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4/14/2006 02:50:00 am - Reported by Shaun Lyon


April 14, 2006 • Posted By Shaun Lyon
Broadcasting Updates

Currently playing on BBC Digital (Freeview channel 302) is the press previewtrailer presentation featuring clips from "Tooth and Claw," "School Reunion" (including some scenes of K9 and a confrontation between Rose and Sarah Jane), "The Girl in the Fireplace," "Rise of the Cybermen/The Age Of Steel," plus a couple of teasers for "The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit" and "The Idiot's Lantern" for the eagle-eyed. (It also appears there may be one or two brief clips from the final two-parter of the year.) Viewers were invited to press their "red button" to see the press presentation.

On Saturday from 11.58am onwards (after Sportsround) the CBBC Channelwill be going "Doctor Who crazy!" Matt Edmondson and Anne Foy will be hosting, dressed as the Doctor and Rose, and throughout the day they'll "be building up the excitement to the big event at 7.15 on BBC ONE. We'll be playing a Doctor Who game, giving viewers the chance to vote for their favourite clip of 2005, and finding out whether there are monsters in your school in our Monster Hour. As well as that, we've another chance to see Totally Doctor Who episode 1."

The "Listen Again" feature for the Jo Whiley radio show on Thursday, featuring an interview with David Tennant, is active; click here to listen to the interview.

Official Websites

In the absence of a site for Totally Doctor Who, the CBBC Newsround site has this week launched a Doctor Who mini-site of its own, gathering up the various stories, interviews and photo packages of the past year, as well as starting a new message board for younger fans. The site can be foundhere.

On the official site, Doctor Who Confidential now has the beginnings of its own proper section - a webpage currently titled 'Confidential Desktop: The Christmas Invasion'. As well as a handful of pop-up facts about the Christmas special, there's a series of windows with descriptive text on various aspects of making the show, along with a 'Monsters and Villains' style short history of the Sycorax by Russell T Davies. There are also links in place (but not yet active) to pages or sections for the first four editions of the second series, up to 'From Script to Screen'.

Also on the official site is the return of last year's Fear Factor - a 'Chilling' 4 out of 5 being given to 'New Earth' by the panel of children."It's non-stop action! Things are exploding! Samuel is very excited, while Adam fidgets in agitation. Amy attempts to cover the TV with a cushion at one point, to Harry's annoyance. ... A worried Amy asks, 'Is it nearly finished yet?' Mum wonders if she wants to stop watching. 'No!' replies."

The BBC's main TV page is once again using a flash animation to promote tomorrow's series debut. And the BBChomepage for Saturday proclaims "Doctor Who returns"...

Series Two Updates

The Sophia Myles fansite Absolutely Sophia Myles posted a news story stating that "David Tennant, Sophia Myles and a producer" have recorded a commentary for "The Girl in the Fireplace", presumably the one for the BBC website which will go live after the episode's transmission.

The trade paper Broadcast this week carries a feature on Will Cohen, the head of Mill TV, on producing effects for the new series. According to Cohen, last year's tally of 1,300 vfx shots over 13 episodes looks like being matched this year: "we've completed 600 or thereabouts on the six episodes we've finished so far. So it looks the same on paper, but this time we've got more people working on the project and we're taking more time. You'll see the results on screen." Cohen also goes into some detail on the constraints of budget and schedule, taking Russell T Davies' request for a werewolf for episode 2 as an example - "The werewolf couldn't have hair all over, it could only be on screen for 40 shots, it had to have a run cycle and it could emote but it wouldn't be able to speak. So Russell went away and wrote the script based around that ... We even threw in a couple of iconic howling shots for free too." Doctor Who has 25 Mill personnel working for the series, and each episode is taking five to six weeks to complete, with several episodes being worked on at once - currently, "modelling [is] just starting for the last episode ... the series certainly ends with a bang." Cohen also mentions that the Mill are now "doing tests" for Series Three, "so we can advise the BBC on frame rates and other shooting considerations when it moves to HD" and that Torchwood will also be shot in HD, with one episode being "as action-packed as any episode of Doctor Who itself" - "this could be the sci-fi show that British television has always deserved." Broadcast also has some details on the opening title sequence for Totally Doctor Who: "BDH has created the title sequence for the BBC's new 13 x 25-minute CBBC series Totally Doctor Who. BDH director Rob Hifle oversaw the titles, animated backgrounds, stings and straps for the show, which was produced by BBC Wales' Simon Hall. The team was briefed to ensure that the graphics echoed the main series but retained a separate identity. Music and sound effects were produced by Tim Baker from Subvertical. The graphic sequences were hand-drawn and animated by BDH designer Jon Doe."

The Daily Star talks about this season's monsters... and have they given something away that hasn't been widely reported? "This monster line-up shows just some of the terrifying foes Doctor Who and sexy sidekick Rose Tyler must face in the new series of the sci-fi hit. Telly bosses have pulled out all the stops to ensure fans will be diving behind the sofa when the Time Lord returns to BBC1 on Saturday. We can reveal that The Doctor (David Tennant, 33) and Rose (Billie Piper, 23) face danger both from old enemies and new. They'll fight demonic shape shifters The Krillitanes, who have taken over a school. They also have to battle a new set of killer clockwork droids, dressed like they're ready for a masked ball. And the new series features a howling mad werewolf trying to get its fangs into both Rose . . .and Queen Victoria. The ghostly Gelth, who popped up last year and survived by taking over human corpses, return to threaten the Earth, And the Doctor's sinister old foes The Cybermen are back - just as deadly but with a new streamlined look. The Cybermen and Gelth join forces in a bid to wipe out the human race in the climax of the series. Writer Russell T. Davies, 42, said: 'It was just the most exciting thing I've done. It's huge. When I showed the script to the BBC they were so excited. We are talking epic Hollywood blockbuster stuff here.'" This is the first press mention that the Gelth are returning for series two, if it's true...

Says Broadcast, "BDH has created the title sequence for the BBC's new 13 x 25-minute CBBC series Totally Doctor Who. BDH director Rob Hifle oversaw the titles, animated backgrounds, stings and straps for the show, which was produced by BBC Wales' Simon Hall. The team was briefed to ensure that the graphics echoed the main series but retained a separate identity. Music and sound effects were produced by Tim Baker from Subvertical. The graphic sequences were hand-drawn and animated by BDH designer Jon Doe using Photoshop and After Effects."

Manchester Online says it's "Time for Dr Who feast: Doctor Who stars David Tennant and Billie Piper are trying to make themselves heard over the rantings of a deranged Dalek. A polite request is made by your man from the M.E.N. to exterminate the over-excited metal monster. And, within a minute or so, it's done. Would that it was so easy to silence the Time Lord's greatest enemy out there in time and space. Doctor Who is a reminder of just how scary the universe can be. Worried about Mr T taking over from Salford's Christopher Eccleston? Don't be. In the first full adventure out of his pyjamas, he moves the role on, with a cure for any Easter weekend boredom, along with a few other things. ... David and Billie are taking a break from filming and relaxing at Cardiff's Millennium Centre, transformed into a hospital with a difference for this weekend's story, and also being visited during our interview by that screeching Dalek, who probably just wants someone to talk to. Doomsday will be the biggest finish to a series in the history of Doctor Who. 'It's a real cliffhanger,' promises Billie. But it's a two-part story, concluding with The Satan Pit, that has wiped the smile off her face. 'I was quite shocked,' she frowns. 'The devil has always been quite a spooky concept for me and I found those two scripts terrifying - really dark. We're on a different planet, an alien world.' David adds: 'Basically, they find a darkness that doesn't seem to have an explanation. And even the Doctor, who can usually explain these things away, is a bit stumped by quite what is living under this planet.' There's fun to be had everywhere in this series, with five episodes written by Manchester-based Russell T Davies. It contains some of the best TV writing, acting and production on show anywhere in the world. Clues about the future are there for the taking. ... 'Russell is the best writer in television,' maintains David. 'He is the master of making entertainment seem effortless. The script for the last episode was genuinely breathtaking to read. And there are other brilliant writers on this series, including Matthew Graham from Life On Mars.' Snogging aside, there's plenty of chemistry between Rose and the tenth Time Lord. 'There's no formula,' explains Billie. 'It just happens or it doesn't. And, fortunately enough for us, it happened.' ... But - assuming they survive Doomsday - both will be back to film the next series, although there's continued speculation about when they might leave. As long as the show stays on top form, why would they want to quit?"

New Earth Reviews/Features

The Sun today said of "New Earth," "They are purr-fect villains... feline foes who provide the opposition for Doctor Who tomorrow as the Timelord returns to our screens. At first they look cute, but fans soon discover these weird kitties aren't your average housecats - they are deadly. They are the Sisters Of Plenitude, evolved cats who run a sinister hospital on earth billions of years in the future. ... It was up to the amazing make-up experts on the BBC1 sci-fi hit to work a miracle turning actors into the untrustworthy cats with prosthetics. And the job they did turned out to be the cat's whiskers. The prosthetics chief is Neill Gorton, who helped develop the character from the last series, The Face Of Boe, who reappears tomorrow night. Neill said: 'At first we thought the Sisters were going to be aliens who resembled cats. But Russell (writer, Russell T Davies) said, 'Forget about doing cat like monsters, these are cats who have evolved.' 'So it was like, OK, go get some pictures of Tiddles and let's figure it out. We made a prosthetic piece for the face and to get the finish we used a technique called flocking. It involves firing nylon fibres from a gun. They attach to the prosthetic skin so you get that beautiful fur all over the face. Then it's airbrushed to get different patterns. We picked different ones to suit their characters. There's the novice who is more of a ginger cat, younger and softer, and a grey tabby for the mother superior. Someone could look at their own cat and see the same markings on the face.' It can't have been that comfortable for the actors in the masks though. Actress Anna Hope, who plays one of the Sisters, is seen above left getting hers and there is the finished face. She admits: 'The entire prosthetic cat mask is modelled to my face. It takes about two and a half hours to put on. Your skin can't breathe particularly well, but it's OK.'"

Charlie Brooker in The Guardian writes, "Terrible thing, anticipation. ... All of which brings me to Doctor Who (Sat, 7.15pm, BBC1) - specifically, to episode one of the new series. Now, I've been effusive in my admiration of last year's series - effusive to the point of fellatio, you might say, if it were possible to fellate a television programme, which it isn't, not unless you take a printout of the scripts, furl them into a tube and mimic a blowjob on them, although the weirdness of your actions tends to overshadow your implied praise when you do something like that. Anyway, my anticipation gland was bursting as I settled down to watch the series opener - so you can guess what's coming next. It left me a bit ... well, a bit down. For starters, there's a bit too much going on given the 45-minute running time: the plot revolves around shadowy goings-on in an intergalactic hospital, but there's also a lot of messing about with supporting characters who feel superfluous to the main storyline, diffusing your attention. It also makes a few jarring tonal shifts - leaping from high camp, to straight horror, to oleaginous sentimentality without warning. And David Tennant, trying to keep up with this, occasionally just ends up popping his eyes and shouting too much. What I'm saying is it's a jumbled let-down. See what I'm doing here? I'm lowering your expectations. Not because I'm trying to trick you, but because I didn't think it was very good. And I bloody love Doctor Who. Sorry. ... But hey. Carping over. Now for the good news. All of this - the rush of anticipation, the slow guff of disappointment - all of this is all entirely in keeping with last year's premiere episode, which was also an overexcited manic sprawl of a thing, but turned out to be merely the slightly misfired opening salvo in a dazzlingly brilliant fun-for-all-the-family romp. And if NEXT week's episode is anything to go by, this year's going to be similar. Because next week's episode (also scripted by Russell T Davies) involves a much-publicised encounter with a werewolf guaranteed to make easily-spooked kiddy viewers crap their own spines through their bumholes. It's flipping great (as are Tennant and Piper). In summary, then, your instructions are as follows: watch with a forgiving eye, because the predictive chart I'm preparing indicates a steep upturn in quality from hereon in. Hooray and phew for that."

Another review in The Guardian says, "Anyone who thinks that television no longer unites the nation should peer into living rooms across the country at 7.15pm tonight. The fools' lantern will be flickering, but you may not see anyone in front of the screen. Children and adults alike will be cowering behind sofas as the Tardis heaves into view accompanied by a new Doctor Who and that familiar, if slightly tweaked, whoosh of a tune. The outpouring of affection for the series, with the 10th incarnation of the Doctor played by Casanova star David Tennant, is far from nostalgia for the shaky sets and stripy scarves of the Tom Baker golden era. Viewers have returned - 10 million watched the Christmas special - because the reinvigorated franchise is witty and warm, as well as scary. It vaporises any suggestion the good Doctor is not the man he used to be. Under Russell T Davis's writing, he is much, much better. The series is more subtle and satirical than of old. The first episode features a futuristic hospital where boil-covered Zombies fester, echoing the recent botched drug trials and the panic over superbugs. But the up-to-date Doctor benefits too from the rich heritage of past series, fondly pored over by Whovians. As Davis has pointed out, children enjoy the mythology that comes with the Doctor. And so parents chuntering on about K9 and the Cybermen do not cause offspring to roll their eyeballs but only encourage further forays from the safety of the sofa." And yet another article says, "Cat nurses, lonely zombies, mind-swap machines and a fat man who's slowly turning into stone, or as the 10th Doctor David Tennant puts it, 'I like impossible'. Just over a year ago, reviving Doctor Who seemed like a mad geek's gamble, now it's the toast of the town. A playful Tennant is already fully relaxed into the role, pleasing Billie Piper no end, while Russell T Davies' cracking script never lets any potentially mawkish stuff outweigh the all-important goofy fun. 'Fantastic!' "

The Scotsman says, "Television has changed since the old days of Doctor Who. The performance style of shouty acting, which has its roots in theatre, has begun to die off. It has gone in most of the comedy and in some of the drama. But children's TV is still hard at it. While it definitely doesn't suit the medium, maybe it is still required by the age group - something to do with young people's well-documented need to know exactly where they stand, with none of the ambiguities that naturalism tends to usher in. Russell T Davies's remake of Doctor Who... has brought the old mystery man down to earth. ... As a fan of both Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant, I was excited when they each got the part. But neither of them are at home with the new laddish thing. Weren't Ross Kemp or Jeremy Clarkson available? It doesn't help Tennant that a choice has been made to do a kind of East London accent. I kept expecting him to pop down the Vic for a quick spot of bovver. ... This first episode in the new series doesn't give Tennant the opportunities Eccleston had in his first episode to win Billie Piper over to his mission. And there is less of Davies's contemporary reference wit here than in his first series to fire Tennant's comic genius. Both Tennant and Eccleston get angry moral crusader speeches. This is a convention of British dramatic writing I despise. When human beings are angry, they are surfing on unconscious forces and a whole unpredictable complex comes into play, from laughter to tears to violence to complete incoherence. It could turn on a sixpence at any second. That is danger. But angry speeches make actors' voices go tight, as if they are unconsciously resisting the falsehood. This happens to both Tennant and Eccleston, but the strain shows more in Tennant. The result is not only ugly and untrue, it's also boring. The best way to express the Doctor's morality is in his deeds. In the last series there was a lot of the heroes being chased through labyrinthine buildings by that particular week's manifestation of evil. And here it is again in the first of the new one. But our old flat-footed friend the British TV camera watches from outside the tension. The shots don't allow you to apprehend the exact danger at any given moment. Instead of experiencing the drama you have to translate it."

Newsquest Media says that "The last series saw Christopher Eccleston expose the darker side of the Doctor's character. And the new series will see David Tennant as the tenth Time Lord fresh from playing Casanova. He and feisty assistant Rose Tyler are set to battle the new-look Cybermen and save Queen Victoria from the clutches of a werewolf. But what kind of Doctor will he be this time around and do Doctor Who fans really want to see him snog Billie Piper? ... Area 51 radio presenter and Channel 4 resident sci-fi expert Stuart Claw, 27, thinks that the new series could see some interesting developments in the Doctor's character. He said: 'I think Doctor Who is one of the first things I started watching. Jon Pertwee was really good. 'I have to say Tom Baker is good for a laugh and he started a new fashion in scarves. Christopher Eccleston really impressed me. 'It was a shame he had to leave suddenly. David Tennant as the Doctor? I don't know. The jury's still out on that.' The Doctor's relationship with Rose will hopefully be developed a lot further in the second series, kicking off on Saturday, added Stuart."

The Hollywood Reporter says that "Only the been-there, done-that time traveling hero of 'Doctor Who' would journey to the year 5-billion-23 and upon entering the most fantastic medical facility ever built anywhere complain, 'There's no shop. A hospital should have a little shop.' While in the U.S. the Sci Fi Channel is still in the first series of the modern reincarnation of the legendary Time Lord starring Christopher Eccleston, the BBC on Saturday moves into the second of two series starring David Tennant ('Cassandra') [sic]. Tennant brings a childlike joy to the doctor's enjoyment of his extraordinary powers and his errors in judgment, required for the inevitable predicaments, are a shade more believable than when perpetrated by Eccleston's character. It is a children's show, after all, although Russell T Davies has made the new series savvy and witty enough to attract adults. ... It's silly and clever stuff, and the sets and CGI are all just good enough. The BBC promises more series, and it seems that Tennant and Piper, who have terrific chemistry, will be around for a few eons more. Long may they travel."

More Media Coverage

Thursday's issue of The Sun has a two-page colour spread on David Tennant as part of a series of features marking the show's return on Saturday. It tells how he predicted while at school that he would one day play the Doctor, and has an interview with his former English teacher, Moira Robertson. who says she still has a copy of an essay he wrote, called Intergalactic Overdose, when he was 14. It also says that his parents, Sandy and Helen, nearly joined in the programme. They were visiting the set during a read-through for episode two and two actors were unable to be there. Tennant is quoted as saying: "Because it's set in Scotland they were asked to read in. They were delighted. Mum played Lady Isabelle and my dad played Captain Reynolds. They were genuinely cheesed off when they didn't get asked to play the parts for real." Tomorrow's (Friday) Sun will have a feature looking "Inside the Doctor's incredible world". The Sun also has a brief mention of interview comments Billie Piper gave to GQ.

Televisual interviews Jane Tranter, the BBC's controller of drama commissioning, who "spells out exactly what her portfolio of channels are hungry for What recent show are you most proud of? Life on Mars. Can I have two? Doctor Who too please. ... What formats and slots? Could be anything. We need to look at how we make our Saturday and Sunday night offerings feel relevant to those days of the week. We're looking at how much more challenging we can be midweek at 9pm. ... What's best about UK drama? Russell T Davies."

The Salt Lake Tribune says of Friday night's US premiere of the new series episode "Dalek," "Here's something you Utah 'Doctor Who' nerds can geek out on: It appears the Daleks, the race of robotic aliens that was the Doctor's archnemesis, may have trod not so lightly in Utah. Or shall we say will tread not so lightly. In the next episode of the British science-fiction hit, the Doctor and his sidekick, Rose, travel to the Bonneville Salt Flats in the near future to investigate a billionaire collector who claims he has the last relic of the Daleks. Or does he have more than that?" AndUSA Today says "I'm not a devotee of Dr. Who (Sci Fi, tonight, 9 ET/PT), so I can't tell you where this latest imported extension of the series fits into the doctor's 40-year history, or how new star Christopher Eccleston compares with all the doctors before. All I can say is that this new Who is a very entertaining bit of light sci-fi fun, spurred on by Eccleston's often amusing and always moody Doc and Billie Piper's down-to-earth travel mate Rose Tyler. Plus, tonight's episode boasts the return of one of Who's favorite villains: a Dalek, who was being held in a Utah bunker. Before you know it, the Dalek is back to killing people, and in a more diabolical and high-tech fashion than it did in the old days. Enjoy."

Speaking of the first season of the new series, writer Rob Shearman("Dalek") has a new Radio 4 play on next week, at 14.15 UK time (and then on the Listen Again feature on the BBC website afterwards). It's a science fiction comedy called "Odd," about "what happens when a man begins to find that the entire English language has changed its meaning overnight... Produced as ever by Martin Jarvis, it's the Pick of the Day in the Radio Times."

Newsquest Media chats with Sophia Myles: "Ask Sophia Myles to name her favourite Doctor Who and she replies, 'David Tennant'. Then adds mischieviously, 'For obvious reasons - you know what those reasons are.' The vicar's daughter who was pretty in pink as Lady Penelope in the flesh-and-blood movie based on the puppet series Thunderbirds is reportedly stepping out with Tennant, the latest actor to go time-travelling. But she remains coy about confirming stories about who's who in Who's love life. On the big screen, she's one half of a pair of star-crossed lovers in the new movie Tristan & Isolde, produced by the Scott brothers Ridley and Tony. Her leading man is US actor James Franco. Around the same time that opens in cinemas, she'll be alongside Tennant on the small screen in the latest Doctor Who series on BBC1, playing Madame de Pompadour in an episode called The Girl In The Fireplace. 'When my agent called and said I'd been offered Doctor Who, I thought, 'brilliant, I'm going to meet the Daleks'. But no, I'm in a corset in Versailles,' she says. 'Madame de Pompadour is the mistress of King Louis and, in Doctor Who terms, has known the doctor since she was a very young girl. He's visited her through the course of her life. I used to watch Doctor Who when I was a kid so to be in it is such a privilege. It's a job you can't say no to, it's a bit like being called to jury service, it's not cool to say no.' Filming the series in Cardiff was a bonus as Myles is half-Welsh and the job offered the chance to visit her elderly grandfather. 'I'd been out of the country for so long, so I thought, 'great, I can go down and see granddad'. So I did a couple of days shooting and then went to see him at his pensioners' home. I told him I had a day off the following Sunday and I'd come and see him again. And then he dropped dead the next day. 'It was kind of meant to be really because it was lovely to go to see him and we had a good old chat. So it was very special to me from a personal point of view.'"

This Is Wiltshire says that "a biographer is about to delve into the life of the nation's sweetheart Billie Piper. Sean Smith, who has previously written about Britney Spears, Robbie Williams, Kylie Minogue and Justin Timberlake, wants to find out why so many people have so much affection for the Swindon-born star. He said what drove her chart-topping pop success, coupled with a soaring TV career as Dr Who's sidekick Rose Tyler, will make for an interesting read. But this will not be a controversial book uncovering shocks and scandal. Instead Mr Smith just wants to get closer to Billie's life to find out what makes the 23-year-old tick. 'She is an exciting and extremely popular person,' he said. 'When I first thought about Billie all I could think of was a teenage girl bouncing around on stage singing Because We Want To. A lot of people thought she had her five minutes of fame and that was the last we would see of her. But how wrong this was. The success of Dr Who has been amazing. The fact that she won a National Television Award, which is voted by the public for her acting ability, speaks volumes about her. She really has become the nation's sweetheart.' He added: 'I like to write about someone who has risen from the ashes, a phoenix-like story. I wrote about Robbie Williams, who has had phenomenal success since Take That and has gone on to be the country's favourite entertainer. I like stories where you can feel good about the person you are reading and where you can feel a sense of inspiration.'"

The Rutherglen Reformer News says "Doctor Who returns for a new series on Saturday - and its executive producer has exclusively told the Reformer of his jealousy of a former Rutherglen man. Russell T Davies, who is also the award winning lead writer on the BBC1 series, was a huge fan of the programme while growing up in Swansea. Davies, whose other TV hits include Queer as Folk, The Second Coming and Casanova, admits he was gutted when he heard that fan Andrew Smith, from Rutherglen, had got to write for the series after speculatively submitting a script. Originally entitled The Planet That Slept, the script was renamed Full Circle, and was shown in 1980 as part of Tom Baker's final year in the part. Russell said: 'I love Full Circle! I remember hearing about Andrew Smith being commissioned to write it, and being very jealous as I was older than him! He was 18, and I just remember thinking what an impossible thing to do - and damn his eyes! I really like that story as it's one of the few Doctor Whos that has a genuine science fiction twist at the heart of it, with evolution showing the monsters eventually become their own victims. And it's also so beautifully made - yes, I really like it.' ... Next month, recording on a new Doctor Who spin off, Torchwood, gets under way, and will star John Barrowman, recently seen on ITV's Dancing on Ice. West End star Barrowman, who plays Captain Jack Harkness in Doctor Who, lived in Cambuslang before his family moved to the USA in the seventies. Davies said: 'I can't say much about Torchwood at the moment as not even a second of it has been recorded, but they start filming in May, and hopefully it will be on screen before the end of the year on BBC3 and BBC1. John is absolutely marvellous - when you meet him, he's a real firestorm, truly incredible. A lot of casting directors and producers look at all the West End stuff as a place for great talent, and the people there are thought of as hoofers. They are the most disciplined actors with the finest range you will find. I've a lot of friends who work in musical theatre, and it was amazing that no one had picked up on John Barrowman big time before. I thought we were so lucky to get him, and I'm not surprised he's a star. Hopefully, Torchwood will be a success and become a long-running show - that's the plan - but it's aimed to become a continuing series.'"

SyFy Portal says that "He might have done his first episode with 'The Christmas Invasion,' but according to David Tennent [sic], his real debut is actually 'New Earth,' which premieres in the UK this weekend. 'It was kind of a bit surreal really, because at the time I didn't know the job was on offer anyway,' Tennent said to John Barrowman, who starred in five episodes of 'Doctor Who' last season, on ITV1's 'This Morning' show. 'You know, the first series was just about to go out and as you say there was a lot of 'who-ha' about it. And like the rest of the nation, I didn't realise that Chris wouldn't be doing any more. So it was as big a surprise to me as it was to anyone else. I just laughed really.' Although the Christmas special episode of the series was very well received, the actor mentioned that only now is he relieved as the next 13 episodes are about to air. 'I'm kind of relieved that it's finally out there because there's so much a build up, and we've been filming for such a long time,' said the actor. 'We finished a week and a half ago.' ... The second series is set to continue with the strengths of the first season while also bringing a few surprises into the mix. Among those features is the Doctor's reliance on his Sonic Screwdriver. 'I don't think we've got any new kind of running gadgets,' said Tennent. 'I've probably forgotten something … K-9! Week 3, episode 3, K-9 is back! And Sarah Jane Smith, who was of course Elizabeth Sladen who was brilliant in the 70's. So Sarah Jane comes back and its still Elizabeth Sladen!'"

There were two Doctor Who references in the Tuesday 11 April edition of Ideal, the BBC3 sitcom/drama starring Johnny Vegas as small-time drug dealer Moz, now in its second series. Firstly, when mobster Cartoon Head is unconscious after an electric shock, Psycho Paul finds his heartbeats strange and Moz sarcastically comments, "What? Has he got two hearts? Is he from Gallifrey?" (Pronouncing it FREE in a Tom Baker-like way.) Later, the villains’ boss turns up with an electronic voice device (lung cancer?) and one of Moz’s youngest and dimmest clients risks his wrath by innocently commenting, "Oh! Is that you? I thought there was a Dalek in here!"

The May issue of the UK magazine of "strange phenomena," Fortean Times, has a feature in the current issue on Cybermen and their creator Kit Pedler, complete with a cover illustration that features the Cybermen from the new series. The article focuses on "the doctor and scientist who created the soulless silver monsters and whose unconventional interests took him into the world of the paranormal".

Doctor Who once again features in the British satirical magazine Private Eye - in a cartoon that ingeniously satirises the state of the British National Health Service, a Dalek enters its GP's office and proclaims "you're not the Doctor I had last time!" Also, the latest issue of Glamour magazine (May edition) features a two-page behind-the-scenes Doctor Who feature.

The Daily Record says that "Doctor Who star David Tennant regenerated as a 'Whoodie' when he appeared for a chat with DJ Jo Whiley on Radio 1 yesterday. His clothes couldn't disguise he was looking rough - but that could be down to the stomach bug he's been battling this week. And it's one demon he'll want to defeat before the new Doctor Who series takes off tomorrow."

Also: ABC Online has a 'news' story taken from a fan panel at a sci-fi convention; Now Playing Mag features a review of "Dalek"; PingWalescomments on the story about the Sequence group developing Doctor Who online games; and theBlackpool Citizen and This is Lancashire report on the Doctor Who museum and exhibition including a special event on Monday.

(Thanks to Steve Tribe, Paul Engelberg, Paul Hayes, John Bowman, Peter Weaver, Chuck Foster, Stuart Madison, Alan Daulby, Ed Martin, Joanna Pinkney)