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7/01/2011 01:16:00 pm - Reported by Chuck Foster

Matt Smith is to star in a new 90 minute BBC drama filming this summer that will explore the true-life story of two men whose partnership brought them gold medals in the 1948 London Olympics. Entitled Bert and Dickie, Smith will play the role Bert Bushell, who alongside Dickie Burnell won the double sculls rowing event. [Daily Mail, 1 Jul 2011; BBC Press, 26 May 2011]

Currently in the States, Smith was also seen to don Batman's costume in Los Angeles! The actor appeared in a play called Gotham Autopsy, part of the 24 Hour Plays event. [Telegraph, 20 Jun 2011]

David Tennant is expected to be at the UK premiere of his new film, Fright Night, which will take place at the O2 Arena in London on 14th August as part of the Empire Presents Big Screen festival. The film goes on general release on 2nd September. [The Wharf, 30 Jun 2011]

John Barrowman discussed the perception of being gay in the acting industry and how it can be changed with more openness: "We still have a whole lot of people out there who are not openly gay because they think it’s going to affect their jobs and stuff. Now I’m not out there to out people, and if that’s what you choose to do, that’s your choice, and I don’t see anything wrong with that. But I must say, if you’re doing it because you think it’s detrimental to your career, the more of us who come out and do things openly – I guarantee you, there’s a lot of us in Hollywood. And if we all just come out and don’t worry about it – in fact, not even come out, just live. If we could just be ourselves and live and not pretend and not lie and not have beards, things would be a lot different. And the public, in a way, has to accept that stuff. If a big Hollywood A-lister came out, do you really think it’s going to affect the films? People are not that stupid. And I think we need to give the people more power in that sense. There might be an area of society that will never believe it, will never want to believe it, but that’s their choice. I don’t have a choice, they do." [After Elton, 27 Jun 2011]

Doctor Who's head writer Steven Moffat spoke to Wired about making the shows, and commented on writing for the character: "When the new Doctor has worked, he’s been in tune with the times, yeah. I look at Tom Baker’s Doctor and that’s the ’70s to me. It’s nostalgic and wonderful. But because Doctor Who is an old show, it must never look old. It must always feel new. I’m not trying to make Doctor Who for the old fans. I’m trying to get the next generation of children to fall in love with the show." And on the audience: " It’s a big fat mainstream hit in Britain, and if you’ve got a big hit, you have to keep romancing the casual viewer. Keeping people happy who watch it now and then—that’s the hard part." [Wired, 28 Jun 2011]

Torchwood's head writer Russell T Davies put forward his view on why cuts in things like the BBC licence fee affect culture: "that is truly something of great cultural value - it's very easy to say that a school is more important than a play, that a hospital is more important than a drama, and that's because we're talking a totally false language in which these things are comparable and one reduces the other - that's the language of economics that simply does not fit cultural life. Reflecting on recent comments made by prime minister David Cameron on cleaning up the watershed, he said: "I'm delivering Torchwood to BBC1, we're delivering these episodes with weekly edits, it has sex, it has violence in it - (the watershed) does seem more stringent than ever, I have to say. I've always thought if your drama depends on a sex scene or a swear word that it's possibly a very slightly odd drama: I think that's true of some dramas, something like Queer as Folk, that's actually quite rare so I don't think we should automatically take a stand of saying these things are automatically good, because you've got to take it as it comes. It does seem more diligent than ever, that's why I'm surprised he is saying it needs policing - it seems to be policed ever since as we all know, with Jonathan Ross and the whole of the BBC came tumbling around our ears, compliance has been mad; but no matter how mad compliance gets, with diligence with hard work and with a very very close eye on the guidelines you can get strong material transmitted, I do believe that." [Front Row, 21 Jun 2011]

Writer Neil Gaiman (The Doctor's Wife) appeared on The Late Late Show, ostensibly to talk about his writing and the new series American Gods based on his books, but discussion inevitably veered towards Doctor Who, being a fan, and of course his episode this year!
[The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, 28 Jun 2011, via Ferguson's YouTube Channel]

Russell Tovey (Frame, Voyage of the Damned/The End of Time) will be playing the role of Henry Baskerville in the new adaptation of the classic Conan Doyle tale being made for Steven Moffat's other current series, Sherlock. [Russell Tovey on Twitter, 20 Jun 2011]

Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson was recently revealed to own one of the old Doctor costumes worn by Sylvester McCoy (who has a role in Jackson's The Hobbit). Actress Frances Barber (recently seen as Madame Kovarian in A Good Man Goes To War) reported: "Sylvester and I were in Peter’s house and he said: 'Look in that cabinet', in there was Sylvester’s Dr Who costume. Peter bought it on eBay. Isn’t that wacky?" [Express, 28 Jun 2011, reported from Doctor Who Insider]