Radio Times cover for The Bells of Saint JohnBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 26 March 2013 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Radio Times (30 Mar - 5 Apr 2013) (Credit: Radio Times)Next week's Radio Times features the now traditional Doctor Who front cover to celebrate the return of the series to television this coming weekend.

Amidst several media reports of late about how long he'll remain with Doctor Who, Matt Smith told the Radio Times:
For ever! I came back and put the costume on for the photoshoot today. At the risk of sounding self-indulgent and cheesy, it really does make you want to go back and start shooting. I’m attached to the show for the next year and I take it year by year. I think that’s the only way you can take it.
Meanwhile, Jenna-Louise Coleman, playing his latest sidekick on the show, commented on what he's like to work with:
He demands sweets at certain times of the day and Diet Coke in his trailer.
The full interviews are in the new edition, along with a guide to the eight episodes that comprise this run provided by Steven Moffat, plus a free Monster wall chart.

 

Ever sat on a train, with a laptop, and watched all those wireless base stations appear and disappear on your screen? We live in a teeming ocean of wi-fi. The air is a soup of data, and don’t you ever worry that something else might be swimming along inside it? Well, if you haven’t worried so far, you might be about to start. Because here’s a gentle warning — sometimes you might see some strange alien symbols appear in your wi-fi menu. Don’t click on them. Just don’t click. Because that means there’s a Spoonhead really close.

The Doctor returns to contemporary London and finds himself meeting Clara Oswald for the third time — he’s been searching the universe for her, but will she even know who he is? There’s hardly time to worry about it, though, because all humanity is in terrible danger...





Doctor Who: first four episodes confirmedBookmark and Share

Monday, 18 March 2013 - Reported by Chuck Foster
The BBC have now formally announced details for the return of Doctor Who to television on BBC One on 30th March 2013 (time still be confirmed), along with interviews with the stars Matt Smith and Jenna-Louse Coleman, and lead writer/executive producer Steven Moffat.

Matt SmithHaving run down corridors from every monster imaginable, Matt Smith returns as the Doctor to face old and new foe. But he’s not alone. Along for the ride in his brand new TARDIS is the Doctor’s latest companion, Clara Oswald. Here Matt talks about what he is looking forward to from the epic new series.

I think it is going to be very exciting to introduce Clara to the world and Steven has hit a real vein of form, explains Matt as he chats enthusiastically about the new series.

Along with a new costume this series, the Doctor has a new TARDIS to travel through space and time. Walking on to the new TARDIS was like the first day at school, explains Matt. I actually found it quite difficult as I had got so used to the rhythm of acting on the old one, where I used to slide about on the glass floor, but Michael Pickwoad has done a fabulous job, he continues. This one is more like a machine.

Having lost his first companions, the Ponds, at the hands of the Weeping Angels in New York last year and after a period of mourning the Doctor is joined by a new companion this series, played by Jenna-Louise Coleman, she’s done brilliantly well, says Matt. She’s kind, charming, thoroughly prepared and very brave as an actress. And most importantly of all we get on, which is vital on a show like this. I’m so proud of what she has achieved in the last year, he concludes.

So what do fans have to look forward to this series? An urban thriller, ‘The Bells of Saint John’, brings the series back with a bang as the Doctor’s search for Clara Oswald takes him to modern day London, where wifi is everywhere. But something dangerous is lurking in the signals, picking off minds and imprisoning them. Filming for this James Bond-esque thriller took Matt to Westminster Bridge, the Southbank and St Pauls, amazing, I loved shooting in London, says Matt, there is something so brilliant about having the locations there rather than just adding them in.

Following on from this the second episode, ‘The Rings of Akhaten’, take the Doctor and Clara away from earth and on their first proper adventure… in outer space. Featuring an alien market Matt remarks, it was very ‘Whoey’. We had between 50 to 60 prosthetic aliens, which is something that only really this show can offer, he continues, making it a very unique experience as an actor.

As well as introducing some new monsters, the new series brings back a couple of old monsters in the form of the Ice Warriors and Cybermen, I think it’s good to pay homage to the classic series, says Matt, especially for the fans. This series we have modernised some of the monsters for a whole new generation.

Soggy, like drowned rats, Matt is explaining the shooting experience for the third episode ‘Cold War’, written by Mark Gatiss. Set on a Russian submarine spiralling out of control in 1983 an alien creature is loose on board, having escaped from a block of Arctic ice. They built a submarine and the five-year old in me was like “yeah it’s a submarine!”, says Matt. I loved getting sprayed down at the beginning of the shoot, Matt continues, and it wasn’t a chore as it does so much of the acting for you, making it really authentic. Mark Gatiss has delivered one of the best episodes of the series, he concludes.
Jenna-Louise ColemanThe new series will mark the official introduction of the Doctor’s latest companion, Clara Oswald. Having already appeared in the series opener ‘Asylum of the Daleks’ in September and as Clara in the Christmas special, ‘The Snowmen’, here Jenna explains a little bit about her character and working with monsters.

Very excited, Jenna is talking animatedly about her first series as the Doctor’s companion. It will be fantastic to see the final version with all of the elements put together.

Having made a surprise appearance as one of the Doctor’s most notorious of enemies, a Dalek, in last year’s series opener, audiences have been treated to two different versions of the latest companion.

We’ve had one introduction to Clara in the Christmas special, but not necessarily the same Clara we will see in this series, explains Jenna. But the essence of all the different versions is the same, Jenna continues, she’s very brave and resourceful, a match for the Doctor and an explorer in her own right. She dreams of travelling and seeing the world and wants more than what’s on offer.

So how has Jenna found working with Matt Smith? Just a joy, it really is. He is the most perfect leading man and sets such a lovely tone on set, making the atmosphere so wonderful. There’s not much more you could ask for in your co-star, she says.

The series opener ‘The Bells of Saint John’ is a modern day urban thriller, which sees the Doctor and Clara face a monster in the wi-fi, as minds are uploaded by an organisation run by Miss Kizlet (Celia Imrie). Set in London, Jenna was thrown in to the deep end as she was asked to get on a motorbike… driven by the notoriously clumsy Matt Smith.

I loved shooting in London, says Jenna, it was so much fun. It was one of those moments where I thought “I’m filming Doctor Who, on a motorbike, riding across Westminster Bridge with the Houses of Parliament in the background.” So would Jenna trust Matt to drive her on a motorbike in real life? Well on screen it looks very exciting, but both of us were being very silly as we were so tightly strapped in. I just clung on!

As the newest edition to the show, Jenna explains how this series will take the viewer on the same journey of discovery she experienced when she first joined, especially for episode two ‘The Rings of Akhaten’ which is set on an alien planet. It’s one of my favourite episodes, says Jenna, it’s so weird and wonderful and something that only this show can offer. It show’s Clara for the first time what life with the Doctor will be like. It’s a complete fantasy, she continues, and it’s great for audiences as the story begins again and we get to explore all these strange new worlds together, as well as getting to know the Doctor again.

The third episode, ‘Cold War’, set on a Russian submarine marks the return of the classic Doctor Who monster the Ice Warriors. They were terrifying, exclaims Jenna, I think this is the first time Clara is really, really scared. The whole set was really realistic and built to size, which wasn’t too much of a problem for me, she jokes. So how did they make it look so realistic? Before every take they would come and spray us, the whole make-up process was reversed as they would damp us down in the morning and rub my mascara off! We were soaking wet for two weeks.

So having completed filming and watched most of the episodes, does Jenna have a favourite? I really like 'The Rings of Akhaten' as and it’s the first proper adventure for the Doctor and Clara.
Steven MoffatSo it’s back and with a James Bond-esque urban thriller. Why did you decide to kick-off the new series with a very modern day threat?

It was Marcus Wilson's idea. We were discussing how the first episode of the second run would probably be a contemporary Earth adventure, so the Doctor could meet the modern day Clara - and anyway, I wanted to do Wi-Fi monsters - and Marcus suggested we do a proper urban thriller. The Doctor can never be Bond or Bourne - but if he tried it might look a bit like this.

What else can we expect from the new series?

A haunted house, a submarine, a planet with cool rings, Victorian Yorkshire, a journey to the centre of the TARDIS, Dame Diana Rigg and her daughter Rachael Stirling together on screen for the first time, new Cybermen, and the Doctor's greatest secret revealed.

You are bringing back a couple of classic monsters with the Cybermen and Ice Warriors, are there any new ones to look out for?

Plenty of new monsters! Watch out for the Spoonheads, the Whispermen, and - my favourite - the Vigil. Oh and Neil Gaiman has done something horrible with the Cybermen!

We finally get to meet the Clara that will travel with the Doctor across the series’ eight epic adventures. Can you tell us a little bit about her character?

You've sort of met her, but you sort of haven't. The same shed load of attitude you saw before, the same rapid-fire banter with the Doctor, but this time she's living in modern London with no memory of the Time Lord!

How has the dynamic of the relationship between the Doctor and his companion changed since the introduction of Clara?

It's all new for the Doctor - this time the greatest mystery in the universe is standing right next to him.

What was it about Jenna that made you decide she would be right fit for the role of the new companion?

Casting is a funny process - the right people sort of choose themselves. It happened with Matt a long time ago, and when we saw him bantering with Jenna it happened again. Auditions start with you telling the actor about the character - sometimes they end with the actor telling you. That's what happened with Jenna!

A ghost story, a period drama to end all period dramas and an underwater siege, was it intentional to go as big as possible with this series in the year of the 50th?

We try to make every year the biggest possible, but when you see that big, glittering 50 hanging above you, you start trying even harder. I've been a fan all by my life and I know we have to deliver!

Story Synopses

The synopses and some publicity images have been released for the first four stories, including movie-style posters continuing the theme of the 2012 episodes:

The Bells of Saint John: Publicity Poster (Credit: BBC/Adrian Rogers/Ray Burmiston)The Bells of Saint John

The Doctor’s search for Clara Oswald brings him to modern day London, where wifi is everywhere. Humanity lives in a wifi soup. But something dangerous is lurking in the signals, picking off minds and imprisoning them. As Clara becomes the target of this insidious menace, the Doctor races to save her and the world from an ancient enemy.

Written by Steven Moffat
Directed by Colm McCarthy
Produced by Denise Paul


The Bells of Saint John: Publicity ImagesThe Bells of Saint John: Publicity ImagesThe Bells of Saint John: Publicity ImagesThe Bells of Saint John: Publicity ImagesThe Bells of Saint John: Publicity ImagesThe Bells of Saint John: Publicity ImagesThe Bells of Saint John: Publicity ImagesThe Bells of Saint John: Publicity ImagesThe Bells of Saint John: Publicity ImagesThe Bells of Saint John: Publicity ImagesThe Bells of Saint John: Publicity ImagesThe Bells of Saint John: Publicity Images
The Bells of Saint John: Character PortraitsThe Bells of Saint John: Character PortraitsThe Bells of Saint John: Character PortraitsThe Bells of Saint John: Character PortraitsThe Bells of Saint John: Character PortraitsThe Bells of Saint John: Character Portraits
The Rings of Akhaten: Publicity Poster (Credit: BBC/Adrian Rogers/Ray Burmiston)The Rings of Akhaten

Clara wants to see something awesome, so the Doctor whisks her off to the inhabited rings of the planet Akhaten, where the Festival of Offerings is in full swing. Clara meets the young Queen of Years as the pilgrims and natives ready for the ceremony. But something is stirring in the pyramid, and a sacrifice will be demanded.

Written by Neil Cross
Directed by Farren Blackburn
Produced by Denise Paul


The Rings of Akhaten: Publicity ImagesThe Rings of Akhaten: Publicity Images
Cold War: Publicity Poster (Credit: BBC/Adrian Rogers/Ray Burmiston)Cold War

The Doctor and Clara land on a damaged Russian Submarine in 1983 as it spirals out of control into the ocean depths. An alien creature is loose on board, having escaped from a block of Arctic ice. With tempers flaring and a cargo of nuclear weapons on board, it’s not just the crew but the whole of humanity at stake!

Written by Mark Gatiss
Directed by Douglas Mackinnon
Produced by Marcus Wilson


The Cold War: Publicity ImagesThe Cold War: Publicity ImagesThe Cold War: Publicity ImagesThe Cold War: Publicity ImagesThe Cold War: Publicity Images
Hide: Publicity Poster (Credit: BBC/Adrian Rogers/Ray Burmiston)Hide

Clara and the Doctor arrive at Caliburn House, a haunted mansion sat alone on a desolate moor. Within its walls, a ghost hunting Professor and a gifted psychic are searching for the Witch of the Well. Her apparition appears throughout the history of the building, but is she really a ghost? And what is chasing her?

Written by Neil Cross
Directed by Jamie Payne
Produced by Marcus Wilson


Hide: Publicity ImagesHide: Publicity ImagesHide: Publicity ImagesHide: Publicity Images




SFX 233Bookmark and Share

Thursday, 7 March 2013 - Reported by Chuck Foster
SFX Issue 233, published March 2013The latest edition of SFX magazine has just been published, and features an exclusive interview with Jenna-Louise Coleman. who plays Clara Oswald in the second half of Series 7, which kicks off on 30th March.

Talking about how the onscreen chemistry with co-star Matt Smith was developed, she said:
When I started on Doctor Who Matt said to me “Watch Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy films!” We were talking about our dynamic and trying to figure it out, realising we were a double act . . . It’s trying to find each other’s rhythm... So watching things like Spencer Tracy films really feed into that. Matt always said it’s about physically finding our rhythm... In a way the whole thing is like a dance, and the moment we started dancing together and finding that rhythm is when it worked.
The full interview is in SFX 233, in the shops now.




New Series 7 Publicity Picture ReleasedBookmark and Share

Thursday, 24 January 2013 - Reported by John Bowman
A new publicity picture has been released following yesterday's announcement that Doctor Who will be returning on Saturday 30th March for the first episode of eight in the next part of Series 7.

The image, as seen below, shows Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman. Although newly released, it appears to hail from a photo shoot last March when Coleman was announced as the new companion.






The Snowmen: publicity coverageBookmark and Share

Monday, 24 December 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster



Jenna-Louise Coleman was a guest on BBC Breakfast this morning, chatting about her impending arrival as Clara in tomorrow's The Snowmen, and how this relates to her previous appearance back in September, in Asylum of the Daleks:
The Clara you will meet in the Christmas Special is living in Victorian London, working in a pub, also living a bit of a double life as a governess looking after some children ...

We've already met Oswin in Asylym of the Daleks ... Basically it's what been referred to as "a soft mystery", and if anybody's hoping to get any answers ... it's something that will be ongoing for quite a while and in true Steven Moffat style you won't really get any answers in the Christmas Special, it will just raise more questions, and get more and more complicated and fascinating.
In a pre-recorded interview with entertainment correspondent Liza Mzimba, she said:
It's a mystery. I've met the Doctor once before, which he doesn't quite know yet, and it all begins to piece together and I keep popping up ...

Talking about the interaction between her character and the Doctor, she said:
It's been a really interesting process for me and for Matt how a new companion will change the Doctor and vice-versa, and trying to find our dynamic and how we're going to move forward with the show. It's been really interesting, like Matt said, the kind of days where he would be discovering things and finding ways in which the Doctor is changing and is different with his new companion.
Matt Smith mentioned the relationship between the two to Lizo:
They're figuring each other out, and it's just wonderful to see it at the start, because it reinvogorates the show. You see these two people meeting, and sussing each other out - so it's about learning how they get on together, and seeing them size each other up.

I think there's always a bit of sexual tension between the Doctor and the companion ... so I hope so!
Matt Smith was interviewed in The Independent, where he also commented on the new relationship:
The Doctor under Amy and Rory eventually became like their pet, he was just this sort of strange pet that could talk, that would sweep in every now and then. He's meeting someone new because he presents himself in a hew light and she forces him to be a different version of himself slightly.

As always with Doctor Who, the essence and heartbeat of the show is the same – old alien, hot chick travel through the universe and get into capers. That will always be the heartbeat of the show and it's whether it’s more flirtatious, whether there's more attraction, whether there's more zing, you'll have to wait and find out. I’m sure we'll cover all that territory.
He also explained a little more about the Doctor's grief at the start of the episode:
There's a great deal of time that's passed in cunning story terms. It's great because you kind of go: "500 years later..." but the burden of that loss will always be with him. Like the burden of losing Rose Tyler or whoever it is – is always with him to some extent. But I think particularly for my Doctor it is. Amy and Rory were so significant. But what I would say as well is I always think it's important for the show for that grieving to have its place but move on. I felt it affected Martha's journey quite a lot that he was always talking about Rose, which is completely understandable, because the Tenth Doctor and Rose had such a wonderful connection but the show has to propel forward back into adventure mode.

Videos

Lizo Mzimba's preview of The Snowmen is available to watch on the BBC News website. The BBC have also released an interview with Matt and Jenna as part of their Adventure Calendar.





The Snowmen: publicity roundupBookmark and Share

Saturday, 22 December 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster
A roundup of coverage for The Snowmen that has taken place in the past week or so - please note that what follows below includes some plot details that might be considered spoilers.

Interviews

Steven Moffat was a guest on the Simon Mayo Drivetime show on BBC Radio Two on Monday. Talking about Doctor Who's appeal on Christmas Day, he felt the show's accessibility as a "shared live viewing experience" was a great benefit:
... much more so with the Christmas one than with the others, yes, there's a big live audience for it - because, yeah, you watch it as a family. Sometimes people actually watch it later, because their family aren't there - people tend to watch it in groups, that's very true of Doctor Who.

I think Doctor Who is always a bit Christmassy, it's that kind of show, it always feels substantially madder than every other show, and we're always striving to make it an event - so you have to make Doctor Who even more so when it's Christmas Day. One thing I'd say I think it needs to be more accessible to new viewers, because more people are dragged in to watch Doctor Who on that day than on any other occasion it's on.
Talking about an initially melancholy Doctor in the episode, he explained:
What you need to remember is that the last time we saw the Doctor he had lost the Ponds - he lost Amy and Rory - he lost them to the Weeping Angels, and when you begin this story he's in a terrible place, he's in a right old grump, he's retired from saving the universe, he's having nothing to do with anyone, and although there's a building threat to humanity he's having none of it, he's just storming away being a sort of Scrooge.
The full interview is currently available to listen to via a BBC podcast (from 12:50) until Monday.

Ahead of the press screening on Tuesday evening, Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman popped into the BBC Radio One Breakfast Show hosted by Nick Grimshaw. The duo chatted about their recent trip to New York and Jenna's arrival in the show (1:36:45), and later answered listeners' questions (1:52:55, and a clip is available to watch via the BBC iPlayer and YouTube).

Matt later appeared on ITV1's This Morning (after the first ad break), hosted by Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby - the first time he'd appeared on the show. He chatted about his inspirations for the character of the Doctor, the enthusiasm of fans, things he kept from the old TARDIS, and of course not really saying what to expect on Christmas Day! Enthusing about guest star Richard E Grant, he said:
He was born to be a Who villain, he pitches it on that perfect level and tone.

The end of the week was rounded off by an appearance by Matt on The Graham Norton Show, but although this was to promote the Christmas Special, as Matt pointed out:
As always, I can't tell you anything, this is the tragedy of the show I'm in is that you come on and you can't actually promote it!
Recorded last month, the show was still able to treat viewers to a brand new clip featuring the Doctor, Clara and Strax.

Norton mentioned that fellow guests Billy Connolly and Jennifer Saunders had once been suggested as potential Doctors, though the former said it wasn't true and the latter said she started the rumours herself!

Matt was also 'required' to kiss a member of the audience by other guest Dustin Hoffman, which the actor only reluctantly agreed to as his mum was watching! A clip of this exchange is available on YouTube and BBC iPlayer.

Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman on The Radio 1 Breakfast Show with Nick Grimshaw, 18 Dec 2012 Matt Smith on This Morning, 18 Dec 2012 Matt Smith on The Graham Norton Show, 21 Dec 2012

UK Press Screening

The press screening for the episode took place in the evening of 18th December, followed by a Q&A session with Steven Moffat, Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman, during which the adventure and the further adventures next year were discussed.

As seen in the trailer, the Doctor once again gets a firm kiss from his co-star, and speaking at the Q&A of their on-screen "relationship", Matt said:
I think always with this show and always with this relationship in this show, it will constantly evolve. And it should. And hopefully over the course of the next eight or nine episodes that we see subsequently to this it will evolve even further. We're excited about next year now and getting into that and actually going, "Well, now we know what we know about each other and the way we work and who we are and all the rest of it..." I kind of likened it, Steven, earlier, in an interview, to an arranged marriage. Not that I know what an arranged marriage is like. But it's like, "You're married, have chemistry." Do you know what I mean?
On the other hand, Jenna responded:
I likened it to a blind date. I felt like I was on a blind date... It's like putting two people together. Like, "Oh I know someone you'll really get on with." And then go in to save the world!

The Doctor (Matt Smith) with the new TARDIS interior. Photo: BBCThe new TARDIS interior was also discussed, with Steven explaining how it came about:
It was mainly saying to Michael Pickwoad (production designer), "What would you do with the TARDIS?" But we had a notion because I thought we'd been getting progressively whimsical with the interior of the TARDIS. And I started to think, "Well, why is that? It's not a magical place, it's actually a machine." So we did say 'machine' and actually, potentially, as you'll see more spectacularly later, quite a scary place sometimes. We make a lot of use of that. And it's also a lot easier to shoot, I have to say.”
 
Inevitably, the question of where the team would travel to in the TARDIS came up:
Matt: I'd do a few things. I’d go and pick up Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe. I'd try and marry one of them. Get them to sing to me. And maybe one of them could do both. And then I'd go and see England win the World Cup in '66. And I'd go and visit some sort of Jurassic age, I think.

Jenna: I'd go back to ancient Egypt. I was watching a TV programme – where did the pyramids come from? I'd go find out where they came from. I'd go find out how they were built. And then other than that, maybe New York in the Twenties.

Steven: I'm a perfectly happy man. I'd go right here. I don't want to go anywhere. I'm having too much fun to leave. I'd be terrified. Wouldn't you?

With thanks to Ian Wylie for Q&A coverage - you can read his full report here.

"The Kiss"

The BBC have released a couple of publicity shots to "cherish" the moment(!):

The Doctor (Matt Smith) and Clara (Jenna-Louise Coleman). Photo: BBC The Doctor (Matt Smith) and Clara (Jenna-Louise Coleman). Photo: BBC

Media Coverage (United Kingdom)

Reporting on the preview, Catherine Gee of The Telegraph said:
For all its new features, this is an episode filled with knowing nods to please Who fans, including a reference drawn from elsewhere in the Moffat catalogue, and the return of some of the Doctor’s old friends in the shape of Strax, Vastra and Jenny. Dr Simeon's ominous warning that "winter is coming" also suggests that Moffat may be a Game of Thrones fan. . . . It's not quite as action-packed as previous specials but compared with the other sedate period Christmas Day offerings of Call the Midwife and Downton Abbey, or the impending apocalypse-free episodes of The Royle Family and Strictly Come Dancing, this festive instalment of the sci-fi series will give the post-dinner snoozers a much-needed boost.
Vicky Frost of The Guardian said:
New music, new titles, a fetching new costume, sleek new Tardis interior and, most of all, a new companion, make this year's festive Doctor Who special filled with surprises. . . . It is not as if the 60-minute Christmas special – which perhaps controversially comes sprinkled with a seasonal splash of romance – is unambitious: among the co-stars is Richard E Grant as the deliciously wicked Dr Simeon, a man dreaming of a white Christmas.
Jenna explained a little of her character to Neela Debnath from The Independent:
I think it's one of these things where she meets this guy that she's incredibly interested in and by and wants to know more but there's also something - he has answers that she wants. She wants answers. She's on her own mission. (Clara) is the kind of girl who lives by her own means, she doesn't need other people as much to get by, so she's a bit more of an equal. As soon as she meets him - and he's not the kind of guy that you meet every day - she's interested and wants to know who he is and where he's come from and she doesn't give up and follows that track.
Further coverage of the press screening can be found from the Daily Mail, Evening Standard and Western Mail.

Reviewing the episode, Jonathan Carley of What Culture said:
Put simply, The Snowmen makes the Christmas Special feel fresh again, so much so it may as well be vacuum packed and wrapped with foil. So the firm underpinning of a good script is there, and I can tell you this will reward repeat viewing afterwards to reassess the intricacies of the plot. I myself am looking forward to re-watching on Christmas day if my family can tolerate my smugness. But there is also plenty going on to keep you entertained if you're feeling quite relaxed about it.
Simon Brew of Den of Geek concluded:
The Snowmen certainly bodes very well for the year ahead. It’s a lower key story on the surface, perhaps, albeit an episode that proves once again Moffat's skill for introducing major new characters. It's also an excellent Christmas special, and quite a serious one. And whereas seasonal outings for Doctor Who have proven quite divisive in recent years, we suspect this one is going to have a lot more people on its side. It's very much worth your time.

The Telegraph interviewed Jenna-Louise Coleman while on set last month and chatted about her career leading up to becoming the latest Doctor Who sidekick. In addition, Digital Spy have conducted video interviews with Steven Moffat about writing his third Christmas Special and and how to entice a new audience to the show, and with Matt and Jenna chatting about the Special.

Other general media coverage of The Snowmen include: Daily Mail; Daily Mail(2); The Sun; Independent; Metro; Mirror; Daily Star, and Radio Times.

Media Coverage (United States)

The United States press had their own screening in New York earlier in the month. Alex Zalvin of MTV reported:
This is probably the second best Christmas episode ever after 2010’s superlative A Christmas Carol. Since the latter episode is probably my favourite episode of Who ever, that's certainly putting it in high company. The episode is laugh out loud funny, emotional, and more importantly, captures the spirit of the holidays.

There's a beautiful sequence about halfway through that might be one of the most magical, storybook creations the show has ever done, more on par with a stage play than a TV show, but by golly, it works.

Jenna-Louise Coleman is a brilliant, perfect addition to the cast. Her patter, delivery, and whole demeanor make her a female Matt Smith, and it's brilliant. She matches him line for line, move for move, and if you’re not in love with her by the end of the episode...well...you’ll be in love with her.
Other coverage of the press screening appeared in: Wall Street Journal; io9; Forbes; and Huffington Post.

At an interview held at the BBC America offices (reported by CNN), Jenna was quizzed about her experiences of entering the very public world of Doctor Who:
You see "it" everywhere and you're used to it, like I was used to seeing Matt's face all over the place. But, when I was auditioning, being sat on the Tube and you see the posters, and it was always like he was pointing at me. There's not very much time to analyze as you go. It is only now that I feel like I've just been playing with all my mates for the last couple of months, and then suddenly, I'm like, "but people are going to see this," you know?

"This" life is so exciting on a daily basis. Everything's so dramatic every day, and it's the end of the world every week. You're either running or there's a snow machine or rain machine, or you're in a harness and you're on wires. ... On an off day, I find that I get bored quickly, like, "Where's the Cybermen?"
Jenna also revealed that she had auditioned for the show before, and what her grandmother thought!
I auditioned for Amy's best mate in it, and was pretty close to getting the part, and my grandma was absolutely devastated I didn't. So, we came back around, and I don't think she can believe it, actually. It is quite surreal for her, and she's quite looking forward to meeting Matt.
As previously reported, Matt and Jenna also undertook a Q&A for BBC America's Doctor Who Tumblr, fielding questions from the social networking community.

With Doctor Who having made the cover of TV Guide this December, the magazine also spoke to the two stars about their first jobs, what they do in their free time, their favourite current and childhood television shows, awkward moments, and what stands out for them in the Christmas Special.

Entertainment Weekly discuss Doctor Who and The Snowmen in their latest InsideTV podcast. Other US-based coverage included: Miami Herald; Tulsa World; San-Antonio Express; and Winston-Salem Journal; Seattle Times.




The Snowmen: interview updateBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 11 December 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster
The BBC have released a further two interviews with stars of the Christmas Special, The Snowmen, as part of their Adventure Calendar. The short videos are with Richard E Grant, who plays Dr Simeon, and Dan Starkey who reprises his role as the Sontaran Strax.


Other interviews

Radio Times (22 Dec 2012 - 4 Jan 2013)The Radio Times features the eponymous Snowman by Raymond Briggs on its cover for this year's legendary Christmas double issue; inside, however, it does feature interviews with Doctor Who's stars Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman about their similarly named The Snowmen!

Smith also discusses his plans to stay with the series for 2013 and its fiftieth anniversary - and how his mother doesn't want him to give up the role! Talking about the influences on his Doctor, the actor said:
When I started as the Doctor I watched loads of Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em, loads of Peter Sellers and loads of Blackadder – and somewhere betwixt the three lies my Doctor. I love how grumpy but brilliant Blackadder can be. Frank Spencer is slightly unaware of how ridiculous he is and I think the Doctor is too. Clouseau and Blackadder have massive egos and the Doctor has a massive ego. Frank Spencer is kinder and gentler.

Meanwhile, BBC America conducted an online Q&A with the duo during a promotional visit to the United States last weekend, featuring questions that were submitted by the Tumblr community and answered via their official Doctor Who page.

Entertainment Weekly have also recently interviewed Jenna, during which she discussed getting the role, and how she dealt with the two characters Oswin and Clara.




The Snowmen - Press PackBookmark and Share

Saturday, 8 December 2012 - Reported by Harry Ward
The BBC has released a press pack containing interviews with the main cast of the 2012 Christmas Special, The Snowmen.

Interview with Steven Moffat

Lead writer and executive producer Steven Moffat gives us an insight into the monsters and adventures that we can expect from the Christmas special.

What can we expect from the Christmas special?

The Christmas episode is Doctor Who, only more so, and this year we're going for more epic. The Doctor, when we meet him, isn't in a good place. A bit like when we first encountered William Hartnell as the Doctor in 1963 - or indeed Christopher Eccleston in 2005 - this a cold and withdrawn Time Lord, wanting no part of the world around him. It's going to take a lot of Christmas spirit to get him back out those TARDIS doors.

Are there any new monsters?

Well there are Snowmen. You've probably guessed that from the title. But that's not all. Dear me, no! But monsters should always be a bit surprising, so that's all I'm saying.

How do you find writing the Christmas special as opposed to a regular episode? Does it differ at all?

You're very aware of the time of year, and the noisy, sugared-up, slightly tipsy household. Sometimes we play along with something a bit frothier. Though this year, we might just give them a fright!

Last time we saw the Doctor he said goodbye to the Ponds. Will we see a different side to the Doctor in this episode?

The Doctor is almost defined by his friendships. When they end, and the TARDIS is silent again, he's a very different man. He's lost a lot of people in the time we've known him, and this Christmas he's decided he's finally had enough...

This episode welcomes Jenna-Louise Coleman. What can you tell us about her character?

It's going to quite a journey of discovery with Jenna and her character - and it doesn't start here, it starts on Christmas day. For now, enough to say, that the Doctor in his darkest hour, long ago in a Victorian winter meets the exactly the right person. Or does he?

Interview with Matt Smith

Returning to screens on Christmas Day, it’s all change for Matt Smith’s Doctor with a new costume, a new hat and minus Amy Pond. Here he talks about what fans can expect from this festive treat and family tradition.

"Lots of snow and a rather good villain." Matt is chatting enthusiastically about this year’s Christmas special, The Snowmen. Set in a Victorian snow-covered England, the episode opens with the Doctor feeling more ‘bah humbug’ than festive, as he struggles to get over the loss of his companions the Ponds.

"He is slightly removed and not at his best," explains Matt. But after the Doctor meets a feisty young governess, Clara, played by Jenna-Louise Coleman, do we see a change in the Doctor? "You get to see a different side to him," Matt explains. "She is a very different to Amy Pond. That is the great thing about this show," he continues, "reinvention - it keeps me as an actor on my toes!"

As well as seeing Matt Smith’s Doctor for the first time without his old companions, Matt will be sporting a new costume, complete with top hat. "It is a bit like the Doctor meets the Artful Dodger," says Matt.

So can we expect to see a period of grieving following the loss of the Ponds? "Grieving has its place," says Matt, "but it is important to show that and then propel back into adventure!"

And that is exactly what this Christmas special does. Matt reveals that this Christmas the Doctor will embark on a dangerous adventure – a quest that leads him to Darkover House, where something sinister is lurking.

As well as guest starring Tom Ward (Silent Witness), Richard E Grant features as this year’s villain, Doctor Simeon. "He was a delight and brilliant at being villainous. Some actors are just made for the show and he was one of them. And he looked wonderful in Victorian garb," says Matt.

Now a family tradition, Matt is chuffed to be part of the Christmas special. "I love being part of them. Family TV on Christmas day is a great tradition and Doctor Who is at the heart of that."

So will Matt be making an appointment to watch on Christmas day? "Absolutely, I can’t wait."

Interview with Jenna-Louise Coleman

Having made a surprise appearance in the series opener Asylum of the Daleks in September, fans have already met the new companion... or have they? Here, Jenna-Louise gives a little bit of insight in to the character she plays in the festive episode and what we can expect from Clara.

"She is from the Victorian era and a mysterious one," explains Jenna. "Very down to earth, but feisty and curious too with numerous jobs," she continues, revealing more about new girl Clara.

Set in Victorian England, we first catch a glimpse of Clara as a barmaid in the ‘Rose and Crown’ pub, but after meeting the intriguing Doctor, she soon sets about following him, because as Jenna explains, "He has the answers to her questions." With his self-imposed solitude, the Doctor appears uninterested, but eventually gets drawn in as an army of evil snowmen cover London and it becomes apparent that Christmas and the world are at risk.

With Matt Smith revealing that she is a very different to Amy Pond, how does Jenna explain the dynamic of the relationship between the Doctor and Clara, following the loss of the Ponds in the epic mid-series finale The Angels Take Manhattan? "She isn’t intimidated by the Doctor," says Jenna. "Instead, she finds him amazing and ridiculous. But she is on her own mission and lives by her own means. She is very resourceful."

As well as a barmaid, Clara adopts the role of governess to two children in Darkover House, where something sinister is lurking in their garden and whose last governess hasn’t yet left the premises...

After being selected for the coveted role of companion, Jenna started filming in BBC Cymru Wales’ Roath Lock studios earlier this year and made her first appearance in series seven opener Asylum Of The Daleks. So how has she found the job so far? "Everyday is really surprising," she explains. "For the last two years, I have mainly been doing period dramas, so to be thrown into this world with loads of CGI is very different. Whole new sets are built in the space of a couple of weeks. For this episode, we had snow machines and it does make you feel like a big kid!"

Stepping into Karen Gillan’s shoes, who played Amy Pond, did Jenna receive any advice? "Karen has been great," explains Jenna. "She has texted me advice on Cardiff, like where to eat. And Matt always has an ear out for me."

Unlike the Doctor in this festive episode, Jenna isn’t a Christmas grump: "I love Christmas and will probably be sitting down with the family to watch this adventure on Christmas day! It is one of the shows that can do Christmas properly and this is a proper Christmas treat."

Interview with Richard E Grant

Having previously played the Doctor in the 2003 online animated series Scream Of The Shalka and during a Comic Relief spoof some years ago, Richard E Grant returns to Doctor Who, but this time as the villainous Doctor Simeon.

"I have been told that on pain of death I am not allowed to reveal anything about my role in the Christmas Special," explains Richard, "other than that this character has never been in Doctor Who before..."

Returning to Doctor Who for the third time, Richard explains, "I have had two 'brushes' with the Who phenomenon before, playing the Doctor in the cartoon digital version and the Comic Relief spoof some years ago, before the franchise was re-booted with Christopher Eccleston."

Richard is tasked with playing this year’s villain, the mysterious Doctor Simeon, who, with a vendetta to settle from childhood, recruits an army of evil and hungry snowmen to bring together his plan.

So how did Richard enjoy playing the villain? "When you're born with a 10-foot-long face, you don't get hero roles, but I'm not complaining, as I have hugely enjoyed the wide variety of parts I've got to play."

Growing up in Swaziland, Richard has had to devote time to catching up on the British institution, he explains: "Having grown up in a country without TV, I missed seeing Doctor Who through my childhood, but I have made up for lost time since with box sets."

As the Doctor battles to defeat Doctor Simeon and his army, Richard shared many scenes with Matt Smith - so what did he make of working Matt? "I have really admired Matt from when I first saw him in a play called That Face at the Royal Court Theatre some years ago," says Richard, "and have keenly followed his career progress. He is the perfect fit for Doctor Who. His interpretation is very kinetic and fast-talking."

So will Richard be watching this Christmas? "I love Christmas and everything about it. I will be at home and watching TV after lunch, hoping I can stay awake after the feast!"

Interview with Tom Ward

Tom has been star of Silent Witness for over 10 years, so that Doctor Who presents a departure for him - from the modern day to the world of sci-fi. Here he explains what we can expect from his character and whether he will be watching on Christmas Day.

"He hasn’t been used to dealing with his children," explains Tom, as he reveals a small insight into his character, Captain Latimer. "He wants to love them, but he is an old naval captain that has struggled to build a relationship."

Tom plays an archetypal Victorian gent, complete with a rather good beard. "Yes it is," laughs Tom, as he confirms the beard is real. "You often get the obligatory moustache in a Victorian drama, but I wanted to go further and the beard seemed appropriate."

Having spent 10 years in a drama not necessarily accessible to his children, Tom reveals he is excited to have done something they can watch. "My children are very excited that I am in Doctor Who and I am glad they have something that they can finally watch! My oldest child is 10, so this will give him bragging rights at school and hopefully me a little bit of school gate currency."

So what drew Tom to the role? "It was one of the best scripts I had read in a long time, and the thought of doing a period sci-fi was really fun."

With Tom admitting that his Doctor is Tom Baker, he expresses admiration for current Doctor, Matt Smith. "He is brilliant. He kept the set feeling happy and is full of energy," says Tom. "He has a great relationship with the crew." As well as co-starring Tom, the Christmas episode will also feature Richard E Grant. "I had one scene with him," explains Tom, "and he was a legend. An absolute delight."

In this episode we also meet Clara, played by Jenna-Louise Coleman for the first time. "She is a brilliant actress," says Tom, "full of life and energy, so funny and has a great rapport with Matt."

With Tom confirming that his children are fans, will he be watching on Christmas day? "We have just moved into the country, so it will be the family round and the fire blazing. I don’t normally like to watch myself on TV, but this time I think I will make an exception..."




People Roundup (Current Series)Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, 3 October 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster
The following round-up includes interview discussion of the current series which may be considered spoilers for future episodes.

With his current co-stars departing, Matt Smith insists that he hasn't been tempted to hang up his bow-tie any time soon: "There are absolutely things I'd like to do. I'd have to go to the States and do a film but for the moment, I've more than enough to keep me busy, and it's work I love. I don't think there's any point in concerning yourself with what you might be doing if you weren't doing this. This is an amazing, extraordinary job and it would be madness - total madness - to be wishing it away when it's such a gift." [Radio Times, 29 Sep-5 Oct 2012]

With the deparature of Arthur Darvill and Karen Gillan, media attention now focuses upon Smith's next co-star, Jenna-Louise Coleman. The actress has already made her mark on readers of The Sun who, in spite of her yet to appear in the series as a side-kick to the Doctor, have voted her as his sexiest sidekick! Half of those participating in the poll placed the actress's character Oswin Oswald, who appeared in Asylum of the Daleks as their favourite, with Gillan's Amy Pond coming in second with 30%. [The Sun, 6th Sep 2012]

Steven Moffat talks about her 'proper' arrival at Christmas: "Looking ahead to Doctor Who with the new companion, we’ll be telling a very different story. You probably already know that from Jenna’s surprise appearance at the beginning of this series – but there are lots more twists to come. He’s never met a girl like this one." [Daily Record, 29 Sep 2012]

Matt Smith also commented on his new co-star's arrival: "In the Christmas special he meets his new chum, or someone he thinks is his new chum. The episode will deal with the arrival of Jenna as companion and the subsequent adventures with the Doctor thereafter." [Wall Street Journal, 27 Sep 2012]

Both of the recent co-stars offered their advice, with Karen Gillan saying: "I just want her to experience it because it's the most incredible thing, it's like just jumping in at the deep end and I don't think anyone can really prepare you for that. But I'd probably just say 'Don’t Google yourself!'". Arthur Darvill said: "Jenna’s a really wonderful actress," he told BBC America, "I think she's gonna be absolutely amazing. My tip would be to enjoy it... and she's got to own it, make it her own, which I know she will because she's brilliant." [Radio Times, 2 Oct 2012]

Tom MacRae talks about Jenna-Louise Coleman's audition tapes: "She just had this amazing energy. She's actually a couple of years older than Karen but she seems younger - she seems more of a teenager and bouncy. She's fantastic. It's really hard to take over from any companion that's loved like Amy and Rory are, and she's just going to be so different whilst still being a Doctor Who companion. It's a very good choice from the producers." [Digital Spy, 26 Sep 2012]

The discussion of director Peter Jackson being interested in Doctor Who has led to a comment by executive producer Caroline Skinner: "It is beyond wonderful that Peter is a fan of the show and it's beyond flattering that he'd even think about it. I'm absolutely sure that we couldn't afford him but, you know, we can always negotiate. His enthusiasm is just fantastic of course." And on filming in New Zealand: "I'm with Matt, of course at some point we'd love to bring Doctor Who Down Under... it won't be possible until at least a year after the 50th anniversary" [Waikato Times, 24 Sep 2012]

Make-up designer Neill Gorton talks about some of the work he's recently undertaken: "I usually get a loose brief. A writer will often write 'an eight foot-tall green monster' - it can be as broad as that. So I look at the script, and work out from what is going on how I am going to approach it. That can dictate the look. Other times, it's a fairly set brief. For example, for Dinosaurs On A Spaceship, which was broadcast a couple of weeks back, we built the triceratops that the Doctor and his companions ride. Now we all know what a triceratops looks like, so I couldn’t really change that." The designer's company Millennium FX also designed The Gunslinger and Shakri, but it is the subtle work that Gorton is most proud of: "For me, it's often about the things people see and don’t even realise - you see an Ood in Doctor Who and you go, 'Oh that's got to be special effects or prosthetics', but when people watch something and just don't notice... well, that's why I love doing old-age make-up. Something very subtle." [Scotsman, 27 Sep 2012]




Broadcast Date For Room At The Top FinaleBookmark and Share

Thursday, 20 September 2012 - Reported by John Bowman
The second and concluding part of the BBC Four adaptation of Room At The Top starring Jenna-Louise Coleman will be shown on Thursday 27th September.

Coleman plays Susan Brown in the drama, which is set in the 1940s, and Kevin McNally portrays her father, Councillor Brown.

The first episode is being shown on Wednesday 26th September, and both parts will air from 9pm to 10pm.

Alice forgives Joe for his outburst and the two start seeing each other again. It becomes harder to keep the affair secret and they are soon the subject of Warley gossip. Susan hears the truth and ends her relationship with Joe.

Joe and Alice decide to disappear to a seaside cottage for four days of illicit and perfect love. Alice is fearful about what the future holds for them both. Promises are made. Alice suppresses her fears – but a sense of tragedy hangs over them.

Upon their return, Joe discovers that his colleague, Charles, has been promoted above him. Charles warns Joe against pursuing a relationship with Alice, advising him that a messy court case and complicated divorce would end his career and social aspirations.

The next morning Joe composes a letter apologising to Susan and asking for her forgiveness. They meet, make love, and Susan says: "You won't need her now, will you Joe?" Joe is in an agony of indecision.

He gets a call from Susan's father: Meet me at the Conservative Club. Councillor Brown tries to pay Joe off as a test – leave my daughter alone and I'll set you up in your own business. Joe's class anger leads him to refuse. Brown reveals that his daughter is pregnant. By Joe. He offers Joe his daughter's hand and a place in his business – but only if Joe ends his relationship with Alice. Joe accepts the bargain.

Joe meets Alice and finishes it. She is devastated.

The next morning in the treasurer's office Joe goes into work and starts to write his resignation letter. However, Charles tells Joe he has terrible news . . .