Tuesday, 24 January 2006

TARDIS Report: Weekend and Early Week


January 24, 2006 • Posted By Shaun Lyon
Catching up while the editor's been away for a few days...

Awards

BroadcastNow says that Doctor Who "has picked up a nomination for best drama series at the Celtic Film and Television Festival awards. It is one of 26 nominations garnered by Welsh companies for this year's awards, in which 50 indies have been recognised in 17 categories. Ireland leads the way with 30 nominations, followed by Scotland on 27 while Cornwall scooped 10 and Brittany with two. Doctor Who will square up against another Welsh series, Con Passionate, made by Teledu Apollo, and Irish show Pure Mule from Accomplice Television. Other nominees include critically acclaimed documentary series Tribe (BBC Wales), Rick Stein's The Teaching Challenge (Brook Lapping) and new documentary Iran: An Bealach In Airde (Crossing The Line Films). ... Recognising the development of the sector, the new media awards will be decided on by a specially selected jury of industry experts. Winners will be announced at the festival in Cornwall at the end of March."

Series Two

As originally reported online in the Outpost Gallifrey Forum, Maureen Lipman will be in episode 7, "The Idiot's Lantern." Lipman has been featured in many television series and films including "Coronation Street," "The Pianist," "Love's Labour Lost," "Carry On Columbus" and "European Vacation". Says the original poster, "I know she's in the ep, and I know she's filming her scenes at Alexandra Palace in North London (where original BBC transmissions used to be broadcast from in the 1950's) but it's my speculation that she plays the evil lady continuity announcer in the episode."

Elisabeth Sladen talked briefly about her return to Doctor Who in February's Collector's Gazette, after appearing at the Scifishack stand at Birmingham NEC's Memorabilia show in November. "Having just finished filming, she chatted about her latest trip back to see the Time Lord: 'It was lovely going back - there were so many flowers in my dressing room, I thought I'd died!' she laughed. 'And the atmosphere on set was uncannily familiar. It was fine working with a different Doctor. Once you call someone the Doctor, you actually believe it is the Doctor. I'd already seen him change incarnations before so this was no great leap of the imagination. I think it's wonderful to allow a character from the past to come back. I'm hoping that the newer viewers who don't know me will understand, and I hope the fans like it. It's certainly an experience I would not have missed.'"

Yesterday's South Wales Evening Post talks about two child actors, brother and sister Amy and Christopher Jenkins of Rhos, who "have chalked up an impressive acting CV despite being aged just 11 and eight respectively. Ystalyfera pupil Christopher has landed a part in the next series of the BBC's Dr Who, and is already a regular on S4C's Pobol y Cwm, where he plays Aled."

BBC News says that the staff of a South Wales brewery "had to make sure they had not been transported to another dimension when the cast of Doctor Who turned up for filming. Billie Piper, who plays the Doctor's assistant Rose Tyler, 50 extras and the film crew spent the day at Magor Brewery, near Newport, to shoot scenes. The production of thousands of bottles of lager was halted while filming took place in two areas of the site. Brewery bosses said they were asked to help when another location cancelled. And with its stainless steel brewing equipment, it became the perfect setting for the sci-fi series. David Ginley, the site manager for the brewer said: 'We received a call from BBC Wales and were pleased to help them out. The brewery itself is a modern brewery with lots of tanks and pipework so became the perfect setting for an industrial landscape which is what they wanted. Everybody was so excited about it - Doctor Who is so high profile and everyone was really excited and interested to see how something like that is made.' Mr Ginley said that although he didn't know what part of the storyline was being filmed at the site, he did see a number of Doctor Who's enemies. 'There were aliens and things. I didn't see any daleks though, but you never know, do you?' Staff at the site were able to meet actress Billie Piper, but there was no sign of the Doctor himself. Mr Ginley said: 'We didn't get to see David Tennant but it was an exciting day for everybody at the brewery and we are all looking forward to watching the scenes in the finished programmes.'"

The Inquirer said that "A group of Cardiff drinkers in the The Gatekeeper pub were nearly put off their pints when a troop of Cybermen wandered past their window. According to the South Wales Echo, the outside of the pub was the scene for an invasion of robo-warriors yesterday. Cybermen are the arch-enemas in the UK’s favourite sci-fi telly show Dr Who. Since the show is being filmed by BBC Wales, it has made Cardiff the new Area 51 for alien attacks. The drinkers at the Gatekeeper probably thought they were due for another one. Cybermen, when I was seven, gave me bad dreams for weeks, but seem to have gone through a bit of an upgrade lately. Gone are the clunky silver suits which have been replaced by a smoother silver iPod finish. Hopefully they have removed that nasty flaw in their breathing gear which makes them short circuit if they sniff gold."

People

Artist Andrew Skilleter will be releasing a "limited Artists Edition" of his original MythMakers DVD item from Reeltime Pictures. The video interview re-release will sport a new cover and will feature a stylish eight page full colour illustrated booklet on quality paper containing new text, photographs and artwork, including background on the filming and Andrew’s twenty year involvement with the legendary Terrance Dicks. Also included is the very first reproduction anywhere of a new painting for "Shada", the creation of which is shown in the DVD. Each booklet and DVD disc are signed by Andrew Skilleter and are available directly from the author through email contacthere.

Tom Baker is listed to appear on "Des and Mel" on ITV1, February 1 (1.30-2.30pm according to DigiGuide).

Caroline John (Liz Shaw from Season 7 of the classic show) is appearing in a new play, "Nightingale" at the New End Theatre in Hampstead, a play written and directed by actress Lynn Redgrave. The official theatrewebsite has information about the play, whereas the Guardian has a modest review.

BBC News are running a story about a missing BBC Wales designer who worked on their interactive projects, including last month's "Attack of the Graske". "A memorial service is being planned for a BBC Wales employee presumed to have drowned while swimming in the sea off Colombia early on Boxing Day. Steve Absolum, 32, went missing near Santa Marta on the Caribbean coast and no trace of him was found after an extensive air-sea search. He had been an interactive designer for BBC Wales' New Media output since 2002. Among his achievements was running the interactive content for the tsunami relief concert in Cardiff last January. .. BBC Wales controller Menna Richards said: 'He was central to the development of interactive programmes, including Scrum V, BBC Cardiff Singer of the World, the tsunami relief Cardiff concert and the recent Doctor Who.'"

The Times celebrated Tom Baker's birthday with the following: "The actor Tom Baker is enjoying a comeback in the cult TV comedy Little Britain, now in its third TV series. His is the booming voice of the narrator, never seen, who makes outrageous comments about the imaginary characters of Britain. He was the fourth and longest serving Doctor Who for seven years from 1974 and he still travels the world speaking at conferences and answering interminable questions from fans via the net. He recounts numerous episodes of his riotous personal life in his autobiography Who On Earth Is Tom Baker? and reflects on the problems of getting older, 'I feel I am starting to look less and less like Tom Baker. People used to mistake me for Shirley Williams, but now they just seem to mistake me for my Great Aunt Molly.' He spends much of his time at his home in France and tries to avoid meeting other actors. He says: 'They seem to be a bit like me in that they are not really certain who they are.' Tom Baker is 71 today."

David Tennant is listed as appearing on the series "Posh Nosh" on 3 February from 9.50 to 10pm on BBC2: "Comfort Food. Spoof cookery series featuring a pretentious rich couple. Simon and Minty demonstrate how toad-in-the-hole can get you through the death of a close personal friend. Starring: Arabella Weir, Richard E. Grant, David Tennant."

The Daily Record said of Saturday's "The Romantics" with David Tennant, "He's flying the flag for Scotland on a national, and inter-galactic, stage as the new Doctor Who. But here's a chance to see Scots heart-throb David Tennant doing something a little less mainstream - yet still travelling through time. After shooting to fame in Russell T Davies' adaptation of loose-loined Casanova last year, Tennant plays French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau - a man whose musings are attributable to the explosion of romantic poetry in the 18th century from literary luminaries such as Keats, Wordsworth and Byron. Sliding through time from Paris in the 1700s to contemporary France, Tennant's philosopher sees the impact his musings had both in his day and in ours. ..."

Leonard Lewis has died; according to "Stage And TV Today" and the Internet Movie Database, the prolific TV producer died on 2 December. His sole Doctor Who credit was overseeing the Eastenders scenes on "Doctor Who: Dimensions In Time", the Children In Need 1993 charity special. His other TV credits include When The Boat Comes In and Flambards.

Colin Baker writes for the Bucks Free Press, "If you had told me a couple of years ago that the flagship programme on Christmas Day might one day be Dr Who, I would have suggested that you seek specialist medical help immediately. But building on the excellent series transmitted last year, the special festive episode introducing David Tennant as Doctor number ten was the undoubted success amongst what was a predominantly lacklustre batch of offerings this holiday. In fact, it was the only programme that tempted the Baker family away from the delights of enjoying each others' company. Once again that genius Russell T Davies has produced not only a great script and a great new Doctor, but just when you thought the story was over and the world saved, there was a judiciously crafted hefty sideswipe against those most un-Christmasey characteristics greed, selfishness and political expedience, that so depressingly regularly nudge humanity and honour out into second place. A contemporary message every bit as powerful as that in Dickens's Christmas Carol. To offer the viewers whirling dervish Christmas Trees and homicidal Santas without losing credibility is quite an achievement. And I am glad to be able to confirm what I already knew that David Tennant would be an worthy recipient of the Tardis baton."

Official Sites

The official Doctor Who website has updated the January/February calendar on its News page and is listing a repeat showing of 'The Parting of the Ways' for 5.35pm on Sunday 5 February on UK Gold. They also note that the commentary track for "The Christmas Invasion" was "the most popular MP3 downloaded from bbc.co.uk over Christmas. 64,000 of you listened to the running commentary by Russell T Davies, Julie Gardner and Phil Collinson between Christmas Day and New Year's Eve, making it even more popular than Radio 1's Best of Moyles podcast that week. The free MP3 track is still available on the site, and, thanks to the nifty work of a fan, appears to be listed in the iTunes podcast directory thing. Er, thank you, mysterious stranger. And thanks to everyone who made the Commentary so successful."

The new series will have a new spinoff website come transmission time; the BBC has registered domain names cybusindustries.com, cybusindustries.net and cybusindustries.co.uk, which presumably will be tie-in websites for when "Rise of the Cybermen" and its second half air in the UK. A Cybus Corporation fan site has been extremely popular for several months, though is unrelated to the show's production.

Broadcasting

Doctor Who was mentioned in the "Ask Matt Roush" column of the US' TV Guide magazine yesterday. "Question: Now that the Sci Fi Channel is going to air the new Doctor Who series from the BBC in March, what do you think of the show, and will it make a mark here in the U.S. with sci-fi and genre fans, now that Enterprise is gone and Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel/Firefly are also gone? -- Brian B. Matt Roush: I'll be honest. I'm far from a Doctor Who expert or even a fan. The few times I ever tried watching the earlier incarnations of the show on PBS or wherever, I was underwhelmed. But I doubt I gave it much of a chance. Now that I'm more invested in the genre, especially since Farscape rekindled my passion for space fantasy and Battlestar Galactica confirmed it, I'll approach this series with an open mind. It certainly seems to be arriving with a fair amount of buzz and hype, so I can't imagine why this wouldn't work to Sci Fi's advantage."

According to a report at BBC News, the BBC's Director-General Mark Thompson has mentioned "Doctor Who" as an example of their output during a defence of the past year's £36 million expenses bill. "Programme-making accounts for the overwhelming majority of hotel and travel costs in an organisation such as the BBC with output as diverse as Doctor Who, which is made in Cardiff and on location, and news coverage of events such as Hurricane Katrina."

One of our readers sent e-mail to the CBC's programming department asking when season two of the new series would be aired in Canada and was told, "Unfortunately we don't have a scheduled start date for the upcoming Doctor Who season at this time. If you stay tuned to CBC Television there will be promotional advertisements for the new season when that date is set."

Miscellaneous

EntertainmentWise says that "Sci-fi fans are dribbling at the prospect of owning the definitive Dr Who toy -- a brand new full-size Dalek replica. There has been a stampede to reserve the official BBC models -- which scoot about on wheels and have been crafted using moulds from a real Dalek used used in the latest series of the show starring Billie Piper and David Tenant. The 5'5" models will not be ready until April -- but the toy-makers have already seen a huge demand for the replicas and have been flooded with £500 deposits. There will also be the option of a model which screams Exterminate! and has working lights." icWales also mentions it and theDaily Star says that "Billie Piper has an amazing sci-fi secret - she sleeps with a Dalek. She has snapped up the ultimate big boy's toy for her bedroom."

The South Wales Evening Post said about the Series One Boxed Set on Friday that "As with most things in life, us DVD reviewers have to take the rough with the smooth. Fans of the 2005 revival of Doctor Who could watch and re-watch their hero's exploits when the series was released in four volumes. But those in the know waited for the full bells and whistles set to come out towards the end of the Doctor's triumphant comeback year. It duly appeared, and it was definitely worth the wait - a plush, Tardis-shaped package with all 13 episodes and a great deal more on top. Which is what I meant about taking the rough with the smooth. I was sent the discs, but sadly not the fancy packaging. That was the rough. The smooth side was that I got them for free when the full set would have set me back anything up to 69.99. Having said that, most shops were selling them for a good deal less. So what do you get for your money? Obviously, all the episodes, with crystal clear pictures and 5.1 surround sound, with commentaries absent from the earlier releases. Some are more entertaining than others, with Russell T Davies an absolute scream whenever he features. Then there are documentaries and making-of features galore, video contributions from co-star Billy Piper, writer Mark Gattiss and Davies himself, plus a sneak preview of the next series - bearing in mind this came out before the Christmas special that introduced us to new Doc David Tennant. Anyone who already owns the earlier releases will find the extras an expensive luxury. But those who waited for the box set will find it a worthwhile investment." They also noted about the release of "City of Death" that "Baker is as entertaining as always and the budget even stretched to location shooting in Paris, adding a rare sheen to the show. The effects aren't bad for their time, either, given the shoestring figure they were produced with. A solid package of extras, including a PDF version of the 1980 Doctor Who annual, complete this latest addition to Who's DVD back catalogue."

The Financial Times notes that "For one delicious moment during the recent Doctor Who holiday special, I actually thought the new Time Lord on the block was going to emerge as a kind of Austin Powers-meets-Pete Doherty Doctor. As readers from six to 60 know, the Doc periodically regenerates and literally inherits a new look, and on Christmas Day we were treated to a deconstruction of the conceit as Christopher Eccleston was reborn as David Tennant (of TV Casanova fame). The new hero was shown rifling through a rack of clothes, consciously deciding what kind of profile he wished to present to the world. This is when the promise of a 1960s-style rocking Doctor was tantalisingly hinted at. Tennant fingered a regimental military Sergeant Pepper-style jacket, as worn by Doherty in the Libertines, and by Mick Jagger and the Fab Four before him. I reckon he'd have looked great in it, possessed as he is of a cheeky McCartneyesque physiognomy and mod-style fringe. But no, the BBC wardrobe department bottled it. The regimental number was put back and, instead, the Doc alighted on what looked like a pinstripe suit in a dark brown/aubergine colour with a natty purple stripe, well co-ordinating shirt and tie, and a big fawn duster coat. When he'd put it all together he looked like a Prada catwalk model, decidedly more Euro traveller than time traveller." Read the full article at the website.

Times Online, ikn a story about motherhood, notes that "Motherhood is like a benevolent, society-sustaining form of multiple-personality disorder. Well, being a woman is like a benevolent, society-sustaining form of multiple-personality disorder, but motherhood is where it reaches its apogee. I’m sure there can’t be many mothers who didn’t watch the last series of Doctor Who without a few nods of recognition — specifically the episode in which the Doctor discovered the Emperor Dalek, who was controlling the minds of the six million smaller Daleks scattered across the universe. Additionally, of course, the Emperor Dalek is much wider at the bottom than the top, rather cranky, and has a limited ability to get up stairs — although it was unlikely, in his case, to have been caused by an extra two stones and a compromised pelvic floor."

Yesterday's Frankston Standard/Hastings Leader asks, "Who else would land a bright blue TARDIS in a Frankson eye clinic's car park when nobody was looking and then just as quickly take off to some other dimension with it? Photos of a mysterious object and a note apparently from the doctor left at the clinic have had staff scratching their heads all week. The large blue "police" box, which certainly looks like Dr Who's famous TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimensions In Space vehicle), were found under the door of the Cranbourne Rd clinic last Tuesday. A letter accompanying the photos read: "I hope you don't mind, but I parked my TARDIS in your car park over the weekend to refuel. I programmed my time computer especially so as to arrive on a Sunday, in order that I not cause any disruption to your workday routine. All the best for the coming year (it's a good one, by the way)." It was simply signed The Doctor. Ophthalmologist Dr Stephen Bambery has no doubt the letter was from Dr Who. "We have all been trying to think if it was anyone we knew playing a joke on us. The staff would like to know who it was, but I'd still like to believe it was really Dr Who. Whoever was behind it has gone to an amazing effort."

Other items: Digital Spy ran an article about a "close friendship" between David Tennant and Billie Piper during the filming of the new series... of course, it's the exact same story that ran eighteen months ago in various papers, with the name 'Eccleston' in place of 'Tennant'; TV Shows on DVDconfirmed the delay of the Canadian DVD release of the Series One Boxed Set; Hecklerspray has a brief article about the contestants from "Dancing on Ice" including John Barrowman.

(Thanks to Paul Engelberg, Steve Tribe, Peter Weaver, Paul Hayes, Nick Campbell, "Alex" in Canada, Neil Marsh, Faiz Rehman, Darren Pickles, Karen Baldwin, Neil Chester, Wayne Barry and Anthony Dry at Kasterborous)