Thursday, 28 February 2013

An Adventure in Space and Time update

Into the last couple of days of filming, with Matt Strevens commenting: "The penultimate day and a very busy one. Lots of v exciting stuff to shoot. Been saying goodbye to our lovely cast as we wrap them out.". The producer reported earlier in the week about new creatures, and today seems to be centre around events during The Web Planet, with Thom Hutchingson tweeting: "Today I've mostly been menacing Wimbledon Studios dressed as a winged insectoid alien. My TV debut!". As a follow-up to this, Mammoth Screen apologised to actor Sam Hoare: "So sorry if you were stalked by a giant bee creature today."

Hoare, who played opposite Matt Smith in Bert and Dickie last year, has been confirmed by his agent as playing "Douglas". Other cast members involved today include David William Bryan, who said: "Ready for a long Dr.Who day!" and afterwards commented on his experience meeting another creature seen previously: "Just had a fight with this little fella...... And lost"

DWM were also present at today's filming, with editor Tom Spilsbury commenting: "Today, I had an amazing and unforgettable adventure in space and time. Thank you, Mark Gariss!" As usual, activities at the set drew attention from other parts of the studios, with Chris Presswell commenting: "Have just had a meeting in the same studio complex as where An Adventure in Space and Time is being filmed. 60s costumes galore. Awesome."

Tomorrow is the final scheduled day of principal photography, and tweets today indicate that it may well include another iconic recreation, this time for the TARDIS (de)materialisation! Natasha O'Keeffe asked Matt Strevens: "if there's an old scabby piano on any of your shoot days as part of set, that piano is from my parents/childhood home!". To which he replied: " I think there is tomorrow. What, why, how?"

The Ice Warriors: missing episodes animated

The Ice Warriors - animated (Credit: BBC Worldwide/Qurios)BBC Worldwide have finally confirmed that August's DVD release of Second Doctor adventure The Ice Warriors will indeed include animated versions of the missing episodes two and three, as well as the previously announced 'telesnap' version of the episodes that originally appeared on the 1998 VHS release.

Unlike January's The Reign of Terror, animation for these episodes has been created by Qurios, an award-winning animation and visual effects production studio based in London and Newcastle, and who have previously worked on the range providing titles for the Who Peter features.

DVD range producer Dan Hall said:
We’ve been discussing the various ways Qurios could reconstruct these episodes for over three years, so it's really, really satisfying to finally see them animated. Qurios have a great track record in excellent and innovative animations.

Doctor Who has had many different visual styles thanks to changing directors, designers and production methods. We wanted to mirror this in our choice of animation partners.
A preview of a "work in progress" clip from the episodes has been published on YouTube, featuring the scene in episode two where the Doctor tries to convince Leader Clent that humans are better than machines:



The DVD is currently scheduled to be released on 26th August.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Symphonic Spectacular Held At Showcase

A Doctor Who Showcase Symphonic Spectacular was held in Liverpool last night to pay tribute to the programme.

Hosted by Mark Williams, it took place at the BBC Worldwide Showcase - being attended by some 700 TV buyers from around the world - and saw Ben Foster lead the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra as well as the Sense of Sound choir through compositions by Murray Gold, with Elin Manahan Thomas and Daniel Keating-Roberts providing solos.

Earlier this week, Steve Macallister, the president and managing director of sales and distribution at BBC Worldwide, had said that Doctor Who would feature as one of two themed evenings at the showcase.

The programme was as follows:
  • The Madman With A Box
  • I Am The Doctor
  • Brianosaurus
  • Abigail's Song
  • Battle In The Skies
  • The Majestic Tale Of A Madman In A Box
  • Liz, Lizards, Vampires & Vincent
  • This Is Gallifrey/Vale Decem
  • The Final Chapter Of Amelia Pond
  • Doctor Who Theme
Scenes from The Angels Take Manhattan provided a suitable backdrop for the penultimate piece.

As has been the case with previous musical outings, various monsters put in an appearance too, including Daleks, Ood, Cybermen, Silurians, the Silence, and Saturnynians (from The Vampires of Venice). The Symphonic Spectacular also featured a compilation of the Doctor's regenerations.

More pictures from the event can be seen on BBC America's Anglophenia site.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

A multilingual Doctor

BBC Worldwide have released a demonstration of how Doctor Who is broadcast in other languages from around the world as part of the promotion of the show at this year's BBC Worldwide Showcase, currently taking place in Liverpool.

The video shows a clip from The Wedding of River Song in English, Brazilian Portuguese, French, German and Italian.


As recently reported, episodes of the show will be available to watch in the Middle East via Al Jazeera's JCC channel, and in Poland, South Africa, Burma and Indonesia via BBC Entertainment.

Series 6 Double Bill Down Under

A special screening of the opening two episodes of Series 6 is to take place across Australia and New Zealand on Thursday 14th March, the BBC has announced.

In a world-first multiple cinema screening for Doctor Who, The Impossible Astronaut and Day of the Moon will be shown at selected Event Cinemas, Greater Union and Birch, Carroll & Coyle Cinemas, and Village Cinemas across the two countries, starting at 7pm on the day.

There will also be a "best-dressed" prize at each cinema for the Doctor Who fan with the most impressive costume, from Time Lords to monsters.

Sharon Wilson
, BBC Worldwide Australasia's head of marketing for global brands, said:
We're building on the concept of "event television" by creating simultaneous Doctor Who experiences on big screens across Australia and New Zealand for the first time. It's an opportunity for fans to enjoy the programmes and participate in the whole experience in a way that they've not been able to before. We hope this will be the start of more BBC Worldwide cinema events with our partners Event Cinemas and Village Cinemas.
The screening has been arranged as part of the celebrations for the show's 50th-anniversary year.

Written by Steven Moffat and directed by Toby Haynes, the 90-minute two-parter stars Matt Smith as the Doctor, Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, Arthur Darvill as Rory Williams, Alex Kingston as River Song, and Mark Sheppard as Canton Everett Delaware III.

In The Impossible Astronaut, the Doctor, Amy, and Rory receive a secret summons that leads them to the Oval Office in 1969. Enlisting the help of a former FBI agent and the irrepressible River Song, the Doctor promises to assist President Nixon in saving a terrified little girl from a mysterious Space Man. In Day of the Moon, the Doctor is locked in the perfect prison, while Amy, Rory, and River Song are being hunted down by the FBI. But with the help of the president and Neil Armstrong, the Doctor is able to mount a rebellion against an alien invasion dating back to the very beginnings of human civilisation.

Tickets for the high-definition big-screen showings can be bought online at Event Cinemas or Village Cinemas (booking fees may apply) or at the box offices of the cinemas involved. The websites list the cinemas taking part in this special event.

UKTV, which is wholly owned by BBC Worldwide Australasia, is the media partner for this screening, which has been devised by BBC Worldwide Australasia.

Details announced of Splendid Chaps "Three/Family"

As previously reportedSplendid Chaps is a year-long performance/podcast project to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who hosted by comedian Ben McKenzie (Dungeon CrawlMelbourne Museum Comedy Tour) and writer John Richards (ABC1 sitcom OutlandBoxcutters podcast).

Described by its creators as part intellectual panel discussion, part nerdy Tonight Show, Splendid Chaps is a combination of analysis, enthusiasm and irreverence. The first episode went to number 1 on the iTunes TV & Film Podcast chart in Australia, and to number 4 in the UK.  The podcasts to the first two episodes are now available at www.splendidchaps.com or at  iTunes.

Tickets are now on sale for their March show, in which the Splendid Chaps TARDIS will be visiting Adelaide. They'll be discussing the frill-fronted velveteen Time Lord Jon Pertwee, and looking at the notion of Family in Doctor Who - why are there so few families in the early years of the show? What’s with all the distant aunts? How did it change the show when companions’ families started to appear after Rose?

Hosts Ben McKenzie, John Richards and Petra Elliott are joined by New York Times best-selling author Sean Williams plus other guests poached from the Adelaide Fringe Festival as Splendid Chaps makes the exciting move into colour and corduroy.

Splendid Chaps: A Year Of Doctor Who: "Three/Family"
Space: The Tuxedo Cat – The Yellow Room, 199-200 North Terrace, Adelaide.
Time: Sunday, March 10; show starts 2 PM (note that as we will be recording, latecomers will not be admitted until interval).
Tickets: All tickets $15 (plus booking fee where applicable).
Bookings: trybooking.com, tickets also sold at the door (subject to availability).
Podcast: not yet available; released 23 March 2013.
Accessibility: This venue is wheelchair accessible.
(with thanks to John Richards)

Vote Dalek!

The Professional Publishers Association are celebrating their centenary this year, and as part of this ten covers are to compete to become Cover of the Century, one of which is the Radio Times issue covering the week 30th April to May 6th May 2005 - otherwise known as Vote Dalek!

The magazine is up against covers from the Beano, Cosmpolitan, Empire, Harpers, MacUser, NewScientist, Time Out, Vogue and Woman's Weekly, all of which were chosen by a panel of experts as being the most iconic over the century.

Professional Publishers Association Centenary Covers

Head of the PPA, Barry McIlheney said
Our centenary year provides us with a unique opportunity for the industry to celebrate not only the association but, more importantly, its members and the entire magazine publishing industry. The Cover of the Century is just one of the many activities the PPA will be carrying out in 2013 to mark this historic occasion.

We are looking forward to the next 100 years, and how the unique power of magazine brands will help shape the evolving media landscape at what is the most exciting time in our rich and vibrant history.

Voting is open daily to the public via the PAA website until the 30th September, with the winning cover announced on the Association's actual centenary on 21st November.


Radio Times (5-11 May 2005) - wraparoundThis isn't the first time the Radio Times cover has been up for an award - in 2008 it won the coveted title of Best Magazine Cover Of All Time in a poll that was also conducted by the PAA!

Circulation director at the time, Nicola Rowe said of its successback then:
We had many outstanding entries but Vote Dalek! captured the popular vote. It is sharply observed, funny, and to the point. It is, in its own way, a truly inspired reflection of the British sense of humour.

Monday, 25 February 2013

An Adventure in Space and Time enters final week of filming

It's the last week of principal photography for An Adventure in Space and Time, with producer Matt Strevens commenting: "So the final week begins. It's flown by. Some big, moving scenes to come and perhaps a new creature or 2.". Doctor Who wouldn't be Doctor Who without corridors, but this time of the real kind as a couple of Dalek props are left "lurking" - as Matt observed: "These Daleks do like to gossip on a Monday morning."

Meanwhile, Waris met Waris as Sacha Dhawan caught up with original director Waris Hussein; the actor intimated that his time on filming was coming to an end, saying: "What a journey through space and time..loved every minute of it.x" Additional photos of the two together can be seen courtesy of the Radio Times, published when the initial casting was announced at the end of January.

Daleks at Wimbledon Studios (Credit: Matt Strevens, via Twitter) Sacha Dhawan with Waris Hussein (Credit: Sacha Dhawan, via Twitter)

Speaking of cast, last week Reece Shearsmith got to grips with becoming the Second Doctor: "Tried the hobo costume on the other day. Oh my giddy aunt ..."


Some additional members of the production team have been confirmed, with script editor Richard Cookson telling us: "I am indeed lucky enough to be working on An Adventure in Space and Time. Thanks for the congratulations! All I can really say is that it's a huge honour to be involved in the programme and to work with such a fantastic and talented cast and crew." Other confirmations include Pippa Suren as production coordinator, Catriona Scott as production secretary, and James Metcalf as a floor runner.

Al Jazeera Buys Doctor Who

Al Jazeera has bought Series 5 to 7 of Doctor Who, it was announced today.

The episodes were snapped up at the BBC Worldwide Showcase 2013 event and will be shown on the satellite TV broadcaster's pan-Arabic children's channel JCC, which launched in 2005 and is based in Qatar.

The showcase is a four-day international TV market being held at ACC Liverpool. It started yesterday and is welcoming some 700 TV buyers from around the globe.

Paola Tonella, BBC Worldwide's sales and distribution territory manager for the Middle East and Africa, said:
Drama is topping the bill at this year's showcase and it's clear that BBC Worldwide's programming, with its quality scripts and first-class production values, are extremely attractive to global buyers.
Among the star names at yesterday's gala opening were Eve Myles and Mark Williams.

The showcase will also be hosting special events to both celebrate the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who and to spotlight the natural-history documentary series Africa.

Steve Macallister, the president and managing director of sales and distribution at BBC Worldwide, said:
In another record-breaking year, we welcome our largest number of buyers to Liverpool - up by 10 per cent on last year - and we have two brilliant programme-themed evenings planned. Africa is certain to capture the imagination of our delegates, as it has the British public over the past few weeks. What a perfect opportunity to also celebrate the world's longest-running sci-fi series with Doctor Who in its 50th year.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Australian fans preview animated The Tenth Planet


Australian fans attending Whovention: Gold this weekend were fortunate enough to see a world premiere preview of the animated fourth episode of the forthcoming The Tenth Planet DVD.

To rounds of very enthusiastic applause, a warm and appreciative crowd saw clips from the animated episode, during panels hosted by Dan Hall (Pup Ltd and commissioning editor of the Doctor Who DVD range) and Austen Atkinson of Australian based animation company Planet 55 Studios. During the panels a number of animated clips were shown, including the famous William Hartnell regeneration scene (see images below) and other behind the scenes material. Video from the animated episode will be available next week on doctorwho.tv.  Fans reacted very positively to the material, as well as to queries from Dan Hall as to whether more missing episodes should be subject to similar animation in the future. Mr Hall noted however that while the existing business model for BBC Worldwide DVD releases did not currently allow more than two episodes a release to be animated that future options for allowing the release of more animated material may become more feasible at some later stage.

Also featured on the panels were Planet 55 Studios animators Colin Bennett, Josh Campbell & Chris Chapman who discussed the painstaking hours of work required to recreate the missing episode of The Tenth Planet as well as the two animated episodes from the newly restored Reign of Terror DVD. Austen Atkinson confirmed that work on the animated Tenth Planet episode was likely to be completed in the next month with the DVD release due in the second half of 2013. Dan Hall also confirmed that an announcement on whether the missing episodes of the forthcoming The Ice Warriors DVD would be similarly animated will be announced in the near future, also on doctorwho.tv.


Other highlights of Whovention: Gold (organised by the Doctor Who Club of Australia) included Louise Jameson describing her complex relationship with Tom Baker; Camille Coduri recalling her shock of first learning about Christopher Eccleston's departure as the Ninth Doctor via the media and original series composer Dudley Simpson announcing that there will be orchestral concerts of some of his Doctor Who scores in the United Kingdom in the near future. Rob Lloyd also performed his popular stage show “Who, Me” in Sydney for the first time for a one-off performance on the Saturday night.

Podcasts recorded at Whovention: Gold, including an interview with Dan Hall, are also now available at the Preachrs Podcast website or iTunes.

With thanks to Austen Atkinson for The Tenth Planet animation images.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Raymond Cusick 1928-2013

Raymond Cusick - the designer of the Daleks - has died at the age of 84, his family have reported.

Born in London, Cusick first planned to be a civil engineer, but then after a stint in the army he planned to instead take up teaching. Having taught art, he then took an interest in design and joined Granada Television. This then led to a move to the BBC as a staff designer, which included being assigned to the fledgling Doctor Who. Here, he was to come up with the design of the Daleks, which arguably - alongside the TARDIS interior - is one of the key elements that made Doctor Who the success it was to become.

Talking to Doctor Who Magazine about his original design, Cusick said:
I spent the whole of one Sunday doing rough sketches of what I thought it should look like. I wanted to make sure it wasn't obvious how they worked, at the same time keeping them relatively simple. I didn't want either man shape or man height, so first of all I figured out that the operator would have to be inside the shell. Bearing in mind how long he'd have to be there, I thought it would be an idea to have him sitting, pushing himself along with his feet. A small actor in a sitting position would be only 4'6" high, which killed two problems with one stone.

However, as a staff designer he was never to receive royalties for his iconic realisation of Terry Nation's creations, and his enduring contribution took many years to be properly acknowledged.

As well as The Daleks, he would continue to work on the show during its first couple of years, designing more of the TARDIS in The Edge of Destruction, the futuristic/rugged worlds seen in The Keys of Marinus, The Sensorites, The Rescue and The Chase, the 'giant' items experienced during Planet of Giants, and even delving into history with The Romans; Cusick's last assignment was sharing the design load alongside Barry Newbery for the epic twelve-parter, The Daleks' Master Plan.

Outside of Doctor Who, he worked on a variety of BBC shows including Out of The Unknown, Dr Finlay's Casebook, The Pallisers, The Duchess of Duke Street, Rentaghost, When The Boat Comes In and Play For Today.

Upon his retirement he devoted a lot of time to his hobby, writing about the battles of the Napoleonic era. Retaining his interest over his creations, he was to be reunited with their modern equivalent during Doctor Who Confidential; he also recorded commentaries and appeared in features for the BBC DVD range.

Cusick had been suffering from a short illness. He leaves two daughters and seven grandchildren.
(Raymond P Cusick 1928 - 21 Feb 2013)


Tributes to the designer have included: current voice of the Daleks Nicholas Briggs(Twitter): "I'm very sad indeed to learn that Ray Cusick, the brilliant designer of the Daleks, has passed away."; original voice of the Daleks David Graham(BBC): "I never met him personally, but he was responsible for one of the iconic designs of television sci-fi."; Dalek operator Barnaby Edwards(Twitter): "So sad to hear that Ray Cusick, the designer of the Daleks, has died. Without him, there'd probably be no Doctor Who."; Davros actor Terry Molloy(Twitter): "So very sad to hear of the death of Ray Cusick... The true Creator of the Daleks!"; and from An Adventure in Space and Time writer Mark Gatiss(Twitter): "Farewell to the great Ray Cusick. His passing is especially sad in this anniversary year but his creation remains immortal. Daleks forever!"

In the Media: BBC News; Radio 5 live Interview with David Graham; ITV News; Radio Times; AFP; Guardian; Mirror; Independent.




The Seeds of Death on UKTV

UKTVSunday 24th February sees the broadcast of the six-part 1969 Patrick Troughton story The Seeds of Death in Australia and New Zealand. The story is the eighth instalment in the 50th Anniversary season of classic Doctor Who stories on the UKTV channel.

It is scheduled in New Zealand at 3:10pm and in Australia at 3:30pm. New Zealand has an additional screening on Monday 25th February at 3:10am.


The Seeds of Death was first broadcast in Australia in 1970. New Zealanders had to wait until 1988 to see the story when it was first screened as part of TVNZ's Doctor Who 'Silver Jubilee' celebration marking the 25th anniversary in November of that year.

UKTV is showing a story every week throughout the year in the lead-up to the anniversary in November. The Seeds of Death concludes a month of Patrick Troughton adventures.

Next week UKTV shifts its focus to Jon Pertwee's Doctor and the colour era of the programme, beginning with Spearhead from Space on 3rd March.

Up-and-coming broadcasts from both 20th and 21st Century series of Doctor Who can be found via UKTV's Doctor Who sections for Australia and New Zealand.

Friday, 22 February 2013

An Adventure in Space and Time: Jackie Lane cast

Sophie HoltAnother early Doctor Who regular during the William Hartnell years has now been confirmed, with actress and dancer Sophie Holt to play Jackie Lane, aka Dodo.

Graduating from the Masters Performing Arts College in 2010, she has undertaken a number of theatrical roles, including productions for M&M Theatrical Productions, and also touring in Italy in Circus for the Smile Theatre Company. Breaking into television, as well as An Adventure in Space and Time, she has just played a supporting actress in the series premiere of this year's Poirot - Elephants Can Remember.

Holt joins Jamie Glover (William Russell/Ian), Jemma Powell (Jacqueline Hill/Barbara) and Claudia Grant (Carole Ann Ford/Susan) in portraying the actors who accompanied the First Doctor on his adventures. As previously reported, Peter Purves (Steven) has indicated that he would be represented in the drama, too, and that an actress playing Maureen O'Brien (Vicki) was believed to have been spotted during filming at BBC Television Centre.

Also joining the family of supporting actors is John Foreman, who plays a "passerby/interviewee".

Filming Update

"Dressing room boredom..." (Credit: Sacha Dhawan, via Twitter)As Friday evening arrives, producer Matt Strevens sums up: The end of week 3 filming. Only a week left. Where did it go? As Sydney Newman might say 'what a picture!'". The cast and crew have been huddled away in studio for the week, with Sacha Dhawan (Waris Hussein) summarising his wait between takes: "Dressing room boredom..."

Filming is expected to wrap next week.

One person with some free time next week will be Brian Cox (Sydney Newman); the actor is due to be a guest on Wednesday's edition of The Wright Stuff next week. The show is broadcast weekday mornings on Channel 5.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

An Adventure in Space and Time: The Voice of the Daleks

Nicholas Briggs, on TwitterA new voice encounters the old as Nicholas Briggs confirmed last night that he had taken on the mantle of one of the original voices of the Daleks! Making the announcement on Twitter, the man who has voiced the Daleks since their return in 2005 commented: "Just did my Peter Hawkins cameo today. Beyond exciting..." He later added: "Well, you can never tell what will make the edit... But I had a costume and a wig and everything! :-)".

Speaking to Doctor Who Magazine back in 2006, the actor/voice artist/producer for Big Finish paid tribute to Hawkins: "All of us who've provided Dalek voices over the last 40 years owe him a massive debt. None of us have been as good as Peter, but he supplied our inspiration. He was truly the Emperor of the Daleks."
 

Filming Update

A number of classic series moments are being "captured" for the drama. As well as filming of Daleks across Westminster Bridge from The Dalek Invasion of Earth filmed last weekend, iconic moments from the pilot episode have also been recorded as photos released but subsequently removed had revealed, including recreations of the junkyard where the TARDIS is first encountered, and the interior itself (credited to Peter Brachacki, who we reported last night as being played by David Annen).

The look and feel of the 1963 studio environment has been provided by Golden Age Television Recreations, which reported on its site: "Dr Who- An Adventure In Space And Time. GA-TV is supplying all the 1960s vintage tv studio and gallery equipment for a movie-length drama from the BBC, about the early days of the Dr Who tv programme."

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

People Roundup

Colin Baker in The Woman in White. Photo: Lichfield GarrickColin Baker is to star as Walter Hartright, the lead character from the new adaptation of The Woman In White, which will run at the Lichfield Garrick between 26th February and 2nd March. [Burton Mail, 19 Feb 2013]

The actor may also be about to take legal action against Buckinghamshire County Council after his daughter suffered a car accident due to a pothole. The actor said: "I'd say it was a good day because my daughter walked away, but we are very grateful for efficient seatbelts and airbags. Our insurance company is considering action against [the council] and if they don't, I will." [BBC News, 11 Feb 2013]

When talking about the return of The Walking Dead, David Morrissey compared the atmosphere on the show with his guest role in The Next Doctor: "(The Walking Dead) reminds me of Doctor Who in a way; David Tennant, when he was Doctor Who, really led from the front, he was the first man on set, the last man to leave, making sure everybody was all right, a great leader - and Andrew (Lincoln) is just the same, he's a wonderful leading actor." [This Morning, 13 Feb 2013]

Sue Perkins found herself the subject of a Twitter campaign to make her the next Doctor, after being nominated by Scifind. The comedienne/presenter told her followers that she was "Beyond flattered. SERIOUSLY.".

Burn Gorman is to appear in a new AMC drama pilot, Turn; based on the Washington Spies book by Alexander Rose, it is set in the summer of 1778 during America's fight for independence, with Gorman playing the character of British Major Hewlett. The actor also has a part as Dr. Hermann Gottlieb in the science-fiction film Pacific Rim, due out this summer. [Deadline, 15 Feb 2013]

Talking about the original plans for Torchwood: Miracle Day, Chris Chibnall said: "I did a bit of very early storylining with Russell on Miracle Day, right at the start, before they pitched it to Fox, before they pitched it to Starz. I think somewhere along the way it sort of lost a little bit of its Torchwood-ness. Whether you like or dislike Torchwood, it has an essence – of madness and cheekiness and sexiness, and fun and darkness, those sort of polar facets of what it’s about, of putting those things together – and somehow it lost a bit of that somewhere in the process. when we were first talking about it, it was something a bit bolder, a bit cheekier. it may just come back to the fact that one of the great essences of Torchwood was taking those American tropes and doing them in Wales. And in a way, that’s what made Torchwood so brilliantly odd. Once you put it in California, it becomes more like other shows." [Starburst, 12 Feb 2013]

Part-time extra and full time teacher Sean Carlson (who played a policeman in The Christmas Invasion) talks about his work on Gallifrey for Big Finish: "I've been very lucky to have been involved with the Doctor Who audio series for ten years now as the Time Lord Narvin. We record the series in a studio in West London over a period of three months and perform radio plays, as well as for CDs and downloads. They feature characters from the classic series and actresses like Lynda Bellingham and Lalla Ward." [Free Press, 14 Feb 2013]

Gregg Sulkin (Adam The Mad Woman in the Attic) has been cast as Julian in the FOX pilot for Delirium - based on Lauren Oliver’s bestselling book trilogy, the series is set in a world where love is deemed illegal and can be eradicated with a special procedure. [Deadline, 19 Feb 2013]

James Corden is hosting the 2013 Brit Awards, taking place tonight, and broadcast in ITV.

Graham Norton's Big Chat is a show taking place on BBC3 on the 7th March in aid of Comic Relief which will aim to set the Guinness World Record for "Most Questions Asked on a TV Chat Show". An array of stars will appear on the show, including Ronnie Corbett, Warwick Davis and Russell Tovey, plus a Big Chat Backstage Party hosted by Greg James. [BBC Media Centre, 20 Feb 2013]

In Memoriam

The actress Elspet Gray (Lady Rix) has died at the age of 83. As well as appearing in Doctor Who as the High Council member Thalia in Arc of Infinity, she also played the Queen in Blackadder, Lady Collingford in Catweazle and Mrs Palmer in Solo amongst many roles on television. [Daily Record, 19 Feb 2013]

An Adventure in Space and Time: TARDIS designer cast

David AnnenThe man credited for the original iconic look of the TARDIS interior, Peter Brachacki, is to be played by David Annen, his agent has reported.

The character actor has had roles in a variety of television programmes, including The Chatterley Affair (which also featured David Tennant), Criminal Justice, and Lennon Naked (which starred Christopher Eccleston), and the gamut of regular series such as Call The Midwife, Doctors, Midsomer Murders and Law & Order: UK. Film-wise, he has appeared in The West Wittering Affair and Theatre of Dreams, both directed by David Scheinmann.

He is also very active in theatre, with recent performances including Provost in Measure for Measure at the Almeida, and Dad in My Dad's A Birdman at The Young Vic. As well as acting, he is a teacher for Lightwork.
 

Filming Update

Filming sign at Wimbledon Studios. Photo: Mazin PowerAfter the excitement of Sunday's Dalek excursion to Westminster, the return to BBC Television Centre turned out to be the last day of filming for the drama at the spiritual "home" of Doctor Who. Producer Matt Strevens said afterwards: "Filming is now complete at Television Centre location. Could we be the last drama to film there? Week 3 continues elsewhere tomorrow.". Writer and executive producer Mark Gatiss summed up the moment, which might well be the final drama to be filmed at the site: "Farewell TVC....x".

Lone Dalek leaves Television Centre. Photo: Richard Browning Bye bye, Television Centre. Photo: Mark Gatiss

Filming has now returned to base at Wimbledon Studios, as evidenced by set directions!

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

DVD Update: The Visitation SE - details released

BBC Worldwide have announced details for the forthcoming release of The Visitation (Special Edition) on DVD. The two-disc set has been provisionally scheduled for release on the 6th May for both its R2 and R1 versions, and on the 24th April for R4.

The Visitation - Special Edition
Release date: 6 May 2013 UK (available for pre-order)

The Visitation Special Edition Cover (R2). Credit BBCStarring Peter Davison as The Doctor, with Janet Fielding as Tegan, Sarah Sutton as Nyssa, and Matthew Waterhouse as Adric
Written by Eric Saward
Directed by Peter Moffatt

Broadcast: 15th - 23rd February 1982

It’s 1666, and medieval England is in the grip of the Great Plague. But when the Doctor and his companions arrive, they discover an even greater threat: the entire planet is in danger. As the Grim Reaper stalks the countryside, the Doctor uncovers an alien menace intent on wiping out humanity and claiming our planet for themselves. The Terileptils have arrived – and only the Doctor can stop them…
 

Special Features:
  • Commentary with Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, Sarah Sutton, Matthew Waterhouse and director Peter Moffatt.
  • Grim Tales - Brand-new 45-minute documentary. Former companion Mark Strickson takes Peter Davison, Janet Fielding and Sarah Sutton back to the original filming locations while other cast and crew discuss their memories of the story. New
  • The Television Centre of the Universe: Part One - Peter Davison, Mark Strickson and Janet Fielding return to BBC Television Centre and meet up with old friends and colleagues to reminisce on their time in the iconic building.New
  • Doctor Forever: The Apocalypse Element - Examining the world of Doctor Who on audio. Including interviews with Colin Baker, Russell T Davies, Mark Gatiss and many others.New
  • Film Trims Shots and sequences cut from the finished programme
  • Directing Who: Peter Moffatt
  • Writing A Final Visitation: Eric Saward
  • Scoring The Visitation - Interview with composer Paddy Kingsland
  • Subtitle Production NotesNew
  • Radio Times listings and BBC Sales SheetNew
  • Photo Gallery
  • Coming Soon trailerNew
  • Isolated Music Score
  • Easter Egg
  • Digitally remastered picture and sound qualityNew

WhoSounds TARDIS Speaker System

BBC Worldwide have announced a TARDIS 2.1 sound speaker system to be released by WhoSounds Ltd in April, for use over bluetooth and through a standard 3.5mm auxiliary cable.

WhoSounds - TARDIS SpeakerThe TARDIS Speaker System Launched by WhoSounds Ltd.

Fully scaled and beautifully designed, the speaker is sure to delight all would-be Time Lords, and offers a number of unique features.

A high quality 2.1 sound system is compatible with Bluetooth input as well as audio from any device fitted with a 3.5mm headphone. Whilst two internal full-range speakers housed inside a tuned and sealed chamber with bass provided by a separate drive unit - all powered by an integral 2.1 audio amplifier designed and optimised by an ex-Harmon Kardon sound engineer - for low distortion and high clarity, offers a real treat for audio fans.

The next and previous track selection, volume and separate bass and treble adjustments can also be made via a neat remote control.

And, for a real time travel experience, the ambient LED light positioned on the roof flashes blue when paired with a Bluetooth device, and the speaker also makes the famous TARDIS landing sound.

This fantastic speaker also features a built-in USB port which is capable of delivering up to 1 Amp, making it more than adequate to power and charge Smartphones and tablets.

WhoSounds Ltd. Director, Karl Grimsey, says:
The TARDIS speaker will delight all Doctor Who fans. Far more than just a toy or souvenir, the function and sonic performance of the TARDIS Speaker will wow audio fans too.

Full details on the product can be found via the WhoSounds website.

The speaker units can be pre-ordered directly from the company website, and from other retailers such as the BBC Shop and Forbidden Planet.

Big Finish: February releases

Big Finish have released details on the latest adventures for the Doctor and his companions in February:

Spaceport Fear (available to pre-order)

Doctor Who: Spaceport Fear is the latest story to star Colin Baker as the Sixth Doctor (seen on TV from 1984-1986) alongside Bonnie Langford as Mel, who partnered him on screen in 1986. As the title would suggest, they find themselves on an apparently deserted spaceport... but there are strange and terrifying things lurking in the dark corners. Will they ever manage to facilitate a departure? Written by William Gallagher and directed by Barnaby Edwards, the story also features Ronald Pickup.

 

Welcome to Tantane Spaceport – where the tribes of Business and Economy have been at war for all of four hundred years...

Welcome to Tantane Spaceport – where a terrible creature called the Wailer prowls the corridors around the Control Tower, looking to eat the unwary...

Welcome to Tantane Spaceport – where there is one Arrival: a battered blue Police Box containing the time-travelling Doctor and his companion, Mel...

Welcome to Tantane Spaceport – where there are no Departures. Ever.
The Sands of Life (available to pre-order)

Meanwhile, over on The Fourth Doctor Adventures, the Doctor, Romana and K9 find themselves caught between a mass of aliens heading for Earth and the powerful head of the Conglomerate, Cuthbert, in The Sands of Life. Tom Baker (the Doctor on TV form 1974-1981) is once more teamed with Mary Tamm as Romana, and John Leeson joins them in the TARDIS as well this month as K9 for the first three (count 'em!) parts of a five-part story which continues next month with War Against the Laan.

Producer David Richardson says:
It felt very special to have Tom, Mary and John back together in this story, and it sets up a chain of events that will be felt all the way through until the end of the season.
The story is written and directed by Nicholas Briggs, and the cast includes David Warner, Toby Hadoke and Hayley Atwell.

 

Sheridan Moorkurk has just been elected president of Earth... but the harsh realities of who really runs the planet are just beginning to dawn on her. And what's more, she's starting to hear voices.

Meanwhile, the Doctor and Romana encounter a mass of aliens heading to Earth... Aliens who have already made the mistake of upsetting the infamous Cuthbert, all-powerful CEO of The Conglomerate, by destroying one of his space platforms.

Will the Doctor and Romana be able to avert inter-species war that will destroy all life on Earth?
House of Cards (available to pre-order)

The latest Companion Chronicles story is also available. House of Cards finds the Doctor, Polly, Jamie and Ben in a space casino surrounded by monsters include the sinister Sidewinder Syndicate - can they escape with their lives?

Written by Steve Lyons, it stars Frazer Hines as Jamie alongside Anneke Wills as Polly, back together reprising their Sixties roles, with Frazer also once more providing his amazing impersonation of Patrick Troughton's Second Doctor.

David Richardson says:
People had loved The Selachian Gambit, which was also written by Steve Lyons, and starred Anneke and Frazer. I jumped at the chance to get them back together, along with director Lisa Bowerman, to recreate that magic period from the Second Doctor’s era.

 

The TARDIS has landed in a futuristic space casino, where the Doctor, Ben, Polly and Jamie find fun, games… and monsters everywhere. There are vicious robot dogs, snake-headed gangsters from the Sidewinder Syndicate and a mysterious masked woman called Hope.

In this place, time travellers are to be tracked down and arrested. Yet, as events spiral out of control, time may be Polly's only ally...
Gallifrey V (available to pre-order)

Gallifrey V is the first of two box sets for 2013, with the saga drawing to an epic close in Gallifrey VI in October.
When we last heard from them, Romana and Leela were trapped on an alternate version of Gallifrey planning to build a new life. But things aren't going to plan.

Crammed with twists, turns, plots, machinations and double-dealing, the fifth series of Gallifrey takes Romana, Leela and Narvin through a host of trials and tribulations and prepares the way for the epic conclusion to the series in Gallifrey VI.

Plus, if you want to catch up, the first three series are on sale from the Big Finish website.

 

With Romana and Narvin ruling New Gallifrey from the heart of the capitol, their former friend Leela now lives as an Outsider, existing in the wastelands of Gallifrey with the former slaves she fought hard to free. With no hope of returning home, to their one true Gallifrey, these three exiles try to find a way to survive and build a better Gallifrey than the barbaric, lawless one they have found themselves in.

However, politicians, scientists and industrialists alike enjoyed luxury, power and wealth before Romana and Narvin came along and they will take any action they deem necessary to regain what they have lost. And if Leela’s Outsiders are swept away as a consequence, so much the better.

And in the shadows, watching and waiting, is an ancient evil that no one can stop...
The Big Finish Companion - Volume 2

Also just published is The Big Finish Companion - Volume 2, a massive guide to a wealth of Big Finish ranges from the pen of Kenny Smith, writer of unofficial Big Finish fanzine The Finished Product. Covering Doctor Who, Stargate, Iris Wildthyme and more, including an in-depth look at the plans for the series of The Tomorrow People which were never made, it's an indispensable guide and a fascinating insight into Big Finish's productions.
 

In addition to the Doctor Who releases, Vienna is a new series starring Chase Masterson as Vienna Salvatori, a cosmic assassin. The first story, The Memory Box, is out now and finds Vienna being investigated for the murder of an intergalactic businessman – but did she do it?

David Richardson says:
It’s a twisty-turny tale by Jonathan Morris, and it boasts a brilliant starring turn by Chase. While Vienna isn’t anything to do with Doctor Who, the character was originally introduced in the Seventh Doctor story The Shadow Heart last year – and it was during the recording we realized what a treasure we had with Chase!

Finally, two Blake’s 7 titles are out this month – the full cast story Warship, which reunites all of the Season 2 line-up, plus The Liberator Chronicles: The Armageddon Storm, which stars Paul Darrow, Michael Keating, Jan Chappell plus Tom Chadbon as Del Grant.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Richard Briers 1934 - 2013

Richard BriersThe actor Richard Briers has died at the age of 79.

Born in 1934 in Raynes Park, Briers started off his career as a filing clerk, a role he continued to perform during his national service. It was at this time he met Brian Murphy, who introduced him to acting and once his service had finished Briers went to study at RADA. After graduating, he then worked at Liverpool Repertory Theatre, where he was to meet his wife Ann Davies.

An established actor of stage and screen, Briers became a household name during the 1970s for his role as Tom Good in The Good Life. This was followed by other popular roles such as Martin Bryce in Ever Decreasing Circles, Tony Fairfax in Down to Earth, Hector McDonald in Monarch of the Glen, and for two generations of children as the narrator and voices of Roobarb.

Other notable television roles included his breakthrough as George Starling in Marriage Lines (in which he starred alongside Prunella Scales, whose son Sam is his godson), Birds on a Wing, The Norman Conquests, All in Good Faith, and If You See God, Tell Him. He was also a presenter of Jackanory, the original voice of Noddy, narrator of another childrens' animated series Noah and Nelly, and played Bob The Builder's dad Robert.

In theatre, he worked alongside Kenneth Branagh in a number of productions, including the lead roles in King Lear and Uncle Vanya, and also took on roles in some nine films by the director, including Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing, and Frankenstein. His most recent role was as machine gun-wielding walker-bound Hamish in Cockneys vs Zombies.

In 1987 he appeared in the Doctor Who story Paradise Towers alongside Sylvester McCoy, playing the Chief Caretaker. Talking about the role to Doctor Who Magazine, the actor said: Doctor Who enabled me to overact, and I enjoy that. The producer (John Nathan-Turner) worried that I wasn't taking the role seriously. He thought that Doctor Who was some kind of classic, which I suppose it was, but he considered it a classic like one of Shakespeare's plays. He thought that I wanted to send up Doctor Who. I think he was frightened that I would start overdoing it...so I did! I thought I had leeway." In 2008 he returned to the Doctor Who universe, appearing in the Torchwood story A Day in the Death as the critically ill Henry Parker.

In his later life, Briers became President of the Parkinson's Disease Society, and was also involved in the launch of the Sense-National Deafblind and Rubella Association campaign. He was also a non-medical patron of the Tracheo-Oesophageal Fistula Support charity, which supports children and the families of children born unable to swallow.

He was awarded the OBE in 1989, and then the CBE in 2003 for his services to drama.

Briers passed away peacefully in his sleep on Sunday after a long struggle with a lung condition. He is survived by his wife Ann and children Lucy and Katie.

(Richard David Briers, 14 Jan 1934 - 17 Feb 2013)

An Adventure in Space and Time: Patrick Troughton cast

Mark Gatiss with Reece Shearsmith: Photo: Patrick MulkernThe Radio Times have revealed that Reece Shearsmith is to play the actor Patrick Troughton in the 50th Anniversary drama An Adventure in Space and Time. Shearsmith - one of the collaborators behind The League of Gentlemen - is a good friend of writer/executive producer Mark Gatiss, who told Patrick Mulkern at the recent BFI screening of Troughton adventure The Tomb of the Cybermen:
I first asked Reece about 12 years ago when I started thinking about this project. We were in the midst of League of Gentlemen and I just remember thinking, if anyone plays Patrick Troughton, it should be Reece. Like the second Doctor, he’s small, saturnine and a comic genius. The complete package. He thought it was a fantastic idea and I've kind of nurtured it all this time.
The actor told his Twitter followers this morning: "Very happy to confirm I am the 2nd Doctor. Very excited to be part of it."


Other cast members confirmed by the article include Jeff Rawle (peviously Plantagenet in Frontios and Mr Harding in Mona Lisa's Revenge) playing associate producer/director Mervyn Pinfield, Andrew Woodall as producer/director Rex Tucker, and Gatiss's partner Ian Hallard as original Dalek director Richard Martin.
 

Filming update

As reported yesterday, cast and crew descended upon Westminster Bridge to record the iconic scene of the Daleks gliding across the bridge, with articles on the shoot published by several media sources, including the BBC, Daily Mail and Express. After these scenes were completed the production moved back to BBC Television Centre, which saw scenes filmed including Brian Cox as Sydney Newman with Jessica Raine as Verity Lambert.


Sunday, 17 February 2013

Big Finish: Eighth Doctor Adventures promotion

The Eighth Doctor AdventuresBig Finish are running a promotion on The Eighth Doctor Adventures, with stories from all four series starring Paul McGann available at a discount until the 2nd March.

Producer David Richardson says:
Starring Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor and Sheridan Smith as Lucie Miller, it finds the pair thrust together by the Time Lords and, as they get to know and rely on each other, taking part in a series of wild and wonderful adventures fighting Cybermen, Ice Warriors, Zygons, Krynoids, Wirrn, the Giant Spiders, fallen Time Lord Morbius and, of course, the dreaded Daleks - at their most evil and terrifying ever!

Add to that killer robots, horrific beasts and a range of psychopathic villains, and you've got a recipe for epic, fast-paced adventures. For a taster of those adventures, we're also offering the chance to download the first half of series two tale Max Warp - guest starring Graeme Garden, James Fleet and Duncan 'from Blue' James - absolutely free as a podcast. Just pop over to the podcast page and download or stream it now!

A Dalek Adventure (In Space and Time)

This morning saw a re-enactment of an iconic moment in the early history of Doctor Who - Daleks invading London! Filming for An Adventure in Space and Time took place on Westminster Bridge in London to recapture scenes from The Dalek Invasion of Earth.


This marks the fourth time Daleks have crossed the bridge in their pursuit of world domination (and publicity!): as well as the 1964 incursion, the scene was recreated in 1993 for the 30th Anniversary documentary (More Than) Thirty Years in the TARDIS, and then again in 2011 as part of the publicity for the Doctor Who Experience.

Filming on Westminster Bridge. Photo: Mark Gatiss Daleks on Westminster Bridge. Photo: Matt Strevens Mark Gatiss on location. Photo: BBC Daleks on Westminster Bridge. Photo: BBC


This weekend marks the halfway point in filming of the drama, which during the course of last week has focussed on scenes set in BBC Television Centre.

Filming at BBC TVC. Photo: Bill Thompson Filming at BBC TVC. Photo: Bill Thompson Filming at BBC TVC. Photo: Nick Lawton A familiar name ... Filming at BBC Television Centre. Photo: Matt Strevens

Cast and Crew updates

As well as the actors that portray William Russell, Jacqueline Hill and Carole Ann Ford, other members of the cast are expected to feature in some way. Speaking at The William Hartnell Years convention, Peter Purves mentioned that he would be represented in the drama, and observer Nick Lawton commented on Friday's filming: "'Vicky' [sic] was actually sitting in reception talking with Mark Gatiss, as Bill, Waris etc were filming scene. 'Vicki' was wearing her 'The Rescue' outfit, which is why I think it was her".

A few minor roles that have been cast include child actor Reece Pockney playing Alan, Elaine Andrews playing "1960s Vintage Mum", and Philip C. Francis playing "Restaurant Customer"; model/actor Ernest Gromov also reported his appearance in the drama, which he has now confirmed to us to be a "BBC Designer". On the production side, Matthew Patnick (who worked on Spies of Warsaw alongside David Tennant) is Line Producer, whilst Daniel Bishop (who also worked on The Empty Planet) is Camera Operator.