Monday, 29 December 2008

The Next Doctor - Appreciation Index

The Next Doctor had an Appreciation Index figure of 86 making it the second most enjoyed programme on mainstream television on Christmas Day. The only programme to score higher was Wallace and Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death which scored 88.

The Appreciation Index, or AI, is a measure of how much the audience liked the programme. It is a score out of 100, based on responses from a carefully selected panel. The average score for drama on BBC1 and ITV1 is 77. A score in excess of 85 is regarded as excellent while a score below 60 is poor.

With overnight figures now available for the whole of Christmas week, Doctor Who stands as the second most watched programme of the week, a position it is expected to retain when BARB releases the corrected figures next week. If so this would be the fifth top five place in succession, a record for the programme.

Friday, 26 December 2008

The Next Doctor - reaction


Following the broadcast of last night's Christmas special episode of Doctor Who, "The Next Doctor", on BBC One, various newspapers and websites have been publishing their reactions both to the episode itself and its high position in the Christmas viewing charts.

The Telegraph's Christmas television review praises the episode, claiming that "As Morrissey's Doctor said, it was complete and utter nonsense, but wonderful nonsense, nevertheless." In The Mirror, critic Jim Shelley wrote that BBC One's Christmas schedule as a whole "From 2pm through to 11.35pm... was perfect viewing." He wrote of "The Next Doctor" that: "David Morrissey threw himself into the part and showed that if he gets the call he has the gusto to make a classic old-fashioned Doctor Who... Up against all this, the other channels simply rolled over." TV Scoop, meanwhile, was less impressed, calling the episode "something of a swing and a miss."

The high viewing figures attained by the episode have been covered across a wide variety of media. BBC News, along with several other outlets, has ranked the Christmas Day programmes in order of peak rather than average viewing figures, placing Doctor Who third rather than second. The main thrust of most media reports of the Christmas ratings, nonetheless, is BBC One's resounding victory over their main rival, ITV1. This is the angle taken by the Daily Mail. Other outlets covering the ratings results include The Guardian, The Sun, TeleText, CBBC and Digital Spy.

The Next Doctor - Overnight Ratings

Unofficial overnight figures show The Next Doctor was watched by 11.7 million viewers, a share of 50.5 per cent of the audience.

The rating is the highest achieved by the programme in 2008 and the second highest since the programme returned in 2005, only being beaten by last year's Christmas special.

The programme was the second-highest rated of Christmas Day and of Christmas week so far, beating EastEnders, even though the soap was shown in a much later slot. The highest-rated programme of the day was Wallace and Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death with a massive 14.3 million watching.

BBC One ruled the day with the top seven places. The highest rating ITV1 could achieve was an average of 7.4 million for Coronation Street. Against the Doctor, Emmerdale could only manage 4.8 million viewers.

Doctor Who is now the tenth-most-watched programme of 2008, although this position could rise when final figures, including for those who recorded the programme and watched it later, are released by BARB in about two weeks' time.

On BBC3 Doctor Who Confidential had an audience of 0.46 million and Doctor Who: Top 5 Christmas Moments was watched by 0.48 million viewers. Gavin and Stacey: 12 Days of Christmas was the highest- rated programme on multi-channel television.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Next Special: Planet of the Dead

Confirmed on tonight's broadcast of "The Next Doctor"... the next Doctor Who special will be Planet of the Dead, starring David Tennant. It will air at Easter 2009. More details when available.

Mad Norwegian Update


Mad Norwegian Press has formally scheduled two books for release in May 2009.

In the About Time 3 Second Edition, Tat Wood vastly expands upon the discussion of the Jon Pertwee era of "Doctor Who," bringing this installment of the About Time series up to the size and depth of its fellows. All told, this Second Edition has nearly three times the material of its predecessor.


Many existing essays and entries have been greatly retooled, and evidence from the new "Doctor Who" series (unbroadcast when this book was first published) has been taken into account. New essays in this edition include "The Daemons: What the Hell Are They Doing?", "Where Were Torchwood When All This Was Happening?" and "Is This Any Way to Run a Galactic Empire?".

Additionally, Mad Norwegian will be releasing Wanting to Believe: A Critical Guide to The X-Files, Millennium and The Lone Gunmen by renowned Doctor Who writer Rob Shearman. In this, Shearman critiques and examines all 282 X-Files-related episodes (as well as the two motion pictures), making this text one of (if not the only) books to cover the entire X-Files TV canon.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Media roundup

With transmission of the latest new episode of Doctor Who, the Christmas special "The Next Doctor", due tomorrow evening on BBC One, the past few days have, as usual, seen a flurry of coverage of both the episode and the series as a whole across the UK media. As ever, these articles may contain spoilers, so do be warned before clicking on any of the links below.

The Telegraph, always keen to run Doctor Who stories in recent years, claim that David Tennant has backed the idea of Next Doctor co-star David Morrissey succeeding him in the show's lead role. Radio Times, IO9, The Mirror, The Daily Record, The Telegraph, TV Scoop and The Quietus all look ahead to "The Next Doctor", with preview features. BBC News have also run a preview on television, available to UK internet users on the BBC YouTube page. The TorrenttFreak website has an article on Australian fans getting ready to download the special online.

The idea that there could possibly be a Doctor Who musical mounted for television or theatre has excited some comment over the past few days, apparently emanating from some off-the-cuff remarks made by David Tennant. The Telegraph picks up on the idea, as does Contact Music.

Russell T Davies is interviewed by Metro, and for BBC local radio. David Tennant, meanwhile, spoke to Heart Radio this morning. Elsewhere, monster actor Paul Kasey has been interviewed by The Stage.

Thanks to PolyG, Chuck Foster and all on the media thread at the Doctor Who Forum.

Monday, 22 December 2008

Tennant RSC Update


The RSC has issued a Press Release on the condition of David Tennant. The release says that Tennant is making encouraging progress following his back operation earlier this month. However it is unable to give a date for Tennant's return to the London production of Hamlet. It is still hopped that Tennant will be able to return to the role before the end of the run. Until then Edward Bennett will continue in the role.

David Tennant said " am so grateful for all the terrific medical attention I have received and although it is frustrating to have to take it easy whilst all my friends and colleagues continue at the Novello Theatre every night, I am aware that I must listen to the experts and take my time. I am impatient to be back at work and sincerely hope to make it back some time before the end of the run
I am very sorry to disappoint anyone who booked to come and see me in Hamlet, but confident that you will be far from disappointed by Edward Bennett's performance in the title role. He is one of British theatre’s most promising talents and an opportunity to see his Hamlet, alongside the brilliant ensemble of actors that I have had the great pleasure of working with all year, is very exciting."

The theatre box office is writing to all ticket holders for performances after 26th December to update them. If desired patrons can exchange their tickets for other productions in the RSC's London season at the Novello, subject to availability, or offer their tickets for resale at the Box Office, although the theatre can't guarantee this will be possible.

Behind the Scenes of The Next Doctor

BBC One magazine programme The One Show has put online its behind-the-scenes look at The Next Doctor from last Friday.

The four-and-a-half-minute video exclusive is presented by famed Tom Baker impersonator Jon Culshaw, who goes on set and interviews David Tennant and David Morrissey.

Click here to watch the extract. (NB: May not be available to view outside the UK.)

Sunday, 21 December 2008

New "Next Doctor" Clip Online


The official BBC Doctor Who website has posted a clip from the forthcoming Christmas special, "The Next Doctor", as the treat behind the door of day 21 on their "Adventure Calendar". The calendar counts down to Christmas with a variety of special material made available each day in December.

The new 50-second video clip, only available to UK users of the site, features the character of Miss Hartigan (Dervla Kirwan) interacting with the Cybermen.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Tshabalala Interview And Sladen In Panto

With just a few days to go now until The Next Doctor airs on BBC One, Last Broadcast has uploaded an interview with Velile Tshabalala, who plays Rosita in the Christmas special.

It was conducted last month but embargoed until now. In it, Tshabalala discusses the audition process, working with Davids Tennant and Morrissey, her costume, and performing stunts in the episode.

The actress opens in pantomime on December 20, appearing in Dick Whittington And His Cat at The Compass Theatre in Ickenham, Middlesex. The show runs until January 3.

Also in panto this festive season is Elisabeth Sladen, playing Mrs Darling in Peter Pan at the Theatre Royal Windsor. The production, based on the J M Barrie tale, is on until January 11.

With thanks to Jeremy Bentham

The Next Doctor fast-tracked to Australia


The Next Doctor will make its Australian debut on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Sunday 25 January 2009 at 7.30pm on ABC1. This contrasts with previous years when the Christmas specials have debuted on ABC TV several months after the UK. This may also suggest that the ABC will 'fast-track' the other Doctor Who specials to be broadcast in the UK in 2009.

The ABC has also confirmed the Australian broadcast details of the 2008 Christmas special on its website.

Thanks to TV Tonight and the contributors to the Australian forums.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Inside the World of Doctor Who

The experts of Doctor Who have revealed some of the secrets behind the show, from making the TARDIS appear to shooting Cybermen. What's it like to work with Daleks? How do terrifying monsters come to life? What do you use to blast a Cyberman?

BAFTA teamed up with the London Children's Film Festival and the BBC to present a special event in front of 2,000 Doctor Who fans at the Barbican Centre, London, the highlights of which are now available online at the BAFTA website.

Inside the World of Doctor Who brought together the experts responsible for creating the series, from creating a universe of sound to animating a Slitheen or the Ood. With excerpts from the show and real props from the programme, this is an unmissable opportunity to experience what it's really like backstage at Doctor Who.

Watch presenter Kirsten O'Brien emerge from the TARDIS and welcome a range of special guests to the stage including members of the Doctor Who special effects team and the man behind it all - Executive Producer and Lead Writer, Russell T Davies.

Video Highlights

  • Writer Russell T Davies shares his Doctor Who secrets
  • Master monster maker Neill Gorton introduces a range of Doctor Who creatures
  • Conductor and arranger Ben Foster plays music from the show
  • Special effects supremo Danny Hargreaves shows an audience member how to fire a Phaser (and attack a Cyberman!)


Christmas Special Press Launch

The official BBC press launch for the forthcoming Doctor Who Christmas special, "The Next Doctor", was held in London today. A somewhat lower-key affair than the corresponding events of previous years, the event has nonetheless managed to attract a good deal of media coverage on television, radio, online and in print. Readers are warned that any or all of the following links may contain spoilers for "The Next Doctor".

SFX Magazine have posted a spoiler-free review of the episode, which they describe as "not an out-and-out classic episode, but it is great Christmas entertainment. And it does have a few classic moments." OffTheTelly describes how outgoing BBC Controller of Fiction Jane Tranter implored journalists "to promise not to tell anyone else what to make of that. The ability of Doctor Who is to ask big questions and keep everybody guessing. Please enter into the spirit of that, and allow everyone to keep asking questions."

Gareth McLean, writing for The Guardian, describes the episode as "a lot better than last year – a lot – and not just because David Morrissey is a magnificent actor and a lot easier on the eye than Kylie Minogue. For a start, The Next Doctor is about something. It has a proper story (as opposed to a surfeit of CGI), some lovely sharp lines and self-referential moments that, mostly, aren't self-indulgent." Michael Deacon in The Telegraph says the episode is "a blizzard of action... Much of the plot is devoted to the relationship – at times amusing, at times poignant – between these two Doctors, as we begin to learn the life story of Morrissey’s character."

Writer Russell T Davies appeared in the last half-hour of BBC Radio 5 Live's Victoria Derbyshire programme to discuss the special, and also popped up on television on the BBC News channel's coverage of the press launch.

Tennant expected to be fit for specials

BBC News reports that Doctor Who chief writer and executive producer Russell T Davies expects Tenth Doctor actor David Tennant to be fit enough to begin work next month on the first of the four specials which will end his tenure in the part.

Tennant is due to resume work on Doctor Who on the 19th of January, but has recently undergone much-publicised back surgery which forced him to pull out of several dates of the London run of his acclaimed starring role in Hamlet. However, speaking at the press launch for the Christmas special "The Next Doctor" today, Russell T Davies commented that he was hopeful Tennant would be fit to start work on schedule.

Davies did, however, comment that: "We'll have to be very careful. I don't think we'll be swinging him on a wire on his first day back." He did, however, add that no rewrites were expected to be needed to accommodate Tennant's injury.

Doctor Who Adventures Issue 95

DWA Issue 122
This issue of Doctor Who Adventures celebrates the arrival of the Christmas Special with an exclusive preview of The Next Doctor featuring photos of the characters and a two-page photo-story of the first couple of minutes of the story. The bumper issue also contains a mega competition to win loads of Who goodies, a Cyberman mask, a massive Christmas quiz, and a special festive comic. The magazine also comes with a Christmas bumper gift pack containing a monster popper folder, a set of colouring pencils, an eraser and a sketch pad.

The Christmas bumper special of Doctor Who Adventures is on sale 18th Dec 2008 – 1st Jan 2009.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Doctor Who most-viewed iplayer show

Statistics released this week by the BBC, and reported in various sources such as The Guardian, have revealed that Doctor Who's fourth series was the most-watched programme on the BBC's iPlayer catch-up service during 2008. The iPlayer allows UK broadband internet users, as well as users of certain cable television and mobile phone devices, to stream or download episodes of various BBC television programmes for a limited time following their original television transmission.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Sarah Jane Adventures Ratings

The season finale of The Sarah Jane Adventures was watched by 0.7 million viewers according to unofficial overnight figures.

Final figures are available for the first part of the series which give an average rating of around 0.75 million viewers for each episode. This is considerably higher than the average rating for this time slot, around 0.45 million.

Every episode, apart from episode One, has been first shown on the CBBC channel, where they have been getting an additional half a million viewers.

The series has also been achieving high Audience Index figures, with most episodes scoring higher than 80. The highest rating was 86 for Part2 of The Last Sontaran, and the lowest 76 for Part 1 of The Mark of The Berserker.

In addition the Sunday Repeats of Series One on BBC One have been getting ratings of around 1 million viewers.

Highslide JS

Monday, 15 December 2008

Russell T Davies interview

Out - RTD Interview
The Christmas edition of outnorthwest, the free monthly magazine of the Lesbian and Gay Foundation, features an interview with Doctor Who Executive producer Russell T Davies.

The Magazine is available online.

PRESS RELEASE
To see big, noisy, public people being gay, and being happy, is a really important thing." - Russell T Davies.

Russell made his name as the creator and writer of the groundbreaking gay drama Queer as Folk; aired on late night Channel 4, it was the first UK TV drama to be centred around gay, bisexual and lesbian characters. Now, ten years later, he's prime time BBC 1, celebrated for reinventing Doctor Who, and is widely regarded as the most powerful writer in UK television.

In the interview, Russell talks openly about the responsibility he feels as a gay public figure to be as visible as possible, to highlight LGB people leading happy, positive and successful lives:

"Every interview I do I mention the fact that I'm gay, but I think that if your 15, to see big, noisy, public people being gay and being happy is a really important thing."

He also slams the critics who accuse him of bringing a gay agenda to Doctor Who: "If people genuinely see it as a problem, then the problem is theirs. Their life is small, inhibited, and stunted. They're not living fully, their heart isn' t open, their mind isn't open."

outnorthwest also gets the low down on Russell's career, from Queer As Folk to Doctor Who, his favourite TV shows and his celebrity crushes.

Russell has close contacts with Manchester; he still lives in the city, and many of his early shows were set there, he is also a patron of the Manchester based Lesbian and Gay Foundation. He stressed that talking to outnorthwest gave him the opportunity, "to pay something back."

Grahame Robertson, Editor of outnorthwest said:

"We first spoke to Russell nearly ten years ago, at the height of Queer As Folk-mania. Since then he's gone on to become the most influential person working in television today. I'm over the moon he's taken the time to speak to us again."

So, to find out if Russell spills the beans on any Doctor Who storylines, download or grab yourself a copy of outnorthwest!

The Next Doctor - trailer online

The official BBC website has published a trailer for the forthcoming Doctor Who Christmas special, "The Next Doctor", as the gift behind the window on Day 15 of their "adventure calendar". The trailer runs to approximately 50 seconds.

Due to rights issues, the video is only available to internet users in the UK.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Canada: edited Finale on CBC, unedited Online

According to the Doctor Who Blog the version of Series Four season finale Journey's End that will air tonight on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation tonight at 9pm will be edited down to 44 minutes. The unedited 63 version of the episode will be available for viewing on the CBC website tomorrow morning, Saturday December 13th.

Visit www.cbc.ca/doctorwho to watch streaming episodes of Series Four of Doctor Who online (available from Canada only).

UPDATE - DECEMBER 13: The Doctor Who Information Network has posted a list on their website of what was edited out of Journey's End on the CBC.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

DWM Issue 403

The latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine, out this week, features an interview with the Next Doctor himself, actor David Morrissey, who talks about his role in the forthcoming Christmas Special.

Was David surprised at the reaction to his casting? "I wasn't expecting that level of interest, really, but it's come thick and fast. I don't think you can be aware of the world of Doctor Who until you're in it, really, and I hadn't been aware of what a huge show it is, not in the sense of people's interest, how deep that goes. And I was quite surprised by the amounts of texts and emails I got from people asking me if I was the next Doctor."

The issue takes an exclusive look at Christmas Special, with cast and crew interviews, and Russell T Davies looks forward to next year's specials. And DWM look back fondly on what happened during 2008.

News Roundup

Margot Van der Burgh has died at the age of 73. She had two roles in classic Doctor Who. Appearing with William Hartnell in the 1964 story The Aztecs she played Cameca, who provided a rare love interest for the Doctor. She later appeared with Tom Baker in the 1981 story The Keeper of Traken, in which she played Katura. Margot Van der Burgh had a long and distinguished career in British television appearing in many classic serials such as Anna Karenina, Edward the Seventh and Great Expectations.

The Doctor Who Sound team of Julian Howarth, Tim Ricketts, Paul McFadden and Paul Jefferies won the Royal Television Society award for Best Sound on a Drama for the episode Midnight. The judges said "The winning entry delivered its dramatic impact through an impressive and sophisticated soundbed of interwoven sounds. The jury felt this was both innovative and masterly in its execution."

Student Times has an interview with Noel Clarke, while The Rutherglen Reformer has a rare interview with Andrew Smith who wrote the 1980 story Full Circle.

Series 4 Boxset Poster
Advertising in the UK for the release of the Season Four DVD boxset featured large images of Dalek smashing through the wall on a variety of buildings in Cardiff and London. One building featured was Battersea Power station which featured in the second Dalek story The Dalek Invasion of Earth as well as the 10th Doctor story The Rise of the Cybermen/Age of Steel.


Thanks to Zoidberg, Tom Lingwood, ksmith

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Tennant injury latest

BBC News, The Telegraph and many other media sources are reporting the Royal Shakespeare Company's press release that David Tennant will not be able to return to the role of Hamlet for the play's run at the Novello Theatre in London before Christmas. The Tenth Doctor actor will undergo surgery on Thursday for a back condition.

There is no news yet as to whether Tennant's injury will affect his participation in filming for Doctor Who from January. In Hamlet, his understudy Edward Bennett has won favourable reviews.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Tennant injury

BBC News reports that David Tennant was unable to take part in last night's performance of the current Royal Shakespeare Company production of Hamlet at the Novello Theatre in London, due to what is described as "a long-standing back injury".

The play transferred to London last week following a successful run at Stratford-Upon-Avon. Tennant's understudy Edward Bennett took the role for last night's performance.

UPDATE: The Guardian and many other sources are reporting an official RSC press release that Tennant has not been well enough to resume the role for this evening's press night. The performance will once again see Bennett as Hamlet.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Christmas Radio Times


This year's Radio Times Christmas issue is now on sale across the UK. The magazine contains a written piece by Russell T Davies, where he previews the Christmas special and talks about plans for Doctor Who. There are also short interviews with both David Tennant and David Morrissey.

Also, the magazine features a special poster offer. Fans can collect a token from the Christmas issue and a token from the issue of Radio Times out on 27th December to get a double-sided A1-sized poster (supplied in a tube) with two Radio Times images. One side shows the Cyberleader and the Cybermen, while the reverse has the two Doctors, Miss Hartigan and the Cybermen. Postage and Packing costs apply.

To mark Doctor Who's 45th birthday, the Radio Times website is launching a comprehensive story guide, listing episodes, transmission dates, production details, cast and crew. It starts at the beginning with An Unearthly Child and will build week by week to cover all transmitted Doctor Who stories; the first ten up to and including The Dalek Invasion of Earth are already online. There will be in-depth RT Choice analyses by Radio Times journalists Patrick Mulkern and Mark Braxton, and links to original RT covers, articles, occasional billings and readers' letters. Radio Times historian Ralph Montague will also be assisting on the project.

Friday, 5 December 2008

The Next Doctor / Proms Transmission Details

The BBC Press Office has confirmed that The Next Doctor will air on BBC One on Christmas Day. It is scheduled to go out at 6pm and will last an hour.

Doctor Who At The Proms, which features highlights from the concert that took place at the Royal Albert Hall in London on July 27, will be broadcast on New Year's Day on BBC One. It starts at 1.50pm and, again, lasts an hour. The programme will include Music of the Spheres - the specially-filmed scene featuring the Doctor and the Graske, which was written by Russell T Davies.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

E-Space Trilogy Boxset

The Doctor Who Restoration Team website has published an article detailing the contents of the forthcoming E-Space Trilogy DVD box set, containing the linked stories "Full Circle", "State of Decay" and "Warriors' Gate" from season eighteen of the series.

The stories, which were originally broadcast between October 1980 and January 1981, introduced the companion Adric and saw the departure of the characters of Romana and K9. The three four-parters - along with various commentaries, documentaries and other extra features as detailed in the article - will be available on DVD in the UK in the new year. The actual date of release has yet to be confirmed.

Monday, 1 December 2008

BBC Drama Christmas Trail

The official BBC YouTube page has put online a trailer showing various highlights from the drama programming to be broadcast on BBC One this Christmas holiday season. Only available to viewers in the UK, the trailer shows various clips from the forthcoming Doctor Who Christmas special episode, "The Next Doctor", interspersed with highlights from various other programmes.

It should be noted that a shot some fans have mistakenly assumed to be of Billie Piper, seen peering through a letterbox, is in fact actress Sheridan Smith from the "Jonathan Creek" Christmas special.

Doctor Who Advent Calendar

It's December, and as is now a traditional festive treat, the official BBC Doctor Who website presents the Advent(ure) Calendar for 2008!

Today sees a special Christmas message from David Tennant.