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Bookmark and Share Nominees Announced For RTS Programme Awards

2/29/2012 09:14:00 pm - Reported by John Bowman

Steven Moffat, John Simm, Russell Tovey, James Corden, and The Sarah Jane Adventures are all in the running for gongs at this year's Royal Television Society Programme Awards.

Moffat is nominated in the Writer - Drama category for Series 6 of Doctor Who, Simm as Best Male Actor for the BBC One psychological thriller Exile, Tovey is co-nominated with Sarah Solemani for Best Comedy Performance in the BBC Three anti-romantic comedy Him And Her, and Corden is nominated in the Best Entertainment Performance category for the Sky 1 comedy panel show A League Of Their Own, while Series 5 of The Sarah Jane Adventures is up for Best Children's Drama.

The awards ceremony takes place at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London on Tuesday 20th March.

Last year's RTS Programme Awards saw Moffat winning the Judges' Award and The Sarah Jane Adventures scooping the Children's Drama prize.

Bookmark and Share People Roundup

2/29/2012 08:02:00 pm - Reported by Chuck Foster

Eve Myles talks about her audition for her role in All New People, the play by Zach Braff: "It was one of the strangest auditions of my life. On the Friday my agent phoned me up very excited because I was desperate to get back to doing theatre, and I wanted to do some comedy because I've never done comedy. She said 'I've got this wonderful script, I'm going to send it to you and they're going to have a look at some of your stuff over the weekend. And if they like what they see then on Monday you might get a phone call and you might have to read for them.' Monday came and they were very interested in me. They arranged for me – on the Wednesday – to audition on Skype, which I’d never done before. Anybody who knows me knows that I have difficulty with a mobile phone, never mind the internet! So I had a Skype audition with Peter DuBois, who was in New York, which lasted an hour and a half, then I had another 40-minute audition with Zach in Los Angeles. So the audition lasted nearly three hours with these two geniuses. In the meantime my babysitter had let me down so we put Alice In Wonderland on for Matilda. So I’m doing all these big scenes on Skype and my daughter is screaming, 'Off with her head!' in the background. But within 20 minutes they'd made an offer." [SFX, via Dave Golder, 21 Feb 2012]

Sylvester McCoy talks about his role in the play Plume, opening at the Tron Theatre Company on Thursday 1st March: "It's a beautifully written play about loss and sadness, and the change in a human being because of that loss. The man I play is a retired teacher, who's widowed, and his son being blown up in a plane affects and changes him from being a lovable, nice, kind, caring human being into an angry person. (On the influence of the real-life Lockerbie tragedy) Lockerbie is there, but it's not principal to the story. It's not a political play in that way, but there's the final straw that releases all this anger in him. One of the reasons for me wanting to do it was that I've got sons, and when I was reading it, I thought, well, how would I feel if that happened to me? I was touched." [The Herald, 28 Feb 2012]

David Morrissey will appear in the next series of The Walking Dead, playing the role of "The Governor". The series is due to start filming in Atlanta in the spring. [News in Time and Space, 26 Feb 2012]

Bill Pullman is returning to a familiar role ... the Independence Day star will be once again assuming the mantle of US President, this time in the new NBC comedy series 1600 Penn set around 'ordinary' life in the White House. [TV Guide, 24 Feb 2012]

A performance of Arthur Darvill's Cinderella forms part of the Nabokov Arts Club's Fable event at Battersea Arts Centre on 2nd/3rd March. The composition is described as a rock-opera, and is "a musical subversion of the Cinderella story". [Nabokov Online. A Younger Theatre]

Roger Lloyd-Pack has been named as patron of the 2012 Breckland British Film Festival. The festival aims to bring classic films to local villages, with the actor attending a screening of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (in which he played Inspector Mendel) in Garboldisham on 14th March. [Norwich Evening News, 27 Feb 2012]

Katherine Jenkins is to appear as one of the contestants on the US version of the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing, Dancing With The Stars. The singer is about to begin training for the show, saying on Twitter: "So now I have a spare day to prepare myself for DWTS and for my first day of training with Mark Ballas" [Katherine Jenkins, 29 Feb 2012]

Visual effects designer/supervisor Tim Barter (between Smith and Jones and The End of Time) has made a remarkable recovery from a skull fracture he suffered in 2009. Reflecting on his accident, he said: "Life stopped for a number of months. I couldn't work and I had double vision. I was frightened that my eyesight would never go back to normal and that I would have to give up my job for good. I'm making the most of everything now where I didn't before." [Standard, 28 Feb 2012]

We'll Take Manhattan, starring Aneurin Bernard as David Bailey and Karen Gillan as Jean Shrimpton will premiere in the United States on 3rd March on cable channel Ovation.

The channel have provided links to three interview segments with Gillan: in the first, Karen talks about the impact of Jean Shrimpton and David Bailey; in the second she discusses the differences between her two characters, Amy and Jean; finally, she talks about the real Jean Shrimpton.

Matt Smith on Top Gear

Matt Smith demonstrated his driving skills on last Sunday's Top Gear as the "star in the reasonably priced car", and achieved the fastest lap-time of all the 'modern' Doctors that have appeared on the show so far, completing the circuit in 1:43.7, as compared to David Tennant with 1:48.8 and Christopher Eccleston with 1:52.4. Billie Piper has also completed the circuit, with a 'controversial' time of 1:48.3 (a three second penalty was overturned). The lap can be watched in the UK via the BBC iPlayer until 22nd April (starts at 30:32).


Behind the scenes of Matt Smith's attempt, via Top Gear Blog

The 'current' Doctors aren't the only ones to take the challenge, however; back in 2003 the Sixth Doctor aka Colin Baker participated in a special 'sci-fi' item on the show, appearing in costume in a competition against a Dalek, Cyberman, Klingon, Darth Vader and Ming the Merciless to find the "Master of the Universe"! Unfortunately he ended up in 4th place, with the Cyberman being the fastest - the Dalek was disqualified for not fitting in the car! Baker was reported as completing the lap in 1:43, but the missing decisecond makes it unclear if he actually beat Smith's own lap time ...

In Memoriam

BAFTA-winning costume designer Michael Burdle, who worked on Colony In Space and The Armageddon Factor, has died at the age of 69. Other programmes he was involved with included Dad's Army and Don't Wait Up, but his great passion was period dramas and in 1985 he won a BAFTA for the BBC's Masterpiece Theatre adaptation of Bleak House. [The Stage, 23 Feb 2012]

Actor, director, and producer Malcolm Taylor, who played Walters in The Ice Warriors, has died aged 74. Among his many credits, he was the dialogue coach for Richard Harris in This Sporting Life - the 1963 film that also included William Hartnell and brought the latter to the attention of Verity Lambert when she was casting the role of the Doctor. [The Stage, 21 Feb 2012]

Bookmark and Share IDW Comic Sale

2/29/2012 10:35:00 am - Reported by Chuck Foster

A back catalogue of some 56 Doctor Who comics featuring both the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors from publisher IDW are currently available to purchase in a special 99c sale from ComiXology.

The sale runs until 11pm EST tomorrow (1st March).


In addition, a few of the comics are available to read online for free as an introduction to the series:
  • Adventures of the Fourth Doctor in issue one of Classics
  • The Tenth Doctor needs to recover memories of his earlier selves in part one of The Forgotten
  • The beginning of the final adventure for the Tenth Doctor in the Doctor Who Annual 2010

(with thanks to Jim Spivey)

Bookmark and Share Production Roundup

2/27/2012 06:19:00 pm - Reported by Chuck Foster

Production

In an interview with SFX, executive producer Caroline Skinner confirmed that the first recording block contains two individual stories (being directed by Saul Metzstein). On whether all the scripts were written, she said: "No, if only. But we’ve got a lot of them and the ones that are written are really, really epic and very exciting. (The opening episode) is indeed written by Steven and it’s going to blow everybody’s mind."

Speaking on the Richard Bacon Show, BBC1 Controller Danny Cohen talked about series developments: "The Doctor Who team are writing away. There are more episodes next year. We've got some big events coming up in the near future. So, stay tuned! I always try and keep things close to my chest with Doctor Who because there's such interest in it, and I think it's right that Steven Moffat and the team are the people that bring the news on Doctor Who to the audience rather than me."

Toby Whithouse talked to BBC America about writing for the new series: "My episode is in a genre I’ve never written before — frankly, no one has written in that genre for quite a while now. But I absolutely love it. Steven gives me a one-line pitch, and then I’ll go away and put together a story and so on. And he gave me a great one-line pitch for this, so I’m really excited about it. Doctor Who is always a joy to write. It never gets boring, it never gets dull, it never gets routine. It’s an incredibly difficult show to write because it’s remarkably complex, but it also has to have such momentum and pace. And within that there has to be room for character and humour and so on. It’s always a huge challenge but always extraordinary fun. That’s why I keep going back."

On Location

As well as production commencing on the new series last Monday, later in the week saw filming taking place at Southerndown Beach; the distinctive Dunraven Bay location has featured in a number of BBC Wales programmes, including Merlin and Being Human, and has been used previously in Doctor Who to represent an alien planet (Army of Ghosts), Bad Wolf Bay (Doomsday/Journey's End) and Alfava Metraxis (The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone). Matt Smith, Arthur Darvill and Mark Williams were pictured during filming, which was covered by a number of media sources including The Sun, Radio Times, and the Western Mail.



Casting

According to Spotlight, Rudi Dharmalingham will feature in this block, playing the role of ISA Worker. The actor has had a number of small guest roles in recent series, including The Bill, Casualty and New Tricks. He has also undertaken a number of stage roles, including the international tour of History Boys.

The Rumour Zone

This section talks about elements of the series that have not been formally confirmed and might well be considered spoilers!





In her discussion with SFX about Worlds in Time, Caroline Skinner was also asked about the possibility of a foe returning to the series itself:
SFX: The Zygons are in it! Is this a hint they’re going to be returning to the show anytime soon?
Caroline Skinner: [Laughs] “Wait and see.”

The Express has suggested that Sherlock actor Benedict Cumberbatch might have a role to play in Doctor Who's 50th Anniversary. The traditional 'insider' said:
It's fitting that the Doctor comes face to face with his ultimate enemy, The Master, for the 50th anniversary and it's felt Benedict is the perfect choice if schedules can work. Fans will love the idea of the man who plays Sherlock Holmes taking on the Doctor.

Benedict has often been asked about whether he would like to play the Doctor so it will be ironic if he now ends up being The Master instead.

(with thanks to Chris Williams, Ruther)

Bookmark and Share Doctor Who Children's Books for America

2/26/2012 08:13:00 pm - Reported by Chuck Foster

Diamond Comic Distributors have announced a distribution deal with Penguin Books UK to enable them to publish the successful Doctor Who Children's Books in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Penguin Books UK have published a large number of books and novels in its Doctor Who young adult and children's line, including titles like Monstrous Missions, Step Back in Time and Alien Adventures, the Doctor Who Activity Book, and Where's The Doctor?. The new deal brings the range to American comic book specialty stores, bookstores, mass-market merchandisers, libraries and other outlets.

Bill Schanes, VP-Purchasing for Diamond Comic Distributors, said:
Doctor Who has been one of the growing brand licenses for Diamond and we’re happy to be selling the Penguin Books UK line in North America. These books haven’t been directly available from any U.S. source except for those that might have imported a small quantity.
Juliet Matthews, Penguin UK’s Media and Entertainment Publisher, said:
We're excited to be working with Diamond. The growing audience of Doctor Who fans in the U.S. makes it an ideal partnership to extend our reach.

(with thanks to Kuo-Yu Liang/Diamond Book Distributors)

Bookmark and Share Council Is Ordered To Release DW Records

2/26/2012 07:53:00 pm - Reported by John Bowman

A tribunal has ordered Cardiff Council to hand over all its records to do with Doctor Who.

A request under the Freedom of Information Act was made last year by journalist Christopher Hastings to see all documents between the BBC and the council relating to the series. He also wanted to see complaints about the programme that had been sent to the council, as well as all the relevant civic correspondence with utility firms and other public bodies.

The council had refused to comply, saying that it would take longer than the 18 hours that legislation allows. That stance was rejected by the Information Commissioner so the council appealed to the Information Rights Tribunal. However, the tribunal ruled that Cardiff "failed to prove, on the balance of probabilities, that responding to Mr Hastings' enquiry would have involved in excess of 18 hours' work."

Ordering the council to release the information, it also reproached it for what it called poor evidence, with two officers at the civic authority - Phil Bradshaw and Dave Parsons - contradicting each other, and one of them (Bradshaw) contradicting himself.

A council spokesman said:
"The council is disappointed with the tribunal decision but while accepting the judgement we are still concerned that it will take significantly longer to process than the 18 hours of employee time which allows requests to be refused under the Freedom of Information Act.

"We estimated the cost of processing the original request for information would have been prohibitive.

"In hindsight we accept we did not provide sufficient evidence to the tribunal in regard of the costs of processing the request for information. However, we note that the tribunal recognised the efforts made to clarify the request which were rejected by the requester of the information."

Bookmark and Share Peter Halliday 1924-2012

2/25/2012 06:33:00 am - Reported by Marcus

Peter HallidayOne of Doctor Who's most prolific actors, Peter Halliday, has died at the age of 87.

Peter Halliday had a long and productive career, working in theatre, film and Television. He had credited roles in 23 Doctor Who episodes, working alongside the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 7th Doctors.

Halliday was born near Llangollen in Wales, but spent much of his life in Welshpool, Powys. After serving in World War II he won admission to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.Three years later he joined the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, now known as the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Television roles followed including parts in Z Cars, Armchair Theatre and The Citidal, but it was as Dr John Fleming in A for Andromeda that Halliday really made his name. Made in 1961, the science fiction series featured Halliday as a young scientist alongside Julie Christie. A follow up series, The Andromeda Breakthrough followed in 1962.

Halliday made his first appearance in Doctor Who in 1968 playing Packer in the Cyberman story The Invasion. Packer was the security chief of International Electromatics who assisted Tobias Vaughn. Halliday returned to Doctor Who in 1970, providing voices for both The Silurians and the aliens in Ambassadors of Death.

It was as Pletrac in the 1973 story Carnival Of Monsters, that Halliday is probably best remembered. His portrayal of the leader of the tribunal charged with safeguarding Inter Minor's border control is widely appreciated and Halliday appeared on the recent Special Edition DVD release of the story talking about the role.

In 1979 he joined Tom Baker in the classic story City of Death playing a Soldier and providing the Jagaroth Voice. His final appearance in Doctor Who came in 1988's Remembrance of the Daleks, where he played a Vicar.

Outside of Doctor Who, Halliday had roles in The Saint, The Avengers, Goodnight Sweetheart and Dalziel and Pascoe on TV as well as appearing in the Oscar-nominated movie Remains of the Day.

Peter Halliday died earlier this week. His funeral will be held in London on Tuesday and a memorial service is planned in Welshpool at a later date.

He leaves three sons and five grandchildren.

Bookmark and Share New Eternity Clock Trailer Released As Adventure Games End

2/25/2012 12:47:00 am - Reported by John Bowman

A new trailer for the forthcoming PlayStation game Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock has been released by BBC Worldwide.

Players can look forward to the global release of the game next month on PS3 and PS Vita, via the PlayStation Network. The exact date of release has yet to be confirmed, as does the price. A PC version will be released soon after.

As well as being the first PS Vita game to use the cutting-edge Unreal Engine toolset, it will also boast two-player co-operative action and split-screen footage.


Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock new teaser trailer, BBC Worldwide, via YouTube

However, fans of the Adventure Games series, which is free to download in the UK, will be disappointed to learn that the BBC has no plans for any more.

BBC spokeswoman Michelle Osborn told Doctor Who News:

As Doctor Who approaches its 50th anniversary, online content will focus on more ambitious and innovative filmed content than ever before to reflect the show's epic milestone.

Although there are no plans for more Adventure Games, over the next two years fans can expect fantastic fictional exclusives (eg, prequels), backstage content and buzz - plus clips and information about every episode of Doctor Who ever broadcast by the BBC.

There have been five Adventure Games in all since they started being released by the official website in June 2010: City of the Daleks, Blood of the Cybermen, TARDIS, Shadows of the Vashta Nerada, and The Gunpowder Plot.

The Adventure Games have had more than 3.7m downloads and are still available for free.

Bookmark and Share People Roundup

2/24/2012 07:53:00 pm - Reported by Chuck Foster

Details and images have now been released for the new CBeebies series Tree Fu Tom, starring the voices of Sophie Aldred as Tom and David Tennant as Twigs. [News in Time and Space, 23 Feb 2012]

Tennant has also been announced as one of the performers in a new series of comedies and dramas from Sky Arts called Playhouse Presents, with the actor appearing in The Minor Character by Will Self. [Sky Arts, Guardian, 23 Feb 2012]

After 'conquering' the BBC, John Barrowman may be making his presence felt on ITV next - having guest-hosted This Morning a couple of times, it has been suggested that this may become more regular, with an insider saying: "ITV think John is a real talent who shouldn't only be seen on the BBC. They want to work with him on a series of upcoming projects." [Daily Mail, 23 Feb 2012]

Channel 5 won't be immune to him, either, with C5 Productions planning to make a show with the actor exploring the origins of the popular 1980s show Dallas! [C21 Media, 23 Feb 2012]

Monster actor extraordinaire Paul Kasey is to be involved in the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics, with his online CV stating: "Movement Assistant + Performer (Locog, Danny Boyle + Toby Sedgwick). [Spotlight via Ruther, 22 Feb 2012]

Bernard Cribbins is one of several stars performing in Winchester: Chronicles of Light, a show recalling the history of Winchester Cathedral. The actor said: "We've had a long day recording and it went well, and to be in this lovely building with such a great atmosphere has been an absolute joy.". Other celebrities involved include Wendy Craig, Hugh Dennis, John Rhys-Davies and Tamsin Greig. [Romsey Advertiser, 22 Feb 2012]

David Walliams is to see his best-selling children's book Mr Stink turned into a television series for BBC1, with controller Danny Cohen describing it as a "heart-warming, nose-clenching and funny tale which will appeal to viewers of all ages.". [BBC News, 21 Feb 2012]

Gareth David Lloyd is to appear in a new eerie anthology series, Twisted Showcase, which will be launched on the web on 1st March. [News in Time and Space, 23 Feb 2012]

Doctor Who was singled out when culture minister Ed Vaizey praised the Welsh broadcasting industry's cultural and economic importance. During a visit to Cardiff, which included a tour round the programme's new home at the BBC Wales Roath Lock drama village, he said: "Global hits like Doctor Who act as a continual reminder of the role the creative industries can play in driving growth through the creation of jobs and attracting inward investment."[BBC News, 23 Feb 2012]

Lastly, don't miss Matt Smith's attempt to beat the lap record as the "star in the reasonably priced car" on this Sunday's Top Gear, broadcast at 8:00pm on BBC2/BBCHD.

Bookmark and Share Forbidden Planet release 9th Doctor Costume T-Shirt

2/24/2012 12:11:00 pm - Reported by Chuck Foster

Forbidden Planet have announced the release of the 9th Doctor Costume T-Shirt, finally completing their set of exclusive t-shirts representing the distinctive costumes of the eleven television Doctors (so far). The t-shirt is available for pre-order, available from 30th March.

1st Doctor T-Shirt 2nd Doctor T-Shirt 3rd Doctor T-Shirt 4th Doctor T-Shirt 5th Doctor T-Shirt 6th Doctor T-Shirt 7th Doctor T-Shirt 5th Doctor T-Shirt 9th Doctor T-Shirt 10th Doctor T-Shirt 11th Doctor T-Shirt

Bookmark and Share The Collectable Art Company launches ‘Sixth Doctor’ costume design

2/23/2012 05:50:00 pm - Reported by Chuck Foster

The Collectable Art Company is to publish a series of Limited Edition Fine Art prints of the original Doctor Who costume designs.

The officially licensed range will be launched on 1st March with Pat Godfrey's final design of the distinctive, multi-coloured Sixth Doctor's costume. 'Totally Tastless' will be limited to 1500 high quality individually numbered A2 prints, and will also be autographed by both the costume designer and the eventual wearer himself, Colin Baker.

Each print will also be accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity and a special 28 page Script to Screen booklet which describes the making of the iconic costume, plus an interview with Godfrey and introduction by Baker.



Grahame Flynn, Managing Director of The Collectable Art Company, said:
We are delighted to have secured the rights to reproduce costume designs from this flagship BBC series. We are committed to bringing world-class, museum quality reproductions of the production designs to collectors. The range will expand to include the images from the classic and new series.

The print is now available for pre-order.

(with thanks to Grahame Flynn/The Collectable Art Company)

Bookmark and Share Life Imitates Art

2/23/2012 12:42:00 pm - Reported by John Bowman

It's said that truth is stranger than fiction, and in a case of life imitating art (in more ways than one), two iconic paintings with very close connections to Doctor Who have been hitting the headlines.

Firstly, one of Edvard Munch's four versions of The Scream - which was a major influence on the design of Series 6 monster The Silence - is to be exhibited in the UK before being auctioned in the USA by Sotheby's.

It will be on display in London from 13th April and in New York from 27th April, with the auction taking place on 2nd May, when it is estimated it could fetch more than £50m ($80m).

This version - dated 1895 and the only one to still be in private hands - is a pastel and is in the original frame that was hand-painted by the Norwegian artist. It also includes a poem by Munch explaining what inspired his masterpiece.

The Scream is reckoned to be the second-most recognisable image in art and popular culture after the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci - and by a funny coincidence another version of that particular masterpiece has also been causing a huge stir in the art world.

The globally famous portrait - also titled La Gioconda - was a major plot point of the Season 17 story City of Death. Now a copy of the picture - reckoned to have been painted by one of Leonardo's apprentices at the time of the original - has been restored and displayed at the Prado Museum in Madrid, where it will stay until 13th March, after which it will be moved and hung next to Leonardo's original at the Louvre in Paris for an exhibition.

As reported previously, photographic portraits of David Tennant and Karen Gillan can still be seen in the Hot Scots exhibition at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh. This display runs until 1st April.

Tennant is also among the actors featured in backstage theatre photographer Simon Annand's exhibition The Half at the Idea Generation Gallery in Chance Street, London. The display takes its name from the half-hour before curtain-up, when actors are left by themselves to focus on the performance ahead of them. Also pictured at the gallery are Michael Gambon, Carey Mulligan, and Mark Gatiss. The exhibition opens tomorrow and runs until 8th April, with the opening times 10am to 6pm Mondays to Fridays and midday to 5pm Sundays.

Bookmark and Share People Roundup

2/22/2012 05:10:00 pm - Reported by Chuck Foster

In recognition of his contribution to drama business for BBC Wales, Doctor Who's former lead writer Russell T Davies has had the main walkway connecting all of the new Media Village facilities in Cardiff Bay named after him, with a plaque put up denoting Russell T Davies Alley. [Standard, 16 Feb 2012]

Talking about 'walkways', film cameraman Peter Eveson has filmed and directed the debut video for the north Suffolk band Walkway. As well as Doctor Who, the cameraman also filmed and directed Zoo Days, and worked on James May's Toy Stories. [Diss Express, 19 Feb 2012]

David Tennant will be the narrator for the audio version of Silver: Return to Treasure Island, a sequel book to Robert Louis Stevenson's original novel written by Sir Andrew Motion; the author said: "I'm completely delighted David Tennant's reading Silver. I honestly can't think of anyone I'd rather hear do it.". Dominic White of audiobook publisher W F Howes Ltd added: "David Tennant really conveys the thrills of an ocean odyssey. This is the making of a modern classic in spoken word form." [Booktrade, 22 Feb 2012]

The pairing of Tennant and Catherine Tate in last year's West End production of Much Ado About Nothing was named theatre event of the year in the Whatsonstage.com awards, voted for by the public. It also scooped the best Shakespearean production award at the event, co-hosted by Sheridan Smith (Eighth Doctor companion Lucie Miller in the Big Finish audio plays). Tate also won the award for best supporting actress in a play for Season's Greetings, and James Corden was named best actor in a play for One Man, Two Guvnors. [BBC News, 20 Feb 2012]

And speaking of Sheridan Smith, she has won the title role in Mrs Biggs, an ITV Studios drama that will chronicle the life of the former wife of Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs from when she first met him. The five-parter will also feature Daniel Mays (Alex in Night Terrors) as the notorious criminal. [ITV Press Centre, 20 Feb 2012]

Actress Katy Wix (who played Ianto's sister Rhiannon in Torchwood: Children of Earth) can be seen in the new series of Not Going Out. Talking about her blossoming career as a comedienne, she said: "At times I've felt people in the industry didn't trust me with the joke, me being a woman and all – but they're just people I don't want to work with." [Observer, 19 Feb 2012]

Tom Price will be appearing in a new comedy show for BBC3, World Series of Dating, playing the character of James Chetwynd-Talbot, described as a nervous sports journalist, unlucky with the ladies and in his first commentary role. The 8-part series, which stars American actor/comedian Rob Riggle, commences on the channel in March. [BBC Media Centre, 22 Feb 2012]

Actor Zach Braff learnt about how famous his All New People co-star Eve Myles was by meeting her fans at the stage door! "I didn't (know) until I got here. Eve does not play a very - how do I put this? - her character is not like a sex pot, hottie, and I'm seeing these pictures from Torchwood of her firing guns and these tight outfits, and I'm like 'Eve?!!' But it's become quite popular in the States, too, I have a friend who I didn't know even watched it, he was like 'you're acting with Eve Myles!' - he was freaking out. She's a wonderful, wonderful actress, and doing comedy for the first time, which people haven't seen - wait until they see how good she is at comedy. [STV, 21 Feb 2012]

Mark Ayres was recently asked about how the incidental music was handled in the classic series. When asked if music was always mixed in on the board while filming, he said: Almost always prior to 1970, yes (the show was made, as far as possible, 'as live'). After 1970, music added in post-dub.«" On whether composers saw the visuals on post-dub: "Yes, composers saw playback at BBC and made notes. From 1980-onwards (perhaps slightly earlier) they were given a time-coded VHS.« From mid-70s, Doctor Who office and Radiophonic Workshop were using Shibaden black-and-white reel-to-reel video dubs for reference.«"

The composer also added: "It's taken 15 years, but I have finally digitised all of the classic Doctor Who sound effects.«" However, "There remains a massive amount of cataloguing and documentation to complete, but the 246 tapes are done.«" A collection of Doctor Who sound effects from the 1970s has recently been re-released on CD.

The Series 6 episode The Doctor's Wife has been nominated for a 2011 Nebula Award from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Written by Neil Gaiman and directed by Richard Clark, it has been put forward for the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation. The winner will be announced during the SFWA's 47th Annual Nebula Awards Weekend, which takes place from Thursday 17th to Sunday 20th May in Arlington, Virgina. The Series 5 episode Vincent and the Doctor was similarly nominated last year in the 2010 awards but failed to win. [Richard Clark, via Twitter, 20 Feb 2012]

Bookmark and Share Series 7: First publicity photo released

2/22/2012 12:00:00 am - Reported by Chuck Foster

The BBC have released the first promotional photo and details for the new series of Doctor Who:

Filming has just started on Series 7 of Doctor Who in Cardiff. This series will see the last days of the Ponds with Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill returning for their final, rollercoaster voyage with The Doctor. Amy and Rory have been at the Doctor's side for more than two series but what will he do after their heartbreaking departure?

On returning for his third series as the Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith says: "It's thrilling and exciting to be back and working with two of my closest friends."

Karen Gillan adds: "It's just brilliant to be back on the TARDIS with Matt and Arthur for our craziest adventures yet."

Series 7 will then see a dramatic turn of events when The Doctor meets a new friend. Prepare yourselves for thrills, adventures and dramatic surprises as the show builds towards its enormous, climactic 50th anniversary year. Fourteen big, blockbuster-movie episodes - each a brand new epic adventure featuring new monsters and some familiar foes as you've never seen them before.

Casting Update

As well as Mark Williams (who was busy filming on Monday), additional guest stars for the series have now been announced:

Rupert Graves

Graves has had a long film and television career, including roles in The Forsyte Saga (2002-2003), V for Vendetta (2005), and even The Famous Five (1979). He appeared alongside former Doctor David Tennant in Single Father, but is perhaps most recognisable currently as Inspector Lestrade in the Steven Moffat/Mark Gatiss re-imagining of Sherlock.

David Bradley

Another actor with a long career, Bradley has appeared on television ranging from A Family At War (1971) through to recent series like Five Daughters (2010), and has also worked with David Tennant, in Blackpool (2004). However, the actor is no stranger to the Matt Smith era of Doctor Who, having played a Shansheeth voice in The Death of the Doctor. He is probably most recognisable to the wider audience, though, as the scraggly caretaker Argus Filch in the Harry Potter film franchise.

Production Crew: Related Vacancy

BBC Careers have listed a job within Visual Effects for BBC Wales which, though not specifically advertised for Doctor Who, will encompass the show amongst others:
Senior Visual Effects Designer (Talent Pool)

BBC Wales produces some of the BBCs best known, most popular and loved productions: Human Planet, Crimewatch, Doctor Who, The Sarah Jane Adventures, Torchwood, Being Human, Upstairs Downstairs, Merlin, Sherlock, Eric and Ernie, alongside a wide range of programmes for local output and S4C.

BBC Wales, Post Production and Graphic Design, is looking for visual effects designers, with experience in broadcast production, to join our highly creative and talented design team, to work on some of these high profile productions.

Requirements: You’ll have relevant experience within the Broadcast Visual Effects industry, with proven design creative ability in the field. You’ll possess strong working knowledge of customer/production bases, with a flexible/adaptable style to suit a wide range of different supervisors/customers preferred styles and strong interpersonal skills with the confidence to approach potential customers.
The role will "be responsible for delivering visual effects, to production requirements and standards, in either a support, or, lead role." Based in Cardiff, the closing date for applications is 4th March.

Bookmark and Share Regional Roundup

2/21/2012 09:17:00 pm - Reported by Chuck Foster

United Kingdom

A bit of nostalgia for Boston as 1977 saw a report on a visit to the Oldrids store by Tom Baker, who was there to autograph books about the television series and "proved a hit with the locals." [Boston Standard, 20 Feb 2012]

A Doctor Who-themed day was held at Long Close School in Slough to herald the beginning of half-term. A special poster replaced the school emblem, pupils wore costumes, time travel stories and quantum mechanics got a look-in on the curriculum, a Dalek, Weeping Angel, Cyberman, and Tardis made an appearance - and even headteacher David Brazier got in on the act by dressing up as the Ninth Doctor! [Slough and South Bucks Observer, 17 Feb 2012]

Daleks helped raise more than £1,000 for the British Heart Foundation when they appeared as part of a fund-raising day at the Ashley Centre in Epsom. [Epsom Guardian, 20 Feb 2012]

Twickenham Film Studios
has gone into administration, with very little likelihood of it making movies again. Due to celebrate its centenary next year, it is, instead, being wound down between now and June. It was also host to TV productions over the years, including the BBC drama serial Our Friends In The North, which co-starred Christopher Eccleston, and Coupling, the BBC comedy created and written by Steven Moffat. On the cinematic front, An Education, which was filmed there, featured Carey Mulligan in her first leading role, while trivia buffs may like to know that the Amicus Films offering The Terrornauts featured shots of the Dalek flying saucer model from the same production company's Daleks - Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. A partial Twickenham filmography is available here. [BBC News, 20 Feb 2012]
(With thanks to Jeremy Bentham)

United States

An outdoor advertising campaign by BBC America that uses Doctor Who among its references has proved to be an internet smash. Billboards and commuter transit ads have been appearing in the New York City area to promote the network - among them posters on all three suburban commuter train lines that say "My other commute is in a TARDIS" (which has reportedly been downloaded 1,000 times) and "If you were a Time Lord, you would be home by now or 700 years ago". The channel has also logged more than 12,500 posts and likes on Tumblr, plus nearly 500 tweets of photos or comments. [Multichannel News, 10 Feb 2012] [BuzzFeed, 8 Feb 2012]

Writing for Washington University's independent newspaper in St. Louis, David Sargeant rates Doctor Who amongst the best of British shows: "Arguably the most popular British show of all time, Doctor Who is the easiest show to jump into and the sole entry on this list still in production. The Doctor is an alien with a time machine, a fondness for humans and an out-of-this-world personality. He travels through time and space with a human companion, confronting various alien menaces and setting an example of tolerance and cool logic. The franchise is approaching its 50th anniversary but has yet to show its age." [Student Life, 20 Feb 2012]

Andrea Shelton reflects on her experience at the GallifreyOne Convention that took place in Los Angeles last weekend: "This weekend I made my first trip to the 23rd installment of Gallifrey One – a Doctor Who convention held annually in LA – and it was nothing short of OUTSTANDING. The defining characteristic of this event is that it is 100% fan-run. This means every staff member and volunteer is participating out of sheer love and enjoyment of the series, and it shows in every detail of the programming. The charm of this convention goes beyond the quality of programming. Just as important to the overall experience is the character of the fans. I am pleased to say I have never been surrounded by so many friendly, enthusiastic, and kind people that I immediately felt a connection with. This convention has everything a Doctor Who fan could ask for, and I am already counting down the days until next year. It is a trip worth saving for, and I can’t wait to see what they have in store for next year’s 50th Anniversary special." [What Culture, 21 Feb 2012]

Lastly, a selection of photos taken at the convention. [LA Weekly, 20 Feb 2012]

Bookmark and Share AudioGo: release update

2/20/2012 06:41:00 pm - Reported by Chuck Foster

AudioGo have released details on audio titles in their spoken word range due to be released next month, with the Eleventh Doctor, Amy and Rory continuing their adventures in Darkstar Academy and Gwen and Rhys embroiled in post-Miracle Day shenanigans in Army of One. Plus, the new novelisation of Shada, reported last week.

Darkstar Academy
Written by Mark Morris
Read by Alexander Armstrong
Released 8th March 2012 (CD) (pre-order)

When the TARDIS is buffeted by ‘time slippage’, the Doctor experiences a terrible vision of the end of everything. Tracking the source of the disruption, he takes Rory and Amy to what appears to be an English public school in the 1950s.

But as the friends are about to discover, there are some very unusual things about Darkstar Academy. For a start the prefects carry guns, and then there is the strange forcefield that surrounds the perimeter. Not to mention the foot-long, crab-like creatures with spiny, armoured bodies...

When the Doctor learns the truth about the Academy, he also discovers that the whole place is in terrible danger. But with a swarm of creatures on the loose, what can he, Amy and Rory do to help prevent a terrible disaster?
Army of One
Written by Ian Edginton
Read by Kai Owen
Released 8th March 2012 (CD) (pre-order)


Washington D.C., post-Miracle. The city has been hit by a spate of very unusual serial killings.
The victims are different ages and genders and the locations vary, but each body has one thing in common – it has been reduced to a dried-up, desiccated husk.

Special Agent Lucas Avery has dealt with some tricky puzzles in his time, but this is stranger than anything he has ever encountered. His one lead is a pair of names: ‘Gwen’ and ‘Rhys’...

For Gwen Cooper and Rhys Williams, still recovering from the recent, traumatic events that shook the world, life is about to get difficult and dangerous again. For it’s not just Homeland Security on their trail, but something else – something alien, terrifying and deadly...

Bookmark and Share Doctor Who filming underway!

2/20/2012 05:28:00 pm - Reported by Chuck Foster

This morning saw filming begin in earnest for the next series of Doctor Who!

A brief summary of activities appear below, which though we do not consider as spoilers (there are no plot points for the episode being filmed), some readers may prefer not to continue reading!

Cast

Mark Williams. Photo: Grace JenkinsThe first guest star for the series has been revealed as the comic/actor Mark Williams. Having come to fame as one of the faces of The Fast Show, Williams has appeared in a variety of television and films, most recently on Sunday evenings as vampire lore-master Regus in Toby Whithouse's supernatural show Being Human. Arguably, though, the actor is now recognisable worldwide though his role as Arthur Weasley in the Harry Potter film franchise.

On Location

Recording took place inside a private house in Church Road, Penarth, which had been dressed to represent the Amy/Rory household. Arthur Darvill and Karen Gillan were on set, as was Mark Williams.



Resident Grace Jenkins kept Twitter followers appraised of activities inside, including set-dressing the week before:
Fri 12:20pm Living room has been cruelly disfigured so they can film Doctor Who in it.
Fri 4:26pm Rory and Amy Pond's wedding photos are now on my living room wall and will be all weekend as they're filming Monday.

8:18am I just met Mr Weasley!
8:51am What a lovely group of people.
9:18am Karen Gillan keeps playing my piano.
10:18am Blows my mind how many people it takes to make a tv show. I've counted at least 50.
1:58pm SO glad I can finally just get a bloody cup of tea without tripping over camera leads.

(with thanks to Grace Jenkins and Ryan Farrell)

Bookmark and Share DVD developments

2/19/2012 10:16:00 pm - Reported by Chuck Foster

Speaking at the GallifreyOne convention in Los Angeles, Patrick Troughton's son Michael said that he had recently recorded a commentary on the life of his father to be included as a feature for The Ice Warriors. There are no details as yet over whether the incomplete story will be an individual DVD release or form part of a boxed set.

On the subject of incomplete stories, Nicholas Pegg reported on Twitter that he was "into the final furlong of the Shada DVD production subtitles, and still unearthing previously unknown trivia bombshells!«" Earlier he said: "Researching the full facts and events of the Shada cancellation for the DVD info text. It's awfully sad. They so nearly made it!«"

Ed Stradling has made the following appeal: "if any Doctor Who fans out there know the whereabouts of any of the original models from Terror of the Zygons, could you let me know? Thanks«"


Talking about the forthcoming The Face of Evil (out 5th March), Chris Chapman said on Twitter: 'Into the Wild' features an exclusive chat with the child voice of Xoanon, then-schoolboy Anthony Frieze! Yes, I can tell you are excited!« It also features Louise Jameson, Philip Hinchcliffe, Austin Ruddy, Mat Irvine and an archive interview with Pennant Roberts.« But the big star of the doco is Mat Irvine's AMAZING Tom Baker mountain face!«"

Chapman also discussed the documentary The Show Must Go On, to be included on the DVD of The Greatest Show in the Galaxy: "The guest line-up (Aldred, Wareing, Reddington, Laskey, Tucker, Cartmel and JNT archive) now has an added cameo from the Bus Conductor Robot!« Worth saying that the doco and commentary feature an almost completely different line-up of guests - virtually no crossover!« Doco is clocking in just over 30mins, which I think is our longest yet.« It includes the words 'doormat', 'rat-bucket' and 'I was a bit too male for that'« ... Fiddling on with our doco - one last scan through the 'studio' footage... looking for things that went wrong!« ... Just added a bit of swearing - will have to bleep that one out!«" Today, he added: "We're just finishing our Greatest Show doco - which is a great chance to say how flippin' brilliant Who was at that time!«".

The latest edition of Nothing at the End of the Lane reports that some 90 seconds of behind-the-scenes footage had been captured on 8mm film during the recording of Robot on location at Wood Norton Hall by an extra in the story, Roger Squires; the material may appear on a future DVD release.

DVD range producer Dan Hall updated Doctor Who Magazine on the status of the recently rediscovered episodes of Galaxy 4 and The Underwater Menace: "There's one release that hasn't been announced yet which will provide a home for one of them. And there's a potential release that will provide a home for the other one as well. People aren't going to see them out on DVD in 2012, though. But they are on our schedule."

Hall also indicated that other special editions might be on the way: "I'm hoping that Vengeance on Varos will be the first of our single Revisitations imprint. So we'll see how Varos does and I've certainly got my sights on some future titles. (on choosing the titles) It's a mixture of things. I'll sit down with the Restoration Team and say 'What do you think could look a lot better now than it did on its first release?' Another consideration is looking at the extras that are on the existing DVD, and seeing if there's really basic stuff missing. I'm very proud of the idea that the DVDs form a kind of encyclopaedia."

Bookmark and Share Big Finish: Eighth Doctor Sale

2/19/2012 09:58:00 pm - Reported by Chuck Foster

Big Finish are to run a special sale of Eighth Doctor audio adventures over the course of this week, with a different season every day. The series features Paul McGann reprising his role as the Doctor, alongside Sheridan Smith as Lucie Miller.

DaySeasonComplete Season PriceEpisode Price
Monday 20th FebruarySeason One (eight episodes)£35 (US $60)£5 each (US $9)
Tuesday 21st FebruarySeason Two (eight stories)£35 (US $60)£5 each (US $9)
Wednesday 22nd FebruarySeason Three (eight stories)£35 (US $60)£5 each (US $9)
Thursday 24th FebruarySeason Four (ten stories)£40 (US $75)£5 each (US $9)

The first Eighth Doctor Adventure Blood of the Daleks is also available to download for free until midnight tonight (Sunday), US time.

Bookmark and Share People Roundup

2/18/2012 08:03:00 pm - Reported by Chuck Foster

Matt Smith is to feature on Top Gear as the "star in the reasonably priced car" - recorded last Wednesday, his attempt will appear in the episode due to be broadcast at 8:00pm, 26th February on BBC2/BBCHD. Both of his predecessors have attempted this in the past, with Christopher Eccleston in 2005 (completed in 1:53:4) and David Tennant in 2007 (1:48:8, watch here).

Alex Kingston talks about the period setting on Upstairs, Downstairs (returning to BBC1 tomorrow evening at 9:30pm): "Oh yes, setting this series just before the Second World War is clever. In 2012, our world is changing radically and that is reflected in Upstairs Downstairs, too. These characters are on the verge of something, they don’t know what is going to happen and people will identify with their fears. This is the beginning of the modern world and here is a society just clinging onto what they know, but it is going to change irrevocably." [What's on TV, 16 Feb 2012]

Sylvester McCoy will be playing the lead role as Mr Peters in Plume by the Tron Theatre Company in Glasgow; it runs from 1st-17th March. The actor will also be a guest on Janice Forsyth's show on BBC Radio Scotland on Saturday. [JaniceForsyth, 16 Feb 2012]

The CBeebies animated series Tree Fu Tom, featuring the vocal talents of Sophie Aldred and David Tennant, starts on Monday 5th March. [BBC Media Centre]

Cosima Shaw (Steffi Ehrlich, The Waters of Mars) plays Emma, Colin McFarlane (Alien Voices, Voyage of the Damned) Terrence, and Miranda Raison (Tallulah, Daleks In Manhattan/Evolution of the Daleks) Kate in the new three-episode series of Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, based on the books by Douglas Adams. The transmission date and time are yet to be confirmed, but it is currently due to start on BBC Four during the week beginning Saturday 3rd March. [BBC Media Centre]

The theatrical version of The King's Speech, featuring Ian McNeice as Winston Churchill and which premiered in Guildford earlier this month, is to transfer to Wyndham's Theatre on Thursday 22nd March for a four-month West End run, following its provincial tour. [BBC News, 17 Feb 2012]

John Simm is appearing on stage as Jerry in Betrayal by Harold Pinter at The Crucible in Sheffield from Thursday 17th May to Saturday 9th June. [@john_simm]

Just opened in the West End - appropriately enough at the Noel Coward Theatre - is Hay Fever, Coward's classic comedy of bad manners, with Lindsay Duncan (Adelaide Brooke in The Waters of Mars) leading a cast that also includes Kevin McNally (Hugo Lang in The Twin Dilemma), Olivia Colman (Mother, The Eleventh Hour),and Sam Callis (Security Guard, Bad Wolf). It is on until Saturday 2nd June. [Broadwayworld.com, 17 Feb 2012]

Brian Cox (Voice of Elder Ood, The End of Time: Part One) and Ron Donachie (Steward, Tooth and Claw) are to star in a new three-part TV comedy called Bob Servant Independent. Set in Dundee and airing on BBC Four later this year, the show's origins lie in the hit BBC Radio Scotland comedy The Bob Servant Emails and the best-selling Bob Servant books, and will see the title character, played by Cox, bid to become the MP for Broughty Ferry. [BBC Media Centre, 16 Feb 2012]

Ronnie Corbett has received his CBE from the Queen at an investiture at Buckingham Palace. As reported previously, the comedian, who played Ambassador "Rani" Ranius in the 2009 Sarah Jane Adventures special for Comic Relief, was recognised in this year's New Year Honours list for services to entertainment and charity. [BBC News, 16 Feb 2012]

The latest Doctor Who crewmember that can be followed on Twitter is James Strong (@jimmystrong); the David Tennant-era director's work has most recently been seen on screen in Law and Order UK and Downton Abbey, and the film United (which also featured Tennant).

In Memoriam

Fight choreographer and fencing Olympian Bob Anderson has died aged 89. He had just one role in Doctor Who - that of Fighting Guard in episode 4 of The Enemy of the World - but achieved great acclaim in the film industry, working with - among others - Errol Flynn and coaching Charlie Sheen and Johnny Depp. Most notably, perhaps, he played Darth Vader in fight scenes in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, standing in for Dave Prowse. [The Stage, 14 Feb 2012]

Bookmark and Share Production Roundup

2/17/2012 05:18:00 pm - Reported by Chuck Foster

Filming kicks off next week

Rehearsals have been taking place over the last week in the lead-up to filming commencing on Monday 20th February. It now seems likely that the first block is to include further European filming, with Spain cited as a destination (see "Cast", below) - the series previously filmed in the country back in August 1984, in and around Seville for the following year's adventure The Two Doctors.

Cast

Karen Gillan discusses her decision to leave the series this year: Actually, I called Steven Moffat and basically told him roughly when I wanted to go. He told me where the story was at and where it was going and then we kind of together came up with it. So it was really pleasant, actually. That was ages ago, so I've known for ages! I wanted to go on a high. Also, Steven Moffat comes up with endless, amazing ideas anyway, but I wanted to make sure that I went on a high when the character was at her prime. There's just something quite nice and appealing about that to me. I don't know… It just felt right! I like to go on instinct." And on the finality of her departure: " I want to see her go with everything that she wants, because initially, when we met her, she was just seeking what she wants, you know what I mean? And she was kind of in this lost, transitional period, where she didn't have a stable life. So I just want to see her get what she wants. I really, really want to have a final exit and then be able to look back on that as a final exit. I don't know... I just don't want to take away from that exit by making cameos in the future. I'd quite like it to be final and for people just to remember it fondly. [IGN, 16 Feb 2012]

Rob CavazosAccording to CastingCallPro, actor Rob Cavazos will have a role in the series, with his entry stating: "currently filming a role in 'Rush', a new feature written by Peter Morgan and directed by Ron Howard, followed by an episode of 'Doctor Who'.. Further to this, his agent Shepperd-Fox Theatrical Agents report in their latest news that he "shortly flies to Spain to play Walter in the new series of 'DOCTOR WHO' (BBC)." The Mexican actor is relatively new to television, having studied at the East 15 Acting School in Essex and worked primarily in the theatre; as one might expect, his CV indicates that he is fluent in Spanish! [Ruther2 via Twitter, 17 Feb 2012]

Crew

Toby Whithouse (doesn't) speak about his new script: "I can't tell you anything about it because if I did Steven Moffat would come round here and kick me in the shin. It's very exciting, it’s not like any episode I’ve written before and I really enjoyed writing it. But I love writing Doctor Who. Even after all these years there's still a very special thrill that comes from writing 'INTERIOR: TARDIS' at the top of the scene." On the new series: I'm not allowed to say. They would absolutely kill me but it's very, very exciting and I'm really honoured and excited to be part of it." [Independent, 15 Feb 2012]

Stephan Pehrsson has also confirmed that he will be working on the first block of new series; the Director of Photography worked on a number of episodes from the last series, most recently on the Christmas Special The Doctor, The Widow, and the Wardrobe. [Twitter, 17 Feb 2012]