Friday, 31 March 2006

TARDIS Report: End-of-Week Coverage


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)

More Dr Who Adventures


March 31, 2006 • Posted By Shaun Lyon
The BBC Press Office has this afternoon issued a second press release to promote the imminent launch of Doctor Who Adventures, the new children's comic from BBC Magazines. It says that "the first issue will feature a Doctor Who themed 6-piece stationery set and readers will also have the chance to win a life-size dalek. ... Moray Laing, Assistant Editor, Doctor Who Adventures said: 'Doctor Who Adventures is big, bright and bold, like the series itself. There's something exciting on every page for young Doctor Who fans, who will be immersed in their very own time travel adventure. In the first issue there is a cut-out-and-keep guide to the Daleks and fans can make their own Slitheen mask, perfect for scaring friends!'" Of note is the promise of heavy promotion in the shops, with "point of sale merchandise including shelf wobblers, shelfbarkers and posters. The magazine has also achieved strong listings in all of the key retailers, with the launch issue being heavily promoted." A larger version of the cover is also now available, courtesy a mailing sent to us from the publishers; click on the thumbnail at right for a larger version.

New Earth Release and Launch Date Confusion


March 31, 2006 • Posted By Shaun Lyon
The BBC Press Office has this morning released official confirmation that Series Two will begin on BBC One in the week beginning Saturday 15 April... but still says that the episode is "unplaced" in BBC1's schedule. The report also features a synopsis of "New Earth," the first episode, which we feature below (including a mix-up in the press release regarding actress Camille Coduri). Interestingly, on BBC1's schedule, Strictly Dance Fever is shown as running from 6.15 to 7.15pm on Easter Saturday; a live football match has been confirmed elsewhere as scheduled for 5.15pm on BBC One the following week, which is likely to run until 7.15pm (at least). It may be that 'New Earth' will launch the series in a slightly later timeslot than last year; we'll keep you posted.
Doctor Who - New Earth
The wait is over! David Tennant, the 10th Time Lord, and Billie Piper as his feisty young companion Rose Tyler, return in the eagerly anticipated second series of the award-winning new Doctor Who.
The Doctor and Rose board the Tardis for new adventures in time and space. But when they visit mankind’s new home, far in the future, they find gruesome secrets hidden inside a luxury hospital. And an enemy thought long since dead, the paper-thin Cassandra, is out for revenge…
David Tennant plays The Doctor, Billie Piper plays Rose Tyler, Jackie Tyler plays Camille Coduri, Noel Clarke plays Mickey Smith, Zoe Wanamaker plays Cassandra, Sean Gallagher plays Chip, Dona Croll plays Matron Casp, Lucy Robinson plays Frau Clovis and Adjoa Andoh plays Sister Jatt."

UK Schedule Updates


March 31, 2006 • Posted By Shaun Lyon
There have been a couple of changes to BBC Three's schedules over the next fortnight, along with more details of the content of the Doctor Who Night on Sunday 9 April. The reruns of Series One will still begin with two double bills (episodes 1 to 4) from 7pm on Thursday 6 April and Friday 7 April, but 'World War Three' has now moved to Saturday 8 April at 7.10pm. The double bills resume with episodes 6 and 7 on Monday 10 April and conclude with episodes 13 and 14 on Thursday 13 April. (See list below.)

The Doctor Who Night on Sunday 9 April is comprised of Doctor Who Confidential: One Year On, a repeat of The Christmas Invasion, and another showing of 2003's documentary The Story of Doctor Who

There will also, as in 2005, be another airing of 1960s Peter Cushing movieDr. Who and the Daleks on BBC Two ahead of the new series; this year, the film is on Thursday 13 April at 11.10am.

Advance listings guides are also showing a CBBC repeat of the first Totally Doctor Who for 6.30pm on Friday 14 April. This contradicts the information given in the latest DWM (which suggested Saturday evenings as the likely time for a repeat), but may not reflect the final schedules. The premier of the new children's series is confirmed for BBC One at 5pm on Thursday 13 April.

The updated schedule, along with the US airings of Doctor Who on the Sci-Fi Channel, are now on the Outpost Gallifrey news page's TV schedule in the left-hand column; note that this includes the new series as assumed to be premiering on April 15 at 7pm like noted in Doctor Who Magazine, although as stated in the news story below, this seems to be a bit up in the air as of today. (Thanks to Steve Tribe for compiling this information)

TARDISODE One Online, Tie-In Sites Update


March 31, 2006 • Posted By Shaun Lyon
A surprising development this evening: episode one of theTARDISODES, the mini-episode tie-ins to the forthcoming second series of Doctor Who, has just gone live on the BBC's official Doctor Whowebsite. Originally announced as being intended solely for viewing on mobile phones, the intention is now to webcast each one on the official site. The available feature, streamed via RealMedia or Windows Media Player, is the first official new Doctor Who footage screened since December's "The Christmas Invasion".
Also now online is an update and revamp to Who Is Doctor Who, the official tie-in website ostensibly 'written' by Mickey Smith, Noel Clarke's character in the series. The site last year featured amusing anecdotes and 'conspiracy theories' related to the Doctor's trips to Earth.
Finally, a new BBC tie-in site has materialized today for the Leamington Spa Lifeboat Museum, another in the new series of tie-in sites created by the BBC team to complement the debut of the series.

Thursday, 30 March 2006

Launch Coverage Continues - Updated


March 30, 2006 • Posted By Shaun Lyon
The official website now has a gallery of images from the first episode, "New Earth".

This morning's news report on GMTV is available online from the GMTVwebsite. Also, the press screening was reported on BBC Breakfast this morning as well, featuring a brief interview with David Tennant and Billie Piper, and and some short clips from the episode "New Earth".

The official site has a link to a video news report from BBC News.

Manchester Online expands on the press coverage, noting that "Billie Piper enjoyed snogging the new Doctor Who. 'I couldn't wait to kiss him,' she confesses. 'We only got three takes. That was a bit disappointing,' adds the actress, who plays Rose Tyler, alongside David Tennant as the tenth Time Lord. 'I actually got to kiss Chris Eccleston three times - or was it two? Rose is such a little minx. In with the new, out with the old. She can't get enough.' The new 13-part series, back on BBC1 this Easter, opens with Rose and the Doctor about to set off in the Tardis. She asks: 'So where are we going now?' He replies: 'Further than we've ever gone before.' ... Manchester- based writer and executive producer Russell T Davies, the man who brought Doctor Who back to the screen, confirms it involves another twist. 'They're two very sexy people,' he explains, 'but I think if they ever had a relationship it would kill the series stone dead.' David and Billie are sitting inside the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff, one of the locations in the new series. They sip from champagne flutes but have to be back at work in the morning. 'We've got three days to go and an awful lot of scenes that aren't filmed yet,' says David, on what is day 175 of the exhausting shooting schedule. There's been speculation that Billie, 23, may be quitting. But, along with David, 34, she's signed up for a third series next year. Russell says he'll stay in charge for a fourth series, if it gets the go-ahead. Both actors are currently filming with Bolton comic Peter Kay, who plays evil Victor Kennedy in episode 10 - Love And Monsters. 'It's hard working with Peter because he's so funny and you just can't stop laughing during takes,' smiles Billie. 'I have to pinch myself, inflict pain, to stop myself from laughing. I can't look at him. He's hysterical.' David adds: 'And, of course, he's loving that. The more takes he can destroy the better. I think he sees it as a badge of honour. But he's utterly brilliant and one of the funniest men I've ever met. It's unlike anything you'll have seen in Doctor Who before.' Russell continues: 'We finish filming on Friday and it's like an end of term treat for David and Billie, because they're having such a laugh and it is so barmy being on set with Peter Kay. But it's not a romp - that's quite a scary episode.' ... David says it's for others to judge the differences between him and Salford actor Eccleston, who quit the role last year. Billie then turns and tells him: 'You're more emotional. I like the way you play that stuff.' While there's definite chemisty between the two stars in front of the cameras, off screen Billie is now happy in a new relationship after her amicable split from ex-husband Chris Evans. 'My life has naturally moved on. I'm taking everything in my stride.' Well, almost everything. Last year she was voted Most Popular Actress at the National TV Awards. 'I couldn't believe that. I was shaking like a leaf. I had to have a word with myself on the way to the stage, because I thought I was going to cry. I spent the whole evening in shock, chewing my nails.' Earlier this week, Doctor Who was nominated for a Bafta TV Award. But the lack of any nomination for Billie or her previous screen partner Eccleston, surprised many. She's honest enough to admit: 'I was hoping to be there and I would be lying if I said it didn't mean anything. But I'm 23 and I've got the rest of my life to do it.' Stephen Fry is among the writers already working on series three. There's no shortage of new ideas. Could the Doctor ever reincarnate as a woman? 'I'd do it. I'd have the nerve. I wouldn't blink twice. I think that would be fun,' suggests Russell. Scottish actor David may have something to say about it. Ten million people watched his debut in last year's Christmas special. He's not commenting on reports that he's dating actress Sophia Myles, who guest stars in one of the episodes. But he's having the time of his life. 'The worst bit was before we started work. It's all the hoo-ha that comes with this show. It makes it the most terrifying job in the world. 'When I finished my first day of filming, I remember going home and collapsing with the amount of nervous energy that had been building up in the months previous to getting going. I have had a ball. I might still be here in 40 years.'"

The marketing company Mad.co.uk says that "Red Bee Media has developed the campaign to promote the second series of BBC One's Doctor Who as well as the 'Tardisodes' - extra clips from the show that won't air on TV. The campaign launches this Saturday, 1 April, and will feature the Doctor inviting viewers to join him on a journey from inside the time-travelling Tardis. David Tennant, who plays the Doctor, says in the spot: 'Think you've seen it all? Think again. If you come with me, nothing will ever be the same again.' A separate trail promotes the extra clips available, or 'Tardisodes', and opens with the Tardis resting in a futuristic landscape. The door swings open, a bright light pours out and the sounds and dialogue from a Tardisode is heard. Viewers are invited to text in or visit the BBC's website to receive the weekly clips. Then the door abruptly slams shut, cutting off the noise. Kerry Moss, drama marketing manager at the BBC, said: 'Red Bee Media has created an exciting and engaging campaign that builds on the impact of the first series and Christmas Special. The campaign speaks to child and adult fans alike, promising a brand new set of adventures with the Doctor and Rose'."

The Mirror says today that it "looks like Billie Piper is basking in a golden glow of happiness with everything going her way. Although she confirmed she is quitting Dr Who, she denied plans to head for Hollywood. The 23-year-old star said when viewers see her character Rose Tyler leave the BBC1 show, she wants to try other TV roles. Looking tanned and sexy in a gold short dress, she said: 'I'm loving what's going on here. There's some great telly out at the moment. I haven't even got an LA agent. I'm happy where I am.' Another reason to be cheerful is her screen kiss with Dr Who star David Tennant who she gave a perfect '10' for technique. Billie said: 'I couldn't wait to kiss him. I did get to kiss Chris Eccleston, too. But the kisses were different, They were more intense with David. It was quite sexy.' Her love life is making her happy, too. She has been dating law student Amadu Sowe since her split from Chris Evans. Her only regret is missing out out on the Baftas. She said: 'I was hoping to be there. I'd be lying if I said it didn't mean anything.'" Interestingly the Mirror notes that Billie is leaving the show, despite yesterday's announcements that she's returning...

CBBC News now features an 'exclusive' on the Doctor Who press launch.

There's continued coverage of the press launch (with no additional information beyond what we've already posted) at the official Doctor WhowebsiteDaily RecordITVITNCityBeat967This Is London,Brand Republic,Monsters and CriticsDark HorizonsIn The News,PCProAddict3d.orgUTVRTEMegaStar,icLiverpool.

(Thanks to Steve Tribe, Paul Engelberg, Matthew Godley, John Bowman, Faiz Rehman)

Doctor Who Adventures


March 30, 2006 • Posted By Shaun Lyon
The official Doctor Who website has details on the first issue ofDoctor Who Adventures, the new magazine intended for younger audiences than the official magazine. "Following in the massive success of the 2005 series of Doctor Who amongst younger viewers, BBC Magazines is launching a brand new fortnightly publication aimed at 6-12 year olds. Toni Round, Publisher of BBC Youth & Children's Magazines commented: 'Doctor Who Adventures will be packed with monsters and secrets, and be full of entertainment, action and humour - the must-have magazine for young fans.' Doctor Who Adventures will include original comic strips featuring the Tenth Doctor and Rose, interviews, competitions, puzzles and behind-the-scenes photos. Each issue will also come with a free gift on the cover - Issue 1 boasts a Doctor Who stationery set. Eager young (and not-so-young) readers can get their hands on the first edition from 5 April." The site also confirms that BBC Books' Doctor Who: Aliens and Enemies, a sequel to Justin Richards' "Monsters and Villains" from last year, is now due on May 22.

TARDISODES Details


March 30, 2006 • Posted By Shaun Lyon
The BBC Press Office and the BBC's official Doctor Who website have both released further information today on the forthcoming TARDISODES, reported in the new DWM and on OG yesterday. Says the release, "In addition to watching 13 new, gripping and exciting adventures - with David Tennant as the Doctor and Billie Piper as Rose - viewers will be given the opportunity to download 13 60-second mini-episodes via their mobile phones, or stream them on broadband as part of the BBC's TV Plus trials. The TARDISODES, which are part of the BBC's trials exploring ways of broadening the output of leading brands, offer the audience an exclusive insight into what's going on in the Doctor Who universe that week. These individual and unique downloads will be available on Saturdays after the main show has gone out. They will include footage that won't be seen on TV, and back story about the characters and adventures coming up inthe next episode - from meeting the Cat Women who can cure all illnesses, joining Mickey as he discovers some alien activity in a local school, to witnessing the Cybermen upgrade process! Jana Bennett, BBC Director of Television, says: 'What better way of travelling with the Time Lord than to have a TARDISODE come to you on your phone or PC? The TARDISODES are an exciting development, delivering mini-episodes which will let viewers access the vortex and explore new worlds before the Doctor arrives himself. We know that there is a huge appetite for Doctor Who and we want to make the whole experience bigger and better for viewers. These TV Plus trials will continue to help us understand more about the different ways in which viewers want to enjoy Doctor Who.' Created by the team behind Attack of the Graske, the highly successful Christmas interactive mission, the mini-episodes will have the same high quality elements as the main show. TARDISODES co-producer Jo Pearce says: 'Our aim, when planning the development of all these projects, is to make the interactive content around Doctor Who series two compelling, exciting and intriguing as well as enticing a broader audience to Doctor Who by positioning it on different platforms.' The mini-episodes are written by Gareth Roberts and directed by Ashley Way. Executive Producers are Russell T Davies and Julie Gardner (Head of Drama, BBC Wales). Producers are Sophie Fante and Jo Pearce. Made in Cardiff, by New Media and BBC Wales, the TARDISODES are part of the BBC's TV Plus pilots, offering audiences a new way of engaging with BBC TV programmes to enhance their viewing experience."
This clarifies that after each episode is broadcast on Saturdays on BBC One, the TARDISODE for the next week's episode will be made available, to both mobile and broadband users. According to the press release, "From 1 April the audience can text the word TARDIS to 81010 to subscribe to the service. The user will then be sent a text message with a link to the download. They will then be asked to bookmark the link and to come back every Saturday at the end of the Doctor Who programme to see the new TARDISODE. If the user does not have a compatible handset they will be told before they download the content and asked to go to the Doctor Who website to watch the TARDISODE." There is no charge for BBC content for mobile phones, although regular service provider call charges will obviously still apply. The press release also notes: "Total audience for 'Attack of the Graske' via the red button was 496,000, with an average of 41,000 requests per week to play the game on the Doctor Who website."

Wednesday, 29 March 2006

BAFTA Cymru Awards: 14 Nominations


March 29, 2006 • Posted By Shaun Lyon
As reported by Outpost Gallifrey on Monday, Doctor Who was nominated in two categories for the 2005 BAFTA awards, but the shortlist has now been released for the BAFTA Cymru Awards, and the 2005 series dominates the list with nominations in 14 categories. The 2005 series is nominated for:
Best Drama Series/Serial
Best Actor (Christopher Eccleston)
Best Actress (Billie Piper)
Best Director - Drama (James Hawes for 'The Christmas Invasion')
Best Screenwriter (Russell T Davies)
Best Director Of Photography - Drama (Ernie Vincze for 'The Christmas Invasion')
Best Sound (Ian Richardson)
Best Design (Edward Thomas for 'The Christmas Invasion')
Best Costume (Lucinda Wright)
Best Make-up (Davy Jones)
Best Original Music Soundtrack (Murray Gold for 'The Christmas Invasion')
Best Feature Programme (Doctor Who Confidential)
Best Graphics/Titles (The Mill for 'The Christmas Invasion')
Best New Media: TV Or Film Related ('Attack of the Graske')
The full list of nominations is at the BAFTA Cymru website, and has been reported by today's Western Mail, which notes that "The winners will be announced during a ceremony at Cardiff International Arena on April 22, which will be co-presented by Rhodri Williams... He will be joined by BBC Breakfast host Sian Williams." (Thanks to Steve Tribe, Chuck Foster, Darren Powis, Peter Weaver, Adi Adi Himpson)

TARDIS Report: Wednesday Briefs


March 29, 2006 • Posted By Shaun Lyon
Alert: BBC Wales Today will cover the press launch this evening at 6.30pm UK time; those who receive the broadcast can tune in for a special preview tying into the press launch.

Meanwhile, coverage of Tuesday's press event has been sporadic due to the press embargo in effect until late tonight (after which we expect a flood of press coverage, which of course Outpost Gallifrey will report to you). Here's a small sample of what's been issued so far:

Today's edition of The Sun has a brief picture story on last night's press launch of the new series. Headlined "It's Doctor Who And The Bra-Dis", the half-page piece has a main picture of David Tennant and Billie Piper and draws attention to the fact that Piper is wearing a see-through top as she "cosies up to" Tennant. It says Tennant "who has taken over from Christopher Ecclestone [sic] as the Doctor . . . has already appeared as the Timelord in a Christmas special" and adds that "Camille Coduri, who plays (Piper's) screen mum Jackie Tyler and Noele [sic] Clarke - boyfriend Mickey Smith - also attended the Cardiff screening." Coduri and Clarke are also pictured. Both pictures are in mono in the newspaper, but the web piece has them in colour.

Coverage, concentrating on David Tennant and Billie Piper arriving at the launch, continues in the UK press with an article in the Daily Star [not yet online] and at U.TV, as well as a piece in the Daily Express noting Maureen Lipman's guest appearance in the series.

Evening Times notes that ""fans today get a sneak preview of amazing scenes from the first episode of the eagerly-awaited new series. The hit TV show - the first full series starring Scots actor David Tennant as the Doctor - will return on BBC1 in the spring. In the opening episode, the Tardis lands in the distant future of New Earth. ... Later in the series, fans will see Phoenix Nights star Peter Kay joining the Tardis. Kay will play "cold and powerful" character Victor Kennedy in episode 10. He landed the role after sending a fan letter to writer Russell T Davies saying how much he loved the first series. However, Kay will be swapping his trademark gags for serious acting. Other guest stars who have signed up to appear in the new series include Maureen Lipman, Pauline Collins and EastEnders actress Tracy-Ann Oberman."

Hello Magazine says that "Billie Piper is fond of describing herself as 'low-maintenance', but at the press launch for Dr Who's second season the actress was looking decidedly sexy in a combo of a sheer taupe-coloured top and white trousers. Her co-star, gorgeous Scottish actor David Tennant, had likewise gone for casual chic in a trendy jacket and jeans. The pair regularly stop traffic in Cardiff where most of the series is filmed. Just last month, for an episode set in the 1950s, diversions were placed in streets near the shoot so modern cars weren't caught on camera. Billie also surprised locals by dressing up in a puffball skirt, zip-up jacket and headband, looking for all the world like an extra out of Grease. Meanwhile, David was sporting sideburns and a Teddy-Boy quiff, which were still in evidence at this week's screening. The second series got a boost when acting veterans Pauline Collins and Maureen Lipman announced they're joining the show's line-up, along with comedian Peter Kay and Tracy-Ann Oberman, last seen doing time for the murder of Dirty Den in EastEnders. Pauline portrays Queen Victoria, while Maureen battles the Time Lord as an invading alien who occupies TV sets. The comedienne was thrilled with her role. 'I had to respond to commands such as: 'OK Maureen, now could you give us 15 seconds of having every last drop of energy sucked out of you?',' she enthused. 'It was great! This will earn me my entire year's worth of street cred!'"

Also, BlogCritics discusses the April 15 announcement. "After the long wait between episodes, the question still needs to be asked: Can David Tennant's Doctor take center stage? In the very first season in 1963, The Doctor (then played by William Hartnell) was more of a background character whose companions were at the forefront of the action while the Doctor figured a way out of the situation given in an episode. Later on, the producers of the series found a way to manage the characters so that both would be allowed ample screen time. Series 1 felt more like a return to those early years, which is fine, but not for every episode. When Tennant took over the role from Christopher Eccelston (who did the Doctor for Series 1) in 'The Parting Of The Ways,' it finally seemed like an actor had stepped in with enthusiasm and interest in the character. As luck would have it, we got our chance a few months before Christmas with the mini-segment 'Children-In-Need' special. Now with this excitement and joy with a new Doctor at hand, we had to deal with whether the result was worth it. For the CID special, I didn't feel it. ... With that out of the way, and April 15th approaching, I can only hope that the show returns to it's full glory and allows it's main hero to take center stage."

(Thanks to Steve Tribe, John Bowman, Paul Engelberg)

Wales Today Report and Screencaps


BBC Wales Today this evening featured a report on the press launch including a brief interview exchange with David Tennant and Billie Piper, along with short clips of the next new episode, "New Earth," which launches the second series on April 15. Below are screencaps from the report; click on each for a larger version. (The last image in the set is aspoiler, so don't click that one if you want to be surprised.) (Thanks to Leighton Calvert)
UPDATE: The BBC Wales Today report can currently be viewed with RealPlayer, at this location.

Series Two DWM Update


March 29, 2006 • Posted By Shaun Lyon
The new issue of Doctor Who Magazine, #368, has now reached many subscribers and has a large amount of news from the forthcoming second Doctor Who series, including the new titles which we reported on yesterday, and the following items:
Promotion: Producer Phil Collinson confirms that the publicity campaign for Series Two will, like last year, include "posters at specially selected sites" and a "specially shot television campaign". These trailers will comprise exclusive footage of David Tennant and Billie Piper and was due to be shot on 18 March. Meanwhile, Blue Peter will continue its association with the show, beginning on Wednesday 19 April with a "make" and studio guests. Blue Peter editor Richard Marson also promises a film about the Cybermen; a report on a set visit by William Grantham, competition-winning designer of the Abzorbaloff; and a possible visit from K9. There will also be a 'Doctor Who Week' in The Sun, beginning on Monday 24 April, in which Sun readers who can operate a DVD player will be offered a series of specially produced DVDs; these will feature episodes already available from BBC DVD. TheRadio Times for 15–21 April will feature "another collector's special … [with] a really original and ambitious cover", interviews and behind-the-scenes material.
Production Updates: Collinson has told DWM that "production is now at full tilt", with 'The Satan Pit' and 'Love & Monsters' nearing completion. The final day of filming is scheduled for this Saturday, 1 April. Editing and dubbing of 'School Reunion' and 'Tooth and Claw' was almost complete as of the start of March, 'The Idiot's Lantern' and 'Fear Her' are "almost ready", and edits of 'Rise of the Cybermen' and 'The Age of Steel' "have been locked". Meanwhile, the production team is now turning to Series Three: "plans have been put in place" for this year's Christmas special and all of next year's scripts "have been commissioned". Russell T Davies' 'Production Notes' reveal that the series has its own new studio, "a dedicated space for both Doctor Who and Torchwood, with room for production, post-production and the actual filming." And they call it Camelot, Davies comparing its size to a Hollywood lot.
Casting: Actor Shaun Parkes joins the guest cast for 'The Impossible Planet' and 'The Satan Pit'; Parkes previously worked with David Tennant on "Casanova" and with Billie Piper in "Things To Do Before You're 30," and he has appeared in "Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased)." In the same episodes areClaire Rushbrook and Danny Webb; the latter's extensive credits include "Our Friends in the North" with Christopher Eccleston. The supporting cast will include Ronnie Jhutta and Myanna Buring. Collinson noted that the episodes featuring cameos from various UK television stars "are a bit cleverer than might first appear" from tabloid reports. "The TARDIS absolutely does not land in Albert Square, nor does the Doctor step onto the Trisha show to sort out his relationship with Rose."
Totally Doctor Who: The new children's magazine show now has a confirmed timeslot: from 13 April, it will transmit on BBC One at 5.00pm every Thursday. There will also be a weekly repeat on the digital channel CBBC, each Saturday at 6.30pm, immediately before the week's episode is broadcast. Its two presenters will interview studio guests from previous episodes and introduce "filmed inserts both from the Doctor Who set and the wider world of the series and the children who love it."
Doctor Who Confidential: The content of another hour of the three-hour Doctor Who Night on BBC Three on Sunday 9 April has now been revealed: the Doctor Who Confidential team has been commissioned to make a 60-minute special. Confidential will also soon have its own website. DWM interviews the series producers, Gillane Seaborne and Adam Page, who reveal that they have recorded "even more backstage footage and on-set interviews than last year". As a result, the programmes will rely much less on earlier Doctors and material on the history of the show. The first four editions have been completed. The first, 'New New Doctor', "follows David Tennant behind the scenes" on New Earth and "New New York"; 'Fear Factor' is the second and "looks back at 40 years of Doctor Who's creatures", including 'Tooth and Claw's werewolf and the Sycorax. 'Friend Reunited' concentrates on Sarah Jane Smith and K9, while the fourth, 'From Script to Screen', "follows every stage of the making of 'The Girl in the Fireplace'," from script and tone meetings to read-through and the start of recording.
"Tardisodes": One-minute mini-dramas, "like little prequels to the episode playing that week", these will be available for download to mobile phones "a few days" ahead of each Saturday's episode, and will also be made available on the official website. They share a production team with the interactive adventure 'Attack of the Graske', being written by Gareth Roberts, directed by Ashley Way, produced by Sophie Fante, script edited by Simon Winsone, design by Edward Thomas and with effects by The Mill. They will not feature David Tennant or Billie Piper, as the actors have been too busy; Gareth Roberts comments that the lack of the lead characters "works. You're creating different worlds every week, so it's good to show a bit of them." Roberts gives examples of "what Tardisodes might present": "a computer graphic of a Cyberman being formed, … Jackie talking to camera, or an excerpt from a TV show" and says that the Tardisode for 'The Girl in the Fireplace' will "follow suit" in being "very scary". Simon Winstone indicates that they will "show you something you wouldn't have seen otherwise … An element of back story. Some are live action… We didn't want these to be previews … They're part of the show's world" and Gareth Roberts suggests that they would "almost work as pre-credits sequences." Winstone also indicates that they will probably be included on a DVD release.
The Official Website: After each episode's transmission on BBC One, the official Doctor Who website will unveil two hours of extra material, including a full episode commentary for download, Tardisodes, trailers and video diaries by Doctor Who Confidential. The commentary for 'New Earth' is by Julie Gardner, James Hawes and Will Cohen, executive producer, director and visual effects supervisor respectively. The next game to be unveiled will feature K9, "pitting him against a whole host of the new series' most popular creations." A further game is also being prepared. The site will also be resuming its publication of ebooks of out-of-print novels, beginning with Mark Gatiss' New Adventures: Nightshade "later in the year". The interactive game, 'Attack of the Graske' is receiving about 42,000 requests per week on the website. DWM reports that there are plans to make the official website's commentary tracks available as an interactive extra to accompany the BBC Three repeats of each episode. They will also be for download from iTunes.
For additional news items and a lot of other feature articles, including previews of the first two episodes, an interview with Tom MacRae (writer of "Rise of the Cybermen/The Age of Steel"), the monthly comic, Russell T Davies' Production Notes column and more, pick up issue 368 of Doctor Who Magazine, due out on newsstands tomorrow!

Torchwood Update


March 29, 2006 • Posted By Shaun Lyon
Russell T Davies has given some details of the writers for Series One ofTorchwood, the Doctor Who spin-off, in the new issue of Doctor Who Magazine. Episode 1 is by Davies and is called Flotsam and Jetsam; Davies will also write one other script. Episode 2 and at least three more scripts are by Chris Chibnall. Doctor Who script editor Helen Raynor is writing a script which Davies describes as "one of the best I've ever read - it's gone straight into the shooting schedule!" Actor Noel Clarke, who plays Mickey Smith in the Doctor Who series and who also penned the recent groundbreaking UK film "Kidulthood", is confirmed as writing one script for the first season of Torchwood, as is Toby Whithouse, writer of 'School Reunion' for the main series. Already announced, PJ Hammond has delivered the second draft of his script, while Si Spencer has been commissioned for one episode. The first block of episodes, which starts filming in May, will be directed by Brian Kelly. Davies reveals that there are several "over-commission" scripts, which are "not necessarily part" of the first 13 episodes but are a way "of trying a new writer or an experimental idea" - in fact, Helen Raynor's script was initially one of these. And producerRichard Stokes is also interviewed by DWM, and says that "if all goes to plan and the audience enjoy it," there will be more than one series.

Series Two Press Launch Coverage - Updated


March 29, 2006 • Posted By Shaun Lyon
The BBC-imposed press embargo of midnight Wednesday night on detailed reports from the Tuesday evening Doctor Who press launch in Cardiff has passed, and already there have been a number of articles posted in advance of the deadline, reproduced below. We'll keep you posted all evening with the (expected) flood of news reports (the article's already been updated several times since its initial posting):

Piper Stays, Tennant... Maybe

The Press Association newswire has two lead articles about the press launch, the first of which notes that David Tennant "has signed up for the third series of Dr Who, it was disclosed today. Speaking about the final episode of the second series, portentously entitled Doomsday, Billie Piper, who plays the Doctor's sidekick Rose Tyler, told reporters she would be returning for series three. 'There are lots of places for Rose to go,' she said. Tennant, 34, who last year became the tenth Doctor following Christopher Eccleston's surprise departure, appeared more circumspect about his contract, saying: 'Mine's not as simple as that...' On making the show, he said: 'I have had a ball ... I might still be here in 40 years.' But a spokesman for programme makers BBC Wales later confirmed to the Press Association that Tennant was 'committed to Dr Who through 2007' for the third series."

"The stars were speaking at the launch of the second series at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff, which saw a screening of the first episode called New Earth. The episode sees the Time Lord and Rose share a kiss, but the scene has a twist as Rose's body has been taken over by Lady Cassandra, a survivor of the human race who featured in the previous series. Asked if there were any nerves about the kissing scene, Piper joked that 'we did not do tongues' and said they had been eating egg and cress sandwiches. She said they only had three attempts at the scene. 'It's not the last kiss of the series,' Tennant added. Paying tribute to the script writing, he said: 'Each script that we get is more funny and wilder and more inventive than the last.' He said reading the scripts was 'never a chore' because they were all written by the 'cream' of British television writers. 'Each one's a page turner,' he said."

"Piper, 23, said the final episodes of the last series 'completely blew my mind'. She said she had been quite 'shocked' by the latest scripts, describing them as 'really dark' but 'in a good way'. Tennant described an episode of the second series, called Love and Monsters, which features comedian Peter Kay as 'unlike anything you'll have seen in Dr Who before'. The pair both paid tribute to Kay, who wrote to script writer Russell T Davies to get a part in the new series. Piper said she had to pinch herself between takes to stop laughing while Tennant said the comedian seemed to see destroying takes as 'a badge of honour'. Piper added: 'I love his 'Dalek bread' gags.' The new series also sees Rose's boyfriend Mickey Smith join the TARDIS, something which Rose is not so keen on as she likes to keep the Doctor to herself, Piper said. Talking about how he would categorise his portrayal of the Doctor, Tennant said: 'I would leave that to other people.' He said he was working with a 'blank canvas,' adding: 'You're not obliged to take on a character that already exists. It's not like James Bond or Tarzan or Sherlock Holmes.' He said every Dr Who fan he had met so far has been 'completely charming'. Piper described the new Doctor's character as 'more emotional'. Asked if he was tempted to keep his native Scottish accent for the show, Tennant said: 'Russell did not want to do a touring the regions thing,' and said he had used a similar accent to the one he used in Casanova. The pair said they had managed to have a social life while working. While Tennant has been staying in a flat in Cardiff Bay, Piper has been in a hotel, enjoying 'telly, beans on toast, the usual,' after working 12 and 13-hour days. 'My boyfriend comes down quite a lot - not as much as I'd like him to, but enough,' she said. Tennant said it was 'not a problem', being separated from his girlfriend. Asked if the pair wanted to make a bid for success in Hollywood, Piper said: 'I'm loving what's going on here at the moment', while Tennant said he had never had a 'five-year plan'. 'There's some great stuff on telly at the moment,' Piper added."

A Female Doctor? Not Ruling It Out

Also on the Press Association newswire: "Executive producer and script writer for Dr Who, Russell T Davies, said he would not rule out reincarnating the Time Lord as a woman. Mr Davies said he would 'have the nerve' to have a woman playing the role. And he said it would also be possible to have a Welsh Doctor, such as the actor Michael Sheen, whom he described as 'brilliant'. Asked if he had a 'wish list' of talent for the show, Mr Davies said: 'I would love to get a gripping American star like Sigourney Weaver. You often get an actor who says, 'I would love to be in it', and then you have to speak to the agent.' He said he initially thought a hand-written letter he received from comedian Peter Kay, begging him for a part in the show, was a 'joke'. 'It said 'Yours sincerely, Peter Kay. PS garlic bread'.' An episode of the new series has been written by Matthew Graham, co-creator of the hit BBC show Life on Mars. Stephen Fry has also been pencilled in to contribute to the third series, Mr Davies said. Speaking at the launch of the new Dr Who series at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff, the script writer said there was not a deliberate attempt to put over a message, but added that swearing, violence and blood were off the agenda. 'We would never have a human shoot another human, for example,' he said, unlike in shows such as EastEnders."

"The first episode of the new series, which sees 'specially grown' plague carriers in a futuristic research laboratory, had drawn parallels with the subject of animal testing. Mr Davies said he drew his inspiration from newspapers, grabbing what is happening now and placing it in a science fiction setting. 'Dr Who has always tapped into classic British horror,' he added. He said he liked to keep the relationship between the Doctor and his sidekick Rose 'on its toes' and said they were 'best friends'. A kiss between the pair in the fist episode of the new series is 'a bit of a gag' and there is another kiss with a twist in the fourth episode, he said. Mr Davies said there was a 'natural chemistry' between David Tennant and Billie Piper, but if the characters they play ever consummated their relationship: 'I think that would kill it dead.'"

BBC News also reports on this item, along with The Sun (although mistakenly attributing the "40 years" comment to Piper), CBBC NewsThe Guardian, two articles at icWales here and here, plus The Scotsman,The Telegraph,Times OnlineWaveGuide, and in the Daily Mail with a small picture gallery.

BBC Wiltshire Interviews

BBC Wiltshire has extensive coverage of the launch, featuring interviews with cast and crew. "Journalists from all over the country joined the cast and crew of Doctor Who at The Millenium Centre on Cardiff Bay for a screening of the first episode in the new series entitled 'New Earth'. Particularly apt as filming for the episode actually took place in the foyer of the building! 'New Earth' is a typically frothy, lightning-paced tale from the pen of series head writer Russell T Davies. ... Then came a jaw-dropping three-minute reel of clips showcasing the rest of the series. The highlights included squid-like aliens The Ood, shiny, unison-marching Cybermen, huge airships hovering above London, an astonishing CGI werewolf and Rose and returning classic series companion Sarah-Jane Smith engaged in an amusingly bitchy stand-off."

BBC Wiltshire also has a Q&A posted with David Tennant and Billie Piper. Says Tennant, "The worst bit of that was before we started, all the hoo-ha that comes with this show. The fact that everyone is so fascinated by it. Obviously that partly makes it the most wonderful job in the world but it also makes it the most terrifying job in the world. When I finished my first day of filming I remember going home to collapse because of the amount of nervous energy that had been building up in the months previous to getting going. I suppose it could have been awful but I've been so welcomed by this extraordinary crew. ... I think the scripts have moved on, it's a natural progression. The scripts were so brilliant last year and I didn't think we could top them. The last two episodes last year just blew my mind and I didn't see how we were going to do that again. But the genius that is Russell T Davies came up trumps as ever and has produced some amazing work. But yeah, they are scary and there's so much going on this year. Truly quite terrifying." Says Piper, "There's loads of places for Rose to go, she’s only 20! She’s got some time in her yet. ... We're not talking about that [the fate of the Doctor and Rose at the end of the season], it’s worth waiting for, so just be patient! It’s a real cliffhanger. These scripts are so special and unique."

The report features interviews with stars Noel Clarke and Camille Codurias well as writers Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffat and Matthew Graham, all of which can be listened to via their website (they're in RealPlayer format and need that plug-in). Also part of the BBC Wiltshire article is a brief paragraph with spoilers, which we've moved down into the spoiler section below (click on the spoiler tag at the bottom of this article to read it).

First Episode Review

One reporter who attended the screening, Caleb Woodbridge, who writes for the Cardiff student paper Gair Rhydd, noted in a blog post this evening that "One sign of Doctor Who's success was that the launch for series two wasn't just ten journalists and a sausage roll. No, a whole crowd of reporters and journalists turned up, eager to cover the event. There's plenty I could say about the press launch, but I'll cut to the chase: is the second series as good? ... Russell T Davies once again captures the sheer joy of the Doctor's travels. From the opening moments, it's clear that the Doctor and Rose love travelling the universe and also each other. Just platonically? Well, the more squeamish fans can keep telling themselves that, but decide for yourself! There is plenty of humour, even outright comedy. While some of the humour in the last series was at times a bit forced - farting aliens and the like - here the laughs emerge from the characters of the Doctor and Rose. The season opener leaves us assured that these are the Doctor and companion we know and love from last year. But a dark secret lies at the heart of events, one that raises complex moral questions, and some of the themes echo last season's The End of the World. But the story doesn't bog itself down in philosophising - once the dastardly goings-on are revealed, we move into a good solid base-under-seige plot. The tale has some genuinely disturbing monsters that will hopefully end up being much imitated in the playground come Monday lunchtime. There are also some not-too-subtle hints to the future. One particular subplot ends with a scene that is basically a great big raspberry to the audience saying 'Hah hah! You'll have to keep on watching - and you can start speculating now!' David Tennant's Tenth Doctor also shows himself to be something more of an action man than his predecessor, and when he gets angry at the things he discovers, he boils with righteous indignation. From this episode, he looks set to be something more of an action man than his predecessor, flinging himself into the action of the episode. The episode isn't without its flaws - various plot points go unexplained or underdeveloped, and we only see a very limited corner of New Earth, though this leaves plenty of scope for return visits. Most of the effects are worthy of the big screen, but a few don't quite live up to the same standard In turns hilarious, creepy and strangely moving, a solidly entertaining start to the Doctor's adventures. And just wait until you see the trailer for Tooth and Claw!"

Trailers Set for Saturday

Outpost Gallifrey has learned that a new trailer for the forthcoming second series is set to debut this Saturday, April 1, at some time in the early evening on BBC1.

Broadcast Alert: GMTV Thursday Morning

GMTV, we have also learned, will feature a segment on tomorrow morning's program that was shot at the Cardiff Exhibition. Viewers should tune into GMTV on Thursday morning to watch the Doctor Who segment. David Tennant and Billie Piper, meanwhile, will appear on the Friday morning edition of GMTV in a live interview segment. There is currently no word on the timing of either of these two Doctor Who appearances on the morning program.

BBC Wales Today Update

Yesterday evening's BBC Wales Today report from the press launch is now available on the BBC News Media Player, where it can be seen in Windows Media as well as Real Player and in a larger size and better quality than the Wales Today Real file; it's located here, although the link might not work for some (pending a proper link on the BBC News site, the easiest way to access it is to open the News Player and search for 'David Tennant' or 'Billie Piper'.)

More Coverage

Today's Independent says that "the writers of BBC's hit revival of sci-fi classic Doctor Who plan to mix current affairs and television nostalgia with plotlines inspired by subjects ranging from the MRSA epidemic to Hammer Horror films. The second series of Doctor Who, starting on BBC1 on Easter Saturday, takes the time lord to places he has never been. For the first time, the Doctor, played by David Tennant, falls in love and ponders God's existence. In a further break from tradition, the chief scriptwriter Russell T Davies said he 'wouldn't think twice' about casting a woman in the lead role when the Doctor next regenerates, adding that he would love Sigourney Weaver, star of the Alien film trilogy, to appear. ... Piper refused to comment on speculation she is planning to leave the show. But insiders said she was likely to leave early in the third series. She was upset not to have been nominated for a Bafta. 'I was hoping to be there... because I love the Baftas. I would be lying if I said it didn't mean anything... but I'm 23 and I've got the rest of my life to do it,' she said."

Outpost Gallifrey will keep you up to date on further news reports that come down the wire following the end of the press embargo on the launch. (Photos in this article used in the press are copyrighted to the BBC.)
Says the BBC Wiltshire report about "New Earth": "Set in the far, far future on a utopia-like, new planet, it sees David Tennant's recently-regenerated hip and witty Time Lord summoned to a futuristic hospital run by cat-like nuns. There he stumbles upon a frightening cover-up and crosses wits with his evil nemesis - the last (barely) living human, Cassandra, played once again by Zoe Wanamaker. Along the way, the Doctor and Rose are terrorised by hideous plague victims and meet up once more with the enigmatic Face of Boe who tantalizes the Doctor with a secret. And bodies are swapped, and swapped again before the bittersweet finale."

Tuesday, 28 March 2006

Shockeye's Kitchen 17


March 28, 2006 • Posted By Shaun Lyon
Issue 17 (or, rather "Course 17") of the fanzine Shockeye's Kitchen is now available for download at their website. Says the details, "Ahead of the premiere of Series Two, the new issue celebrates (and occasionally mourns) the changing landscape of Doctor Who. Will 2006 be better than 2005? Can Big Finish survive in this brave new world? And, most importantly, is Doctor Who now cool?" (Thanks to Simon Kinnear)

TARDIS Report: Massive Weekend/Early Week Update


March 28, 2006 • Posted By Shaun Lyon
Catching up with the past six days' worth of news while your editor has been away from his desk:

Series Two

'Doctor Who - The countdown starts here!' says the cover of the new edition of Radio Times (1-7 April), heralding the return of the magazine's regular 'Doctor Who Watch' feature. This week, it's a full-page article, 'It's not long now...', illustrated with a full-length shot of David Tennant. The feature comprises an interview with Phil Collinson, with the series producer discussing what the production team has learnt from Series One: 'Loads [...] we're much better at anticipating what problems are going to come up, and how elaborate a shoot actually is. So we're able to plan ahead more. And we've got the added bonus of a new Doctor [...] But really, it's business as usual for us.' Collinson also comments on alien planets and how to realise them: 'we're going to go to two alien planets [...] 'New Earth' is set on an alien planet, which has an Earth colony so we can always refer it back to Earth [...] And then further down the series we have two episodes that are set on a very, very distant planet that's very, very different. [...] There will be a big green-screen element, so we can change the colour of the place and paint unusual things into the skies [...] And just by bringing in physical effects - wind and rain - we can make it a much more exciting environment.' Radio Times also promises future features on the Cybermen, Sarah Jane Smith, K9, 'Catnuns... and much more!' And the listings confirm BBC Four's double bills of 'The Green Death' from Monday 3 April, with a rerun of Series One beginning on BBC Three weekdays from Thursday 6 April.

TV presenter Alistair Appleton is the latest name to be associated with the new series; according to Appleton's website, "In quite the most exciting TV job he's ever done, Alistair is set to appear in the penultimate episode of DR WHO this summer! Playing himself he comes to a messy end at the hands of a classic TV baddy."

British musician Kurgan Merrick will record a new version of the series soundtrack according to a report this weekend inThe Mirror. "Our Tardistastic insider reveals: 'It will be darker than ever before - in fact it's menacing and quite scary. 'The new theme tune is a lot slower than the one currently used. It sounds a bit like a distorted choir.'"

The Watford Observer has spoken to two schoolchildren who are taking part in CBBC's forthcoming Totally Doctor Who. 'Tom and Tony, who both go to Sir William Ramsay School, Rose Avenue, Hazlemere, are so crazy about the scarf-wearing Timelord that they shoot their own Dr Who-style films on a video recorder, taking on the roles of the aliens the doctor encouters.' Tom was chosen, says the paper, after the BBC read about the full-scale TARDIS his parents gave him for Christmas, and the pair have been filmed making their Who-inspired home videos.

The Daily Star says that "Doctor Who star Noel Clarke is set to enjoy a kinky threesome on the show - with Billie Piper and her TV mum. The hunky actor, who plays Rose's boyfriend Mickey Smith, says his character has been 'sexed up' for the new series, which starts next month. And he reveals that Mickey harbours a secret fantasy to bed both Rose, played by 23-year-old Billie, and her telly mum Jackie - actress Camille Coduri, 40. Noel, 30, said: 'Mickey gets very sexy in this new series. He's a completely different person from the lad stuck in a wheelie bin in Episode One of the first series. And he and Rose's mum Jackie certainly get on. They didn't interact much at the start - but that has changed now. He even tells Rose, 'I go round your mum's every Sunday now . . . she cooks my dinner . . . talks about you non-stop'. You know, I think he's secretly giving her one. It's his plan. It's like a fantasy thing - having a mother and daughter at the same time. 'He's working up to it slowly.' Noel is also excited about becoming the Doctor's new travelling companion, joining the Time Lord (David Tennant, 34) and Rose on some of their intergalactic adventures. He tells the new Doctor Who Magazine: 'When the show's writer Russell T. Davies told me what he wanted to do with my character, I was like, 'Hell, yeah! I'm not going to miss this for the world'. 'Russell is a genius and I think fans are really going to like this new series.'"

The Sun today has a two-par piece on the new series, saying the first episode is set on an alien planet, with the Doctor and Rose visiting a colony of Earth to find a 'plague farm', evil cat people and former adversary Cassandra (Zoe Wanamaker). It adds that the show returns next month and mentions the series launch is tonight 'so expect some gossip'.

Today's Media Guardian has some interesting notes about tonight's press launch: "Seeing as it is their job to promote a programme about time travel, perhaps the BBC's Doctor Who PR team could learn how to tell the time. A press invite to tonight's launch in Cardiff includes an embargo until '00hrs 29th March'. In other words, midnight tonight. 'Oh no,' says a spokeswoman. 'The embargo is midnight on Thursday.' Ah, but wouldn't that be 00hrs 30th March? 'No, it's 00hrs 29th/30th March'. Which of course, isn't a time at all. Hacks travelling to Cardiff expecting to see their stories in print, or online, tomorrow should perhaps give the press office a call. Now, after Monkey, when the big hand points to the 12..."

The official BBC Doctor Who website has changed and now has a picture of the Doctor and Rose together with a sample of one of Murray Gold's recurring melodies from the last series.

Broadcasting

According to some TV listings services, BBC Three will be rerunning the whole of Series One in six and a half double bills from 7pm on weekday evenings. The repeats begin on Thursday 6 April with 'Rose' and 'The End of the World' and are scheduled to finish with 'The Parting of the Ways' on Friday 14 April. In addition to this, Sunday 9 April will see a three-hourDoctor Who Night from 7pm to 10pm. Although its content is unconfirmed, the limited information available includes credits for David Tennant, Billie Piper, Noel Clarke, Camille Coduri and Penelope Wilton, so it's likely that 'The Christmas Invasion' will form part of the theme night's programmes.

David Tennant and Billie Piper will appear on ITV1's GMTV on Friday 31 March (between 8.30am and 9.25am) - 'Exclusive interviews with dashing David Tennant and sidekick Billie Piper', according to the GMTV website.

Russian TV station STS TV has bought Series 1 (and apparently Series 2) of the new Doctor Who, according to "This Week in Doctor Who". Series 1 will air weekday afternoons at
4:30PM starting this Monday, 27 March.

BBC Experience This Weekend

The BBC Experience 2006 will feature an exhibition of Doctor Who items including Daleks, Cybermen, K9 and the TARDIS, etc., this weekend at Gloucester's GL1 Leisure Centre on Sunday, accoridng to the BBC Gloucester website. Meanwhile, Newsquest Media Group reports that "Doctor Who's dreaded enemies the Daleks descended on Cirencester" on Saturday, and "Sci-Fi fans were treated to the spectacle as the telly stars promoted their appearance at the forthcoming BBC Experience 2006. Event producer, BBC Radio Gloucestershire's Vernon Harwood, said: 'Since the return of Dr Who to our screens, The Daleks and Cybermen are in great demand throughout the galaxy but Sci-Fi fans were pleased to see they gave the Doctor the slip to appear in Cirencester.' The BBC Experience 2006 gives people a chance to look behind the scenes of their favourite BBC TV and radio shows."

People

March 21's Daily Record says that David Tennant "has no plans to pen his autobiography. An ever-modest David said: 'Never say never, but I don't think that I have a particularly interesting life. 'I think people would be very bored of me. Maybe when I'm 75. I don't really know. Ask me again then.' David has also admitted that his parents tried to put him off acting when he was younger. He said: 'They were always suggesting other careers for me to do. They tried to put me off acting. It's understandable though, because acting is a foolhardy career. They are very supportive of me now though.'" Also, according to this week's Star magazine (3 April, page 89): "Doctor Who star David Tennant gets creative in the kitchen for BBC2's Ready Steady Cook on 12 April. He said of the experience: "It was the tardis dish I've ever cooked in my life". Boom, boom... "

The Harrods department store is using Billie Piper in their latest poster ads, which can be seen on the London Underground. They've asked a range of celebrities what's the one thing they would most like from the shop; says Piper, "Two scoops of chocolate, a scoop of vanilla, loads of whipped cream, hot chocolate sauce and chocolate sprinkles. Does that count as one thing? Ice cream is my thing. Can't help it. Making up my own flavours would be great. You have personal shoppers, don't you, could they sort it out? Maybe jammy dodger flavour ...why are you looking at me like that?"

The Western Mail features an article about the BBC Wales series "Belonging" which stars Eve Myles: "Eve Myles is no stranger to juicy roles after lengthy stints with the RSC and National Theatre as well as appearances in TV dramas such as Doctor Who and soon as a lead character in its sister show aimed at adults, Torchwood. She describes her role as Ceri as 'a diamond job.' ... The read through is a day when cast and crew gather to run through scripts. It usually happens in a nondescript meeting room at BBC Wales' Llandaff headquarters, and it's a chance for the gang to reunite and catch up on news. But it's also a pressurised process, according to Eve Myles. 'I'm terrified at the read through,' she says. 'You go in and it's so exciting to see everybody. You're sitting with 20 or 25 people including the whole cast, make-up, costume, crew, producer. There's a lot of pressure on you as an actor to make it work, because if you don't make it work it will get changed. It's probably the ugliest part of the production - it's not like we've got anything to prove to each other, but it's still a really nerve-wracking experience

Jean Marsh ("The Daleks' Master Plan," "Battlefield") and Simon Williams("Remembrance of the Daleks") are currently starring on stage in the west end with Alan Bennett's "The Old Country". Also, Martin Jarvis("Vengeance on Varos") is currently on stage with Diana Rigg in "Honour" for an limited run.

Michael John Attwell died on 18 March according to an obituary in theIndependent: "He also took two roles, 18 years apart, in Doctor Who, as Isbur, one of the alien race from Mars, in 'The Ice Warriors' story (1967), and Bates, one of the Cybermen's slaves on their home planet of Telos, in 'Attack of the Cybermen' (1985)."

Bruno Langley is mentioned on Yahoo News (with a brief reference to Doctor Who) regarding his tour with A Taste of Honey.

Publishing

A postscript to last autumn's regular news of the sales and chart success of Panini's Doctor Who Annual 2006. Last week's trade magazine The Bookseller published its chart of Top 20 Children's Hardbacks (52 weeks ending 31 December 2005), and the annual is placed at no. 14, with total sales of 82,040, a level of sales similar to those for a number of Lemony Snicket titles and perennial kids' favourite The Very Hungry Caterpillar (the runaway no. 1 was, of course, the latest Harry Potter novel, with almost 3 million sales - nothing else is in that league).

The controversy caused by the recent promotion of The Science of Doctor Who by Paul Parsons in BBC Focus magazine (OG news, 21 March) is covered by BBC News in an article entitled 'Doctor Who book furore rumbles on'. According to the report, the BBC has now stated that the matter is 'being reviewed as a matter of urgency', because magazine editor Parsons may have broken BBC editorial guidelines in promoting his own book. "A BBC spokeswoman said that with the new TV series of 'Doctor Who' to be broadcast next month, the April issue of Focus has 'The Science of Doctor Who' as a feature with an angle suitable to the magazine's popular science and technology content. 'Given that Paul is a Doctor Who expert, it was only natural that he write this article. 'The Science of Doctor Who' is offered as a gift to new subscribers in the April issue on the subscriptions page and in the editor's letter,' she said." Also reported at Brand Republic.

Meanwhile, today's Daily Telegraph today has a lengthy article by Parsons looking at the 'real science' behind the TV series. "Is there any real science in the TV series? Paul Parsons examines what's possible. So, beware that your garden doesn't rise up and bite you... To fans of Doctor Who, which returns to BBC1 next month, the good doctor couldn't possibly exist without his Tardis. After all, time travel makes the programme tick. But isn't Doctor Who stretching reality a bit too far? What about all those futuristic baddies and technology? A close parallel between real science and fiction has remained with the programme for more than 40 years - ever since the first episode went out on November 23, 1963, the day after President John F Kennedy was shot. The doctor has fought genetically modified Daleks; encountered nanorobots that can heal your every ill; owned a robot dog (20 years before Sony); and explored a virtual-reality world called the Matrix back when Keanu Reeves was knee-high to a memory card. The new series, with Scottish actor David Tennant playing the eponymous Time Lord's 10th incarnation, sees the return of his old adversaries the Cybermen. These hybrids of man and machine were created in 1966 by the show's then science adviser, Dr Kit Pedler of University College London. Fascinated by new developments in transplant surgery, Pedler imagined the Cybermen as a race that had given themselves so many cybernetic implants that little of their original bodies remained. So what about the science in the show - time travel, sonic screwdrivers, cosmic empires? And what is the big deal about hiding behind the sofa…?" Read the full article at the site.

In America

TV Guide magazine reviewed "The Unquiet Dead": "Having gone into the future, our Geordie-or-somwhere-else-in-Northern-England-voiced doctor boogied into the past with Rose. Incidentally, I thank the folks who pointed out that the doctor does not have a Cockney. As John Lennon sang, I should've known better. My only defense is that my computer was giving me fits, causing my brain cells to click together like one of those swinging marble novelty items that sits on the desks of bored executives. (As much as I like the attention, please don't inundate me with pedantic e-mails about the history of swinging marble thingies.) The TARDIS was playing games of her own. Instead of going to 1860 Naples, like the doctor programmed her to, it deposited the Time Lord and Rose in 1869 Cardiff. Notice how the doctor made Rose change her clothes ('You'll start a riot, Barbarella!') without bothering to change his own? Apparently, leather jackets and T-shirts don't raise eyebrows among the 19th-century Welsh. I loved how Rose tentatively placed a footprint in the snow as if she was leaving her own imprint on the past. A lovely touch. I wonder if the TARDIS is drawn to trouble because it dispatched the pair just as corpses began roving about the streets of Cardiff. Merry Christmas, everybody. The mystery involved a seemingly haunted undertaker and a very Scrooge-ish Charles Dickens, who was flabbergasted by the starstruck doctor ('I'm your No. 1 fan!'). Christopher Eccleston has a knack for overplaying a scene without overstaying his welcome the awful pun ('I love a happy medium') came with a delightful knowing wink. Billie Piper plays the straight woman, but Rose is so well developed that Piper turns even the most obvious scenes (e.g., talking with Gwyneth about a lad's 'bum') into little gems. Most importantly, the producers (Russell Davies I'm sure made this a priority) have done a terrific job maintaining the doctor's balance of genius and humility. He makes mistakes and people don't always walk away. The doctor wanted to let the gaseous creatures keep the corpses ('It's like recycling') until they could build their own bodies, but he was duped and Gwyneth died. 'There are more things dreamt of in Heaven and Earth than we will ever know,' Dickens reminds him. 'Even you, Doctor.' The coda was perfect Dickens runs through the streets shouting yuletide greetings. But what else can we expect from the new Who, a mind-bending adventure with a heart amidst the delicious rapid-fire dialogue. This is as good as sci-fi -- and Sci Fi -- gets."

Another article on the US broadcast of the new series - and the DVD releases of the original - at Now Playing Mag: "Now that Britain's beloved Doctor Who has found a home on an actual American TV network (albeit a basic cable net), it seems that the treasured titular time traveler may finally have a chance to break out in the U.S. as a full-fledged icon and escape the dubious trappings of convention halls and late-night, sweaty chat-room sessions. Now Playing recently spoke with some of the folks at the BBC who are orchestrating the Doctor's American invasion on the Sci Fi Channel and on DVD, and we discussed the future of the character - and his past, as well, of course. 'Securing a TV platform for Doctor Who [in America] is great news as the exposure from the TV broadcast, combined with joint BBC Video/Sci Fi marketing initiatives, will ensure maximum exposure for both the TV broadcast and the DVD release,' says Burton Cromer of BBC Worldwide Americas. 'It will also enhance the popularity of the show, as it will introduce Doctor Who to a whole new generation of fans.' The deal with the Sci Fi Channel was only just announced in January, but it quickly led to a rescheduling of the DVD release of the first series (or season, for us Americans) of the new Who. Originally planned for February, the series one box set is now slated for a July bow in the States. 'Doctor Who: The Complete Series One will be released on July 4th, directly following the airing of the final episode on the Sci Fi Channel,' says BBC Video's Laura Palmer. 'This very special collection has over four hours of DVD extras.' In the meantime, those looking to catch up on old school Who will have the continued DVD releases of the earlier episodes of the show to rely on. While the current incarnation starring Christopher Eccleston is being referred to as 'series one,' in fact the show dates back to 1963. The new BBC Video release Doctor Who: The Beginning is a great way to dive into the past of the Time Lord known as the Doctor, and even though this collection represents the earliest adventures of the character, it's taken quite some time to get the episodes out on DVD. '[That's] really for a couple of reasons,' explains Steve Roberts of the Doctor Who DVD restoration team. 'The DVD releases worldwide are driven from the U.K. release schedule, and these three stories were only released in the U.K. on VHS about five years ago. As we're selling mostly to fans who will have bought these VHSs anyway, we're making a conscious decision to leave a gap. Secondly, with the recent transmission and release of the new series bringing a whole lot of new fans to the show, it felt like the right time to show them how it all began.' Roberts adds that despite the episodes on The Beginning being some 43 years old, there weren't really any huge technical hurdles when it came to bringing them to DVD. 'The original 16mm kinescope camera negatives made for overseas sales still exist. We've had a lot more problems on some of the newer stories, to be honest!' he says, while adding that extra features haven't been a problem for the older releases either, despite their age. 'Actually, a surprising number of the cast and major production personnel from the very beginning are still very much alive and kicking - and in some cases still working in film and TV! One reason for this was that the original production team and cast were generally in their twenties, with the exception of [original Who actor] William Hartnell, so they're now only in their sixties or seventies. We basically have to take each show [one] at a time and look at the possibilities. In most cases there are enough people still around to make a specially-shot feature a possibility, but if not we can fall back on video of convention appearances, material from television archives, etc.' Alas, don't expect DVD releases of full seasons of the show to become a regular thing, despite the series one set. BBC prefers to release the Doctor's older adventures in more of a 'greatest hits' sort of fashion. 'It looks like we will be doing an arc box set every year though, along the lines of those arcs we released on VHS,' says Roberts. 'Our main aim is to try to present a good mix of stories from throughout the show's history, mixing both the ‘classics' and the less well known stories to try to keep fans happy while giving them a chance to experience these less well known titles earlier than we did for VHS. … I realize that this is contrary to the current practice of complete, extras-light season box sets of other TV series, but Doctor Who is such a unique series that BBC Video believes that each story deserves the space to tell its own tale.' Bottom line: The BBC has high hopes for Who's American coming out party. 'The new series will introduce a whole new fan base to the elements in Doctor Who which carry over from series to series - the quirky attitude, the imaginative monsters, the entertaining variety of experience that time/space travel affords,' says Palmer. 'And [we hope] that the new fans will seek that experience with other Doctors.'"

A note to US viewers: The documentary 'Over the Edge' that is on the third disc of the new DVD release The Beginningcontains rather large spoiler clips for both 'Boom Town' and 'The Parting of the Ways'. Any new US viewers who are watching the show on Sci Fi for the first time should avoid watching this documentary until they've seen the complete first season.

Miscellaneous

Doctor Who is up for two Spacey Awards, viewer-given awards from the Canadian SPACE network which has shown the classic series; the website ishere. Doctor Who is up for the "Favourite TV Show" award while Rose Tyler is nominated for "Favourite New TV Character".

The 1976 Splink road safety film featuring Jon Pertwee has been voted 15th favourite public information short in an online poll at the BBC News Magazine website. The film was among 22 featured on the site last month to mark the 60th anniversary of the UK's Central Office of Information. The full story and list of votes can be found at BBC News. Nearly 25,000 people voted in the poll. The piece adds: 'The National Archives has launched a new website to mark the anniversary, which makes many public information films available, including all those featured in our festival and 67 others . . . Films can be viewed online or downloaded to devices such as video iPods or PSPs.'

Last week's edition of the free UK newspaper Metro featured a "60 Second Interview" with cryptozoologist Richard Freeman and how he got into his career path: "In two words - Doctor Who. I grew up when Jon Pertwee was in the lead role in the 1970s. He was incarcerated on Earth, so the monsters always seemed more scary. I was already interested in animals and that got me interested in reading about monstrous creatures.'"

The Dalek cakes that have been widely reported are available in Sainsbury's and soon will be available in Tesco and Asda, according to the manufacturers. "Our aspirations are to produce this cake for as long as the BBC enjoys its success with the series of Doctor Who and will be linking with all the key features for this brand."

The Milton Keynes Citizen reports that a local man "hopes to exterminate the competition in the London marathon...by running as a Dalek! Bob Johnson, of Keynes Close, Newport Pagnell, is piecing together the full-size legendary Dr Who robot in time to battle his way through the crowds in the April 23 event. But despite his evil exterior, Bob assured the Citizen it will all be for a good cause. Bob said: 'I'll look like an idiot, I know, but I'm hoping to raise over 5,000 for Willen Hospice so it's well worth it!' The computer simulation and engineering expert is a regular participant in the marathon, but never has he undertaken the race carrying such a gruelling load. Bob said: 'I've certainly bitten off more than I can chew this time! It's been a nightmare putting the metal parts together but there are a number of small problems still to contend with. One is running 26.2 miles in the first place, another is running it in an outfit weighing 30lbs and finally, I'll be trying not to fall over in the crowds!' "

The Daily Record on March 23 noted that Doctor Who made the top 20 in a survey of 8-12 year olds by a soft drink firm on their 'all time top heroes'.

Also: the Mirror covers the BAFTA award nominations.

(Thanks to Paul Engelberg, Steve Tribe, Chuck Foster, John Bowman, Peter Weaver, Dion Page, Graham Kibble-White, Benjamin Elliott, Bill Albert, Neil Marsh, Craig Brierley, Matthew Godley, and Adi Himpson)