Thursday, 31 May 2012

Doctor Who Magazine 448

The new issue of Doctor Who Magazine features Sixties hero William Russell on its cover, while inside, the actor, who played science teacher Ian Chesterton in 78 episodes of Doctor Who, talks about his time on the series and his relationship with the actor who played the First Doctor.
William Hartnell never forgave me for leaving. He couldn't understand it, which was nice in a way. He said to me, 'What's the matter with you? You've got three kids, you've got a job, we're having a great time – what more do you want?!' 'I want to do a play, Bill.' He didn't understand that. Maybe he was right. But he never forgave me for jumping ship.
Also in this issue:
  • Doctor Who Magazine, in association with Big Finish Productions, presents an exclusive brand-new audio adventure starring William Russell. The Revenants, written by Ian Potter, features the First Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Susan and is available free to all readers this issue.
  • The votes have been counted and the winners of DWM's annual poll are announced. Which stories, actors, authors and directors came out on top in 2011?
  • Author Neil Gaiman, writer of the acclaimed 2011 episode The Doctor's Wife, talks about writing the story and reveals the secrets of the scenes you didn't see.
  • Doctor Who's commander-in-chief, Steven Moffat, writes for DWM in Production Notes and tells of the sad day on which Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill recorded their very last scene as departing companions Amy and Rory.
  • Glen McCoy, author of 1985's time-twisting Timelash, talks to DWM about writing the Sixth Doctor's infamous adventure and his early career in television.
  • It's 1982 and the Fifth Doctor takes the helm of a crowded TARDIS and navigates the series into a new era as our voyage through five decades of Doctor Who continues with 1982's Season 19 in Countdown to 50.
  • DWM goes behind the scenes of the making of a brand-new Doctor Who spin-off audio drama series from Big Finish Productions. Counter Measures features characters from 1988's Remembrance of the Daleks, and DWM talks to actors Pamela Salem, Simon Williams and Karen Gledhill, who reprise their roles after more than 20 years.
  • The Eleventh Doctor, Amy and Rory get involved in some very organised crime on an alien world as they embark on a brand-new adventure, The Cornucopia Caper, written by Scott Gary and drawn by Dan McDaid.
  • As the hunt for the Key to Time comes to a dramatic climax, the Fourth Doctor, Romana and K9 face the ultimate forces of darkness in The Armageddon Factor. The Fact of Fiction examines this six-part adventure from 1979 and uncovers some fascinating new facts . . .
  • As well as all broadcast episodes of Doctor Who, there are a multitude of scripts and story ideas that never made it to the screen. Some of these are now being produced as audio dramas, but would it have been better to let the stories rest in peace and make brand-new adventures for the Doctor instead? Toby Hadoke and Johnny Candon debate the pros and cons.
  • The Time Team slick their hair back and join the Doctor and Rose in post-war London where the alien Wire is riding the airwaves of the nation's TV broadcasts. Join Chris, Emma, Will and Michael as they bathe in the warm glow of 2006's The Idiot's Lantern.
  • The cunning Watcher challenges readers with The Six Faces of Delusion, outs another Supporting Artist of the Month and examines Doctor Who's use of the definite article in A History of Doctor Who in 100 Objects.
  • Plus all the latest official news, TV and merchandise reviews, previews, competitions and a prize-winning crossword.

Big Finish: Fourth Doctor for 2014

Big Finish have announced that Tom Baker and Louise Jameson will reprise their roles for a new eight episode season of Doctor Who adventures as the Doctor and Leela, to be released from January 2014.

Executive Producer Nicholas Briggs said:
We’ve been delighted by the response to the first season of our Fourth Doctor stories. We had such an exciting and rewarding time making series one and two, and we’re just thrilled to be back in the studio again with Tom and Louise recording more.

Of course, the second series – which features Mary Tamm as Romana, with John Leeson as the voice of K9 – won’t be released until January 2013. But, recording schedules being what they are, we are always working well ahead.
Producer David Richardson added:
We began recording on series three on 9th May, and production will continue through until July. At the moment it’s too early to reveal many story details, but we can say that Geoffrey Beevers will again return as the Master, the travellers will discover what lurks in the dead of night and the Doctor will encounter an even deadlier version of an old foe.
The series will also feature the titular Blake's Seven actor Gareth Thomas (pictured) in one episode, playing the last surviving member of the Colophon race; the story also features The Greatest Show in the Galaxy star Jessica Martin.

The Fourth Doctor Adventures: Series Three is now available for pre-order by subscription from Big Finish.



This June sees the finale of the first series released:
The Oseidon Adventure (available for pre-order)
By Alan Barnes
Directed by Nicholas Briggs
Starring Tom Baker, Louise Jameson and Geoffrey Beevers, with Dan Starkey, Michael Cochrane and John Banks
Release date: June 2012


The first time the fearsome Kraals attempted to take over the Earth, with the help of their android agents, things didn't go quite according to plan – thanks to the time-travelling alien Doctor and his allies at UNIT.

This time, Marshal Grinmal and his belligerent cohorts are ready for them. This time, they'll make no mistakes. This time, Chief Scientist Tyngworg has not just one plan, but a back-up plan, and a back-up back-up plan worked out...

With the Doctor a prisoner on the Kraals' radiation-blasted home planet of Oseidon, only his companion Leela can save the day – alongside a most unlikely ally.

Big Finish: Scribe Award Nominations / Special Offers

Three of Big Finish's audio releases have been nominated for the Best Audio award in this year's Scribe Awards, a ceremony organised by the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers to honour excellence in writing. For Doctor Who, The Many Deaths of Jo Grant by Mark Wright and Cavan Scott is featured, against other series entries Dark Shadows: The Lost Girl by D Lynn Smith and Highlander: All The King's Horsemen by Scott Andrews. The results will be announced at the July Comic-Con.

In celebration, this weekend (1st June 6pm - 4th June 8am) sees the releases available on special offer (the latter as part of the Highlander Series Two boxed set) - see the Big Finish website for full details.



Big Finish will be running a number of promotional sales during the course of June, with the one above followed by another to tie-in to the transit of Venus ... with Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles - The Transit of Venus, narrated by William Russell! This will be available on offer for the 5th-6th June.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Production Roundup

Filming Update:

As reported last week, Jenna-Louise Coleman has now joined the Doctor Who "family"; speaking on the Richard Bacon Show, BAFTA winner Steven Moffat commented on the impact her arrival has had on the series:
It's just very exciting. When a new companion comes in it sort of reboots the show a little bit, it makes you look at the Doctor differently, it makes the show feel different, that's already happening. It's literally a new beginning, you're back to chapter one, in a way it's always a story of someone getting to know the Doctor, and now it's Jenna's character. There's a lot of ways (her character) will be different, but I'm not telling you what they are! Jenna is just wonderful and spiky and salty and clever: again - just as Doctor Who always does - it becomes a different show, and I'm thrilled with her, everyone's going to be.
The complete interview on Doctor Who, Sherlock, and the Kennedy assassination is available to listen to worldwide from the BBC iPlayer until next Monday afternoon.

The episode currently being filmed is not Jenna's first episode - that will be this year's Christmas Special (which Moffat reports is still being written and well overdue!) - but will be one of the 2013 episodes; it has been written by Neil Cross (Spooks/Luther), and is being directed by Jamie Payne (Ashes to Ashes, Primeval and the recent Call the Midwife). Locations filmed thus far have included the Manor House at Plas Llanmihangel, Margam Country Park and Gethin Woodland Park - the latter eliciting a comment from alternative rock group Let It Fall, who tweeted: "Soooo.. We was going to write some music in the woods, but we bumped into the Dr. Who film crew, cool ay?". Other unconfirmed reports indicated another trip 'across the bridge' to England late last week, possibly to Bristol's historic harbourside.

Writers:

During a school talk, writer Steve Thompson mentioned that he would be writing an episode for the forthcoming series, and commented that he needed to read the scripts of the first five episodes. With the Christmas Special known to be the sixth episode, this would place his story firmly within the second half of the series.

Mark Gatiss confirmed that he was writing a story for 2013 to Digital Spy at BAFTA, saying that "it's for the new companion, Jenna-Louise Coleman, that's all I can tell you or I will actually be shot!"

As well as Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss and Neil Cross, other writers believed to be contributing towards the eight episodes featuring new co-star Jenna-Louise Coleman are John Fay and Tom MacRae.

Cast:

Some of the recent names to be confirmed in the next series include: for episode two, Riann Steele (Death in Paradise) as Queen Nefertiti; for episode four, Mark Williams continues his role as Rory's father Brian, Steven Berkoff (The Borgias) as Mr Shanks, Stephen Blything as Henry, Ruthie Henshall (The Case), Jemma Redgrave (Cold Blood, Bramwell) as Kate Stewart; and for episode five, Rob David (Rome) as Sam Garner and Michael McShane (Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, Clerks, Spawn) - the latter said on Twitter: "Getting ready to leave for Cardiff to be a villain in Dr.Who!! YEEESSSS!!!«. In my episode the Doctor finds he's got a;:/;;zapppppp GACK. sizzle,hissssss......« Most fantastic time doing Doctor Who; best cast and crew I've been with in a while! Long live Gallifrey...« Can't say what I did In Doctor Who, or Steven Moffat will ride in on a horse and crush my head with a mace, like Mel in "Braveheart"..sorry.«"

Caitlin Blackwood, aka the young Amelia Pond, was a guest at last weekend's Timegate convention, and when asked about possibly appearing in the next series she avoided the answer, instead miming having her lips zipped shut and saying "spoilers"...

On the other hand, John Simm commented: "in reply to many, regardless of what it says on imdb, No i'm not returning to Dr Who. Got absolutely no plans to do so.«"

Scheduling:

Addressing recent concerns over scheduling and a potentially shorter series in the future, Moffat assured listeners on the Richard Bacon show:
You're not getting shorter and shorter seasons, we're just splitting it over Christmas; we're making the same number of episodes as usual - I can tell by the grey hairs on my head - but we delayed it a few months to start it later in the year, that's all that's happened.

There's no chance of the BBC giving up on Doctor Who: it's a huge money spinner, it's doing better than ever abroad, the global number of people watching Doctor Who has just gone up and up and up, it was the most downloaded show on American iTunes last year - not a chance of the BBC giving up on Doctor Who, not at all.

Roath Lock Studios:

The BBC have released a video to introduce the new Roath Lock Studios at Cardiff Bay, presented by the 'current' cast of Arthur Darvill, Karen Gillan and Matt Smith; the video (originally shown to visitors at the studio's opening tour) includes facts and figures and a look behind the scenes within the new studios.



(With thanks to: Ultrapunch, CallistaRieekan, Ruther)

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Jenna-Louise Drama Wrangle Settled

JLCinRoomAtTheTopA copyright wrangle that had prevented a BBC Four adaptation of Room At The Top starring Jenna-Louise Coleman from being shown has been resolved.

The drama, based on the classic novel by John Braine that was first published in 1957, should have been shown in April 2011 but it had to be shelved following a dispute between the late Braine's estate, represented by literary agency David Higham Associates, and Remus Films. The TV rights had been sold by David Higham Associates to Great Meadow Productions but that was challenged by Remus Films.

It is now hoped that the two-parter will be shown "in the near future". In it, Coleman plays the character of Susan Brown opposite Matthew McNulty as protagonist Joe Lampton, as pictured above. The adaptation by Amanda Coe also stars Kevin McNally. It was shot at a variety of locations around Yorkshire and the north-east coast in November and December 2010.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Matt Smith bears the Olympic Torch

This morning saw the Olympic Torch Relay commence on Day Eight of its travels around the United Kingdom, kicking off from outside the Norwegian Church at Cardiff Bay - with a familiar face to take on the mantle of bearer! Matt Smith was up bright and early to play his part in the celebratory journey, and spoke on BBC Breakfast about how he felt on his latest role and the crowd that gathered to cheer him on:
It's a great privilege to be involved, I can't quite believe that people have actually turned up, I thought I'd just be carrying it around, waving to the ducks! I'm thrilled that so many people have come out, and it's really nice that the weather's nice - well done weather! I just think it's a wonderful thing anyway, I think the Olympics, the build up, the sense of national focus, with the Euros (Euro 2012) as well, I'm really excited about the summer of sport that we've got ahead, and I think things like this are just wonderful. And the Jubilee! I'm way into this whole sense of national coming together, street parties and things like this.

It's one of those once-in-a-lifetime things, and for me personally to have the privilege of carrying it ... it's one of those rare opportunities that has nothing to do with me and everything to do with the fact that I play the Doctor.


(additional photos thanks to Alun Vega, James Hemery, Andy Davidson; plus a video of Matt starting from H Byrnes)


When asked about his predecessor's carrying the torch before (the Tenth Doctor in Fear Her), Matt commented "I'm pleased I got my turn!"

BBC Newslinks: Matt Smith carries flame (26 May 2012); Watch the Relay live (26 May 2012); Gallery (26 May 2012); Blog (26 May 2012); BBC Coverage of Torch arrival in Cardiff (25 May 2012)

Friday, 25 May 2012

Matt Smith to bear Olympic Torch

Matt Smith will be carrying the Olympic Torch this weekend when it reaches Cardiff in the latest leg of its 70 day trip around the United Kingdom.

Smith will bear the torch early on Saturday morning, at the start of its journey from Cardiff, the capital of Wales and home of Doctor Who, to Swansea a few miles along the coast. The day will see the torch visit the communities of Barry, Merthyr Tydfil, Rhondda and Bridgend.

Smith told the official BBC twitter feed
To carry the Torch is an honour, one I thought I'd never get, I'm very excited!
The journey can be followed live via the BBC News website, starting from around 6.20am (0520 GMT). Smith will carry the torch from the Norwegian Church Arts Centre, Harbour Drive to the Senedd, National Assembly Building, Cardiff, a distance of about quarter of a mile.

The Olympic Torch featured in the 2006 Doctor Who story Fear Her, where the Tenth Doctor carried the torch on the last part of its journey towards the Olympic Stadium, as well as in the mini episode Good as Gold, shown on Blue Peter yesterday.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

BBC Books: The Wheel of Ice

BBC Books have released details on the next book in their hardback range of Doctor Who novels; The Wheel Of Ice is written by science fiction author Stephen Baxter and features the Second Doctor, Jamie and Zoe. It is due to be published on 16th August.

The Wheel of Ice
By Stephen Baxter


Resilience. Remembrance. Resolution. Whatever the cost.

She had no name. She had only her mission - she would return Home. And bathe in the light of a long-dead sun... Even if it meant the sacrifice of this pointless little moon to do it.

The Wheel of Ice: a ring of ice and steel turning around a moon of Saturn, home to a colony mining minerals for a resource-hungry future Earth. A bad place to grow up.

The Wheel has been plagued by problems. Maybe it's just gremlins, just bad luck. But what's the truth of the children's stories of 'Blue Dolls' glimpsed aboard the gigantic facility? And why won't the children go down the warren-like mines? And then sixteen-year-old Phee Laws, surfing Saturn's rings, saves an enigmatic blue box from destruction.

Aboard the Wheel, The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe find a critical situation - and three strangers who have just turned up out of nowhere look like prime candidates to be accused of sabotage ... The Doctor finds himself caught up in a mystery that goes right back to the creation of the solar system. But it's a mystery that could have dire repercussions for the people on the Wheel. It's a mystery that could kill them all.

A thrilling, all-new adventure featuring the Second Doctor, as played by Patrick Troughton in the legendary, classic series from BBC Television.

BBC Books Senior Editorial Director Albert DePetrillo commented:
Stephen Baxter is one of the leading lights of British science fiction, and I was thrilled when he decided to write for our Doctor Who list. The Wheel of Ice is a delight - a bold Second Doctor adventure with elements of the harder SF that is Stephen's forte. It's fitting that our first original adventure for a past Doctor since 2005 should be a book as special as this.

Script To Screen Winning School Announced

ScreenThe winning entry in this year's Script To Screen competition has been revealed as coming from Ashdene Primary School in Wilmslow.

The theme of the contest was the Olympics, and the team's mini-episode, which stars Matt Smith and Karen Gillan and sees the return of the Weeping Angels, is to be shown on today's episode of Blue Peter, airing on CBBC at 5.45pm.

Irene Spawton, Year 6 teacher at the Cheshire school, said the pupils involved, named only as Emily, Libby, and Rebecca, pictured above, left to right, with Smith and Gillan - click on the thumbnail to expand, were thrilled and surprised to have won the competition:
It's unbelievable. I couldn't believe it when I got the call to say that the children's script had been chosen as the winner. They worked so hard and came up with some brilliant ideas. I'm so proud of them all, and meeting the Doctor and Amy Pond was a fantastic experience for the girls, their parents and me.
In a short piece last week in the school's newsletter, head teacher Keith Wadcock congratulated the trio on their victory.

The three-minute adventure, called Good As Gold, was filmed at Roath Lock studios the week before last, and Keith Gaskin, the father of Emily, tweeted about it on 8th May: "I've just wished my daughter luck as she's off to Cardiff to have her script made into a Dr Who episode after winning BBC comp. Good luck Em!", 9th May in reply to a comment about the win probably blowing her mind: "It certainly did thanks. The worst part was she knew a while back but couldn't tell anyone! Blue Peter are filming as well" and 10th May: "I've just picked up my daughter after their script was made into a Dr Who episode. Brilliant time apparently & Matt Smith fantastic with them."

The girls' script was chosen by Doctor Who supremo Steven Moffat, BBC Learning executive producer Katy Jones, and Doctor Who executive producer Caroline Skinner, who praised the quality of all the entries, saying:
We loved reading all of the scripts from schools across the UK and the standard of entries was truly outstanding. It was a difficult, but a tremendously fun task to choose a winner and it was just brilliant to see so many children being creative in developing an adventure for the Doctor. We hope all fans enjoy this special one-off mini episode!
Jones said:
This competition aimed to inspire and capture the imagination of storytellers of the future and we're thrilled that so many schools have engaged with it. Pupils have described the competition as the highlight of their school year. There was so much real talent displayed in the entries we received and the final film is a real testament to the hard work the school put into their entry.

A behind-the-scenes item on how Good As Gold was made will also feature in today's Blue Peter, which is repeated tomorrow on BBC One at 4.30pm and will be available via the BBC iPlayer here within the UK following today's broadcast.

Big Finish: Klein Trilogy offer

Big Finish are to hold a special sale this weekend of the trilogy of adventures starring Sylvester McCoy as the Seventh Doctor with Tracy Childs as Klein, the stories of which can currently be heard on BBC Radio 4 Extra.


A Thousand Tiny Wings
The TARDIS arrives in 1950s Kenya during the Mau Mau uprising, and the Doctor again encounters Nazi scientist Elizabeth Klein.

Klein’s Story/Survival of the Fittest
The secrets of Klein’s past are revealed, and a visit to an alien world sees an attempt to save an insect race from exctinction.

The Architects of History
A new future is threatened by an attack by the alien Selachians...

The three adventures will be available individually or as a bundle.

The two characters are to be reunited in October:
UNIT: Dominion
By Nicholas Briggs and Jason Arnopp
Directed by Nicholas Briggs
Starring Sylvester McCoy, Tracy Childs, Beth Chalmers
Release date: October 2012


The universe stands on the brink of a dimensional crisis – and the Doctor and Raine are pulled into the very epicentre of it.

Meanwhile, on Earth, UNIT scientific advisor Dr Elizabeth Klein and an incarnation of the Doctor she's never encountered before are tested to the limit by a series of bizarre, alien invasions.

At the heart of it all is a terrible secret, almost as old as the Time Lords themselves. Reality is beginning to unravel and two Doctors, Klein, Raine and all of UNIT must use all their strength and guile to prevent the whole of creation being torn apart.

Available for pre-order at Big Finish

Production: Jenna-Louise Coleman begins filming


Photo: Gareth Bundy
"We were really lucky to catch her. As we arrived, literally, she was leaving."
Jenna-Louise Coleman began her tenure as the new co-star of Doctor Who this week, with the actress spotted yesterday at the end of filming her first scenes on location at Plas Llanmihangel Manor House, South Glamorgan.

The read-through for her first episode to be recorded took place on Monday, with the BBC's official Doctor Who Twitter feed stating: "History has been made! A new era begins! Jenna-Louise Coleman has just completed her first Doctor Who read-through. One word. Brilliant!"

Details of her character are being kept under wraps, at least for present. Speaking to Digital Spy, Steven Moffat said when we could expect to learn more:
Christmas! But don't expect to learn everything! We've got a good story and there are some proper legitimate surprises in it. I'm excited by it. I think we're going to do some fun stuff.

We can't really contain everything, because people will crawl all over us with cameras and sneak views of scripts and call-sheets. Something will get out. But we've been fairly sly, so let's wait and see.


Moffat also explained the later launch of the new series this year:
I don't know, on this occasion, that the thinking particularly came from me, actually. I've always been open to anything that shakes [the series] up. I think that decision actually came from the BBC. But I've been well up for anything that we can do to shake up the transmission pattern, the way we deliver it to the audience and how long we make the audience wait, simply because that makes Doctor Who an event piece.

The more Doctor Who becomes a perennial, the faster it starts to die. You've got to shake it up, you've got to keep people on edge and wondering when it will come back. Sherlock is the prime example, as far as that goes. Sherlock almost exists on starving its audience. By the time it came back this year, Sherlock was like a rock star re-entering the building!

So keeping Doctor Who as an event, and never making people feel, 'Oh, it's lovely, reliable old Doctor Who - it'll be on about this time, at that time of year'. Once you start to do that, just slowly, it becomes like any much-loved ornament in your house - ultimately invisible. And I don't want that to ever be the case.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

DVD Update: The Ambassadors of Death / Special Editions

The Ambassadors of Death:

The British Board of Film Classification have passed the special features for the forthcoming DVD release of the Jon Pertwee adventure The Ambassadors of Death:.
00:01:27:01 (DOCTOR WHO - THE AMBASSADORS OF DEATH) (TRAILER)
00:13:05:07 TOMORROW'S TIMES - THE THIRD DOCTOR
00:04:24:15 THE AMBASSADORS OF DEATH - PHOTO GALLERY
00:25:49:16 MARS PROBE 7: MAKING THE AMBASSADORS OF DEATH
The DVD has yet to be formally scheduled, though it is believed to be due in Autumn this year.

Special Editions:

The BBFC have also passed features due to appear on September's special edition of Vengeance on Varos (tape 1 and 2):
00:01:07:01 (NEWS) (TELEVISION NEWS CLIP)
00:15:07:11 (SATURDAY SUPERSTORE) (TELEVISION CLIP)
00:05:41:15 BBC BREAKFAST TIME (TELEVISION CLIP)
00:01:37:07 (ACID BATH SCENE) (ALTERNATE MUSIC TRACK)
00:29:37:17 NICE OR NASTY? - THE MAKING OF VENGEANCE ON VAROS
00:07:29:11 THE IDIOT'S LANTERN (FEATURETTE)
00:12:54:03 TOMORROW'S TIMES - THE SIXTH DOCTOR (FEATURETTE)
00:07:31:05 (FRENCH AND SAUNDERS) (TELEVISION CLIP)
00:17:42:04 (EXTENDED & DELETED SCENES)
00:06:38:08 VENGEANCE ON VAROS - PHOTO GALLERY

Speaking at the Utopia convention, Steve Roberts confirmed that another story to get the special edition treatment will be Jon Pertwee's adventure Inferno; the episodes are to be 're-coloured' using the black and white film prints and the NTSC reverse standard conversions recordings to create a better quality image to the original 2006 release. The project will also include a 'secret project' alongside the range's commentary moderator and presenter Toby Hadoke. The DVD is expected to be released in 2013.

Actor John Levene also reported that he had recently recorded a documentary which, though unconfirmed, could feature on this DVD.

New Doctor Who on Thursday: Good as Gold

Thursday sees a brand new mini Doctor Who adventure, Good as Gold come to BBC Television, when the results of this year's Script to Screen competition are broadcast as part of the children's programme Blue Peter.

The 2012 competition was launched in January and was open to UK pupils aged 9-11, who were asked to collaborate on a script that takes the Time Lord on a new quest travelling through space and time.

The lucky winners were invited to the Doctor Who set in Cardiff to see their mini-episode being recorded and the results can be seen on Thursday's Blue Peter, broadcast at 5.45pm on the CBBC channel. The programme is repeated on Friday at 4.30pm on BBC One.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

TV Choice Awards 2012

Voting is now open for the sixteenth annual TV Choice Awards, with Doctor Who nominated in the same three categories it won last year.

The series itself has been nominated for Best Family Drama, which it won both last year and in 2010. This year again sees it up against spin-off series The Sarah Jane Adventures, as well as Waterloo Road, Merlin, Casualty, Holby City, Glee, Doc Martin, and Wild at Heart.

Matt Smith is up for his second award for Best Actor, a huge category of names that also includes Sherlock's Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, all four Mad Dogs stars John Simm, Marc Warren, Philip Glenister and Max Beesley, and Merlin's Colin Morgan.

Karen Gillan is up for her second Best Actress award, and again sees her pitted against former companion Freema Agyeman for Law and Order UK; others nominees include Gillian Anderson for Great Expectations, Emilia Fox for Silent Witness and Miranda Hart for Call the Midwife.

Additionally, Torchwood: Miracle Day has been nominated in the Best Drama Series category, which sees it up against Sherlock amongst many other shows, including Being Human, Dirk Gently and Downton Abbey.


Voting is open online until 15th June, with the Winners' Ceremony taking place on the 10th September at The Dorchester Hotel in London.


As well as the three awards won last year, previous ceremonies have seen Doctor Who win every year except 2009 (where it was beaten by Waterloo Road), both of the recent former Doctors voted Best Actor - Christopher Eccleston in 2005 and David Tennant in 2006-2008 - and sidekicks Billie Piper in 2006 and Catherine Tate in 2008 for Best Actress.

Regional Roundup

By Chuck Foster and John Bowman

United Kingdom:

Space, Time, Machine and Monster: The Science Fiction of Doctor Who is to take place from 6pm tonight in Lacock Church. The talk with CBBC's scientist Mark Brake, rapper Jon Brake and the Bishop of Swindon is described as "a fun exploration of the universe and a chance to discuss science and faith issues". [Corsham People, 20 May 2012]

Nearby Corsham saw Doctor Who stars help raise money for charity earlier in the month, with Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant, John Levene, and Julian Glover among the star names helping to raise £6,620 at the Corsham Sci-Fi Family Funday. Also there mingling with the likes of Daleks and Davros was Doctor Who Magazine artist Mike Collins. [Corsham People, 4 May 2012]

Colin Baker is to appear at a television, film, and toy collectors' fair at the River Park Leisure Centre, Winchester on 9th June (the day after his birthday!). He will be joined by Terry Molloy as Daleks are set to invade the event. [Romsey Advertiser, 21 May 2012]

A six-year-old girl from Kedington has become the envy of collectors after finding a rare item of merchandise. Jessie Spicer bought a £1.50 packet of Lego Doctor Who figures at Hamley's in London and when she opened it she found a Day of the Moon model of the Doctor, of which only 100 have been made. Her mother said: "It was a real Willy Wonka moment for her and we were all really excited about it. She is going to hold on to it as an investment for the future." The figure is currently estimated to be worth up to £600. [Haverhill Weekly News, 4 May 2012]

RoomsMeeting rooms at the newly-extended BBC Broadcasting House in London have been brightened up with some familiar faces. Images of the Doctors have been applied to the walls of the cubicles, as can be seen in the picture on the right, which can be clicked on to expand. (With thanks to Rob Fitt for the details)

The PC Support Group in Liverpool counts Doctor Who amongst the company's credits, having provided support to stunt-coordinator/performer Abbi Collins for Dalek co-ordination in the series. Co-founder Simon Albert said: "I've been a huge fan of Dr Who since I was little, so when we got the opportunity to actually work with the people behind the show we all jumped at the chance to get up close with some of its most infamous characters." [Liverpool Daily Post, 18 May 2012]

Boscombe police are hoping to re-introduce police boxes in the high street in order to help combat anti-social behaviour. PC Will Martindale told the local business forum in April: "The Inspector would like to put a 'Tardis' outside McDonald's. There are issues in that area and this would be putting our stamp back in the area." Phil Stanley-Watts, councillor for Boscombe West, has been calling for the return of police boxes in Boscombe for years, saying that updated versions could be used for reporting crime and would make the public feel safer. [Bournemouth Echo, 1 May 2012]

People Roundup

Steven Moffat received the Writer prize for the Sherlock episode A Scandal In Belgravia at this year's BAFTA Television Craft Awards, and said he was "genuinely, utterly thrilled" to be presented with it. His wife, Sue Vertue, tweeted: "The Moff wins! Hurrah for my husband @steven_moffat who's just won a #Bafta for #Sherlock. Love him!" The Mill had been nominated for its visual effects work on Doctor Who but it lost out to BlueBolt and Great Expectations. [BBC News, 14 May 2012]

Ahead of being presented with a Special BAFTA next Sunday, Moffat has given an interview to the film and television arts organisation about his career so far. In it, he takes a swipe at people who have problems with the complexity of his dramas Doctor Who and Sherlock. "There's been a weird backlash among, I presume, fairly stupid people about the fact the shows are complicated and clever, but they're both huge international hits. We make no apology. Don't expect to do the ironing; sit down, pay attention and think about it. Audiences like complexity. They follow intricately plotted soap operas all the time. It depresses me when people say, 'It's all far too clever,'" he states. [BAFTA Guru]

Catherine Tate has been signed up by Sky Arts to star in a new comedy called Psychobitches. Part of the channel's comedy and drama strand entitled Playhouse Presents, the 30-minute production will see her portraying Eva Braun and Edith Piaf. Also appearing in it will be Sheila Reid as Mother Teresa, while Sam Spiro will play Mary Whitehouse - a real-life enemy of Doctor Who during the classic era! It will be shown on Thursday 21st June at 9pm. [Sky Arts]

Production designer Michael Pickwoad gave a talk to the Friends of the Bodleian in Oxford in which he touched on his involvement with the show. A great admirer of historical architecture and construction methods, he mentioned that Nostell Priory in Yorkshire influenced a twin-column design that he used in Doctor Who. Pickwoad's early work included the film Withnail and I, which starred Paul McGann and Richard E Grant, who not only provided the voice of the Doctor in the animated webcast Scream of the Shalka but also played a version of the Doctor in the 1999 Comic Relief spoof The Curse of Fatal Death, which was written by Steven Moffat. Another notable film Pickwoad worked on was Let Him Have It, which starred Christopher Eccleston in one of his earliest acting roles. [The St James's Evening Post, 16 May 2012]

And speaking of the actor . . . During an interview ahead of his appearance as Creon in Antigone at the National's Olivier Theatre in London, Christopher Eccleston touched on his time as the Time Lord and why it was so brief. "I know what went on and the people who were involved know what went on – that's good enough for me. My conscience is completely clear," he said. Eccleston also praised the young fans of the show, saying: "I'm hugely grateful to the children who to this day come up and talk to me about the show." Antigone opens tomorrow and runs until Saturday 21st July. [The Telegraph, 16 May 2012]

Eccleston will be talking about his career and answering questions at the Olivier Theatre on Thursday 19th July. The one-hour interview - part of the In Conversation series - will be conducted by Al Senter.

Georgia Moffett
has been speaking about stripping to her underwear as Geraldine Barclay in the farce What The Butler Saw. "I thought it was going to be a lot scarier than it is. Once the play starts I have to take my clothes off or the story doesn't work. But I am quite insecure about my figure, so it's amazing how liberating it feels after you have done it a couple of times. Obviously, I would prefer to wear clothes, but once I take them off at the beginning, I think, 'Oh, well, they've seen it now’, and I just carry on." The production, which also stars Samantha Bond and Tim McInnerny, is at the Vaudeville Theatre in London's West End until Saturday 25th August. [The Telegraph, 18 May 2012]

In Memoriam:

Legendary hairdresser Vidal Sassoon, who in 1963 created the distinctive geometric cut for the character of Susan, played by Carole Ann Ford, has died in Los Angeles at the age of 84. [BBC News, 10 May 2012]

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Fan Round-up

The Finished Product - Issue Nine

The latest issue of the unofficial Big Finish fanzine, The Finished Product, has now been released, with a cover by Vworp Vworp's Colin Brockhurst.
Issue nine concentrates on the second run of adventures for the Doctor and Charley, from Invaders From Mars to Neverland, plus the 40th anniversary special Zagreus.

The magazine has exclusive interviews with the producers, directors, writers and actors who appeared in this much-loved run of stories. Plus, Mark Gatiss looks back on Invaders From Mars 10 years after its release, Justin Richards reconciles The Time of the Daleks with The Shakespeare Code, and there's the full story on how THAT voice appeared in Zagreus.

Issue 10, due out next month, will feature the Divergent Universe series, from Scherzo to The Next Life. Purchasers have the chance to enter a charity raffle to support Pancreatic Cancer Scotland to win a signed copy of the part one script for The Natural History of Fear!

Contact thefinishedproduct@hotmail.co.uk for more information.

Fanz

A new geek based sitcom, Fanz has been released on audio CD from ComedyPunkz.

Before "Big Bang Theory", before "Outland", at the same sort of time as "Spaced" and before any other geek based comedy you can think of after 1999, Fanz, the original and best geek sitcom returns with the first episode in a brand new series, Fanz 1.1 Episode 3.

Johnathan, Tom, Cindy, Graham, Kate and Kris. Collectively known as Fanz, they are a Dr Who, sci-fi fan group. Cool, progressive, sophisticated, calm and collected - these are just some of the things they wish they were. This is their story.....

The town is rocked by a mysterious boat rocking epidemic as rejects from the Portuguese police force roam the streets, brutally failing to arrest anybody. But worse than that – the brewery has decided to shut down Fanz’s pub. . .and even a stiff letter of mild complaint won’t change their mind. But Graham has an idea that can fix everything.

NB: (This is an adult comedy and contains strong language and general naughtiness from the start)
To accompany the release of this story, ComedyPunkz are running two competitions, one each on Twitter and Facebook. See website for details.

Possibilities

The short fan-film Possibilities, which was mentioned in the Doctor Who Fanz documentary, is to be shown at Phoenix Comicon this coming memorial day weekend. The film will be shown as part of the fan-film presentation between 10.30 and 1.30 on the Friday of the event.

The 15-minute film was filmed at familiar locations around London in late summer 2004 and is a collaborative effort featuring the students from Realtime Pictures Megeve Experiment and directed by award-winner Neil Oseman, also principal photographer on Daemos Rising.

The full film has been viewable on YouTube for a while and an accompanying making-of feature is now available.

The Television Movie

The co-executive producer of the 1996 Television Movie Philip Segal has passed on several items from his collection to fan Paul Salamoff, the owner of the 1996 TARDIS console. Salamoff was part of the team behind the recent restoration of the Paul McGann TARDIS which was visited by Segal at the Gallifrey One Convention in February.

Items passed on include the Doctor’s bag (with props), an original sonic screwdriver prop, one of the staffs from the Eye of Harmony and a stunningly beautiful Doctor Who chess set made in 1993 by the Danbury Mint.

Nebula Award for The Doctor's Wife



The Doctor Who story The Doctor's Wife has won the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation in this year's Nebula Awards, the annual event held by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

Although Doctor Who was nominated for the same award last year, this is the first time the programme has been successful. In winning the award the team beat several Holloywood movies including Martin Scorsese's Hugo and Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris.

The Doctor's Wife was the fourth episode of the 2011 series of Doctor Who. It was written by acclaimed author Neil Gaiman and directed by Richard Clark.

In accepting the award, Neil Gaiman paid tribute to the creators of Doctor Who. Posting on twitter he said
Thanked everyone, including Verity Lambert and Sydney Newman. Also thanked Steven Moffat who made it what it was. Best showrunner ever.
Richard Clark also took to twitter to express his delight at the award.
Perfect start to Sunday - kids stayed in bed till 6.30, sun is shinning [sic] and The Doctor's Wife just won The Hugh [sic] Bradbury award. It's not everyday you can claim to have stolen a march on Scorsese AND Woody Allen.
Show-runner Steven Moffat congratulated the team
Hey, you two! FANTASTIC news. Doctor Who has never bagged one of those, tho' we've tried. Clearly we needed YOU.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Special BAFTA for Moffat

Steven Moffat, Executive Producer and Lead Writer on Doctor Who, is to be presented with a special BAFTA award in recognition of his outstanding creative writing contribution to television.

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts is honouring the writer with the award, presented in memory of the playwright Dennis Potter, at the Television BAFTA's which take place at London's Royal Festival Hall on May 27.

Moffat began his television scripting career on Press Gang, the ITV Children's drama, in 1989. Since then he has gone onto to work on a wide variety of programmes including Stay Lucky, Joking Apart, Murder Most Horrid, Chalk, Jekyll and Coupling.

Steven Moffat was one of the first writers approached by Russell T Davies when he was planning the return of Doctor Who in 2005, leading to Moffat writing one of the most critically acclaimed stories of that first series, The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances. Moffat went on to write several more episodes of the show, creating aliens such as The Weeping Angels and characters such as River Song. When Davies left the series, Moffat was the obvious successor, taking the helm of the show for the introduction of Matt Smith as The Eleventh Doctor and creating the characters of Amy and Rory.

Running parallel to the success of Doctor Who, Moffat has, in collaboration with Mark Gatiss, created Sherlock, updating Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories and placing Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson's firmly in the 21st century.

In announcing the special award Tim Corrie, Chairman of BAFTA, said
Steven has had an outstanding year with Doctor Who and Sherlock, not to mention the feature film The Adventures of Tintin, and we are delighted to honour his contribution to television and the arts at the BAFTA ceremony on 27 May. He is one of the finest exponents of his craft and his Award, presented in honour of the late, great Dennis Potter, is very well deserved indeed.
Steven Moffat said he was thrilled with the award.
Blimey! A Special Award! I didn't even know I was ill! So thrilled by this – especially after two years of Sherlock and Doctor Who, my two favourite shows ever. Of course the work, and the people I get to work with, has always been all the reward I need – a fact I'm very glad that BAFTA has disregarded.
The award was won by Russell T Davies in 2005. Other recent winners include Alan Plater, Stephen Poliakoff and Lynda La Plante.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Who Needs The Doctor's Help?

The BBC wants you to help decide which figure from history the Doctor should meet next.

Over the years the Doctor has met some of the most influential figures in the history of the planet Earth. He has travelled with Marco Polo, flirted with Madame de Pompadour, had his tooth extracted by Doc Holliday and played Hide and Seek with the Emperor Nero. He has met the authors HG Wells, Agatha Christie and Charles Dickens, and even helped William Shakespeare with some of his ideas. He has debated with Winston Churchill, helped out Richard Nixon and rescued Queen Victoria from a werewolf.

Recently the BBC website asked which real person the Doctor should meet next and Doctor Who's Executive Producer Caroline Skinner was so delighted with the response and imagination in the replies that she decided to commission a Doctor Who writer to write a short story based on the best suggestion.

The story will appear on the BBC website, where suggestions for the character involved can still be made.

UPDATE - 18th MAY: The BBC has now stopped accepting suggestions after it was inundated with e-mails.

Amy and Rory take their leave

Last week saw the final scenes recorded on location for the characters Amy and Rory, aka Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill - the latter who comes 'full circle' as the location at St. Cadoc's Hospital in Caerleon was where he filmed his first day on location back in 2009!

Their last scenes to be filmed come from the penultimate episode for the Ponds, the fourth of the next series. Their departure on screen will be in the following episode, the fifth, which was recorded last month. After the final shots were completed Karen Gillan tweeted "And that's a wrap! Bye bye from the ponds. We love you."

The final scenes were observed by several of the production team past and present, including lead writer Steven Moffat and former executive producers Piers Wenger and Beth Willis, with a party taking place afterwards to celebrate.

Another 'closure' took place on Friday, with the final day's production at Upper Boat. The studios, located in Pontypridd just outside Cardiff, have been home to Doctor Who since the third series and have also been the base for Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures. The complex was the first BBC studio centre totally dedicated to drama, and was set up in the wake of the success of Doctor Who following the series' revival in 2005. Production will now continue in full at the new purpose-built studios at Roath Lock in Cardiff Bay.


Photos: BBC Doctor Who / Facebook, 11th May 2012


With Karen and Arthur's final scenes recorded, the "handover" to new girl Jenna-Louise Coleman will begin filming shortly, though as with previous introductions her first story to be recorded may not be her first story on screen!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Doctor Who back on Finnish TV

Doctor Who has returned to Finland, with all episodes from the first appearance of the Ninth Doctor in Rose through to the 2011 Christmas Special, The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe, scheduled for transmission.

The revived series was first shown in 2005 but was not successful despite acquiring a dedicated fan base in the country, and the show was dropped from the schedules after The Christmas Invasion.

The series is now being shown with Finnish subtitles on the YLE TV2 channel, airing at 8pm on weekday evenings. Following transmission, each episode will be available online, but only inside Finland.
(with thanks to Jouni Lahtinen )

Monday, 14 May 2012

Opening Date Announced For Cardiff Experience

CardiffExperiencepropsThe Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff is to open its doors to the public on Friday 20th July, it was announced today. Tickets for the attraction will go on sale at 10am on Thursday 14th June.

Originally based at the Olympia Two exhibition, conference, and event centre in West Kensington, London, it has been moved next to the Roath Lock drama studios at Porth Teigr, where Doctor Who is now made. With the construction having finished, internal fitting can now take place, moving in props, sets, and memorabilia from the show.

Items going on display for the first time in Cardiff will include the Doctor's cradle from A Good Man Goes to War, the Silence spaceship, and the Doctor's sonic cane from Let's Kill Hitler. Many more items are being kept under wraps until the attraction opens.

Philip Murphy, the managing director of BBC Worldwide Live Events, said:
The Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff is going to be just minutes away from where the BBC Wales television series is made, which I'm incredibly excited about. The Experience sets out to engage visitors' imaginations from the outset, immersing them in the world of Doctor Who, and what better place to do this than in Cardiff, the home of the show?

The interactive exhibition ran for a year in London, closing in February this year. It was originally planned to open in Cardiff this spring, but that date got pushed back and instead the Official Doctor Who Convention was held in the Millennium Centre. The Cardiff "incarnation" of the Experience, which is in a 3,000 sq m building, is scheduled to be in situ for five years.

The attraction covers the entire history of the series, with exhibits changing as new episodes are shown, and Paula Al-Lach, BBC Worldwide's head of exhibitions and events, said:
I'm thrilled to be formally accepting the keys to the building . . . and can't wait to start moving in. We've worked hard to create an outstanding visitor attraction with the Doctor Who Experience. It's the first-ever interactive Doctor Who exhibition and for our Cardiff opening we have some exciting new exhibits to be displayed in public for the very first time.

Ken Poole, Cardiff council's head of economic development, said:
Doctor Who is a global brand and is something that has really helped boost the profile of Cardiff internationally. This attraction will bring millions of pounds into the economy and the benefits to Cardiff will be immense in terms of tourism.

Up to a quarter of a million people are expected to pass through its doors every year.

Props1Props2Props3
 

[BBC News and BBC Media Centre, 14 May 2012]

An Unearthly Series - The Origins of a TV Legend

Thanks and No Thanks

The third in our occasional series marking the 50th anniversary of events leading to the creation of a true TV legend.
 
The initial seed had been sown with the suggestion by Eric Maschwitz, Assistant and Adviser to the Controller of Programmes, that the literary merits of science fiction be looked into for short, single adaptations.

BBC Head of Script Department Donald Wilson, who had set up a Survey Group to keep an eye on other media and to look for ideas that the department could develop for television, gave this task to drama script editors Donald Bull and Alice Frick. They reported back that there was just a small number of suitable works and writers but were unable to recommend any particular stories.

Bull and Frick also stated that any adaptations should be written by TV dramatists and not SF writers. One copy of the report was sent to Wilson, to be duplicated and circulated with the next minutes for the Survey Group, and another was sent to Maschwitz.


On 14th May 1962 - exactly 50 years ago today - a memo was sent to Maschwitz by Donald Baverstock, the Assistant Controller of Programmes for BBC TV, thanking him for the Survey Group report, which he had seen. Baverstock wrote:
You describe it as interesting and intelligent. I would go further and say that it seems to me exactly the kind of hard thinking over a whole vein of dramatic material that is most useful to us.

I gather that Donald Bull and Alice Frick were responsible for it and I hope HSDTel will thank them.
"HSDTel" stood for "Head of Script Department, Television", ie, Donald Wilson. The next day - 15th May 1962 - Maschwitz sent Baverstock's memo to Wilson, including with it a hand-written note expressing his own "admiring thanks".
FrickandBraybon
Just days later, Frick and her colleague John Braybon, pictured right, were tasked with putting together another report specifying sci-fi stories that would suit being adapted for television. This follow-up would be presented to Wilson on 25th July 1962.

Earlier in the month, on 1st May 1962, Bull had sent a letter to SF author John Christopher's agent, Jean LeRoy, to express his gratitude for the stories by Christopher that she had sent him. He said there were "considerable immediate opportunities . . . for using John Christopher's specialised knowledge and talent in conjunction with our future schemes, possibly in collaboration with a skilled TV dramatist" but he also stated that TV audiences were generally unready yet for "the more fanciful flights of SF" as displayed in such stories as Christopher's Christmas Roses.

In the meantime, rival channel ITV was preparing to broadcast the sci-fi anthology series Out of this World - the first of its kind on British TV and a programme greenlit by ABC drama supervisor and sci-fi fan Sydney Newman, who was working out his notice at the commercial network before joining the BBC as its Head of Drama later in the year. This 13-part series would start airing on 30th June 1962.

Next EpisodeWe Want To Sell You A Story

SOURCES: The Handbook (Howe, Walker, Stammers; 2005)

Friday, 11 May 2012

Katy Seeks Sponsors For 10K Walk

KatyManningActress Katy Manning is seeking sponsors for a 10-kilometre charity walk in London later this month.

She will be part of the Gay Times team aiming to raise cash for the Terrence Higgins Trust to support people living with HIV in poverty.

Walk For Life takes place on Sunday 20th May, starting and ending at Potters Field Park in Tooley Street. The theme is Kings and Queens and the route will take in some of the capital's most iconic and regal landmarks. The walkers will be checking in at the park from 9.30am, heading off at 11am, and arriving back about 2pm.

It is not the first time the actress - who played companion Jo Grant from 1971 to 1973 and was a guest star as the married Jo Jones in spin-off series The Sarah Jane Adventures in 2010 - has lent her support this way. In June 2010, she and the Gay Times team raised more than £1,100 on the Crusaid Walk For Life.

Her sponsorship page for this year's walk can be found here.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Classic Episodes Cardiff Screening

The two recovered Doctor Who episodes Galaxy 4 - Air Lock and The Underwater Menace episode 2 were shown to an appreciative audience in Cardiff on Wednesday evening.

Both episodes were recovered from a collector last year and their existence was revealed at a screening at the BFI in London last December. The episode of The Underwater Menace was shown in full at the Missing Believed Wiped event but only an excerpt of about 10 minutes from Galaxy 4 was played, making the Cardiff screening the first time the whole episode had been seen in the UK since its initial transmission in September 1965.

The event was attended by Peter Purves, who played Steven in Galaxy 4, along with Anneke Wills and Frazer Hines, who played Polly and Jamie in The Underwater Menace. Following the screening, all three joined current show-runner Steven Moffat to answer questions about their time on the programme.

The panel was hosted by Gary Russell, and the event was attended by many other luminaries from the Doctor Who world, including some of the Restoration Team, who were greeted with much applause.

There is no news as to when the episodes will be released on DVD, although the BBC has said it is considering releasing them on iTunes.
With thanks to Greg James

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Regional Roundup

By John Bowman and Chuck Foster

United Kingdom:

Nick Briggs, Simon Guerrier, Peter Anghelides, and J T Colgan will be lending their authorial talents to Doctor Who creative writing workshops at this year's Winchester Festival. Aimed at youngsters, the workshops will be held at the city's Discovery Centre on Saturday 7th July from 9.30am to 4pm.

Daleks invaded Yeovil as part of the 10th-anniversary celebrations for Yeo Leisure Park. As well as full-size Daleks on show, the charity event also included remote-control Dalek racing. In addition, visitors could see a Cyberman, Scarecrow, Sontaran, K-9, and a TARDIS. [This Is Somerset and The Mary Sue, 19 Apr 2012]

A Dalek had to be manhandled by four people over a roof to get it into a house in Shrewsbury. It was bought by fan Andrew Morris from a children's hospice in Barry Island but when it arrived it proved too big to get through the front door so an alternative entrance had to be figured out – needing extra manpower and some levitation! [Shropshire Star, 25 Apr 2012]

A group of pupils in Guildford who entered the Script To Screen competition may not have won the contest but Steven Moffat was so impressed by their work that he decided to send them goodie bags of Doctor Who items anyway. The entry by the trio from Holy Trinity Pewley Down made it to the final ten. All scripts had to have an Olympic theme, and the one from Holy Trinity Pewley Down saw the Doctor, Amy, and Rory on an alien planet resembling ancient Greece but where the statues turned out to be Weeping Angels. The overall winning school is yet to be named. [Get Surrey, 26 Apr 2012]

The newly-opened Wales Coastal Path gives people the chance to see famous filming locations along its 870 miles, including Portmeirion, which was used for The Masque of Mandragora, and a number of south Wales settings for the revived series. The BBC has uploaded a slideshow of various locations along the route.

Clothes and personal belongings donated by John Barrowman to the Dogs Trust have raised more than £200. We reported in March on the gift to the charity following a spring-clean by the actor, and when the items went on sale at its Cowbridge branch they attracted huge interest, with one fan even travelling some 180 miles from Nottingham to spend £600. [Barry and District News, 18 Apr 2012]

Genuine police boxes have gone on sale in Edinburgh. A total of 22 of the two-tonne constructions are available and no price has been set on them, with offers being accepted until midday on Thursday 31st May. A sales fee of £100 will, however, apply to each box. Designed by Ebenezer MacRae in the 1930s, they differ in appearance to the TARDIS ones, which were designed by Gilbert MacKenzie Trench for the Metropolitan Police in 1929. Buyers will have to remove them or get planning permission and change their colour if they want them to stay in situ. [BBC News, 30 Apr 2012]

FergusonandTardisCBS TV host Craig Ferguson has taken his Late Late Show to his native country of Scotland. A week of programmes, which see Ferguson exploring Edinburgh, his birth city of Glasgow, and his home town of Cumbernauld, were recorded in March - pictured right - and will start airing on Monday 14th May. [Associated Press via Yahoo! News, 16 Apr 2012]

The Big Lit Day book festival in Gatehouse of Fleet on Saturday 26th May will see Annette Badland make a special guest appearance. She will be giving a reading from The World's Wife, a collection of poems by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy that imagine wives' perspectives of famous men. The event is part of the Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival. [Dumfries & Galloway Standard, 27 Apr 2012]

USA :

A Dalek popped up on the roof of MIT's Stata Center, housing the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The appearance follows in the footsteps of the TARDIS a couple of years ago! [Lezgetreal, The Daily What, 28 Apr 2012]

In March we told of an appeal made by Tashi King for a TARDIS urn for the ashes of her terminally-ill husband, Kevin Pratt, when he dies. They have now received just such an urn and have uploaded a video thank-you message. (NB: The video contains Battlestar Galactica-style expletives and one other expletive.) [washandtashiblogspot, 24 Apr 2012]

Series 7 Premiere at MGEITF

The 2012 MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival takes place from 23rd to 25th August, and will include an exclusive screening of the premier episode of the seventh full series of modern Doctor Who for delegates at the event.

The festival will also include a masterclass on the BBC1 series Sherlock, with appearances from Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss and producer Sue Vertue.

As part of the weekend, the festival also holds a Channel of the Year award ceremony, and this year the nominations include Richard Senior in the Producer or Director Debut of the Year category for his work on Let's Kill Hitler (which premiered at last year's festival). He'll be up against Grace Reynolds for Educating Essex and Dan Albion for Dynamo: Magician Impossible. Voting is open to festival delegates, and takes place on 24th August.

You can keep up to date with the festival via the official website and blog.

Newslink: Guardian (9 May 2012)