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Wednesday, 30 March 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
The official Doctor Who website has regenerated again... now bearing a teaser splash for episode 2, "The End of the World." Much of the content is the same, but there is an additional piece of infomation: producer Russell T Davies will be in a live chat at 7.45pm next Saturday, right after the episode. A few new sound downloads were added (including "the burp"), along with footage of Davies and Julie Gardner at the press launch.

The BBC Shop has now confirmed the release dates for the two Doctor Who new series DVD sets, the three-episode, no-extras versions due out May 16 and June 13, respectively. The pages are here and here. Of note, they now have DVD #'s attached; the serial for the first is BBCDVD1755 and the second, BBCDVD1756.

Has Christopher Eccleston's successor already been picked? The Mirror thinks so, bounding on the reports that Eccleston is waffling about coming back for a second series, and says that "Casanova heart-throb David Tennant is being lined up to play Doctor Who - just a week after Christopher Eccleston made his debut as the time lord." It notes that Eccleston has not committed to a second series, "and BBC insiders revealed last night that Paisley-born Tennant, 33, who played young Casanova on BBC3, is the man to replace him. Even if Eccleston does decide to stay on for another series, Tennant will have first refusal on the job after he goes. A Beeb source said: 'At the end of this season, you are led to believe that (spoiler, highlight for full details) the Doctor could be dead after he's saved his companion Rose - played by Billie Piper - and the Earth from the Daleks. But it turns out that there's a way for Rose to save him and that's how the second season starts. So she gets back to the TARDIS and is able to get the Doctor brought back to life. If Chris is still in the role, no problems. He's been brilliant and it will be good to have him back. If David is in the role, it will just be explained as the Doctor using up one of his regenerations, which has happened many times before. Lining up replacements isn't bad form - the BBC has a hit on its hands and is just doing what it can to keep it going.'" Tennant, obviously, is quoted as saying he's "flattered" but has not been offered the role. "I've never made any secret that I'm a big fan of Doctor Who and it's the reason I got into acting, but I haven't been asked to play the Doctor. I haven't been approached at all. ... It would be a great role to play, but as far as I know it's not up for grabs." But the Mirror says, that "Tennant WILL play the Doctor at some point - and will be asked to stay for the long haul. Even if Christopher returns for a second season and wants out after that, David will get the role. He is the hot favourite at the moment. He's a fan and incredibly talented as anyone who saw him on Casanova will testify. He'd be great for bringing in lady viewers in the same way that Billie Piper is bringing in the blokes." Obviously, this is almost completely speculative, but worth reporting... Meanwhile, it should be noted that David Tennant already has a connection to Doctor Who, having appeared in no less than seven plays for Big Finish, including "Colditz," "Medicinal Purposes," "Sympathy for the Devil" and the "Dalek Empire" series.

"No, I Don't Fancy A Tree-Some!" proclaims today's Daily Star, which says that "sexual tensions rise in the new Doctor Who series when the Timelord makes his sidekick Rose jealous. And to make matters worse, he starts getting cosy with a woman who looks like a tree! The Doctor... meets the alluring alien Jabe, who is half-woman and half-log. The time traveller is immediately smitten with the strange-looking lass (actress Yasmin Bannerman) and flirts with her, right in front of his assistant Rose ... As a gift of peace, Jabe offers the Doc a plant and says: 'This is a cutting from my grandfather!'" There's a bit more dialogue exchange, but mostly just innuendo before the episode continues.

Katy Manning, best known as Jo Grant from the 1970's era of Doctor Who, "has some advice for Billie Piper, the new young actor who plays Doctor Who's assistant" according to the Australian Associated Press General News. "She (Piper) is as good as anybody else, better than some and she will bring her own magic to it," Manning says. "The key word to this show is truth because you are dealing in totally unreal situations. Truth will get them every time because it should make you laugh, cry, feel afraid. That is what the show is all about." She also notes that she's heard good things about the series: "From what I hear, the show is frigging fantastic. Don't look for the wobbly sets anymore because they're not there. ... Miss Piper could become a millionaire out of this. I am lucky if I can pay for a couple of years in my maturity for a bath chair."

Today's Times has a note about Simon Callow, who will be in the third episode, "The Unquiet Dead." Callow, it says, "is not a fan of the Time Lord: 'I saw the first episode in 1963 with William Hartnell as the Doctor. It wasn't for me so I missed the entire procession of Doctors that followed.'"

As reported previously, Newsround Showbiz on the CBBC Channel ran a special Dr Who edition on March 26. It covered many of he same points made in earlier shows, such as Blue Peter and acted as a bridging tool for children new to the show. It included brief interviews with Chris Eccleston, Billie Piper and Russell T Davies. All were asked were they would like the TARDIS to take them, as in previous interviews, Chris Eccleston said Salford of the 1960Æs, Billie Piper said sheÆd like to see what happens to her in her 30Æs, while Russell T Davies said heÆd like to go two to three hundred years into the future. This is to be followed up with a behind the scenes look at episode two of the show, which as we reported yesterday is due to broadcast on the CBBC Channel April 2nd at 15:50.

The industry magazine Hollywood Reporter ran an article yesterday about the show. "The new treatment is very much Davies's baby. He is an executive producer and has written nine of the new 45-minute shows. With "Queer as Folk" to his credit, Davies was bound to bring a fresh imagination to what could easily have degenerated into a tired rehash. But his "Doctor Who" (Eccleston) should please died-in-the-wool fans and attract new audiences to a children's program that will please adults too. Davies deals delightfully with the background to the good doctor's character in a way that should satisfy cultists and also bring newcomers up to speed." It says that "One of the great appeals of the earlier shows was a sense of amateurishness, not only in the bookish approach of its scientist hero but also in the special effects. Here they've spent some money sprucing up the effects and the Tardis, the doctor's time-travel machine that looks like a police call box on the outside, is spectacular. But Davies keeps the stunts at a manageable level and it's all just cheesy enough to maintain the affection of the show's many fans."

Today's Daily Express runs a list, "Ten things you never knew about. . . doctors" with three Doctor Who references: "In the late 1970s, eight Doctor Who episodes were scripted by Douglas Adams (author of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy), four under the name David Agnew. The first episode of Doctor Who was screened the day after John F Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. Doctor Who's time-travelling Tardis (Time And Relative Dimensions In Space) is powered by energy from an artificial black hole called the Eye of Harmony."

Other reports: a review/report on the ratings in the Evening Times, the Scotsman discusses the battle between Doctor Who and Star Wars for British toy store sales, and the News and Star says that Eccleston's performance as the Doctor is a "triumph" and notes that "Dr Who has much in common with James Bond. It is a huge challenge to be the next in line to play a part which is an institution where you will be compared mercilessly with all those who have gone before."

(Thanks to Paul Engelberg, Steve Tribe, John Leivers, Alan Chadwick, Steven Penfold)

Note: There was a spoiler in the above text that I didn't notice until several people complained; it wasn't intended (it's easy to let these reports pass when you're amalgamating hundreds of emails.) I've now corrected this.

FILTER: - Online - Series 1/27 - Press