A roundup of recent news relating to Doctor Who cast and crew:
- Matt Smith has begun filming for a new drama for Netflix, The Crown, due to be broadcast in 2016. The ten-part series, based on the play The Audience, will follow the relationship between Queen Elizabeth (Claire Foy) and the prime ministers who have served during her monarchy, with Smith portraying her husband, Prince Philip. [Northampton Herald and Post, 11 Aug]
- David Tennant will be portraying the character of 'baddy' Zebediah Killgrave in the television adaptation of the Marvel comic Jessica Jones. Jeff Loeb, Marvel's Head of Television, said: "In the same kind of way Vincent D’Onofrio owned his half of Daredevil, you’ll see David Tennant own his half of Jessica Jones… What you get out of Jessica is a sort of hold-your-breath tension as to what’s going to happen. When you see the dynamic between Krysten Ritter and David Tennant… that question of ‘What’s going to happen next?’ and ‘What could happen next?’ and how that’s driven by character is something that is so important to not just the scripts but also the way the show is shot, and the way that everyone reacts, and the way those two react with each other." [Science Fiction, 14 Aug]
- Christopher Eccleston led this year's tribute in Manchester to mark the anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre, where 15 protesters were killed when troops charged a political meeting there in 1819. The actor read from a speech delivered by Henry ‘Orator’ Hunt from the day. [Manchester Evening News, 16 Aug]
Photo: Manchester Evening News
- Colin Baker will be on hand to officially unveil a display of copies of the Doctor Who scripts by the show's first writer Anthony Coburn at Spoon Web (The DVD Shop) in Whitstable, Kent on Sunday 23rd August. The event also coincides with a Kickstarter campaign aimed to provide funding for the ongoing maintenance, improvement and promotion of the police box replica for Herne Bay TARDIS for Children in Need. [Facebook]
- Tom Baker may be about to take on a role in the Star Wars franchise. A guest at the recent Day of the Doctors convention, he is reported as saying: "I'm going to be in this new Star Wars thing, you know? I'm going down to record some voices for this new character they've created for me, very soon" [various, including Sci-Fi Fantasy Network, Inquistr, 15 Aug]
- Frazer Hines has been appearing in Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None, which this week reaches the Leeds Grand Theatre. Talking about portraying his character, Rogers, he said: "I suppose it’s my experience of being in the show business for over forty years that many could assume that Rogers, being just a butler, could be played just as a butler. But I worked out that he was in the First World War, in the army, so he has this straight-backed walk and respects the general in the play and respects the copper. So I’ve brought those little nuances into the character."
He also mentioned that the most common question he gets asked is what was it like to work with second Doctor Patrick Troughton: "A lovely man. Some of the happiest years of my show business career were working with Patrick Troughton in Doctor Who. But they all ask me that and I wish I had a pound for every time I’m asked that question. He was a lovely, lovely man and we had great fun working together. If I had an idea he wouldn’t say, “I’m the Doctor, you just shut up and be the assistant.” He’d turn and say, “Frazer, what a marvellous idea. Let’s do it.” I’d worked with him before in 1964, before Doctor Who had started and I was the star of that show, Smuggler’s Bay, and he was playing the part of an old smuggler. But a year or so later he was the star of Doctor Who and I was just joining in as Jamie for four episodes so the role was reversed. It was great, we just gelled straight away." [(Entertainment Focus, 14 Aug]
- Speaking of And Then There Were None, a new BBC One production of the play has been announced, whose cast will feature Burn Gorman as William Blore and Anna Maxwell Martin as Ethel Rogers. [BBC Media Centre, 10 Jul]
- Jenna Coleman has revealed one of the tricks of the trade employed during filming scenes with her co-star Peter Capaldi: I have to stand on an apple box when we’re filming - it’s called ‘Jenna’s Box’ and it gets brought out when I need to fit into a particular shot." [Express, 15 Aug]
- Sir John Hurt can be heard as the lead role in Jeffrey Bernard Is Unwell, broadcast this weekend on BBC Radio 4; the play is described as "A dying Soho, seen through the eyes of the notorious columnist of The Spectator - plain-speaking drinker, gambler, wit and raconteur." It also features Nichola McAuliffe and Jeff Rawle. [BBC Radio 4, 15 Aug]
Speaking of his recent diagnosis of having pancreatic cancer, the actor observed: I can’t say I worry about mortality, but it’s impossible to get to my age and not have a little contemplation of it. We’re all just passing time, and occupy our chair very briefly. But my treatment is going terrifically well, so I’m optimistic." [Radio Times, 15 Aug]
- Talking about his role in new film Pleasure Island, Samuel Anderson said: "I've played a lot of love interests - those kind of romantic roles, 'sweet boy' kind of thing - so it was brilliant to come in and just play an idiot. From when I read the script, I was hooked. Just the way Mike (Doxford, writer/director) had laid his characters out. You could feel it - each character was grounded and had a bit of weight to them. It was like, 'If I don't get the part, I can't wait to see the film'." [Digital Spy, 15 Aug]
- On a possible return to Doctor Who, Anderson commented: "Maybe in an alternate universe? I wouldn't mind approaching him in a different way. Or maybe just come back as Orson Pink because then it changes the dynamic between him and the Doctor. If it's Orson Pink I think the relationship would be totally different because instead of a soldier – which is the kind of person the Doctor can't bear – you've got another scientist who could be quite interesting with their relationship. And then instead of it being a love interest with Clara and Danny, it would be a family affair with grandmother and grandson but at the same age." [Radio Times, 13 Aug]
- Amidst speculation that he may be a future successor to Steven Moffat as the lead writer on Doctor Who, Toby Whithouse responded: "No-one at the BBC has ever had this conversation with me! No-one has asked me, no-one has approached me about if Steven leaves, when Steven leaves. These are conversations that happen purely among fans, not on any official level."
On writing for the show in general: "There’s a reason I go back to Doctor Who every year, and that’s because I absolutely love working on it! There is something so magical, so ludicrous about that show! ... The appeal never fades: I’m 45 now, and writing: ‘Interior: TARDIS’ at the top of a scene is still really, really exciting. You also get to tell these extraordinary stories that you couldn’t write for any other show." [The London Economic, 11th Aug]
- Many media publications focussed on the casting of Bethany Black as being the first transgender actress to appear in the show. The comedian herself reflected on filming for the new series: "It is genuinely the greatest job I could ever have imagined getting. Everything about it is magical. I'm enjoying every day of filming and cherishing it, because you never know if you'll ever get to do anything like this again. I only hope that I do the role and the show justice, and that you all enjoy it. For me it's the gig of a lifetime." [Facebook]
- A new series of Who Do You Think You Are? has started on BBC One, which this year will also include the exploration of the family history for Sir Derek Jacobi, Anne Reid and writer Mark Gatiss.
- Arthur Darvill will be playing Rip Hunter in DC's Legends Of Tomorrow, with the character described as "a time-traveler tasked with assembling a group of villains and heroes together after he sees a future that could destroy everything. This unlikely squad must now stop these devastating future events from happening, but it won’t be easy." [Hollywire, 12 Aug]
- Darvill can also be seen in the forthcoming fictional account of Lenny Henry's early life, Danny And The Human Zoo, which also features Richard Wilson and Mark Benton.
- Colin Morgan will star in a new drama for BBC One, The Living And The Dead. [BBC Media Centre, 10th Aug]
- A number of names previously associated with Doctor Who have been making appearances at Roath Lock Studios of late and getting their photos taken alongside the TARDIS's current 'owner' Peter Capaldi, including Waris Hussein, Georgia Moffett, David Tennant and Russell T Davies.