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3/31/2006 01:59:00 am - Reported by Shaun Lyon


March 31, 2006 • Posted By Shaun Lyon
Today's Media Guardian has two podcasts of interviews with David Tennant, Billie Piper, Russell T Davies and BBC drama head Jane Tranter, all conducted at Tuesday evening's press launch. The accompanying report concentrates on Davies' "anger" at the "snobbery" of the Royal Television Society and BAFTA for the relative lack of nominations for Doctor Who. "You watch a Charles Dickens adaptation and you're clapping [at] all those antique lace collars, but if you watch a bird woman from the 57th century you don't imagine that someone put two weeks' thought and work into it," Davies said. His criticism concerns the lack of recognition for the talents and efforts of the actors and the crew: "you always sounds a bit stupid raging about awards, they don't matter in the end - but if our design, costume, makeup and effects departments aren't nominated [in the Bafta Craft Awards] I will be furious." Jane Tranter comments that "there is something about Doctor Who that is so effortlessly entertaining that it just doesn't show its colours in terms of quite how brilliant a piece of drama it is ... [unlike] a classic adaptation ... Doctor Who hides the talent and the expertise that's put into it." The Tennant/Piper podcast on the Guardian is the whole of the open Q&A from the press launch; in it, "Mine's for three series." It's at that moment that Tennant observes that "Mine [his contract] is not as simple as that."

The Daily Telegraph, meanwhile, is more concerned with kissing. The first UK newspaper to fret about the implications of Russell T Davies' sexuality for the series in 2003 is now worried that the Doctor and his companion "are being forced into silly roles". This "is the latest in a long line of ludicrous adjustments forced on our favourite characters by PC modernisers"; fans of the series must be feeling "betrayed by a kiss". The prospect of "an enforced sex change" for the Doctor, referring to Davies' comments at the press launch that he would consider casting a female lead, would be part of a trend to follow "political correctness" in "updating" popular characters for "modern sensibilities"; "bisexual" Captain Jack is also part of this trend. Towards the end of the article, DWM editor Clayton Hickman is quoted pointing out that "the time-travelling pair kiss only because one of them is possessed by an evil alien".

BBC Radio Wales has an interview with David Tennant and Billie Piper, recorded at the press launch on Tuesday evening. The interview previews the new series and the first episode in particular, and includes a few clips that have not been broadcast elsewhere so beware (minor) spoilers. The piece can be heard via a report on BBC Wales's Doctor Who mini-site. In the printed article, it states that "Tennant revealed he'd be battling foes old and new in this series, including the Cybermen and a race of cat-nun women, with guest stars including Peter Kay, Pauline Collins and Tony Head. But he said the strangest of all was starring with Elisabeth Sladen, who played one of the Doctor's companions in the 1970s. 'It's a bit surreal,' Tennant confessed. 'When I was a kid she was on the TV playing Sarah Jane Smith. When she's suddenly calling me Doctor, it's a bit of an out of body experience.' He was delighted with the reception the cast and crew had received on location in Wales. 'It's such a joy to be filming here - everybody here has been so enthusiastic and so indulgent of us that we have a really lovely time. So I'd like to thank the people of Cardiff for putting up with us blocking their roads and asking them to go round the long way while we film scenes!'"

Lifestyle Extra says taht "Many lifetimes of time travel and fighting Daleks seem to have finally taken it's toll on Dr Who - leaving him only five inches tall. The Time Lord, who crash-landed his Tardis back onto TV screens last year in a triumphant return has been turned into toy action figure. The figure of 10th Doctor, played by David Tennant, sports a distinctly modern look in his pinstriped suit and plimsolls. Male fans are also in for a treat as they can now own a poppet-sized figurine of the Doctor's helper Rose Tyler, played by the beautiful Billie Piper. The action figures have been developed by toy licensee, The Character Group plc in partnership with the BBC to mark Series 2 of the show going on air this spring. The wildly eccentric new Doctor and Rose are just two of twelve 5" figures that are either in stores now or being launched over the next few months. Also available will be the Doctor in his trademark long coat with sonic screwdriver, the Slitheen and the evil Sycorax Leader from the Christmas Invasion, teamed up with companion of past adventures K-9. Following on are the last human, Lady Cassandra O'Brien and the blue-skinned Moxx of Balhoon. just two of the new figures to be launched nearer the summer. Jerry Healy, from Character said: 'Last year Doctor Who products proved extremely popular with both young audiences and die hard enthusiasts. This new range of figures looks set to build on that. As well as the new-look Doctor, we're expecting huge interest in the new K-9 action figure, from fans of the series from the Seventies as well as the current day. A whole generation fondly remember K-9 as an ever-faithful companion to the Doctor.'"

The Christian publication World Magazine says of the US broadcast that "Christopher Eccleston plays the ninth Doctor with the wit and manic energy of the 1970s' Tom Baker, though with shorter hair and a more restrained wardrobe than the other Doctors. (In the series, the Doctor "regenerates" whenever the character is killed or a new actor is hired.) The old series was beloved for its low-budget special effects. In the new episodes, the production values are much higher, but with some cheesiness for old time's sake. When a mysterious entity brings the world's plastic to life, the characters fight department store mannequins. When they pull an arm off of the plastic dummy, they then wrestle the arm. The Doctor defeats the menace with a vial of "Anti-Plastic." The show is simultaneously humorous and serious. One episode has the Doctor and his companion Rose go 5 billion years into the future to witness the explosion of the sun. Here they meet the last human being, evolved into a square of skin with eyes and a mouth stretched out on a frame, hooked to a brain in a jar. Worldviews are rather scrambled in Doctor Who, but there is no sex, bad language, or gore—just weird stuff that might scare or confuse a young viewer. Like Narnia's wardrobe, the Doctor's vehicle has an inside bigger than the outside. Just like the human mind."

Today's print edition of The Guardian asks "What is it with all these nicknames?" and then parodies "a leaked memo circulated among executive producers at the BBC" that it says "reveals some major concerns" about Doctor Who. "1 Girls can't do maths or read maps - surely insurmountable problems when applied to the calculations in 17 dimen sions that a Time Lord must habitually make. Also, cannot afford to spend entire pre-credits sequence waiting for her to park the Tardis. 2 Not keen on whole episodes set in Ikea watching her pick out perfect window treatments for her interplanetary home. Or fretting about ageing effects of time travel. Retinol A must remain name of satellite Gallifreyan moon, not anti-wrinkle cream. 3 Doctor must be eccentric. Can women be eccentric without being covered in cat hair and/or smelling of wee? Research how. 4 Cannot afford necessary pre-launch campaign explaining to Whovians what a woman is. 5 Hierarchical problems. Doctor needs mentally and physically inferior sidekick to be afraid of Cybermen/ stretchy-faced Penelope Wilton/glowy-headed fat people. If Who is female, will need to cast six-year-old boy (or rather 800 of them, because they can't work for more than 10 minutes at a time without some bleeding-heart waving child labour legislation at us - talk to Stephen Daldry if you don't believe me) or tin of Spam. Check whether there is Spam rights group. If so, investigate availability of Jimmy Krankie. Could be years before they sort out what we can and can't do with him. Her. God, this messes with your head. 6 Metaphysical problems. Doctor is same person, regeneration provides new body only. Reincarnating as female suggests feminine aspect has existed all along. Might mark series as camp? 7 Aesthetic problems. Doctor historically not been in any danger of being mistaken for Michaelangelo's David. Tom Baker nice chap but face like a bag of pork chops and Sylvester McCoy frankly disturbing. As ugly women now shot on sight at television auditions, how to cast? Go with Claire Goose and throw acid in her face? (Call her agent.) 8 Insurmountable problem - Time Lady just sounds wrong. 9 On the other hand, we've got to find something to do with Davina McCall."

There is currently a poll running at the US TV Guide magazine site for the favorite new mid-season drama. Doctor Who currently is in second place at 22%, following "The Unit" (42%) and trailed by NBC's "Heist" at 15%, ABC's "The Evidence" at 13% and "Thief" at 6%.

There's more coverage of the press launch (with nothing new added), the TARDISODES and the "kiss" stuff from last night and today at Now Playing MagTV SquadNews.com.auEvening TimesThe StageSky Showbiz,Digital SpyThe RegisterTechDigestSyFyPortal,StarpulseINS NewsIndian TelevisionContact Music.

(Thanks to Steve Tribe, Paul Engelberg, Peter Weaver, Scott Matthewman, Bill Albert)