Saturday, 31 October 2009

News Roundup - Updated

With attention on the outgoing Doctor with the press launch of The Waters of Mars, incoming Executive producer Steven Moffat has been talking about the new series currently being filmed with new Doctor Matt Smith. Interviewed by Ben Cooke, at the Screenwriters' Festival in Cheltenham, Moffat described Smith as simply "the best". "He's all the things you'd expect, including ancient," and described the new Doctor as "someone you can't take your eyes off". Moffat confirmed he will be writing six episodes of the new series.
A full transcript can be found at Digital Spy


Meanwhile outgoing Doctor David Tennant will be a guest on next Monday's Graham Norton show on BBC One. Tennant has also been talking to PBS about his new role as host of Masterpiece Contemporary.

Steve Roberts of the DVD Restoration team has been giving details of the processes involved in returning colour to Doctor Who stories which currently only exist in black and white. Speaking at an event sponsored by the Doctor Who Information Network. Roberts talked about work being done on the Mind of Evil as well as discussing future plans for the classic range with all complete stories due for release by November 2013, the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. He confirmed there are no plans for any further animated restorations of lost episodes, nor any plans to issue any more partial stories.

John Barrowman has been sitting in for Elaine Paige on her Sunday afternoon BBC Radio 2 show. He read out an e-mail asking if he knew if Torchwood was coming back or not. He said that they were currently 'in negotiations' and that he hoped Torchwood would be back some time in the future. Barrowman has released his new memoirs I Am What I Am, which covers the last three years and includes behind the scenes secrets and gossip from the sets of Doctor Who and Torchwood, complete with behind the scenes photos of the cast.

Finally, obits for Barry Letts have now been posted in the Independent as well as on the BBC Doctor Who site. As reported below, it was confirmed at the press launch that The Waters of Mars will be dedicated to Letts.

Sarah Jane Ratings - Friday


The second part of The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith, was watched by 1.1 million viewers, with an audience share of 9.6%.

This is again far above the average for the timeslot. The programme inherited an audience of 0.3 million and built it to 0.9 million for the first quarter hour and 1.2 million for the second.

The highest rated programme on BBC One in this timeslot, this year, prior to The Sarah Jane Adventures was Outback8 on 2nd January, which got 0.71 million watching.

Final figures will include those who record the programme and watch it within seven days, and will be released by BARB in two weeks time.

Waters of Mars American Airdates

Following the release of the UK transmission date, BBC America has confirmed The Waters of Mars will air in the US on Saturday December 19 at 9:00pm ET/PT.

Tennant's final two stories will then air over the holiday season as a two-part special. Airdates will be released in early December.

The BBC will release The Waters of Mars and the two-part finale on DVD and Blu-ray on Tuesday, February 2, 2010 both as individual releases and also as part of a 5 disc specials collection including The Next Doctor and Planet of the Dead.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Tennant launches Waters of Mars

David Tennant today launched The Waters of Mars, which airs on Sunday November 15 at 7pm on BBC One. The episode is the second Doctor Who special to be screened this year, and Tennant will also star in two more shows before bowing out at Christmas.

Tennant said he was excited for new Doctor Matt Smith, saying: "I remember how exciting it was starting out on this kind of a journey and nerve-wracking. I'm jealous that he's going through that now - but it couldn't happen to a nicer chap. I'm looking forward to not knowing what happens next. I'm looking forward to being a viewer again."

Of the special, Tennant said: "The Doctor finds himself in a situation where he knows what the end is. It's all about whether he can un-knit the inevitable. With this particular Time Lord's life coming to an end, if he starts fiddling with the fundamentals of time and space, it might lead to his undoing."


At the end of the episode, viewers will glimpse some familiar faces who will appear in the Doctor's adventures to come, including Catherine Tate, who plays the Doctor's former companion Donna, and his arch-nemesis the Master, played by John Simm. He teased: "It's fitting and proper he should be there to see the Doctor off - if that's what happens."

Tennant said: "The Doctor now knows incontrovertibly that he's running from his own demise." He described shooting the final scenes as "emotional" but said that as they were filmed out of sequence, the situation did not get too weepy. The actor said the last line he said as the Doctor was: "'You two, with me, spit spot'... so it was robbed of any epic quality. It was very emotional saying cheerio. Filming the final scene was very, very sad. There's lots of scenes in the final, final story that are very sad and were very sad to play."

Tennant spoke about the big opportunities that arose in killing off the current tenth incarnation of the Doctor, to take the story "to places we've never quite been before". He said: "It allows it to be bigger and more epic and wilder... and sadder."

Tennant said he had originally felt under some pressure in taking on the role, saying: "It means so much to so many people. It meant so much to me." He said the bit he would miss the most was "when the new script comes. That was always such a thrill. It was always surprising." Asked if he felt he was in danger of becoming typecast, Tennant said: "I seem to have managed to do quite a variety of things while I've been doing Doctor Who. I haven't felt that it has been anything other than a positive." The star said he had his own sonic screwdriver which he kept locked up in a "secure location" in case his house was burgled.

On playing the role, he said: "You're not really expected to follow what went before, you're sort of expected to go your own way and mess it up a little bit the Doctor is different each time. You know James Bond is always James Bond and Tarzan is always Tarzan and Sherlock Holmes is always Sherlock Holmes but the Doctor is up to you, it's a blank sheet and you can scribble all over it, it's up to you."

He compared the job to being the United States president, saying: "You always get to be called the Doctor."

At the launch, Executive producer Russell T Davies confirmed The Waters of Mars will be dedicated to former producer Barry Letts. Davies paid tribute to his predecessor saying "He was one of the finest producers of Doctor Who and many programmes.. He used to do the Sunday afternoon classic serials and he actually produced the Jon Pertwee years. And then he cast Tom Baker. He cast Lis Sladen as well. He was an extraordinary figure in Doctor Who history and in pop culture – and he passed away, sadly. So, of course, we wanted to have that tribute to him on screen."

The launch has been covered by BBC News, The Guardian and BBC Newsbeat.

Journalist Ian Wylie has posted the full transcript of the press launch with Tennant and Davies on his blog.


Maida Vale celebrates 75 years.

The BBC is today celebrating the 75th Anniversary of its Maida Vale studios, best known to Doctor Who fans as the home of the Radiophonic Workshop. A series of programmes being broadcast across the entire BBC radio network will celebrate the role the studios have had in the cultural life of the country, many including music from the classic series of Doctor Who.

The Radiophone Workshop was involved with the series from the very start when, in 1963 the unit were given the task of realising composer Ron Grainer's theme tune for the upcoming television series. Working in Maida Vale, Delia Derbyshire created the sound which has become one of the most recognisable themes in British television.. The Workshop was responsible for most of the sound effects used in the series throughout it's entire run and it was in these studios that such iconic sounds as the TARDIS materialisation and the sound of the Sonic screwdriver were created. The workshop provided much incidental music for the programme including every score from 1980 to 1985.

The Maida Vale studios were also used to broadcast news across Europe during the Second World War and were the home of Radio 1's Peel Sessions from 1967 until 2004. They also hosted early radio performances from such acts as The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and David Bowie, drama recordings for Radio 3 and Radio 4 including Dr Zhivago and King Lear and Bing Crosby made his last recording session in the studios in 1977.

Tennant boosts Sarah Jane's Ratings

David Tennant's arrival at Sarah Jane's wedding was watched by 1.3 million viewers according to unofficial overnight figures. With an audience share of 10.9% this is roughly double the usual audience for the show and more than three times what CBBC usually gets in this slot.

The rating is the highest by far that The Sarah Jane Adventures have achieved in this time slot. Series One was shown in a later time slot and got figures of around 1.4 million watching. The figures saw BBC One move into third place for this timeslot. Usually the ratings for children's TV are eclipsed by those watching the lifestyle programme on the other four main channels.

The programme was promoted on BBC Breakfast with an appearance from Elisabeth Sladen and Russell T Davies. For Sladen this was a return to studio TC7 in Television Centre. The studio Breakfast is broadcast from is the same studio in which she recorded stories such as Robot over 35 years ago.

Final figures will be released in around two weeks time.

The final part of the story will be shown in the UK this afternoon.

Final figures are now available for the first two programmes in Series Three. Prisoner of the Judoon had 0.73 million watching part one and 0.82 million watching part two. Final figures are more accurate then initial overnight estimates and include those who record the programme and view it within seven days.

The Waters of Mars - Transmission Date

The forthcoming special The Waters of Mars will be broadcast on Sunday 15th November at 7:00pm; the date and time were confirmed by David Tennant during this morning's GMTV.

The press preview for the episode is also due to take place today.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

The Waters of Mars - Coming Soon

The BBC press office has released details of the forthcoming special The Waters of Mars. The episode is currently unplaced in the schedule, but is expected to be shown in mid November.


Mars, 2059. Bowie Base One.

Last recorded message: "Don't drink the water. Don't even touch it. Not one drop."

Starring David Tennant as The Doctor and guest starring acclaimed British stage and screen actress Lindsay Duncan, The Waters Of Mars is the second Doctor Who special to be screened this year.

Lindsay plays Adelaide – the Doctor's cleverest and most strong-minded companion. She and the Doctor face terror on the Red Planet in one of the scariest adventures yet.

Neighbours, Flying Doctors and Casualty star Peter O'Brien also guest stars as Ed, Adelaide's second-in-command at the base.

The Waters Of Mars is written by Russell T Davies and Phil Ford and is directed by Graeme Harper.

The Space Museum/The Chase en route to DVD

The BBFC have passed a trailer for two stories, The Space Museum and The Chase, indicating that both are being lined up for a DVD release in the next few months. The stories were part of Doctor Who's second season and were first shown between April and June 1965.

They feature William Hartnell as the first Doctor along with Jacqueline Hill as Barbara Wright, William Russell as Ian Chesterton and Maureen O'Brien as Vicki, and introduce Peter Purves as new companion Steven Taylor.

The Space Museum was written by Glyn Jones and directed by Mervyn Pinfield, who as Doctor Who's first Associate Producer was responsible for many technical innovations used on the programme.

The Chase was the final story for Ian and Barbara. It sees the Daleks return in their third story for the series, which was again written by Terry Nation. Directed by Richard Martin, it also starred Hywel Bennett. The original transmission included a clip of the Beatles performing "Ticket to Ride".

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

SJA nominated for BAFTA

BBC News reports that The Sarah Jane Adventures has been nominated for a Children's BAFTA award by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. The Children's BAFTAs celebrate and reward the best in children's film and television, and the CBBC Doctor Who spin-off starring Elisabeth Sladen has been nominated in the drama category. It is the second year running that the programme has been nominated in this category at the awards. The ceremony will be held at the Park Lane Hilton in London on November 29th.

K9 to launch this weekend


K9 comes to the UK this weekend when the new Park Entertainment series launches on the Disney XD channel at 6pm this Saturday.

The series was made in Australia and features the return of John Leeson as the voice of a new CGI version of the robot dog. The series was developed by one of K9's original creators, Bob Baker, along with the show's associate producer Paul Tams.

The Saturday showing is described as a sneak preview of the series, which will start properly in the new year.

Disney XD can be seen in the UK on Sky Channel 607 and Virgin 707.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Sarah Jane Adventures – Appreciation index


Both episodes of The Mad Woman in the Attic achieved an Appreciation Index of 86. The score was the highest on BBC One for both Thursday and Friday, and is the joint highest score the series has received.

The Appreciation Index is a measure of how much the audience enjoyed the programme.

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Saturday, 24 October 2009

Sarah Jane Ratings - Friday


Unofficial overnight figures show that the fourth episode of series 3, part two of The Mad Woman in the Attic, was watched by 0.8 million viewers, with an audience share of 7%.

The rating is the highest the series has received so far, with the first half getting 0.6 million viewers and the second half 0.8 million.

Final figures will include those who record the programme and watch it within seven days, and will be released by BARB in two weeks time.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Christmas preview on Children in Need

The BBC Press Office has published details of the line-up for this year's BBC Children in Need charity appeal, with which Doctor Who has long had an association. This year the programme is once again featured, with what the release describes as "An exclusive preview of the Doctor Who Christmas special." Last year there was a similar preview for the 2008 Christmas special, "The Next Doctor", with the pre-titles sequence for this episode being shown, a month in advance of its broadcast.

This year's Children in Need night takes place on Friday 20th November, broadcasting from 7pm on BBC One.

New funding for children's television

The BBC Trust has approved an additional £25.5million investment in BBC Children's programming over three years, in order to secure high quality productions such as The Sarah Jane Adventures, which may have been at risk as a result of pressures on budgets.

Jana Bennett, Director BBC Vision, has welcomed the BBC Trust's endorsement of the package of initiatives designed to strengthen the role of the BBC as the cornerstone of home-produced children's output in the UK. The package is in response to the Trust's recommendations laid out in February 2009, and aims to reinforce the creative strength of BBC Children's and help the CBBC Channel maintain its position. Bennett said: "I am incredibly proud of the creative strength of CBeebies and CBBC and the unique value to children they bring. They empower, entertain and reflect the lives of children in this country through consistently high-quality, home-grown programmes."

The package includes continued monitoring of the CBBC block of programmes on BBC One together with a development of a daytime show that could play for half an hour at 5.30pm weekdays. If one is found and is successful, over the next two years the BBC will consider reinstating programmes such as The Sarah Jane Adventures, Blue Peter and Newsround to their original times around 5pm. Series One of The Sarah Jane Adventures was shown in this later slot and achieved 50% higher ratings than the shows shown at the current time of 4.35pm.

Bennett added: "We are seeking to balance the interests of viewers in supporting a strong 6 O'Clock News and protecting children's programmes."

Sarah Jane Ratings - Thursday


Unofficial overnight figures show that the third episode of the series, part one of The Mad Woman in the Attic, was watched by 0.6 million viewers, with an audience share of 5.7%.

The rating is almost identical to that the series received last week, with the first half getting 0.5 million viewers and the second half 0.7 million.

Final figures will include those who record the programme and watch it within seven days, and will be released by BARB in two weeks time.

Doctor Who Adventures 138


This week's Doctor Who Adventures magazine is a bumper Halloween edition taking a look at scary scenes to come in the next Doctor Who special, to be shown on BBC One soon, and comes with a Weeping Angel monster mask and claws.

Other features in this week’s issue:
• Top 10 moments that make you jump
• Weeping Angels fact file
• A look at the next Sarah Jane Adventures episode
• Quiz - How well do you know the scariest Doctor Who monsters?

Thursday, 22 October 2009

October Filming Roundup

October has seen the Doctor Who production crew busy, with a number of appearances in public places. Open the spoiler sections for more details on what has been occuring!

Filming for episode one got under way publicly at Cathedral Green in Llandaff, which was transformed into a picturesque English village called Leadworth. Scenes involved the Doctor and Amy on the village green, with the Doctor wearing the clothes of his tenth incarnation and seeming very wobbly on his feet! Later scenes recorded indicated an alien presence in the sky, and the apparent destruction of the sonic screwdriver.

5th October: Alun Vega: The scene involved the Doctor and Amy hurrying up a lane, and running across to the icecream van. Then the Doctor ran off, jumped over the flowerbed at the side of the White House, and ran inside. Amy ran after him, but took the more conventional route through the front gate. As they came up the lane, the Doctor shouted something about a "cricket bat" and another fan thought she heard Amy say something about "12 years of therapy". Someone else reckoned they thought the Doctor said he was having food cravings - which I guess might be post-regeneration trauma. This is the sort of scene that they cover from multiple angles, which is why it took them the entire 4 hours I was there to film it!



6th October, Fiona Oram: We got on set about half nine in the rain and were suprised to see filming underway. The following scene was shot at various angles. First off Amy was trying to get the Doctor into a car (not police a black rover) His Tie kept getting trapped in the door! Dialogue we could hear was 20 minutes till the world ends and do you know who I am? My friend had been on set a bit longer and had heard also the Doctor say that You (something) are always trying to lock me away! Hence people I find out later have conme to the conclusion that Amy is a police officer. Later on the scene was reshot (after more rain) and same Dialogue however Matt was looking at something behind him before speaking to Amy and she shouts NOOO! And drags him quite literally by the tie to the car. This scene was shot quite a bit due to constant downpours! After lunch they went through the same scene again and seemed to be happy with that. Then the filming moved to the green and we watched Matt and Karen rehearsing running up the green. While we were being moved to the other side of set Matt was practising his scene with a guy in hospital overalls. We also walked past the red phone box which was being set up for special effects. When the shot was ready Matt and Karen were running up towards a white screen and Matt turns around to hospital overalls person and starts talking. Dialogue heard was "Coma" and something about staring at a dog! Then the heavens opened and they attempted to film again but was starting to prove impossible. The fire engine was filmed leaving with the blues flashing and ladder pushed out.



7th October, Haffertee: First scene we saw shot was Matt Karen and the guy in hospital overalls. They seemed to look up at the sky then a dog barks and Matt goes towards the beer garden and starts talking down to something. Hello prisoner x is said. Then we hear Level 20 planet scanning the earth 6 billion people. Then we are told phone box explodes aerials turn fire engine ladder goes up and down. Helicopter flies out of little boys hand. Then Matt said something about not testing all sonics settings. Setting four thousand and do you think they will notice? Then the sonic blew up.



One take of the destruction of the sonic screwdriver slightly hurt Matt Smith, something that caught media attention! The incident was reported in the South Wales Evening Post, Daily Mail, Sky News, and The Sun.

Filming for this week took place at the Old Vicarage in Rhymney, and saw the old TARDIS prop in use(a new version of the police box had been seen in previous filming). Matt Smith and Karen Gillan were again on-site for filming. On one day the police box was on its side, with the doors seen to be opening in the opposite direction to normally seen on screen.
Fiona Oram:The old TARDIS is there Matt and Karen run from it (Well Karen practically drags him) Smoke comes pouring out of the TARDIS. Karen keeps saying come on ! Matt keeps trying to run back to TARDIS to save "her" But Karen keeps trying to pull him back. Couldnt hear a lot. Karen is in Policewoman outfit again and Matt is still in Tens outfit ! Lots of kithen equipment neing taken in new microwave etc. (Not for drinks etc as base only round the corner)



This week sees filming taking place at the ancient St. Gwynno's Church, and had led to the first view of the updated TARDIS interior, albeit as the backdrop to the police box prop out on location.




The filming has also revealed the 'monster' of this episode in the graveyard.





TARDIS at the Garden of Wales

The National Botanic Garden of Wales will play host to the TARDIS during the Autumn half-term:

The world-famous police box is making an unscheduled stop this half-term amid the Mediterranean plantings in Lord Foster's stunning glass dome to promote the forthcoming episode of Doctor Who - entitled The Waters of Mars - in which the Great Glasshouse has a starring role.
The Garden's Head of marketing David Hardy said everyone was really looking forward to the TARDIS’ arrival: “David Tennant and the whole Doctor Who crew were filming here back in February. The Great Glasshouse plays the part of a plant-filled biome on Mars. It looks like being a thrilling episode and confirms Lord Foster's glasshouse as not only the biggest one on this planet but also the first one on Mars!”

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Sarah Jane Adventures – Appreciation index


Prisoner of the Judoon achieved an Appreciation Index of 81 for Part One and 86 for Part Two. Both scores are much higher than the average score for children's television, which is 72. Friday's score was the second highest on BBC One for the day. AI scores for Series Two ranged from 75 to 86.

The Appreciation Index is a measure of how much the audience enjoyed the programme.

Season Two ratings and AI can be found here.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Doctor Who Magazine 414

This month's DWM features an exclusive behind-the-scenes report on The Sarah Jane Adventures, and talks to the cast and crew of The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith, which guest stars David Tennant as the Doctor. Elisabeth Sladen says "Some of it's quite sad. I can't read these scripts too often because they absolutely make me cry. If I do that too much, there won't be any emotion left for on set. Gareth Roberts has written something beautiful"

Also in the issue:
  • Previews of the forthcoming animated adventure, Dreamland, and interviews with the cast, including David Tennant, Georgia Moffett and David Warner
  • She's travelled in the TARDIS for nearly ten years with both the Eighth and Sixth Doctors. And she was the first of the Doctor’s companions to fall in love with the Time Lord! Charley Pollard, aka actress India Fisher, talks DWM about her adventures.
  • The Eighth Doctor is famous for snogging Doctor Grace Holloway in the 1996 TV Movie. But what else should we remember him for? Find out as the Watcher presents the latest guide to the Doctor
  • Doctor Who's executive producer Russell T Davies shares reminiscences of being a fan in his youth and discovers that, for some, the memory cheats
  • Neil Harris looks at the stories that made up the bottom 10 places of DWM's Mighty 200 poll and discovers that, despite popular opinion, there's a great deal to enjoy in these adventures
  • DWM talks to Sarah Jane's husband-to-be, played by actor Nigel Havers, just before the wedding, with a few interruptions from David Tennant!
  • The Time Team gather together to watch Survival, the last full adventure for the Seventh Doctor.
  • The Fact of Fiction travels back to the earliest days of Doctor Who and finds the four time travellers trapped aboard the TARDIS and fighting among themselves. Could they be on the edge of destruction as they hurtle beyond the sun? Find out as Inside the Spaceship is put under the microscope
  • The Doctor and Majenta discover that the London Underground holds a terrible secret. A new comic strip begins, Ghosts of the Northern Line, written by Dan McDaid with art by Paul Grist.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Message from the Letts Family

"Barry always had a warm respect for the fans of Dr Who. As Barry’s family, we would like to thank everyone for their good wishes on the websites and forums following the news that Barry had died. We have been very touched that the many messages and tributes show such an appreciation and understanding, both of his work and of the very kind and wise man that Barry was."
The Letts Family
October 2009

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Myths, Legends, Mandragora, Rani and Specials

According to several on-line retail sites, the early part of 2010 will see a bumper number of Doctor Who DVD releases. The schedule looks very crowded and it is possible one of the listed releases has been delayed until later in the year, but retailers have yet to catch up.

According to the sites January 4th will see the previously announced Peladon box set on sale, to be followed on 1st Feburary by a Myths and Legends box set. No details are available for this set, but it has long rumoured to consist of the Third Doctor story The Time Monster, and the Fourth Doctor stories Underworld and The Horns of Nimon. The Time Monster was first shown in 1972 and features Katy Manning and Roger Delgado. Underworld was shown in 1978 and features Louise Jameson and John Leeson, as well as Alan Lake, while Horns of Nimon was shown over the New Year period of 1979/1980 and features Lalla Ward and David Brierly as K9, with an appearance by Janet Ellis.

One week later, the Fourth Doctor story The Masque of Mandragora is scheduled for release on 8th February. This story was first shown in 1976 and features Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith.

The Seventh Doctor's first story, Time and the Rani, is due for release on 1st March. As well as being Sylvester McCoy's first story, this 1987 adventure features Bonnie Langford as Mel and Kate O'Mara as The Rani.

Finally, fans of the new series will see a release of final episodes of David Tennant's reign as the Doctor when The Specials are released on both DVD and BluRay on 11th January.

All dates are subject to conformation by 2-entertain and are subject to change.

Sarah Jane Ratings - Friday


Episode Two of Prisoner of the Judoon was watched by 0.7 million viewers on BBC One yesterday, according to unofficial overnight figures. The audience share was 7.2%, an increase over the share for part one.

Ratings increased during the programme with a slight drop off after it finished. The programme got more than double that achieved in the same slot the previous week when Hotel Trubble gained 0.3 million.

Final figures will include those who record the programme and watch it within seven days, and will be released by BARB in two weeks time.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Sarah Jane Ratings


Unofficial overnight figures show that episode one of Prisoner of the Judoon was watched by 0.6 million viewers. The audience share was 5.9%. An extra 40,000 people watched in high definition on the BBC HD channel.

The rating is similar to that which The Sarah Jane Adventures received in the same slot last year. It is around 50% higher than the average for the timeslot on BBC One. Last week's edition of SMart achieved 0.4 million.

Final figures will include those who record the programme and watch it within seven days, and will be released by BARB in two weeks time.

Doctor Who Adventures 137

The new issue of Doctor Who Adventures celebrates the return of The Sarah Jane Adventures to television with an exclusive 12 page pull-out guide to the new series, with details on monsters, facts, and interviews with the cast.

The magazine also includes features on time travel and the sonic screwdriver, plus a template for those entering the Blue Peter Doctor Who console competition; free gifts this issue are a Master's pen and notepad set, and two free packs of trading cards.

Hamlet for Christmas

As reported back in May, the Royal Shakespeare Company have produced a television version of the popular version of Hamlet starring David Tennant and Patrick Stewart. In an article from the Oxford Times, artistic director of the RSC Michael Boyd has announced that the special programme will be broadcast (on BBC2) on Christmas Day.

The play will be available on DVD from 4th January 2010.
(with thanks to Helen Paling)

Tom Baker reads Barry Letts obituary

Tom Baker - cast as the Doctor by Barry Letts - will be reading the obituary of the producer/director on BBC Radio Four's The Last Word from 4:00pm this afternoon; it should then be available on the BBC's iplayer service for the next seven days.
(with thanks to Simon Watkins)

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Blackpool Exhibition to close

The Doctor Who Museum in Blackpool is to close on the 8th November; there has been a permanent exhibition based at the seaside resort for some five years. The museum will remain open for visitors between 10:30am and 8:00pm every day until the 8th.

The large collection of props, monsters and costumes will be distributed to other exhibitions around the country.

For more information visit the Doctor Who Exhibitions website.

Monday, 12 October 2009

SJA Series Three Trailer

The BBC have published a trailer for the forthcoming Series Three of the Sarah Jane Adventures. The 2m37s video preview features many of the cast and monsters due to be seen during the next six weeks on BBC1/BBCHD.

Note: video may not play outside of the United Kingdom.

Farewell Great Macedon

Nothing at the End of the Lane have just published Farewell Great Macedon, a 258-page, A4-sized, perfect bound softcover book, available for order exclusively via themselves. Details below:
In early 1964, when Doctor Who was only a few months old, actor and scriptwriter Moris Farhi, under the guidance of script-editor David Whitaker, wrote a six-part historical adventure entitled Farewell Great Macedon, detailing the Doctor’s encounter with Alexander the Great in the ancient city of Babylon.

Nothing at the End of the Lane is proud to present, for the first time ever, the complete script of this unproduced Doctor Who story in one special-edition volume. Covering over 250-pages, Farewell Great Macedon not only reproduces the original script pages for all six episodes, but also features:

»Foreword by Moris Farhi.
»The history and development of the Farewell Great Macedon script and Moris Farhi’s association with Doctor Who between 1964 and 1977.
»Reviews of the story by Jeremy Bentham, Paul Scoones and Philip MacDonald.
»A special edition of DWM’s Time Team.
»A historical examination of Alexander the Great’s life and death compared with that seen in Farewell Great Macedon.
»Stunning new artwork by Jason Fletcher and Adrian Salmon.


This special edition also contains the one-episode tester script, The Fragile Yellow Arc of Fragrance, written by Farhi for David Whitaker at a time when the Doctor was still halfway though fighting his first on-screen battle with the Daleks.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Peladon Boxset for January


The two Peladon stories, The Curse of Peladon and The Monster of Peladon, will be released on DVD in January 2010.

The news was revealed by Dan Hall, commissioning editor for DVD company 2 entertain, at the Time and Again convention in London. The release replaces the King's Demons/Planet of Fire boxset which has been delayed due to clearance problems.

The Curse of Peladon was originally shown in 1972. In four parts, it stars Jon Pertwee as the Third Doctor along with Katy Manning and David Troughton.

The Monster of Peladon was Pertwee's penultimate story, shown over six parts in 1974. It features Elisabeth Sladen and Donald Gee.

Hall also indicated that a further Third Doctor story, The Time Monster, will be released in 2010 and that a "re-visitation" boxset, featuring new versions of early DVD releases, is in production.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Barry Letts (1925-2009)


Barry Letts, producer of Doctor Who through one of its most fondly-remembered periods with Jon Pertwee as the Third Doctor from 1970 to 1974, has died at the age of eighty-four.

Previously an actor, Letts moved behind the camera in the 1960s, finding work as a director on several programmes for BBC television. He first worked on Doctor Who as director of the 1968 Patrick Troughton serial Enemy of the World, before accepting the job of producer during production Jon Pertwee's first season, in 1969. Working closely in association with script editor Terrance Dicks, Letts oversaw the creative direction and production of the programme for the following five seasons.

In addition to his producing role, Letts also directed several serials during his time in charge of the programme - Terror of the Autons, Carnival of Monsters and Planet of the Spiders. He also handled much of the direction for Inferno after Douglas Camfield was taken ill, and after leaving the series as producer he directed The Android Invasion for his successor, Philip Hinchcliffe. He also co-wrote The Daemons with Robert Sloman (under the pseudonym 'Guy Leopold') and worked closely with Sloman on the writer's other scripts for the programme.

Letts' legacy to the programme included the creation of the character Sarah Jane Smith, played by Elisabeth Sladen on the BBC to this day, and the decision to cast Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor. The latter was a decision for which Tom Baker was always ready to express immense gratitude, as when Letts appeared on his episode of "This is Your Life" in the year 2000.

Letts remained fond of and connected with the series right up until his death. When producer Graham Williams broke his leg during production of season 16 in 1978 Letts helped to keep an eye on the series, and more officially he served as Executive Producer in 1980, overseeing the inexperienced John Nathan-Turner's first season in charge of the programme. For many years thereafter Letts also penned novels, novelisations and radio serials connected to the programme. He also appeared on DVD commentaries and in various documentaries.

He also gained extensive credits outside of Doctor Who, most notably as producer of the BBC's "Classic Serial" strand during the late 1970s and early 1980s. In this role he produced many acclaimed and award-winning adaptations of classic novels, including "Great Expectations", "Alice in Wonderland" and "Jane Eyre". Later, he directed episodes for the soap opera "EastEnders".

Click here to read a 2004 interview with Letts on the BBC Doctor Who website.

Updated 13th October

The Guardian has published an obituary, describing Barry Letts' varied career and impact on Doctor Who.

Classic Episodes Online

As previously reported, Blinkbox, a free-to-use movie-on-demand service on the Internet, has struck a deal with BBC Worldwide to make a number of classic Doctor Who stories available to watch. The deal currently enables viewers to watch the William Hartnell stories The Sensorites and The Web Planet, and Patrick Troughton stories The Tomb of the Cybermen and The Krotons.

Watch the stories from their website.
(with thanks to Ade)

Barry Letts: Who and Me

November sees the release of the autobiography of Barry Letts. The book covers the producer/director's career up to and throughout his time as producer of Doctor Who during Jon Pertwee's tenure as the Doctor, and features additional material that didn't appear in the previously released audio book version.

The book will be published by Fantom Films, and will have both a paperback and limited edition hardback version with additional interviews with Letts, Terrance Dicks and Katy Manning.

The company has also just released an audio book version of actress Mary Tamm's autobiography.


Barry Letts: Who and Me

Barry Letts began his screen career as an actor, starring in the Ealing film Scott of the Antarctic and TV dramas such as The Avengers, The Moonstone and Gunpowder Guy in which future Doctor Who actor Patrick Troughton took the lead role. In the 1960s he switched to directing, taking the helm of classic shows such as The Newcomers and Z Cars.

Barry got his first taste of Doctor Who in 1967 when he directed the six-part serial The Enemy of the World. In 1969, he took over as the show’s producer. This was an exciting time for Doctor Who – the show had a new lead actor, and was being broadcast in colour for the first time. Barry reveals his memories of this era, talking about his relationship with script editor Terrance Dicks and the show’s cast, Jon Pertwee, Katy Manning and Roger Delgado.

Packed with behind-the-scenes gossip, fascinating production detail and witty anecdotes, Who and Me recounts Barry Letts’ journey from struggling actor to successful producer, and the ups and downs of working on Doctor Who during the Jon Pertwee years.

Chicks Dig Time Lords

Mad Norwegian Press has announced the forthcoming publication of "Chicks Dig Time Lords: A Celebration of Doctor Who by the Women Who Love It." Slated for March 15 release, this essay collection ---designed for male and female readers alike --- features a host of award-winning female novelists, academics and actresses discussing their involvement with "Doctor Who" fandom, critiquing various characters and aspects of the series, and examining the more extraordinary aspects of what it's like to be a female "Doctor Who"enthusiast.

Contributors to this essay collection include Carole E. Barrowman (Anything Goes), Elizabeth Bear (the Jenny Casey trilogy), Lisa Bowerman (star of the Bernice Summerfield audios), Jackie Jenkins (Doctor Who Magazine), Mary Robinette Kowal (Shades of Milk and Honey), Seanan McGuire (Rosemary and Rue), Jody Lynn Nye (the Mythology series), Kate Orman (Seeing I), Lloyd Rose (Camera Obscura), Catherynne M. Valente (The Orphan’s Tales) and more. Also included is a comic from Tammy Garrison and Katy Shuttleworth (Torchwood Babiez), as well as interviews with India Fisher (Charley in the Doctor Who audios) and Sophie Aldred (Ace on Doctor Who,1987-1989).

Thursday, 8 October 2009

More details of Blue Peter contest


As previously reported here on the Doctor Who News Page, the BBC children's magazine programme Blue Peter has officially launched its new competition for young fans to design a TARDIS console. The contest is for children aged between 6 and 12, and the final winning design will be chosen by Eleventh Doctor actor Matt Smith. It is specified that the design "must incorporate household objects," and entrants are advised to "make sure it really feels as if the Doctor has put it together."

Full details are available on the Blue Peter website.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Doctor Who: 2010 Logo Unveiled


The BBC have now unveiled the new Doctor Who logo to accompany the 2010 television series. In the press release, Steven Moffat (the new Head Writer) says:
A new logo. The 11th logo for the 11th Doctor - those grand old words, Doctor Who, suddenly looking newer than ever.

And, look at that, something really new - an insignia! DW in TARDIS form! Simple and beautiful, and most important of all, a completely irresistible doodle.

I apologise to school notebooks everywhere, because in 2010 that's what they're going to be wearing."
SFX Magazine reported that the 'Doctor Who' lettering is officially referred to as the logo, whilst the "TARDIS" graphic is the insignia.

Press coverage from: Telegraph, Telegraph (again), Daily Star, The Sun.

Monday, 5 October 2009

New Doctor Who Logo to be revealed

The BBC have announced on the official Doctor Who website that a new logo for the series will be revealed tomorrow morning at 8:00am UK time:
On one level, the logo is the iconic image that represents Doctor Who. But it's much more than that - it becomes an icon that is recognised from Cardiff to California, an emblem of excitement, humour, scary monsters, brave companions and the Doctor! And so the new logo must be stylish, fresh, distinctive and bold. Must be. And will be. See for yourself when we reveal it exclusively, on this site at 8am on Tuesday, 6th October!

There is also a video on the evolution of the Doctor Who logo to accompany the article.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

New K9 trailer


Park Entertainment, distributors of the forthcoming K9 series, have released a new trailer for the programme. In the trailer, John Leeson can be heard as the voice of K9, a part he originated in the 1970s.

K9 is planned to air in early 2010 on Australia's Network Ten and on Disney XD in Europe.

View the trailer