Monday, 30 March 2009

Planet of the Dead trailer

According to BBC journalist Lizo Mzimba on Twitter, the first television trailer for the forthcoming Doctor Who special, "Planet of the Dead", will air on BBC One on Wednesday at 9 pm, just prior to "The Apprentice".

Trailers for the special have already appeared before live audiences at a Wales rugby match and at the "Story of Doctor Who" event at the Celtic Media Festival. However, Mzimba tweets, "You didn't hear this from me. But trailer is a brand new one. It's not the one shown at the Wales V Ireland Rugby or anywhere else."

Friday, 27 March 2009

The Story of Doctor Who

There is a chance to hear how Doctor Who is made, when BBC Radio 7 broadcasts a question and answer session with some of the production team this weekend.

The panel features current Executive Producer Julie Gardner, Director Euros Lyn, Production designer Edward Thomas, Brand manager Ian Grutchfield and Dalek operator Barnaby Edwards. They were recorded at the recent Celtic Media Festival held in Caernarfon in North Wales. Russell T Davies was due to attend but was forced to cancel because of his workload. Filming starts Monday for the next in the series of the four specials concluding the tenure of David Tennant as the tenth Doctor.

Questions ranged from why Doctor Who was not available in Lego to whether Matt Smith would cut his fringe before taking over from David Tennant as the Doctor and why the TARDIS is disguised as a police box.

The transmission is at 0000GMT on Sunday morning and is scheduled in a one hour slot. Radio 7 can be heard on digital platforms in the UK and around the world on the listen live facility. Following transmission the broadcast will be available as a podcast on the BBC Website.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Planet of the Dead airdate

The BBC Press Office has confirmed that the Doctor Who special Planet of the Dead will air during the week beginning 11th April. Although the series is listed as "unplaced" in the main press release, it also briefly appeared on the page for Saturday's programmes. Final airdate and time slot will be confirmed when the listings are sent to magazines at the end of next week.

Planet of the Dead features David Tennant as the Doctor, Michelle Ryan as Lady Christina and Lee Evans as Malcolm. It is written by Russell T Davies and Gareth Roberts.

The BBC gives the following description for the special:
When a London bus takes a detour to an alien world, the Doctor must join forces with the extraordinary Lady Christina, in this one-off seasonal special. But the mysterious planet holds terrifying secrets, hidden in the sand. And time is running out, as the deadly Swarm gets closer.

Planet Of The Dead features David Tennant as the Doctor, Michelle Ryan as Lady Christina and Lee Evans as Malcolm and is written by Russell T Davies and Gareth Roberts.

Restoration Team forum to close

The Doctor Who Restoration Team have announced the closure of their Technical Forum by 1st April 2009.

The forum has been running for ten years and provided a base for discussion of technical issues related to the restoration of classic Doctor Who episodes for video and DVD release.

In a statement Steve Roberts, who runs the site and is a leading member of the restoration team, cited a number of reasons for the closure. These include incompatibility between the site's original aim of openness and access to the production process and the requirements of operating in a commercial world as well as an increase in the amount of personal abuse in forum postings.

The main Restoration Team site, which features articles on the work undertaken on new DVD releases, will continue as normal.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Specials Update

Posted By Anna Roberts

The Sun has published new photos from the first special, Planet of the Dead. These include Malcolm, played byLee Evans, in an article which also reveals details about a character appearing in another special.

The first photo of the aliens featuring in Planet of the Dead, the Tritovore, also appeared in The Sun today, although the newspaper isn't quite sure yet how their name should be spelt.

The Sun believes Planet of the Dead is scheduled to be broadcast on Easter Sunday, 12th April, although there has be no official confirmation of the transmission date from the BBC as yet.

The Daily Express also speculates that Tom Baker is in discussions regarding a future cameo appearance in the series alongside Matt Smith.

Please note, links contain spoilers

News Roundup

The Roundhouse in London is to present The Radiophonic Workshop Live a get together of Peter Howell, Paddy Kingsland, Roger Limb, Dick Mills and Mark Ayres to explore the work of the BBC's Radiophonic workshop. The event, which takes place on 17th May at 7pm, combines live performance and multimedia projections. Tickets are available from the Roundhouse Website.

Former companion Lalla Ward, who played Romana alongside the fourth Doctor, has an exhibition of art inspired by the wildlife of Galapagos, at Chris Beetles Gallery, London, running until 28th March. Pictures will be auctioned in aid of the Durrell Conservation Trust. Ward's husband, Richard Dawkins, has offered to place bids via a special email address listed on his website. The exhibition has been previewed in The Independent.

Former Jon Pertwee companion, Katy Manning, who played Jo Grant, is appearing in a one woman show called Me & Jezebel. The play is based on the true story of when Bette Davis invited herself to stay for a night in the New England house of writer Elizabeth Fuller and didn't leave for a month. Manning plays all the parts including Davis herself as well as the reluctant hostess, na├»ve, star-struck Elizabeth; her frustrated, deep-voiced husband John; the thumb-sucking, impressionable four-year-old son Christopher; the grandmother Ol' Ma; the Dolly Parton like singing evangelist Grace and even the family dog. The play is currently on tour around the UK before playing at the New End Theatre in North London, from 14 April to May 2.

The address to BAFTA by show runner Russell T Davies is now available on the BAFTA Website. In the talk Davies discusses his origins in children's programmes, his thoughts about the audience and his hopes and fears for children's output in the future.

Thanks to Duncan Borrowman, Tom Boon and Trevor Smith

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Doctor Who nominated for BAFTA

Series four of Doctor Who, transmitted last year on BBC One, has been shortlisted in the Best Drama Series category at the British Academy Television Awards (BAFTAs), the UK's most prestigious television accolades. This is the second time that the programme has been nominated for this award - series one was nominated and won the category at the 2006 ceremony.

The BAFTA website shows that Doctor Who has been nominated alongside Channel 4's Shameless and BBC One stablemates Spooks and Wallander. Spooks and Shameless were also nominated the last time that Doctor Who won the category.

The awards will be presented at a ceremony held in the Royal Festival Hall in London on Sunday the 26th of April.

Baker anecdote family sought

The Lancashire Evening Post reports that writer Simon Farquhar is looking for the family at the centre of one of Fourth Doctor Tom Baker's most famous tales about his time in Doctor Who.

In his 1997 autobiography and elsewhere, Baker has related how he was so concerned about the possible effect on children of the 1976 serial The Deadly Assassin that while travelling home from a publicity event in the town of Blackpool, he stopped off in the town of Preston to find somewhere he could watch the episode. Seeing some children's bikes in the garden of a house, he knocked on their door, asked if they were Doctor Who viewers and was invited in to watch the programme with the children.

Now Farquhar is reportedly researching the incident for a BBC drama about it, provisionally titled Teatime with Tom Baker. If you are the family or know who they might be, contact details for how to get in touch with Farquhar are given in the article.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Davies defends children's TV

Posted By Brigadier Bill

Russell T Davies has taken the lead in a big push to save children's programmes on the BBC. In a speech to BAFTA members, Davies said: "They put money into rubbish films, why can't they put money into children's television?"

Davies created The Sarah Jane Adventures for CBBC, but he claims that because of a cutback in funding for children's programming, the show has nearly been cancelled on three occasions. BBC News reports that he has called for National Lottery funding to be made available to ensure the future of children's programmes. He has insisted that: "It needs to be a special case. They're our children, they're the most vital and precious resource you could ever find. It is more important than industry, it is more important than the economy, it is more important than food and education."

Series three of The Sarah Jane Adventures was affected by a reduction in its budget. Davies explained: "We had to look and say, do we want to make a version of Sarah Jane that's a travesty? It was truly shocking to have a successful show having to face cuts which are that severe."

In the end, the series found the required money due to different BBC departments pulling together to fund it. However, Davies still maintains that in general "children's (TV) is sinking lower and lower down the agenda".

Alien Talent Search

Since the return of Doctor Who to British television, there have been many opportunities for UK children to participate in the programme, from the Blue Peter contests that gave us the Abzorbaloff and young Creet in "Utopia", to the "Doctor Who Backstage" contest held for Children in Need last year. Now older Doctor Who fans will have an opportunity to appear as an alien in a special Doctor Who scene.

John Barrowman is hosting a new programme called "Tonight's the Night", in which members of the public will be able to reveal their hidden talents and perform in a professional venue. According to an earlier press release, "this could mean duetting with a favourite pop group, singing with a big band or tripping the light fantastic with the cast of a hit West End musical."

Now the BBC's Doctor Who website has revealed that "Tonight's the Night" is holding a contest for Doctor Who fans over the age of 18 to appear as an alien of their own creation in a specially written scene.

The contest will be held in several stages. For the first stage, contestants are asked to create a costume for a new Doctor Who alien and submit a photograph of themselves in the costume to the programme makers. They must also create a name, home planet, powers, weaknesses and other details about their alien and submit them with the photograph.

The judges will select 50 "aliens" to participate in the second stage, an "Alien Activity Day". There, the contestants will compete in several group and character tasks and be judged by the programme's panel. Ten semi-finalists will be selected and will meet the judges individually and be assessed on their "vocal, movement and scene stealing abilities", and three finalists will be chosen. The finalists will complete a series of "alien oriented challenges", and a winner will be chosen. The winner will appear in a Doctor Who scene exclusively written for him or her, which will air on "Tonight's the Night" in April or May.

Full details and the application form are available at the BBC's Be on a show website. The photograph and application must be submitted by 28 March 2009, so get to work!

Two more Hugo nominations

The nominations for the 2009 Hugo Awards have been announced, and once again Doctor Who has been nominated for the "Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form" category. Two Doctor Who stories received nominations: "Silence in the Library"/"Forest of the Dead" by Steven Moffat, directed by Euros Lyn; and "Turn Left" by Russell T Davies, directed by Graeme Harper. They will compete against episodes of Lost andBattlestar Galactica, and Joss Whedon's Internet musical "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog".

The Hugo Awards are given each year for the best works of science fiction or fantasy, as determined by the members of the World Science Fiction Society. Doctor Who has won every year since its return to television in 2005: the last three winners have been "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances" (2006), "The Girl in the Fireplace" (2007) and "Blink" (2008), all written by Steven Moffat. Five other Doctor Who stories and one episode of Torchwood have been nominated in the past.

This year's winner will be announced at Anticipation, the 67th Annual Worldcon, in Montreal, Canada in August.

Thanks to Steve Manfred.

Sun reports on companions for Tennant's finale: possible spoilers

The Sun has a story about the companions who will accompany the Tenth Doctor in his last story, and the story's antagonist. The information, if true, may be considered a spoiler; click the box below for details if you wish.

Please note that this has not been confirmed by any official source.

David Tennant will appear in four more special episodes of Doctor Who. One will air around Easter, and the other three will air around Christmas 2009 and New Year's 2010. The last two specials form a two-part story; this is the story which the Sun's news concerns.

Thanks to James Robertson.


Spoiler: 
The Sun is reporting that in David Tennant's final story as the Doctor, he will be accompanied by Billie Piper as Rose, Freema Agyeman as Martha and Catherine Tate as Donna. According to the tabloid, the three companions will face off against John Simm, returning as the Master

News snippets

The Daily Mirror has reported that one of the Doctor Who specials which will air later this year will be set on Mars. In classic Doctor Who, the recurring monsters known as the Ice Warriors were native to Mars; the planet was also the prison of Sutekh in 1975's "Pyramids of Mars", and in a 1970 serial, human astronauts met "The Ambassadors of Death" on their way to Mars.

The Mirror also reports that the special will star Australian actor Peter O'Brien and actress Gemma Chan as "evil characters" in one of David Tennant's final Doctor Who stories.

The Doctor Who News Page previously reported that The Sarah Jane Adventures had been nominated for a Royal Television Society Programme Award, in the Children's Drama category; the awards were announced on March 17, and SJA lost to junior spy adventure M.I. High.

Finally, the Edinburgh Evening News reports that the Edinburgh police force are planning to bring "Tardis-style" police boxes back into use in the city's downtown. Many Edinburgh police boxes have been converted into coffee shops, but if this initiative goes through others would be used by police, as they were in the 1950s and 1960s.


Thanks to Chuck Foster and "nabusan" of the Doctor Who Forum.

Davies defends children's TV

Posted By Brigadier Bill

Russell T Davies has taken the lead in a big push to save children's programmes on the BBC. In a speech to BAFTA members, Davies said: "They put money into rubbish films, why can't they put money into children's television?"

Davies created The Sarah Jane Adventures for CBBC, but he claims that because of a cutback in funding for children's programming, the show has nearly been cancelled on three occasions. BBC News reports that he has called for National Lottery funding to be made available to ensure the future of children's programmes. He has insisted that: "It needs to be a special case. They're our children, they're the most vital and precious resource you could ever find. It is more important than industry, it is more important than the economy, it is more important than food and education."

Series three of The Sarah Jane Adventures was affected by a reduction in its budget. Davies explained: "We had to look and say, do we want to make a version of Sarah Jane that's a travesty? It was truly shocking to have a successful show having to face cuts which are that severe."

In the end, the series found the required money due to different BBC departments pulling together to fund it. However, Davies still maintains that in general "children's (TV) is sinking lower and lower down the agenda".

Alien Talent Search

Since the return of Doctor Who to British television, there have been many opportunities for UK children to participate in the programme, from the Blue Peter contests that gave us the Abzorbaloff and young Creet in "Utopia", to the "Doctor Who Backstage" contest held for Children in Need last year. Now older Doctor Who fans will have an opportunity to appear as an alien in a special Doctor Who scene.

John Barrowman is hosting a new programme called "Tonight's the Night", in which members of the public will be able to reveal their hidden talents and perform in a professional venue. According to an earlier press release, "this could mean duetting with a favourite pop group, singing with a big band or tripping the light fantastic with the cast of a hit West End musical."

Now the BBC's Doctor Who website has revealed that "Tonight's the Night" is holding a contest for Doctor Who fans over the age of 18 to appear as an alien of their own creation in a specially written scene.

The contest will be held in several stages. For the first stage, contestants are asked to create a costume for a new Doctor Who alien and submit a photograph of themselves in the costume to the programme makers. They must also create a name, home planet, powers, weaknesses and other details about their alien and submit them with the photograph.

The judges will select 50 "aliens" to participate in the second stage, an "Alien Activity Day". There, the contestants will compete in several group and character tasks and be judged by the programme's panel. Ten semi-finalists will be selected and will meet the judges individually and be assessed on their "vocal, movement and scene stealing abilities", and three finalists will be chosen. The finalists will complete a series of "alien oriented challenges", and a winner will be chosen. The winner will appear in a Doctor Who scene exclusively written for him or her, which will air on "Tonight's the Night" in April or May.

Full details and the application form are available at the BBC's Be on a show website. The photograph and application must be submitted by 28 March 2009, so get to work!

Monday, 16 March 2009

Second image of new K9

The official website of K9 creator Bob Baker has revealed a new promotional image for the forthcoming series. The image  shows the new K9 prop in clearer detail, as well as three characters from the series (presumably "Starkey", "Jorjie" and "Darius", as described in Park Entertainment's summaryof the series).

The image appears to have been created for promotional use at MIPTV in Cannes. Earlier reports indicated that K9 will air on Australia's Network Ten and on digital channel Jetix in the UK; Jetix recently announced that it will be rebranded under the name Disney XD later in 2009.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Red Nose Day - Ratings

The Red Nose Day edition of The Sarah Jane Adventures was watched by around 8.3 million viewers according to unofficial overnight figures, out rating Emmerdale on ITV1.

The David Tennant part of the evening had an average of 9.2 million watching, peaking at 11.3 million at 8pm. Comic Relief peaked at 9pm with 12.7 million watching.

David Tennant hosted the first 90 minutes of the programme along with Big Brother star Davina McCall. As well as the special Sarah Jane episode, Tennant and McCall went head to head in a live edition of Mastermind, with Tennant answering questions on Doctor Who 1963-2009. The whole programme is available to viewers in the United Kingdom for the next seven days, via the BBC iPlayer with highlights on theBBC YouTube channel.

A short selection of highlights can be seen around the world on the BBC Newswebsite. A number of images are on the Red Nose flickr site.

The evening raised a record 57 million pounds, around 80 million US Dollars, smashing the previous record of 40.5m pounds from 2007. The money raised from Red Nose Day will go towards helping disadvantaged people across Africa and in the UK.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Sarah Jane on Red Nose Day

The BBC has released a short teaser for the forthcoming special episode of The Sarah Jane Adventures due to be shown as part of Red Nose Day 2009.

The charity telethon, organised by Comic Relief, will be shown on BBC One this Friday. The charity aims to raise money to help poor, vulnerable and disadvantaged people throughout the world's poorest countries as well as in the UK.

The show begins at 7pm UK time and the first hour will be part hosted by David Tennant. This hour will feature the special episode of Sarah Jane staringElisabeth Sladen and guest star Ronnie Corbett.

The episode is written by Gareth Roberts and Clayton Hickman and also stars Tommy KnightDaniel Anthonyand Anjli Mohindra.

The Sarah Jane Adventures website contains a number of images and wallpapers based on Red Nose Day.

The video may not be available outside the United Kingdom.

The official Red Nose Day YouTube site contains a video on the making of the Sarah Jane Adventures episode.



Other Doctor Who related events for Red Nose Day include Doctor Whoogle, a Google custom search site which is sending its revenue to Comic Relief and Children in Need.

The previous Comic Relief special of Doctor Who, The Curse of Fatal Death, is now available on the UK iTunes site, with most of the charge going to Comic Relief. The story, written by new show runner Steven Moffat, was first shown as part of Red Nose Day 1999. It stars Rowan AtkinsonRichard E. GrantJim BroadbentHugh Grant andJoanna Lumley all as the Doctor.

K9 news

K9 creator Bob Baker has revealed more details about the forthcoming K9 TV series. Of K9's appearance, Baker said that he and associate producer Paul Tams are "very pleased with the new look and especialy with his CGI movement."

Baker confirmed that in his first appearance in the series, K9 will look "identical to the one Leela had on Gallifrey", before regenerating into his new form.

Replying to a question about whether John Leeson would be performing K9's voice, Baker said, "There is great debate about the voice, I take your point about using John, but, it being a co-production we have many masters to please, but I'm sure you and all K9 fans will like what we eventually come up with since new K9 is the same character and his speech patterns are the same."

Baker said that K9 will contain "a menagerie of super monster 'uglies'." He also noted that more images from the series will be released soon, probably atMIPTV in Cannes (which will be held from March 30 to April 3 this year). Baker's posting can be read in full at his forum.

The series' premise has changed from earlier plans. Details, from the website of production company Park Entertainment, can be seen by clicking on the spoiler box below.

A partial list of episode titles is also available, at the Metal Mutt production site. Australian actor Remi Broadway will appear as Robin Hood in episode 4, titled "The Last Oak Tree in England".

Thanks to "NewtonDKC" of the Doctor Who Forum.
From the writer of Wallace and Gromit, Bob Baker, comes…

K9 – The Series

GENRE: Comedy
Running Time: 26 x 1/2 hr episodes

PREMISE
Somewhere in the future...

COMING SOON

Originally created for the 1970s DOCTOR WHO series by Bob Baker and Dave Martin, K9 has long been an iconic television character. Now comes a brand new adventure series featuring everyone’s favourite robot dog!

K9 is a children’s sci-fi/adventure series combining comedy, action and suspense "X Files" meets "Men in Black" with a zany dash of "Ghostbusters". K9 mixes live action characters with stunning visual-effects.

London, in the future: STARKEY (14) orphan and rebel ultimately plans to bring down the system but for the time being he is prepared to simply slip through the cracks. While evading the police he takes refuge in a large detached house, now the residence of reclusive scientist, Professor GRYFFEN. He is followed by JORJIE (14) an adventurous girl who partly admires Starkey’s dissident stance, but mostly wants to share whatever excitement is afoot.

Inside the dilapidated mansion, they see Gryffen absorbed in an experiment with a strange piece of alien technology, a Space Time Manipulator (S/TM). DARIUS (15) an artful dodger who, among his many occupations, runs errands for Gryffen, confronts the pair, but at that moment a portal opens and through the hole torn in the fabric of space/time burst two reptilian warrior JIXEN. The Jixen attack Starkey. The teenager is saved from certain death by a small dog-like robot, K9 Mark I, who follows the Jixen through the portal and places himself between the monsters and boy.

In the ensuing battle, the only way K9 can defeat the Jixen is to blow himself and them to pieces. One surviving Jixen limps out of the mansion. Before expiring, K9 is able to give instructions that allow Starkey to initiate a regeneration program. A new, more sophisticated and futuristically designed K9 is regenerated.

K9 and Starkey, with the assistance of Jorjie, Darius and Gryffen, become the earth’s front line defence against dangers threatening from anywhere and anytime in the galaxy. They will have a lot of fun, action, adventure, and some scares along the way, saving the earth from alien creatures, monsters and more than a few human threats.

Friday, 6 March 2009

DVD Update

Various DVD sites are listing the 1976 Tom Baker story The Deadly Assassin for DVD release in early May.

The story, written by Robert Holmes and directed by David Maloney, was the third of Doctor Who's fourteenth season. It features Peter Pratt as the Master, as well as Angus MacKay playing Borusa and Bernard Horsfall as Chancellor Goth.

It is only serial of the original Doctor Who series in which the Doctor does not have a companion.

Some sites also have the 1987 Sylvester McCoy story Delta and the Bannermen listed for release in the later part of June. This story was written byMalcolm Kohll and directed by Chris Clough.

Other stories scheduled for release in 2009 are The Keys of MarinusThe War Games and the Dalek War box set (Frontier in Space / Planet of the Daleks).

An additional box set of three stories, and a stand alone release, are also due in 2009.

Euros Lyn Talks Torchwood, Tennant Farewell

Director Euros Lyn speaks exclusively to Wired.com about his two upcoming directorial projects: Torchwood: Children of Earth and the two-part finale for the Tenth Doctor.

Speaking of the Torchwood shoot, Lyn said: "It's been an endurance test. It was a 16-week shoot for the Torchwood season - longer than most feature films. But the intensity keeps you focused on the work."

"For the first time, we'll see Torchwood facing a threat from home while they're also investigating an alien invasion. When they try to discover why all the children in the world have suddenly stopped at the same time, Torchwood also has to deal with human beings who are trying to hide a past mistake."

Work on the Doctor Who specials begins immediately after the work on Torchwood wraps. "I've seen the scripts, and they're amazing," he said. "I'm being very careful not to give anything away, but I think fans will be thrilled with David's farewell and how we set up the 11th Doctor."

The article includes the first look at the BBC promo poster for Torchwood (pictured below; click for larger view) as well as a video of the trailer.

Doctor Who Magazine 406

In this month's issue of Doctor Who Magazine, David Tennant, talks about presenting this year's Comic Relief. "I'm co-presenting this year's TV extravaganza, on BBC One on Friday the 13th, which won't be unlucky this year, I promise. Live telly is always exhilarating, but I'm sure this will be even more so, because I'm expected to be fronting it, well, the first hour or so, which does give me some more responsibility."

Also in issue 406:

The Daleks' Master Plan.
Back in the 1960s, while the First and Second Doctors were on TV, the Daleks came very close to starring in their own big-budget, full colour film series, made for the USA. For the first time, DWM researcher Andrew Pixley reveals the full story behind the Doctor Who spin-off that never was.

The Nightmare Begins.
A brand new comic strip adventure starts for the Tenth Doctor and Majenta, Mortal Beloved by Dan McDaid, with art by Sean Longcroft. Arriving at a bizarre party, terrible secrets from Majenta's past begin to catch up with her.

The Death of Doctor Who.
It the end, but the moment has been prepared for. The Fact of Fiction takes an in-depth look at the very last adventure to star Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor, a story that redefined the concept of Time Lord regeneration, 1981's Logopolis.

Daleks in Manhattan.
Well the Sixth Doctor is. Colin Baker chats to DWM from the Big Apple.

The Planet of Decision.
Head writer and executive producer Russell T Davies muses over whether Planet of the Dead will really be the 200th TV Doctor Who story, in Production Notes.

Devil’s Planet.
Why on Earth does Neil Harris argue that the Fifth Doctor's last adventure, 1984's The Caves of Androzani, is the one Doctor Who story that should never have been told? Find out the surprising answer in You Are Not Alone.

Day of Reckoning.
The Time Team cast their critical eyes upon the Seventh Doctor's only TV encounter with the armoured mutants from the planet Skaro. Join them and discover what they think about the nostalgic 1988 adventure, Remembrance of the Daleks.

The Dead Planet.
DWM speaks to acclaimed scriptwriter Gareth Roberts about his work on Doctor Who, The Sarah Jane Adventures and the forthcoming Doctor Who Easter Special, Planet of the Dead.

The Daleks
Nicholas Pegg pays tribute to the greatest Dalek operator of them all, actor John Scott Martin.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

DVD Files magazine online

Several issues of the Doctor Who DVD Files magazine have been released in the UK and Ireland since the magazine and DVD series was launched by publisher GE Fabbri in January. The content of the magazine has now been made availableonline for the benefit of fans who already own the DVD episodes or who live outside of Great Britain or Eire.

"We were contacted by loads of people who already owned the DVDs but were interested in the new magazine," explains project manager at GE Fabbri,Ben Robinson, "so we decided to explore a new online opportunity which would also let us reach out to fans who normally wouldn’t be able to get hold of Doctor Who DVD Files.”

The content of the first two issues is available on the site as a free preview. The magazine contains features on the Doctor, his companions, enemies and adventures (including "Flashback" features to stories from classic Doctor Who, accompanied by original artwork by Lee Sullivan and Tom Connell). Features in the first two issues include profiles of Mickey, Rose, and the Face of Boe; Davros, the Master and the Zygons; behind-the-scenes interviews with Will Cohen of the Mill (the company which creates all the computer-generated imagery for Doctor Who) and model-maker Mike Tucker; episode features for the first four episodes of Series One; a survey of the Doctor's early life before he left Gallifrey; and "technology" features of the TARDIS, Cyber-upgrades and the Slitheen ship that crashed into Big Ben in "Aliens of London", the last including a detailed cut-away drawing of the ship.

The content of subsequent issues is available on the website by monthly or yearly subscription. A subscription to the online content also includes access to over 150 pages of Tenth Doctor comics which originally appeared in the pages ofDoctor Who: Battles in Time from the same publisher. More content will be made available as each issue of the magazine is released every two weeks.

The publishers will also enter everyone who subscribes online before May 31, 2009 into a prize drawing to win one of 10 radio controlled Supreme Daleks. The magazine content and subscription information are available here.

The magazine also has a website here, which contains downloads, games and interviews.

Cornell Adapts Banks for Radio 4

Doctor Who writer Paul Cornell has adapted the Iain M. Banks short story The State of the Art for radio. The adaptation will air on Thursday, March 5th at 14.15 on BBC Radio 4. Afterward the programme will be available internationally via the BBC IPlayer.

Laurence Payne

The Stage reports that Laurence Payne, who appeared in three classic Doctor Who serials, has died at the age of 89. Payne played gunslinger Johnny Ringo in "The Gunfighters" (1966), dying Argolin leader Morix in "The Leisure Hive" (1980) and morally compromised scientist Dastari in "The Two Doctors" (1985).

Beyond the world of Doctor Who, Payne had a distinguished stage career, including a long run at the Old Vic in the 1940s, and played Romeo in Peter Brook's 1947 production of "Romeo and Juliet" at Stratford-upon-Avon. On television, he was best known as the 1920s detective Sexton Blake in the ITV children's serial, which ran from 1967 to 1971.

Payne died on February 23, 2009.

Thanks to Mark Terry.

News round-up

The Sarah Jane Adventures has been nominated for the Royal Television Society Awards, in the "Children's Drama" category. The series was also nominated last year, but lost to CITV's "My Life as a Popat". A full list of nominations can be found at Broadcastnow; the winners will be announced on 17 March 2009.

The Los Angeles Times' Hero Complex blog has an overview of the current status of the Doctor Who world, with quotations from fans and writers in attendance at the recent Gallifrey One convention in L.A.

The South Wales Echo reports that researchers at the University of Glamorgan have received a 20,000 pound grant from the BBC to investigate the "Doctor Who effect" on the public image of Wales. The scholars will interview Doctor Who fans, production personnel, and Welsh tourism officials to determine what effect the filming of Doctor Who, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures in Cardiff has had on the public perception of South Wales. Contact information for the researchers is available in the news story and at the University of Glamorgan website.

Finally, BBC News has an item about celebrity impersonators on Twitter and other social media, focusing on a woman who set up a Twitter account pretending to be David Tennant. The counterfeit Tennant is also mentioned in an E! Onlinearticle about real and fake celebrity Twitters.

Thanks to "rplon" and "PolyG" of the Doctor Who Forum.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Dalek Found Submerged in Pond

In a scene right out of a Doctor Who script, a team of volunteers clearing a pond of rubbish uncovered a long-submerged Dalek.

The Telegraph reports that sales executive Marc Oakland was pushing a rake around the bed of the shallow pool when he found the object with its distinctive eye stalk.

The 42-year-old said: "I'd just shifted a tree branch with my foot when I noticed something dark and round slowly coming up to the surface. I got the shock of my life when a Dalek head bobbed up right in front of me. It must have been down there for some time because it was covered in mould and water weed, and had quite a bit of damage. One of the dome lights was smashed, but the eye-stalk was intact and the head and neck stayed in one piece as I carefully lifted it out."

Pond warden Tony Brown, 70, was leading the volunteer squad clearing dumped rubbish from the pond, near Beaulieu, Hampshire. He said: "We made a very thorough search of the rest of the bottom of the pond and there were definitely no alien remnants lurking. We've all agreed it best to keep the pond's exact location under wraps. The last thing we want are sci-fi fans descending on the pond frantically seraching for other Dalek parts."

Mr Brown, who trained as a pond warden with Southern Water, has been helping clear out the area for the past eight years. He said: "We've dredged up everything from shopping trolleys, toys, and bicycles. But this is the first time a Dalek's appeared. We have no idea how it ended up in there, or how long ago. We discovered the BBC often took the Daleks out on location for filming, and they travelled to Hampshire on at least one occasion in the 1980s, when Colin Baker played the Time Lord. Who knows? This might be the remains of one of the originals from the old TV series. I'm told they were built to last."

The story is also covered by The SunMetro, the Daily Mail and Ananova.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Gardner joins BBC Worldwide America

Outgoing Doctor Who executive producer, Julie Gardner, has joined BBC Worldwide's Los Angeles production studio as executive producer.

She is the first appointment announced by Jane Tranter, recently-appointed executive vice president, programming and production, BBC Worldwide America.

Gardner will be responsible for scripted projects, working with US and British writers including Russell T Davies to develop projects for the American market.

Speaking to the BBC Staff magazine Ariel, Tranter said "She brings an unprecedented insight into drama development and production and has a solid track record of forging strong relationships with the creative community. She will be an asset to our already talented team of scripted executives, and we all feel lucky to have her working with us."

Gardner and Tranter's working relationship began when Tranter assigned Gardner to head up the 2005 revival of Doctor Who. As former head of drama, BBC Wales, she was responsible for the production of a string of dramas including Life on Mars, Ashes to Ashes, Being Human, The Girl in the Cafe, Stuart: A Life Backward, Mistresses and Casanova, as well as overseeing two Doctor Who spin-offs, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures.

She is expected to join the LA studio full-time in June.

Monday, 2 March 2009

News round-up

The Daily Mirror is reporting that the TARDIS interior will be redesigned for Matt Smith's arrival in the TARDIS and the move to HD filming. The Mirroralso says that the designers will "improve the quality of the police box exterior", and credits the change to incoming showrunner Steven Moffat, who scripted a line in the 2007 episode "Blink" noting that the TARDIS's police box windows were the wrong size, an in-joke aimed at the Outpost Gallifrey Forum (now the Doctor Who Forum). The TARDIS redesign story has been picked up by the Daily Telegraph, METRO and Digital Spy.

Cardiff's Western Mail has reported on recent filming in Newport for the second of the 2009 Doctor Who specials.David Tennant and Lindsay Duncanwere filmed with the TARDIS in a snowy street. Spoilery photographs and set reports from fans who were present at the filming can be found in this thread in the Doctor Who Forum.

In other news, the Guardian's TV and radio blog has an entry speculating about casting for the companion in Series 5. The Radio Times will have 21 different covers for Comic Relief's Red Nose Day, including one with David Tennant(also covered at The Wire). And the Daily Telegraph reports that the Royal Shakespeare Company is preparing to film their recent production of Hamlet starring David Tennant and Patrick Stewart.

Thanks to the posters on the Doctor Who Forum's "Media Watch" thread.