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Saturday, 22 April 2006 - Reported by Shaun Lyon

More "Tooth and Claw"

At half-time during the Liverpool - Chelsea game today, the trailer was shown for 'Tooth and Claw' after a brief BBC News summary. Immediately after the trailer, the football coverage presenter, Gary Lineker, assured viewers that the episode would follow 'even if the match goes to penalties', thus reassuring all us nervous Who fans! He even said that 'The Time Lord is a bit of a football fan you know,' and suggested that if viewers had a TARDIS they could have gone back 20 years to see Maradona knocking England out of the 1986 World Cup, linking into a forthcoming BBC documentary on the Argentine player.

Garry Bushell writes in tomorrow morning's The People, "So Dr Who is an Ian Dury fan. Good man. Unfortunately the Blockheads could be writing his scripts. Let's be honest about Russell T Davies: His sci-fi sucks like the Lotus Thirst Pocket elephants. He's great at thinking up/nicking striking images... creepy cat nuns, killer monks, zombies with rice crispy-blitzed faces. And last night's werewolf will have scared the pants off more kids than Jacko. But no amount of flash computer images can disguise the pot-holes in his plots. Russ never bothers to knit a ale together, which is why his Who episodes fail to live up to the hoo-ha. As with last series, the best stories will be written by others. David Tennant, left, is a great casting, though: fun, upbeat, and his relationship with Rose is far less creepy than Chris Eccleston's was."

Says The Guardian, "There's been a bit of griping about the casting of young master David Tennant. True, he's no hefty thesp like Eccleston, and yes, his Ritalin-starved toddler shtick (part David Helfgott, part butch Kenneth Williams) does grate occasionally. But if you liken his Doctor to Patrick Troughton taking over from William Hartnell, you'll sleep better. This week he and Rose travel back to 1879 for an encounter with Queen Victoria (the wonderful Pauline Collins), a band of warrior monks and a very scary werewolf..."

The Evening News of Scotland says of tonight's episode, "Much has been made of the fact that with David Tennant's tenure as Doctor Who now well underway, there is a Scot back at the controls of the Tardis. ... For former Boroughmuir High pupil Ruth Milne, however, the most terrifying aspect of tomorrow's adventure will the fact that more than eight million viewers are expected to tune in to watch the episode in which she makes her TV debut. 'Everyone that I have ever met seems to know that I'm in Doctor Who tomorrow,' laughs the bubbly 18-year-old, as she reacquaints herself with a Tardis of sorts, an Edinburgh Police Box. I play Flora, the youngest maid in a big Victorian house. She gets separated from the rest of the staff and is looked after by Rose and the Doctor. But I'm so nervous about watching it because I've haven't had a chance to see the finished episode yet.' Although set in Scotland, filming took place in Wales - Treowen House in Dingestow doubling as Torchwood Estate, a castle in the Scottish Highlands. At a recent press screening producer Russell T Davies excused this by saying: 'We just didn't have a big enough budget. But there was no need to go to Scotland because we've made Wales look like London, France and Mars. So we could make it look like Scotland too.' However, if the locations are less than authentic, the same cannot be said for the cast, the majority of whom, like Milne, are Scots. Casting sessions were held at the Scotsman Hotel last August and it was at one of these that Milne, then just 17, was discovered, when the then leader of the Lyceum Youth Theatre, of which she was a member, put her up for the role. 'I'd been with the Lyceum Youth Theatre for five years when the BBC contacted them and asked if they had anyone they thought might be good for the part of a Victorian maid - I got a call to tell me about the auditions and I went along.' Two weeks later, she was offered the role of Flora. 'I was absolutely thrilled, because at the time everyone was watching the first series and thought it was really good.' Filming of Tooth and Claw started last October and lasted for two weeks. And on her first day on the set Milne admits she had to pinch herself. 'It was my first ever job, so I was very nervous and really excited, but everyone was very nice and looked after me. On my first day it was quite good because we weren't filming my bigger scenes, just the ones where I was in the background. That eased me into it, but it was really weird to be there - I even had my own little trailer. It was crazy. When someone says you have a part in Doctor Who that's one thing, but when you get there and David Tennant and Billie Piper are standing beside you, it's like: 'How did I get here.' In tomorrow's tale, the time-travellers set out to earn their By Royal Appointment crest by saving crown and country from the threat of an ancient werewolf. This being Doctor Who, the crown is that of Queen Victoria, played by Pauline Collins who returns to the show after a break of almost 40 years. Previously she played Samantha Briggs in a story called The Faceless Ones, alongside the second Doctor, Patrick Troughton. 'Obviously it's much more hi-tech now and I did absolutely adore Patrick Troughton, he was a wonderful Doctor. Our story was about aliens who inhabited human beings, which was quite advanced for its time. However, now, having seen David Tennant in action, I believe he is going to be the best Doctor ever,' she enthuses. 'He seems to combine authority and humour and quirkiness which, in a way, is an amalgam of all the very best Doctors. He's terrific in it and I think he'll be great,' Collins opined recently. Milne agrees, but says everyone on the show was really friendly, especially Queen Margaret University College trained Michelle Duncan, who plays Flora's boss, Lady Isobel. 'Pauline Collins was really lovely and I had a scene with her at the end. But the first actor I met was Michele Duncan. We were staying at the same hotel so I spent quite a lot of time with her and she looked after me,' says Milne. Other Edinburgh actors appearing the story include Jamie Sives, who plays Captain Reynolds, and Tom Smith, who has to morph into the werewolf. 'There were a few Scottish actors in the episode and Tom Smith was really good,' says Milne. 'He is a great actor and even though special effects hadn't been put on, he was still quite scary.'"

The television listings section of 'Saturday' magazine in today's Daily Express featured a preview of 'Tooth and Claw', which it marked as their 'critic's choice' for Saturday, with a picture of Rose and the Doctor above the following write-up by Mike Ward: "We're going to be seeing oodles of guests in this latest series. Here in episode two it's Pauline Collins who pops up, delivering what I'd imagine could well be a fine impression of Queen Victoria (I can't be sure, I never met the woman). The Tardis delivers the Doctor and Rose back to 1879, where it turns out things aren't all they appear to be in the Scottish Highlands. This is partly because the programme is actually filmed in Wales and they're hoping nobody will notice, but mostly it's thanks to the presence of some rather sinister monks, blatantly up to no good. Oh, and there's a sort of werewolf-type thing on the rampage, which doesn't help. The Queen herself comes across as a tiny bit less stern and grumpy that you might expect."

School Reunion

SFX Magazine has a full (and somewhat spoiler-laden) preview of "School Reunion," the next Doctor Who episode to air, next Saturday.

The Manchester Evening News says of next week, "Hi-tech K9 is set to return to the small screen as Dr Who's sidekick next weekend. But the robot dog has already been spotted being walked around parts of Manchester. While it may be more than 24 years since the clever canine last appeared on screen alongside the Time Lord, played by Tom Baker, he was quickly spotted by fans. And while the spin-off K9 and Company was a ratings flop in 1981, BBC bosses believe the pet, who has already had three screen comebacks, will help boost the huge success of the Dr Who revival. Mark's K9, which usually lives in his sitting room, is made from the same mould as the mark three version, which returns next Saturday. Mark, 33, a law costs clerk in Oldham, said: 'Everyone loved K9 when he first appeared on Dr Who. There was something about the way he looked and sounded that appealed to everyone, even people who weren't big fans of the series. He got a great reaction today. One woman couldn't take her eyes off him. People definitely remember him. It's really exciting that he is coming back. He was one of the best things about the vintage Dr Who episodes and I can't wait to see what he gets up to this time. He is part of what made Dr Who great and unique, not a soap opera and not a documentary, just real family fun.'"

Other Items

CBBC News says, "Doctor Who is starting to dominate Your Charts again. Series two has only just started and you've already voted the new Doctor, David Tennant as a new entry in the celeb chart. He replaces singer Kelly Clarkson, but can he take on the mighty Emma Watson for the title of your fave celeb? The top sci-fi TV show also enters your fave thing chart this week as you are bored with books!"

TV Squad reviews "The Long Game" which aired Friday night on the Sci Fi Channel in America; The Sun discusses Big Brother star Michelle Bass' desire to be in Doctor Who;

(Thanks to Paul Engelberg, Steve Tribe, Paul Hayes, Andy Parish, Peter Weaver and 'Shaun Lyon')

FILTER: - Russell T Davies - Series 2/28 - Press