As we approach the 60th Anniversary of Doctor Who, revisit the story of Doctor Who, the occasional series written for the 50th Anniversary, explaining the origins of the programme.

Episode 4 - An Unearthly Series - The Origins of a TV Legend: First published 25 Jul 2012

People RoundupBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 31 August 2011 - Reported by Chuck Foster
David Tennant has beaten Matt Smith in a recent poll by the SyFy Channel to find the sexiest sci-fi hunk. The tenth Doctor came in at second place (16.9%), beating spin-off show Torchwood lead John Barrowman who came in third (14.2%), with Smith in tenth place (8.7%). X-Men star Hugh Jackman topped the poll (20.3%). In the sci-fi babes poll Karen Gillan beat predecessor Billie Piper, taking fourth (10.6%) and fifth (7.7%) places respectively; the top spot was taken by Buffy The Vampire Slayer actress Sarah Michelle Gellar (12.7%).

Matt Smith talks about playing the role of the Doctor: "I can never relax because I'm always pushing myself to the highest level but it's nice to enjoy the fact people have accepted me as the Doctor and enjoy the things I do. I think he's grown. I hope people see growth.
I think he should always be evolving. I don't think good actors get typecast. In 10 years' time I'll be playing very different parts than I am playing now. So there is plenty of time for me to evolve as an actor."
Also: "It's so funny, I read other scripts and I just go, 'Not as good as Doctor Who!' For me, it's a privilege to play this man. These parts don't come along that often. There was never any hesitation on my part to stay for another year. Why would I quit? I've got Steven Moffat writing scripts, but not only that - Toby Whithouse, Richard Curtis... all these great writers. And then of course, the part. I just love playing the Doctor. I've grown terribly fond of him. It's something I really enjoy." [Daily Record, 27 Aug 2011; Press Association, 28 Aug 2011]

David Tennant talks about the various roles he's taken recently in film, television and theatre: "I'm quite greedy for the variety, I think. I love the fact that I'm doing Shakespeare in the West End at the moment and then talking about vampires at the day. That's sort of what I'd always hoped I'd manage to do, to mix things up like that, to have a wide variety of work. I think it just helps you to keep being hopefully creative and it keeps challenging you. It's ideal really, if I can do a film and then a play and then a bit of telly and then a radio play and then an audio book, I love the fact that I'm in a job where I get to do all those different types of things." [Huffington Post, 18 Aug 2011]

Both David Tennant and Billie Piper are to appear in a new BBC1 drama, Love Life, a series of plays that will be based on improvisation by writer/director Dominic Savage. BBC Controller of Drama Commissioning, Ben Stephenson said: "This is a complete first in TV drama on BBC One: a serial made through improvisation. It features some of our very best acting talent working in a way we've never seen on screen from them before, using improvisation to push the boundaries of each story, to get right to the heart of the truth." The two actors will feature in different episodes of the drama. [BBC Press, 26 Aug 2011]

Billie Piper is also to play the lead in a new BBC3 show written be Lee Hupfield, Tom and Jenny, described as "a high-octane comedy pilot about a feuding couple who, despite splitting up, refuse to leave the house they've bought together". [BBC Press, 26 Aug 2011]

Karen Gillan is supporting her hometown radio station, Monster FM, which will be returning to the Inverness airwaves for a limited period during September. Gillan and Inverness Caley Thistle manager Terry Butcher will be presenting special programmes of their own favourite music on the station, which will be operated by trainee DJs from the European Social Fund-backed Radioskills project at The Moray Firth Media Trust. [Highland News, 30 Aug 2011]

John Barrowman commented on how his life style has changed over the years: "I can’t handle clubs and wild nights out like I did in my 20s. I’m lively when I perform and I always put everything into a show but when I get home I love lying down in front of the TV and relaxing. I’m not quite the party animal people imagine. I’m certainly not a big fan of nightclubs. But that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy a vodka and tonic after a tough day." [Wales on Sunday, 21 Aug 2011]

Sophie Aldred appears in the new comedy-drama film Thriller Theater! from the independent Untitled Creative Group based in Chicago, Illinois, USA. The film is directed by Michael S. Olson, who for the past 11 years has been the technical director for the annual Chicago TARDIS convention. Aldred portrays television station manager Lynn Whitlam, who's not easily convinced to give up two hours of late night infomercial programming to take a chance on a new horror host show called 'Thriller Theater'. "The script was written with the Lynn Whitlam character never being seen - we only ever see the back of her head, or her hands; we only hear her voice. But when the opportunity arose to involve Sophie in the project, we jumped at it - who wouldn't - and we had the perfect role for her, all ready to go," says Olson. "We filmed her scenes in Madison, Wisconsin, during her appearance at the MadCon convention in September 2010. And of course, she was superb." Thriller Theater! (the movie) receives its premiere screening on 8 September 2011 at the Portage Theater in Chicago (funds for the screening are being raised via public contributions to The movie is also being submitted to various film festivals throughout the country. For more information on the film, visit [with thanks to Steven W. Hill]

Bernard Cribbins helped launch a new Wheelyboat that enables disabled visitors to access the waters of Farmoor Reservoir in Oxfordshire for fishing. A patron of the Wheelyboat Trust, he said: "It is of huge importance to give disabled anglers the same opportunities as able-bodied anglers." [BBC News, 19 Aug 2011]

Matt Smith was nearly cast in series The Inbetweeners, according to its creators Iain Morris and Damon Beasley: Matt Smith, the best Doctor Who of all time, was up for the role of Will. He was really, really brilliant and so funny, just a brilliant actor. And clever. He had all the comic timing you wanted, all the dramatic sense you might need. We spent a long time in development; I think if we had to make a decision very quickly and we were going off to shoot, we would definitely have gone with Matt at that point. But it just became a very long, drawn-out thing, and he had other projects on the go. Quite big projects, as it turned out, but we loved him." [Heatworld, 24 Aug 2011]

FILTER: - People - Bernard Cribbins - Karen Gillan - Matt Smith - Billie Piper - David Tennant -

Doctor Who stars lend a hand to charityBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 23 February 2011 - Reported by Harry Ward
Stars from Doctor Who have designed candle holders to be auctioned for the ILLUMINATE Campaign, an offshoot of The Cure Parkinson's Trust. The auction on eBay began yesterday and will finish at 7.00 pm on Friday 4th March 2011.

Peter Davison (the fifth Doctor and Bernard Cribbins (Wilfred Mott) have both designed an image to be used on a candle holder. Also in the auction are hand signed photos by Davison and Katherine Jenkins (Abigail Pettigrew, A Christmas Carol).

Other celebrities who have appeared in Doctor Who and have designed a candle holder for the auction are Harry Lloyd (Jeremy Baines / Son of Mine, Human Nature / The Family of Blood), Roy Hudd (Max Miller, Pier Pressure, Big Finish Audio), Louise Minchin (Newsreader, Torchwood: Children of Earth), Julia Sawalha (Emma, The Curse of Fatal Death, Red Nose Day parody episode), who has signed a photo, and Ricky Gervais, who appeared as a slug-like monster alongside David Tennant as the tenth Doctor in a scene in Extras - The Special.

Britain’s favourite celebrities have personally designed these 34 candle holders, which will be auctioned on eBay for 10 days starting 7pm on 22nd FEBRUARY 2011. Only one candle holder of each design has been made … making each of them truly unique.

These top quality, bone china candle holders, are made in Stoke on Trent and filled with 100 hour white wax. They are approximately 75mm in diameter and 92mm tall and come in a specially made presentation box. The design has been kiln-fired onto the candle holder, during the manufacturing process, to make it permanent. Remember - the items for auction here are truly unique - only one of each design exists.

Additionally we are auctioning 10 hand signed photographs sent to us by celebrities in response to our appeal for support. Included with every item is a Certificate of Authenticity signed by The Cure Parkinson’s Trust’s Managing Director.

If you decide not to bid for a candle holder, perhaps you might donate to The Cure Parkinson’s Trust instead? By donating to the Cure Parkinson’s Trust you are investing in the hope of a future without Parkinson’s.

FILTER: - Bernard Cribbins - Charities - Auctions - Peter Davison

Mammoth news round-upBookmark and Share

Friday, 18 December 2009 - Reported by Josiah Rowe
The flurry of Doctor Who news stories in the run-up to The End of Time has begun. But first, North American viewers will be able to enjoy The Waters of Mars tomorrow on BBC America and Canada's Space channel. In North American media, Canadian entertainment website has an interview with Russell T Davies, and The Philadelphia Daily News, The Vancouver Sun and McClatchy News all have interviews with David Tennant.

Tennant is busy in the US filming the pilot for Rex Is Not Your Lawyer, and the Los Angeles Times reports that NBC may pick the series up as early as this spring. For those of you who can't get enough pictures of David Tennant wearing puffy winter coats, there are plenty from Rex filming here. In other Tennant news, the Sunday Mercury has an article titled "7 Things You Didn't Know About Dr Who David Tennant" (though readers of this page probably know most of them). What's On TV has a lengthy interview with Tennant about The End of Time, and BBC Newsbeat interviews Tennant about his forthcoming role in "St. Trinian's 2: The Legend of Fritton's Gold". Down Under, The Age and The Daily Telegraph (both of Australia) have stories on Tennant's TARDIS exit.

SFX continues its month-long Doctor Who celebration, with more excerpts from their interview with Russell T Davies here (talking about classic Doctor Who and multi-Doctor stories), here (talking about American television) and here (talking about "the scene that gets everyone" in The End of Time). Also on SFX's blog, Phil Ford talks about writing for The Sarah Jane Adventures, Alexandra Moen (Lucy Saxon) answers questions from fans, and the blog's staff compile a list of all the times British tabloids have gotten a Doctor Who story spectacularly wrong. Alexandra Moen is also interviewed at Digital Spy.

Davies tells the Western Mail that his final two Doctor Who episodes will be "like all your Christmas presents rolled into one, right from your big present to the tiniest thing at the bottom of the stocking." The South Wales Echo also grabs a snippet from the Western Mail interview. Davies also talked to BBC News about handing over the Doctor Who reins to Steven Moffat.

Bernard Cribbins will be interviewed on stage at the BFI on January 16. The conversation will be followed by a special screening of the 1966 film Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150 AD, starring Cribbins and Peter Cushing. In the aftermath of Cribbins' recent special BAFTA award, he was profiled in The Independent and interviewed by Ken Russell in The Times.

Claire Bloom talks to The Times about her life and work, including a vague but possibly spoiler-ish mention of her role in The End of Time.

There have been a slew of stories lately about people who've made full-sized Daleks. One in Surrey is covered here, and another (from Birtley in Gateshead) is covered in tech blogs Übergizmo, Geeky Gadgets, Gizmodo and Electricpig. And an Atherton man who's built a full-size TARDIS replica is profiled in The Leigh Reporter (though it isn't clear whether he's built the interior or the exterior of the ship).

Even Christmas pageants can't escape Doctor Who connections this year; pupils in the tiny North Yorkshire village of Ruswarp are putting on a Christmas pageant with a Doctor Who theme, and Noel Clarke (Mickey Smith) is directing the Nativity play at his old primary school in London.

It's not all The End of Time, though; Digital Spy interviews Colin Baker about completing "The Missing Stories" on audio for Big Finish.

The Daily Mail has a general preview of The End of Time, and The Sun has a somewhat spoilery photo of John Simm from the story.

The Sun has an article on Catherine Tate's Christmas special, in which she says that she and David Tennant will be "like the Richard & Judy of Christmas", due to being on UK television so much over the holiday season. Of Tennant's appearances, Doctor Who and Hamlet are listed by The Independent as part of its "Twelve TV Treats of Christmas" list.

The Times includes Tennant's Hamlet in its round-up of the best theatre of the past decade, and the return of Doctor Who in its list of the decade's best television. BBC News has also commissioned a "portrait of the decade", which includes the return of Doctor Who as one of the key cultural events and David Tennant as one of the top 20 people of the decade.

Finally, Paul Cornell, writer of the Doctor Who episodes "Father's Day", "Human Nature" and "The Family of Blood" as well as several acclaimed novels, has published a new Doctor Who story on his blog for Christmas. Cornell says that the story is being presented "purely as fan fiction, with no money being made." It's lovely, and you should read it.

FILTER: - Steven Moffat - People - Guest Stars - Bernard Cribbins - David Tennant - Press - Colin Baker

The End of Time press screeningBookmark and Share

Friday, 18 December 2009 - Reported by Marcus
The press screening for Part One of The End of Time took place in studio TC8 at BBC Television Centre on Thursday evening. This was an appropriate venue, as TC8 was used for many recordings of classic Doctor Who, including a previous regeneration story, Planet of the Spiders, the swansong of Jon Pertwee's Third Doctor.

The screening was attended by Russell T Davies, John Simm and Bernard Cribbins, who answered questions from the audience.

Others at the screening included Catherine Tate, who played Donna Noble in Series 4 and who returns for the special,  David Harewood, Claire Bloom and Alaxandra Moen, as well as Steven Moffat, who has now taken over from Davies as Executive Producer of Doctor Who. Also in attendance, and marking the importance the BBC places on Doctor Who, was the man in charge of the corporation, Director-General Mark Thompson.

Reviews of the evening with reasonably few spoliers can be read on BBC News, in SFX, on freelance journalist Ian Wylie's Blog and on Total Sci-Fi Online.

FILTER: - Steven Moffat - Specials - Bernard Cribbins - Russell T Davies - Production - Series

Buzzcocks RatingsBookmark and Share

Thursday, 17 December 2009 - Reported by Marcus
The Doctor Who themed edition of Never Mind The Buzzcocks got an audience of 2.9 million viewers according to unofficial overnight figures. The programme, which was presented by David Tennant, and starred Bernard Cribbins and Catherine Tate, got a share of 14% or the total audience.

The rating is much higher than usual for the programme, which, this series, has averaged around 2.1 million viewers per programme. It is the highest rating for the programme since November 2007.

Never Mind The Buzzcocks is repeated on BBC Two next Tuesday and is available in the UK on the BBC i-Player.

FILTER: - Special Events - Bernard Cribbins - Ratings

Doctor Who Magazine 416Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, 9 December 2009 - Reported by Marcus

Doctor Who Magazine 416 is the biggest-ever edition and, less than a month before he leaves the role, is a David Tennant special. Tennant gives an in-depth interview about his last days as the Tenth Doctor, the forthcoming Christmas Special, The End of Time, and the reasons why he’s decided to leave his dream job.

"When the Doctor decides he’s the ‘Time Lord Victorious’, we’re making him quite unsympathetic", considers David. "Well, it’s making him more Time Lord, actually, when you consider how they turned out. When we see the Doctor behaving arrogantly, selfishly or uncontrollably, it’s then that he appears more fallible, and therefore more human?
The Time Lords were pretty fallible too. It’s hubris. It’s Greek. It needed that scale to tell the final story. It’s a tale of the gods, really but gods who are fallible and, I suppose, human."

Also in the issue:
  • AS TIME GOES BY With just two weeks to go until this year’s Doctor Who Christmas Specials, there is a taste of what’s in store, with dozens of new photos from The End of Time.
    He’s the Doctor’s most persistent Time Lord nemesis – the Master is back. John Simm explains why he couldn’t miss out on the Tenth Doctor’s final party.
    The Doctor’s faithful friend Wilfred Mott enters the TARDIS – and for Bernard Cribbins it’s his first trip into time and space for 43 years! Cribbins looks back over his long career.
    The Fact of Fiction turns back the clock to Christmas 2005, and the moment when we first met the Tenth Doctor – in The Christmas Invasion.
    Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies has written his very last Production Notes, what will be his all-important final word?
    Majenta Pryce’s dark secrets are about to be revealed as the Tenth Doctor begins his final, epic, comic strip adventure – THE CRIMSON HAND, by Dan McDaid with art from Martin Geraghty.
    A look back at the most memorable Doctor Who moments of 2009 in the Review of the Year.
  • PARTY LIKE IT’S 1999
    THhe Time Team relive the end of the twentieth century as they turn their attention to the Eighth Doctor’s only on-screen adventure, the 1996 TV Movie.
    The Watcher concludes his definitive guide to the Time Lord’s many incarnations by taking a close look at The Tenth Doctor.
    Catches up with the Sil, aka Nabil Shaban and find out what he thinks about Jonathan Ross, YouTube, weapons of mass destruction – and returning as Sil on audio.

Plus The Watcher is back with the Christmas Quiz, there is a giant-sized, double-sided poster, and a chance to win the latest DVDs, CDs, books and audios – including the Doctor Who Series 1-4 box set.

FILTER: - Specials - Bernard Cribbins - Magazines - David Tennant - Classic Series

Bernard Cribbins awarded special BAFTABookmark and Share

Tuesday, 24 November 2009 - Reported by Marcus
Bernard Cribbins is to receive a Special Award at this year’s British Academy Children’s Awards, which will take place next Sunday at the London Hilton.

Cribbins, who plays Wilfred Mott in Doctor Who, is receiving the award for his outstanding creative contribution to the industry. The citation says "His name is synonymous with quality, traditional entertainment for children in a career spanning six decades and covering film, television and other entertainment mediums."

BAFTA Chief Executive, Amanda Berry, said:
"Bernard Cribbins has made an amazing contribution to children’s entertainment throughout his outstanding career and is still entertaining children today, now playing Wilfred Mott in ‘Doctor Who’. He is a worthy recipient of this year’s Special Award; in fact he deserved it a long time ago! We are absolutely delighted he has accepted."
On television Bernard Cribbins has appeared in many classic programmes including over 100 apperances on Jackanory as well The Good Old Days, The Avengers and Worzel Gummidge alongside Jon Pertwee. He has a long career in British Films starting in 1957 with an appearance in The Yangtse Incident alongside William Hartnell, before moving onto classics such as The Railway Children and three of the Carry On... films. In 1966 he starred with Peter Cushing in the second Dalek movie, Daleks' Invasion - Earth 2150 AD.

Cribbins will be presented with the award by his Doctor Who co-star Catherine Tate.

He said
"It is truly an honour to receive this award from the British Academy. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with and for children throughout my career and am privileged to have been involved with some amazing projects."

On Tuesday Bernard Cribbins was a guest on BBC Breakfast and later on BBC Radio Five Live talking about his career.

Cribbins will also be at the BFI Southbank on Saturday 16 January 2010 to discuss his work for children and families in film and television. The event is a co-production by the BFI and BAFTA and will be followed by a screening of Daleks' Invasion - Earth 2150 AD.

FILTER: - People - Bernard Cribbins - Awards/Nominations

Wilf ReturnsBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 7 April 2009 - Reported by Marcus
Doctor Who executive producer Russell T Davies has confirmed that Bernard Cribbins will be returning to the series.

Speaking this morning on BBC Breakfast Davies said Cribbins would be the Doctor's companion in David Tennant's last two episodes, due to be shown at Christmas 2009.

Bernard Cribbins first played Wilfred Mott, Donna's Grandad, in the 2007 Christmas special and throughout Season 4. His return was expected after members of the Doctor Who Forum photographed Cribbins on the Doctor Who set. At the age of eighty, Cribbins becomes the oldest companion in Doctor Who history.

Also on the programme Davies confirmed that Saturdays special, Planet of the Deadwas only completed late Monday night. He said he expected the next special to be shown "Novemberish".

Davies' BBC Breakfast interview can be seen on the BBC News website.

FILTER: - People - Specials - Bernard Cribbins - Russell T Davies - Production - Series 4/30 Sp

Bernard Cribbins set for CameoBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 28 August 2007 - Reported by Jarrod Cooper

In the latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine, series producer Phil Collinson has announced that Bernard Cribbinswill be making a guest appearance in the 2007 Doctor Who Christmas special, Voyage of the Damned.

It's the third time Cribbins has appeared in Doctor Who, but the first time he's appeared in the TV series! He's probably best known to fans through his appearance as a companion to Peter Cushing's Doctor, the bumbling policeman Tom Campbell, in the 1966 film Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150 AD. He also appeared, earlier this year, as Arnold Lane alongside Paul McGann in the Big Finish/BBC7 eighth Doctor story Horror of Glam Rock.

"This is the icing on the cake, a wonderful addition to an already phenomenal cast," Phil Collinson told Doctor Who Magazine. "It's a wonderful cameo, which kept the entire cast and crew entertained."

FILTER: - People - Bernard Cribbins - Production