2/25/2007 05:06:00 p.m. -
February 25, 2007 • Posted By Stephen Blake
Ever since it was announced that Doctor Who was returning to our television screens, Britain's LGBT publications (along with most others, it seems) have taken the show to their hearts, regularly reporting on the show (and its spinoffs).
In particular, Millivres Prowler - who publish Gay Times (recently restyled as GT), Diva, axm, the free Pink Papernewspaper and the online magazine Puffta - have devoted many column inches to Who. Here's a flavour.
In recent weeks, two Doctor Who-related articles appeared in the Pink Paper, with Darren Scott Gleeson interviewing Who stars Elisabeth Sladen (about her return to Doctor Who and The Sarah Jane Adventures) and John Barrowman.
Forget the girl, it's the woman I want
Gleeson says of Sladen, "Forget Billie Piper, the best Doctor Who companion was Sarah Jane Smith.
"Following her heart-breaking return to the programme [in 2006], her own series looks set to be the latest in a long line of hits for Russell T Davies."
A self-professed Doctor Who fan, Gleeson admits that it was "intrepid reporter Sarah Jane that first got me interested in journalism".
In the article, Sladen says it's incredible what Doctor Who has done, and she recounts the time a Who fan who's gay thanked her: "He said he had a very difficult childhood and would switch on Doctor Who on a Saturday and identify with it because it was about a loner and he felt very alone. He said it was just that half-hour when he actually believed everything would be all right."
There was also a short accompanying article, "Who's that boy?", about Gareth Roberts, which mentioned his Doctor Who novels, audios, Tardisodes, interactive episode (Attack of the Graske) and his Series 3 story The Shakespeare Code. Roberts said, "It's going to be pretty fab, they've done things which I can't quite believe. This is the kind of television I've always wanted to do. I'm very happy with The Sarah Jane Adventures too [...] I love working with BBC Wales, I'm not going anywhere until they kick me out."
He nose, you know
In the second interview, Barrowman talked to Gleeson about Live and Kicking, Doctor Who, Torchwood, and being the recipient of the "Entertainer of the Year" award at the first Annual Stonewall Awards.
"I'm really pleased about the award because that's being recognised by - if we have to put ourselves into categories - my community. It's a community I'm very proud of. I'm very proud to be gay and I don't see it as a detriment at all, as some people look at it.
Unfortunately, due to work commitments, Barrowman was unable to collect the award in person and so Sir Ian McKellan did so on his behalf. "I look up to Ian. Follow in his footsteps," Barrowman said of his friend.
During the interview, Barrowman talks about his civil partnership to long-time partner Scott Gill, his thoughts on religion, his Doctor Who mobile ring tone - "I'm really proud of that, dude [...] that's bought me a couple of homes" - and his six-inch Captain Jack action figure: "I turned down three or four different prototypes as the chin and nose [and] cheekbones weren't right, I was particular about it."
He also talks about how great it is being part of the whole Doctor Who/Torchwood family: "I love every second of it [but] I don't Google myself and dissuade my family from doing it because you read a lot of things that aren't true." Of the Dr Who Weakest Link Christmas Special, he says Anne Robinson (Bad Wolf) confided that they were the best celebrity group the Weakest Link had ever had!
Finally, of Series 3 of Doctor Who, he teases, "You're going to love it!"
The Captain Dances
The Pink Paper interview (mentioned above) was conducted in Stirling, Scotland, during Barrowman's official opening of his cousin Mark Barrowman's new business, MB Disco Supplies. Barrowman (Mark) said that although the shop started trading in July 2006, this was a private ceremony as "a thank you to our suppliers, key business partners and family members. We then opened the doors to the public and John mingled with his fans, signing photographs and his CDs."
The Pink Paper also published the winners of its annual Pink Paper Readers' Awards. "Best TV Show" went to Doctor Who. Davies accepted the award, saying, rather cheekily, "Thanks very much. I've always said the gay audience is cleverer, more imaginative and frankly more good-looking than anyone else, and now you've gone and proved it!" The Catherine Tate Show came second in the same category.
Who's Got Attitude?
Barrowman and Mark Gatiss both appeared in December's Attitude magazine.
Barrowman was asked "Any Queries?" by readers. He answered a diverse set of questions, including homophobia in Hollywood, his time on Live and Kicking, civil partnerships, watching Doctor Who as a child and not winning Dancing On Ice.
Gatiss was interviewed to coincide with the publication of his second Lucifer Box novel The Devil in Amber. As well as his books, he talked about playing Johnny Craddock in Fear of Fanny and Ratty in The Wind in the Willows, and briefly mentioned how thrilled he is to be in Series 3 of Doctor Who: "Another dream come true. I can't say much but it's a brilliant part and I can't wait to work with my old friend David Tennant."
Asked what it's like being involved with the show, Gatiss replied, "It's been a total joy. Really, it's been unbelievable. Doctor Who is the number one show and I don't think any of us believed that we'd ever see that again. Kids are obsessed with Daleks, they have wall-charts and stuff. It's like 1973 all over again! Russell T Davies presides over it all with his incredible enthusiasm and tirelessness. It's like a big family really. It's like UNIT. I'm Jo Grant!"
The Church and the Crown
The current issue of the Pink Paper reports on Barrowman's desire to have children, and his response to the recent row in the UK between the church and Parliament over the rights of gay people to adopt: "If people think of a family unit as being something from the past, then I'm happy to get the Doctor to take them back to the Dark Ages in the Tardis [sic]. We don't need them in our future."
Earlier, in Gay Times (December 2006), Terry Sanderson in his "Mediawatch" column, commented, happily, that the Daily Mirror reported Barrowman and Gill's desire to become parents "without a whisper of censure or judgementalism" on the tabloid's part.
Age of Enlightenment
Elsewhere in the current issue of the Pink Paper covers the story of Sylvester McCoy joining McKellan in the Royal Shakespeare Company's new production of King Lear, and the news that Lynda Baron (Enlightenment) will be hosting a 10-year birthday celebration of Amnesty International's LGBT UK Network on 27 February, which is also supported by Simon Callow (The Unquiet Dead).
Glad to be Kay
Also reported in the Pink, Peter Kay (Love and Monsters) is to play Roger de Bris, "the theatrical gay icon and world's worst director", in a new production, at the Palace Theatre in Manchester, of Mel Brooks's classic musical comedy The Producers.
"I've always been a huge fan of The Producers, ever since I first saw the film on telly when I was 11," Kay said. "[This] is definitely, for me, a real dream come true. I can't wait."
The story was previously reported in the Bolton News.
Gay Times and Attitude both recommended the 2007 Philip Olivier calendar from Slow Dazzle. No mention of Doctor Who - Olivier plays Seventh Doctor companion Hex in the Big Finish audios - but the piece briefly talks about his role as a gay schoolteacher in Hollyoaks: In the City.
At Home with the Barrowman's
The same issue of Gay Times has a three-page article about how Barrowman and his agent, Gavin Barker, met. Barker recounts that Barrowman's casting as Captain Jack in Doctor Who "was the quickest offer in the history of BBC Drama".
Meanwhile, the restyled GT tests new Doctor Who companion Freema Agyeman on her Who knowledge in a light-hearted piece, "Doctor, Doctor". Asked what's the best thing about being the Doctor's companion, Agyeman replies, "[...] all the adventures you go on. You don't know from one minute to the next where you're going to be, who you're going to be encountering. It's a real roller-coaster ride. And for me personally this part has no stereotypical limitations as a black female, which I may have encountered in the past."
The new issue of Out Northwest (March 2007, available from 28 February), the free magazine published by the Lesbian and Gay Foundation, reports on Series 3 of Doctor Who and the "Huge Who exhibition" at the Museum of Science and Industry. The cover shows a full-page publicity shot of the Tenth Doctor and Martha Jones inside the TARDIS and proclaims: "The Doctor Lands in Manchester".
Billie and the Boys
Puffta.co.uk's online magazine details Billie Piper in their "Icon One Series": "Billie Piper. Only 23 years old but she's just published her autobiography, ditched the Doctor but we'd rather she release another album!" The article presents a potted biog of Piper, including quotes from the actor and RTD.
Charlie not Charley
In its online archive, ScotsGay magazine has an article on all things Doctor Who, including an interview with, as the piece puts it, "the openly gay Glaswegian comedian" Charlie Ross, a favourite on the UK Doctor Who convention circuit, who also appears as Lest in Big Finish's Eighth Doctor/Charley/C'rizz audio drama Memory Lane. "It's a dark, comic piece with a twist [...] a traditional Dr Who story of the best kind," Ross says.
The article states: "Charlie has been a fan his whole life. He grew up watching Tom Baker and Peter Davison - 'Who I've been lucky enough to meet' [and who, together with a couple of classic Daleks, he appeared with on the front cover of the print magazine] - and often includes Dr Who material in his stand-up act."
ScotsGay's "Top 6 Websites" lists Outpost Gallifrey as their "Best Dr Who Fan site".
Away from matters pink, the current issue of Hotline magazine (January-March 2007) from Virgin Trains has a two-page interview with Simon Pegg (The Long Game). He talks about Shaun of the Dead, appearing opposite Tom Cruise inMission: Impossible III, his new film Hot Fuzz and his part as the Editor in Doctor Who: "It was amazing, the very idea of being part of Doctor Who was great."
He also recounts how, at the age of eight, he met Tom Baker: "I have a book somewhere [...] autographed by Tom Baker. It says: 'To Simon, 8, from Tom Baker, 888.' [...] he signed it for me and offered me a jelly baby. If someone had come to me then, some sort of emissary from the future, and said that years later I would be in Doctor Who, it would have fried my mind."