Who's Down UnderBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 31 December 2013 - Repported by Connor Johnston
Matt Smith (The Eleventh Doctor) and Karen Gillan (Amy Pond) are both heading down under for a special tour around the country next March. The Hub Productions' Whoniverse: The Doctor is in event will see them live on stage talking about the phenomenon of Doctor Who and their lives as the Doctor and his companion. There will also be merchandise as well as rare collectibles available to purchase from dealers. Limited autographs and professional photographs will be available with the guests. The tour dates are as follows:

>>> SYDNEY MARCH 1st 2014
>>> PERTH MARCH 2nd 2014
>>> ADELAIDE MARCH 8th 2014
>>> MELBOURNE MARCH 9th 2014

Additional guests as well as venues and ticket info will be announced mid-January from the Hub's website.

Other Australian appearances include Billie Piper (Rose Tyler), who will be touring with Oz Comic-Con in Adelaide and Perth throughout March and April 2014. Tickets can be purchased from the Official Oz Comic-Con site.

Also travelling to Australia and New Zealand is Fifth Doctor Peter Davison to host the Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular.

People RoundupBookmark and Share

Friday, 4 October 2013 - Reported by Chuck Foster
David Tennant is to 'regenerate' into an American version of his character Detective Inspector Alec Hardy in a US adaptation of the successful drama Broadchurch to be made by Fox. Writer Chris Chibnall is also involved, saying: "I'm very, very fascinated to see this story in a different landscape with an acting ensemble that's just as strong but taken from really great American actors. The DNA of the original is absolutely intact and filtered through a new prism, so it should still feel just as vibrant, and interesting, and strange, and unique, and beautiful, but just in a different setting — and then it's exploring the dramatic opportunities that that offers up. We're not gonna do the terrible version. We're gonna do a great version." [Entertainment Weekly, 2 Oct 2013]

Co-star Arthur Darvill has confirmed that he would be back in the second series of the UK version: "I'm meant to be doing the next series. I actually don't know whether that's an episode or a whole series, I'm in touch with the production company and my agent, [but] it's quite nice not knowing because I really can't give anything away. I'd quite like to find out soon so I can plan my life!" [Mirror, 18 Sep 2013]

Paul McGann is to provide the face of a new website to pay tribute to people from Merseyside who fought in the First World War. The actor said: "The First World War has only just ceased to be within living memory, the last trench soldiers have just died. I was privileged enough to know them for the last 20 years of their lives. It’s in my own family and that’s what this website is about – it’s a living history. This is to me what makes it so potent." Merseyside Experience of War, 1914-1918 is a project undertaken by Liverpool John Moores University and will be officially launched in November. [Liverpool Echo, 3 Oct 2013]

A poster featuring Christopher Eccleston as Malekith the Accursed from the forthcoming film Thor: The Dark World has been revealed. [Entertainment Weekly, 26 Sep 2013]

Steven Moffat is to appear at the Cheltenham Literature Festival on 12th October. Sherlock, The Doctor and Me is being hosted by the Radio Times, with behind-the-scenes discussion of his two successful BBC One shows. [Radio Times, 3 Oct 2013]

John Barrowman is to host a new quiz show for BBC One called Pressure Pad which will be broadcast from November; the actor said: "I am thrilled to be hosting this new innovative quiz show for BBC One and look forward to seeing whether contestants can take the heat on the Pressure Pad, and join in having fun with me." [BBC Media Centre, 2 Oct 2013]

The actor is also looking to buy a home in Scotland: "With whatever filming I'm doing in Scotland, it’s better to have my own house rather than a hotel. It’s nice to have somewhere to have parties by the sea. I want a house on the water. If anyone knows of a modern building with at least five bedrooms, we’ll keep it as our Scottish base. I know exactly what I’m looking for. I’ve been looking at the west coast and I’m not averse to it being on a loch or near a big town for when we want to go to the cinema or eat in restaurants. It also needs a two to three car garage because I have 10 cars." Barrowman has become a regular attraction for Glasgow during the Winter pantomime season alongside The Krankies, this year's presentation being Dick McWhittington. [Daily Record, 20 Sep 2013]

Karen Gillan has wrapped filming for the forthcoming film Guardians of the Galaxy - a film in which she shaved her hair to much media interest. The actress has this week been promoting Not Another Happy Ending, her film which is due to be released in cinemas on 11th October. Interviews can be found via the Irish Independent. The official trailer can be watched on YouTube.

Billie Piper will be appearing as Brona Croft in the new series from Showtime called Penny Dreadful. The series, from Skyfall director Sam Mendes is described as a "psychosexual horror" series which brings to life characters from Victorian literature alongside orginal creations, with Piper's character an Irish immigrant with a shady past. [Comic Book Resources, 19 Sep 2013]

The actress will also appear in Foxtrot, a play to be broadcast on Sky's Arts Channel as part of their Playhouse Presents series. She appears alongside Ben Whishaw and Lindsay Duncan. [Radio Times, 17 Sep 2013]

David Tennant's Winter turn in the RSC will be as the title role of Richard II; his performance will also be screened live in cinemas around the United Kingdom on 13th November as part of the National Theatre Live season. In addition, the Manchester International Festival's production of Macbeth starring Kenneth Branagh and Alex Kingston will be screened at venues around the United States as part of the National Theatre Live's Encore programme. [Manchester International Festival, 3 Oct 2013] [Shields Gazette, 26 Sep 2013]

An Evening with Kate O'Mara takes place on 19th October at The Misty Moon Gallery in London; speaking about whether she'd ever reprise her role as the Rani in the new series, the actress said: "I have white hair now, but a lot of it, and I'm still very glamorous and so I won't disappoint, I hope! I'll still be wearing the tight leather trousers and high-heel boots, regardless of what age! That's what the fans are expecting, so that's what you've got to give them. If you put a much older woman in Doctor Who, they can identify with it. I think it's quite an interesting concept and if you remember things like Grimm's Fairytales, the older woman is often the villainess, often the terrifying figure - why I do not know, but often she is. I think it's an idea to be exploited." [Digital Spy, 4 Oct 2013]

Doctor Who at San Diego Comic Con 2013Bookmark and Share

Monday, 22 July 2013 - Reported by Harry Ward
Matt Smith, Jenna Coleman and Steven Moffat (Credit: BBC America) Doctor Who once again had a presence at this year's San Diego Comic Con. Fans in the packed Hall H were treated to an exclusive screening of a trailer for the 50th Anniversary episode as well as a trailer for An Adventure In Space and Time.

Steven Moffat told fans who saw the trailer to not leak any audio or video footage of it or there would be no more exclusives at the convention in future years.

The panel was hosted by Craig Ferguson and consisted of Matt Smith, Jenna Coleman, Steven Moffat, Marcus Wilson, Mark Gatiss and David Bradley. Before the panel took place, Smith disguised himself as Bart Simpson as he wandered the convention floor while talking to Doctor Who fans in an American accent.

The cast and crew had a busy few days doing lots of interviews. A selection of these are below.

As part of Entertainment Weekly's Star Portrait series, Smith, Coleman, Gatiss and Bradley had their pictures taken for the publication.
Matt Smith and Jenna Coleman (Credit: Entertainment Weekly) Matt Smith (Credit: Entertainment Weekly) Jenna Coleman (Credit: Entertainment Weekly) David Bradley and Mark Gatiss (Credit: Entertainment Weekly)

Karen Gillan takes off her wig (Credit: Getty)
Karen Gillan shocked fans at Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy panel by showing off a new look. The actress will be playing Nebula in the film which required her to shave her hair off. She was wearing a wig before she took it off at the panel. The video footage of that is viewable here. She was also there taking part in interviews for NTSF:SD:SUV. A clip featuring Gillan in one of the episodes can be viewed here.

John Barrowman was also at the convention as part of the Arrow panel. In an interview with That Hashtag Show he discussed Doctor Who and said he would like a female Doctor. During the fan questions of the Doctor Who panel, Moffat was asked why Captain Jack wasn't in the 50th Anniversary episode, to which he replied: "How do you know what is or is not in the 50th? I've lied my arse off for months - you know nothing, so don't make presumptions."

People RoundupBookmark and Share

Friday, 29 March 2013 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Talking about fandom in the US, Matt Smith said: "We didn’t realise how big it was until we filmed in New York, but the fans have been so supportive. The British are a lot more reserved, and the North Americans have a lot more enthusiasm. I love it when people dress up as the Doctor. I like all that — that is the spirit of the place and there is a freedom to be enthusiastic there, which is hugely enjoyable. That is what’s great about working in science fiction shows." [New York Daily News, 23 Mar 2013]

And his thoughts on now being immortalised on a new stamp from the Royal Mail? "It’s a great privilege that the nation will be licking the backs of our heads. It’s an amazing thing – I’m really proud to be part of it. It’s cool. it’s something that I can show my grandkids." [SFX, 25 Mar 2013]

He also has an eye on being in the Bond franchise: "I'm not handsome enough to be James Bond. Maybe a villain though. Start campaigning now. I'd edge on the camp dangerous side I think. Javier Bardem was amazing. I thought Skyfall was a sumptuous film." Jenna-Louise Coleman also commented: "I’d love to be a Bond girl — I did have my moment on the back of a motorbike. But then we’ve got the goggles and the hat, so it was Doctor Who’s take on James Bond." [The Sun 19 Mar 2013, 22 Mar 2013]

Outside of Who, Jenna-Louise chats about what she'd like to tackle, drame-wise: "What I would really like to do is an adaptation. I like period drama because everyone is so restrained, but they have all these emotions raging underneath." [Evening Standard, 22 Feb 2013]

David Tennant has said that he isn't a fan of social media: "Twitter! It’s like being stalked by committee! Come and say hello if you want, but not for the sake of twittering about it." [Time Out via Radio Times, 27 Feb 2013]

Jenna-Louise similarly talks about avoiding the online community: "I don't really get online very much, I try to stay away. It's just ... that feeling of accessibility, you know? I like to go about my business and go to work and not have too much of a consciousness of what I'm doing. I just don't think it's for me, really. It's just not my cup of tea." [Mashable, 27 Mar 2013]

On the other hand, Billie Piper has embraced it, having arrived on Twitter as @BilliePiper - including a photo to prove it!

Peter Davison talks about watching Doctor Who with his children: "I do watch the new series, yes, because my children watch it and I love watching it. I've got to that age now. Douglas Adams who was a script editor on Doctor Who once said to me: "the trick about Doctor Who is making it simple enough for the adults to understand and complicated enough to hold the children’s attention". And I think I'm now getting to that point where I think I've moved into the older bracket, obviously I have, but in brain as well because I do find myself turning to my children saying: "what’s going on? What? Can you explain that?" They go: "oh, dad, what’s happened is this..." So, I'm now in that bracket which has to be simple for dad to understand." [Independent, 3 Mar 2013]

Colin Baker is to appear at Sci-fi By The Sea, a convention to be held at Herne Bay Football Club on the 16th June 16. Organiser Gerald McCarthy said: "People are very excited to have a proper Doctor Who coming down. Sometimes these announcements have a knock on effect for other guests, who ask who else is coming down before they attend. We already have two tardis’, seven or eight Daleks and some Cybermen coming along, so Colin tops it off for us on that front." [Kent Online, 14 Mar 2013]

On tour promoting their latest book, The Bone Quill, John and Carole Barrowman discuss their future plans for Hollow Earth: "We worked out some key plot things and some new things we hadn’t originally planned.. When we first planned [the series], we had three major evolutionary things we wanted to happen, [one] in each book, based on Matt’s and Em’s ability. We fleshed out the little details as we went along. One of the things we’ve had a lot of fun in doing, particularly with the first book, is seeding a lot of things that we hope to pull out as we go along. We planted little Easter eggs, or symbols, to discover. The twins live on Raphael Terrace. There are all sorts of allusions to art in ways that kids may not pick up until they get a little older. Matt and Em’s last name is Calder, not only a Scottish last name but also a famous artist’s last name. The idea of duality is in there. We’ve actually had a lot of fun playing the puzzle makers for all of that." [Popmatters, 29 Mar 2013]

The book was launched at St Katherine's School, Ham Green, which was chosen as the venue through librarian Lucy Edwards’ working relationship with Waterstone's. The siblings had an audience of 300 year eight pupils were there for their visit along with students from various reading groups. [Weston Mercury, 13 Mar 2013]

Writer Neil Cross explains what makes a good monster: "There's two kinds of good monsters. The monster to whom your existence means nothing. That's something like the Daleks. It's something so alien that it's inhumane in every sense. Then there's the monsters that look like us, but there's something wrong, like Hannibal Lecter. The attributes that we think are best in ourselves - love, conscience, compassion - are all stripped away. They're the people who kill puppies." [The Wellingtonian, 8 Mar 2013]

Writer Mark Ravenhill explained about potentially writing for Doctor Who: "I did once go and see Russell T Davies and he said he thought I was far too adult for Doctor Who. But he was creating Torchwood and so he said to go away and come up with some ideas. I had very few clues what it was about, so it was like throwing darts at a dartboard in the dark. That was the closest I ever came. Although I love Doctor Who - maybe I'm not the right person to write it." [BBC News, 24 Feb 2013]

When asked whether the perceived imbalance between male and female writers on Doctor Who would be addressed, producer Marcus Wilson said: "Due to schedules and other projects, both male and female writers whom we have wanted to join the team simply haven't been able to. For us it's about who can write good Doctor Who stories, regardless of gender." [Guardian, 27 Mar 2013]

Paul McCartney has revealed how he had asked Delia Derbyshire to remake Yesterday, though it never went any further: "We went round to visit her, we even went into the hut at the bottom of her garden. It was full of tape machines and funny instruments. My plan in meeting her was to do an electronic backing for my song Yesterday. We'd already recorded it with a string quartet, but I wanted to give the arrangement electronic backing. The Radiophonic Workshop, I loved all that, it fascinated me, and still does." [Q Magazine via Guardian, 22 Mar 2013]

Murray Gold recently appeared at the Scoring Drama Masterclass at London’s BFI, where he discussed strategies for composing drama music, including reading the script: "You need to love drama to score drama and show that you love it. First time I get a script, I read it. Which some composers don’t do. But reading the script helps you work out where ‘the kick’ is. This job is also a lot more interesting when you’re writing for a show you actually like." [M Magazine, 21 Mar 2013]

Being a former footballer, Matt Smith continues to take a keen interest, and shared his thoughts on recent developments at Blackburn Rovers: "It's an absolute farce, a joke, it's being run by complete numpties. Great players, great team, great club and those berks have ruined it. They talk about getting rid of Allardyce because of the long ball - what the hell was that against Millwall? It was a woeful performance against Millwall. It's the first time I've been embarrassed at the way the team played." [BBC News, 16 Mar 2013]

Now firmly established on ITV, David Tennant commented on how the Broadchurch story unfolded where the actors didn't know how it would develop: "When you're playing those initial interviews with characters and you genuinely don't know what the truth is, you can't load those scenes with 'actorly' tricks. You have to play it for what it is, which can only make it more real. You can be as exasperated about the mystery of the characters as the audience will be. It's great to be part of something where all the characters have powerful stories to tell. There's the whodunit aspect but there are other stories going on and such wonderful people portraying those parts." [Belfast Telegraph, 22 Feb 2013]

Co-star Arthur Darvill explained how he became involved with Broadchurch: "Chris Chibnall came up to me while I was filming one of his episodes in Cardiff and said, "I've written you a part in a new TV series, will you do it?" I thought, "I can't say no to that, that's amazing!". We chatted about it, we discussed where the character would go, and I just found what he was trying to do really interesting, so I jumped at the chance. That's the first time somebody's ever written anything for me; it was very humbling. It's quite an honour," he added." [Belfast Telegraph, 1 Mar 2013]

Karen Gillan is to join American comedy series NTSF:SD:SUV for its third series, appearing as Daisy, described as the team's "Q" expert. The series is due to be broadcast in from July. [Radio Times, 22 Mar 2013]

David Warner and Lisa Bowerman can be seen in The Wizard, a short film written by Simon Guerrier for Hat Trick and Bad Teeth's Short and Funnies short comedy film competition.

People RoundupBookmark and Share

Friday, 18 January 2013 - Written by Chuck Foster and John Bowman
Matt Smith is to make his directorial debut on an episode of Playhouse Presents... on Sky Arts. The episode is entitled Cargese and is described as "a unique piece of poetic realism which mines the tragic seam of adolescent love and loss.". Talking about his new challenge, Smith said: "Sky Arts offers creative opportunities that many other channels don't. To collaborate with (writer) Simon Stephens in this capacity was a thrilling and rare opportunity and one we both were keen to embrace." The episode airs on Thursday 25th April. [Sky Arts]

Marc Warren has also written and directed for the series with Hey Diddly Dee, which will feature Kylie Minogue in a starring role. Warren said: "Writing and directing for Playhouse Presents... has been one of the most magical experiences of my career. To give myself the best chance I called in every favour to surround myself with a dream cast and an incredible crew. And then by some miracle, Kylie appeared, and the fate of our film was sealed." As for Minogue, she said: "When the script was sent to me, I read it and knew instinctively I wanted to be part of this project. In Hey Diddly Dee, Marc has created a beautiful and quirky story." The episode launches the season on Thursday 14th March.

Other names to feature in Playhouse Presents... this year include Frances Barber, David Harewood, Suranne Jones and Reggie Yates.

As reported last year, a new series starring Bernard Cribbins with Freema Agyeman is to feature on CBeebies. Old Jack's Boat starts its 25-episode daily weekday run on Monday 21st January at 5.40pm, and sees Cribbins as the retired, story-telling fisherman of the title, with Agyeman featuring as café-owning character Shelly Periwinkle. The story to be broadcast on Friday 25th January is written by Russell T Davies and involves the Moon. "Sitting watching Bernard Cribbins reading out some lines that you've written, I can't tell you how good it was, it was a joy," said Davies. [BBC News, 15 Jan 2013]

Agyeman also made her US debut in The Carrie Diaries this week. The Sex And The City prequel series is airing on Mondays on The CW Channel and she plays Larissa Loughlin, a style editor at Interview magazine who also acts as a mentor to the eponymous young Carrie Bradshaw.

David Morrissey isn't averse to a return to Doctor Who, should he be asked. "I would absolutely love to do it again. I had such a ball doing it," he said. "Mark Gatiss says, you know, there's nothing more blissful for him to write than 'Interior TARDIS: Day' or whatever on the top of one of his scripts, it's living the dream. And for me, when I went down and worked on it, I thought 'This is great', it's a really well-run show, people take it very seriously but you have fun on it. And l loved that character, I really loved Jackson Lake, I thought he was a really interesting man, he was in some sort of trauma himself and the Doctor liberates him from that..." [Den of Geek, 17 Jan 2013]

A play starring Billie Piper and Tom Goodman-Hill has won a gong in the Critics' Circle Theatre Awards. The Effect, by Lucy Prebble, was named Best Play. Billed as a clinical romance, it is at the National Theatre until Saturday 23rd February, although all performances are sold out except for day tickets and possible returns. [BBC News, 15 Jan 2013]

Mark Williams - currently starring as the eponymous crime-solving priest Father Brown in the BBC One daytime drama - has spoken of his fondness for GK Chesterton's clerical detective. "He has a huge appetite for the detail of life and for humanity, and he cares very much about people's souls. That's the most interesting thing about him as a sleuth: it's not him solving a conundrum or a crossword, he's dealing with what he sees as people's eternal damnation. And when he works it out, the sky turns black and is full of harpies; he's desperately committed to his morality." [Radio Times, 13 Jan 2013]

Olivia Colman joins Tim Pigott-Smith and Shaun Dingwall in the cast of the ITV drama The Suspicions of Mr Whicher II: The Murder In Angel Lane. She will play Susan Spencer, who employs Whicher as a private inquiry agent to investigate the murder of her niece. Pigott-Smith reprises his role as Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Richard Mayne, while Dingwall will play Inspector George Lock. The two-hour story is being filmed in Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire, and central London over the next four weeks. [ITV Press Centre, 11 Jan 2013]

James Moran talks about the temptations of writing darker stories: "It's when people decide to make something dark for the sake of it, and then work out the story and force it, that never ends well. Children of Earth was just a story idea that gradually turned dark all by itself, so I think it worked. But I've certainly seen it hurt other shows and movies, where they decide to make it grim just to be edgy, without it flowing naturally from the story. And sometimes, blimey, you just want to have a laugh when you sit down for a bit of telly in the evening" [Den of Geek, 10 Jan 2013]

Amy Manson has been short-listed for the title role in the new series of Wonder Woman that goes into production this year for the CW Network. [STV, 16 Jan 2013]

Mark Benton is to star in an advertising campaign for electronic cigarettes that could prove to be a landmark case, as there is currently a ban in the UK on promoting tobacco-related products. [Radio Times, 15 Jan 2013]

After the campaign last year, David Tennant, Sir Richard Branson and Usain Bolt are back to promote Virgin Media in a second series of adverts for the cable broadcaster's TiVo service.

Karen Gillan was a victim of hacking earlier in the week on Twitter when she apparently became a heavy promoter of weight-loss pills! The actress has since regained control of her account.

BBC Books authors Gary Russell, Jacqueline Rayner and Steve Cole are to be guests for Dr Who: Past, Present and Future, an event in Chelmsford on Sunday 24th March that forms part of the Essex Book Festival. [Essex Book Festival]

Eoin Colfer was revealed last week as the author of the first Puffin book for Doctor Who's 50th anniversary. The author said: "When I was asked to write one of the 11 e-shorts for the Doctor's 50th anniversary it was like being whisked away by my own Tardis back to the 1970s when Kevin, my brother Paul and I were three science-fictioneers immersing ourselves in the lore of Doctor Who in the sunny south-east of Ireland. I chose the First Doctor because I always imagined him to be a crank who was jaded by the Universe's cruelty rather than amazed by its wonders. There was no naivety about him whatsoever. He had seen far more in his life than he ever wanted to, and his fight against evil‑doers was dogged and not punctuated by repartee. The First Doctor's companion was his granddaughter Susan and her love for her granddad was perhaps the purest thing in his world, and something he was prepared to protect fiercely." [Guardian, 12 Jan 2013]

Colfer also discusses the e-book in a video released by BBC Worldwide as part of the promotion for A Big Hand For The Doctor.

Written by Chuck Foster and John Bowman

National Television Awards 2013 Shortlist RevealedBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 8 January 2013 - Reported by John Bowman
Doctor Who and its stars have been shortlisted in three categories in this year's National Television Awards.

In the Drama section, the show itself is up against Sherlock (co-created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss), Merlin (starring Colin Morgan), and Downton Abbey (starring Hugh Bonneville).

Matt Smith is nominated for Drama Performance: Male, for which he is competing against Benedict Cumberbatch (the title role in Sherlock), Colin Morgan (the title role in Merlin), and Daniel Mays (Ronnie Biggs in Mrs Biggs).

Meanwhile, Karen Gillan faces Sheridan Smith (Charmian Biggs in Mrs Biggs), Suranne Jones (Det Con Rachel Bailey in Scott & Bailey), and Miranda Hart (Chummy Browne in Call The Midwife) for the Drama Performance: Female gong.

In other categories, Would I Lie To You?, featuring David Mitchell, is among the nominees for Comedy Panel Show, The Apprentice (with Lord Alan Sugar) and Paul O'Grady: For The Love Of Dogs are included in Factual Entertainment, Absolutely Fabulous (with June Whitfield) and Benidorm (co-written by and co-starring Steve Pemberton) are up for Situation Comedy, Coronation Street (produced by Phil Collinson) is nominated for Serial Drama, and The Chase, hosted by Bradley Walsh, is nominated in the Daytime category.

Both Smith and Gillan won in their respective categories in last year's NTAs, but the show lost out to Downton Abbey as Most Popular Drama.

Votes can be cast via this link and must be confirmed by midday on Wednesday 23rd January, when voting closes. The ceremony - the 18th NTAs - takes place at the O2 Arena in London and will be broadcast live on ITV1 from 7.30pm the same day.

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Wednesday, 12 December 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Bernard Cribbins is a firm supporter of the Surviving Winter campaign, which aims to help reduce isolation and vulnerability for older people. The actor said: "I am 100 per cent behind the campaign and delighted to be supporting it. I am going to donate my winter fuel allowance to support others in Surrey that need additional help during the winter. I encourage others who don't need their allowance to do the same." [Camberley People, 4 Dec 2012]

Having hung up his Merlin breeches, Colin Morgan has no plans to return to Doctor Who: "Well, that box has already been ticked, but I feel very lucky to have been part of that. It was my first filming job really, so it was a great thing to be a part of, but in terms of the future? Probably not." And as the Doctor? "No, I don’t think so!" [Radio Times, 3 Dec 2012]

Matt Smith played host to a fund-raising dinner for the National Youth Theatre on Monday 3rd December; the event, A Shepherd's Delight, was held at The Shepherd's Restaurant in Belgravia. Smith became a patron of the NYT in July. [Daily Mail, 4 Dec 2012]

Karen Gillan, back home in Inverness for Christmas, was invited to present a UNICEF Baby Friendly Award to NHS Highland maternity staff at the city's Raigmore Hospital; the award was in recognition of the education and support they have given to breastfeeding mothers. The actress said: "I knew very little about the benefits of breastfeeding until now. But I am definitely a convert. I have no plans to start a family – I have to find a boyfriend first. It is too early for me to settle down but when I do get broody, I will be following the breast is best advice. I have learned so much here, it has been great research if I have to audition for a nursing or midwife role in the future." [Daily Record, 12 Dec 2012]

David Tennant is to perform festive duties on the Christian O'Connell Breakfast Show this Christmas, and also portray the Virgin Mary in the celebrity nativity play due to be broadcast on 21st December. The presenter said: "David Tennant fans are going to really enjoy seeing his masculine Scottish jaw-line peeking out from under a head-scarf with me on his arm. He’ll need to draw on all his luvvie training to avoid being out-acted by me and Wrighty on the day." The actor has had a long association with O'Connell: he performed in another panto alongside Brian Blessed back in 2006, and has co-hosted the show in the past, too (2009, 2011); O'Connell was also a guest at the actor's wedding last year. [Radio Today, 12 Dec 2012]

Big Finish producer Nicholas Briggs talks about working with the Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker: "Tom's an interesting one, really. All the stories you've heard about him being aggressive about scripts - he's mellowed a lot in his old age, but you do occasionally get a little flash of the old Tom Baker. He can be quite savage to a Director! ...He was suggesting something, you know, to the nth time, and it was quite a crazy suggestion. I said, 'OK Tom, I'm gonna go with that,' and he just said, 'Oh, Nick! I can't tell how happy it makes me when you accept one of my suggestions!" He sounded very moved... he said, 'I was rewriting my will this weekend, and I put something in it for you!' [Chicago Now, 3rd Dec 2012]

Sylvester McCoy talks about almost being Bilbo The Lord of the Rings, and how he came to play Radagast in The Hobbit: "It got down to two actors eventually from quite a few, and I was one of them. Of course the other was the great and glorious Ian Holm. I was a bit disappointed, but I was also quite pleased to be in such great company. So they knew me from that, and so as luck would have it, I was touring with Ian McKellen in King Lear, playing the fool to his king, and we went to New Zealand. And they knew me before, but they were reminded of me again, and they saw Ian and I working on the stage together. I think they must have quite liked that." [LA Times, 3 Dec 2012]

It has been announced that Russell T Davies married his long-term partner Andrew Smith during the course of last week. The couple moved back to the United Kingdom last year so that they could be closer to friends and family after Andrew was diagnosed with cancer. [Anglotopia, 7 Dec 2012]

Strictly Come Dancing judge Bruno Tonioli talks about his love of Doctor Who: "I am absolutely addicted - in fact I dedicated a chapter of my autobiography (to it). When I first came to the UK I didn't understand English at all, so the first show I watched on TV was Doctor Who because you could follow the story and understand it without understanding the language. And I've been addicted since, it gets better and better and better. Unmissable! I am desperate to be in it - I'd pay for it!" [The One Show, 11 Dec 2012]

Former MP Louise Mensch is one of the contributors to the new book, Behind The Sofa: "I always had a sneaking suspicion that everyone in the world loves Doctor Who - well, now I have concrete proof. If I could get all the famous names who contributed to this book into one room, I think it would be the maddest convention ever. Until then, their favourite memories of the programme are preserved for all to see. Plus, everyone who buys a copy will be helping to give hope to the 820,000 people in the UK living with dementia today." [Telegraph, 3 Dec 2012]

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Sunday, 11 November 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster
David Tennant made his Star Wars "debut" this weekend in The Clone Wars episode A Test of Strength, providing the voice of droid Huyang. Supervising director Dave Filoni (a Doctor Who fan himself) said: "When I heard the Doctor himself, David Tennant, was a fan of Star Wars I knew I had to find a way to get in contact with him to see if he would perform on The Clone Wars. The result was 'Huyang,' an ancient droid in the service of the Jedi Order, whose sole task in life has been overseeing the construction of lightsabers. I thought David was perfect for the part and he did not disappoint. He delivered a performance which impressed even the Master himself, George Lucas." [IGN, 6 Nov 2012]

Clip featuring David Tennant as the voice of Huyang, IGN

The actor has also contributed artwork to an auction by the Steps’ Youth Achievement Award group, aimed to help youngsters in Weymouth; his sketch of K9 was won by an American bidder for £311. [Dorset Echo, 3 Nov 2012]

Former Doctor Who actress Karen Gillan talks about her new life in the USA: "I'm looking forward to embracing the culture. It's completely alien. There's loads of vegans but I won't turn vegan. I'm too Scottish. I love haggis. I loved Alabama because it reminds me of my home town. There is no one there and there is a lot of fried food. My guilty pleasure is Mars bars put in the deep fat fryer." [Daily Record, 4 Nov 2012]

Torchwood actress Eve Myles has been filming a new series, Frankie, which will be shown by BBC1 spring next year: "This is an incredible leading part for a female. It's tremendous pressure but also tremendously exciting. I can't wait to step into Frankie's shoes and get on set. I'm desperate to start. Lucy Gannon is an incredible writer and writes relationships so beautifully." [WalesOnline, 3 Nov 2012]

David Morrissey recently appeared on The Craig Ferguson Show to promote his appearance in The Walking Dead; spotting the police box on the host's desk he went on to briefly chat about his appearance in 2009's Christmas Special: "After we'd finished filming it, David Tennant announced that he was going to leave, so Russell T Davies said 'do you mind if we spin the story about you maybe being the next Doctor?' I said no and he said 'you CAN'T tell anyone that you're not going to be the next Doctor!' I said sure but I can tell my kids and he went 'NO!' - so for six/seven months my kids were going 'are you going to be Doctor Who?' and I'd say do your homework and I might tell you!" [The Craig Ferguson Show, 30 Oct 2012]

Director Michael E Briant is due to engage in a webchat on Monday 26th November from 8pm to 9pm to discuss his career and his autobiography, Who is Michael E Briant? [Tony Jordan/Planet Mondas, 5 Nov 2012]

Anne Reid, Sarah Lancashire, and Derek Jacobi star in the forthcoming BBC One romantic comedy Last Tango In Halifax. The six-part series starts on Tuesday 20th November at 9pm.

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]

People RoundupBookmark and Share

Sunday, 30 September 2012 - Reported by John Bowman
Karen Gillan has moved back to Scotland and back home with her parents: "It's a really funny thought having all these crazy experiences on Doctor Who, then always seeming to end up back in my old childhood bedroom, with my childhood posters. I've got a Muse one, from when I was like an angsty teen. And I've got a Daniel O'Donnell calendar, which I thought would be really funny when I was younger, from 2004 or something. I lie there and I am like, has all that just really happened? Or did I just imagine it?" [Daily Record, 24 Sep 2012]

Arthur Darvill, currently appearing in Our Boys at The Duchess Theatre in London, recalls his first theatre appearance: "I was confronted with 1,000 people. I thought, 'Oh my God, what am I doing?' I've been so nervous during shows that I've walked offstage at the end and immediately forgotten everything that I've just done. You hear stories about stage fright, but if you know that someone's experienced it, you don't mention it – just in case. You never know what can set it off. It is a terrifying thing walking out for the first time, but it's funny how quickly that fades. Later, you start to crave that fear." [Guardian, 21 Sep 2012]

Colin Baker is to appear as Nurse Nellie in this year's Sleeping Beauty pantomime at Bournemouth Pavilion Theatre: "Nurse Nellie is a dame, and dames do what dames do which is to be 'mumsy', and inept, and funny, and hopefully create a few laughs along the way. I did dame three or four times before they asked me to do villain again, which I've been doing for the last six or seven years. I've been asking Martin Dodd (of UK Productions) if I can do dame again, and he said how do you fancy doing it in Bournemouth? I said, yes please!" He also commented on how much he likes the current Doctor: "I love Matt Smith. When I heard they were casting a 12-year-old I got very depressed as I like my old Doctors. He may only be 12, but inside there is a 900-year-old Time Lord and I absolutely believe it. I think he's fantastic and I love watching it." [What's On Stage, 24 Sep 2012]

Former actor Michael Cashman received the Lifetime Achievement honour at the European Diversity Awards 2012, held at The Savoy in London. Cashman, now a Labour MEP for the West Midlands and the party's human-rights spokesman in the European Parliament, said he was "very happy and humbled" to accept it.

Hugh Bonneville is to play the title role of Mr Stink in a BBC One adaptation of the children's novel by David Walliams. The one-hour family comedy, adapted by Walliams and Simon Nye, begins filming in October and is set to be transmitted later this year. Bonneville said: "I'm delighted to be adding my own whiff to the odour that emanates from David Walliams... and his very funny, touching, and thought-provoking story." Walliams, who will play the Prime Minister in it, added: "I am thrilled that Hugh is playing Mr Stink. He is one of the most popular and talented actors around, and is the perfect person to bring out the character's humour and sadness." [BBC Media Centre, 21 Sep 2012]

Make-up designer Neill Gorton explains what led him to take up the career of creating prosthetics: "We used to do family trips to Blackpool where they had a Doctor Who exhibition. Now, when, as a kid, I saw Davros on the TV, I remember thinking, 'Where did they get this incredibly ugly old man?' Then, at the exhibition, they had a Davros mask on display. That was when it dawned on me... it was a mask! Then it sank in that someone had to make it, and that is my earliest recollection of wanting to do what I do." [Scotsman, 27 Sep 2012]

With the imminent return of cult sci-fi comedy Red Dwarf to our TV screens, two of its stars have spoken of their wish for a Doctor Who crossover. Craig Charles, aka Dave Lister, said: "I think it'd be great if, for one scene, we could be beaming somewhere and suddenly we'd be on the Tardis with the Doctor. Then we could shake our heads, say 'nah', and just beam back out again." Fellow Dwarfer Danny John-Jules, who plays The Cat, added: "I think Doug Naylor should write in one of the old Doctors. Sylvester McCoy or someone. And then we could have an episode with one of those guys in it. It would be funny." [Radio Times, 25 Sep 2012]

Imelda Staunton and Tim Pigott-Smith are up for gongs in this year's Theatre Awards UK. Staunton is nominated for Best Performance In A Musical (Sweeney Todd) and Pigott-Smith is in the running for Best Performance In A Play (King Lear). The awards ceremony takes place on Sunday 28th October at the Guildhall in London. [The Stage, 27 Sep 2012]

(Compiled by John Bowman and Chuck Foster)