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1/12/2014 05:42:00 pm - Reported by John Bowman

A creative decision - as opposed to a contractual one - was behind Peter Capaldi keeping his native Scottish accent as the Doctor, the BBC has been quoted as saying. And according to an unnamed "insider", Capaldi "was delighted when he found out he could play the part with his own voice. It gives his character a stronger identity as well." (The article takes pains to point out that fellow Scot David Tennant used an English accent because then showrunner Russell T Davies didn't want the Doctor "touring the regions". It neglects to mention that the Highlands-set episode Tooth and Claw did see Tennant talking with a Scottish brogue. Sylvester McCoy, of course, kept his Scottish accent as the Doctor.) [Mirror, 30 Dec 2013]

Meanwhile, The Musketeers - the TV drama that Peter Capaldi was filming when he learnt that he had won the role of the Doctor - begins on BBC One on Sunday 19th January at 9pm. Consisting of ten one-hour episodes and set in 17th-century Paris, it sees Capaldi portraying the villainous Cardinal Richelieu in a contemporary take on the characters created by Alexandre Dumas. Talking about the hazards of filming the swashbuckling series, Capaldi said: "The production suffered from a lot of injuries: dislocated shoulders, bruised shins, the odd concussion. It's one of the occupational hazards of being a swashbuckler. I myself suffered a nasty dislocated thumb, but embarrassingly not from swinging a sword around. Instead, my injury came from a domestic the cardinal was having with Milady, Maimie McCoy. I threw her against the wall not realising I'd caught my thumb in her large frock. I felt a jab of pain. And when the director said "Cut" I looked down and saw my thumb was on the wrong way round. Nasty! Instinct took over and I shoved it back. Which made my eyes water and my knees weak. The lesson clearly was, never get into a fight with Maimie McCoy!" The series has been directed by - among others - Saul Metzstein, Toby Haynes, and Farren Blackburn, with music by Murray Gold. [BBC Media Centre, 7 Jan 2014]

The Crouch End Festival Chorus will be launching its 30th-anniversary year with the world première of Murray Gold's heartfelt tribute to his late sibling Jolyon Gold, who was born in 1971 and died in 1996. When My Brother Fell Into The River . . . will be performed at the Barbican in London on Saturday 18th January at 7.30pm. It is described as "a passionate ode to life, motorbikes, Walt Whitman and India; a dramatic tribute to his brother Jolyon who lost his life in the River Narmada." A memorial bench can also be found on Hampstead Heath. [CEFC website].

Jenna Coleman was the runner-up in RadioTimes.com's poll of breakthrough actor of 2013 for her roles in Doctor Who and Dancing On The Edge, being pipped to the title by Jamie Dornan (The Fall). She garnered 2,319 (23.73 per cent) of the votes against Dornan's 2,467 (25.24 per cent). Meanwhile, Sacha Dhawan came 15th for his portrayal of Waris Hussein in An Adventure in Space and Time (114/1.17 per cent). [Radio Times, 30 Dec 2013]

David Morrissey is starring in the three-part BBC One drama The Driver, which began filming in Manchester this week, to be broadcast later this year. Directed by Jamie Payne and also featuring Shaun Dingwall, it is billed as "a gripping tale of an ordinary life turned upside down", which sees Morrissey's character, Vince McKee, driving for a criminal gang after blaming himself and his inadequacies for a family mystery. Morrissey is also a co-executive producer. [BBC Media Centre, 10 Jan 2014]

David Troughton is the new voice of Tony Archer in the long-running BBC radio drama series The Archers, taking over from Colin Skipp who has retired on health grounds after more than 40 years in the role. [Archers website, 2 Jan 2014]

The BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales are to mark the fifth birthday of their home in Cardiff Bay this month with a celebratory concert at BBC Hoddinott Hall, based within the Wales Millennium Centre. The hall has been used not just as a rehearsal venue and concert hall but is often used as a soundtrack studio and television studio too, with the studio being used to record soundtrack music for Doctor Who. The concert takes place on Tuesday 21st January at 7.30pm and will be broadcast on Radio 3 Live in Concert. It will also be available for seven days after broadcast via BBC iPlayer Radio. Tickets cost £15. Fees are applicable unless tickets are bought in person at the box office using cash or with Millennium Centre gift certificates. No music relating to Doctor Who is understood to be forming part of the concert. (BBC radio broadcasts are available to listen to free worldwide.) [BBC Media Centre, 9 Jan 2014]

A Doctor Who audio play and Claire Rushbrook are in the running for gongs in this year's BBC Audio Drama Awards. Dark Eyes, written by Nicholas Briggs for Big Finish, is among the contenders for Best Online or Non-Broadcast Audio Drama, while Rushbrook has been nominated for Best Supporting Actress in an Audio Drama for her portrayal of Jules in King David, produced for BBC Radio 3. Ruth Jones and Nina Wadia are among the judges. The awards cover audio dramas first broadcast in English in the UK between 1st October 2012 and 31st October 2013 or first uploaded/published for free listening online in the UK during the same period. The ceremony will be held on Sunday 26th January in the Radio Theatre at BBC Broadcasting House in central London, hosted by comedian and writer Lenny Henry and BBC director-general Tony Hall. [BBC Media Centre, 8 Jan 2014]

The thought-provoking drama The Events, starring Neve McIntosh and Rudi Dharmalingham, which was written by David Greig and premièred at the Edinburgh Fringe, was first on The Guardian's list of Best Theatre of 2013. [The Guardian, 31 Dec 2013]

Mark Gatiss and Katy Manning exchanged touching tweets earlier this week following last Sunday's episode of Sherlock - the BBC One series created by Gatiss and Steven Moffat - after Manning spotted a heavy reference to the final scene of The Green Death, with Holmes's downbeat departure from the Watsons' wedding reception echoing that of the Doctor's exit from the engagement party of her companion character Jo Grant and Clifford Jones:




Bath-based actress Francisca Garcia made her local press thanks to roles as an extra in Doctor Who, alongside Commander Strax, and as a bridesmaid in Sherlock. [The Bath Chronicle, 31 Dec 2013]

An accountant from Somerset who admitted swindling £80,000 from the programme budgets of Doctor Who and Casualty has been jailed for two years. Oliver Ager pleaded guilty at Cardiff Crown Court to 17 fraud offences, which were uncovered when he was based at the Roath Lock studios. He was sacked in October 2012 by BBC Finance. The 35-year-old, of Rock Avenue, Nailsea, who was a production accountant for 20 episodes of Doctor Who in 2007 and 2008, has repaid £30,000 from his pension fund. The court made no order relating to the rest of the money. Ager, who was also credited on The Sarah Jane Adventures pilot episode Invasion of the Bane, will serve one year of his prison term before being released on licence. In a statement after sentencing, the BBC said it had reviewed its cash processes and tightened procedures since the offences were committed "to prevent a crime like this from happening again." [Wales Online, 6 Jan 2014]

New Year Honours

A number of luminaries received recognition in the 2014 New Year Honours List. Nicholas Parsons was promoted to a CBE (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) for charitable services, particularly to children's charities (he was made an OBE - Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire - in the 2004 New Year Honours for services to drama and broadcasting), while Lynda Bellingham and Katherine Jenkins were each awarded the OBE for, respectively, voluntary service to charitable giving in the UK and for services to music and for charitable services, and Ruth Jones was made an MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) for services to entertainment. [Official 2014 New Year Honours List, 30 Dec 2013]
With Thanks To Tony Clark, Andy Chisholm, and Silent Hunter