Sunday, 30 March 2014

Kate O'Mara 1939-2014

Actress Kate O'Mara, forever known to Doctor Who fans as The Rani, died today at the age of 74.

O'Mara was one of the best-known actresses of her generation, famous for playing a succession of power-hungry and ruthless women in some of the most iconic television dramas of the 20th century.

Born in 1939, the daughter of actress Hazel Bainbridge and RAF flying instructor John F Carroll, she made her stage debut in 1963 in a performance of The Merchant of Venice. The following year she began her television career which led to guest roles in series such as Danger Man, Adam Adamant Lives!, The Saint, Z-Cars and The Avengers.

In 1975 she was cast as Jane Maxwell in the BBC's Sunday night drama The Brothers, playing alongside Colin Baker. Appearing in 30 episodes, her portrayal of the tough, uncompromising businesswoman would define the roles she would play throughout her career.

In 1982 she joined Triangle, the notorious early-evening soap opera, filmed on a North Sea ferry, playing Katherine Laker. Hollywood called in 1986 when she was cast as Caress Morrell, the younger sister of Joan Collins, in the American series Dynasty. Back in the UK, she starred in Howard's Way, Crossroads and Bad Girls.

Her fame led to guest appearances on such shows as Morecambe and Wise, The Two Ronnies and Absolutely Fabulous.

In 1985 John Nathan-Turner reunited O'Mara with Colin Baker, when he asked her to take on the role of The Rani in the Sixth Doctor story The Mark of the Rani. Her character was so successful she returned in 1987 in the first story of the Seventh Doctor, Time and the Rani, a script which required her to impersonate the Doctor's then companion Mel, played by Bonnie Langford. Her final appearance as The Rani came in 1993, when she appeared in the Children in Need spoof set in the world of EastEnders, Dimensions in Time.

Last year she spoke to Digital Spy about her work on Doctor Who:
If you put a much older woman in Doctor Who, they can identify with it. I think it's quite an interesting concept and if you remember things like Grimm's Fairytales, the older woman is often the villainess, often the terrifying figure - why I do not know, but often she is. I think it's an idea to be exploited.
Stars have taken to Twitter to pay tribute. Colin Baker said: "Oh my goodness. Kate O'Mara is no longer with us. Sad sad news. A delightful, committed and talented lady and actress. We are the poorer", with Bonnie Langford adding: "So sad to hear that the wonderful Kate O'Mara has gone. Treasured memories xxx". Nicola Bryant said: "Such sad news:Kate O'Mara is no longer with us. A charismatic, courageous, & caring soul; a wonderful actor & a friend. May she finally RIP." while Dynasty co-star Joan Collins added: "Tragic news about Kate O'Mara , we had great fun on Dynasty when she played my sister Caress... RIP". Tracey Childs, who worked with O'Mara on Howards' Way, said: "Today the world lost a fine actress & dedicated producer & I lost a friend of 3 decades. Safe journey Kate O'Mara. You were an inspiration X".

O'Mara died in a Sussex nursing home following a short illness. She was married twice, both times to actors, firstly to Jeremy Young and then to Richard Willis, and leaves a sister, actress Belinda Carroll, and a son, Christopher Linde. Her first son, Dickon Young, died in 2012.

The actress last posted a message on Twitter on 17 March, to say:
Thank you so much for your kind tweets. It's both humbling and completely overwhelming to read all of your messages. Much Love x.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Panini launches Essential Doctor Who series with Cybermen special

Publisher Panini has launched a new series of specials called The Essential Doctor Who, with the first title centring on the Cybermen.

It follows last year's 50th-anniversary "bookazines" by the makers of Doctor Who Magazine.

Highlights of the first edition include a new Cyberman, specially illustrated by original designer Alexandra Tynan (formerly called Sandra Reid).

The Essential Doctor Who: Cybermen is a 116-page guide featuring details of every Cyberman episode. There are exclusive new interviews with scriptwriters Neil Gaiman, Gareth Roberts and Marc Platt, choreographer Ailsa Berk, and four of the actors who have portrayed Cybermen.

The publication also includes archive interviews with Kit Pedler and Gerry Davis, who created the Cybermen, as well as features on comics, novels, audio stories and Davis's unmade serial The Genesis of the Cybermen.

Editor Marcus Hearn, who authored the New York Times best-seller Doctor Who: The Vault, said:
Our writers include the estimable Andrew Pixley and our art editor is the brilliant Peri Godbold, so we obviously share our DNA with Doctor Who Magazine. But there are a lot of new voices in there as well, and I hope we've been able to preserve DWM's authoritative tone while creating our own identity.
The special is on sale now at WH Smith and other newsagents.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Derek Martinus 1931-2014

Veteran Doctor Who director Derek Martinus has died at the age of 82.

Derek Martinus was a BBC drama Director, responsible for 26 episodes of Doctor Who.

His first story was the premier of the third season of the series, directing Willam Hartnell in the 1965 story Galaxy Four. He stayed on to look after the single episode story Mission to the Unknown, which is unique in the series for not featuring either The Doctor or any of his companions.

Martinus returned to the series the following year, looking after The Tenth Planet which not only saw the arrival of the first Cybermen, but the departure of the First Doctor, giving Martinus a chance to direct the first ever regeneration scene.

He directed Patrick Troughton in The Evil of the Daleks in 1967, the story which saw the introduction of a new companion in the form of Victoria Waterfield as played by Deborah Watling. Later in the year he got the chance to introduce the public to another iconic monster, this time The Ice Warriors .

Martinus's final story for Doctor Who was in 1970 when he took the series into colour with the first Third Doctor story, directing Jon Pertwee in Spearhead from Space, the only classic Doctor Who episode to be shot entirely on film.

Martinus started his career in the theatre, where he continued to work after meeting his Swedish wife Eivor, to whom he was married for 50 years. They worked together on many productions and she translated many of the stage plays he directed. His theatre credits include Ben Jonson's Volpone, Caryl Churchill's Mad Forest, Harold Pinter's The Homecoming and Stephen Lowe's The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists for different theatres in Sweden.

As a Director his other work included Crown Court, Angles, Z Cars Penmaric and two episodes of Blakes 7. He worked on several children's TV programmes including The Paper Lads and Dodger, Bonzo and the Rest, both of which won the Pye Award for best children's drama. He directed TV shows The Black Tulip, What Maisie Knew, A Legacy and A little Princess.

Martinus studied at Yale Drama School and worked as an actor, before turning his attentions to a career as a director. He had a minor role in the first Carry On film, Carry on Sergeant which starred William Hartnell.

Derek Martinus' family told the BBC he died on Thursday evening having suffered from Alzheimer's for many years. His daughter Charlotta Martinus, who later joined the BBC as a documentary maker, paid tribute to her father
He was a legend, just an absolute legend. He taught me how to love, live and laugh, he was just such an amazing man.

It was an amazing childhood to be living among the Doctor Who paraphernalia. We used to go down and watch Doctor Who being made and see the Daleks, and even get inside the Daleks. Having those famous people walk through your door... Jon Pertwee would come for tea.

Ten years after he left, everyone used to say to me, 'Are you really his daughter?'. He was really inspirational for me and my sister Pia who is a doctor. He was a leader of men and he inspired everyone.
Martinus is survived by his wife, two daughters and three grandchildren.

Celebrating the Godfathers of British Electronic Music

The University of Chichester's Department of Media will be celebrating the BBC Radiophonic Workshop with a day of interviews, lectures, talks and panels, culminating in a rare opportunity to see the Workshop perform live.

Original team members Dick Mills, Paddy Kingsland, Peter Howell and Roger Limb, as well as archivist Mark Ayres, will be extensively interviewed about their lives and work at the event which takes place on Friday 11th April.

The day session will be followed by a visual show in surround sound, featuring new material to be played only at this event. There will also be an after-show party hosted by Brighton electronica night Synthesize Me, and a special performance by rising synth-pop duo the Vile Electrodes.

Tickets costing £65 are available from the official website.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Bournemouth police box opening date announced

The TARDIS-type police box specially made for Bournemouth is to be opened on Tuesday 8th April, Dorset Police has announced.

The steel box is to be installed at the western end of Boscombe precinct in Christchurch Road, with the official opening ceremony taking place at 11.30am in front of local dignitaries plus businessmen and women as well as the community.

Sgt Chris Amey, Boscombe Partnership and Regeneration officer, said:
The steel construction has been completed, the box has been galvanised and is currently being powder-coated at a secret location. When it returns it will undergo its internal fit, which will include security locks, CCTV, telephone and the installation of some exciting bespoke technology.
The opening will be followed by a family fun day between midday and 4pm, to be held at the precinct marquee and led by Creative Kids, with free activities and entertainment organised, including a bouncy castle, face painting, music and games.

It has not been announced who will perform the opening honours.

The design - by James Roberts of Christchurch-based architect and design practice Anders Roberts Cheer - has been based on the iconic 1929 version created for the Metropolitan Police by Gilbert Mackenzie Trench. The box has been built by AMK Industries, also of Christchurch, and been funded by local firms and organisations via donations or services, either free or at a significantly reduced cost. The sponsors are to be recognised with an engraved paving stone at the foot of the police box.

The new box will be regularly staffed during the day by police officers and police community support officers, who will offer help, advice and support to members of the public. A phone will be attached to the police box for people to use to contact the police at other times.

Dorset Police says that as well as serving an important policing purpose it is hoped that the police box will become an iconic landmark, creating tourism opportunities.

Inspector Chris Weeks, who is responsible for the Bournemouth East neighbourhood, said:
The Boscombe police box is just one of a number of projects aimed at reducing crime and anti-social behaviour and will place an obvious policing footprint exactly where it is needed.

Dorset Police is committed to listening to the concerns of the community and we hope the police box will both reassure those living, working and visiting Boscombe, as well as sending out a very clear message that the area is policed.
Sgt Amey added:
I'm extremely grateful to Clare and Cary from Creative Kids who are very kindly organising the family fun day to mark the opening of the police box. The day has specifically been organised during the Easter school holiday to encourage parents to bring their children along to celebrate the opening of this iconic landmark.

I would like to thank the following businesses and organisations supporting the police box without whom this project would not have been possible: Dorset Police; The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset; Bournemouth Borough Council; AMK Industries Limited; Anders Roberts and Associates Ltd; Glossbrook Builders Ltd; DWP Housing Partnership; National Landlords Association - Dorset; Hamilton Fraser Insurance; Hoare Banks Stonemasons; Koh Thai; Nationwide Building Society; Urban Reef Restaurant; Michael Grubb Studio; Backing Boscombe Regeneration Partnership; Royal Arcade Apartments; Graemar Group; Community Development Foundation; Bournemouth Coastal Bid; Southern Security Services Ltd; Sovereign Shopping Centre; South Western Ambulance Service and the O2 Academy Bournemouth.
Two pictures showing work nearing completion were tweeted by Dorset Police two days ago with the hashtag #BoscombePoliceBox, and they can be seen below. Click here and here for the tweets.


UPDATE - 30th MARCH: A picture tweeted by Dorset Police on 28th March shows the police box on the move ahead of its grand opening.


UPDATE - 1st APRIL: And here's a picture tweeted by Dorset Police yesterday, showing the box with what looks to be a fresh coat of paint.


Gatiss commissioned for two new episodes

Actor and script writer Mark Gatiss has confirmed that he has been commissioned to write two new Doctor Who episodes, but has clarified that they will not necessarily both be in the upcoming series.

Gatiss has previously written six episodes for the series (The Unquiet Dead; The Idiot's Lantern; Victory of the Daleks; Night Terrors; The Crimson Horror; Cold War) as well as the acclaimed drama based on the origins of the series, An Adventure In Space And Time.

Gatiss confirmed the news on Twitter after telling reporters in Brazil that he would be writing two episodes for new Doctor Peter Capaldi.

He recently told Digital Spy that Capaldi would have an "exciting and disturbing" debut in the series.
Peter has a very different energy to Matt Smith and to David Tennant. He's older which changes everything ... it's amazing what a change does! Matt was sublime and I was very sorry to see him go, but it's also great to have a change, as it has always been with the Doctor.

Mary Tamm - Second Generation

Fantom Publishing have released the final cover for their forthcoming second part of actress Mary Tamm's autobiography, due out in April.

Mary Tamm - Second Generation (Credit: Fantom Films)Mary Tamm - Second Generation

Bradford-born Mary Tamm was already a successful actress on stage, TV and the big screen when, in 1978, she joined the cast of Doctor Who as the Time Lady, Romana, in the company of Tom Baker’s incarnation of the Doctor.

In 2009, her book First Generation recounted the story of her life before Who and her journey of self-discovery to her parents’ homeland of Estonia. Tantalisingly for Who fans, the book came to an end half way through Mary’s year on board the TARDIS. This new volume (written before her tragic death from cancer in 2012) picks up where First Generation ends, with the inside story of the filming of her final three Doctor Who adventures; and continues with tales of her subsequent TV work, her return to the stage, her ventures into the world of Who fandom, and the personal joy and fulfilment brought to her by the birth of her own ‘second generation’ – her daughter, Lauren.

Packed with incidents and anecdotes recounted with Mary’s trademark no-nonsense Northern wit, Second Generation is rounded out with tributes and reflections from some of her closest friends and colleagues, including Miriam Margolyes, Carol Royle and Steven Berkoff.

The book will be available in paperback and limited edition hardback; full details are available from the Fantom Films website, as are for the her first autobiography, First Generation.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Moments in Time: The Trip of a Lifetime

Moments in TimeAs one of the highest rated shows on television today, and with four (or five!) new Doctors under its belt, it's perhaps hard to imagine a time when Doctor Who was simply one of the thousands of series that had once flourished but ultimately been consigned to the great script book in the sky. But in the mid 2000s this was how the series was regarded by many, and the brave effort by the BBC to bring it back exactly nine years ago was very much a gamble - how would the 'old-school' fans receive it, and what would a 'modern' audience make of a time-traveller in a police box?

Of course, Doctor Who did have an advantage in that it was a show that was still remembered outside of its core fan base, the general public at large were aware of "Dr Who", his iconic TARDIS, and the Daleks. This helped to lend a sense of curiosity at what the new face behind the show, celebrated writer Russell T Davies, would do with the Doctor, who would be played by an established television and film actor in the form of Christopher Eccleston, not to mention the inclusion of the press-attraction of former teenage pop-star turned actress Billie Piper.

Doctor Who teaser, 1st January 2005. Image: BBCA teaser trailer on New Year's Day 2005 formally introduced the return to the general public, but it wasn't until March when the promotional gears were turned up to maximum with a host of trailers ("Do you want to come with me?") and programmes to build up interest in a way not witnessed again until the 50th Anniversary last year.

The three principal names appeared on a variety of news and magazine programmes in the lead-up to the premiere: Christopher Eccleston was a guest on the ever Who-friendly Blue Peter on the 21st March, and then came face-to-face with 'himself' on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross on the 25th; Billie Piper appeared on Parkinson on the 19th; and Russell "TV" Davies appeared on the Breakfast couch on the 11th, on BBC2 Wales's On Show on the 17th, and with Phil and Fern on This Morning on the 23rd. The press preview on the 8th March was covered widely in the media, and led to recorded interviews with the stars popping up on Breakfast and GMTV during that week. Special programmes during the period included: Matthew Sweet looking forward with a little trepidation on how the show's return would fit in culturally on The Culture Show on the 17th; Ian Rankin, Bonnie Greer and Professor John Carey discussing the series' merits on Newsnight Review on the 18th; and BBC Radio 2 presenting Project: Who? on the 22nd. Doctor Who wasn't the only programme on the way - Doctor Who Confidential was also to premiere at the weekend on BBC Three, and executive producer Mark Cossey chatted to Rufus Hound on the channel's Destination Three about what to expect from the behind-the-scenes series.

BBC Wales Today coverage of Doctor Who Preview, 8 Mar 2005. Image: BBCBillie Piper interview on BBC Breakfast, 9 Mar 2005. Image: BBCChristopher Eccleston interview on BBC Breakfast, 9 Mar 2005. Image: BBCDoctor Who coverage on Newsnight, 9th March 2005. Image: BBCRussell T Davies on BBC Breakfast, 11th March 2005. Image: BBCChristopher Eccleston on GMTV, 11th March 2005. Image: BBCMatthew Sweet on The Culture Show, 17th March 2005. Image: BBCRussell T Davies on On Show, 17th March 2005. Image: BBCNewsnight Review, 18th March 2005. Image: BBCBillie Piper on Parkinson, 19th March 2005. Image: BBCChristopher Eccleston on Blue Peter, 21st March 2005. Image: BBCProject: Who?, 22nd March 2005. Image: BBCPhilip Schofield and Fern Britton on This Morning, 23rd March 2005. Image: ITVRussell T Davies on This Morning, 23rd March 2005. Image: ITVChristopher Eccleston on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, 25th Match 2005. Image: BBCMark Cossey on Destination Three, 26th March 2005. Image: BBCThe Trip of a Lifetime Trailer, 26th March 2005. Image: BBCDoctor Who ident, 26th March 2005. Image: BBCThe Trip of a Lifetime Trailer, 26th March 2005. Image: BBCDoctor Who ident, 26th March 2005. Image: BBC

Then, suddenly, it's the 26th March. As the early evening inexorably approaches, appetites are whetted with a special preview (and countdown) in A New Dimension, an excruciating wait through Graham Norton's Strictly Dance Fever ... and then, at 7:00pm, the BBC One "Tap Dogs" ident commences, with the announcement fans have been waiting over fifteen years for:
"Tap Dogs" ident, introducing a new series of Doctor Who! (Credit: BBC)Well now, BBC One hurtles through space and time.
Come with us for the trip of a lifetime!
Aliens, you have been warned ...
Christopher Eccleston is the new ... Doctor Who!


45 minutes later and an unprecedented ten million viewers - and 43.2% of the audience - have watched Rose run to the TARDIS and off into adventures with the Doctor; the final figure rose to 10.81m (44.8%) and achieved seventh place in the TV charts, only beaten by the soap juggernauts Coronation Street and EastEnders. A week later, a further series has been commissioned (not to mention a new Doctor on the cards!), and the longevity of a modern Doctor Who is assured ...

Dalek gifts to be had in Doctor Who Adventures

Three Dalek gifts are being given away with the new edition of Doctor Who Adventures, published today.

Also in issue 342:
  • Vote for your favourite Eleventh Doctor story
  • Ood facts and how to make an Ood mask
  • Sontaran Strax with his guide to the Doctor
  • Facts about a Dalek invasion on television in 1964
  • Win a huge bag of Doctor Who goodies - including sonic screwdrivers and mini-figures
  • Cyberman secrets from Nightmare in Silver
  • A comic strip featuring an unseen adventure with the Eleventh Doctor and Clara – and use the free app Blippar to bring the comic strip to life
  • Posters and puzzles
The new issue of DWA is available until Tuesday 8th April.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Adric returns in Big Finish

Matthew Waterhouse makes his Big Finish debut as Adric this summer in The Fifth Doctor Box Set, reunited with Peter Davison, Janet Fielding and Sarah Sutton for two four-part audio adventures.

Waterhouse first played the role in 1980, joining the series just as the Fourth Doctor was completing his run, staying for 11 stories and 42 episodes.

Producer David Richardson said
I’m very proud of these stories. They are two top-notch scripts, and very different in style, content and tone – yet both of them fit perfectly into Season 19. I think Doctor Who fans are in for a treat…
Psychodrome by Jonathan Morris

Shortly after surviving the perils of Logopolis, Castrovalva and the machinations of the Master, the new Doctor and his new crew could be forgiven for wanting to take a breather from their tour of the galaxy. But when the TARDIS lands in a strange and unsettling environment, the urge to explore is irresistible... and trouble is only a few steps away.

The world they have found themselves in is populated by a wide variety of the strangest people imaginable - a crashed spacecraft here, a monastery there, even a regal court. And not everyone they meet has their best interests at heart.

With the TARDIS stolen, and the very environment itself out to get them, the travellers face a extremely personal threat. They'll have to work as a team if they want to get out alive... but can you really trust someone you barely know?

Guest cast: Rickett (Robert Whitelock), Magpie (Phil Mulryne), Perditia (Camila Power), Javon (Bethan Walker)
Iterations of I by John Dorney

The house on Fleming's Island had been left to rot. Ever since a strange and unexplained death soon after it was built, and plagued with troubling rumours about what lurked there, it remained empty and ignored for decades until the cult moved in. As twenty people filled its many rooms, the eerie building seemed to be getting a new lease of life.

But now it is empty again. The cult found something in its corridors... and then vanished.

Trapped on the island one dark night, the Doctor, Tegan, Nyssa and Adric look into the building's mysteries, its stories of madness and death. Their only chance is to understand what terrible thing has been disturbed here... before it consumes them utterly.

Guest cast: Jerome Khan (Joseph Radcliffe), Robert DeValley (Andrew Macklin), Aoife Dineen (Sinead Keenan), Donal Dineen (Teddy Kempner), Imogen Frazer (Allison McKenzie)
The Fifth Doctor Box Set is out in August.

The five discs include an hour-long documentary with interviews with the cast, in which Waterhouse talks about why he decided to return to Doctor Who.

Monday, 24 March 2014

DWAS: Myth Makers - The Making of Doctor WHo

Myth Makers - The Making of Doctor Who (Credit: DWAS)

The Doctor Who Appreciation Society is to present a special convention in June to celebrate the making of Doctor Who:
Over the last 51 years the Doctor has travelled through time and space on a never ending voyage of discovery. Similarly, the making of the show itself has undertaken its own journey. Today 'Doctor Who' is a colour, HD, CGI, surround sound spectacle - a far cry from its humble beginnings as a studio bound production made for monochrome 405 line televisions.

But how has the production of the programme changed in over half a century... and exactly how have they gone about making such a show over the years?

‘Myth Makers’ will feature guests involved in the ‘The Making of Doctor Who’ on both sides of the camera, and will take place at Riverside Studios, itself a home for Doctor Who during the black and white era of the 1960s.

Join us for our usual mix of panels, autographs and on screen presentations, and find out a little more about how our favourite show gets put together...
The event takes place on the 1st June, full details and ticket booking can be found via their website.

Competition

We have a pair of tickets to the event up for grabs, courtesy of DWAS. In order to be in with a chance to win simply answer the following question:
How many credited producers of Doctor Who have there been over the first fifty years of the show, up to and including The Day of the Doctor?
Send your answer along with your name, address and where you heard about the competition to comp-mythmakers@doctorwhonews.net with the subject line "Mythmakers in Time and Space". Only one entry per postal address will be accepted. The competition is open to readers worldwide, and the closing date is 31st March 2014. If you are a winner and have already purchased tickets for the event, DWAS will refund them (up to two tickets only!).

(with thanks to Paul Winter/DWAS)

Doctor Who Nominated for BAFTA Craft Award

The 50th Anniversary episode of Doctor Who has been nominated for a 2014 BAFTA Craft award.

The Day Of The Doctor has been nominated for Special, Visual and Graphic Effects with the nomination going to Milk VFX, Real SFX and The Model Unit for their work on the story.

Doctor Who has been nominated in the same category for the last seven years, but has lost out on each occasion. This year the full nominees are
    Television Craft | Special, Visual & Graphic Effects in 2014
  • David Attenborough’s Natural History Museum Alive 3D
  • ZooFido
  • Doctor Who: The Day Of The Doctor
  • Milk VFX|Real SFX|The Model Unit
  • Micro Monsters with David Attenborough: Predator
  • Robert HollingworthJonathan Watts
  • Peaky Blinders
  • Blue BoltRushes
Danny Hargreaves of Real SFX said on twitter
Screaming with excitement as I've just found out that my team and I are nominated for a BAFTA for #DoctorWho. A big thank you to the Fans who have always supported us.
The drama set during the making to the first years of Doctor Who, An Adventure in Space and Time is also nominated in three categories, for Costume Design, Make Up and Hair Design and in Editing Fiction.
    Television Craft | Costume Design in 2014
  • An Adventure in Space and Time
  • Suzanne Cave
  • Da Vinci's Demons
  • Annie Symons
  • Downton Abbey
  • Caroline McCall
  • The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: The Murder in Angel Lane
  • Lucinda Wright
    Television Craft | Make Up And Hair Design in 2014
  • An Adventure in Space and Time
  • Vickie Lang
  • Burton and Taylor
  • Lucy Cain
  • Da Vinci's Demons
  • Jacqueline Fowler
  • Death Comes to Pemberley
  • Loz Schiavo
    Television Craft | Editing - Fiction in 2014
  • An Adventure in Space and Time
  • Philip Kloss
  • Broadchurch (Ep 8)
  • Mike Jones
  • The Fall
  • Steve Singleton
  • Top of the Lake (Ep 6)
  • Alexandre De Franceschi


Also earning a nomination this year is Doctor Who at the Proms 2013 which is nominated on the Entertainment Craft Team award.
    Television Craft | Entertainment Craft Team in 2014
  • Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway
  • Production Team
  • Doctor Who at the Proms 2013
  • Bernie Davis, Eryl Ellis, Huw Thomas, Keith Ware
  • Dynamo: Magician Impossible
  • Alex Hartman, Saul Gittens, Dan Evans, Amer Iqba
  • Top Gear
  • James Hart, Dan James, Andy Hodges
The winners will be announced on Sunday 27 April 2014

Sunday, 23 March 2014

The BIG Finish Listener Survey

Big Finish want to know your thoughts on the audio range and are offering a prize of £250 worth of Big Finish digital products to encourage people to take part in the BIG Survey.

There are 50 questions and the survey will take around 10-15 minutes. The answers are confidential. The survey will run until the end of March and one person will be selected at random, from all returns, to receive their choice of £250 worth of Big Finish digital products.

Click the link below to start the survey.

Survey

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Doctor Roundup

Christopher Eccleston has recorded an audio version of a short story by award-winning author Patrick Ness in aid of Read for RNIB Day.

The story, Now That You've Died, takes readers and listeners on an exhilarating journey into the afterlife. It was written by Ness especially for the Royal National Institute of Blind People, the leading UK charity helping blind and partially sighted people.

The story can be heard for free here. In return, listeners are asked to consider making a donation to RNIB to help make reading more accessible to blind and partially sighted people.

The RNIB Day campaign manager, Becca McRow, said:
Now That You've Died is another fine example of Patrick's finesse for storytelling which is both captivating yet challenging to the reader and we're honoured that he wrote it in support of Read for RNIB Day.

Christopher Eccleston brings the story to life superbly and we're delighted that we can now open up this fantastic audio version of the story to members of the public. We ask for a donation in return to help RNIB continue its vital work in making reading more accessible for blind and partially sighted people.


David Tennant is lending his voice to the upcoming Xbox One game Kinect Sports Rivals as the narrator.

The game is produced by British video game developer Rare. A video has been released which includes a behind-the-scenes interview with Tennant as well as footage of the recording sessions.


Tom Baker has said he's thrilled that the classic Doctor Who series is to be screened in the UK on the Horror Channel, as reported here.
Horror is my very favourite genre, so I am thrilled the classic Doctor Who series have been picked up by the Horror Channel. There was clearly a darker edge to my storylines, which I think brought a new dimension to the series. I remember hearing of the series scaring children – I wonder how the audience will react to the series today, all grown up.
The Horror Channel has completed a deal with BBC Worldwide to broadcast 30 stories from the classic series, which ran from 1963 to 1989, featuring the first seven Doctors, starting with William Hartnell and concluding with Sylvester McCoy.
Sylvester McCoy, will be making an appearance at FantasyCon this July. The Con will be held in Salt Lake City, Utah. Tickets are now on sale.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Arthur Darvill opens in Once

Arthur Darvill has taken over the role of Guy in the West End production of Once the Musical.

The actor, who played Rory Williams in Doctor Who, took over the role on Monday when the production celebrated its first birthday in London's Phoenix Theatre. Darvill previously played the role on Broadway and will stay with the London production until 10th May.

Once the Musical is based on the 2006 film of the same name, written by Enda Walsh. It includes many of the songs, including the Academy Award-winning Falling Slowly performed by Darvill in the play. It tells the story of an Irish busker and a Czech girl who meet through a shared love of music. The original production won 8 Tony Awards in 2012 and the London one has been nominated for six Olivier Awards.

Doctor Who News was invited to a special preview on Wednesday afternoon when Darvill and the company performed a number of songs from the musical.


For more information on the production visit the official website or the Once the Musical Facebook page.
Thanks to Dewynters

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Bournemouth police box picture update

Pictures of the TARDIS-style police box bound for Bournemouth have been tweeted by the Dorset force as the construction moves closer to its spring installation.

As previously reported, the TARDIS-style box is being put up to combat crime and anti-social behaviour as well as act as a tourist attraction for the south coast resort, and a picture tweeted at the time showed its basic frame.

Now, though, pictures have been released showing its unmistakeable "TARDIS" look, which comes from the iconic 1929 design created by Gilbert Mackenzie Trench for the Metropolitan Police.

The first image, tweeted on 14th March, shows the steel box ready for galvanising, while the second one, tweeted on 17th March, shows it being moved on a fork-lift truck for the next stage of its build.

Once finished, the police box will be installed at the western end of the precinct in Christchurch Road, Boscombe, where it will be manned throughout the day. It will also have a phone attached to it via which the public will be able to contact the police at other times.

Weighing more than two tonnes, it is three metres high by 1.8 metres wide. It has been paid for by local businesses and organisations and is being built by AMK Industries of Christchurch, Dorset, having been designed by James Roberts at the Christchurch-based architect and design practice of Anders Roberts Cheer.



Tuesday, 18 March 2014

People Roundup

Actor Olaf Pooley has been talking to ABC News on the occasion of his 100th birthday. The centenarian told the station the secret of a long life.

A Facebook fan page for the actor has been set up here.



A two-part, fully illustrated & extensive interview with Doctor Who companion actress Katy Manning has just been released online.

Both parts are available to be heard on her official website, katymanning.com. The interview covers her early career, her friendship with Liza Minnelli, Doctor Who, her TV/theatre work in Australia, and beyond. It's also available as a free download. Katy Manning has also recorded a comedy sketch during this interview, which is an affectionate parody of both classic Who and Big Finish.

Marian Deuchar who was interviewed in Return To Devils End and had a scene in The Daemons where she grabbed a young child and took it indoors, died peacefully in Aldbourne Nursing Home on 24th February 2014 aged 91. Her funeral service was held at St Michael's Church as used in The Daemons.
Siv-Art Productions has announced that Sylvester McCoy is joining the Inspector Chronicles guest cast that already includes Robert Picardo (The Doctor in "Star Trek: Voyager", "Stargate: Atlantis"), Chase Masterson ("Star Trek: Deep Space Nine"), and Mayim Bialik ("Big Bang Theory", "Blossom"). They'll all be joining existing cast members Travis Richey (Inspector Spacetime on "Community"), Eric Loya, and Carrie Keranen.

Instead of a second season of the web series, the team will be producing a feature-length film. "Untitled Web Series" will now become The Inspector Chronicles: Untitled Motion Picture About A Space Traveler Who Can Also Travel Through Time.

The film is currently entering the pre-production phase, and is seeking help from fans and investors. Pledges can be made here.

Thanks to Mark Watterson, Steven Fook Yuan Wong, Matthew Wuethrich

Monday, 17 March 2014

Matt Smith to play for England in Soccer Aid 2014

Matt Smith will be playing football for England when he takes part in this year's Soccer Aid.

And he'll be facing a former nemesis in the shape of Michael Sheen - who provided the voice of the sinister House in The Doctor's Wife - at the charity event at Old Trafford on Sunday 8th June. Doors open at 5pm and kick-off is at 8pm, with the match being broadcast live on ITV.

It is being held in aid of the global children's charity UNICEF, with Smith signed up for Robbie Williams's England team. Meanwhile, Sheen is heading the opposing Rest of the World side. Joining Smith on the England squad will be Bradley Walsh, who appeared in The Sarah Jane Adventures story The Day of the Clown.

Before he became an actor, Smith's dream was to be a professional footballer, and he played for the youth teams at Northampton Town, Nottingham Forest, and Leicester City, but the spinal condition spondylosis wrecked his sporting hopes. However, he retains links to the game through his avid support for Blackburn Rovers, and the 2010 episode The Lodger saw the actor don a number 11 football shirt as the Doctor and lead fictional pub team The King's Arms to victory.

Williams, who is UNICEF's UK ambassador, said:
Soccer Aid returns for the fifth time in June and I admit there are scores to settle.

Leading the England team, I will be making sure we defend that trophy against Rest of the World. There's never been a better time for us to show our support for UNICEF, so please dig deep and buy your tickets now!
And UNICEF UK executive director David Bull said:
Soccer Aid 2014 will raise vital money to help some of the world's most vulnerable children get life-saving food, medicine and clean water.

Every day, children are in serious danger and thousands die needlessly in the struggle against poverty, hunger and disease. It's time for us all to act. Please, buy a ticket to go to Soccer Aid or watch the match on ITV and help us change children's lives.
In the past six years, Soccer Aid has raised more than £12m to help children around the world.

Tickets for the match cost from £20 for adults and from £5 for under-16s and over-65s, with premium seats at £40 (plus booking fees), and can be bought via the Soccer Aid site.

Sheen features briefly in his kit in the promotional video below, while The Lodger guest star James Corden can also be seen cheering:


Other celebrities on the England team are Stephen Moyer, Jamie Theakston, Mark Owen, Jack Whitehall, Damian Lewis, Paddy McGuinness, John Bishop and Olly Murs, while Sheen's celebrity players will include James McAvoy, Nicky Byrne, Adam Richman, Patrick Kielty and Gordon Ramsay. Former professional footballers joining the England side are Teddy Sheringham, Jamie Redknapp, David Seaman, Paul Ince and Jamie Carragher, with Jaap Stam and Edwin van der Sar among those playing for Rest of the World.

UPDATE - 8th JUNE: Sadly, Matt Smith was unable to take part in the game because of an injury. In a statement, he said:

It is with great disappointment that I will have to withdraw from this year's Soccer Aid as a result of injury. I have always wanted to play at Old Trafford, a personal dream, and was hugely excited to have the opportunity to support UNICEF. I do hope I will be invited to join Soccer Aid and UNICEF in the future and play football for such a good cause.

I really am so sorry to disappoint anyone who may have bought tickets to see me play. I can't express my apologies enough. However, I am certain this year's incredible line-up will still entertain and, most importantly, continue to raise money for children all over the world.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

UNIT fannual is in the pipeline

The publishers behind the unofficial Peter Cushing Dr. Who fannual are seeking story pitches for a similar follow-up volume - this time centring on UNIT.

Entitled The U.N.I.T Fannual 1974, the setting will be "the near future" following the end of the Doctor's exile on Earth, with the stories showing how the organisation is coping without his help as scientific adviser.

In the Writer's Guidelines, editors Scott Burditt and Shaqui Le Vesconte say:
The setting is 'the near future' in terms of the original airdate of the early-mid 1970s but no specifics, please. Britain has a space programme (Ambassadors of Death) and is still seen as a prime mover in global politics (The Mind of Evil/Day of the Daleks etc).

The Doctor, after the events of The Three Doctors, has been given back use of the TARDIS, if not total control, so events are parallel with Season 10 - how do U.N.I.T cope in the Doctor's absences? Sometimes Jo is with him, so she is also absent (Carnival of Monsters, Frontier in Space, etc.), on other occasions she is present (such as when the Doctor is testing TARDIS or wants a solo exploration - re: Metebelis 3 in The Green Death).

It is worth noting that U.N.I.T did not only deal with alien threats. In the Doctor's absence the threats can be from any quarter which is 'odd' or 'unexplained'. The Silurians/Sea Devils and Inferno showed 'alien' threats can be from Earth too. They can be environmental (The Green Death) or technological (Inferno), as well as 'paranormal' (The Daemons). Inspiration can also be drawn from the Doomwatch and Quatermass series, or other similar formats like Kolchak, The X-Files, A Town Called Eureka and Warehouse 13.

Innovative looks at 1970s technology/environmental issues/paranormal/military issues would be preferred over straight sequels to televised adventures. Create new characters and threats that U.N.I.T has the remit to deal with! Remember that U.N.I.T, being United Nations, is also an international taskforce - we're not limited by a BBC budget to the home counties of England!
The main characters will be Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, Captain Yates, Sergeant Benton, Jo Grant, Corporal Bell (who appeared in The Mind of Evil and The Claws of Axos), Sgt Osgood (who was in The Daemons), and Dr Harry Sullivan. Other characters associated with UNIT from The Invasion to The Three Doctors can also be used, with the editors stating that Harry Sullivan has been included as the sole exception. As far as the fannual's continuity is concerned, he has been newly seconded as UNIT's medical officer and does not yet know of the absent Doctor's physiology.

It is preferred that the Doctor doesn't appear in the stories, although he can be mentioned as being away, for example. The guidelines say that this book "is essentially U.N.I.T's 15 minutes of fame - so don't overshadow them!"

They further state:
You are writing from the viewpoint of early 1973, and can use the U.N.I.T continuity up to and including Season 10 up to Planet of the Daleks, so you have no knowledge of any stories beyond that point. While we do not mind writers having a knowledge of U.N.I.T stories/chronology beyond this point, please do not make wholesale references or hang whole plot devices on them. In fact, we would prefer you use your knowledge to skirt any continuity-busting issues! This also applies to later related series like Torchwood, The Sarah Jane Adventures and K9.
They add:
Unlike the Cushing fannual, where we allowed a free-for-all in terms of story and scope, we would prefer initial story pitches before committing, so we have a balance and not 12/13 stories of alien invasion only. We would prefer the scope of: aliens/UFOs, space programme, supernatural/paranormal, strange creatures, unusual phenomena, ecological, technological, psychic/spiritual and if you have any unique story ideas beyond these too. There may also be a vague arc, and we want some stories to fit this.
The fannual website also gives a recommended reading/viewing list.

Burditt told Doctor Who News that the announcement of the follow-up publication had gone down very well with fans, adding:
The U.N.I.T Fannual 1974 is in the very early stages of development. I'm aiming for December 2014 for a finish date. Submissions will be kept open until the last minute but it's being suggested that after a pitch is successful the stories/art should be completed within two months.

Anyone can pitch for the art. I'm very much in need of comic strips for the fannual. Quite a few illustrators from the Cushing gig are back on board with us. Once the stories are given the green light, the art will be done straight away.
Story pitches should be sent via fannual@outlook.com. The same address can be used by people interesting in contributing art and comic strips.

UPDATE - 6th APRIL: The publishers announced today that new story pitches must now be submitted by Wednesday 30th April to be considered for inclusion. They stated:
We would like at least a page of A4 detailing your idea and how the story will progress. Please don't send us just a few lines of random ideas and expect approval . . .

Once your story pitch has been approved by this date, you have two months to produce the story. Please aim for at least 4,000 words, but we are totally flexible with anything more than this figure, as long as you aren't writing a novel!

We are open to your ideas for special features too . . .

Doctor Who Lego proposal moves forward

As previously reported, in February Lego announced that it would begin accepting proposals for Doctor Who Lego sets. It took less than two weeks for one proposal to reach 10,000 supporters, which is the threshold for Lego's review team to consider a project. (This is apparently the third-fastest that any Cuusoo proposal has reached the 10,000 supporter mark.) The proposed Doctor Who set will be considered alongside any other projects which reach 10,000 supporters by the early May deadline. Other proposals which have already reached the review stage in the current period include an Apple store, the flying train from Back to the Future Part III, and a Lego bird project. These will be considered alongside the Doctor Who project for potential production as an official Lego set.

This was the official comment from Lego:
Congratulations on 10,000 supporters, GlenBricker and Kaminoan!

2014.03.13

Congratulations, GlenBricker and Kaminoan on reaching 10,000 supporters on LEGO CUUSOO!

You've presented a very nice TARDIS exterior and interior playset, and an assortment of characters from which to choose. We're looking forward to considering this project in the LEGO Review, but for now excuse us while we go make an electroshock device ... just in case this really IS a Nestene plot to take over the world via a toy factory!

We now officially advance this project to the Review phase.

What happens now?
This project moves from the Idea stage to the Review stage. A "LEGO Review Board" composed of designers, product managers, and other key team members will examine the idea. We'll build concept models and determine if the concept meets our high standards for what it takes to be a LEGO product. This includes factors such as playability, safety, and fit with the LEGO brand. Every potential LEGO product goes through a process like this and must meet the same standards.

The LEGO Review Begins in May
This project qualifies for the Second 2014 Review beginning in May and ending in September. For more information about the LEGO review process, see this knowledge base article.

The review is a thorough process and from its start, and can take several months. When finished, we make a "go/no go" decision to develop and sell a product based on the Doctor Who concept.

When the review is complete, we will inform you of our decision. If green-lit, this project goes into the longest phase of the project; the Development phase. During this time, LEGO model designers refine the product and develop it for release, we create the product materials (box, instructions, marketing), and get everything ready for a production run. This also takes several months.

We will post follow-up information and our decision here.
The LEGO CUUSOO Team

Friday, 14 March 2014

Doctor Doodle

A doodle by Sixth Doctor, Colin Baker, is being auctioned for charity as part of National Doodle Day 2014.

The event is to raise money for Epilepsy Action with celebrities donating doodles to be auctioned on ebay.

Other Doctor Who related stars taking part include John Hurt, Bruno Langley; Martin Jarvis; Terry Molloy, Bill Nighy, Felicity Kendal, Honor Blackman, Ian McNeice, Martin Clunes, Maureen Lipman, Roger Lloyd Pack, Nerys Hughes, Imelda Staunton, Sylvia Syms and Sir Derek Jacobi.

The auction is open until Sunday. Bids can be made via the website.

A doodle by Colin Baker was also auctioned in 2005.



Fan Roundup

To celebrate Doctor Who's 50th anniversary, CultBox.co.uk asked fans to re-enact their favourite Doctor Who moment. Hundreds of fans from over 30 countries sent in their videos. Here are some of their favourite entries.


Fanfilm: That Time of Night

The team behind the Spanish fanfilm The Imperfect World is following up with a series of shorts. The first installment, That Time of Night (original title Esas Horas de la Noche) features the Tenth Doctor and Rose Tyler, and can be viewed worldwide on youtube with English subtitles. Director Marta Romero says: "The script will really hook the fans, since the relationship between the Doctor and Rose is such an elemental part of the show."

The team opened a crowdfunding page to help finance the rest of the webseries and the sequel to The Imperfect World.
Whotopia Issue 27 is now available

In this issue; A serious study of all things sonic by Dave Columbus & Jurgen Pfeffer;
Big Finish's Unbound Collection comes under the spotlight with Matthew Kresal;
A tribute to the designer who created the iconic figure of the Daleks;
Bob Furnell takes account of some recent DVD viewing; Managing the merchandise with Paula Hammond;
Michael S. Collins highlights the early pioneers of Doctor Who; The epic journey reaches the end... or does it?
Nick Mellish investigates; Bob Furnell shines the spotlight on William Hartnell's swansong;
Whotopia reviews some of the special 50th Anniversary programming;
Jon Arnold assesses the 50th Anniversary Special; Dave Columbus reviews An Adventure In Time and Space;
The Science of Doctor Who with Thomas Spychalski;
Multi-national reports on The Day of The Doctor cinema showings;
Thomas Spychalski reviews the Blue Peter homages to Time Lords and TARDIS's;
Matthew Kresal reviews BBC Radio 2's special anniversary tribute.

Keeley Hawes cast in Doctor Who

The BBC have announced that actress Keeley Hawes is to join the cast of Doctor Who playing a villain.

Hawes will play Ms Delphox, a powerful out-of-this-world character with a dark secret. Travelling across space and time, the Twelfth Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and his companion, Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman), will come face to face with the mysterious Ms Delphox, when they arrive on a strange and puzzling planet.

The character will appear in the fifth episode of the series, written by Steve Thompson and directed by Douglas Mackinnon, which is currently being filmed in south Wales.

Hawes is best known for roles in The Last September, an adaptation of Elizabeth Bowen's 1929 novel, as well as playing Zoe Reynolds in Spooks, Alex Drake in Ashes to Ashes and Lady Agnes in Upstairs, Downstairs. She is currently playing Detective Inspector Lindsay Denton on the second series of the BBC Two drama Line of Duty. She was the voice of Lara Croft in several Tomb Raider video games.

Commenting on her role, Hawes said:
I am delighted to join Doctor Who and to be working with this incredible team. Ms Delphox is a great character and someone I've had a lot of fun playing.
Lead writer and executive producer Steven Moffat added:
Anyone watching Jed Mercurio's amazing Line of Duty will know that Keeley Hawes is having one hell of a year. And now it's about to get even better as she achieves the greatest villainy yet attempted on Doctor Who: she plays a banker.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Classic Doctor Who on Horror Channel

The Horror Channel in the UK is to broadcast 30 adventures from the classic series of Doctor Who, starting this Easter.

The channel has completed a deal with BBC Worldwide to broadcast adventures featuring the first seven Doctors, starting with William Hartnell and concluding with Sylvester McCoy. This specially curated season give fans old and new a chance to get re-acquainted with favourite companions Jamie McCrimmon, Jo Grant and Sarah Jane Smith, rogue Time Lords such as The Master, Omega and The Rani and all those iconic monsters including Daleks, Cybermen, Sea Devils and Ice Warriors.

Launching on Friday 18th April (Good Friday) the season begins with the very first story An Unearthly Child, starring William Hartnell as the Doctor. It then leads into a special Who On Horror weekend - a classic marathon featuring one story from each of the Doctors across the Easter weekend. There will then be weekday double-bills in daytime and evening slots with stories shown in chronological order starting on Easter Monday 21st April. Horror Channel is screening some of the most memorable adventures that the show produced including The Mind Robber, The Daemons, Genesis Of The Daleks, The Talons Of Weng Chiang, The Caves Of Androzani, Attack Of The Cybermen and The Curse Of Fenric.

Alina Florea, Director of Programming, said today:
Doctor Who is an iconic series and we are proud and excited to welcome this giant of British television to our channel. The line-up will include some of the most revered from seven classic Doctors – stories that terrified, thrilled and captured the imagination of children and adults through the decades. Doctor Who joins a long line of well-loved classic series we have endeavoured to showcase on Horror Channel over the last few years.
Sam Tewugwa, Commercial Director, TV and VOD Sales at BBC Worldwide commented:
This is a great new way for fans to enjoy classic Doctor Who stories. Our discovery of missing episodes of Doctor Who last year highlighted the fans’ appetite for classic episodes to be made more widely available and we’re delighted to be able to extend that through the series available on the channel
Other cult television series available on the channel are Wonder Woman, Xena: Warrior Princess, New Twilight Zone, Star Trek and The Invaders.

The Horror Channel is available on Sky 319 and 198, Virgin 149 and Freesat 138.

Actor Olaf Pooley celebrates his 100th birthday

The actor Olaf Pooley is 100 years old today - making him the second person to have appeared in Doctor Who to become a centenarian.

Born in the Parkstone area of Poole in Dorset to an English father and Danish mother, he studied architecture at the Architectural Association in London and painting at the Chelsea School of Art - and is still an exhibiting painter.

His first full-time job was with Pinewood Film Studios' design department, and he then became a member of the BBC Radio Drama Repertory Company, with his prolific acting career also seeing him appearing in the West End, on film and on TV. He is one of just a handful of actors to have appeared in both the Doctor Who and Star Trek franchises.

Pooley had two roles in Doctor Who, both of them in the 1970 story Inferno, portraying Professor Stahlman and his parallel-Earth counterpart Director Stahlman in the seven-parter.

During his career, he wrote and appeared in the film The Corpse - entitled Crucible of Horror in the USA - which starred Michael Gough, and wrote, directed and appeared in The Johnstown Monster. He also wrote the screenplay for a film version of Bernard Taylor's The Godsend, which was directed by his future second wife Gabrielle Beaumont. Pooley's other writing credits include the 1982 TV film Falcon's Gold, while he was an uncredited writer on the 1985 sci-fi horror movie Lifeforce.

His TV guest appearances since the 1950s included roles in Dixon of Dock Green, Paul Temple, Jason King and MacGyver, as well as playing Lars Torvik in the first episode of The Sandbaggers.

In 1958, Pooley took part in the BBC radio play Ambrose In Paris, and he played Sebastian in a 1956 film production of The Tempest. Pooley had a major career in West End theatre, appearing in notable productions such as Noël Coward's Peace In Our Time as well as The Tempest and Othello, and he counted Sir Alec Guinness among his close friends.

He emigrated to the United States in 1986, where he continued his acting, also becoming a respected artist both there and abroad. In an interview, he said: "It is a privilege to be an artist and I am fortunate in this respect."

An avid reader, he keeps fit by taking a daily walk and doing calisthenics and makes sure that he eats healthily.

Examples of Pooley's artwork can be seen on the InHarmony Yoga website, and he will be displaying his paintings at an "open house" event at the Santa Monica Art Studios at 3026 Airport Avenue, Santa Monica, on Saturday 15th March between midday and 6pm.
With Thanks To Jackie Kaminski, Santa Monica Observer, Tony Clark

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Planet 55 may leave Australia

The Australian animation company behind the re-creation of Doctor Who stories has told the Australian parliament it may need to relocate to the UK due to difficulties accessing broadband in the country.

Planet 55 Studios, which has animated some of the recent Doctor Who missing stories including The Reign of Terror and The Tenth Planet, told the Senate Select Committee for the National Broadband Network that the lack of bandwidth to the company's headquarters on the Central Coast of New South Wales was seriously frustrating the work of the company.

The organisation needs to move about 30 gigabytes of data per day. Austen Atkinson, the studio's head, told the committee the company had installed fibre to its premises and was paying AU$1,600 per month for a 50Mbps down, 50Mbps up link.
We could do with eight times that but we simply cannot get it. So we installed a line at AU$1,600 a month. We would love to install multiple ones but we cannot because there is not enough bandwidth. I will use any technology that works to get this out. At the moment it is called 'post'. That is what we are having to do. It slows down our productivity massively and costs us serious money. It would add about AU$1 million to transfer, which we could easily have spent on talent here. We could have trained more talent and spent it on animators, which I would much rather have done.
Mr Atkinson said the company was taking on more work for the BBC and so it was considering relocating to Cardiff in the United Kingdom.
The fact is that it is very attractive to look at in the UK at the moment, because the economy is booming again now; it is growing in my sector tremendously. As a result of Doctor Who's success and so forth, there is a huge culture in Cardiff.
Posted By Vitas Varnas
Source: ZD Net

Doctor Who Adventures 341

Doctor Who Adventures 341BBC Doctor Who Adventures magazine is offering readers the chance to win a trip to the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff this Easter.

The winner gets a family ticket for 4 people (based on 2 adults and 2 children) to the Experience, plus tickets to the Doctor Who Walking Tour, where they’ll get to see loads of different Doctor Who filming locations. The winner also receives £200 of travel expenses and an overnight stay in a hotel in Cardiff.

In the latest issue you’ll also find:
  • News about a new character, as well as fantastic facts about the Sontarans.
  • How to win new Doctor Who figures, including the new Doctor and a Zygon, plus Lego Movie and Pokemon goodies.
  • An interview with the talented John Ross, who draws the comic strip in Doctor Who Adventures.
  • A quiz to decide what type of Dalek you are.
  • An exciting comic strip featuring an unseen adventure with the Eleventh Doctor and Clara – use the free app Blippar to bring the comic strip to life!
All this, plus posters, puzzles and loads of time travel fun.

Issue 341, on sale 12-25 March, priced £2.99. The issue comes with an exclusive mystery free gift.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

The Real History of Science Fiction

A new documentary series from BBC Two and BBC America will delve into the real history of science fiction with filmmakers, writers, actors and graphic artists looking back on their experiences and on how their obsession and imagination has taken them into the unknown.

The Real History of Science Fiction will cover programmes from Star Wars to 2001: A Space Odyssey, and from Jurassic Park to Doctor Who. Each program is packed with contributors behind these creations and traces the developments of Robots, Space, Invasion and Time. Narrated by Mark Gatiss, Doctor Who writer, actor and co-creator of the BBC’s Sherlock, the series determines why science fiction is not merely a genre... for its audience it’s a portal to a multi-verse – one that is all too easy to get lost in.

Among those taking part are: William Shatner (Star Trek), Nathan Fillion (Firefly), Zoe Saldana (Avatar, Star Trek), Steven Moffat (Doctor Who), Richard Dreyfuss (Close Encounters of the Third Kind), Chris Carter (The X-Files), Ronald D Moore (Battlestar Galactica), John Landis (An American Werewolf in London, Schlock), David Tennant (Doctor Who), Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future), Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner), John Carpenter (Dark Star, The Thing), Karen Gillan (Doctor Who), Neil Gaiman (The Sandman, Stardust), Kim Stanley Robinson (Mars Trilogy), Scott Bakula (Quantum Leap, Star Trek: Enterprise), Ursula K Le Guin (The Left Hand of Darkness), Syd Mead (Blade Runner), Kenny Baker (Star Wars), Anthony Daniels (Star Wars), Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek), Peter Weller (Robocop), Edward James Olmos (Blade Runner, Battlestar Galactica) and many more.

The four part series debuts in America on Saturday April 19 at 10pm ET. BBC Two has yet to confirm a transmission date.
EPISODE 1 – ROBOTS
What if our creations turn against us? The idea of creating life has fascinated society since the earliest days of science fiction. The first installment of the four-part series, Robots transports viewers from the first steps of Frankenstein’s monster to the threat provided by the Terminator and the world of Cyberspace. Find out how Rutger Hauer created one of the greatest speeches in all of science fiction for Blade Runner. Discover from Kenny Baker the challenge of acting in Star Wars while inside the body of R2D2, and learn how Anthony Daniels was drawn to the role of C-3PO by concept art modeled closely on the robot from the silent classic Metropolis. Douglas Trumbull (2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner) discusses how he managed to create a whole new approach to robot design. The creators of the original Robocop describe how its hidden depths have given it enduring appeal and William Gibson reveals the origins of his seminal novel Neuromancer. From HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey to the Cylons of the reimagined Battlestar Galactica and the world of The Matrix, this is a journey that asks – what does it mean to be human?
EPISODE 2 – SPACE
What if we could explore the vastness of Space? Science fiction has always fed upon our need to explore – to wonder what is out there. Space journeys from Jules Verne’s earliest ideas about attempts to leave our planet, to the Star Wars far away galaxy through to Nichelle Nichols revealing how her groundbreaking role as Lt. Uhura in Star Trek led to her participation in the recruitment of NASA’s astronauts. It explores the deep sea inspiration for Avatar, finds out why Ursula K Le Guin wrote The Left Hand of Darkness and discovers how Stanley Kubrick was able to make 2001: A Space Odyssey seem so believable. In addition, the program looks at the way Dune and The Mars Trilogy embraced the challenge of world building and discusses the appeal of the beaten up ‘dirty space’ of Dark Star and Firefly. From the horrifying scenes of Alien, to the epic spectacle of Star Wars, this is a journey to the stars and the alien encounters that await us there.
EPISODE 3 – INVASION
What if aliens landed on Earth? Much of science fiction explores the moment of first contact – what will people do when the aliens land? From H. G. Wells’ pioneering The War of the Worlds to Independence Day, Men in Black and District 9, Invasion deals with our fears of alien invasions of earth. David Tennant explains the appeal of Doctor Who’s Daleks and Cybermen while John Carpenter and Chris Carter explore the rich appeal of the paranoia fuelled by hidden aliens with The Thing and The X-Files. It also asks, what if the monsters were our own creation? With the aid of rarely seen animation tests, Phil Tippett takes us behind the scenes in the creation of the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park. But not all invasions are hostile. Peter Coyote and Richard Dreyfuss discuss the creation of Spielberg’s spellbinding classics E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. There is more than one kind of invasion.
EPISODE 4 – TIME
What if we could travel not just through space, but through time itself? If you could travel through time, would you change the past or the future? What if you found it couldn’t be changed? What price does the time traveller – and the people they are closest to – pay? This is a journey from H. G. Wells The Time Machine through ideas like The Grandfather Paradox and The Butterfly Effect to the professional time traveller that is the ever popular Doctor Who. Steven Moffat, David Tennant, Karen Gillan and Neil Gaiman offer a unique perspective on the Doctor. Edward James Olmos reveals the hidden meaning of the language he created for the vision of the future that is Blade Runner. Bob Gale and Christopher Lloyd take us behind the scenes of Back to the Future, while Ed Solomon describes the joy of solving a time travel conundrum for Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. But what would be the physical and emotional cost to the time traveller? Audrey Niffenegger explains what inspired her novel The Time Traveller’s Wife. And what if someone from the future tried to travel back in time to warn us? Would we believe them? From the apocalyptic tones of 12 Monkeys to the drama of Quantum Leap and the comedy of Groundhog Day, time travel is a subject that has been irresistible to the creators of every type of science fiction.