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

Episode 3 - An Unearthly Series - The Origins of a TV Legend: First published 14 May 2012

Doctor RoundupBookmark and Share

Saturday, 22 March 2014 - Reported by Marcus
Christopher Eccleston has recorded an audio version of a short story by award-winning author Patrick Ness in aid of Read for RNIB Day.

The story, Now That You've Died, takes readers and listeners on an exhilarating journey into the afterlife. It was written by Ness especially for the Royal National Institute of Blind People, the leading UK charity helping blind and partially sighted people.

The story can be heard for free here. In return, listeners are asked to consider making a donation to RNIB to help make reading more accessible to blind and partially sighted people.

The RNIB Day campaign manager, Becca McRow, said:
Now That You've Died is another fine example of Patrick's finesse for storytelling which is both captivating yet challenging to the reader and we're honoured that he wrote it in support of Read for RNIB Day.

Christopher Eccleston brings the story to life superbly and we're delighted that we can now open up this fantastic audio version of the story to members of the public. We ask for a donation in return to help RNIB continue its vital work in making reading more accessible for blind and partially sighted people.

David Tennant is lending his voice to the upcoming Xbox One game Kinect Sports Rivals as the narrator.

The game is produced by British video game developer Rare. A video has been released which includes a behind-the-scenes interview with Tennant as well as footage of the recording sessions.

Tom Baker has said he's thrilled that the classic Doctor Who series is to be screened in the UK on the Horror Channel, as reported here.
Horror is my very favourite genre, so I am thrilled the classic Doctor Who series have been picked up by the Horror Channel. There was clearly a darker edge to my storylines, which I think brought a new dimension to the series. I remember hearing of the series scaring children – I wonder how the audience will react to the series today, all grown up.
The Horror Channel has completed a deal with BBC Worldwide to broadcast 30 stories from the classic series, which ran from 1963 to 1989, featuring the first seven Doctors, starting with William Hartnell and concluding with Sylvester McCoy.
Sylvester McCoy, will be making an appearance at FantasyCon this July. The Con will be held in Salt Lake City, Utah. Tickets are now on sale.

FILTER: - Tom Baker - David Tennant - Christopher Eccleston - Sylvester McCoy

People RoundupBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 18 March 2014 - Reported by Marcus
Actor Olaf Pooley has been talking to ABC News on the occasion of his 100th birthday. The centenarian told the station the secret of a long life.

A Facebook fan page for the actor has been set up here.

A two-part, fully illustrated & extensive interview with Doctor Who companion actress Katy Manning has just been released online.

Both parts are available to be heard on her official website, The interview covers her early career, her friendship with Liza Minnelli, Doctor Who, her TV/theatre work in Australia, and beyond. It's also available as a free download. Katy Manning has also recorded a comedy sketch during this interview, which is an affectionate parody of both classic Who and Big Finish.

Marian Deuchar who was interviewed in Return To Devils End and had a scene in The Daemons where she grabbed a young child and took it indoors, died peacefully in Aldbourne Nursing Home on 24th February 2014 aged 91. Her funeral service was held at St Michael's Church as used in The Daemons.
Siv-Art Productions has announced that Sylvester McCoy is joining the Inspector Chronicles guest cast that already includes Robert Picardo (The Doctor in "Star Trek: Voyager", "Stargate: Atlantis"), Chase Masterson ("Star Trek: Deep Space Nine"), and Mayim Bialik ("Big Bang Theory", "Blossom"). They'll all be joining existing cast members Travis Richey (Inspector Spacetime on "Community"), Eric Loya, and Carrie Keranen.

Instead of a second season of the web series, the team will be producing a feature-length film. "Untitled Web Series" will now become The Inspector Chronicles: Untitled Motion Picture About A Space Traveler Who Can Also Travel Through Time.

The film is currently entering the pre-production phase, and is seeking help from fans and investors. Pledges can be made here.

Thanks to Mark Watterson, Steven Fook Yuan Wong, Matthew Wuethrich

FILTER: - People - Classic Series - Sylvester McCoy

Big Finish: December releasesBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 25 December 2013 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Afterlife (Credit: Big Finish)Afterlife
Starring Sylvester McCoy as The Doctor, with Sophie Aldred as Ace and Philip Olivier as Hex

Hex is dead. And a distraught Ace holds the Doctor responsible.

She forces him to take a trip to 21st century Liverpool to break the news to Hex's beloved nan and, to pay tribute to Thomas Hector Schofield, the pair seek out his family and friends to tell them of his adventures. They're helped by Private Sally Morgan, who has her own peace to find.

The Doctor, Ace and Sally must each face the fallout of the loss of their friend - to commemorate him, remember him, and finally to move on. But can they do it together, or will their attempts drive them apart?

Producer David Richardson says:
It’s the end of one era, and the beginning of another as the Doctor must face the consequences of his own actions, and mourn a fallen friend. I think, in this story, Sylvester McCoy delivers his best performance at Big Finish - in fact,it’s one of THE very best performances I’ve ever heard at Big Finish. So delicate, and powerful and memorable… it will break your heart.
The Dying Light (Credit: Big Finish)The Dying Light (available to order)
Starring Frazer Hines as Jamie, Wendy Padbury as Zoe, with Terry Molloy as Quadrigger Stoyn

The TARDIS materialises on a dying world circling a dying sun, where the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe are welcomed to Sanctuary - an entire monastery carved out of a mountain.

But little here is quite what it seems.

Quadrigger Stoyn has waited through the centuries. And it is time for the Doctor to pay for his first terrible mistake.

David Richardson says:
The second in the Stoyn Trilogy, which tells the story of an abandoned Time Lord from key points in the Doctor’s lives. This time we are directly before The War Games, as the Second Doctor, Jamie and Zoe find Stoyn on a dying world. With Frazer playing both the Doctor and Jamie, and with Wendy Padbury and Terry Molloy with him, this feels very much like an authentic story from the late 1960s.
Night of the StormcrowNight of the Stormcrow (available to order)
Starring Tom Baker as The Doctor, Louise Jameson as Leela

High atop Mount McKerry sits the observatory. For years now it's been watching the skies. Now something's watching back. Something dark and huge that blots out the stars. Something with giant wings. Something that kills.

When the TARDIS is struck mid-flight, the Doctor and Leela crash-land on the mountain to find they are not the only aliens to be visiting. Beings of nothing infest the complex, staff members are dead or mad. As the survivors argue amongst themselves and attempt to take advantage of the situation, a creature vast and terrible is coming ever closer.

A creature called... Stormcrow.

David Richardson says:
We asked writer Marc Platt to give us a scary story and that’s precisely what he did, as the Doctor and Leela arrive at a remote observatory that has discovered a creature that appears in the early hours of the morning. Gothic and doom-laden, this is one to listen to with the lights off.
The Lost Stories: The Mega (Credit: Big Finish)The Mega (available to order)
Starring Katy Manning as Jo Grant and Richard Franklin as Mike Yates

"This is a warning. Your aggression cannot go unchecked. The West must disarm. We will make you disarm."

When an assassination follows the first demonstration of a deadly new weapon, it appears that an alien race has fired the opening salvo in a new war – a war… for peace.

But is that truly their intent? The Doctor is unsure. The answer lies deep in the heart of a distant country. A place where a man might be a hero or a traitor. Where a man has to face the menace… of the Mega.

David Richardson says:
The end of The Lost Stories, which has been close to my heart for four years. The Mega is our sole Third Doctor outing, as Katy Manning and Richard Franklin tell a story full of action, suspense… and hideous alien monsters that would have been made with CSO. Earthbound 1970s Who revisited!

In addition, subscribers to the main range will also received the bonus story below:

Trial of the Valeyard (Credit: Big Finish)The Trial of the Valeyard
Starring Colin Baker as The Doctor), Michael Jayston as The Valeyard, and Lynda Bellingham as The Inquisitor

There is some evil in all of us – even the Doctor. Transported aboard the Time Lords' orbiting courtroom, the Doctor once again encounters the Valeyard, an amalgamation of the darker sides of his nature. This time, however, the Doctor isn't in the dock. This time, the Valeyard is the defendant, accused of a crime so terrible that the presiding Inquisitor is forbidden to reveal it even to the court, nor even to his counsel for the defence… the Doctor.

If the Valeyard is found guilty, he'll be executed. Execute the Valeyard, and the secret of his origins dies with him. A secret that the Doctor is desperate to know… and which the Time Lords will stop at nothing to protect.

David Richardson says:
This one plays almost like part 15 of The Trial of the Time Lord, as the Sixth Doctor is reunited with the Valeyard and the Inquisitor in the Time Lord courtroom, to unravel some mysteries of the Valeyard’s existence. This one is a very contained drama that allows Colin Baker, Lynda Bellingham and Michael Jayston to fly - and it was wonderful to see them back together again.

FILTER: - Merchandise - Audio - Tom Baker - Sylvester McCoy - Colin Baker - Big Finish

Tom Baker - Happiest Time of My LifeBookmark and Share

Sunday, 24 November 2013 - Reported by Marcus
Tom Baker has told the BBC that playing the Doctor was the happiest time of his whole life.

The veteran actor was interviewed for the BBC Three show Doctor Who Live: The Afterparty , screened directly after the 50th Anniversary episode in which Baker made a surprise cameo appearance playing The Curator. It's been my entire existence. I'm delighted to be celebrating it, he said. The fans give me the credit for making Saturday more fun than it really was, in between the football, Basil Brush and Bruce Forsyth. I was right up there with all those legends and I'm grateful..

The live show featured interviews many previous Doctors and Companions from the series including Carole Ann Ford and William Russell, both of whom appeared in the first episode, An Unearthly Child, fifty years ago.
Earlier in the day five Doctors, Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Matt Smith received a standing ovation at the Doctor Who Convention at London's ExCeL Centre. When asked about their favourite Doctor most cited Patrick Troughton. He always managed to sort things out without you knowing he'd done it, said Colin Baker, without Patrick none of us would be here.

FILTER: - Tom Baker - Matt Smith - Peter Davison - Sylvester McCoy - Colin Baker

The Five(ish) Doctors RebootBookmark and Share

Sunday, 24 November 2013 - Reported by Marcus
The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot - a star-studded special written and directed by Peter Davison and starring Davison alongside Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy, with Paul McGann appearing too - is now available on the BBC iPlayer.

It is also scheduled to be broadcast again tonight via the Red Button service, between 9.25pm and 10.35pm.

FILTER: - Steven Moffat - Peter Davison - Sylvester McCoy - Colin Baker

The Five Doctors(ish)Bookmark and Share

Friday, 22 November 2013 - Reported by Chuck Foster
The BBC have revealed a new Red Button video this coming Saturday evening:

The Five Doctors(ish)
BBC Red Button, Saturday 23rd November, 10:05pm
Duration 30 minutes

A star studded special written and directed by Peter Davison. With the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who about to film, the 'Classic' Doctors are keen to be involved. But do they manage it?

The project, as noted above, has been driven by Peter Davison, and also has an associated Twitter account to follow, DayOfTheFishDr.

The Five Doctors(ish) (Credit: Day Of The Fish Dr/Twitter) The Five Doctors(ish) (Credit: Day Of The Fish Dr/Twitter) The Five Doctors(ish) (Credit: Day Of The Fish Dr/Twitter)

Davison, Sylvester McCoy and Colin Baker were spotted filming a "protest" outside BBC Television Centre during the summer, sporting signs such as "No Classics? No 50th!!" and "Have A Heart. Classic Doctors Want A Part". As Conor Keegan observed on Twitter at the time: "Sylvester McCoy and Peter Davison outside TVC right now! Protesting that they aren't in the 50th ann Doctor Who! Mental."; and "Colin Baker has arrived. Outside BBC Television Centre right now, protesting.". Other names associated with the spoof drama include Sean Pertwee, who tweeted an apparent call sheet with his, Paul McGann and Olivia Colman's names listed.

FILTER: - Online - Peter Davison - Sylvester McCoy - Colin Baker

The Light at the End released earlyBookmark and Share

Thursday, 24 October 2013 - Reported by Josiah Rowe
Big Finish Productions have released The Light at the End, their 50th anniversary Doctor Who story, one month before the programme's actual anniversary:
Light at the End special edition cover (Credit: Big Finish) We’re very pleased to announce that today is the day we’re beginning the release of our 50th anniversary Doctor Who story The Light at the End. We’re beginning with the Limited Edition CD box set.

It's the 23rd of October, one month ahead of the anniversary of Doctor Who on the 23rd of November, and as of today, the digital download releases for all versions of Doctor Who: The Light at the End will be made available. This includes the Limited Edition, the Standard Edition and the Vinyl Edition.

Mailing out of the Limited Edition CD version has begun today.

Nick Briggs, executive producer: ‘The Standard Edition CDs should start to be mailed out this coming Friday, and the Vinyl Edition will start mailing on November 2nd.

‘With the anniversary of Doctor Who imminent,’ continues Nick, ‘and everyone champing at the bit for the celebrations to begin, we thought it only right and proper that our special anniversary full-cast audio should be released a tiny bit early. Our plans for this very nearly went awry when the company responsible for the physical production of our CDs (and LPs!), Key Productions, experienced a series of unforeseeable problems beyond their control. This is what has caused the slight delay on the Standard Edition and the slightly longer delay of the Vinyl Edition. But for all our customers who can access the digital versions of all these releases, they can listen straight away.

‘We know that those customers who favour listening to the CD or the LP rather than downloading a digital version, might find this a little frustrating, but we thought this course of action would benefit the vast majority of our loyal listeners. We offer our sincerest apologies to any customers who find this decision doesn’t suit them, and hope they will understand our reasons for going ahead with the releases now.’

So, for Big Finish Productions, the 50th anniversary has started early. And for any of you who haven't yet ordered your copy of Doctor Who: The Light at the End, it will be on sale at the Dimensions 2013 convention (all tickets now sold) in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, where the Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Doctors (Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann) will be making guest appearances.

When Big Finish announced on Facebook and Twitter that The Light at the End was available for download, their website was temporarily overloaded by the sudden, strong demand. These problems were subsequently resolved, but Big Finish requested that customers wait to download the story if possible:
As you may have seen, the BF Website is back up and running again. But we would ask that if you can possibly wait a few hours to download The Light at the End, please do. The problem we have discovered is that although we have ample bandwidth to support the download of the quantity of data needed (loads of downloads of The Light at the End) another issue has emerged. The problem is being caused by the sheer number of customers visiting the site at the same time. We have to confess that this is the unforeseen circumstance we simply didn't anticipate. It is because the demand is so unprecedentedly huge that we didn't know to check this before releasing. The analogy that's been used to explain this to us is that it's a bit like having one shop assistant and thousands of customers all arriving at once. Our IT people will continuing monitoring the site and will make all efforts to correct any hold-ups as the hours pass. But, as we said, if you can possibly manage to wait to initiate your download, we would very much appreciate your patience. Huge apologies from all of us here at Big Finish.

FILTER: - Audio - Tom Baker - WHO50 - Peter Davison - Sylvester McCoy - Paul McGann - Colin Baker

New Doctor Who Range for 50th AnniversaryBookmark and Share

Friday, 30 August 2013 - Reported by Marcus
After the success of its Fourth Doctor scarf, online scarf retailer Lovarzi is releasing five more Doctor Who products in partnership with BBC Worldwide to celebrate the show's 50th anniversary.

The range includes the Seventh Doctor's jumper and a detailed silk scarf, ideal for cosplayers, complete with a 100% cotton hanky. The Seventh Doctor's costume was designed by Ken Trew in April 1987, ready for Sylvester McCoy's debut in Time and the Rani.

Tom Baker's Fourth Doctor swapped his brightly-coloured scarf in his final set of stories. Lovarzi's Season 18 Fourth Doctor Scarf in burgundy is made from acrylic chenille. It was first seen in The Leisure Hive (1980) and was designed by June Hudson under instructions from producer John Nathan-Turner. The scarf was used extensively until the Fourth Doctor's swansong serial, Logopolis, and was used in publicity shots for the 20th anniversary special, The Five Doctors, before retiring to Blackpool's Doctor Who exhibition, which operated from 1974 to 1985, and 2004 to 2009.

Lovarzi's Fourth Doctor scarf is 13ft/ 3.96m in length, including tassels, and 10" (28cm) wide.

The reversible Dalek scarf is an entirely unique design, initially available in two inter-woven colour combinations: blue and light grey; grey and charcoal. The scarf is made in Italy from finest quality wool and modal, resulting in a very fine finish.

Maninder Singh Sahota, Director of Lovarzi, says:
After the success of the Doctor Who Scarf last year, it is great to offer Doctor Who fans some other classic products. We are dedicated to providing fans with fine quality products which I'm certain they'll love.
Alex Carter-Jones, Business Development Manager from Forbidden Planet, says:
Following on from the hugely successful Fourth Doctor Replica Scarf this range of new scarves and knitwear for the Seventh Doctor looks set to be a real fan favourite. Alongside this the addition of the burgundy Fourth Doctor scarf to the range makes for a great way to continue upon the line from last year.

Last year's Fourth Doctor Scarf remains available online and in Forbidden Planet stores nationwide, as well as at the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff and various independent retailers across UK.

The Seventh Doctor jumper, silk scarf and hanky, Season 18 Fourth Doctor scarf in burgundy and exclusive Dalek scarf will all be available for pre-order from, Forbidden Planet, and the Doctor Who Experience from September 2013.

FILTER: - Tom Baker - Sylvester McCoy

The Eighth Doctor Revisited On BBC AmericaBookmark and Share

Thursday, 1 August 2013 - Reported by John Bowman
BBC America is to show the Eighth Doctor's sole TV outing to date on Saturday 31st August.

The adventure, starring Paul McGann as the Doctor, is being aired as part of the network's ongoing series Doctor Who: The Doctors Revisited marking the show's 50th anniversary, and will be broadcast following a documentary at 8pm ET/PT in which current showrunner Steven Moffat and Daphne Ashbrook, who played Dr Grace Holloway, and Yee Jee Tso, who was Chang Lee, are among those examining what made the Eighth Doctor unique. They also discuss a new take on the Doctor's old enemy the Master, played in this story by Eric Roberts.

Co-produced by the BBC, Universal Studios, 20th Century Fox, and the American network Fox, the story, written by Matthew Jacobs and directed by Geoffrey Sax, was filmed in Canada and received its world premiere in the country on 12th May 1996, subsequently being shown in the USA two days later and in the UK on 27th May, where a dedication to Jon Pertwee was added at the end, following his death exactly a week earlier.

Intended as a pilot to revive the show after it ended in 1989, it saw the Seventh Doctor, as played by Sylvester McCoy, regenerate into the Eighth. In the story, the Master attempts to take the Doctor's remaining regenerations, plunging the Earth into chaos.

Despite impressive ratings in the UK though, the American networks didn't warm to it and options weren't taken up, with the show plunged back into the wilderness - as far as the TV version was concerned - until the BBC announced in September 2003 that it would be returning.

FILTER: - Steven Moffat - USA - BBC America - Eighth Doctor - Seventh Doctor - Sylvester McCoy -

Official 50th Anniversary Convention: Booking opens MondayBookmark and Share

Thursday, 4 July 2013 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Doctor Who Official 50th Anniversary Convention - Logo (Credit: BBC Worldwide) Doctor Who Official 50th Anniversary Convention - Doctors (Credit: BBC Worldwide)
BBC Worldwide have announced that tickets to the official 50th Anniversary convention for Doctor Who will go on sale from 11:00am on Monday 8th July. As with the Cardiff convention last year, each of the three days over the 22nd, 23rd and 24th November will be a self-contained event running between 9:30am and 6:30pm, comprising panels, associated activities and photo opportunities.

The three main panel sessions each day are:
  • The Eleventh Hour Panel
    Ever wanted the inside scoop on the world of Doctor Who? Fancied putting a question to the current Time Lord? Well now’s your chance! The Doctor Who Celebration is hosting ‘The Eleventh Hour’ panels featuring the current cast and crew, including MATT SMITH. Take a seat in the theatre and prepare to be entertained...and you might even get to ask your question.
  • The Regenerations Panel:
    Featuring TOM BAKER (Saturday only), COLIN BAKER and SYLVESTER McCOY. These will be audience Q&A sessions, so get thinking of those questions you’ve always wanted to ask about travelling in the TARDIS, working with K-9 or what Tetrap food is really made of...
  • The Special Effects Show:
    Leave your Nitro-9 at home – we’ll make your weekend go with a bang big enough to reboot the Pandorica! Everyone attending the Doctor Who Celebration is invited to an exclusive show produced and presented by special effects supervisor Danny Hargreaves. From innocent snow (or perhaps the Great Intelligence’s killer snow) and soothing water (or maybe deadly Mars water) to Cyber bombs and destroyed Daleks – Danny's worked with them all. With his team from REAL FX, he'll put on a live show that will let you in on insider secrets, prepare you to tackle the deadliest of enemies and completely blow you away - metaphorically speaking of course! Don’t worry – the universe won’t really be restarted.
As before, there will be two ticket groups - Ice Warriors and Weeping Angels - which will enable access to the panels at different times of the day. A number of other talks and panels will take place throughout the day on two stages, schedules to be announced at a later date.

Other activities taking place include:
  • Walk like a Monster:
    If you can’t beat them – join them! This is your opportunity to learn just how to make those companions run for their lives – with workshops to teach you how to walk like a monster. This is a chance to learn from an expert – the woman who has the inside scoop on all the monsters, because she teaches them how to scare you into hiding behind the sofa! Ailsa Berk, the Movement Choreographer for Doctor Who, will be welcoming potential monsters of all ages four times daily – there’s no need to book in advance, simply turn up and join in!
  • Stunt School:
    Ever wondered how the UNIT soldiers roll with the punches? Or how the companions take a tumble? Our highly-skilled team of stunt co-ordinator, Crispin Layfield, and very own Doctor stunt double, Gordon Seed, will be on hand four times a day to put you through your paces and help you learn some easy stunts – no need to book, just turn up when you feel like a piece of the action.
  • Cast Photographs: (£20)
    Limited opportunities are available throughout the event to have an exclusive photograph taken with MATT SMITH. These photographs are taken by our in-house photographer and are printed for you to take home as a souvenir. These photographs are available via pre-booking only and these tickets are expected to sell out fast. Photographs are strictly limited to one per BOOKING, however, group shots are allowed with a maximum of 4 people on ONE photo.
  • Autographs: (£15 each)
    You’ve got that very special picture of your favourite Doctor or companion – or maybe the wonderful official celebration souvenir book – there’s nothing that could possibly make it any better, surely? Wrong! The official 50th celebration gives you the chance to get up close and personalised, with autographs from the stars of Doctor Who. Due to the popularity of this event, we need you to pre-book the autographs you’d like to buy when you arrive at the event. Why not start your own 500 Year Diary or Journal of Impossible Things, with a signature from your favourite cast member?
  • Doctor Who Adventures:
    Doctor Who Adventures has been the ultimate monster magazine for Doctor Who fans since 2006, with fact files, interviews, quizzes, comic strips, free gifts and competitions. This is your chance to design your very own monster with one of the Doctor Who Adventures artists. The Doctor Who Adventures team will be around all weekend, so there’s no need to book to start your own adventure – just turn up on the day.
A series of evening activities are also expected to be arranged.

A variety of merchandise will also be available to purchase, plus a limited edition event t-shirt that can be pre-ordered via the website once booking has opened.

Tickets can be booked via the event website from Monday. Standard tickets are priced at £45 for adults and £20 for kids, while a family ticket (two adults and two children) will cost £104 - booking fee not included.

FILTER: - Special Events - Tom Baker - Matt Smith - Conventions - Sylvester McCoy - Colin Baker