In a reversal from an earlier announcement that the Region 1 DVDs of series one of the new Doctor Who series would be available only in Canada, BBC Video announced today to the news service of the Sci-Fi Channel, Sci-Fi Wire, that on February 14, 2006, the series would also be made available in the US on DVD. This is in direct contrast to earlier reports that the series would only be available on DVD after a broadcaster had transmitted the series in America. Outpost Gallifrey has learned that, with the failure of the BBC to find a broadcaster in the US, this prior requirement was bypassed and the decision was made to release the series on DVD after all.
The North American release, in both Canada and the US, will be the exact same items as were on the UK discs, as BBC Video no longer allows the US/Canada releases to differ from their UK counterparts. As stated in the Sci-Fi Wire article, the DVD set will carry a suggested retail price of $99.98.
BBC7 has now posted a trailer (note: MP3 format) for the forthcoming broadcast of Shada starring Paul McGann, Susannah Harker, James Fox, Sean Biggerstaff and Andrew Sachs. The story is broadcast on Saturday, December 10.
Radio Times will feature the year's third Doctor Who cover this year with the issue that goes on sale on 3 December. This follows the earlier covers this year, both at the start of the series as well as the Dalek cover that was released with the airing of the episode "Dalek". Click on the thumbnail for a larger version. Meanwhile, the press release for the Radio Times cover is below. (Thanks to the BBC Press Office; special thanks to Martin Hoscik at UNIT News who helped out when the release went missing!)
Radio Times is running its boldest ever Christmas promotion this year with a free audio CD-ROM in each issue, a once in a lifetime opportunity to win a TV star, and a cross media nationwide above the line campaign.
The free Chronicles of Narnia CD, which is produced in association with AOL, Buena Vista International and BBC Audiobooks, includes the first part of the Prince Caspian audiobook and behind the scenes footage from the new film, plus a preview demo of the new Narnia game that can be played online by AOL members. Parts two and three of the book will be available with issues of Radio Times on sale on 23 December and 3 January. And as part of the AOL partnership, RT readers can take advantage of a special free one-month AOL Broadband trial.
The free CD is being supported by a nationwide TV campaign, which launches on 6 December - the same day as the worldwide premiere of The Chronicles of Narnia -The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe at London's Royal Albert Hall.
Readers will also have the opportunity to win a real six foot Dalek from the 2005 series as part of a Doctor Who special feature which ties in with the Christmas Day programme.
In addition, there will be a nationwide branding campaign, where prominently positioned six-sheet posters will be displayed outside selected supermarkets in the run up to the big "Christmas shop".
Radio Times publisher Kathy Day said: "I am incredibly proud of Radio Times' biggest ever Christmas issue promotion and have every confidence the UK public will continue to buy the indispensable guide to Christmas TV, radio and film in their millions.
"We have, without doubt, the best Christmas magazine package available and the investment in above and below the line advertising is guaranteed to delight readers and advertisers alike. Gill Hudson and her team have produced an unbeatable editorial package and the free CD featuring audio and extras from the biggest film property of the year is the icing on the cake."
Radio Times editor Gill Hudson says: "Radio Times readers are in for an even bigger treat than ever this year. As well as pages of exclusive features and photographs, plus the best and most comprehensive coverage of all the programmes on this Christmas, we've got not just one but TWO fantastic exclusive offers. This will be the biggest-ever Christmas issue of Radio Times, and it's going to be a real cracker. Christmas simply won't be Christmas without it."
Tenth Planet has sent us the cover illustration for the exterior packaging of the forthcoming UK DVD release of The Beginning, due out in January. As previously reported, this boxed set will contain "An Unearthly Child," "The Daleks" and "The Edge of Destruction". Click on the thumbnail for a larger version of the cover. (Thanks to Paul at Tenth Planet)
The official Doctor Who website has confirmed that The Christmas Invasion will be broadcast in the UK on BBC1 at 7pm on Sunday, December 25, as Outpost Gallifrey previously noted was the likely timeslot. (Other websites have suggested an earlier timeslot, which is incorrect.)
Additionally, the CBC network in Canada has confirmed they will air "The Christmas Invasion" on Monday, December 26 at 8pm, according to the network's program guide.
The new Doctor Who, David Tennant, has topped a list of Britain's best TV talent. The actor, who takes over from Christopher Eccleston, beat the likes of Jamie Oliver and Ant and Dec. Tennant heads Broadcast magazine's Hot 100, chosen by a panel of industry experts, according to a variety of press reports today. Before he was unveiled as the new Doctor Who, the 34-year-old made his breakthrough in BBC drama Casanova. "Landing the role of one of TV's most iconic characters has propelled Tennant into the big time," Broadcast said. "As yet we've had only the briefest glimpse of him as the Doctor, but if you missed his exuberant, charismatic, detailed performance as the eponymous hero in Casanova - where were you?" Also reported at BBC News, Yahoo News, Broadcast Now.
Today's Mirror has another 'exclusive', "Dr Ho-Ho...Oh!" which notes that "Earth is invaded by a gang of evil Santas in a Dr Who Christmas special - but the hero can't help as he is in the middle of regeneration into the new doctor. Actor David Tennant is flat on his back and barely conscious as he makes his debut at the 10th Timelord. It is left to his assistant Rose Tyler, played by Billie Piper, to save the world from the menacing Santas. Viewers will see Earth threatened by a monstrous race called the Sycorax, who have stolen a British space probe, in a story called The Christmas Invasion. ... On the DVD, show producer Phil Collinson reveals: 'The Santas form a four-piece band and each instrument becomes a lethal weapon. There is a tuba with a flame thrower in it, two trumpets that fire bullets and a trombone that fires mortars.' ... Director James Hawes said: 'The Christmas Invasion is about mankind's first experience of a threat of an alien landing on the planet. The real twist is that the doctor is in the middle of regeneration - and he ain't there to save us.' The Sycorax leader is played by Sean Gilder, who appeared as Styles in ITV drama Hornblower and Jols in movie King Arthur. ... Tennant joked: 'I'm getting there and I'm coping with it. So far I'm doing a damn fine job of being unconscious - I'd say it's my finest work. I have had a great time so far - it's been great, very friendly with a very welcoming atmosphere.' The Christmas Invasion will be shown as BBC1's flagship drama on Christmas Day. Collinson added: 'We've also been commissioned to make a Christmas special for 2006. So we would hope this is going to become the norm for the next couple of years.'"
The Daily Record features an interview with Tennant. Highlights: "My life hasn't changed. But I get invites to premieres, which I never used to. I've never done the career plan. My ambition goes from one project to the next. I look to the next thing to be exciting, inspiring, different. I get ambitious for a script. If something comes in I really want to do, I get very hungry and excited about that - and crushed if I don't get it. ... It's watched by everyone, aged seven to 70, including groups you wouldn't particularly expect to be huge fans. I'm continually surprised by the number of trendy teenage girls and middle-aged mums who come up to talk to me and who genuinely love the show. That's what's extraordinary and unique about it. ... So far, I've had to answer a lot of mail because Doctor Who has a lot of committed fans. It was funny when I first got the part. I just laughed, thinking it was both hilarious and impossible because I'd wanted it so much. It's such a great job. I mean, I get to play a Timelord and have a Tardis. You can't knock that. I've always wanted my own Tardis and now I've got it! ... Viewers are going to see a slightly more no-nonsense Doctor and that is influenced by what Chris did with him. We are more aware that he's someone who fought a war, lost all his people and because he's the last Timelord, the last authority in the universe, he's more ruthless."
The BBC Press Office has a press release which includes weeks 51 and 52 on BBC1, including the full summary of "The Christmas Invasion".
(Thanks to Paul Engelberg, Paul Hayes, Peter Weaver)
As it did with last year's episodes, the BBC Press Office today has issued a new press pack with details of the forthcoming Doctor Who special "The Christmas Invasion". In addition to carrying the full synopsis of the episode on its first page (you can skip it if you don't want to know by starting on page two), the release profiles David Tennant andBillie Piper.
Some quotes from David Tennant: "It was funny, when I first got asked I just laughed! I found it hilarious and impossible! And I remember Russell, very perceptively, saying: 'Don't say anything now, because I know the experience is quite a weird one. But it's such a great job! I [mean], I get to play a Time Lord and have a TARDIS: you can't knock that! ... The fantastic thing about the regeneration process is that every time the Doctor goes through it, he changes to an extent. So as an actor, you get to work on a blank canvas where you don't have to worry too much about what has gone before. It's interesting, because he's always going to be the moral egalitarian, humanitarian, slightly wild, slightly anarchic bloke that he's always been. But because he's getting older he's moving on. He's seen it all before, every alien creature with a superiority complex. Viewers are going to see a slightly more no-nonsense Doctor and that is influenced by what Chris did with him. We are more aware that he's someone who fought a war, lost all his people and because he's the last Time Lord, the last authority in the universe, he's less indulgent, more ruthless. ... I wanted something that I'd enjoy wearing, an outfit that would look good and feel right. We also wanted something that was modern, without being specifically en vogue. I wasn't trying to create a Times Style article about it, but I'm glad people like it so much. I also wanted an outfit that wasn't too authoritarian. So that's why I opted for a scruffier-styled suit. It's more what you'd expect to see a student sporting than a college professor. And inevitably the look is influenced by the sort of things I like wearing. ... The regeneration process is a severe biological process which takes a fair bit of time. This is not good news for Rose and the rest of the world, because whilst he's going through this, the earth is being invaded by the Sycorax. It's a very difficult time for Rose. He hadn't prepared her for the changes he'd undergo. So whilst the Doctor is recuperating, Rose is trying to fathom out how she can save the world. She's also trying to understand how she feels about him now. ... The Christmas episode is a new start for the Doctor and Rose. They've got to rediscover each other and decipher whether they still feel the same about one another. Despite the new face, he is fundamentally the same bloke, he's still the Doctor and still has a huge amount of affection for her. However, it's not just the way he looks or the way he talks that is different. The Doctor's outlook on life has changed, as has the way he tackles situations. I think he's just hoping Rose can accept the changes and they can pick up where they left off."
From Billie Piper: "[Winning at the NTA awards] was the most amazing feeling.; I was so terrified and really thought one of the soap actresses would win. But when they said it was me, I was just amazed. It was such a strange, wonderful evening. I felt like I was having an out of body experience. .... Rose feels so unloved and isolated at the start of [The Christmas Invasion]. She's returned home to her mother and Mickey and as ever they are there for her. But she feels like she's lost her best friend. The earth is being invaded and Rose has no control over the situation. The Doctor, who is still going through the regeneration process, isn't there to give her the answers and she's scared. ... Kids love being scared. It's something I've learned since starting on Doctor Who. As adults we worry that kids can't cope with anything scary and that everything should be censored. But that is nonsense. Children are so inquisitive, and I'm sure will be asking themselves questions such as 'What if the tree came to life?' etc. It excites them. Part of the series' success is it challenges the viewers' imaginations, including the kids. ... Rose is very smart. She's very instinctive and has great strength of character. She's travelled all over the galaxy with the Doctor, and taken note of how he handles situations, so tries to mimic his actions. It's very amusing to see Rose trying to copy the Doctor, but she looks up to him. He's her best friend, her personal hero and she believes in him, so tries to act like him. Rose is so scared he won't want her to travel with him anymore. She has spent so much time with him, experiencing new and exciting worlds. She can't bear the thought that this could be the end and the thought of going back to reality, working in a shop, fills her with dread. ... I'm an absolute Christmas freak! I love the fact it starts in October now! However, this year for me it started in July as we were filming the Christmas special. It was slightly bizarre filming snow scenes in the middle of summer, but I was thrilled. It was great to start filming series two with this amazing, emotional and scary episode. I'm a huge fan of Christmas specials. It means so much to me that our show is going to go out on Christmas Day when all the families will be sitting down together, eating copious amounts of chocolate and drinking sherry. I have to be honest - I think I'm going to need a few sherries before I sit down to watch it, though!"
Warner Home Video has announced The Beginning Boxed Set for North America for release on March 28, according to TV Shows on DVD. The DVD set contains the first three stories of the classic series -- "An Unearthly Child," "The Daleks" and "The Edge of Destruction" -- in two separate DVD cases (as opposed to the three in the UK set) along with an outer box packaging, containing the same extras as in the original release. The first will contain "An Unearthly Child", while the second is a double-disc set with "The Daleks" and "The Edge of Destruction". At the moment there are no plans to issue these DVDs separately; they'll only be available in the one box. At right is a thumbnail image of the cover from the website; we'll have a larger version of the cover soon.
In other news, the Restoration Team has posted an article about the release of "The Beginning" on their website, including details of the extras and the cleanup process.
Several reports have come in about the ratings for the Children in Need broadcast, and specifically about the Doctor Who portion of the evening.
ViewingFigures, traditionally first with the overnight ratings, show anywhere from 8.6 to 9.6 million viewers in the time slot of 9:00pm to 9:20pm, broken down every five minutes: 9.6m, 9.34m, 9.07m, 8.66m for each five-minute period starting with 9:00-9:05pm; as well as audience shares of 45.1%, 44.0%, 42.8% and 41.0% respectively. It is important to note that the transmission of the special during that time was staggered, i.e. it did not take place simultaneously everywhere in the UK, insofar as that in several locations (including at least Scotland and Wales) local programming delayed its start by several minutes. However, the 9:15-9:20pm drop of nearly half a million viewers is very likely indicative that many people were tuned into the broadcast specifically for the Doctor Who content and left as soon as it was over.
The Broadcasters Audience Research Board (BARB), which usually publishes final ratings several weeks after the fact, apparently now has its own version of overnight ratings, shared with broadcasters. According to BARB, the overnights suggest that 10.7 million viewers were tuned into BBC1 for the broadcast from 9:00-9:15pm (with a 45.1% audience share). BARB has traditionally included time-shifted and/or video-taped viewers in their final ratings data; it could very well be similar now for its overnight broadcasts.
According to Media Guardian, the telethon "attracted a big audience on Friday night, with a peak of more than 11 million viewers. The 26th annual Children in Need was watched by 9 million viewers and attracted a 39% audience share between 7pm and 10pm, according to unofficial overnights. Peak ratings for the show came between 9.45pm and 10pm, with 11.1 million viewers and a 48% audience share, when Rod Stewart was performing. The ratings were slightly higher than for last year's Children in Need, which attracted 8.4 million viewers and a 37% audience share. However, in 2003, the charity evening drew 10.3 million viewers and a 42% audience share to BBC1 in late November. BBC1's 10 O'Clock News also got its annual boost from Children in Need, watched by 9.5 million viewers and attracting a 44% audience share. After the news, the charity marathon continued, with 5.6 million viewers and a 48% audience share between 10.35pm and 1am."
We should have final ratings for the quarter hour when they are released later by BARB.
Two major Doctor Who events on both sides of the Atlantic take place this coming weekend!
Memorabilia 2005 takes place at the NEC Birmingham over the weekend, November 26-27, featuring tons of guests from the science fiction community (including most of the cast of "Red Dwarf". Tom Baker will appear on Saturday, while the rest of the weekend features Nicholas Courtney, Elisabeth Sladen and Terry Molloy. The Doctor Who guests will be at Scificollector's booth at the event and will be signing, so don't miss out!
Across the pond, ChicagoTARDIS 2005, runs Friday through Sunday, November 25-27 at the Wyndham O'Hare in Chicago. Guests include Peter Davison, Nicola Bryant, John Schwab, Rob Shearman, Maggie Stables, Siri O'Neal, Gary Russell and Jason Haigh-Ellery and others. The annual Outpost Gallifrey social (with members and staff from our Forum) will take place Friday starting at 9pm in the lobby bar.
Is Rachel Stevens headed for "Torchwood"? The rumors have been flying and now there are reports that "the singer has a final audition to win the part of Gwen opposite John Barrowman's Captain Jack in the post-watershed sci-fi show. Rachel, 27, hopes to follow in Billie Piper's footsteps by transforming from pop star to actress. She was beaten to the part of the Doctor's sidekick Rose Tyler by Billie when the hit revival was cast.... Rachel said of her failure to land the role of Rose: 'Things happen for a reason and Billie is really great. If the right thing came around, I'd love to do something.' The former S Club singer said: 'I've been called back for a meeting about a permanent role. I so hope I get it as I'm sick of being attacked for my music.'" That's from The Mirror and there are other reports at Sky News, Ananova,MyKindaPlace, Monsters and Critics, Drowned in Sound, In The News, Contact Music,Breaking News,Female First.
The Children in Need telethon, of which the seven-minute special (or, rather, 6'54" from start to finish, not the 3.5 minutes we were led to believe according to the official BBC roster) was part, raised over £17 million for charity, according to a BBC News article. "The BBC telethon Children in Need raised more than 17.2m during the fund-raising campaign on BBC One. The total is slightly higher than last year and is expected to grow to more than 30m when all donations are in. Presenter Terry Wogan said: 'Thank you for all your donations and everything you have done for Children in Need.' The telethon featured performances by Madonna, Rod Stewart, Girls Aloud and Liberty X and an appearance by Prime Minister Tony Blair. The organisers estimate that more than a quarter of a million people made donations." Additionally reported at CBBC News. Also, on the local East Midlands broadcast, "Derek the Dalek" (a fan-created Dalek) appeared; there are photographs here.
An update on last week's Cardiff Christmas lighting that David Tennant and Billie Piper took part in: you can now see the video of the two switching on the Christmas lights in Cardiff on the BBC South East Wales website, along with some still photos... click here. According to Andy Roberts of BBC Wales New Media, "This is a permanent, official web posting of the live insert featured in the regional news programme Wales Today. We'll keep it online indefinitely." Another report on the lighting was featured at Hello Magazine.
An article in Saturday's Birmingham Post asked, "Are you looking for a piece of film or television history? Props and scripts from classic films by directors such as Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Scorcese and Stanley Kubrick can sell for huge amounts of money at auction, but more contemporary film, music and television history is also very popular among collectors. ... As well as being famous for his love of jelly babies, Tom Baker's Dr Who was a great fan of scarves and one collector managed to get their hands on the actual scarf worn by Tom when he played the Doctor in the 1970s and early 1980s. It sold for £7,800. ... The rare 1970's BBC Television prop known as "The Dalek Supreme" sold for a staggering £36,000, over three times its pre-sale estimate, to benefit The Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children. The Dalek was greeted with a round of applause in the saleroom and was bought by the communications agency Indeprod. The Dalek had previously sold for £4,600 when bought as a charity lot in 1986 to benefit the BBC Red Cross Sponsored Appeal. A spokesperson at Indeprod said: 'We are delighted to have acquired a Dalek. We shall place it in our reception area for all to see and enjoy. We have been after a Dalek for years and this seemed to be the perfect opportunity especially as the proceeds will go to The Great Ormond Street Hospital. We are also very pleased that the Dalek will stay in this country.'"
A new and licensed Dalek top is now available from Marks and Spencer in the UK. It comes in sizes from 3 to 14 years and costs £8 or £11, according to size. It hit the high street this week and is also available online at Marks and Spencer.
The weekend's Sunday Mail noted that "the new Doctor Who has stunned fans by transforming into a cockney. Scots actor David Tennant sounds like mockney Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins in sneak previews of the new series. And the BBC were last night forced to admit that David, 34, had dumped his native accent to star as the timelord. The actor, from Bathgate, West Lothian, is proud of his roots and sported the kilt when he arrived at a recent awards bash with Cutting It star Sarah Parrish. ... Last night, a BBC spokeswoman said: 'Playing a character with an English accent is not alien to David. David is an incredibly versatile actor whose work on screen is not defined by his accent but by his talent. We have every confidence that David's Doctor, like the man himself, will be hugely popular.' But producer Russell T Davies has suggested there could be a twist in the tale. He said: 'Every planet has a Scotland - you'll have to wait and see. There are revelations on the way.' The new series sees Doctor Who and his sidekick Billie Piper transported to Balmoral in the time of Queen Victoria, played by Pauline Collins. Doctor Who has had a Scottish accent in the past, when Sylvester McCoy played him from 1987."
Also in the Sunday Mail, a note about "Tennant's cheeky chat-up line." While most of it is fairly innocuous, it does feature quotes by former Casualty star Claire Goose, who says "He's going to be a fantastic Doctor Who. I can't wait to see it. He is so thrilled and excited to be doing it in the first place. He is one of those people who loves his job. He's really enthusiastic." Goose stars with Tennant in the upcoming ITV drama, Secret Smile, in which he plays her psycho boyfriend.
Playbill notes that Broadway and West End singer/actress Elaine Paige's upcoming concert at the Birmingham Symphony Hall will be broadcast on BBC Radio 2; Paige will be joined by John Barrowman, her former co-star in "Sunset Boulevard". Also covered at BroadwayWorld.
Manchester Online notes that David Tennant lost out on an award in Manchester: "New Dr Who David Tennant was getting the female hearts-a-fluttering at the awards, looking stylish in pinstripe suit and laughing and joking with fans. David was nominated in the best performance in a comedy or drama category for his role as Casanova in the BBC production, which was part-filmed in Manchester, but lost out to David Threlfall for Shameless. Scottish heartthrob David has taken over from Salfordian Christopher Eccleston as the popular time-traveller, and admits he is a little in awe of his predecessor and his success as Dr Who. 'They are incredibly big boots to fill, but I'm going to do my best,' he told me. 'It's great to be back in Manchester tonight and, of course, it didn't really matter that I didn't win. It's just been a fantastic night.'"
Series two writer Stephen Fry received a degree from Anglia Ruskin University and spoke of the "ridiculous sense of elitism" at Cambridge in a BBC Newsarticle;
(Thanks to Paul Engelberg, Steve Tribe, Peter Weaver, Matt Dale, Andy Roberts, Rich Kirkpatrick)
Belgium is the latest country to debut the new Doctor Who series. The series starts on Saturday 26 November at 3.55pm on the Een (One) network, with subtitles rather than dubbed voices. The channel can also normally be watched in Holland.
Also, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) in an email reply to a fan as to whether or not they had secured the rights to The Christmas Invasion, the following was received: "Thank you for your email regarding Doctor Who. At this stage, the ABC has not acquired the broadcast rights for these programs, however, please be assured that your comments have been noted and forwarded to our Television Programming Department so that they are aware of your interest." There is no word as to whether or not the broadcaster is in negotiations for the second season. (Thanks to Michael Simshauser, Richard Foxon)
The BBC is running a new Golden Moments competition... "Vote for your Golden Moment and you could be at the awards ceremony. You can log on tobbc.co.uk/tvmoments and you can now vote for Doctor Who/EastEnders in the Golden Moment of 2005 category. The Golden Moment is your favourite moment of all the 24 clips nominated. By voting for the Golden Moment you could win the chance of two VIP tickets to the ceremony which is recorded on Tuesday 29th November. Winners must be available to travel on this date and be able to overnight in London if necessary. The show is hosted by Jonathan Ross and transmits in December. Viewers can log on and vote up until midday on Monday 28th November. ... You can also vote for David Tennant in the just added November/December catetory. He stars in upcoming ITV drama Secret Smile - and you can a sneak preview of the drama when you vote."
Big Finish has several items on its website including mention of a Christmas sale of some of their spinoff ranges and gift vouchers. The site also notes that parts three and four of Cyberman have been delayed until December and February, respectively, due to Nicholas Briggs' work on the new series. Finally, the full cover illustrations for both Wildthyme at Large and The Devil in Ms. Wildthyme starring Katy Manning are now available and are reprinted below; click on each for a larger version.
Billie Piper appeared on television on Sunday evening on her ex-husband Chris Evans' new chat show, OFI Sunday. Says our correspondent Paul Hayes, "Piper seemed very cheerful and perky throughout, entering into the spirit of her ex-husband’s somewhat zany humour. They reminisced about their first ever meeting, which had also been on a television programme, Evans’s old Channel 4 show TFI Friday, and a clip was shown from that very edition back in 2000. Evans got the audience to cheer the fact that they are officially still married. He then asked her, much to everyone’s amusement, 'Why did you decide to leave m….usic for acting?'... He later asked her some so-called 'proper questions'. He asked her about how she prepares for doing a take when she’s acting. He told her what a great show Doctor Who is and the audience agreed... Piper was also a part of a game section of the show called Mine or Not Mine? in which she paraded various household objects the audience or phone-in contestants had to guess whether they belonged to Evans or not. Further embarrassing inanity followed for pretty much all of the rest of the show, such as Piper revealing 'this week’s fascinating fact!' that you only breathe out of one nostril at a time and they switch every twenty minutes." Says another correspondent, Peter Weaver, "After getting a big round of applause from the studio audience for her role in Doctor Who and agreeing that she was loving being in the show, Evans commented that there was one aspect of Doctor Who that she was not quite happy with. Piper hesitantly replied 'I don't know . . . Go on' to which Evans said: 'Well, it's Christmas time and they've done a Rose Tyler doll, haven't they?' Piper responded: 'Oh God, I know.' Evans asked her why she wasn't happy with it, and Piper said: 'Because I look like Master Splinter. You know, the giant rat from the (Teenage Mutant Ninja) Turtles, and I know I've got big teeth but this really takes the mick.' Evans then produced the offending item - the radio-controlled Dalek battle pack featuring the Rose action figure - which elicited a shrieked 'And I've got a gammy eye!' from Piper. He commented that Piper had been allowed approval of the doll, to which she replied 'Apparently I approved it - I can't remember.' Evans suggested that perhaps she had been 'a little bit tiddly' when she gave it the nod, to which Piper laughingly commented 'Possibly!' ... As a side note of possible interest, the Bewitched-style animated opening titles for OFI Sunday had a caricature of Piper on a billboard with the words 'Billie Piper in Professor Who?' coinciding with the sung lines, relating to Evans, 'He's taller than you think when you meet him in real life/He gets on ever so swell with his ex-wife.' The couple still have a year to go before they divorce." There are news reports about the appearance at BBC News. Also, The Sun features Evans/Piper gossip. (Thanks to Paul Hayes, Peter Weaver, Steve Tribe, Paul Engelberg)
The Doctor Who Series One Boxed Set is now in release... and there are a few reported issues with it including an authoring fault, as the episode "World War Three" is cut by several minutes while watching in the episodic mode. (A fix: it plays fine in "Play All" mode so you can skip forward to the episode start; it's only when it plays episodically that part of it is cut out.) Additionally, there are several music changes including 'classic' series music removed from one of the trailers, and the longer music cue in "Rose" (the Doctor and Rose walking back toward the TARDIS) on the 'vanilla' disc but not on the transmitted version.
UPDATE: There is word that the BBC will be replacing the faulty discs; details are forthcoming!
The official site has a brief story about the release. Meanwhile, Times Online reviews the boxed set. "Your £70 buys irresistibly cheesy Tardis packaging and five hours’ worth of extras, including cast-and-crew commentaries, the complete Dr Who Confidential, Davies’s wry video diary, featurettes on the special effects, and On Set with Billie (steady...). Travelling back a few months, the most revealing item is Eccleston’s interview for BBC Breakfast: watch his eyes as he squirms his way round the issue of long-term commitment, explaining that he’s done 13 episodes — '45 minutes, not half an hour' — and that’s really two series, and... Whatever, he’ll be missed. Four stars. Matthew Davis'. Another review inDVD Times says that 'Video-wise, the print appears to be identical to the previous bare-bones releases and it’s exceptionally clear at that... The sound quality - primarily presented in 5.1 Surround Sound - is also excellent, every nuance of Christopher Eccleston’s accent can be heard with crystal clarity... The one reason most fans will be buying this boxset is, of course, for the slew of extras. Spread over five discs, the extras comprise of the complete collection of trailers, storyboards, several video diaries and numerous 'making of' featurettes... Aside from this there is also an exclusive look at the special featurette containing behind the scenes footage of The Christmas Invasion which is sure to fascinate any fan counting down the days until David Tennant's first proper episode as the Tenth Doctor. ... Some of the video diaries are a little drawn out and repetitive in places." As previously reported, SFX Magazine has a feature on the DVD extras now on their website. Also, Restoration Team member Paul Vanezis interviewed by the online UK DVD Review podcast/magazine available here.
Nicholas Briggs is interviewed by BBC Wiltshire on audio, in which he announces that he will return to the series for its second year to voice the Cybermen. Says the website, "The recent revival of cult BBC1 sci-fi series Doctor Who was a huge hit with viewers when the 13-part series starring Christopher Eccleston as The Doctor was shown earlier this year. One of the most popular aspects of the new version of the show was the return of The Doctor's most fearsome foes - the dreaded Daleks whose terrifying catchphrase 'EXTERMINATE' sent an whole new generation of young viewers scurrying behind the sofa. The man who provided the voices for The Daleks in the new series is life-long Doctor Who fan Nick Briggs who is not only a Dalek expert but an actor and producer of Doctor Who audio stories. On the day of the launch of the DVD box-set of the recent series of Doctor Who, Nick spoke to BBC Radio Wiltshire's Afternoon Show presenter Mark Seaman about what it was like to work on the new series. He also demonstrated a piece of equipment called a ring modulator which is used to distort his voice into that of a Dalek. And Nick exclusively revealed he is to appear as the voice of another old enemy of The Doctor's when the series returns in the New Year." (Thanks to Daniel Garrett)
The official Doctor Who site says that "CBBC eXtra - the children's red button service - are running a Doctor Who competition from Friday. The main prize is the first season DVD Box Set, a sonic screwdriver with psychic paper and a TARDIS mobile phone flasher. There are runner-up prizes of a Doctor Who audio mug and TARDIS keyring. There will also be a preview of the DVD including some clips from the first series and a look at some of the special features. The competition will run for seven days starting on Friday. All viewers will have to do is answer a simple question to enter."Click here for further details.
The BBC Press Office has issued a full press release on their Christmas offerings, noting "this year, the BBC offers a mix of new Christmas specials alongside some established favourites." The press release itself notes the rerun of Casanova on BBC3... and gives a full preview of the forthcoming Doctor Who special on December 25. They also note that there will be some Doctor Who content on BBC Three that day, though it's unspecified.
Below, in the spoiler tags, is the BBC press synopsis for "The Christmas Invasion"; it gives the plot setup away so don't click it unless you want to know!
It's Christmas and Jackie Tyler is at home preparing for the festive season, not knowing if her daughter Rose will be home in time - or at all. Then she hears the familiar, ancient grind of the TARDIS! Mickey, who is hard at work, also hears it and they both race across the estate just in time to witness the TARDIS' glorious, chaotic crash landing. The doors open and, much to their delight, out steps Rose and a complete stranger - except it isn't a stranger - it's the Doctor. Disorientated, yet overwhelmed to see them, he takes a few minutes to regain his balance and consider what it is he wants to tell them. "Oh! I know! Merry Christmas!" he yells, before collapsing. The Doctor falls in and out of consciousness, with Rose and Jackie powerless to help him.
In a bid to boost Rose's spirits, Mickey suggests a spot of Christmas shopping. A good plan - until they find themselves under attack by a sinister brass band of masked Santas. However, they are not the only ones with problems. Prime Minister Harriet Jones has just been informed that a British space probe, on its way to Mars for a Christmas Day landing, has gone missing. It has been kidnapped by a monstrous race known as the Sycorax, who are set on taking over the world. Meanwhile, back at the Tylers', Mickey and Jackie are trying to fend off a killer Christmas tree, while Rose tries to wake the Doctor.
David Tennant plays the Doctor, Billie Piper plays Rose Tyler, Camille Coduri plays Jackie Tyler, Noel Clarke plays Mickey, Penelope Wilton plays Harriet Jones and Sean Gilder plays the Sycorax leader.
There are several rumors making the rounds that Don Warrington has been cast in the role of "The President" in the two-part Cybermen story in the new season, though this has not been confirmed. Warrington has previously played the role of Rassilon, founder of Time Lord society, for Big Finish's audio plays and has been seen in numerous films and television series. More details soon...
More about "The Christmas Invasion" has been revealed in the latest issue of SFX Magazine by Russell T Davies. "I love the title," he tells the magazine. "What else could you call it? It will be a great, 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!" Says the article, "With the Doctor still suffering the after-effects of his regeneration, the TARDIS returns to Earth, arriving back at Rose’s council estate. The festive period is just beginning, but the Doctor, recuperating in his pyjamas, is too ill to enjoy it, while his companion attempts to come to terms with the fact that her best friend has changed his identity. But as Rose shares some quality time with her family and friends (Camille Coduri is back as Jackie Tyler, along with Noel Clarke as Mickey), an alien force is stirring. The Sycorax invasion is beginning... So what else can we expect from the story? 'I can tell you that the words 'Arthur Dent' are said in the Christmas special,' reveals Davies, rather teasingly. 'It's got scary Christmas trees, Santa attacks, there's an invasion, and the Doctor stays in bed for a long, long time,' Billie Piper recently told the press. 'I am carrying most of the show.'"
The Mirror says that Billie Piper is "at the centre of a tug-of-love between the BBC and ITV... Since quitting the hit sci-fi show - as revealed by The Mirror last week - 23-year-old Billie has already been snapped up for two major new projects, one with each of the main channels. For ITV1, she will don a ribboned bonnet to play priggish Fanny Price in a new adaptation of Jane Austen's most controversial novel, Mansfield Park. ... Meanwhile, BBC bosses have got a secret project waiting in the wings for her. Our insider tells us: 'This is very, very different to Doctor Who. Billie has proven herself at the BBC, first with The Canterbury Tales, then as Rose in Doctor Who, and recently in Much Ado About Nothing. The camera loves her. She has the sort of face which comes across really well on screen. Any critic who claims she is only good at playing ditzy characters is wrong - there were some very dark scenes in Doctor Who which she handled really well. All her performances have been brilliant. We can't wait to work with her again.'" Of course, this is forgetting the fact that she's still working on the show... take this for what it's worth.
More reports of the lighting of Cardiff at icWales, Ham High News; the lighting also gets coverage on CBBC Newsround and the official site has a brief report and a link to a new, permanent clip from Wales Today on the Media Player (the Wales Today programme itself being only briefly available online).
Is Ross Kemp (who plays Grant Mitchell in "EastEnders") soon to be a guest star in the new series? The showbiz correspondent on HeartFM Radio seems to think so, noting in an 'exclusive' that he might be in the series, but we haven't heard anything about it elsewhere.
The official Doctor Who website has been updated with a Christmas theme today.
In The News has picked up the David Beckham story from yesterday; other print-only media to pick it up includes the Press Association and Newsquest Media Group (so expect it in a variety of papers by next week!) Also, Playbillmentions a December 19 holiday concert in which John Barrowman is slated to appear.
(Thanks to Steve Tribe, Paul Engelberg, Stephen James Walker and Chris Howell of The Great Link)
The BBC Children in Need mini-website has now posted the "Children in Need" special starring David Tennant and Billie Piper. It's available in both Windows Media Player and Real Player formats. Check it out!
Surprisingly, there was no on-screen title for this mini-episode. Also, it appears that, contrary to previously-published BBC reports, K9 wasn't part of the festivities after all!
Christopher Eccleston has done voice-overs for the Children In Need broadcast this evening, including "Craig's Story", about a 12 year-old disgnosed HIV positive at the age of six (host Terry Wogan name-checked him afterward) and later Eccleston's narration provided the viewers of the number to call. Incidentally, Wogan introduced tonight's event noting that Doctor Who would be the "highlight" of the evening.
David Tennant apparently filmed several inserts for regional BBC broadcasters; for example, Tennant appeared outside the TARDIS in a leather jacket for BBC Scotland saying, "Hello, my name's David Tennant, please call 08457 33 22 33 and help Children In Need make a difference in Scotland." In fact, there are several appeal messages from Tennant and Billie Piper after the online clip, including two for Scotland.
Below is a selection of screen grabs from the three-minute special (thanks to Matt Evenden).
Russell T Davies updates readers on Torchwood in the new issue of SFX Magazine, as relayed by the website The Great Link. The interview notes that the show, about a "renegade bunch of investigators," will first be hinted at in "The Christmas Invasion" next month. More hints will follow throughout the second season. Davies will write two episodes of "Torchwood" which he says that, thanks to the expected watershed slot (9pm) for the show, "we can be a bit more visceral, more violent, and more sexual, if we want to. Though bear in mind that it’s very teenage to indulge yourself in blood and gore, and Torchwood is going to be smarter than that. But it’s the essential difference between BBC One at 7pm, and BBC Three at say, 9pm. That says it all -- instinctively, every viewer can see the huge difference there." Torchwood is still in the early stages of development, it says, but there will probably some production crossover with Doctor Who, "they’re two very different shows, so each will have its own identity." As Outpost Gallifrey previously reported, writers currently onboard for Torchwood are PJ Hammond (ITV’s Sapphire and Steel) and Chris Chibnall (BBC One’s Born and Bred). You can read more from Russell about Torchwood in the Christmas 2005 Issue of SFX Magazine. (Thanks to Chris Howell at The Great Link)
The Sun has an 'exclusive' today that notes that football star David Beckham is apparently a Doctor Who fan. "Victoria Beckham has splashed out on a book of Doctor Who screenplays for soccer star hubby Becks -- as he is 'completely ob- sessed' with the Time Lord. The ex-Spice Girl, 31, bought England skipper Becks a book of transcripts from the latest series starring Christopher Ecclestone [sic] and Billie Piper. Mum-of-three Posh showed her eye for a bargain by spotting the book, The Shooting Scripts, in a half-price sale. And if that wasn’t cut-price enough, staff at posh Knightsbridge store Harrods even gave an extra ten per cent discount because of her celebrity status. Real Madrid ace Becks and wife Victoria were in central London last Sunday. An insider said: 'They were in Harrods for a couple of hours. She had a good rummage and found the Dr Who book. Staff were expecting her to spend a fortune on designer gear — but she only bought the Russell T Davies scripts. She told the shop assistant that David was 'completely obsessed' with Dr Who. 'She said he knew everything about it and never missed an episode of the last series.'" Also reported at This Is London,Ananova.
The online edition of SFX Magazine features an interview with Anthony Stewart Head, who notes that he "love[s] it when papers say things stridently, whether they're right or wrong" about him playing the Master (he says he's shocked to hear it because it's not true!) But how was being in the show? "It was fantastic. And he's a blinding Doctor, David Tennant. For the first time in a long time, it's effortless. He's got it all, he really. He's literally born to play the part. He's got such an edge yet at the same time the humour, the comedy's just perfect. You're not watching anybody trying hard, it's just there. For me, this guy is just bang on! ... I suppose once you're in the genre, I suppose people just say, oh, you'd be good! I went up for the American TV movie, I went up for that a couple of time, and I saw various executives, but when I came back from Buffy, people would ask if I'd do it and I said, well, I think to do one sort of iconic sci-fi character every decade is probably enough. People'd get confused otherwise!" Was he approached for the role? "Yes. I don't know if they wrote this specifically with me in mind, but I think they thought it'd suit me. I must admit I enjoyed myself immensely. ... I can't even remember the character's name. Now I'm on tour, all my energies are channelled into that. Hmm, I don't know how much I'm allowed to say. My name is stamped all over the script so if anybody ever gets the script, they know it comes from me!" He says he met Russell T Davies at the readthrough, and that Davies is a fan of his work on 'Buffy'. "He's a great writer, Russell. He said how much of a fan he was and how pleased he was that I was doing it. I did the commentary for the Making Of on Radio 2 and there was a bit where they said they'd watched Buffy and modelled storytelling techniques on it."
Tuesday night's drive show with Richard Bacon on London Capital Radio featured a guest appearance by "celebrity friend for the week" Anthony Stewart Head, who noted that he'd recently taken the train to Newport for a photo session for Doctor Who where he had met with old friends David Tennant and Billie Piper. Head said that Tennant was the "best Doctor since Patrick Troughton" and that he was natural at the role but was "steely when needed".
(Thanks to Steve Tribe, Paul Engelberg, Darren Hooker)