Hello, Outpost Gallifrey readers... The site's editor has been under the weather since just before Christmas, so this article should catch you up with what you've missed since the broadcast of "The Christmas Invasion". Also, please note that as of January 2, 2006, the "Press Clips" column familiar to Outpost Gallifrey readers has been reformatted, as it's frequently less press clips and more factual information; it's now called The TARDIS Report, a general catch-all column (as frequent as can be published) with general clips from both classic and new series. Stories that merit their own articles will be reported individually as always. Now, on with today's TARDIS Report:
The South Bank Show Awards have teamed up with The Times to open their "Breakthrough" award to a public vote on the web, noting that the award highlights "ten young people whose talents have flourished in the past 12 months."Billie Piper is one of the finalists: "From idle celebrity to serious actress is not a transition many could make easily. In two years, Billie Piper has surprised everyone." Times Online has an article about it, encouraging viewers to vote for their choice!
The year ended well for Doctor Who: December 31's 2005 TV Moments awards, voted for online by the viewing public, saw the series win not only its category (May to June), but also the top award of Golden TV Moment of 2005 for a scene from 'The Doctor Dances'. Billie Piper accepted both awards, thanking cast, crew and viewers, with Phil Collinson and Steven Moffat also in the celebrity audience. There were several other clips from the series shown in various highlights compilations, including the first appearance of the Dalek, the climax of the series, and scenes from 'The Christmas Invasion', as well as a nomination for 'Secret Smile' starring David Tennant. Also mentioned (and shown) was the interruption of 'Rose' by Graham Norton, who talked briefly about the event with the awards host, Jonathan Ross. A winners list is on the TV Moments website, and was mentioned in the Register and The Mirror.
David Tennant made a guest appearance on December 26's "The Big Fat Quiz of the Year 2005" on Channel 4, talking about the new series with Jimmy Carr, the shows host, and asking a question of the three teams which included such stars as Sharon Osbourne and Jonathan Ross. After talking about the new series with Jimmy Carr, a clip of the regeneration was shown and david makes his appearance and says "hello", the clip is then paused and Tennant poses the question, "what part of his anatomy is he about to mention?" Jonathan Ross commented again on how much he loves the new show and drew pictures of Daleks, a TARDIS and various other Doctor Who related items on his answer board.
The Stage has published its annual Top Ten Movers and Shakers "in the world of theatre and light entertainment" in the UK. Russell T Davies is #1 on the list: "Hats off to Davies – the clear winner of this year’s poll. The man has achieved the almost impossible and transformed Doctor Who for a cynical 21st-century audience and made them fall in love with it again. He wrestled Saturday nights out of the hands of Ant and Dec and revitalised family drama. The Christmas special has gone down a treat and fans will soon be salivating over series two. The triumphant return of the Time Lord and the gloriously camp Casanova to boot, has cemented Davies' position at the head of the holy trinity of British scriptwriters [alongside Paul Abbot and Jimmy McGovern]." Also on the list at #6, David Tennant: "The cheeky Scotsman has had a tremendous year, creeping slowly but relentlessly into popular consciousness with one quirky primetime show after another. First up was the rather odd singing detective in BBC1’s Potteresque comic thriller Blackpool, then came the charismatic Casanova on BBC3. More recently he switched over to ITV1 for a stint as a deranged stalker in Secret Smile before jumping into the Tardis for the Corporation’s Christmas special. His transformation into the tenth Time Lord has made the nation sit up, take notice and ask, 'Christopher who?'"
EntertainmentWise and Ananova both noted that glamour modelJordan "is hoping to bag herself a role in the new series of Doctor Who as a baddie. She is hoping that she could play a killer model who kills people with her [cleavage]…"InTheNews says that "Dr Who has faced countless enemies from the Daleks to the Autons, but he could be facing the greatest challenge yet – the double-barrelled wrath of glamour model Jordan. The busty half of tangerine singer Peter Andre reportedly has set her eyes on a part in the BBC's hit drama, Dr Who, which she feels is a prime place to nurture her acting talents. What acting talents? Well, straight from the horse's mouth regarding her thespian abilities, Jordan told The Sun: 'I could be a baddie who doesn't speak but kills with my ample charms.' Now that would be a sight. We don't think the Time Lord has had to escape being smothered yet, so it would be a first."
Billie Piper is Doctor Who's sexiest assistant, according to a story in the TV biz section of last Tuesday's Sun. It says Louise Jameson, who played Leela, came second and Wendy Padbury (Zoe) was third, while Nicola Bryant, who portrayed Peri, came fourth in the poll of fans. It did not say for whom the poll was conducted - or how people many took part. The piece - with the stunningly original headline of "Dalektable!" - was illustrated with a main close-up colour picture of Piper out of character standing in the doorway of the Tardis, plus mono headshots of Jameson and Padbury as their characters, and a colour headshot of Bryant, which looked to be a portrait shot of the actress and not one of her as Peri. Piper was also chosen at BBC News as one of the "faces of the year": "As the youngest solo artist to debut at Number One in the UK and then as wife of media millionaire Chris Evans, it seemed Billie Piper attracted more sneers than cheers. Her marriage ended in divorce, but Billie's acting career has silenced the critics. Her irresistible appeal won her the title of Britain's most popular TV actress at the National Television Awards for her role as Doctor Who's sidekick, Rose, in the comeback series. "
January 3's Independent notes that "When Christopher Eccleston quit as Dr Who after just one series, he was said to have tired of the superficial demands of prime-time TV. Little surprise, then, to hear that the earnest actor, left, has agreed to make a (resolutely lofty) return to the London stage He will play Christopher Marlowe in The School of Night, a play about the 16th-century playwright's mysterious death, which opens next month. Eccleston's agent, Lorraine Hamilton, said yesterday that he's currently in rehearsal for the show. It will be staged at the Comedy Theatre, and directed by Bill Alexander. Meanwhile, theatreland pundits are waiting with bated breath to see if the occasionally prickly Eccleston will be granting them interviews. 'In most West End plays, the leading man will do the rounds,' reports one. 'But Eccleston can be tricky, and hated the media circus that came with being a Doctor Who star. So we aren't exactly counting chickens.'" There's another mention of Eccleston's turn in the play at Broadway.com.
According to UNIT News, John Barrowman appeared with Natasha Kaplinsky on the BBC's New Years Eve show and said that he expected to start filming Torchwood "in April".
On to Series Two
Last Wednesday's Daily Record previewed Series Two: "The Doctor's enemies have their claws out for him in the new series of the sci-fi show. Evil Cat Women are just one of the alien races the Time Lord, played by Scots actor David Tennant, and Rose (Billie Piper) will face when the new series of Doctor Who starts in the spring. Viewers got their first look at them in a trailer after the special Christmas Day episode. There was also a glimpse of the much-anticipated return of robot dog K-9 and Sarah-Jane Smith. Journalist Sarah Jane (actress Elizabeth Sladen) travelled with Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker's incarnations of the Doctor between 1973 and 1976. And she teamed up with K-9 for the one-off spin-off K-9 And Company in 1981. Viewers also saw Buffy The Vampire Slayer star Anthony Head as a villainous headmaster and Shirley Valentine's Pauline Collins as Queen Victoria. The trailer included a look at the redesigned Cybermen, second only to the Daleks as the Doctor's fiercest foes. It is rumoured that the final episode of the series will feature a war between the two evil races. Writer and producer Russell T Davies said: 'We can promise new thrills, new laughs, new heartbreak and some terrifying new aliens. The Doctor and Rose are destined to meet Queen Victoria, an evil race of Cat Women and the dreaded Cybermen - 2006 is going to be scarier than ever.' Producer Phil Collinson added: 'The villainous Cybermen are as much a part of Doctor Who heritage as the Daleks,so it's a huge personal thrill to see them back. I hope that the evil silver giants will terrify a whole new generation of viewers.'"
Sunday's edition of The Observer previewed the next few months in the arts, including returning television programmes, and featuring: "The Doctor Who Christmas special, which witnessed the doctor getting used to his new skin as David Tennant took over the role from Christopher Eccleston, was just a primer. Here in the second series, he and the surprisingly ace Billie Piper as his assistant Rose go farther into the future than they've ever gone before, zip back for an appointment with Queen Victoria (Pauline Collins) and confront returning terrors the Cybermen." It notes "date to be announced" as a start date for series two. A separate item profiles how posh Cardiff is: "Success at last. In the hotel's relaxed Tides bar, the Krug champagne is flowing (well, trickling, but then it is 24.50 a glass), a DJ is playing and the first celebrity has been bagged. David Tennant, the new Doctor Who, is sitting about a foot behind me. Doctor Who is made in the city so he, Billie Piper and the rest of the cast are often around."
Sky Showbiz noted that, in a preview of the new series, "we hear that Rose and the trendy new trainer-wearing Doc get it on when David Tennant makes his proper debut on Christmas Day. A 13-part series, in which the Cybermen, K9 and seventies assistant Sarah Jane Smith return, follows the Christmas special."
As if they didn't learn the last time... ITN says that "Ant and Dec are to front a revival of the hit 80s gameshow Bullseye, and ITV bosses are planning to pit the darts-based family favourite against Dr Who. The Beeb has scored a huge saturday night hit with Dr Who and the new series starts in June - but this time they will be battling it out with the Geordie duo who always seem get it right." They forget that Ant and Dec didn't get it right the last time with their proven successful winner, "Saturday Night Takeaway..." Meanwhile, Channel 4 and Digital Spy also report the story.
The Guardian "Guide" section on 31 December includes Charlie Brooker's review of the year's television; Brooker is on his usual coruscating (and readable) form for most of the year's output, but does conclude that "the Best Overall Show Of The Year was clearly, obviously and undeniably Doctor Bloody Brilliant Who." The Guardian two days earlier said in a separate storyabout, of all things, trombones, that "As it transpired, the Christmas Day Dr Who was not the further dent in their image trombonists must have feared. Once we'd witnessed huge alien ships hovering like clouds from Hemel Hempstead, though rather more solid, over the House of Commons, and everyone in the world with an A-positive blood group poised on the top of high buildings and ready to jump, and a Punch and Judy parliament of Sycoraxes baying for earthling blood, death-dealing trombones (some of which didn't look at all like trombones) seemed the least of the doctor's worries. And just possibly (let us end the year on a positive note) the evening's pre-teen audience may have started to look on trombones in a new, more exciting light. If in 10 years' time the doors of our music colleges are being besieged by hordes of young people set on a life of tromboning, we may well have Russell T Davies to thank for it."
The December 29 Daily Record noted that "The BBC phones went wild on Boxing Day with thousands of frantic calls from Edinburgh. Apparently, legions of desperate Hearts fans reckoned their only chance of understanding club owner Vladimir Romanov's statement would be if Doctor Who dropped by with his inter-galactic translating powers. After all, if wee Davie Tennant understood what the gurgling Sycorax were slavering on about on Christmas Day, chances are he'd be able to translate Vlad's 'farewell on the road to hell' into English too. Davie might not be a Gorgie Road hero, but darling of Earthlings - and winner of the Christmas Day ratings war - he most certainly is. ... Tennant's special. Very special. I was a huge fan of Eccleston's screwball take on the Timelord. Still am, in fact. And I worried too many of us Scots would gush about DT's performance simply because he was Scottish and not famous enough for us to start slagging him off. There's no sign (yet) of his Scottish accent - a minor gripe - although rumour has it that's not for long. Otherwise, this was rollicking good festive fun. The dialogue gleamed like the Milky Way, laced with so much camp humour it was a whisker away from being a French & Saunders mickey take. ... And what's this? A superhero who is disappointed by not being regenerated a ginger? Yes, but we're the chosen ones, Doc. Better luck next time."
A few other choice comments: says the Belfast Telegraph: "Tennant's experience as Casanova came in useful when he indulged in a bit of sword play with an alien who looked like a Christmas candle had melted over his head. All a lot of inglorious hokum, if you ask me, and high time they got rid of the police box tardis. No one under 60 knows what on or off earth the thing is." The Scottish Herald: "It began by putting itself in danger of becoming an ultra-camp parody of itself, complete with spinning Christmas trees and zombified Father Christmases. Although he seems likely to become a well-liked doctor, David Tennant's first performance got off to a shaky start, with him asking Rose to tell him if he was ginger or not (must poor Billie Piper's career always be overshadowed by her marriage to Chris Evans?) and over-egging his part terribly. ... One second it's a super-smart, dazzlingly written, perfectly plotted wonder, the next it's a piece of ironic sci-fi silliness, perilously close to undoing its good work by over-doing the in-jokes, and working harder by the episode to strike the balance. But, for a show that will always have its history weighing it down, it doesn't do badly in settling for being entertainingly dichotomous. So, we're saying it's nonsense then. Just cleverer nonsense than pretty much anything else." The Daily Record: "I've found myself warming to it a little bit. Maybe it's the scripts, or the rubbery monsters, or the fact that Billie Piper can act (a bit). But no, if I'm being honest, it's none of these things. It's because finally, after 30 years of bog-eyed uglies in long scarves, Doctor Who is hot. Yes, the famous Timelord has finally regenerated into something us ladies can really get to grips with, and if David Tennant ever fancies taking me off to the distant galaxy of Buggerlugs 5, then I'm quite happy to hold his sonic screwdriver for him while he takes the Tardis up to warp factor 11."
The online store Forbidden Planet has a bunch of new Doctor Who merchandise items previewed. There are 5" action figures from the new series including two of David Tennant, one in a long coat and one in his suit, as well as Rose, Slitheen and Sycorax figurines, which will be available from 18 January, and then Cassandra and the Moxx of Balhoon on 28 January. The 12" figure of Tennant, as seen on The Jonathan Ross Show, will be available from 12 May 2006, along with a 12" Cyberman figure. There will also be a Cyberman Animatronic Room Guard and a Cyberman Voice Change Helmet, both available on 7 July.
December 29's The Herald noted that "An Edinburgh entrepreneur has flogged the December 17 issue of The Herald's magazine on auction website eBay for 21 pounds, reveals Martin Meteyard. The chancer's whopping 20.10 profit came from English Dr Who fans wanting the magazine's cover photo of new timelord David Tennant. In refuting the vendor's claim ('available from newsagents on day of publication only . . . supplies extremely limited'), we assure Dr Who devotees that back-issues are available from The Herald for 90p. An old Edinburgh proverb once read, 'you'll have had your tea?' Now it's, 'you'll have been had via eBay'."
The Florida Sun-Sentinel, of all places, answers the time-honoured question, "When can we expect to see the wonderfully updated BBC staple Doctor Who on American sets?" Their answer: "It might be a while before the new batch of Dr. Who episodes crosses the Atlantic. Both seasons, one starring Christopher Eccleston, the other David Tennant, are on the radar screens of BBC America, according to a network spokeswoman, but no deals have been struck. Despite common ownership with the BBC, BBC America has to bid for imports against other American networks, she said. This process has not yet begun."
Says December 30's Romford Recorder, "Daleks ran riot in a department store in Upminster during a special Dr Who themed event. Fans crammed into Roomes Stores, Upminster, to meet Time Lord actor, Sylvester McCoy, who played the seventh Dr Who in the classic BBC sci-fi children's series, while real Daleks were causing havoc down the aisles. Then, on the following day veteran Dr Who actor Nicholas Courtney, who played Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart in all of the series except for the current one, visited the store. He signed copies of his book..."
(Thanks to Paul Engelberg, Steve Tribe, Peter Weaver, John Bowman, Paul Hayes, Lerys Campbell, Gregg Allinson, Matt Kimpton, David Guest, Chris Winwood, Paul Bensilum, Luke McCullough, Leighton Haberfield)