to be filmed in Cardiff. "As Greg Dyke wrote in his article, Doctor Who 'has been a triumph for BBC Television', 'a delight to watch' and 'a well-scripted, well-acted series which had high production values.'," said a spokesman. "It is clear that viewers felt that praise applied especially to the two episodes set in Cardiff as they attracted tremendous average audiences of eight million people." Also reported aticWales.
Christopher Eccleston has given his first interview since handing the keys of the tardis over to David Tennant, according to BBC News. "Speaking at a Mencap charity do, the actor told Newsbeat that finishing 'Dr Who' was a relief after dealing with the BBC, but he still got something special out of it: 'The best thing about 'Doctor Who' for me has been the response I've had from children, both in the street and the number of letters and drawings of me and daleks, which are all over my wall at home. In all the 20 years I've been acting, I've never enjoyed a response so much as the one I've had from children and I'm carrying that in my heart forever.'"
John Barrowman will be interviewed on Theatre Radio, described as "Internet Radio For Musical Theatre" on Sunday 3rd July at 5pm GMT, repeated daily at 2pm and 10pm GMT. "This week on TheatreRadio, Tim is joined by John Barrowman, who is about to make his UK Cabaret debut at Pizza On The Park. As well as playing some fantastic music, Tim has a copy of JohnÆs latest album, John Barrowman Swings Cole Porter, to give away so make sure you tune in!" He will also appear in a cabaret in Belgium on July 12; details can be found at the Musical Solo website. Then, he'll be appearing on the US PBS network's Evening at Pops on August 7, when he joins the Boston Pops and Broadway singers for a tribute to legendary Broadway composer Jerry Herman.
"Doctor Who" script editor Helen Raynor makes her debut as a radio writer on BBC Radio 4 this week. "Running Away with the Hairdresser" will transmit on Radio 4 on Friday 1st July at 9.00pm. "Nearly a year has passed since Catrin returned from Thailand after a bomb in a nightclub killed her boyfriend and brought their holiday to a tragic end. Now she feels trapped in her Welsh village, but not simply by grief." Raynor describes the play as "A bit intense, with some funny bits too, though. And some lovely acting." Mali Harries, who recently played Cathy Salt in the first series episode "Boom Town" plays Caitrin. The play will be available online for a week following broadcast; go to the Radio 4 arts website and click on The Friday Play.
New Zealand coverage of the series, now that there's a definite date of July 7, has picked up. A second trailer for the new series has been airing on Prime TV for the past few days which features Christopher Eccleston's original "Do you want to come with me?" footage (originally broadcast in the UK the weeks prior to its debut). In addition, the New Zealand media has been giving some good coverage of the New Series, with articles in the New Zealand Herald, the New Zealand TV Guide (including a small cover picture of a Dalek), an interview with Bruno Langley in the New Zealand TV Times Update magazine and a two-page article in the New Zealand Sunday Star Times.
This week's print edition of Broadcast (24 June) has picked up on Greg Dyke's article for The Independent a few days ago. The magazine's "Off the Record" diary section reports: "And on to one of Dyke's current 'portfolio' jobs û penning a weekly column for the Indy's media section. This week, he spilled the beans on the cost of the new Doctor Who û a cool ú1m an episode û (the total cost he said was ú1.2m an episode, but overseas sales made up the rest). Blimey that's an exterminating total of ú13m of licence fee money. Still, we're not quibbling û money well spent, say we."
Australian broadcasts continue... says this week's Herald Sun about the latest episode, "Dalek," "The best episode so far has Dr Who and Rose landing in a subterranean museum in 2012, where they find a Dalek being held captive and tormented by obsessed billionaire collector Henry Van Statten. The Doc and arch-enemy Dalek get reacquainted and danger looms. You'll enjoy this one." The Sydney Morning Herald said "Fans have been waiting for this episode in which a Dalek, the Time Lord's oldest and deadliest enemy, returns. ... If you've ever wondered what a Dalek looks like inside its metal casing or how it climbs a staircase, this episode will put you out of your misery." The Age says that "Now the Doctor is back and despite some egalitarian tweaking of the image - the accent now suggests Manchester rather than Eton and Oxbridge and the clothing and appearance are classless Cool Britannia rather than foppish Edwardian - he remains recognisably an exemplar of Etonian virtue. Christopher Eccleston may be a more aggressively masculine Doctor than, say, Jon Pertwee or Tom Baker, but he conforms, like all of his predecessors, to that most English of adventure-hero stereotypes, the Thoroughly Decent Chap. He's a post-imperial sort of Decent Chap, though, and there's nothing Tory or even wimpishly Blairite about the politics of this latest series of Doctor Who." "The Age" also features an articleabout weird alien-sounding names in science fiction ("If you don't know the difference between a Slitheen and a Raxacoricofallapatorian... you've only yourself to blame.")
The June 24 edition of the publishing trade magazine The Bookseller reports on the recommissioning of Doctor Who for a third series, although it's obvious that much of the article has been derived from press reports elsewhere. It's of interest for some details of sales figures for the new books: The programme's popularity has been reflected in the sales of the companion books. The three new novelisations from BBC Books have achieved combined sales of around 37,000 since publication in May, each securing places on the Top 20 Fiction Heatseekers chart. Reference book Doctor Who: Monsters and Villains by Justin Richards has sold more than 9,000 copies. The Top 20 Fiction Heatseekers chart for this week has The Monsters Inside and The Clockwise Man still at numbers 11 and 12, with the week's sales at 2,921 and 2,898 respectively. Winner Takes All has climbed from 18 back up to 14, on sales of 2,039." The Bookseller also previews Justin Richards' Doctor Who: The Legend Continues among its selection of paperback highlights for October: "The limited ú40 h/b published for the 40th anniversary sold out. These are the same sheets [i.e. the book will be reprinted without any changes], but with an addition of 32pp on the current Christopher Eccleston series. I would say fans have expanded with the new series into a younger generation, for which this will make a great gift."
The official Doctor Who website has several new video diaries online. "Today we're launching four more video diaries - three from director Joe Ahearne and one from The Mill's main man, Will Cohen. There are Dalek delights, Reaper reminiscences and more."
The Independent on Sunday's "Pink List" discusses the extermination of 'old prejudices' on "Doctor Who". "Sandwiched between the old-fashioned music-hall camp of a Graham Norton and Julian Clary, something much more amusing and inspiring was taking place. Russell T Davies sent the tabloids into a foaming lather, nearly a decade ago, with his Queer as Folk. Now, in 2005, he has revived, with wit and verve, Doctor Who. Among a series of admissions about urban life, a black character, a single mother, he has included, in the figure of Captain Jack, a character gloriously and unambiguously bisexual, without a tinge of camp. A drama aimed in part at children, with a sexy bisexual man, and no-one at all seems to mind. Things have changed a great deal."
The y come his first full adventure nbsp;on June 23 asked, "Anyone else feel like they lost a friend on Saturday night? Since watching the last episode of Doctor Who, I've been at a loss over just what to say. Project stoic image of emotionally detached critic? Or confess to my heart pounding in my chest and tears welling in my eyes? Oops. Saturday saw the climax of a love story, a tragedy, a comedy, an end, a beginning and a satisfying culmination to the most successful TV return since, well, Lassie Come Home. Of course, the new Who drew snipes from those too bitter to forgive Billie Piper for looking like an Ewok, or 'serious actor' Christopher Eccleston's uneasy take on eccentric. Fine. But are you telling me you preferred Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, the low budgets, crap sets and fusty storylines of the 80s? No. Didn't think so. Doctor Who has been the best thing Saturday night TV has offered in light years. I am genuinely sad it's finished. He's seen off the Slithene, those gas-mask zombie things and the Daleks. Hurrah for all that - but more respect for wiping the floor with tired Butlins' Redcoats Ant and Dec and their lame Saturday Night Takeaway when the shows went head to head. Everything - the music, the sets, the effects, the characters, the aliens, the acting (Billie Piper excelled in the final episode) worked brilliantly. Between Casanova and Doctor Who, Russell T Davies better take a big bag with him to the next Baftas."
Monday's New Statesman notes, "I was, let me admit, too critical of the first episode back in March. Russell T Davies has, as has been much remarked, reinvented the phenomenon of families gathering around the electronic hearth and, thanks to Doctor Who's extermination of ITV1's Celebrity Wrestling, helped kill off ITV's reliance on the celebrity genre. So two cheers for that. The darker episodes - the Dickens story, Rose's rediscovery of her dead father, the Second World War gas masks - worked best. The monsters tended to look like rejects from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and played to Davies's weakness, which was not taking the plots as seriously as its youngest audiences would. Yet, paradoxically, and despite the variations in tone, this was a serious piece of work that wove historical traditions into the fabric of our times and thereby managed to embroider everything from reality TV to bisexuality. Just as the police box once represented the presence of the state in every high street, Davies's Tardis became a symbol of public-service quality in the Saturday-night schedules. And that makes three cheers in all."
In June 23's Media Guardian: "Endemol boss Peter Bazalgette has followed in the footsteps of Michael Grade, and just about everyone else, in becoming a fully paid-up member of the Doctor Who fan club. 'The most magnificent piece of TV I can remember for a long time,' Baz gushed at today's conference on the future of broadcasting. However, he was feeling far less charitable towards ITV. 'ITV this summer is facing a massive stampede of viewers, not to other terrestrial channels, but to multichannel. [ITV chief executive] Charles Allen has got a small net, or sluice gate, on the door - called ITV2 and ITV3 - which is catching some of them, but most are just going off in the diaspora,' he said. What's up Baz, has Nigel Pickard knocked back all your programme ideas again?"
A late review of The Parting of the Ways in the New Statesman: "I was, let me admit,too critical of the first episode back in March. R T Davies, has, as has been much remarked, reinvented the phenomenon of families gathering around the electronic hearth and, thanks to Doctors Who's extermination of ITV1's Celebrity Wrestling, helped kill off ITV's reliance on the celebrity genre".
(Thanks to Paul Engelberg, Steve Tribe, Chris Graham, Daryosh Djavanzad, Nathan Matthews, Gary Owen, Peter Anghelides, Adrian Piper, Huw Davies, John Bowman, Peter Weaver, Paul Greaves, Fred Harrison, and Thomas Van der Spiegel)
The latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine has started to reach subscribers and some retailers, and its attention is already turning to Series Two and this year's Christmas special. The magazine went to press before negotiations between the BBC and Billie Piper for her appearance throughout the next series were completed, although Russell T Davies is quoted advising readers "don't worry too much about scare stories in the papers or other magazines." DWM is, however, able to confirm that both Camille Coduri (Jackie Tyler) and Noel Clarke (Mickey Smith) will be returning for "a good few episodes". The same report (again perhaps suffering from printing deadlines) suggests that John Barrowman will not be back "for the time being" (Series Three is mentioned in this context), although this seems to be at odds with statements made at the BAFTA screening of "The Parting of the Ways" last week; Davies attributes any non-appearance for Captain Jack to "the results of the DoctorÆs regeneration. Jack [à] would take regeneration in his stride. We need to see RoseÆs dilemma." Also revealed are some working titles for the second series: the third episode, School Reunion, is by Toby Whitehouse; Russell T Davies is writing Army of Ghosts, which is the twelfth episode. The Christmas Invasion, meanwhile, is referred to as æEpisode XÆ to avoid confusion in the production office! Block One, directed by James Hawes, comprises "The Christmas Invasion", Episode 1 and "School Reunion". Block Two, directed byEuros Lyn, and Block Three directed by Graeme Harper will be two and four episodes respectively, although it is not yet known exactly which episodes these will be. There is also a new script editor, alongside Helen Raynor: with Elwen Rowlands moving on to Life on Mars, Simon Winstone (who has worked on EastEnders and is a former editor at Virgin BooksÆ Doctor Who range in the 1990s) has joined the crew. There will also be changes at Wardrobe and Make-up, as Lucinda Wright, Davy Jones and Linda Davie depart and discussions are being finalised with their replacements. The Mill and Neill Gorton have renewed their contracts. Finally, Russell T Davies comments that the Tenth Doctor "will encounter one or two elements from Series One", then muddies the waters by saying, "the presence of Jackie and Mickey might already have given away that little secret!" Beyond that, heÆll give nothing away. Pick up issue 358 of Doctor Who Magazineon the shelves on Thursday.
DWM has also confirmed that this November's boxed set release of the first season on DVD will feature all 13 episodes in 5.1 stereo surround sound mix for the first time, and that the set will have over 200 minutes of special features, with "a special episode" of "Doctor Who Confidential", exclusive to this release.
Canada's Planet of the Doctor web documentary has been completed, with parts 5 and 6, Doctor Who and Culture I and II, now available online. An additional special episode, The Nine Doctors, is also available. All can be viewed at the CBC website.
More comments about "Parting of the Ways"... in today's Daily Star: "It's the ones you love that always break your heart and, after my tidal wave of gushy emotions over Dr Who, blow me if the last episode wasn't . . . well . . . a little bit pish. Don't get me wrong. I was gripped throughout and tears were in my eyes when Eccleston gave his farewell speech. And that's what made the writing so brilliant. Because these flowery speeches masked the fact that actually the plot of the last episode was bollocks."
An article at Rainbow Network discusses Crusaid's recent Walk for Life, a charity event that raised ú325,000 to fight HIV and AIDS with 4200 register walkers. John Barrowman participated and said, "Walk for Life shows me that there are five to six thousand people who are in support of people living with HIV; that they're in support of finding a cure for HIV; and that they're in support of having fun. ItÆs a great day out and a great way to see London."
The official BBC website is asking for feedback about how fans have enjoyed the site this year and what they'd like to see in the future. "Help us plan what we should be doing in the future, and tell us what you think about the website so far... What are your favourite/least favourite bits of the website? What kind of video content would you like to see more of? Should we make more of sites like badwolf and UNIT? Are there enough pictures? Should WhoSpy return - and if so, how could it be different? Do you have any ideas of the kind of content you'd like to see on your phone/interactive tv/infra-red head set?" A list of comments are also available on that page. (And thank you to the folks who have made kind comments about Outpost Gallifrey in the process!)
Down in Australia, the Courier Mail says of "Dalek": "Saturday marks the return to the small screen of the most evil creature to trundle through the universe. Yes, it's the moment every Doctor Who fan has been waiting for -- the Daleks are back. ... The return of the Daleks this Saturday night should be cause for celebration. Alas, they have been hijacked by the hand-wringing forces of political correctness. ... Don't let this put you off watching this episode, because there are some marvellous developments, the least of which is discovering how Daleks have finally mastered the art of climbing stairs. But be aware that the ending, in which the Dalek succumbs to the ultimate expression of self-pity after being infected with human DNA, is a cop-out of the first magnitude. It entirely misses the point of the Daleks. They are there to be hated. Their absolute evil is essential to the balance of the universe." And in The Age: "For the filming of this very special and interesting episode of the remastered, new-millennium Doctor Who, all cast and crew were issued with extra-large umbrellas to protect them from the flecks of spittle flying from Christopher Eccleston's mouth, such is his overacting. ... It's been tempting to jump aboard the backlash bandwagon against the return of Doctor Who, and though I was never really a fan, I've always had time for the wacky concepts, cheesy low-end production values and sheer pace of this most enduring of television space operas - an appreciation that has been enhanced by DVD. Even non-fans should find this episode a corker and I just know everybody will get a hearty chuckle as the show knowingly confronts that age-old joke: How does a Dalek climb stairs?"
The Independent reported today on a rather interesting proceeding in Parliament. "Yesterday, as Parliament debated the draconian Racial and Religious Hatred Bill, the Labour backbencher Harry Cohen was hit by a pressing example of heavy-handed political censorship," says the article. "Earlier in the week, Cohen tabled an Early Day Motion praising the BBC's recent series of Doctor Who, starring Christopher Eccleston, right. But before publication, Commons authorities altered the text, to delete references to 'the episode with farting aliens in Downing Street'. Apparently, parliamentary officials were unable to agree on what language (if any) was appropriate to describe bodily functions."
In today's the Newsquest Media Group syndicated column: "I had been forced to watch the late-night repeat of the programme on BBC3, having made a botched attempt to tape the original broadcast on BBC1. We were moments from the end. Christopher Eccleston had just made his exit from the programme and we had been given our first sight of his replacement, David Tennant. He opened his mouth to say his first lines. And exactly at that moment, a blue bar appeared across his face, bearing the words 'Next: Doctor Who confidential.' Yes, this was one of those channels where the programmers think you constantly have to be told what's coming next, no matter how much it might interfere with your enjoyment of what you're seeing at the moment. ... Terrestrial channels already annoy their viewers by squishing up the picture and running intrusive trailers over the credits. This means that, in the unlikely event of a peak-time drama actually leaving you moved or thoughtful, you will instantly be snapped out of the mood and exhorted to watch something much less worthwhile. ... I think this is not just about television. It's about a society where we can't seem to be happy with where we are and what we're doing, just in case we're missing out on something."
Other stories: the Mirror and Scotsman cover an arrest at BBC Wales; and we're told there will apparently be a scene on Monday's edition I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue involving the Doctor and a Dalek in a most romantic scene from "Brief Encounter".
(Thanks to Steve Tribe, Paul Engelberg, David French, Matt Clemson)
Details have now been revealed for the forthcoming DVD release of The Web Planet, the First Doctor serial starring William Hartnell, Jacqueline Hill, William Russell and Maureen O'Brien, due out in the UK in September. According to anarticle now available on the Restoration Team website, the disc will feature a commentary by producer Verity Lambert, director Richard Martin and stars William Russell and Martin Jarvis, with Gary Russell moderating; a making-of featurette called "Tales of Isop" produced by Andrew Beech and edited by John Kelly, which features the four production people in the commentary, plus Maureen O'Brien (interviewed in France), Sonia Markham (make-up) and John Wood (designer); a reading by William Russell of the short story "The Lair of Zarbi Supremo" from the first Doctor Who annual (with the entire annual being made available on the disc in Adobe PDF format); an alternate soundtrack in Spanish for episode six; plus production notes and photo gallery. (The new DWM announces two short stories but it was cut back after the magazine went to print to one.) All six episodes have been remastered from the negatives and VidFIRE processed. (Thanks to the Restoration Team and DWM)
The next issue of Doctor Who Magazine is due out at the end of the week; below is the press release for the issue along with a high-quality version of the cover (click on the thumbnail for a larger version.) (Thanks to Tom Spilsbury/DWM)
Suffering withdrawal symptoms from the end of Doctor Who on Saturday? Here's the perfect antidote - the new issue of Doctor Who Magazine!
This issue the magazine goes behind the scenes and ventures inside the workshop of visual effects wizards The Mill...
"Each episode has had its own unique challenges," says the Mill's Will Cohen. "We've never made 13 episodes of science-fiction television on this tight a schedule. It's been an amazing challenge and an adrenaline buzz!" The Mill's Dave Houghton continues: "The End of the World has got more special effects in it than any other British television production. It's got well over 200 effects shots, and we did that in six weeks. It's not possible! Well, it *is* possible! I'm glad that we've done the impossible on Doctor Who..."
Plus there's your chance to vote for your favourites from the last series. What was the best episode? What was the scariest monster? Vote now, and be in with a chance of winning Doctor Who DVDs!
Also this issue, there's a chat with Mickey Smith's alter ego, actor Noel Clarke, who reveals what it's like to be eaten by a bin, attacked by a Slitheen and still get left behind after every adventure!
There are also interviews with Father's Day star Shaun Dingwall, Empty Child actress Florence Hoath and director James Hawes.
Plus there's a brand new comic strip adventure for the Doctor and Rose, Art Attack, and all the latest series news in Gallifrey Guardian - including some more episode titles for next year's episodes...
DWM 358 goes on sale from Thursday 23 June, priced ú3.99.
Below is the cover illustration and cover blurb for Doctor Who: The Shooting Scripts, which has appeared on Amazon.co.uk in the past few days. The book is due out on October 15, 2005. Click on the thumbnail for a larger version of the cover.
Doctor Who: The Shooting Scripts
On the 26th of March 2005, Doctor Who returned to our screens after an absence of 16 years, with a new Doctor, a new assistant and thirteen thrilling new adventures. 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 story contains the essential ingredients of time travel, adventure, and the mixing of the ordinary with the fantastical that have always characterized the series, while at the same time being thoroughly in tune with contemporary culture and society. This is a Doctor Who for an age defined by irony, technology and celebrity, and the shadow cast by 9/11. It is also a more cinematic series, with fast cutting and special effects that will satisfy viewers brought up on contemporary film and television sci-fi. The shooting scripts give a unique insight into how the series was visualized and acted. Alongside the exciting action sequences and dialogue are hints about the characters emotions, and evocations of the settings in which their adventures take place. Pacey, atmospheric and thoroughly absorbing, these scripts practically read like novels. 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. As the one book that ties directly into the new series, this is a must-have self-purchase or Christmas gift for all Doctor Who fans.
Another piece of book information made available by Amazon.co.uk today: The Legend Continues, the updated edition of Justin Richards' 40th anniversary tome extended to include Christopher Eccleston's trip in the TARDIS. The cover blurb and illustration are below; click on the thumbnail for a larger version.
Doctor Who: The Legend Continues is a large format, lavishly illustrated paperback book, published to celebrate the exciting new phase of the UK s most popular science-fiction series. Fully updated with exclusive new series material, this epic publication takes the reader on a journey through five decades of TV history, covering every one of the TV stories. Each entry includes a summary of events, new facts about the characters and fascinating behind-the-scenes information. Stunningly illustrated with a vast collection of photographs, including previously unseen pictures from archives and private collections, this book is a must-have not only for die-hard Doctor Who fans, but for those who have been thrilled by the new series and anyone who has a fondness for the show. As well as providing a unique overview of the series, it includes features on the make-up, special effects and merchandise that have all contributed to the Doctor Who legend. Ranging from our first glimpse of the TARDIS in a junkyard on a cold November evening in 1963 to the current Doctor, Christopher Eccleston, Doctor Who: The Legend Continuesis a comprehensive, stylish and evocative guide to five decades of tea-time time travel.
The Tides of Time, the collection of Fifth Doctor comic strips from Doctor Who Monthly, is now in release, and contains an advert for the next graphic novel in the range. This autumn will see the release of Endgame, "the first of four volumes collecting the complete run of Eighth Doctor comic strips" from Doctor Who Magazine.
The True History of Faction Paradox Vol. I: Coming to Dust is out on July 23, 2005. The first of the Faction Paradox audios to be released byMagic Bullet, the audio continues the saga first created by Lawrence Miles for the BBC Doctor Who novels. Miles wrote the script for the audio, which is directed by Alistair Lock and Alan Stevens. "Coming to Dust" will be released at the Invasion convention in Barking on July 23rd, with a special signing by Julian Glover and Isla Blair. Click on the thumbnail at right for a larger version of the cover. (Thanks to Fiona Moore/Magic Bullet)
The BBC Shop's New Doctor Who section has also been updated and now includes the correct information for September's Ninth Doctor novels, which can be pre-ordered for 5.99, and the cover for Volume 3 of the new series DVDs, as shown on Amazon recently and reported on Outpost Gallifrey at the weekend. Also listed at the site is September's third volume in BBC Audio's Doctor Who at the BBC series, with the following blurb and details. (Thanks to Steve Tribe)
Doctor Who At The BBC: Volume 3
A third volume of the 'time travelling journey through the BBC archives'. Once again all manner of BBC radio and television programmes have yielded Doctor Who-themed features, from drama and comedy to interviews and behind-the-scenes items.
Included this time round is Whatever Happened to Susan Foreman? starring Jane Asher, Wavelength which goes behind the scenes on Doctor Who in 1985, Lalla Ward guesting on The Multi-Coloured Swap Shop, and Frank Bough interviewing Tom Baker, Mary Tamm and Carole Ann Ford for Doctor Who's fifteenth anniversary. In addition there is a very exclusive, surprise item from 1974 which has never been broadcast.
There are also news items bringing the Doctor Who story up to date with the arrival of the new series on our screens. Comedy comes courtesy of Dead Ringers, The Grumbleweeds and The Now Show.
2 CD's, duration 2 hrs 10 minutes, released September 5, 2005. ISBN 0563526211
Big Finish has updated its website with a few items including the release of Gallifrey: Pandora and UNIT: The Wasting, as well as a sample downloadable story from the forthcoming Short Trips: A Day in the Life. They've also announced a summer sale of various audio adventures.
Elsewhere, Andrew Collins, who spoke on camera for the "Doctor Who Confidential" series, notes in a Guardian article that he will be appearing in a Big Finish audio, Live 34: "I received the call-up last Wednesday. 'How would you like to be in Doctor Who?' my agent asked. I think I just laughed out loud, which had been her exact response when the offer came in. I'm playing a radio presenter called Drew Shahan, who broadcasts on Live 34 to the residents of Earth Colony 34 in the distant future. I haven't been this excited since Newsnight Review. I can't reveal any more for obvious discretionary reasons - and to keep the Whovians in suspense. (What am I saying? They've probably posted the script up on Outpost Gallifrey or some such website by now!) You'll have to wait until it's released in September. But as you read this, I'll be in a recording studio in Stockwell, south London, getting into character, eating the meat out of the sandwiches and feigning nonchalance in the thrilling presence of the Doctor and Ace."
New Zealand fans, take notice: a definite date for Doctor Who has at last been announced: 7 July! Says Prime TV's website: "Prime Television is thrilled to be bringing Doctor Who to New Zealand television screens 7th July, 7:30pm. Doctor Who's long-awaited return was a ratings success for the BBC, attracting up to 10.5 million viewers in the UK on its premiere night, a 43% share of audience. It has been over 40 years since Doctor Who hit television screens. The show promises to deliver all the excitement of good drama, with a hero who never carries a gun. Fans should brace themselves for some exhilarating experiences and deadly confrontations."
Ratings update for Sunday: the BBC3 7pm reshowing of "The Parting of the Ways" had 719,200 viewers, with a 6.3% share; it was first in its time slot. The repeat of "Doctor Who Confidential" achieved 455,200 viewers (3.7% share, third in timeslot). "Doctor Who" also had the highest audience appreciation index (AI) for the week, with an 89 score. Meanwhile, MediaWeek, The Scotsman and other sources cover the lower-than-normal viewers for Saturday's finale debut, though they do rightfully attribute it to the weather.
The official site has had a (final?) refit for this series, its homepage now showing the Ninth Doctor inside the TARDIS, with the line "Before I go, I just want to tell you, you were fantastic." The page is headed "Doctor Who will return in The Christmas Invasion", and has links to three Real Player viewings of: the last two minutes of the regeneration scene from "The Parting of the Ways"; Season One highlights, which is the montage of clips to music by Snow Patrol that closed the thirteenth edition of Doctor Who Confidential; and Teaser Trailer. The latter is the forty-second clips montage ending "Countdown to The Christmas Invasion starts now..." which has been frequently broadcast on BBC television since 9pm on Saturday. The audio downloads section has also been updated to include various lines and sounds from the final episode, including the Doctor's "Before I go..." line.
In a report on the BBC's website, BBC Chairman -- and former Doctor Who archnemesis -- Michael Grade has praised the new series in an email to Director General Mark Thompson: "This is not easy to write - as you will readily understand. But here goes - congratulations to all involved in Dr Who: to whoever commissioned it, those who executed it, the writers, the cast, the publicity folk that promoted it, the schedulers and of course the late Sydney Newman who invented the whole thing. I truly enjoyed it and watched it every week with my six and half year old son who is now a fan. A classy, popular triumph for people of all ages and all backgrounds - real value for money for our licence fee payers. PS never dreamed I would ever write this. I must be going soft!" Indeed.
The second of the Series One DVDs debuted on this weeks UK national release chart at Number Five, only being outsold by feature films 'Creep', 'Oceans 12' and 'The Aviator' and the sports release 'Liverpool - Champions of Europe'. This is four places better than it's predecessor which charted at number nine in it's first week of release. However, with the added publicity Volume One returned to the chart this week - re-entering at number 19 in the countdown.
Since Saturday, BBC News has had a "Have your say" feature on audience reaction to the end of the series and their expectations of the next. "Have you enjoyed Doctor Who?" has most recently been updated today (Tuesday), and now includes over sixty, overwhelmingly positive, responses.
The Manchester Evening News published a positive review of the finale: "For the fans though, and I'm not ashamed to admit I'm one of the old-school breed, this was outstanding. Clever, subtle references in dialogue and storytelling to the original series, with enough modern touches to make it still feel as fresh and energetic as the Doctor himself. Some may be churlish and point out the flaws in the plot. Or complain about Captain Jack kissing both Rose and the Doctor goodbye (and those that do - please leave now. Really, switch off your computer and don't come back.). I'm not going to. There was no pretentions here, this was just great, balls to the wall entertainment. Fourty five of the best minutes of Doctor Who, and possibly of family drama, ever." On the other hand, the Mirror's "Shelley Vision" column by Jim Shelley said that "a terrific final episode of Dr Who was spoiled only by some slightly predictable neo-nazi raving... 'Purify the earth with fire... The planet will become my temple and we shall rise. This will be our paradise.' All a bit camp and meaningless. Billie Piper did very well as a kind of council estate Bardot. ... Hats off to both leads for reviving this series."
The Daily Express noted that "They said it couldn't be done. But Doctor Who did it. Helped by the gorgeous, pouting Rose, a murderous army of Daleks, assorted scary monsters and scripts that were out of this world, BBC1's Time Lord triumphantly regenerated a life form that everyone thought was long extinct; a family audience. For 13 weeks, whatever ITV hurled at the show, be it Celebrity Wrestling or blockbuster movies, fell through a ratings black hole." The article says that the finale "had everything û a set-piece pitched battle between the forces of good and evil, the threatened destruction of planet Earth, a touching love story, great jokes and a cliff-hanger ending. And no one swore or did anything rude û with the possible exception of Ca(m)ptain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman), who at one point grabbed Christopher Eccleston's face in both hands and planted a big smacker on the startled Doctor's lips. But they were both facing imminent extermination by the Daleks, so you can forgive the guy for getting a bit emotional."
The countdown to The Christmas Invasion has begun on television... The BBC has run several trailers over the past three days with ads reminding viewers that the countdown is on, and the series will be back this winter for the special.
Billie Piper will be appearing on "Parkinson" on ABC TV on Saturday 9 July, 9.30pm. This will be a couple of hours after "Father's Day" debuts on Aussie TV, according to the ABC website. It's a repeat of her appearance on UK television a few months back, but seen for the first time in Australia.
According to Playbill, John Barrowman will join Tony Award winner Lea Salonga in an upcoming tribute to the music of Leonard Bernstein in Germany. The Munich concert, A Tribute to Leonard Bernstein, will be held July 2 at the Klassik Am Odeonsplatz. The 9 PM performance will feature Barrowman and Salonga in a suite of songs from West Side Story with Barrowman singing the role of Tony and Salonga the role of Maria. The concert will also feature the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks under the direction of Leonard Slatkin.
(Thanks to Paul Engelberg, Steve Tribe, Jon Preddle, Adam Kirk, Dougal Scaife, David Traynier and James Sellwood)
Yesterday's season finale, The Parting of the Ways, had 6,185,840 viewers watching... which may not seem like a lot at first, but "Doctor Who" was the top-ranked programme of Saturday night ("Casualty" only had 5.9 million) and in fact had an extremely impressive 41.77% audience share! A BBC spokesperson told BBC News that warm weather was a likely reason for less people watching TV indoors... that, despite viewing figures being down, it was still the most watched television show of the evening. "Almost half of those watching television tuned in to Doctor Who. It continues to be the most-watched television show on a Saturday night." The repeat of Doctor Who at 10.50pm Saturday night had 254,670 viewers (2.6% share). Doctor Who Confidential had 676,860 viewers immediately after "Parting of the Ways" (6.8% share, #1 in its timeslot for non-terrestrial channels) and 175,920 viewers (2.3% share) for the late night 11.35pm Saturday showing. Also, Doctor Who: The Ultimate Guide had approximately 2.7 million viewers immediately prior to the broadcast of "Parting".
Over the weekend the BBC main website featured a special splash page with the words "TIME IS UP... Invasion Begins Tonight BBC One 7pm".
In a report on BBC News, Russell T Davies said star Christopher Eccleston "turned around the reputation" of Doctor Who. "I love Doctor Who and I love the old Doctor Who. But, even with all that love, you have to admit that the name of the programme had become a joke and its reputation had become a cheap joke at that - you know rubber monsters and shaky sets. And Chris, as one of the country's leading actors, by being willing to step up to the line and take on that part has proved himself to be magnificent and has turned it around. So now you get actors like David Tennant who is the next generation and just about one of the best actors in the world. David himself says he wouldn't have touched this part if Chris hadn't done it because the part had become a joke. But Chris has salvaged it and made it new, and now we get to do one of the most famous parts of Doctor Who folklore - the moment when the Doctor regenerates and becomes a new person and yet stays exactly the same man." Davies also notes that "We've been talking to Billie for months now and Billie Piper is in every single episode next year. We have got a Christmas special coming up and then 13 episodes, so we are going to make 14 in total and she is in all 14 episodes." He said that the success of the show was down to imagination. "It's been everything we planned and more, and it's very rarely in life you get the chance to have that happen. I genuinely love the old series of Doctor Who and I especially went back in my mind to the 60s - you know their imagination back then was limitless. It's just now that we happen to have a chance that we have a nice budget and that we can actually show some of these things. In its heart Doctor Who was always this imaginative and it was always this big."
More reviews of "Parting of the Ways". In the Telegraph: "And so it ends - another Doctor down the vortex, another Dalek invasion foiled and a mystery at least partially solved. The first series of the revived and revitalised Doctor Who ended last night amid Wagnerian choruses and swarms of airborne Daleks hellbent on reducing mankind to a giant, fleshy puddle. I can't imagine anyone of any age coming away feeling short-changed. For 13 weeks, Doctor Who has breathed new life into that most mouldy of broadcasting concepts: family viewing. It's sent Christopher Eccleston's star soaring and it's added a deserved lustre to the crown of its chief scriptwriter, Russell T Davies....." In the Sunday Mirror: "Fair's fair - that Doctor Who finale was flawless. But it didn't make up for the six or so ropey episodes (yes you, Slitheens) we've had to endure. Fact is, Chris Eccleston was only any good when the Doctor was fighting the Daleks. And this show was only unmissable when the Daleks were in town. Which means that now the Daleks are (surely) gone forever, and despite his show-stealing cameo last night, David Tennant really has his work cut out. Still, if any man can..." In The People: "The BBC held a back-slapping Bafta screening for last night's Dr Who. Are they sure? The hit series has been fun, but it's also been flawed by feeble aliens (the Slitheen), childish fart jokes and the constant gurning of Chris Eccleston. The sci-fi has been so-so, with writer Russell T Davies relying heavily on lazy cheats like the Doctor's sonic screwdriver. The hottest episodes (the solo Dalek, the Victorian gas creatures) were written by other people. Russell's plotting is frequently thinner than his freakish cosmetic surgery creation Cassandra. ... The Doc has regenerated as David Tennant. Superb. Here, exclusively, is the new Who's to-do list: 1) Stop grinning like a loon. 2) Remove Eccleston's pigeons from Tardis loft. 3) Release whippet into t'wild... " Also, the Scottish Sunday Mail refers to David Tennant in the TARDIS at the end of the story.
Monday's Herald: "Another close one for the human race, then. Who would have guessed the ex-wife of Chris Evans would end up with the time vortex running through her head, thus acquiring special-effects eyes, the power of life and death and an ability to save the day 200,000 years from now? Didn't see that one coming. ... Each episode of the new and immaculately-conceived Doctor Who has had a satirical edge to it, a theme with a moral that, as with most half-decent science-fiction, has an application in the here and now. For Saturday's episode, the lesson involved a mechanical, in this case literally so, devotion to religion. ... It was all done with great style, not a little wit and some authentic pathos. In a single series, Christopher Eccleston has established himself as one of the best, if not the best, 900-year-old Time Lords in the business. David Tennent's sparky cameo as the post-regeneration heir to the title û 'So where was I?' û was promising, but the bar has been set high."
The Guardian called the episode their Pick of the Day and said, "In 1989, Doctor Who came to a close with Sylvester McCoy stumbling towards some bushes muttering about tea getting cold. In contrast, the triumphant new series' finale is nothing short of a Dalek-flavoured Gotterdammerung with the ultimate fate of humanity up for grabs. One gets the feeling that the final shot won't be a freeze-frame of the show's five regulars hi-fiving as the Tardis vworps off. Russell T Davies - thank you. Bye Chris. David Tennant - please don't screw it up."
At right is the cover illustration for the thirdDoctor Who first series DVD release, Volume Three, which was revealed this week on the Amazon.co.uk website. Volume Three includes four episodes -- "The Long Game," "Father's Day," "The Empty Child" and "The Doctor Dances" -- and is now due for release on August 1 instead of late July as originally announced. We should have a much better quality version of this cover early this week.
In Austraila, the release dates of the next three editions of the new series DVDs were given in a flyer in the first release: Volume 2 is out on August 4, Volume 3 in September and Volume 4 in October. Also, the flyer in Volume 1 is part of a competition to get a "free Talking Dalek Bottle Opener" if you purchase all 4 volumes.
The Doctor Who Companion û Series One from Panini Press, a Doctor Who Magazine special, is due out on July 7. The special will feature photographs and information on the first season of the show; more details about that soon.
Series Two and Three
Russell T Davies is quoted at CBBC Newsround about the 'scoop' for season two. "A Christmas special this year, another series of 13 episodes in 2006, followed by another Christmas special and then 13 more episodes in 2007, which is very exciting," Davies says. About villains: "Some great new stuff. Some famous old monsters called Cybermen will be coming back and they are as equally scary as the Daleks. They will marching onto your screens into 2006. Lots of new villains too and one or two favourite characters from this year as well. But at the same time the Christmas special has a brand new monster to fight, and that's gonna be good!" About new planets: "I'm the one who has stopped us going off earth because I think you see an awful lot of shows, expensive good ones like Enterprise and Angel, where they go to another planet or dimension and it looks rubbish, it looks like California in the sunshine with a funny rock. I think that when stuff like Revenge of the Sith is doing the most beautiful planets, no matter what you think of the film, the planets are utterly beautiful and that's on a cinema budget which is a trillion times more than a television show would have. I think it's the hardest thing to do and I'm very wary of looking like rubbish because I think the moment the programme looks rubbish people point at it and laugh in a bad way. I'm very happy if people have fun with it and have a good laugh with it. When you have a bad laugh you've lost the faith and you've lost the audience." About a story arc for the second season, like the "Bad Wolf" stuff: "Yes there is, and that word has already been heard on screen. And that's all I'm saying. You'll have to go back and trawl through 13 episodes to realise what I'm on about. You'll hear the word in the Christmas special though" About the Christmas Special: "It's going to be 60 minutes long. It's the first story of the new Doctor played by David Tennant. I remember when I was young it's very strange when a new Doctor comes along, and that's exactly how Rose feels. Her mum gets involved again, but beyond that I can't give anything else away. It's as Christmassy as can be. It's got reindeer, it's got sleigh bells, it's got the works." About Tennant and his native Scottish accent: "Well, every planet has a Scotland. You'll have to wait and see, there are big revelations on the way and I can't say any more than that." About reaction to the show: "The thing we're most happy about is that we've got a new young audience watching. Research before we started said children won't watch because their mums and dads liked it. That was terrifying because we wanted a young audience and I especially wanted girls watching because science-fiction is very often seen as a boy's thing, which is why we have so many strong female characters. And a lot of strong emotion in it, because I think that gets girls watching. I'm delighted that young audience has latched on to it."
Rumors abound, mostly in a report in Saturday's The Sun, that the BBC has approached Elisabeth Sladen to reprise the role of Sarah Jane Smith along with her robot dog K-9 in next year's Doctor Who season. The Sun quotes Russell T Davies as saying "Talks are under way with Elisabeth Sladen to revive the iconic character Sarah Jane Smith, who is remembered by a whole generation of Doctor Who fans." However, there's no additional confirmation about this quote or the report itself.
According to Broadcast Now, "Doctor Who could face yet another regeneration for the show's third series, after the BBC revealed it has still not signed a deal with its new Time Lord actor David Tennant. Tennant and co-star Billie Piper have both been confirmed for the second series, but the BBC admitted that no contract has been signed with either actor for the third series, announced this week. 'We're still in discussions with David Tennant and Billie Piper. The third series has only just been announced, so it's still early days,' said a spokeswoman. Eccleston sparked a storm of criticism when he revealed he would not reprise the role for the second series. When the news was leaked, the BBC was forced to apologise to the actor after issuing a statement in his name, claiming he had left the series for fear of being typecast. A first series ending had to be filmed in which Eccleston's face morphs into that of Casanova star Tennant. He and Piper will star in the 13-episode second series and a Christmas special, which are being filmed in Cardiff this summer for broadcast next year."
Executive producer Julie Gardner is interviewed in a video on the official Doctor Who website, accessible here. "Will the Daleks be back? What are children up to in playgrounds? What is Bad Wolf? Does the series end on a bang?"
Christopher Eccleston stars in Peter Nichols' play "A Day in the of Death of Joe Egg" on BBC Radio 3 on Sunday 3 July, according to programmeinformation from the BBC Press Office.
According to Broadway World, John Barrowman will join Rob Lowe as one of A Few Good Men, which opens in its London premiere on September 6th at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket after starting previews on August 18th. Lowe will play Lt. Daniel Kaffee, a lawyer who must defend a soldier accused of killing one of this fellow soldiers, while Barrowman will portray Captain Jack Ross, the role made famous by Kevin Bacon in the hit 1992 film that also starred Jack Nicholson and Demi Moore. Suranne Jones has also been cast in the Aaron Sorkin play, which will be directed by David Esbjornson (The Ride Down Mt. Morgan, The Goat).
Monday's The Independent calls "Doctor Who's greatest triumph the return of TV for all the family. So Doctor Who is over for this year - which is a shame, because the return of the eccentric time traveller has been a triumph for BBC Television and given many of us a much-needed 'appointment to view' programme to watch on a Saturday night. For those, like me, who believe in popular, quality drama on British television, it was a delight to watch the Doctor take a sonic screwdriver to Celebrity Wrestling on ITV. The debate on whether or not to revive Doctor Who had been going on at the BBC for some years before the recently departed controller of BBC1, Lorraine Heggessey, decided it was time for the Doctor's return. She should be applauded, not just for taking the decision, but for giving the series such a large budget - BBC1 spent ú1m on each 45-minute episode, although the total cost was ú1.2m (the rest came from overseas sales). By current television drama standards, that is an enormous figure and Lorraine's decision was not without risk, as the Doctor Who addicts are, as well as being a bit anoraky, a demanding bunch. But even they should be satisfied with a well-scripted, well-acted series which had high production values and condemned to yesteryear the old practice of pushing Daleks around the studio . ... The reason Doctor Who was a triumph is that, for the first time for some years, we had a new (at least, it felt new) early-evening drama that could be watched by the whole family, something that many in television thought was close to impossible to achieve in the multi-channel age. Just listening to Jonathan Ross raving about the series on his Saturday morning show on Radio Two tells you why it was so special; it gave him the opportunity to sit with his children and watch a programme that they all enjoyed, but on a range of different levels. ... It could be that Doctor Who is unique, that its long history - which guaranteed an audience - combined with a big budget and an outstanding production team gave it advantages that the average new show is never going to get. Or it could be that commissioners just need to be willing to take more risks, and back them up with big money."
Also in the Independent, Matthew Norman's Media Diary says "Finally, on the conclusion of Doctor Who's comeback series, my twopenn'orth of sycophantic adulation for Russell T Davies for a miraculous revival, and some of the best scripts TV drama has known for years. The loss of Christopher Eccleston is a blow, of course (especially to those who have had the fabled pleasure of working with him), but we look forward to David Tennant in the next series. Incidentally, plans to hire Simon Heffer as The Hefferlump - a part-organic, part-robotic madman hell-bent on bringing Enoch Powell back to life - have been shelved due to concerns about the show's pre-watershed start time. But Simon will definitely be signed up to play one of the Slitheen, should that portly family of intergalactic mercenaries make a comeback in series two."
The Telegraph says that the "Time is right for Dr Who to conquer films. The television phenomenon of 2005 is heading for the big screen for the first time in 40 years. The BBC confirmed that it is considering a film adaptation after the triumphant climax of the Doctor Who series last night..."
The Daily Star says that "TV bosses are bracing themselves for a backlash from moral crusaders tomorrow night when they screen a kiss between Dr Who and bisexual time-traveller Captain Jack Harkness. In the last episode of the series, the Timelord and Rose face the wrath of the Daleks - and Captain Jack, actor John Barrowman, 38, is sure they won't survive. As he gets set to mount an attack on the aliens, he plants a smacker on the Doctor's lips and says: 'See you in hell!' Despite the cheeky nature of the kiss, telly watchdogs are already up in arms about it. David Turtle of MediaWatch said: 'This is totally inappropriate, considering Doctor Who goes out in the early evening and is meant to be for family viewing.'" The Western Mail also discusses that, and has a few quotes from Davies. "At the outset, we were told by many people within the business that we were making an impossible programme," he says. "Demographic experts told us that a show designed for family viewing was unrealistic in the current TV climate. They said, 'Don't aim for that.' But we forged ahead, and we proved them wrong. ... One of the hardest things about the second series will be sticking to the same road we've created. In many ways, after you've proved successful with one series, the second series is the biggest, most dangerous challenge, so none of us are resting on our laurels. We want to stay faithful to the roots of the programme, while also pushing it further." He refers to the story about how he approached "Harry Potter" author JK Rowling to write an episode of the first series: "But she turned us down, and I'm not crawling back to ask a second time!" He says that having worked with Tennant will be a big advantage. "It means I know David's rhythms of speech, his mannerisms. But, as the Doctor, he won't be hugely different to Christopher Eccleston. He'll have a different style of dialogue, and his own quirks - just like you had Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker and Peter Davison - but he's still the Doctor. He'll be wearing different clothes, but rumours that David will be wearing a kilt are completely untrue."
Prime TV in New Zealand screened a short trailer for the new series at approx. 1pm on Sunday the 19th June. The trailer lasted less than thirty seconds and was made up of a montage of clips from the new series, ending with the new series logo and a caption underneath reading Coming Soon.
The Daily Star said that Saturday was "one of the saddest moments for anyone watching telly. Not because they're watching Beverly Hills Cop on ITV and lamenting how rubbish Eddie Murphy is now. No. They'll be watching the end of Dr Who on BBC1. There will be howls of anguish, screams of agony and buckets of tears. It will be like the nation has been turned into a McFly gig audience. In fact there will be only one house in Britain where there WON'T be blubbing. Mine. I'm sooooo glad it's ending. I can't take any more. It's simply too good. It's spoiling the rest of my telly viewing by making it rubbish in comparison. And professionally, I am running out of phrases to describe its magnificence. ... Anyway, I'm glad it's ending as my head and heart will explode if it gets any better. If Russell T Davies has any sense he'll cancel plans to do a second series, quit while he's ahead - and start work on bringing back Blake's 7."
The Washington Blade says that "Captain Jack Harkness is the most singularly unique character I have ever witnessed on television. He likes women. He likes men. He likes ù robots. He flies around in an invisible spaceship and swoops out of the sky just in time to stop a bomb, all brawn and machismo, and in the next scene makes a catty little quip and forms an exaggerated 'W' with his fingers. Did I mention that he hides a rather large laser gun in his $#@? Gay actor John Barrowman plays the openly omnisexual Captain Jack Harkness in the new 'Doctor Who' series. We should expect little less from Russell T. Davies ... He's a 51st century guy. He's just a little more flexible about who he dances with."
The Times Online asks "Why is Doctor Who such a success?": "Before Doctor Who of went on air, research suggested that no one would want to watch it and that the BBC was heading for a ú10 million disaster. The sci-fi series has confounded predictions by attracting seven million viewers. Why have so many people switched on to the Doctor?" The site has reader responses from a variety of locations.
Russell T Davies has a brief letter in this week's print edition of Broadcast magazine. Last week, Emily Bell wrote at length on the artistic and broadcasting success of the series (see OG news, 12 June), saying that her seven-year-old had woken her up in the middle of the night, worried about gas masked zombies... "There were five minutes last week when I was angry with Russell T Davies." Davies has replied: "It's not often I get the chance to wake up a woman at 4am, so my apologies to Emily Bell. And thanks for the kind words about Doctor Who. But much as I'd like to claim the credit, the scary gas-mask children were created and written by Steven Moffat. And very brilliant they were too."
The Independent refers to a particular exchange between the Doctor and Rose in the last episode (concerning a kiss...) and examines its relevance. "After 40 years of time-travelling, Dr Who is finally to enjoy his first kiss. But what makes the meeting of the 'mucous membranes of the lips of two people' so special? Kissing is a very strange activity, so strange that in more than 40 Earth years and countless aeons in his own eccentric time zone, not one of the various Doctors Who has ever been tempted to make contact between the mucous membranes of his lips and those of his gorgeous, pouting female assistants. Until tonight, that is, when, in the last of the Christopher Eccleston/Billy Piper Doctor Who series, the doctor kisses his horny sidekick-ette, Rose Tyler. The BBC spin machine was already in full dampener mode yesterday, when it claimed that the Who/Tyler clinch was, in fact, artificial respiration administered by the Doctor. 'Their lips do touch and there is a kiss, but it is designed to rescue Rose from death,' said the series spokesman....."
In Canada, the Globe and Mail talks about the show going into reruns immediately. "Surrounded by a tremendous amount of hype when it premiered in April, the latest incarnation of the popular long-running sci-fi franchise is back for a repeat airing. 'We are very happy with the numbers we got the first time when we telecast it as a hockey replacement,' says CBC's executive director of network programming, Slawko Klymkiw. 'They show how popular Doctor Who is and we wanted to give audiences another chance to see this fabulous, innovative series.' Christopher Eccleston makes for a sexy, tongue-in-cheek version of the Time Lord and it's a pity he won't be back on board TARDIS for a second go. An announcement of his departure, made just after the series launched, left the actor vilified, but Eccleston had only signed on for one season to avoid being typecast. If you missed the show this spring, this is your chance to catch the daring new Doctor before he's reincarnated as a tamer time traveler."
Some radio show "listen again" featurettes courtesy the DWAS: the Today Programme, BBC Radio 4 6:00am-9:00am, has a discussion about how television impacts the public and whether it is educational/stimulating enough or simply turning us into couch potatoes with a reference to 'Father's Day' here (about 02:45:00 in); the Nicola Heyward Thomas show on BBC Radio Wales, 12:00-2:00pm, has a discussion on Doctor Who and how good its been, with Express critic Charlie Catchpole, local shop owner Christian Barrie, and DWAS Press Officer Antony Wainer here (about 00:34:30 in) and a phone interview with John Barrowman (about 01:47:00 in); and Good Morning Wales, BBC Radio Wales, 6:00-9:00am, has two stories, with Doctor Who topping the Cult TV polls (about 00:03:00 in) and an interview with Davies (about 02:41:00 in).
In addition to our previous note about the show on TV Times, the season finale also featured in the "Total TV Guide", with a short interview with Davies - the cover shows Eccleston and loads of Daleks, and a colour photo (of loads more Daleks) inside with the interview. In it, RTD is quoted as saying "people are more inclined to run away from weird things like purple beaches" so evidently it was recorded before he changed his mind about alien planets!
Other News Items
According to the Doctor Who Exhibitions website, the new series exhibition on Brighton Pier is now displaying new exhibits from episodes 7 to 13 as of this weekend.
Doctor Who was named "top cult series" in a poll conducted by the Cult TV website (the people who run the annual Cult TV convention in the UK) according to a report at BBC news. "Doctor Who has beaten Star Trek to the title of most popular cult TV show, in a website's poll of viewers. The BBC show knocked Star Trek from the number one spot in the vote conducted by the website Cult TV, ending Star Trek's nine-year reign at number one." Also reported at Sky News.
Other press items: the Sydney Morning Herald in Australia gives a favorable review to "World War Three"; the Sci-Fi Online site has a handy guide to the series' cliffhangers if every 45 minute episode were broken down into two parts; and the Carlisle News and Star has an inteview with Peter Tyler, the model unit director of photography on the show;
(Thanks to Paul Engelberg, Steve Tribe, Adam Kirk, Steve Berry, Frank Shailes, John Hatfield, Peter Weaver, Duncan Rose, David French, Martin Hearn and Andy Parish)
Once again, Outpost Gallifrey will be your no-spoiler zone for TV series news, so read on...!
Broadcasting alert! John Barrowman will be on Friday morning's edition of GMTV, 17 June, on the "Entertainment Today" segment which likely starts sometime before 9.00am.
At the last moment, the BBC Press Office has resumed its series of Press Packs with Phase Eight to promote the end of the first series, as well as officialconfirmation of the commissioning of Series Three and a second Christmas special. "The honest to God truth is I was shocked," Davies says about the reactions to the first season. "The weird thing is, it's everything we hoped for. In January we were all sitting there hoping millions of people would watch; hoping that people would love it. It's such a rare thing for everything to fit into place especially when all the signs were there. ... There were so many things mitigating against it. If we were in Los Angeles there would be 15 shows like it running at once. No-one's made anything like this in this country and we've pulled it off." He says that "Science fiction can be very bland, homogenized and steeped in American culture, and to make this British has been fantastic. I think as a kid watching the series you can feel a sense of ownership and that's made a massive difference." Discussing his being called a 'gay writer', "It just shows that anyone can write anything. All that pigeon-holing that goes on is nonsense. No writer should ever sit there and think û I'll only write gay things. I used to work in children's television and it was harder to move from children's telly and break into adult television. I was a young writer and no-one knew my name. People would just sit there and say, but youÆve only done children's. I knew I could write anything. I knew I could do adult drama, but everyone pigeon-holes everyone. What I love about Doctor Who is that it has come full circle, it's for adults and children; it's doing everything I like doing." About children's television: "I have sat with a group of 15 people watching Finding Nemo on a Sunday morning û one member of the group was five and another 55, and when you see things like that happening you know that the myth that family drama doesn't exist anymore is simply not true. We were told, Julie (Gardner) and I, to be careful aiming for a family audience because it doesn't exist anymore. I absolutely didn't believe it, that's why we built Doctor Who to be an event every single week." Davies notes about the Christmas episode, "Well it's an hour-long episode which is something we've never done before. It will be a great, Christmas adventure that's really big in scale. It will be Christmassy, there's nothing I like more than a Christmas Special set at Christmas! There's a big story in it for Rose as well as a massive threat to the Earth going on beneath the surface so Christmas as usual!" He says that there "have been a lot names coming through to our casting director," noting that a lot of celebrities have asked to be a part of the second season. He also notes that David Tennant "is like a whole new lease of life. I think one of dangers of success sometimes is that one can get too complacent. Putting David at the helm means we're all reinvigorated because we have got to be just as good, if not better just for him. So it's actually very exciting, but at the same time scary. It's back to square one for us so that's always a good place to be I think." Davies says that in the second season they have the Cybermen, "we're also going to alien planets which we didn't do in the first series because I wanted to be confident of the design and now I feel sure. We also have the best design and SFX team in the world. The series will remain connected to the Earth because I think that's important. There will be a couple of old faces, and lots of new faces. Trips into history with us going back to the 1700s at one point... that's all I can say at this stage I am afraid." Note there arespoilers so we've captured the non-spoiler stuff in this write-up!
Meanwhile spoilers are also in store in various newspapers' online editions... but Outpost Gallifrey won't be spoiling them (there's only two days left until the finale, after all!) If you'd like to read some articles about the finale -- including some 'first words,' some shots of a major villain and so forth, you can read them at BBC News, the Sun, the Guardian, the Times, MegaStar, and the Mirror (with another Mirror report here). But of course, you should probably avoid them until after seeing the episode. We're told that Friday's issue of The Sun will also have full screen grabs of the final episode, so best not to read it until after you see the show on Saturday!
The CBC broadcast of Boom Town in Canada scored 735,000 viewers on Tuesday night... a spike in viewing figures back up over 700k. As our correspondent says, "We've had a great first run where Doctor Who has held the number 2 spot for the time, and hovered in the third and fourth range for Tuesday night's prime time on Canadian networks." Meanwhile, CBC will begun repeating the first season of "Doctor Who" before its first run is complete. "Rose" will be transmitted on Sunday 19 June at 7.00pm on CBC. (Thank you, by the way, to everyone who wrote in to correct the name of the episode transmitted Tuesday...)
Russell T Davies appeared on BBC1's Breakfast this morning, reflecting on the huge success that Doctor Who had been this series and to give a sneak preview of Saturday's finale. In the slot, lasting nearly ten minutes at the end of the BBC1 programme, clips from Father's Day, The Empty Child and Bad Wolf were shown. Interviewed by Dermot Murnaghan and Natasha Kaplinsky, the effusive Davies recalled how scary it had been taking on the show, as "it could have died a death", and described the major obstacles they had been faced with, namely, bringing back an old show, putting science-fiction in primetime, and the reputation of the programme. But, as he triumphantly put it: "Three big obstacles and we beat them all!" He told how fandom had been on their side - "phenomenally behind us" - and added that "the most important thing to do was to open it up to everyone". Davies said: "Families are enjoying watching it together. People who think they don't like science-fiction seem to be enjoying it . . . because it's funny as well. A lot of science-fiction is very sombre and military and self-possessed and self-aware, and you can have a good time watching Doctor Who." A 43-second clip from The Parting of the Ways was then shown, after which Kaplinsky commented on how the show's twists, turns and script had captivated people. Davies paid tribute to the "team of briliant writers" and then the focus switched to the casting and how important that had been. Talking about Christopher Eccleston, Davies said: "His willingness to do it single-handedly changed the programme's reputation, certainly within the industry . . . and then add Billie to the mix as well and all the guest cast . . . That was the greatest shift in perception . . . Chris and Billie together sent out a signal saying 'Come and watch this.'" Discounting media stories and speculation, Davies also confirmed that Piper would be "in all 14 episodes next year". Surprisingly, though, no mention was made of the show being commissioned for a third series, although Newsround earlier on BBC2 did include it. Murnaghan mentioned the Bad Wolf enigma and tried to glean some more information about it, to which Davies cannily responded: "All is revealed on Saturday night as to what that's about." Breakfast closed with the Doctor Who theme and the camera pulling back for a shot of Murnaghan, Kaplinsky and the police box that Davies appeared in - which was not the new series one.
BBC Radio Lincolnshire are celebrating 25 years on the radio by using a TARDIS as it's gateway entrance to their stall at the upcoming Lincolnshire Shownext week. The Lincolnshire Echo reported on the TARDIS being exhibited in the streets of Lincoln at the start of the week.
Although Radio Times in the UK did not have a Doctor Who front cover for the season finale, TV Times (a rival publication to the BBC edition) did, with the faces of Chris Eccleston and David Tennant on the front cover emblazoned with the words "The New Face of Doctor Who - The Last Episode Special". It also contains an a two page colour spread article interviewing Russell T Davies.
Amazon has listed two several new Doctor Who tie-in books including a Doctor Who Junior Quiz Book, Doctor Who Classified: A Confidential 3D Dossier and A Teaspoon and an Open Mind: The Science of Doctor Who, all due out in November 2005.
(Thanks to Steve Tribe, Paul Engelberg, Chuck Foster, Steve Freestone, Paul Quinn, Mike Doran, John Bowman, Rod Mammitzsch)