Sunday, 31 May 2009

Karen Gillan announced as new companion


The BBC has announced that Scottish actress Karen Gillan is to play the new companion, alongside Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith, in the next series of Doctor Who, due to be broadcast in the spring of next year.

Twenty-one year-old Gillan previously appeared in last year's episode "The Fires of Pompeii", as the Soothsayer. BBC News reports that she studied acting at Telford College in Edinburgh, and has also appeared in The Kevin Bishop Show and the forthcoming film Outcast, starring James Nesbitt.

In the press release, executive producer and chief writer Steven Moffat is quoted as saying: "We saw some amazing actresses for this part, but when Karen came through the door the game was up. Funny, and clever, and gorgeous, and sexy. Or Scottish, which is the quick way of saying it. A generation of little girls will want to be her. And a generation of little boys will want them to be her too."

Gillan herself says: "I am absolutely over the moon at being chosen to play the Doctor's new companion. The show is such a massive phenomenon that I can't quite believe I am going to be a part of it. Matt Smith is an incredible actor and it is going to be so much fun to act alongside him – I just can't wait to get started!"

The news is also being reported by, among many others: Children's BBC, InTheNews.co.uk, Digital Spy, Den of Geek, Broadcast Now, The Stage, The Sun and The Guardian.


Friday, 29 May 2009

Tennant's Hamlet on Television

The BBC has confirmed that David Tennant is to reprise his role as Hamlet for BBC Two. Last year he received rave reviews for playing the Dane on stage in the Royal Shakespeare Company production, first at Stratford Upon Avon and later in London.

Tickets for the stage performances sold out in hours and the Guardian hailed Tennant the "best Hamlet in years".

For the television production Tennant will be joined by all of the key members of the stage cast, including the actor Patrick Stewart, who plays Claudius.

BBC Two controller Janice Hadlow said the three-hour tv Hamlet was "a wonderful opportunity.. to bring one of the great stage successes of last year to a wider audience".

The RSC have revealed that filming will take place on location, while retaining the quality and tone of the stage production. Filming begins in June for broadcast later this year in the UK. Broadcasts in the US and Japan will follow in 2010.

To support the new film of Hamlet there will be an online BBC site, which is being created in collaboration with the RSC. It will feature behind-the-scenes stills and footage, specially shot interviews with the actors talking about their characters and how they approached the play and interviews with director Gregory Doran.

A DVD of the film is planned and will be on sale after the broadcast date.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

US Broadcasting Details for Tennant Specials

In a turnabout from a previous arrangement, BBC America now has first US broadcast rights for the soon-to-be-aired hour-long specials of Doctor Who, Variety reported today.

The Next Doctor, the show's 2008 Christmas episode, will make its US debut at 9:00 p.m. on June 27, followed by Planet of the Dead in July (date TBA). Specific US air dates will be determined for the subsequent specials after they've aired in the UK.

BBC America - which has to bid for British shows just like any other American broadcaster - will continue its first run deal on Torchwood, airing that show's third season in July.

Other science fiction shows debuting on the network this summer include Being Human (starting July 25) and Survivors, starring Doctor Who's Freema Agyeman (date TBA). The third season of ITV's dinosaur time romp Primeval is currently airing on the network.

Current BBC America president Garth Ancier says that's the network should always have had Doctor Who. "If I'd been here [when the original deal was made]," Ancier said, "we wouldn't have sold it, to be quite honest." For the last four years, the Sci Fi Channel has held first rights, with BBC America holding second rights.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Tenth Doctor to appear in SJA

The BBC Press Office has confirmed that David Tennant is to appear as the Tenth Doctor in the forthcoming third series of spin-offThe Sarah Jane Adventures, due to be shown on CBBC and BBC One this autumn. This will once again reunite the Doctor with former companion Sarah Jane Smith, played by Elisabeth Sladen.

The release also confirms that the series will again be twelve episodes long, and that it will feature an appearance from Doctor Who race the Judoon. Executive producer Russell T Davies is quoted of saying of Tennant's appearance in the programme: "Viewers thought they may have to wait until November for the next full episode of Doctor Who, but this is an extra special treat. And it's not just a cameo from David – this is a full-on appearance for The Doctor as he and Sarah Jane face their biggest threat ever."

Sladen is also quoted in the release, saying: "When I heard the news that David was going to be joining us I was absolutely over the moon. Not only has it made my day but it will also make the viewers' day."

For UK internet users, the Children's BBC website has made available a video interview with Davies where he discusses the Doctor's appearance in the series, which he says will take place across episodes five and six. The series is due to start broadcasting in September. BBC News also carries the video interview with Davies.

New Animated Adventure On the Way

A second animated story starring David Tennant as the Doctor will be broadcast later this year.

"Dreamland", written by Phil Ford, will comprise seven episodes of roughly six minutes each. This will air as part of the BBC's red button service and Children's BBC.

Also appearing in the story are Georgia Moffett ("The Doctor's Daughter") playing a character called Cassie Rice, Lisa Bowerman("Survival" and the Big Finish Bernice Summerfield series), and David Warner (Tron, Time Bandits). Warner is also no stranger to Doctor Who, having played the Time Lord himself in two Big Finish audio plays released in 2003 and 2008.

"Dreamland" follows 2007's animated adventure "The Infinite Quest", currently available on DVD.

Ford has written for Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures, and his other 2009 Doctor Who story, The Waters of Mars (co-written with Russell T Davies) is slated to broadcast in November. Directing "Dreamland" is Gary Russell.

More details will be forthcoming.

War Games DVD Details

The Restoration Team has posted details of the upcoming DVD box set release of the final Patrick Troughton adventure The War Games on its website. The extras include:

• Commentary, with contributions from actors Frazer Hines, Wendy Padbury, Philip Madoc, Jane Sherwin and Graham Weston, co-writer Terrance Dicks and script editor Derrick Sherwin.

• War Zone (dur. 36' 23") - cast and crew recall the making of Patrick Troughton's epic swansong. With actors Frazer Hines, Wendy Padbury, Bernard Horsfall, Jane Sherwin and Graham Weston, director David Maloney, producer Derrick Sherwin, co-writer Terrance Dicks, designer Roger Cheveley, Doctor Who Magazine editor Tom Spilsbury , new series writers Paul Cornell, James Moran and Joseph Lidster. Narrated by Gerard Murphy.

• Shades of Grey (dur. 21' 45") - just how did the technical and artistic constraints of monochrome television conspire to effect the unique look and feel of early productions? With actors Frazer Hines, Wendy Padbury and Jane Sherwin, script editors Terrance Dicks and Derrick Sherwin, director Timothy Combe, production designer Roger Cheveley, graphic designer Bernard Lodge and sound designer Brian Hodgson. Narrated by Gerard Murphy.

• Now and Then (dur. 9' 35") - the ongoing series visits the locations of 'The War Games' forty years on…

• The Doctor's Composer (dur. 17'32") - prolific composer Dudley Simpson looks back at his first five years of work on Doctor Who.

• Sylvia James - In Conversation (dur. 8' 27") - make-up designer Sylvia James talks about her work on Patrick Troughton's Doctor Who stories.

• Talking About Regeneration (dur. 24' 12") - the concept of regenerating a show's main character into an entirely new physical form proved to be both a lifesaver for the show and an increasingly important part of its mythos. This feature explores the ideas involved and takes a closer look at each of the Doctor's regenerations. With actors Peter Davison and Kate O'Mara, writers Rob Shearman, Joseph Lidster and Gareth Roberts.

• Time Zones (dur. 15' 21") - historians discuss the reality behind the various time zones featured in 'The War Games'. With political historian Dr. Martin Farr, military historian Crispin Swayne, Newcastle University's Lindsay Allison-Jones and author Prof. Susan-Mary Grant.

• Stripped for Action - The Second Doctor (dur. 13' 46") - the continuing series of features focussing on the Doctor's comic strip adventures looks at the Second Doctor. With former Doctor Who Magazine editors Alan Barnes and Gary Russell, comics historians Jeremy Bentham and John Ainsworth.

• On Target - Malcolm Hulke (dur. 20' 00") - the first in a series of features on the Target range of TV story novelizations looks at the work of writer Malcolm Hulke. With authors Terrance Dicks, Gary Russell and David J Howe, artist Chris Achilleos.

• Devious (dur. 12' 15") - for over a decade, a group of friends on England's south coast met on weekends to shoot an amateur Doctor Who film - 'Devious' - which takes place between the events of Patrick Troughton's swansong 'The War Games' and Jon Pertwee's introduction in 'Spearhead from Space', and features their own previously unknown incarnation of the Doctor. To segue back into 'Spearhead', the team decided to put up the money to employ Jon Pertwee for a day… in what was to become his last ever appearance as the Third Doctor. This feature also has a commentary from the production team.

Plus of course the usual Photo Gallery, Subtitle Production Notes, PDF material and Coming Soon trailer. If you look carefully on all three discs, you might find some interesting Easter Eggs hiding away, including a somewhat different take on 'The Trial of Doctor Who'. And so might I! And so might he!

Bannermen DVD Details

The Restoration Team has released details of the upcoming Delta and the Bannermen DVD starring Sylvester McCoy as the Doctor and Bonnie Langford as Mel. Included in the set are:

• Commentary with actors Sylvester McCoy and Sara Griffiths, director Chris Clough and script editor Andrew Cartmel.

• But First This (dur. 6' 07") - Andy Crane presents a behind-the-scenes report from the location shoot, including interviews with Sylvester McCoy, Bonnie Langford and Ken Dodd.

• Wales Today (dur. 2' 15") - a location report from the BBC Wales news programme, featuring behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with Sylvester McCoy and producer John Nathan-Turner.

• Episode One - First Edit (dur. 30' 28") - the first edit of episode one, without music and sound effects, runs six minutes longer than the transmitted version and many scenes were significantly re-ordered between the two.

• Interview Rushes (dur. 16' 31") - raw location interviews with Sylvester McCoy, Bonnie Langford and Ken Dodd, conducted for the 'But First This' item.

• Hugh and Us (dur. 7' 13") - actor Hugh Lloyd interviewed about his career and his part in the story.

• Clown Court (dur. 5' 40") - The Seventh Doctor is called to the dock by judge Noel Edmonds to view out-takes and answer charges of "impersonating a Time Lord", in this extract from The Noel Edmonds Saturday Roadshow. Also includes out-takes from the recording of the sketch.

• Stripped for Action (dur. 21' 32") - the ongoing look at the Doctor Who comic strips focuses on the Seventh Doctor's appearances. With writer and editor Scott Gray, writers Simon Furman, Paul Cornell and Andrew Cartmel, artist Lee Sullivan, former Doctor Who Magazine editors John Freeman, Gary Russell and Alan Barnes.

• Trails and Continuity (dur. 3' 17") - BBC1 trails and continuity announcements from the story's original transmission.

• Plus of course the usual Radio Times Listing PDF, Coming Soon trailer, Programme Subtitles, Subtitle Production Notes and Photo Gallery.

Monday, 25 May 2009

New DVD Dates

DVD sales sites have begun listing release dates for several stories for DVD release in the UK.

The second Doctor swan song, The War Games, is due for release on July 6th. The ten part story, staring Patrick Troughton is released on 3 discs. First shown in 1969, it also features Frazer Hines and Wendy Padbury.
Extras cleared for release at the BBFC website include a feature on the truth behind the War Games, Timezones; a feature on Malcolme Hulke; a 'Now and Then' on the Locations used in the story; a feature on Dudley Simpson; and a look at the Second Doctor in Comic strips.

August 10th sees the release of a box set entitled The Black Guardian Trilogy which contains three stories from the fifth Doctor.Mawdryn UndeadTerminus and Enlightenment were originally broadcast in the winter of 1983. They cover the arrival of Mark Strickson as Turlough and the departure of Sarah Sutton as Nyssa as well as featuring Janet Fielding as Tegan Jovanka.

Listed for release in September are two stories. The first Colin Baker story, The Twin Dilemma is listed for release on September 7th. This is the first conformation that the story will be released this year. It completes the DVD releases for the sixth Doctor. Just two weeks later sees the release of the first Doctor story, The Keys of Marinus.

In addition, a special edition of the 1988 Sylvester McCoy story Remembrance of the Daleks is being issued on July 20th.

The current expected UK DVD release schedule is therefore as follows:

• 22 June 2009 - Delta And The Bannermen
• 6 July 2009 - The War Games
• 20 July 2009 - Remembrance Of The Daleks - Special Edition 
• 10 August 2009 - The Black Guardian Trilogy
• 7 September 2009 - The Twin Dilemma
• 21 September 2009 - The Keys of Marinus

The Dalek War box set (Frontier in Space / Planet of the Daleks) is still expected later this year.

All dates are subject to change.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Tonight's the Night Doctor Who scene

Posted By Anna Roberts

A special Doctor Who scene featured on John Barrowman's show, Tonight's the Nightyesterday on BBC1. Fan Tim Ingham won a competition to appear in a scene in the TARDIS with John Barrowman playing Captain Jack. The scene was written by Russell T Davies and featured a surprise guest.

The scene and behind the scenes interviews can be found at the BBC Doctor Who website. For UK residents, Tonight's the Night will be available to watch on BBC iPlayer for the next seven days.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Russell T Davies video interview

Doctor Who's outgoing chief writer and executive producer Russell T Davies was interviewed by the BBC's Wales Today news programme yesterday evening. Speaking on the TARDIS set at Upper Boat, he reflected on the end of his time in charge of the series. The video of the interview is available on the BBC news website.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Bafta Craft And Bafta Cymru Awards

Last night was packed with awards wins for Doctor Who as it won two awards at the Bafta Craft Awards and four awards at theBafta Cymru awards ceremonies.

The Mill won the award for visual effects for its work on The Fires of Pompeii, and Phillip Kloss scooped the award for best editing in fiction or entertainment for his work on the fourth series. Russell T Davies had also been nominated for the writing award for Midnight, but lost out to Peter Moffat, the writer of Criminal Justice.

The Bafta Cymru wins saw three out of the four awards going for work on Midnight. These were for Best Sound, Philip Kloss won theBest Editor Award, and Russell T Davies was successful this time in winning Best WriterEuros Lynreceived the award for Best Director for Silence in the Library.

Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures had also received Bafta Cymru nominations but were not successful in their categories.

Reported by Anna Roberts

Thursday, 14 May 2009

New Torchwood radio plays

The BBC's Torchwood website has confirmed that three new Torchwood radio plays have been recorded, and will air on BBC Radio 4's Afternoon Play prior to the television broadcast of Torchwood: Children of Earth. A previous Torchwood radio drama, "Lost Souls" by Joseph Lidster, was broadcast on Radio 4 last September, and is now available for purchase on CD and download. The BBC says that the new plays will "bridge the gap between Torchwood: Lost Souls and the upcoming Torchwood: Children of Earthtelevision series."

The new plays star John Barrowman as Captain Jack, Eve Myles as Gwen and Gareth David-Lloyd as Ianto. Each play will be 45 minutes long, and will air at 2:15 pm in the "Afternoon Play" slot. They will also be available as downloads and on iPlayer for 7 days after their initial broadcast. Broadcast dates have not yet been announced.

Titles, authors and summaries for the three plays are as follows:
Asylum by Anita Sullivan
The story of a teen runaway called Freda who is brought to the attention of Torchwood by PC Andy. As Gwen, Jack and Ianto investigate where this troubled girl has come from, Andy finds himself drawn closer than ever before into the world of Torchwood.

Golden Age by James Goss
Torchwood go to India to investigate the disappearance of hundreds of people. The trail leads them to an old colonial club which seems strangely stuck in the past as does its young and beautiful owner, the Duchess.

The Dead Line by Phil Ford
A series of mysterious phone calls lead Jack into danger, and result in 'a very emotional moment for Ianto'.

New Casting Rumour

UK news service The Sun is reporting that former James Bond star Timothy Dalton will appear in one of the final specials starringDavid Tennant as the Doctor.

Dalton, star of The Living Daylights and License to Kill, is reportedly playing a villain in the Who episode.

As always, treat all such reports as rumour until confirmed from official sources.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Doctor Who tops poll

The American magazine Wizard has voted Doctor Who as the greatest Sci-Fi show ever. The magazine placed the series top of the list ahead of series such as Star Trek and Buffy, describing it as the most durable, most charming, most altogether fun excursion into the unknown on the dial to date.

Thanks to Graham Tatt.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Children of Earth on BBC America

BBC America has begun airing short commercials promoting their airing of the new Torchwood series, Children of Earth. According to their commercial, Children of the Earth will be broadcast in July, although specific dates have not been revealed. This seems to indicate that they will not be showing it simultaneously with its airing in the UK.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Watch's Schedule Suggested UK Airdate for Children Of Earth (But Not Anymore)

May 9 - UK Cable/Satellite network Watch has removed the paragraphs discussing their Torchwood plans for June. The following paragraphs were originally in the June Monthly Highlights, giving fans momentary hope that the BBC had decided on the UK airdate for Torchwood. The BBC has made no announcement on the UK airdate.

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Torchwood
Weeknights, 10pm (from Monday 15th June)
With brand-new Torchwood on BBC One, Watch continues the Torchwood flavour with stripped episodes every week night. ...

In the first episode, a brutal murder leads WPC Gwen Cooper to Torchwood, a journey that will change their lives forever. With four more episodes from series one across the week, fans can enjoy brand-new Torchwood on BBC One, as well as classic Torchwood on Watch straight afterwards.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Planet of the Dead - Total Audience

Final ratings are now available for the repeat transmissions of Planet of the Dead.

The Easter Monday BBC One outing was watched by 1.98 million viewers, a rise of 10% over the initial reported figure. The fourth showing, on BBC Three on Friday, got 0.56 million watching. In addition over 670,000 people started iPlayer downloads or streams of the episode.

The total audience for the programme, including the repeat showings, was 13.89 million.