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Bookmark and Share TARDIS Report: Late Monday

12/26/2005 04:25:00 pm - Reported by Shaun Lyon

Canada got the new series tonight... and several of our readers noticed that the CBC network wasn't noted as a co-producer this time, but rather was noted with a "special thanks to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation" notice. Meanwhile, Billie Piper hosted the show in much the same way Eccleston did, wearing a red Roots hoodie with "Canada" on the front, and at one point explicitly thanking the viewers for making Series One a success.

The Daily Mail has comments from a BBC1 spokesman on the ratings triumph for the BBC on Sunday: "We are delighted that the audience turned to the BBC to be entertained this Christmas. It has been a wonderful climax to the year for Doctor Who and Strictly Come Dancing. And once again EastEnders proves to be the jewel in the Christmas schedule."

Tomorrow's Times notes that "science fiction has overtaken reality shows as space-and-time travel becomes the new hit formula on TV. David Tennant’s first appearance as the Doctor in the Christmas Day episode of Doctor Who was watched by 9.4 million viewers, beaten only by BBC One, with more than ten million switching on to EastEnders. In America, entire channels are devoted to big-budget space dramas. Now digital technology has made convincing sci-fi epics affordable on British budgets. ITV is responding to Doctor Who with Primaeval, a 6 million, six-part epic about scientists who travel into prehistoric times through black holes. The team behind Walking with Dinosaurs is creating the graphics. Next year the BBC will follow up the success of Red Dwarf, the sitcom set on a spaceship, which has spawned four million DVD and video sales. A new BBC Two sci-fi comedy Hyperdrive consciously echoes its predecessor, the channel’s highest-rated sitcom with eight million viewers. ... The resurrection of sci-fi has surprised some. Senior BBC figures were sceptical about Doctor Who, believing a revival would fail to reach a mass audience despite a much bigger special effects budget for the 13 million series. In fact there is a large international audience for British sci-fi. The new Doctor Who has been sold to 12 countries, including South Korea and Australia."

The Times also notes that a "pre-Christmas mini-revival that pushed ITV1's audience above BBC One has not stopped Britain's leading commercial broadcaster losing viewers this year, denting its prospects of pulling in advertising in tough conditions. The BBC, which is usually strong over the holiday, has featured shows such as Dr Who this year."

Tomorrow morning's Daily Record says "Thank you David Tennant. The new Doctor Who triumphed over the Sycorax in a rattling good Christmas special. And he did so in a woollen dressing gown and striped winceyette pyjamas and made them sexy - according to a highly scientific poll of females in and around my house. Now, if I can manage a regeneration of my own,by losing four stones and 15 years while regaining a luxuriant head of hair, maybe those aforementioned females will consider me in my night attire to also be 'hot.' As opposed to a sad old git schlepping around in dressing gown and PJs."

More comments on the ratings success of "The Christmas Invasion" are atThe GuardianThe TelegraphDigital Spy, and the Daily Record. Meanwhile, BBC News has a feature on "Entertainment Year in Pictures 2005" with shots of Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor.

(Thanks to Paul Engelberg, Mustafa Hirji, Brian Newall)

Bookmark and Share Christmas Invasion Ratings

12/26/2005 03:26:00 pm - Reported by Shaun Lyon

BBC News today reports that while EastEnders was the most watched television programme in the UK on Christmas Day, Doctor Who was immediately behind it at #2. EastEnders managed an average viewership of 10.1 million viewers, peaking at 11 million, while Doctor Who's ratings averaged 9.4 million viewers, peaking at 9.8 million, and managing a 42.7% share according to the overnight ratings. ITV1's "Coronation Street" also averaged 9.4 million viewers but peaking slightly less than "Doctor Who", putting it into the #3 slot. Seven BBC1 items got into the top 10 viewing figures for the day, too, adding to the channel's success. Complete details are also available via The SunCBBC NewsThe Telegraph. The final ratings report from BARB will be out within a few weeks, where as usual, the expected final rating will likely be somewhat higher. (Thanks to Paul Engelberg)

Bookmark and Share TARDIS Report: Monday

12/26/2005 02:27:00 pm - Reported by Shaun Lyon

Today's Daily Star reports that there may be a cameo appearance this year by football star David Beckham! "The Real Madrid ace, 30, is a massive fan of the BBC1 show. Wife Victoria, 31, bought him a whole stack of Dr Who goodies for Christmas and admits Becks is 'completely obsessed.' Now we can reveal that the England captain is about to get a cameo role in the next series, thanks to writer Russell T. Davies. Russell, 42, told the Daily Star: 'I have heard Becks is a big fan of the show. Well, I'd love him to be in it. I am looking at ways we can write him into an episode.'" A separate report in the Daily Star says that "BBC bosses are lining him up for a guest appearance".

Today's The Independent notes that "On Christmas Day, the new series of Doctor Who started, with David Tennant falling unconscious from the Tardis as the latest avatar. Not exactly the right season for a resurrection (but I don't suppose that devout Whooligans are going to be fussy about that), and the good news is that Tennant makes a winningly puckish Timelord. Russell T Davies, the architect of Who's renaissance and the writer of this Christmas special, had a lovely time with his festive gags. The aliens who decided to invade Earth first appeared as a group of murderous Santas armed with high- calibre brass-band instruments and later tried to kill the Doctor and his assistant with a remote-controlled Christmas tree. But he'd also managed to smuggle a bit of a political motto into the cracker. 'He's not my boss and he's certainly not turning this into a war,' said the female PM, when asked whether she'd consulted the American president about how to deal with the aliens. ... I think even the Queen may have enjoyed the joke about the Royal Family, up on the roof of Balmoral and prepared to jump to their death after the mass hypnotism of the human race ... "

Canada's Toronto Star previews "The Christmas Invasion" tonight (we've been told that the BBC embargoed coverage in Canada until after the UK's transmission). "It's an almost Dickensian, picture-postcard British Christmas -- snow falling fluffily to the ground, cheery carollers wending their way through cobblestone streets, brightly wrapped presents under the tree, department-store Father Christmases ringing bells -- at least until the tree turns into a whirling green buzz-saw of death, and the Father Christmases are revealed as zombie robots armed with flamethrowers, harbingers of an evil alien race bent on seizing the planet for their own nefarious purposes. This looks like a job for ... Doctor Who. ... Imagine what it must be like for Billie Piper, the doctor's (both of them) travelling companion in the current series, now filming its second season. Particularly since, unlike the fans, until she showed up on set last year, Piper had never even seen an episode of Doctor Who. 'We were never really a TV family,' allows the pop star turned actress by cellphone from Cardiff, Wales, after a long day of battling intergalactic evil. 'We were always very big on films. But TV, I don't know, it wasn't a big thing in the house. So I kinda missed out on it. I remember people talking about it a lot in school, and at times I did feel I was missing out on something special. But before I did Doctor Who, I wasn't a huge sci-fi fan.... What's so great about Doctor Who is that it celebrates life and humanity -- I really missed that before. And now it's something that I'm such a huge fan of, and advocate Doctor Who in such a strong way. It's topical, it's about life and existence and how greedy and how hateful we are at times, and how we forget how wonderful things can be and how special and extraordinary life really is. ... Lots of people are asking, Are you scared about the new doctor coming on, and how he's going to be received? And I've never for one moment thought, you know, people are not going to like him. I think people will love him! He really, really plays with it — it's very kind of light and free, a very energetic performance ... it's just great. I mean, I loved working with Chris, and I think that he is an incredible actor. David matches Chris, and then goes off and does his own thing, and in that way is truly unique.' ... While American fans wait for their first glimpse at the reborn series -- a first-season DVD set is apparently imminent -- Canadians can look forward to a second season chock full of Who-vian delights, including the return of the Doctor's robot dog, K-9, and a guest appearance by a former companion, Elizabeth Sladen, who rode the TARDIS as Sarah Jane Smith from 1974 to 1977, alongside Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker. It was a rare chance for current companion Billie Piper to make a connection to the show's storied past. 'She was so lovely,' Piper says. 'Just absolutely incredible. It was very different for her, in the old studio, with, like, 12 cameras.... I think it came as a bit of a shock when she started (with us). But soon she was completely back on track, and loving every moment. I actually think she prefers it.' Piper hopes to one day be able to return the favour, and finally get around to some of Sladen's old Doctor Who adventures. 'I still haven't yet,' she sighs. 'It's just an issue of time, really. The thing about making Doctor Who is that it becomes your life, and anything outside of that ... I mean, really, the last thing you want to do at the end of the day is go home and plow into some Tom Baker episodes. But I fully intend to. I'll get a few box sets after Christmas and maybe have a look at them then.'"

The The Northern Echo says that "Unspeakable things were seen on television over Christmas. 'The face of an alien life form was transmitted live tonight on BBC1,' we learnt in Doctor Who. I didn't think this was anything new. After all, Patrick Moore and Vanessa Feltz have been seen on telly screens for years. But they're not Sycorax, who are unique in the intergalactic monster world because the face underneath is even more horrible than the mask they wear to cover it. David Tennant's new doctor was worried about his looks too after taking part in the Regeneration Game. 'Am I ginger?,' he asked companion Rose with a look of horror. Russell T Davies's The Christmas Invasion was quite rightly given centre stage in the schedules by the BBC. This contained all the elements that made the revival of the sci-fi series so successful last year. Tennant has a hard act to follow as Christopher Eccleston made the role his own even though he only hung around for one series. The signs are that the new Doctor will be just as good."

The Daily Mailsays that "former Dr Who star Christopher Eccleston has assiduously developed a reputation as an actor of repute. But when the dour-faced thespian took part in a celebrity Red Cross event in Indonesia for victims of last year's Boxing Day tsunami, he found his fame had not travelled the distance. Eccleston -- who quit Dr Who after just one series -- took to the stage to sing to children in the remote Aceh province. However, none of his audience had a clue who he was. 'It got slightly embarrassing because more of the audience were asking a BBC cameraman for his autograph than Christopher,' says a Red Cross worker. 'They hadn't a clue who he was.' Their confusion turned to laughter as the earnest actor stood up to sing the Frank Sinatra number Nancy With The Laughing Eyes -- and banged his head on the ceiling. The youngsters chortled even more when his head became entangled in bunting. To add insult to injury, when Eccleston decided to make a call from the local airport to say he was on his way home, he discovered his mobile phone had been stolen."

The The Globe and Mail of Canada says of Doctor Who this past year that it "returned amid much hype, but for once the hype was a true reflection of the show's importance. The BBC's decision to revive the hoary old sci-fi series was inspired, especially the decision to use Russell T. Davies (creator of the original Queer As Folk) as the main writer. He gave it a glorious camp quality, and Christopher Eccleston was perfect as the weird doctor. Then, in a twist that could only happen on a BBC show, Eccleston abandoned the role and walked away." Also, Doctor Who made their list of "Ten Shows That Mattered Most in 2005".

Other brief items: Waveguide repeats the story on Tennant watching the program on Sunday night; TV Squadconcludes its "Christmas Invasion" countdown with a review; Lovetripper mentions John Barrowman's civil ceremony; and the Irish Independent has another report on Christmas Day viewing figures.

(Thanks to Paul Engelberg, Peter Weaver, Graeme Burk)

Bookmark and Share TARDIS Report: Reviews Come In

12/25/2005 04:28:00 pm - Reported by Shaun Lyon

Post-transmission reviews from the press have started coming in. The Sunsays that "it's hard to believe it is less than a year since the Beeb brought back this cult classic. But the Timelord's battle against the ugly Sycorax really was the jewel in the BBC's crown yesterday. From the moment the Tardis hurtled out of the sky and crash landed in a council estate, you knew you were in for something special. New doc, David Tennant has not just stepped into Christopher Eccleston's impressive shoes, he jumped into them at full pelt -- not an easy feat. The only thing slightly dodgy was his accent — a mixture of Dick Van Dyke and Tiny Tim. But I can just about forgive him that as his comic timing was one of the best things about the Christmas special. ... David brings back the humour and is not as menacing as Eccleston, while Billie Piper was a real jingle-belle as she tried to stand up to the aliens. But the Christmas special is a tribute to writer Russell T Davies, who masterminded the Dr Who revival and whose words crackle and spit hotter than a roast turkey dinner. If this is anything to go by, roll on the next series..."

The Times also has choice words: "Casanova, in pyjamas, fighting the Sycorax with a broadsword? What greater gift could womankind receive on Christmas Day? Of course, gay men always give the most exquisite and generous of gifts, so it was little wonder that Russell T. Davies, the head writer and fairy godfather of Doctor Who (BBC One), made the 'Christmas Day special' not just a treat for those ovulating on the 25th -- which, to be frank, would have been every female viewer at the point where David Tennant burst out of the Tardis for the first time -- but a thrill for everyone. Personally, I don't know anyone who harboured a single doubt over Tennant making a totally splendid and, more importantly, very hot Doctor. And this complacency has proved to be wholly correct. He's twinkly, he's foppish, he's clever, he's taller than you'd expect, and he's clearly going to roam across the galaxy, making anything with receptive genitalia stare into their drinks, sighing: 'Gvenx attr! dopo'. This Doctor revival works so well because everyone involved is a fan, and therefore knows what other fans want from their Doctor. In many ways, it's like multimillion-pound fanfic -- stories written by fans, where decades of frustration with the plot not going the way they want is vented -- and so Leia and Han end up shagging frenetically, through access-panels in their snow-suits, in an ice corridor on Hoth. This sense of finally getting your hands on your idols, and making things go the way that you have always dreamt of, is why every episode of the new Doctor Who series has a moment that makes the Doctor fan simultaneously shivery and tearful. Obviously you'd have to go a long way to beat the last episode of the last series, when the Doctor and Rose had to kiss out of both galactic and medical necessity ('You need a Doctor.' YES! YES! YES, I DO NEED A DOCTOR NOW!) -- but Christmas Day came pretty close. Having seen off the evil leader of the Sycorax while dressed in his pyjamas ('Oooh, very Arthur Dent'), the Doctor turned to the Sycoraxian hordes on their spaceship. 'Go across the Universe, and tell whoever you meet that the Earth is DEFENDED!' the Doctor said. Of course, what he meant was that the Earth 'is defended by ME, Sexy Who, over another 12 episodes this year, and with a shooting schedule confirmed up until 2007'. And that, frankly, is something I would like to go across the Universe telling everyone I meet."

Bookmark and Share Previews, Commentary Track, and More - Updated!

12/25/2005 03:28:00 pm - Reported by Shaun Lyon

Just in: previews of the forthcoming second series were shown at the tail end of "The Christmas Invasion" this evening on BBC1, including quick views of Sarah Jane Smith, the Cybermen, the cat people, Queen Victoria and other early season episodes. UPDATE: The official Doctor Who website has now posted the trailer shown at the end of the story!

The official site has also now posted a commentary track to go along with "The Christmas Invasion", an audio track featuring executive producers Russell T Davies and Julie Gardner and producer Phil Collinson, along with new pictures and video clips. You can check them out now at the official site.

We're also told that many users are currently having problems accessingAttack of the Graske, possibly due to an overwhelming amount of interest in the 'interactive' episode. Those of you with red buttons, keep trying!

Bookmark and Share Official Site Banner

12/25/2005 02:29:00 pm - Reported by Shaun Lyon

Outpost Gallifrey sends our kudos to our friends at the official Doctor Whowebsite for a terrific splash page during the transmission of today's episode, The Christmas Invasion (a smaller version of which is below!)

Bookmark and Share The Reign of Terror

12/24/2005 04:31:00 pm - Reported by Shaun Lyon

Tenth Planet have sent us the cover illustration for the final BBC Audio Doctor Who soundtrack release, The Reign of Terror, due out next year. "The Reign of Terror," the final story of the series' first season back in 1964, is missing two episodes and was released on VHS only two years ago; this soundtrack recording is narrated by series star Carole Ann Ford. Click on the thumbnail for a larger version.

Bookmark and Share TARDIS Report: Pre-Christmas Invasion Roundup

12/24/2005 04:31:00 pm - Reported by Shaun Lyon

The past three days have seen a ton of news clips and articles about "The Christmas Invasion" and Doctor Who in general. Outpost Gallifrey cuts through the hodgepodge with this late-week report from the past three days:

The Christmas Invasion

David Tennant appeared yesterday on the BBC Radio 1 "Colin and Edith Show" as well as last night's "Friday Night with Jonathan Ross". On both, Tennant discussed the cutting of the line about the Doctor's accent and noted how relieved he was that everything would finally be starting up (referring to the transmission of his episodes, at least the first one!) He also noted that the production team returns on January 3 for filming, with work being done through April and then a break before series three begins filming in July. On Ross' show, he found out about the new Tenth Doctor action figure and clips were shown (see the story above with screengrabs!)

Meanwhile, you can listen again to the Colin and Edith Show at theirwebsite; click on the "listen again" feature.

Camille Coduri and Noel Clarke also appeared on television, appearing on Friday morning's GMTV in a brief interview; at right is an image of the two appearing on GMTV (thanks to Mark Naisbitt for the image!)

The Sun wonders if "Doctor Who may pull in as many viewers for BBC1 tomorrow as the Only Fools And Horses festive shows. Bosses hope 15million will tune in. A source said: 'With Kat and Alfie's departure from EastEnders and Doctor Who, we hope to have viewers hooked to BBC1 - harking back to when Only Fools was watched by the entire nation.'"

'The Christmas Invasion' took over the BBC TV homepage on Friday. The episode was also a major part of BBC News's round-up of festive TV highlights in an article entitled "Christmas TV reflects on its past": "David Tennant's arrival as Doctor Who is key to the BBC's schedule. By far the greatest example, and the show that only soaps will exceed in the ratings, is Doctor Who, due to be screened on Christmas Day. Four decades ago to the day, Doctor Who was in its heyday with everyone in every family watching what turned out to be a rather daft Christmas special with William Hartnell as the Doctor. Now the show is back better than ever. The new Christmas special may have moments of daftness but it also has a new Doctor in David Tennant. If it is not the best show of the season, many people will still watch just to see him."

The official Doctor Who website has posted the "Fear Forecast" edition -- the reviews of the story by four children, as done during the transmission of Series One.

Last Thursday's The Times noted that "Skybet have cut EastEnders to 2-5 (from 1-2) to be the most-watched television programme on Christmas Day. Doctor Who, another runner for the BBC stable, is quoted at 2-1, with Coronation Street being friendless at 4-1, having initially been offered at 11-8. The Queen's Speech is a 100-1 chance."

Several sources including the Scotsman and UTV note that "New Dr Who David Tennant will watch his timelord debut after tucking into Christmas dinner with his parents, if he can escape his busy schedule. The actor, who has already revealed he would like to do a second series, hopes to fly to Scotland to spend the day with his parents at their home in Paisley. He will appear on screen alongside Billie Piper in the first episode of the latest BBC series at 7pm. His former church minister father said the whole family will be tuning in after their turkey, hopefully with the 10th timelord himself. The Very Reverend Sandy McDonald, 67, told the Scottish Press Association: 'We will certainly be watching it and all being well David will be with us. But he's got a very busy schedule and there's still a question mark over whether he'll make it. We are looking forward to seeing the show, all our kids have grown up watching Dr Who.' Mr McDonald, a former moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, said he and wife Helen will be joined by David's sister but his other son would be staying at his home south of the border."

There are several mentions of 'The Christmas Invasion' in The Guardian in the 'Guide' section today, and even a glowing write-up for the official website. As happened a couple of times during Series One, television previewer Charlie Brooker has praised the Christmas special as "the greatest Christmas episode of any programme ever". Says Brooker's column: "Tradition. That's what you associate with Christmas: tradition. And drink-driving. And despair and loneliness. And Argos. But mainly tradition. All of which is bloody fortunate, because this year's Christmas TV is more traditional than it's been for years - yet it's also somehow futuristic at the same time. Watching the box this year is going to feel like travelling simultaneously backwards and forwards in time. Thank God you'll be drunk through most of it - it'd be far too disorientating otherwise. ... Perhaps the best thing about Christmas TV is the fact that it signals a brief respite from the usual year-long arseburst of poxy bloody reality shows and poxy bloody makeover specials and poxy bloody sneering bloody awful bloody rubbish, all of which gets temporarily stifled in favour of old-fashioned traditional storytelling (OK, perhaps not always "old-fashioned": this year, ITV's key offering is Whatever Love Means (Wed, 9pm, ITV1), a dramatised retelling of the romance between Charles and Camilla - which at a push might be of interest to 10 or 12 people). ... Anyway, this new version's [of My Family and Other Animals] really rather good, in a cosy, watching-from-your-armchair kind of way, which is just what you want at Christmas. Yet it shrivels into insignificance alongside the most wildly anticipated show of the season - the Doctor Who Christmas Special, or The Christmas Invasions (tomorrow, 7pm, BBC1) to give it its proper title. "Wildly anticipated" because a) Doctor Who was the best show of 2005 by about 16 billion parsecs and b) it's our first proper chance to see David Tennant in action. Thank God, then, that this doesn't disappoint in the slightest. In fact, it's possibly the greatest Christmas episode of any programme ever. Having been set an insanely tough act to follow by Christopher Eccleston, and despite being bed-ridden and unconscious for half the episode's running time, the moment David Tennant finally springs into action, he immediately and effortlessly makes the character of the Doctor his own. If anything, he's even better than Eccleston was - which ought to be impossible. The episode - the storyline of which I won't give away - treads a fine line between "carefree romp" and "apocalyptic horror" without putting a foot wrong, contains several sequences which appear to have been designed specifically to spook out the kiddies, and also takes the opportunity to hammer home an unsubtle-but-why-the-bloody-hell-shouldn't-it-be message about the futility of war and the arrogance of power. In other words, it even manages to contain a traditional Christmas moral without being corny or rubbish. At this rate, I hope and fully expect to see Russell T Davies immortalised on our national currency within my lifetime. Anyway, there's your Yuletide telly line-up - hope it chokes you. Oh, and merry Christmas." The note about the official site: "Among the highlights is a film of Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper's finest moments set - rather dramatically - to Run by Snow Patrol, sounds you can download onto your PC or phone; Simon Pegg's excellent Doctor Who Confidential series and The Last Dalek - a game where you take the role of the dastardly droids and attempt to kill helpless humans. It's like pushing a trolley with a wonky wheel around the supermarket, except with the occasional bloodless death."

Newsquest Media this weekend notes that "Doctor Who has saved the world from Daleks, Cyberman and all manner of unpleasant creatures. But can he help the BBC to achieve its usual Christmas Day ratings high? The Beeb has placed the regenerated Time Lord - now played by David Tennant - at the centre of its schedules in a special Christmas-themed episode. Then surrounded him with a line-up of popular comedies, family films and the usual traumatic festive episode of EastEnders. Many of the other channels appear to be on autopilot - all six episodes of the third Little Britain series being shown back-to-back on BBC3; E4 has five episodes of Friends, being repeated for the umpteenth time and Sky One offers six visits to The Simpsons. ... Let's look to the future now. Even before he became the tenth Doctor Who, David Tennant was having a pretty good year with starring roles in three TV series - He Knew He Was Right, Blackpool and Casanova. But landing the role of the Time Lord in the newly-revived BBC1 series has, as industry newspaper Broadcast put it, 'propelled Tennant into the big time'. His own take on transforming himself into one of the most youthful doctors to date is simple enough: 'It's been a lifelong dream to get my own Tardis.' The people at Broadcast have such faith in the 34-year-old actor's future that they made him number one in their Hot 100 Talent list, in front of the likes of Jamie Oliver, Catherine Tate, Bill Oddie and Geordie duo Ant and Dec. To those of us who remember him making an impact a decade ago in the BBC2 drama Takin' Over The Asylum, his rise to fame is less surprising. But making the leap from legendary lover in Casanova to monster-fighting time traveller in Doctor Who is a big one, even if writer-producer Russell T Davies is the link between them both." The article takes comments from several sources that Tennant has recently made to the press about joining Doctor Who, his costume and his wanting to stay on in the role.

The ic Network of websites are carrying a story about the debut: "It's the long awaited debut of the new Dr Who, David Tennant, on Christmas Day. He's set to take on a killer Christmas tree, spooky Santas and evil aliens. But a bigger challenge for Tennant will be how he measures up to the outgoing doctor, the popular Christopher Eccleston. As he becomes the 10th Time Lord, David says: 'It's very easy to feel the weight of history pressing down. Getting over that and getting on with it is part of the trick of the whole gig, really. ... As an actor, you get to work on a blank canvas."

There's a brief mention of "Christmas Invasion" at GCN ("The Christmas Day highlight everyone should see is Doctor Who at 7pm on BBC 1. The pressure is on for David Tennent to be a standing successor to Christopher Eccleston and The Christmas Invasion should help to prove that while whetting the appetite for Season 2")

Yesterday's Daily Star featured some photographs as Russell T Davies described a sword fight between the Doctor and the leader of evil alien race the Sycorax as "the sci-fi show's most exciting fight scene ever. ... There's a real shocker for fans when the Doctor apparently suffers an horrific injury during the gripping battle - as writers pay tribute to the Star Wars films."

The South Wales Echo said that "Timelord fans are being invited to see behind the scenes of the Doctor Who series, including a glimpse inside his famous Tardis. At an exclusive preview yesterday, a small group of fans viewed the props and scenery at the exhibition. Adam Jenkins, nine, of Canton, Cardiff, who won a place at the event by entering a competition in the Echo, said: 'It's good. You recognise everything from the television and it is really cool.' Jessey Sanders, nine, of Llanrumney, Cardiff, who was with brother Zarren, 10, said: 'I liked the Daleks the best.' Zara May, 10, of Tremorfa, Cardiff, said: 'Rose is my favourite. She is very brave.'"

The Forester pointed out that "Clearwell Caves will feature in the Doctor Who Christmas Day special."

Broadcasting

From our friends at 'This Week in Doctor Who': "Add Israel to the countries where the new Doctor Who will be shown. The satellite channel "Yes Weekend" has reportedly bought the Christopher Eccleston episodes, which will air Fridays starting 20 January 2006. Exact time, number of episodes per week, and number of broadcasts of each episode are not yet known."

Exhibition Coverage

The new exhibition, Doctor Who Up Close, had its press launch on 21 December and opened to the public on 22 December at the Red Dragon Centre in Cardiff. It runs until 26 February, from 11am to 8pm each day, and admission is free. BBC News ("Doctor Who show opens in Cardiff") reported on the opening, noting that the show will include "elements of the Christmas special - including some of the new props and costumes after the show has aired on Christmas Day". The South Wales Echo ("Doctor Who fans in for a treat") concentrated on the small number of fans invited to the launch, particularly children ("I liked the Daleks best"). The opening is also reported in the Western Mail("Exhibition looks behind the scenes of Dr Who"). Rodney Berman, leader of Cardiff Council, told BBC News, "It is particularly fitting that this experience is being launched as Cardiff marks its golden jubilee as the capital of Wales. This is yet another reason for the city to celebrate by providing a first class destination for everyone to visit. As a big fan of Doctor Who myself, particularly the new version made right here in Cardiff, I'm looking forward to the opportunity to visit the new exhibition. It will be an exciting insight into the behind the scenes goings on of the series over the years."

On Wales

The Western Mail today noted that "The stunning success of Doctor Who means the series has become part of the tourist campaign for Wales. As well as being one of BBC Wales' biggest success stories and helping rejuvenate Saturday night television, Doctor Who has done far more than introduce a whole new generation of fans to the Time Lord. With many of the scenes filmed on location in Wales, the programme is giving the country a wealth of positive publicity. The first series, penned by Welsh writer Russell T Davies, was screened earlier this year. It attracted around 10m viewers an episode, which means a huge audience was introduced to Wales through the show. Tomorrow's Christmas special, in which David Tennant makes his debut as the new Doctor, is expected to be one of the biggest Christmas Day TV ratings-pullers. Among several Welsh locations viewers will see is Cardiff city centre. Billie Piper, who plays the Doctor's assistant Rose Tyler, is filmed running through the streets. And in the new series, to be broadcast next year, among the locations which will be beamed onto TV screens throughout the country are Newport's Tredegar House, Gower, and Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay. Bosses at Wales Tourist Board are delighted with the exposure the award-winning programme gives the country. They believe it can help attract additional visitors to the area as well as give those living in Wales a boost when they see familiar locations beamed onto their TV screens. And, perhaps even more importantly, filming in Wales gives the economy a boost. 'Having a highly popular TV series like Doctor Who shot on locations in Cardiff and other parts of South Wales helps viewers in Wales feel that they live in a modern and attractive part of the UK,' said a spokesman for the Wales Tourist Board. 'In addition, given that nine out of 10 visitors to Wales come from elsewhere in the UK, scenes of Cardiff and the surrounding area shown on Doctor Who could attract visitors and help Wales maintain its share of the tourism market. As far as the economy is concerned, when films and TV programmes are shot on location, the cast and crews spend money on local hotels and restaurants, giving the local economy a boost.'"

The Western Mail also notes that Wales' Talygarn Manor "is one of the Welsh venues where filming for Doctor Who has taken place. The former rehabilitation centre in the Vale of Glamorgan dates back to the 14th century and is a Grade II listed mansion. Its impressive hallways and library were used in the programme. And although David Tennant and Billie Piper were not a part of the shoot, Roger Lloyd-Pack, the actor famous for playing Trigger in the BBC's Only Fools And Horses, was involved. The building is currently being converted into a range of luxury homes, although some new residents have already moved in. Laura Marles, sales manager at Talygarn Manor, said the cast and crew spent a day at the venue. 'It was absolutely fantastic having them here,' she said. 'It gave us a little bit of an insight into how they make the show. Everyone I have spoken to thinks it's wonderful Doctor Who has been filming on location in Wales - I think it definitely raises our profile.'"

Year In Review

The MediaGuardian website has posted a review of the year in television, the radio and press. In the television review, written by their broadcasting editor Jason Deans, "Doctor Who" is listed as one of 2005's TV Treats. Deans writes: "Doctor Who - BBC1: Already much feted, and rightly so, for singlehandedly reviving the venerable tradition of early Saturday evening family drama. And getting a dalek up a flight of stairs." On the other hand, down in the "TV Turkeys of 2005" section of the same article, "Celebrity Wrestling" comes in for yet more flack: "Celebrity Wrestling - ITV1: ITV was hoping it would become the big daddy of Saturday nights. But viewers grappled with the concept of watching the likes of James Hewitt and Annabel Croft being pinned to the floor. It was moved out of prime time and came to represent the nadir of ITV's cruel, cruel summer."

Merchandise

Friday's Western Mail noted that "Christmas sales of Doctor Who merchandise have been 'in a different league' to rival TV and film spin-offs this year, toy retailers said yesterday. The popularity of the toys and figures from the hit BBC series, which is filmed in Wales, has comfortably outstripped that of merchandise from blockbuster films like Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith and Batman Begins. Chris Davies, at The Entertainer toy chain's Cardiff shop, said radio control Daleks had easily been its most popular items in the run-up to Christmas. ... Ben Keywood, of mail order firm Galaxy 4, which specialises in merchandise from the cult series, said manufacturers had been taken by surprise by the popularity of the spin-off products. 'It's been very difficult to meet the demand,' he said. 'The problem has been that nobody really anticipated that it would be quite so popular, and so the companies who were licensed to produce it didn't make enough. 'It's only been in the last couple of days that we've had enough radio-controlled Daleks on our hands to fulfil all the pre-orders we've had, and so it wasn't until then that we could post them out for Christmas.' Mr Keywood said the visual appeal of the Dalek made it irresistible to fans of the show. 'Obviously it's to do with the fact that the Dalek is so iconic and if you see one in the shops, you will just buy it because it looks so good and it's quite quirky. 'I think you can't resist buying it when you see one, so when they have appeared, people have just snapped them off the shelves.'"

Milestones

The Scotsman and other sources have printed an article about the history of Doctor Who being continued to this day. "On Christmas Day, 1965, the Doctor took time out from an epic battle with the Daleks to partake in an odd 25-minute run-around which saw him in a silent film-style encounter with the likes of Charlie Chaplin and the Keystone Kops. As if that wasn't bizarre enough, at the end of the episode the Timelord - then in his first incarnation, played by William Hartnell - caused many a viewer to choke on their turkey by suddenly turning straight to camera and addressing the TV audience across the land. 'Incidentally,' he chuckled, 'a happy Christmas to all of you at home!'. Four decades on, and for only the second time in the programme's long history, the Tardis is once again materialising onto our TV screens on Christmas Day. But this time around it's all very different. Rather than an Edwardian gentleman with dodgy dentistry at the helm, the new Doctor, David Tennant, is all Carnaby Street swagger and perfect teeth. For fans everywhere, it'll provide them the first chance to properly size up the new man in the Tardis, having only enjoyed a brief sample of David's take on the role in a Children In Need special last month. Despite being a life-long fan of the programme, he is determined to make the character - now in its 10th incarnation - his own. 'I haven't drawn on any of the earlier Doctors' portrayal, not particularly consciously. I am aware there's always the danger of playing it too quirkily.' He's obviously still smitten with the role. 'It is like no other job in the world, you are sword-fighting one day, swinging off ledges on another. It never fails to surprise and delight. We literally have about one 'wow!' moment a week,' he smiles. 'Standing in the arena of the Sycorax spaceship was quite an early one.' Eclipsing even that thrill is one we won't get to see on our screens until next year, when the Doctor comes face-to-face with former companion Sarah Jane Smith, who accompanied both Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker on their time travels in the 1970s. Still played by Elisabeth Sladen, David admits it was a great thrill to work with one of his childhood heroes. 'She was calling me Doctor, which seemed really weird,' he laughs. Get used to it, Mr Tennant, because after Christmas, so will the rest of the world. As the Doctor says, at the climax of The Christmas Invasion, still clad in a fetching pair of pin-stripe nightwear following a post-regenerative period of bed rest, 'Not bad for a bloke in jim-jams'."

People

The Sun says today that "Billie Piper is NOT about to leave the Timelord’s side -- says the new Doctor Who. Billie, 23, who is currently filming her second series as sidekick Rose Tyler, was said to be considering quitting. But new Doctor David Tennant said: 'Billie is hanging around. Despite what you may have read.' But Billie has nabbed another job. She will be the first guest host on the new series of Channel 4 show The Friday Night Project. It returns on January 6."

The Sun notes that "gay Doctor Who star John Barrowman is to do an Elton John -and wed his boyfriend. John -bisexual Captain Jack in the BBC1 show -wants to formalise his relationship with architect Scott Gill after ten years. But unlike Sir Elton and David Furnish, they won't be having a lavish showbiz bash. The 37-year-old actor said: 'We're just going to sign the civil register. We're not going to have any ceremony because I'm not a supporter of the word marriage for a gay partnership.' The pair live in London's Chelsea and signing the register gives them the same rights as other married couples. They are even talking about having a baby together. John -currently rehearsing for ITV1 show Dancing On Ice -said: "The daughter of a very, very old friend offered to carry a child for us. I've known her since she was five or six. She has kids of her own but said that if we wanted a child she'd be happy to do it.'" Also reported at Contact Music,Sun SentinelPink NewsGood As You.

The Times says that "If David Tennant has a motif, it is his lightness of touch, even when playing dark roles. As he recognises, his appeal lies in words and wit, and certainly not in conventional leading-man looks. Though if he lacks bulk he certainly ripples with energy, and that will never be more apt than when he becomes the tenth Doctor Who on Christmas Day. Two predecessors, Tom Baker and Peter Davison, have sent him good-luck cards, which he will appreciate because it was Doctor Who, which he watched from the age of 3, that made him want to act. The third child of a former Moderator of the Church of Scotland, he grew up in a manse in Bathgate, though his family was by no means morally censorious, as the tabloids like to imply, and he is no small-nation Scot. Academic work didn’t interest him much; he was talent-spotted by Scottish TV at a Saturday youth-theatre group and at 17 he became the youngest student at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. By this time, at the request of Equity, he had changed his name from McDonald to Tennant — chosen because he had just seen a reference to the Pet Shop Boys’ Neil Tennant and thought his name would do. His first job was touring in a minibus with the socialist theatre group 7:84 and, encouraged by his friend Arabella Weir, he headed south in 1993, lodged with her for five years, and rapidly registered on the English arts radar. He may have been acclaimed for his detective in last year’s TV series Blackpool, and for his deliciously cheeky Casanova this year, but he still regards his greatest triumph as playing the leads in three rotating RSC productions in 2001. Interviewers have so far done little to penetrate his boyish exterior, partly because underneath it is a serious soul, and partly because however much celebrity culture would like to grasp the new Doctor Who to its lovely bosom, the new Doctor Who recognises its vacuous and destructive game for what it is and has no intention of engaging. At 34 he has the distinction of being a character actor who has no time to rest, and who artfully presents an air of slight bewilderment at the consistency of parts that he bags and his growing reputation. He may keep a photograph of himself and “the glorious” Peter O’Toole (who played the older Casanova) on his fridge, but in truth he is no ingenue. Rather he is a damned good actor, whose fine work comes from the right blend of talent and unswerving determination. Enjoy."

The Salford Advertiser noted that "Christopher Eccleston forged an emotional link with the tsunami victims of Indonesia because they reminded him of the people of his home town of Salford. The former Dr Who star has just returned from a Red Cross fact-finding tour of Banda Aceh, one of the worst-hit areas of the 2004 Boxing Day disaster. He said: 'I didn't know these people before I visited the area, but found they remind me of the people of Salford, people of my parents' generation. They were polite, welcoming, but streetwise people and meeting them has been a life-changing experience. It certainly makes me look at my own life with a bit more optimism.' The 41-year-old has been reliving his trip this week in a bid to keep up the momentum of public support. Like many, he said he made a contribution to the relief fund and then forgot about it. But visiting one of the countries where the money is being put to use had made him understand a lot more, he claimed. 'When you go out there you realise that the disaster was of truly Biblical proportions and you cannot help but be impressed by the courage and optimism of people in the face of unimaginable grief. It certainly puts the trivial little things in my own life into perspective. I was really impressed by the way in which those who have suffered are saying how and where the money is being spent – it is not being imposed upon them. The Red Cross workers out there are local and they can liaise with the villagers about what they need, whether it's help in starting up in business again or the type of house they want. The money is being well spent but a lot more needs to be done. Some of my friends have asked 'Why go back a year on, what's the significance?'. All I can say is twelve months is no time at all, families are still living in shelters or crowded into one room but getting on with their lives without self-pity and with bravery, courage and defiance.' Christopher also travelled to Pulo Aceh, a group of islands just off Banda Aceh, to witness the start of reconstruction of hundreds of homes that were lost."

Friday's Daily Star noted that "Saucy Billie Piper loves the snogging scenes in her telly shows - so she can play tonsil tennis for real with her hunky co-stars. 'I like it when it's genuine - tongues and all,' she admits. The 22-year-old actress refuses to 'fake it' if she has to lock lips on shows such as Doctor Who. So naughty Billie slips her tongue in and urges other actors to do the same with her to make it look like a proper smacker. 'The secret is to make it real, ' says Billie, who also starred in Canterbury Tales and Much Ado About Nothing. 'I hate all that half-kissing business - you know, when the top lip's above the other lip and it all fits very neatly. That kind of bores me.'"

The Evening Times notes that Tennant will be staying in the role, as doesDigital Spy, while TV Squad continues its "countdown">.

Christopher Eccleston's participation in the play "School of Night" is mentioned in Playbill.

Miscellaneous

Friday's Lichfield Mercury noted that "A Chorley schoolboy became the envy of his pals when he got a sneak preview of one of this year's sure-fire Christmas TV hits. Calum Klek, aged 12, won a competition with the BBC's Newsround which not only got him into the press preview screening for the December 25 edition of Doctor Who, but the chance to interview the stars as well. They included the 10th Doctor, David Tennant and Noel Clarke, who plays Mickey. Calum's exclusive report appeared on Newsround last week. 'I asked David loads of questions, like which monsters in Doctor Who he thinks are the scariest and what point in time he would go to in his Tardis, which stumped him a bit,' said Calum, a pupil at Friary School in Lichfield. 'Meeting the new Doctor was the best bit as he was really nice to talk to. Noel Clarke and Camille Coduri - Jackie Tyler - also gave me interviews and they were great, telling me their favourite monsters in the series. Everyone seemed really nice and they were all excited about the new series, and from the clips I saw I can see why!'"

Today's The Times talks about fan fiction websites, including mentioning Doctor Who several times. "Fanfic is a phenomenon of mind-boggling magnitude. On the fanfic.net website alone there are more than 200,000 Harry Potter stories and nearly 40,000 Lord of the Rings stories. Fiction Alley ( www.fictionalley.org ) has more than 70,000 registered users and more than a million posts. The fact that fanfic derives from existing works raises questions of copyright. Some authors, such as Anne Rice, author of the Vampire series, have said that they do not want their creations to be the subject of amateur fiction. Such wishes tend to be respected by most websites. Rice has taken legal action against those who persist. ... Again, Doctor Who has been particularly successful. A string of novels was published by Virgin under the BBC Books imprint between 1991 and 1997. Doctor Who has also inspired spin-off science books, including Michael White's A Teaspoon and an Open Mind: The Science of Dr Who (the same name as the fanfic website) that asks such questions as: How do you build a Tardis? Can a robot dog catch a cold? The only problem is that the Doctor is rather incidental. It is a book about science in which Doctor Who is invoked solely to boost sales."

(Thanks to Steve Tribe, Paul Engelberg, Paul Hayes, John Bowman, Faiz Rehman, Peter Weaver, John McAteer, Peter Anghelides, Mike Ramsay, Mark Naisbitt, Harald Gehlen)

Bookmark and Share TARDIS Report: Wednesday

12/21/2005 02:50:00 am - Reported by Shaun Lyon


December 21, 2005 • Posted By Shaun Lyon
David Tennant made his appearance on BBC One's Breakfast at a little after 9am today (Wednesday 21 December), without Russell T Davies but with a couple of clips from 'The Christmas Invasion'. He talked again about the challenges of taking on the role ("daunting, exciting... a bit surreal"), watching Tom Baker as a child, and marvelling at Christopher Eccleston's performance this year. When asked, Tennant confirmed that he'll be back for another series and that Billie Piper "is hanging around. Despite what you may have read in the tabloids, Billie's hanging around." One of the preview clips was another outing for the TARDIS's arrival at the start of the Christmas special; the second involved the Doctor, Rose and Mickey on a balcony on the Powell estate, with the sonic screwdriver scaring off some menacing Santas - the Santas teleport away, and Mickey reckons they're "a bit rubbish" if they're scared of the screwdriver, the Doctor collapses again. BBC Breakfast's web pages carry a report on the interview and a link to watch the interview in full on the BBC Media Player. It's also still possible to see Christopher Eccleston's recent reports from Banda Aceh.

There is also a new interview with David Tennant online at BBC News: in "New Doctor prepares for invasion", the actor mentions that he's had good luck cards from Tom Baker and Peter Davison, but has not discussed the role with Christopher Eccleston. Tennant also talks about the possible pitfalls in playing the Doctor - "You can drop yourself in it by saying 'My Doctor must always hop on a Tuesday' so you end up with this rather ugly mannerism for no good reason."

RTE also reports this morning on the forthcoming Tennant interview on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, while Digital Spy has a piece on the improbable story that the lead singer of the Kaiser Chiefs was offered the part of the Tenth Doctor but turned it down.

The Telegraph today has a story noting that "XBoxes and Daleks all in short supply." "Shoppers are struggling to get hold of many of this year's "must have" electronic presents because of supply problems. mazon, the online store, has said it will take four to six weeks to send out a Sony PlayStation Portable games machine, while the new XBox 360 games console will not be available until 'early 2006'. The remote-control 12in-tall gold Daleks from Doctor Who are also in short supply in the shops, as are black iPod Nano music players. The shortages have fuelled some frenzied bidding on the auction website eBay." BBC News on Tuesday evening also had a feature on Christmas shopping with news that the Daleks 'had all run out in Milton Keynes!' as part of the feature.

Other items: the website of the London Theatre Guide discusses Christopher Eccleston's forthcoming appearance in Peter Whelan's "The School of Night" which we reported a few days ago. So does What's On Stage. Today'sScotsman discusses the National Theatre of Scotland and has a brief mention of how the year was kicked back by David Tennant's appearance in John Osborne's Look Back In Anger. Contact Music talks about today's BBC Breakfast appearance. Sky Showbiz yesterday noted that "Glamour model Jordan is keen to land a cameo in series three of Doctor Who. 'I think that would be an ideal starting ground for me, acting-wise,' she said. 'I could play a non-speaking baddie who kills people with my ample charms.' Bearing in mind exactly what Jordan's 'ample charms' are, it wouldn't really be for kiddy TV, would it?"

(Thanks to Steve Tribe, Paul Engelberg, Chuck Foster, John Bowman, Steve Freestone and Peter Weaver)

Bookmark and Share I Am A Dalek Cover, Synopsis

12/21/2005 02:50:00 am - Reported by Shaun Lyon


December 21, 2005 • Posted By Shaun Lyon
Amazon UK has posted the cover illustration for I Am A Dalek by Gareth Roberts, the "Quick Reads" novelette being published by BBC Books on May 11, 2006. Click on the thumbnail for a larger version. Meanwhile, the cover blurb is below. (Thanks to Steve Tribe)
Equipped with space suits, golf clubs and a flag, the Doctor and Rose are planning to live it up, Apollo mission-style, on the Moon. But the TARDIS has other plans, landing them instead in a village on the south coast of England; a picture-postcard sort of place where nothing much happens. Until now... An archaeological dig has turned up a Roman mosaic, circa AD 70, depicting mythical scenes, grapes - and a Dalek. A few days later a young woman, rushing for work, is knocked over and killed by a bus, then comes back to life. It's not long before all hell breaks loose, and the Doctor and Rose must use all their courage and cunning against an alien enemy - and a not-quite-alien accomplice - who are intent on destroying humanity. Featuring the Doctor and Rose as played by David Tennant and Billie Piper in the hit series from BBC Television.

Bookmark and Share Invasion, Tenth Planet Audio Press Release

12/20/2005 02:52:00 am - Reported by Shaun Lyon


December 20, 2005 • Posted By Shaun Lyon
The BBC Press Office today posted a press release officially announcing the audio releases of the classic Doctor Who stories "The Invasion" and "The Tenth Planet", which we previously reported as being in release in January 2006. The press release also mentions the February release of "The Reign of Terror," what it says is "the last of the lost television soundtracks restored for release on BBC Audiobooks." The press release is below. (Thanks to Steve Tribe)
Patrick Troughton and William Hartnell star in these soundtrack adventures from BBC Audiobooks

Doctor Who: The Invasion: Patrick Troughton's Doctor encounters the Cybermen in London in this classic soundtrack adventure, narrated by Frazer Hines.

Arriving on Earth in 1975, the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe discover that the component manufacturers International Electromagnetics has a vice-like grip on the world's technology. When he encounters the firm's company director, the Doctor realises that there is something very odd about Tobias Vaughan...

Vaughan is in fact in alliance with the Cybermen, and together they are masterminding an aggressive invasion of Earth. If the Doctor and his friends are to defeat them, they must risk life and limb in an adventure of epic proportions.

In an exclusive bonus interview, Frazer Hines - who also narrates the soundtrack adventure - recalls his experiences of playing Jamie in Doctor Who.

Doctor Who: The Tenth Planet: The Cybermen make their first ever appearance whilst William Hartnell's Doctor nears the end of his first incarnation, in this classic soundtrack adventure with linking narration by Anneke Wills.

The year is 1986, and at the South Pole the crew of the Snowcap Base have detected a new planet on their radar. The arrival of the Doctor, Ben and Polly at the Base coincides with another landing - that of a spaceship whose humaoid passengers have used cybernetics to replace their limbs and vital organs.

Battling alongside the humans to save their planet, the Doctor appears to weaken and age before the eyes of his companions. An ultimate collapse appears to signal his death - but then..

In an exclusive bonus interview, Anneke Wills - who also narrates the story's soundtrack - recalls her memories of making The Tenth Planet.

Bookmark and Share TARDIS Report: Tuesday

12/20/2005 02:52:00 am - Reported by Shaun Lyon


December 20, 2005 • Posted By Shaun Lyon
Among the updates to the official Doctor Who website in recent days, two new games have been added: "Slitheen Surfer", in which the player helps guide Margaret Slitheen and her extrapolator through the debris of an exploded Earth; and "SuDocWho", a variation on current puzzle fad Sudoku, using pictures of the first nine Doctors instead of (or as well as) numbers to complete the grids.

Prospect magazine today calls the return of the Daleks this year as one of the "ten highlights from 2005." "It was a great year for comebacks: Hugh Laurie in House, the two Ronnies (all too briefly), Bob Dylan... Nothing, though, could match the Daleks. This is partly about nostalgia. But even new viewers respond to the strange mix of pure evil ('Exterminate!') and absurdity (creatures with silly voices who want to take over the universe but have only just learned to climb stairs and always lose). They are a sci-fi version of Hitler, which perhaps explains their popularity in the 1960s when British culture was still trying to make sense of Nazism while keeping it at a distance."

The Scottish Daily Record today listed David Tennant as #1 on its list of "100 Hottest Scots" in the men category. "The 34-year-old from Paisley is the hottest man on TV at the moment after bagging the coveted role of Doctor Who Despite appearing in pyjamas in the Christmas special of the sci-fi show, he is sure to set hearts racing with his quirky good looks and brilliant acting. He's sizzling because... more than 10 million viewers will tune in on Christmas Day to witness his debut in the Tardis. He also turned in a superb performance as a sinister stalker in ITV drama Secret Smile and did a credible singing turn in BBC1 musical drama Blackpool. Memorable moment of 2005 was when he cut a swathe through the women of Europe as Casanova in the BBC3 series of the samename - despite being the son of a Churchof Scotland minister."

The Times today says of the Radio 2 documentary, Doctor Who: Regeneration, "Was it the special effects that made the new Who so memorable, or the scripts by Russell T. Davies, or the acting of Billie Piper and, in particular, Christopher Eccleston? And now that Eccleston (above, with Piper) has gone, desperate not to be typecast, can David Tennant hope to match him? Gatiss gets the facts - well, at least some informed conjecture."

Also, a writer in today's Financial Times says that "A TV-deprived childhood has left me impervious to Doctor Who. After hearing Doctor Who: Regeneration, I feel tempted to brand the whole phenomenon as self- important claptrap. This 'celebration', BBC navel-gazing at its most complacent, rolls out Who types starting with writer Russell T. Davies, apparently challenged both adenoidally and glottally - the latter a common complaint among mediafolk such as exec prod Julie who says you know you go' a hi' when you see the viewing figures. This level of insight is continued by the BBC1 controller who notes that the Doctor has brought younger viewers to the BBC in tones that suggest he expected OAPs. Jane (head of drama, BBCTV) talks portentously of Christopher Eccleston 'kicking open the door, and the new Doctor, David Tennant, taking us somewhere we hadn't quite expected'. This is kids' TV, for heaven's sake, not a breakthrough in biological ethics."

Monday's The Sentinel has a feature article about India Fisher of Big Finish. "Gallivanting around the universe in a time machine, tackling the Daleks and imitating pop-brat Kelly Osbourne. These are some of the ways in which the daughter of a Stoke-on-Trent MP has carved out a career for herself. For while ex-Arts Minister Mark Fisher is busy representing Stoke Central as a Labour MP, his daughter, India, has got involved in something far less down-to-earth. The 31-year-old has become an international superstar in the cult programme Dr Who - the audio version. Playing the role of Charlotte Pollard, Dr Who's assistant, India has for the last six years starred in the tape and CD version of the smash-hit drama, which has just kicked off a new series on the small-screen. Much to her amazement, India has achieved superstar status among the worldwide followers of the cult series. The tapes and CDs have winged their way to obsessed fans all over the world, and she has been invited to countless international conventions. And she has also gained fame as a star of TV - acting as Welsh singing sensation Charlotte Church and Kelly Osbourne in the Dead Ringers show which stars John Culshaw. .. 'My brother Rhydian is a businessman so he's the sensible one and I guess we should have followed his lead. But we've always been quite the arty family and I've always had a passion for acting. If I hadn't given it a go, I'd never have forgiven myself - although I might have been much better off financially.' A year and a half ago, Nev Fountain, the writer of Dead Ringers, spotted India at a Dr Who convention in Los Angeles and asked her to play a part in their series. She was an immediate hit. Since then, she has done impressions of Kelly Osbourne, Charlotte Church and even Sonia and Sharon from EastEnders. India said: 'It's tough - they often give you a character they want you to do on the Friday and you have to get it ready in just 48 hours. Sometimes I wonder how on earth I'm going to do it - but it's not an opportunity I can possibly turn down. They needed someone to do the younger characters. I look a little like Kelly Osborne I guess - I've got my dad to thank for that - so I guess I was perfect for the part.' ... But if there's one thing India was, as a Stoke-on-Trent schoolgirl ever-so-slightly irritated by, it was her name. 'My brother's called Crispin, another one is called Rhydian and I'm India so it's an interesting collection of names. Whenever my name came up in the school register, the teacher always used to pause before saying it - she expected the pronunciation to be unique somehow. And the kids in the playground used to jokingly things like: 'So what's your middle name, Pakistan?' I used to wish I was just called something nice and simple like Jane. But I love it now."

An article at Ekklesia comments on the anti-war message apparently to be seen in "The Christmas Invasion". "Journalists who have previewed the episode say that a later scene also recalls ex-PM Margaret Thatcher's decision to sink the Argentine warship the General Belgrano during the Falklands/Malvinas war in 1982. Responding to pre-broadcast comments, award-winning scriptwriter Russell T Davies declared: 'It's Christmas Day, a day of peace. There is absolutely an anti-war message - because that's what I think.' Meanwhile, looking up somewhat wearily from his computer, Doctor Who commentator and fiction writer Mark Clapham told Ekklesia: 'The Doctor has usually been a character who advocates peaceful means before violent solutions. He's not a particularly dedicated pacifist though - he often finds himself having to apply violent solutions sooner or later.' Author and Who analyst Jim Smith, who co-authored the Virgin Books guide Who's Next? with Clapham and Eddie Robson, went on: 'There are many stories which are definitely anti-war. Not a particular war - just war itself. ‘The Crusade' (1965) is specifically about the futility of religious warfare and is even set in Basra. While it's adventure fiction and thus has fighting in it, the whole show is deeply suspicious of politicians, soldiers, military means, military objectives, and so on.' Doctor Who long ago cast an eye on terrorism and possible superpower reactions to it. Says Smith: 'In 1970 ‘The Ambassadors of Death' featured a xenophobic political group trying to scare the whole human race into attacking some harmless aliens.' Whether the Christmas day episode will feature Doctor Who's iconic enemies, the Daleks, remains to be seen. But if it does, the spiritual head of the world's 77 million Anglicans will be on-hand to comment."

Contact Music says that Kaiser Chiefs frontman Ricky Wilson claims he was offered the role of Doctor Who before David Tennant. "The 'I Predict a Riot' hitmaker believes Tennant looks too youthful for the part, and is determined to get his hands on the role. He says, 'It's the kind of thing I've got down for my autumn years. I'm worried David's too young for the part. Eddie Izzard would be perfect. The BBC offered it to me but I was so busy they got a lookalike.'" Uh, right...

(Thanks to Paul Engelberg and Steve Tribe)

Bookmark and Share Television Updates

12/20/2005 02:51:00 am - Reported by Shaun Lyon


December 20, 2005 • Posted By Shaun Lyon
A new trailer for The Christmas Invasion had a surprise airing on BBC One shortly before the 10 O'Clock News last night (Monday 19) and again at lunchtime today (Tuesday 20). Again lasting thirty seconds, it features a number of previously unseen clips, including Harriet Jones appealing on television for the Doctor's help, scenes of people in the streets apparently under the mental control of the invading force, a defiant Rose telling the Sycorax to "leave this planet in peace", and the pyjama-clad Doctor emerging from the TARDIS ("Did you miss me?") to confront the aliens. The trailer has yet to appear on the official website.

Monday night's Wales Today at 6.30pm on BBC One Wales carried a brief interview with Russell T Davies, looking back enthusiastically on a successful year and happily predicting that the children watching on Christmas Day "will remember it when they're seventy!"

Finally, David Tennant's interview on this week's Friday Night with Jonathan Ross is previewed today in a press releasefrom the BBC Press Office. The press release concentrates on Tennant's future plans, and he apparently tells Ross that he's here to stay: "As long as I don't get the sack, I'll do another series," which is the line he's taken when asked this question ever since his casting was announced. Tennant notes that "It's almost too exciting, all a bit daunting. It was the most successful TV show of the year; if it all goes wrong it's my fault ... I loved it when I was a kid. Tom Baker was the one I grew up with. ... It's a bit of a gamble. The danger is that you get stuck with it, but the only other option is you don't do it. I didn't want to be that guy. As long as I don't get the sack, I'll do another series."

(Thanks to Steve Tribe)

Bookmark and Share Series Two Clues in Regenerations

12/20/2005 02:51:00 am - Reported by Shaun Lyon


December 20, 2005 • Posted By Shaun Lyon
The broadcast this evening of Doctor Who: Regenerations on BBC Radio 2 gave away a new episode title and another important detail about the forthcoming second series. We've put them in spoiler tags, so click on the spoiler link below to read them...

Rise of the Cybermen is the name of part one of the two part Cybermen story.

The Face of Boe, who appeared in "The End of the World," returns this series and has a speaking part. He apparently has "some important words for the Doctor". This could be part of the backstory that was seen in Justin Richards' licensed book "Monsters and Villains" or it could be something completely new...

Bookmark and Share Cardiff Exhibit Photos

12/19/2005 02:56:00 am - Reported by Shaun Lyon


December 19, 2005 • Posted By Shaun Lyon
Outpost Gallifrey contributor Derek Hall recently visited and took photos of the Broadcasting House in Llandaff, where we reported a few days ago that there was a TARDIS on the rooftop and a countdown clock, and the location of the new Cardiff Doctor Who Exhibition which will be opening later this week -- but here's a taste of what to expect as festivities commence. Click on each photo below for a larger version. (Thanks to Derek Hall)

Bookmark and Share Telos Publishing 2006

12/19/2005 02:56:00 am - Reported by Shaun Lyon


December 19, 2005 • Posted By Shaun Lyon
Telos Publishing has released details and cover illustrations for three of its unofficial Doctor Who reference books due out in 2006 in a press release now on the website. The press release is reproduced below; click on each thumbnail for a larger version of each book's cover illustration.
Telos has also announced that its Time Hunter series, a spinoff from its now out-of-print Doctor Who novellas range, will be coming to an end in 2006. Says publisher Stephen James Walker: "The Time Hunter novels always tell exciting stand-alone stories, but readers who've followed the series regularly will probably have spotted that we've been gradually dropping more and more hints about the 'back story' to the adventures of Honore and Emily. In the final three novels, and in particular in the concluding title, Child of Time by George Mann, the full picture will be revealed at last - and there are some real surprises in store! We have been planning this for a long time, and I think readers will find these three final Time Hunter tales a fitting climax to the series." The three books will includeThe Albino's Dancer by Dale Smith in April 2006, with the other two to be released later in the year. (Thanks to Telos Publishing)
Published in March 2006 Talkback: The Unofficial and Unauthorised Doctor Who Interview Book Volume One: The Sixties is edited by Stephen James Walker.

Talkback brings together an incredible collection of interviews with the people behind the early years of the BBC's classic science fiction adventure series Doctor Who. From directors to designers, producers, story editors, writers and cast, all are featured in this latest addition to Telos's acclaimed range of factual books about Doctor Who.

Talkback is available to order now in a standard paperback edition, or as a deluxe signed and numbered, limited edition hardback.

In June 2006 we publish Timelink: The Unofficial and Unauthorised Guide to the Continuity of Doctor Whoby Jon Preddle.

Timelink presents an in-depth exploration of the complex continuity of the world's longest running science fiction television programme. Over fifteen years in the making, Timelink offers a different perspective on the history of the Universe as told through the many adventures of the Doctor, and presents fresh theories and solutions to some of the series's many continuity anomolies and discrepancies.

The book covers both the original series which ran from 1963 to 1989, the one-off Paul McGann TV Movie of 1996, and the 2005 Doctor Who revival helmed by Russell T Davies.

Timelink is available to order now in a standard paperback edition, and as a deluxe signed and numbered, limited edition hardback.

Later in 2006 Telos will follow the broadcast of the second season of the new 2006 Doctor Who series with a companion volume to our acclaimed 2005 series guide, Back to the Vortex.

Second Flight: Back to the Vortex II - The Unofficial and Unauthorised Guide to Doctor Who 2006 is, like it's predecessor, written by J Shaun Lyon and picks up where Back to the Vortex left off. Second Flight continues the story of the development of Doctor Who as David Tennant takes over the TARDIS from Christopher Eccleston and embarks on a 2005 Christmas special ('The Christmas Invasion') as well as a second series of adventures in time and space.

Second Flight reveals the background to the series, from the announcements, to the press releases, casting calls, the highs and lows, and the return of the dreaded Cybermen.

The book also features detailed analysis of the new adventures, facts and figures, and exclusive review commentary from an international panel of writers and critics.

Second Flight is available to order now in A5 paperback edition and in a signed and numbered, limited hardback edition.

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12/19/2005 02:55:00 am - Reported by Shaun Lyon


December 19, 2005 • Posted By Shaun Lyon
While everyone's paying attention to the new spinoff sites, the folks at the official Doctor Who website have sneakily updated an old one:whoisdoctorwho.co.uk, Mickey Smith's "blog" of events, has been updated with items about the space probe Guinevere and the events of "The Christmas Invasion."

Yesterday's Independent On Sunday noted that this weekend's special, "which sees skull-headed Christopher Eccleston replaced by bug-eyed David Tennant is bound to cause a stir. Believe it or not, the vintage sci-fi series has a Christmas theme. Not just any Christmas theme, either: writer Russell T Davies has gone all social comment and anti-war about it. 'It's Christmas Day, a day of peace,' he told the BBC. 'There is absolutely an anti-war message because that's what I think.' So now you know. I'd tell you more, but no preview tapes were available and the plot was a closely guarded secret. My guess is that Doctor Who will reveal that Santa Claus has been Davros disguised in a wig all along."

On Monday, BBC1 ran one of their semi-regular Test the Nation quizzes, which the audience can take part in at home or via the programme's website. Subtitled "The 2005 Test", the "New Beginnings" section of the test had a question relating to "Doctor Who", asking who succeeded Christopher Eccleston in the role. A clip from the end of "The Parting of the Ways" showing Eccleston's last lines and the beginning of the regeneration was shown. The options were: A) Sean Bean B) Sylvester McCoy C) Alastair MacKenzie D) David Tennant.

The UK Press Association has syndicated an article about the new series to papers this week. Highlights: "Four decades on, and for only the second time in the programme's long history, the Tardis is once again materialising onto our TV screens on Christmas Day. But this time around it's all very different. Rather than an Edwardian gentleman with dodgy dentistry at the helm, the new Doctor, David Tennant, is all Carnaby Street swagger and perfect teeth. Gone too, is the whimsical seasonal run-around. Instead, The Christmas Invasion brings us an Independence Day-scale adventure of alien invasion and impending Armageddon, all wrapped up in Christmas tinsel, as trumpet-playing Santas and evil spinning fern trees wreak havoc across London. ... For fans everywhere, it'll also provide them with their first chance to properly size up the new man in the Tardis, having only enjoyed a brief sample of David's take on the role in a Children In Need special last month. One matter which has been open to conjecture ever since the 34-year-old actor won the part has been what accent he would use in the role. Born in Bathgate, West Lothian, Scotland, fans wondered if he would follow the example of seventh Doctor Sylvester McCoy (who played the part from 1986 to 1989 on screen) and speak in his native Scottish brogue. However, this incarnation of the time-traveller from Gallifrey has opted to adopt a 'mockney' dialect, announcing ''Appy Christmas' as he steps out of the Tardis for the first time. Sadly, the reason for the dropped h's may now be lost in the web of time. The series' lead writer and executive producer, Russell T Davies, admitted there was originally a line in the script where Mickey (played by Noel Clarke) commented that the new Doctor had somehow taken on the accent of his companion Rose (Billie Piper). But alas, due to timing reasons, it was cut. 'We've kept saying the accent issue would be resolved in the Christmas special,' laughs David, 'but now that's no longer the case.' However, a preview of the delights the show has in store next year does reveal that for at least one story, he will be allowed to lapse into his native tongue when the Tardis takes him to Scotland in Victorian times. ... Get used to it, Mr Tennant, because after Christmas, so will the rest of the world. As the Doctor says, at the climax of The Christmas Invasion, still clad in a fetching pair of pin-stripe nightwear following a post-regenerative period of bed rest, 'Not bad for a bloke in jim-jams'."

The official site has an item about Attack of the Graske, the digital interactive 'episode' going live this weekend: "From 8pm on Christmas night, Digital Satellite and Freeview viewers can truly immerse themselves in the world of Doctor Who. Attack of the Graske is a mini episode of Dr Who with a twist - it allows viewers to become the Doctor's companion. Viewers will get the chance to track down an evil alien life form by flying the TARDIS and completing a series of challenges set by the Doctor himself. The challenge will be available throughout the night and after the January 1 repeat of The Christmas Invasion on BBC Three."

The Bucks Free Press has a short article about a 13 year old, Tom Rees-Kaye, who "was given a chance to travel through space and time in his own back garden. Tom, 13, is a keen follower of the BBC TV series and even films himself with pals making their own episodes, which they copy onto DVDs. But even he was surprised when his parents took an extra step for his birthday by giving him his own full-scale Tardis. They have now placed the contraption in their back garden."

Finally, in the US, the Sci-Fi Channel will be airing "FairyTale: A True Story" on Tuesday 20 December; the film features Paul McGann (the eighth Doctor) and a very young Florence Hoath (Nancy from "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances"). The interesting thing is that both Doctor Who actors feature together on the banner on the SciFi.com homepage advertising the film.

(Thanks to Steve Tribe, Paul Engelberg, Richard Kirkpatrick, Paul Hayes, Sacha A. Dzuba, John Bowman)