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

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

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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

FILTER: - People - Freema Agyeman - Bernard Cribbins - Russell T Davies - Theatre - Karen Gillan

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Wednesday, 9 January 2013 - (compiled by Chuck Foster and John Bowman)
David Tennant and wife Georgia Moffett are expecting their second child together, it was revealed on The Jonathan Ross Show last Saturday (5th).

During the show, the actor also talked about how he is still recognised as the Doctor in spite of four years away from the role: "It does carry on, yeah, because people are enthusiastic about it, it's one of those shows that people love. It becomes part of what you do, it's not a difficult thing to deal with.".

Talking about filming Spies of Warsaw - which is on tonight at 9:00pm on BBC4 - he commented on how wide-reaching his recognition is: "I didn't realise Doctor Who plays in Poland – but it obviously does. I've had a few fans coming up, wanting to say hello, or get a photograph or a signature. It doesn't happen quite on the scale that it happens at home – but then I don't think I've been to a country yet where I haven’t met someone who's a Doctor Who fan ... except maybe Uganda!" [Mail, 6 Jan 2013]

Burn Gorman - who appears with Tennant in Spies of Warsaw - has joined the cast of Revenge. He will play a recurring character named Trask, a member of the American Initiative. [Hollywood Reporter, 7 Jan 2013]

Tamsin Greig and Catrin Stewart will be on stage in Longing at the Hampstead Theatre in London. Adapted by William Boyd from two Anton Chekhov short stories, the play will run from Thursday 28th February to Saturday 6th April. The venue is currently staging Old Money, with Maureen Lipman and Tracy-Ann Oberman, ending on 12th January, which will be followed by Di And Viv And Rose, with Anna Maxwell-Martin and Tamzin Outhwaite (17th January to 23rd February).

An adaptation of Tom Baker's novel The Boy Who Kicked Pigs will be performed at Jacksons Lane in north London by theatre company Kill The Beast between 5th and 16th March. The actor said: "I wondered how a small theatre company could stage my story - which has a cast of hundreds, and includes a motorway pile-up with coachloads of people. I also wondered how they would manage to make my tale of evil horror funny, as I intended it to be." [EntertainmentWise, 8 Jan 2013]

Fenella Woolgar and David Troughton are up for honours in this year's BBC Audio Drama Awards. Woolgar is nominated for Best Actress for her portrayal of Rosemary Kennedy in BBC Radio 4's An American Rose, while Troughton is in the running for Best Supporting Actor as the Earl of Leicester in BBC Radio 3's Singles and Doublets. In addition, The Minister of Chance, by Dan Freeman, which stars Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, Paul Darrow, and Tamsin Greig, is nominated for the title of Best Online-Only Audio Drama, while Kafka The Musical, which aired on BBC Radio 3 and is by Murray Gold, has been shortlisted for the Tinniswood Radio Drama Award 2012 for Best Radio Drama Script. The winners will be announced at a ceremony on Sunday 27th January at BBC Broadcasting House in central London. [BBC Media Centre, 8 Jan 2012]

In Memoriam

The latest edition of BBC publication Prospero (page 15) has revealed that former Doctor Who crew member Marion McDougall died last March. Her first involvement with the series was as an assistant floor manager on The War Games, and she went on to be a production assistant on a number of stories between 1971 and 1977. Other BBC productions that she worked on included The Mayor of Casterbridge, Prince Regent, Mackenzie, Smiley's People, Mansfield Park, Blott On The Landscape, and Fortunes of War.
(With thanks to Garret Jackson)
(compiled by Chuck Foster and John Bowman)

FILTER: - People - Theatre - Tom Baker - David Tennant - Radio - Sylvester McCoy - BBC - Paul McGann

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Saturday, 29 December 2012 - (compiled by Chuck Foster and John Bowman)
David Tennant made one of his regular guest appearances on the Christian O'Connell Breakfast Show on Absolute Radio on 21st December, again starring in the show's festive performance - this time as the Virgin Mary in their Nativity, Dude, Where's My Donkey? The play was recorded and can be watched in three parts: One; Two; Three.

The actor also made the news for his novel way of deterring foxes from his back garden. [Standard, 21 Dec 2012]

Steven Moffat talked about his rituals over Christmas (as well as watching Doctor Who of course!). For example, on the subject of the inevitable requirements to put things together: "Sue will tell me to assemble something. Maybe just put batteries into some toys. And I'll sit on the floor with a screwdriver, and do my Daddy thing. Slowly, by degrees, it becomes a compulsion. I find more and more things to assemble. And then I need more and more! I'm rummaging in the bins, trying to find the instruction manuals among all the scarves and Sue's new jewellery. They start calling me for Christmas lunch, but "No!" I cry. "Just one more thing. I need to assemble just one more thing!" Then I'm breaking into the boys’ Lego kits and putting them together like a crazed junkie, destroying weeks of fun at a stroke. Somehow, though, before I can make it to Ikea to demand flatpacks at gunpoint, Sue will manage to get me to the dinner table to eat with the family." [Standard, 21 Dec 2012]

The recent series of Pointless Celebrities in the lead-up to Christmas - hosted as always by Alexander Armstrong - saw a number of Doctor Who-related actors and actresses taking part in the quiz. Nicholas Parsons appeared in episode eight, though he and partner Rick Wakeman were unable to win through to the final. However, former companion actress Bonnie Langford did reach the final with partner Todd Carty, though they were unable to find the pointless answer they needed to win the prize money for their charities. Likewise, the final episode of the series saw the pairing of two stalwart character actors Derek Martin and Graham Cole also make it to the final but fail to be pointless!

BBC Radio One DJ Reggie Yates presented his last edition of The Official Chart on 23rd December. He has been at the BBC for some ten years, and presented the chart show on Sunday evenings for the last five. Future projects include a new documentary series for BBC Three.

Karen Gillan has published a photo of her and co-star Brenton Thwaites during filming for her upcoming movie Oculus. [Karen Gillan via Twitter, 23 Dec 2012]

Louise Jameson goes on tour in January and February with the adult-themed play My Gay Best Friend. She will be appearing at The Lass O'Gowrie in Manchester on Saturday 5th January, Hull Truck Theatre on Thursday 24th and Friday 25th January, The Old Town Hall in Hemel Hempstead on Tuesday 12th February, Harrow Arts Centre on Wednesday 13th February, and The Under Ground Theatre in Eastbourne on Thursday 14th February. Jameson will also be appearing in Pulling Faces at The Berry Theatre in Hedge End on Friday 8th February. Again, this production has adult themes. []

(compiled by Chuck Foster and John Bowman)
(with thanks to Kenny Davidson)

New Year Honours List

Michael Cashman has been made a CBE - Commander of the Order of the British Empire - for public and political service. The former actor played Bilton in Time-Flight but became more widely known as an actor for his role as Colin Russell in EastEnders. He is now a Labour MEP for the West Midlands and was a co-founder of Stonewall.

As an aside, the singer-songwriter Kate Bush has also been made a CBE, with her honour being given for services to music - for many years a fan myth persisted that she had written both Kinda and Snakedance under the pseudonym of Christopher Bailey - something the real Bailey found quite amusing!

FILTER: - Steven Moffat - Theatre - David Tennant - Broadcasting

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Wednesday, 5 December 2012 - Reported by John Bowman
Neil Gaiman will be in Tasmania next month as part of the music-and-arts-centred Mona Foma Festival. An Evening With Neil Gaiman is to be held at the Theatre Royal in Hobart on Sunday 20th January. (NB: Although the event is described as being suitable for all ages, explicit language is used in the theatre's web page about the show.)

In addition, Gaiman's urban fantasy TV series Neverwhere, which aired on BBC Two in 1996 and had an accompanying novelisation, is currently being made for BBC Radio 4 and Radio 4 Extra. Adapted by Dirk Maggs, who is also co-directing it, and with a cast that includes Christopher Lee, Bernard Cribbins, Anthony Head, Yasmin Paige, David Harewood, Sophie Okonedo, Don Gilet, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Andrew Sachs, the six-parter is scheduled to be broadcast during the early part of 2013. [, 28 Nov 2012]

Sheila Hancock and Lee Evans are to star in a new comedy at Wyndham's Theatre in London next year. Barking In Essex tells the tale of a gangster fresh out of jail and returning to his dysfunctional family to retrieve more than £3.5m. It has been written by Clive Exton and will be directed by Harry Burton, with Evans playing the "dim-witted idiot of the criminal underbelly" Darnley and Hancock playing Emmie, described as Darnley's "Rottweiler mother". The production previews from Friday 6th September, opening on Monday 16th September. [BBC News, 30 Nov 2012]

A new play by David Haig that was due to open at the Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh next May before transferring to Chichester Festival Theatre has run into casting problems. Pressure, which is about the meteorologist Captain James Stagg, who had the task of predicting the weather ahead of the D-Day landings in the Second World War, has been postponed until spring 2014 while the search to find "the right person" to play Stagg continues. [The Stage, 30 Nov 2012]

Jessica Hynes and Olivia Colman have both been nominated as Best TV Comedy Actress in this year's British Comedy Awards. Colman has, in fact, been nominated twice - firstly for Rev and secondly for Twenty Twelve, with Hynes's nomination also being for Twenty Twelve. The spoof "mockumentary" about this year's London Olympics, which had a voiceover commentary by David Tennant, is itself up for Best Sitcom against, among others, The Thick Of It, which starred Peter Capaldi, and both Capaldi and Hugh Bonneville are vying for the title of Best TV Comedy Actor for their roles in those two respective shows. Meanwhile, David Mitchell is in the running for Best Male Television Comic and he is also among the nominees for the publicly-voted King and Queen of Comedy. The ceremony will be shown live on Channel 4 on Wednesday 12th December. [BBC News, 2 Dec 2012]

Tamsin Greig and Anne Reid will be among the guest stars appearing in a new darkly comic anthology that has just started filming for BBC Two. Written by Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith, the six-part series, which has the working title of Inside No 9, will take a look at what goes on behind closed doors at six very different residences sharing the number 9. [BBC Media Centre, 3 Dec 2012]

Sheridan Smith - companion Lucie Miller to the Eighth Doctor in the Big Finish audio dramas - is to return as mystery-solver Jonathan Creek's sidekick Joey Ross in a new episode of the BBC One crime-comedy-drama. Filming on The Clue of the Savant's Thumb, written by David Renwick, starts later this month, with the 90-minute Jonathan Creek special due to air next Easter. [BBC Media Centre, 5 Dec 2012]

FILTER: - People - Special Events - Theatre - David Tennant - Awards/Nominations - Radio - Broadcasting

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Friday, 30 November 2012 - Reported by John Bowman
David Tennant has been talking to STV's Moviejuice about his starring roles in the new seasonal film Nativity 2: Danger In The Manger! in which he plays twins Donald and Roderick Peterson. Not only was the film improvised in its entirety, it was also shot in sequence, and Tennant said of the improvisational nature of the film: "It was terrifying. But that's why you do certain things, isn't it? 'I've never done that before, that'll be utterly terrifying – so I'll have a go.'" The film also stars Jessica Hynes as Angel Matthews, Ian McNeice as Mr Peterson senior, and Jason Watkins as Mr Shakespeare. [STV Entertainment, 26 Nov 2012]

Katy Manning will be on tour in the Agatha Christie murder-mystery A Murder Is Announced early next year. Performances are as follows: Thursday 17th to Saturday 19th January: Capitol Theatre, Horsham; Tuesday 22nd to Saturday 26th January: Buxton Opera House; Tuesday 29th January to Saturday 2nd February: The Derby Theatre; Monday 4th to Saturday 9th February: Lincoln Theatre Royal; Tuesday 12th to Saturday 16th February: The Gordon Craig Theatre, Stevenage; Wednesday 27th February to Saturday 2nd March: Haymarket Theatre, Basingstoke; Tuesday 5th to Saturday 9th March: Lyceum Theatre, Crewe.

Meanwhile, Colin Baker will be in the touring production of the Wilkie Collins thriller The Woman In White, starting at The Lighthouse Theatre, Poole, from Tuesday 22nd to Saturday 26th January. From Monday 28th to Thursday 31st January it will be at The Grand Theatre, Blackpool; Thursday 14th to Saturday 23rd February, Lincoln Theatre Royal; Tuesday 26th February to Saturday 2nd March, Garrick Theatre, Lichfield, finishing its run at the Theatre Royal, Windsor, from Monday 4th to Saturday 9th March.

Baker was voted off I'm A Celebrity . . . Get Me Out Of Here! earlier this week. He was the fourth contestant to go. As previously reported, he joined the ITV1 reality show, based in a jungle in Australia, earlier this month.

Bernard Cribbins narrates the CBeebies panto Jack And The Beanstalk, which airs as a simulcast on the CBeebies channel and BBC One on Friday 21st December at 4.30pm. Featuring all the CBeebies presenters, it was performed at The Palace Theatre in Manchester. [BBC Media Centre, 27 Nov 2012]

Sheila Hancock will be among the new celebrity contestants on this year's Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Day special on BBC One, with previous contestant Ann Widdecombe making a guest appearance. [BBC Media Centre, 28 Nov 2012]

David Morrissey has begun filming the second series of BBC Scotland's crime drama Field Of Blood in Glasgow. He plays editor Murray Devlin. Filming will continue until late December, with the thriller to be shown next year. [BBC Media Centre, 29 Nov 2012]

Director Farren Blackburn has his first feature film released in the UK and USA next spring. Hammer Of The Gods, which stars Charlie Bewley and James Cosmo, is set in Britain of 871AD and tells the story of a young Viking warrior sent by his father, the king, on a quest to find his estranged brother, who was banished from the kingdom years earlier. [Bleeding Cool, 27 Nov 2012]

A six-part spy thriller by Toby Whithouse has been commissioned by BBC Cymru Wales for BBC One. Set in the world of 1970s espionage, The Game will tell the story of the invisible war fought by MI5 to protect the nation from the threats of the Cold War. The drama is to be executive-produced by Whithouse, Brian Minchin, and Faith Penhale (head of drama at BBC Cymru Wales). [BBC Media Centre, 30 Nov 2012]

Adam Simmonds, the newly-elected police and crime commissioner for Northamptonshire, wants to see police boxes back on the county's streets. He said: "I would like to bring a focal point back into villages. It's all about putting the police back on to the streets and I would love to be able to put Tardises back in every community." He added that he hoped to work with Northampton-born Matt Smith to launch his Blue Box Initiative. [Northampton Chronicle & Echo, 25 Nov 2012]

In Memoriam:

The actor Roger Hammond has died at the age of 76. A contemporary of Waris Hussein, Derek Jacobi, and Clive Swift at Cambridge University, he trained at RADA and had a varied and accomplished career on the stage and TV as well as in film and on radio. Hammond appeared in three episodes of Doctor Who, firstly as the Elizabethan philosopher, statesman, scientist, author, and jurist Francis Bacon in The Executioners (episode 1 of The Chase) in 1965 and then as Doctor Runciman - the resident physician at Brendon School - in the first and final parts of Mawdryn Undead in 1983. [The Stage obituary by Martin Jarvis, 23 Nov 2012]

With Thanks To Paula Bentham

FILTER: - People - Theatre - David Tennant - Broadcasting - Colin Baker

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Thursday, 18 October 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Paul McGann is to be interviewed as part of the Personal Development Planning Week at the Liverpool John Moores University on Tuesday 23rd October. The actor will be there to discuss how his own career has developed. The event is only open to university staff and students. [LJMU, 15 Oct 2012]

Russell T Davies is to be a guest on BBC Radio 2's Graham Norton show on 27th October, to tie in with the premiere of his new children's show Wizards vs Aliens on CBBC on 29th October. Questions can be submitted to the show address.

Arthur Darvill is adding theatrical composition to his ever-growing list of activities; the actor/musician said: "I write music as well, so I work a lot with Sean Walker. We've been working on a twisted version of The Bacchae called The Lightening Child (written by Che Walker) with carnival music, so I've co-written music for that. We made it really big and refused to scale it down. Finally, the Globe said they would love to do it, so we’ll be doing that next summer." [Independent, 17 Oct 2012]

Actress Chase Masterson talks about working with two Doctors on the forthcoming Big Finish audio dramas The Shadow Heart and Night of the Stormcrow: "They were all absolutely charming and very welcoming to me, and it was big fun to see them exude the same playfulness and brilliant quirks that they displayed on screen. Tom and Sylvester were particularly generous with stories of working with other British greats, including Olivier and Gielgud and McKellen, and I even got Sylvester to do a command performance on the spoons. Some of my now-favorite career moments include hearing Sylvester recount stories of the roots of his career in vaudeville, as well as tales of his upcoming, key role in The Hobbit trilogy. Also truly lovely and deserving of her reputation as a favorite Companion is the gorgeous Louise Jameson. What is even more stunning about Louise is the richly aware person she is, and her kindness and personal attention to everyone she comes into contact with." [Star Trek, 11 Oct 2012]

Nina Toussaint-White is currently playing one of four twentysomething white witches in the new contemporary ITV2 comedy-drama Switch. The six-episode show, which started on Monday 15th October, is set in Camden Town and Kensington, with Toussaint-White's character, Jude, as the fashionista of the group, and she said she couldn't believe how alike she was to her. "When I first read the script I thought, 'That's me!' I could see myself in the role because we are so similar. We're both quite bolshie, energetic people. Jude is a hedonist. I wouldn't say I'm a hedonist as such, but I sometimes speak before I think. I like to go out and have fun and party. She's confident and loud, fun and care-free, and I think that's what I'm like," she said. [ITV Press Centre]

BBC Four is to show Mark Gatiss's documentary Horror Europa on Tuesday 30th October at 9pm, it has been confirmed. The 90-minute journey through European horror cinema is a follow-up to his 2010 series A History of Horror for the same channel. [BBC Media Centre, 18 Oct 2012]

Phil Collinson is leaving his post as Coronation Street producer but will be staying at ITV to take up a new role of drama development. He has produced the soap opera since July 2010 and will hand over the reins to current Emmerdale producer Stuart Blackburn in January 2013. He said: "It's been an honour to produce Coronation Street and I'll be sad to leave. But the drama can only stay at the top of its game if the producer is re-energised every two to three years." [ITV Press Centre, 17 Oct 2012]

FILTER: - People - Special Events - Arthur Darvill - Russell T Davies - Audio - Theatre - Broadcasting

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Wednesday, 10 October 2012 - Reported by John Bowman
Matt Smith has revealed his keenness to appear in a play by the Bard. "I definitely want to do Shakespeare. I don't know what role, though, and it wouldn't be just yet. I'm too busy at the moment, there's just not enough time," he said. [Telegraph, 7 Oct 2012]

John Barrowman with The Krankies.Superhero series Arrow is due to premiere tonight on The CW in the United States, and on Sky 1 in the UK from Monday 22nd October. As previously reported, John Barrowman is to feature as a recurring character in the series, described only as "the well-dressed man". Lead actor Stephen Amell says: "He's a very well-spoken, well-respected businessman in Starling City. I know I tweeted a couple of weeks ago that I was reading a script that was episode 7 and I read a scene and I audibly gasped and I went "[gasp] that's really cool!" It's from the beginning of episode 7, and it's a scene with John. He's a really fun guy to work with. He obviously is very comfortable and he made the crew and even me, when it was my coverage, crack up during a rehearsal and it took a while to get it back for the actual takes." Actor Colin Salmon will also feature in another recurring role. [KSiteTV, 4 Oct 2012]

Barrowman talks about his third Christmas pantomime in Glasgow alongside The Krankies - Jack and the Beanstalk at the Clyde Auditorium: "There's a sense of humour up here that is unlike any other in the country and it's the same kind of sense of humour that the three of us have so it goes over very well. We can play right to the kids because they see Jack, Jimmy and their dad doing all this stuff but the adults know it's John, Ian and Janette who are having a bit of fun, so those jokes go to them and just go right over the kids' heads. I love coming up and doing panto in Glasgow at Christmas." [Daily Record, 8 Oct 2012]

Tommy Knight as Kevin Skelton in Waterloo Road.Tommy Knight makes his debut in Waterloo Road tomorrow evening on BBC One. Talking about recognition, the Sarah Jane Adventures star said: "Well, the attention side of acting isn't really my favourite thing, I'll be honest! I was out in Glasgow high street a few weeks ago and I was with Kaya Moore who plays Phoenix, and with the amount of attention he was getting, it must have taken us a couple of hours to get down the high street! I was standing there thinking, 'Oh my word', and I was a little bit worried about it. It's a bit intimidating as being on Waterloo Road will probably mean the most attention I've ever had. I think I'll be alright, I suppose I'll just have to see how I feel about it when it happens. When Sarah Jane was first out, I was recognised an awful lot. I used to pick up my little brother from his primary school every day and I remember when the show first aired, it got really hectic around the primary school. I was trying to find my little brother among all these kids going, 'Sign my contacts book!' and 'Sign my face!'" [Digital Spy, 10 Oct 2012]

Caitlin Blackwood - aka the young Amelia Pond - will be taking part in a question-and-answer session at The Churchill pub in New York on Friday 12th October. Book via event organiser Who York.

Referring to his "music obsession", Arthur Darvill has a particular era he would have liked his character Rory to have visited: "I'd have liked to travel back to the Sixties and do something with the Doctor there. Or go back to when I was an annoying child and reassure myself it's all going to be all right." He also thinks that after Amy and Rory's departure from the series "they have a very quiet life – which is quite sad after having such an adventurous time – but they're just happy to be together. Obviously it doesn't run smoothly as they're stuck back in quite a horrible place but they've got each other and that's all they really need." [Radio Times, 8 Oct 20120]

Mark Gatiss, Daniel Mays, Tom Goodman-Hill, and Brigit Forsyth will appear in the BBC Radio 4 series Living With Mother when it returns for a second series later this month. The individual comedies focus on mothers and adult sons living together. Gatiss will be in the first episode, when the series starts on Wednesday 31st October at 11.15pm, with Mays in the second one, Goodman-Hill in the third, and Forsyth in the fourth. [Radio Times, 9 Oct 2012]

Katy Manning will be appearing in You're Only Young Twice at The Crewe Lyceum Theatre from Tuesday 30th October to Saturday 3rd November. Also starring in the show are John D Collins and Melvyn Hayes (pictured right with Manning), the former husband of Wendy Padbury.

Paterson Joseph has been talking of the thrill of being in the Series 1 episodes Bad Wolf and The Parting of the Ways. He said of the show: "I did watch it when I was a kid. I can't actually say I was obsessed with it as some other people are, but I was very happy to be shown around the Tardis. It was then I suddenly thought, 'Wow this is really exciting'. I also got the chance to get killed by a Dalek and not many people can say that in their lives. I had a 6ft Dalek rolling towards me screaming, 'Exterminate'. It was truly frightening." Joseph plays Brutus in Julius Caesar at the New Theatre in Cardiff from Tuesday 23rd October to Saturday 27th October. [Wales Online, 7 Oct 2012]

Dark Horizons author and Doctor Who fan Jenny Colgan has spoken of her excitement at writing the book. "The thrill of typing 'The Doctor opened the door of the TARDIS' was huge," she said, adding that she approached the BBC to write a novel. "A friend of mine called Naomi Alderman had written one for them [Borrowed Time] and that gave me the idea. I asked them nicely and they said, 'Oh well you can't put any kissing in it' and I promised faithfully that I wouldn't, and then I offered them three different ideas for stories and they chose one. It was enormous fun to do." She also tells of the background work she did. "I did a lot of research into Vikings because I wanted to write about the Lewis chess set, the set of figures that was found there that are about a thousand years old. Nobody knows how they ended up there, so I thought it would be an interesting mystery for the Doctor to solve. There are a couple of bits I really hope readers will enjoy: a scene set on a beach in the current day, and the Norse God that the Viking princess thinks the Doctor is." [TV Book Club, 7 Oct 2012]

Frazer Hines is taking his one-man show The Time-Travelling Scot to Tasmania. He will be in conversation at the Wrest Point Entertainment Centre in Sandy Bay, Hobart, on Sunday 9th December, telling behind-the-scenes stories about his time on Doctor Who.

Jean Marsh reflects on her appearances in Doctor Who: "I was in the very first series, I think (Season 2's The Crusade), which has probably been wiped. I can’t remember what it was called, but I remember I played a Princess of France in the 10th century. That was just one episode. Then I came back as Sara Kingdom (The Daleks' Master Plan), sort of a space spy, fabulously ridiculous, wearing a catsuit of very tight, elastic brown tweed. Why one has to wear those sort of things… It was a bit like Joanna Lumley. It was just to show your body, I suppose. So I did eight episodes of that and turned from being a baddie into being a goodie. Then I was killed in a brilliant way. I was running — in my catsuit — away from someone who was trying to kill me, and he had an aging gun. And he hit me, and I started aging very quickly, and they had to keep switching my makeup, and then the last shot of me was of a very, very, very old woman. So that was terrific. Then the third one was Morgan le Fay with King Arthur (Battlefield). I loved doing that because they were beginning to take Doctor Who more seriously, and that was a bit more fun." [A.V. Club, 5 Oct 2012]

BBC Two has commissioned the comedy-thriller The Wrong Mans from James Corden and Mathew Baynton. The six-parter centres on two lowly office workers - Phil (Corden) and Sam (Baynton) - who become caught up in a deadly criminal conspiracy after Sam discovers a ringing phone at the scene of a horrific car crash. Filming starts in January 2013. [BBC Media Centre, 9 Oct 2012]
(Compiled by John Bowman and Chuck Foster)
(with thanks to Paula Bentham)

FILTER: - People - Arthur Darvill - Theatre - Books - David Tennant - Radio - Special Events - USA

People RoundupBookmark and Share

Friday, 5 October 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster
The Doctor? Sadly no, it's roadie Neil Aspinall with the Beatles Today marks the 50th anniversary of the first sole credited single release by The Beatles - who would feature in Doctor Who in stock footage in The Executioners (episode 1 of The Chase) - and if he had a time machine Matt Smith would love to see the Fab Four: "I'd go see music - the Beatles at their height, or Woodstock, or Kurt Cobain live. I'd love to see Arcade Fire in a room somewhere. And Sinatra when he was with Dean Martin." [Bust Magazine via Yahoo, 2 Oct 2012] (DWN note: Perhaps Matt got his time trip after all, if this photo that was circulated earlier in the year is to be believed!)

Alex Kingston is to appear in the 10th season of NCIS as a "woman of questionable morals". The actress is to play a character named Miranda Pennebaker, and is described by series boss Gary Glasberg as someone who "deals in everything from high-end weapons sales to priceless gems. Her connections go all the way up the ladder of D.C. politics, and [Major Case Response Team leader Supervisory Special Agent Leroy Jethro] Gibbs needs her for this very disturbing, emotional case." [TVLine, 3 Oct 2012]

Author and long-term fan A. L. Kennedy has expressed an interest to write for Doctor Who: "To go back to things that you are completely open to as a child, and which you allow to be very deeply part of who you are, as an artist, is to get back to that bit of yourself. And Doctor Who is very deeply there in my own work. Every crazy person, lots of the sense of humour, my viewpoint on what human beings are, absolutely. If I wasn’t going to be a writer I was going to be an anthropologist, because that was my thing: what are human beings?" The author will also be talking about Doctor Who when she appears at the Wigtown Book Festival on Sunday 7th October. [Scotsman, 1 Oct 2012]

A rare opportunity to see Sarah Sutton in one of her earliest TV roles is coming up. The BFI is screening the BBC's 1973 adaptation of Alice Through The Looking Glass, which stars Sutton as the eponymous heroine, at its Southbank venue in London on Saturday 17th November as part of its Beyond the Fourth Wall – Experiments in TV Drama season. Directed by James MacTaggart, who was keen to exploit the possibilities offered by the then-new technique of colour separation overlay, the 65-minute play was the BBC's official entry to the Prix Italia competition. Also appearing in it are Geoffrey Bayldon (White Knight), Bruce Purchase (Walrus), and Stephen Moore (Haigha). Tickets go on sale to the public on Tuesday 9th October.

Mark Gatiss
will be at the BFI Southbank on Sunday 28th October for a question-and-answer session following a preview of his feature-length BBC Four documentary Horror Europa With Mark Gatiss, which explores European horror cinema and is a follow-up to his BBC Four series A History of Horror. Again, tickets go on sale to the public on Tuesday 9th October. The 90-minute documentary will air on BBC Four towards the end of October.

Billie Piper is moving to Los Angeles with husband Laurence Fox after they both finish their current theatre stints, according to a newspaper interview with Fox, who is appearing with Arthur Darvill in Our Boys at The Duchess Theatre in London until Saturday 15th December. Piper is in The Effect at The Cottesloe, which opens on Tuesday 6th November and runs until Wednesday 23rd January 2013, meaning that for a few weeks their performances will overlap. However, Fox said the two of them didn't compete over their careers. "It's not competitive but I feel like I've got to raise my game a bit. She's really good so it would be nice if I was really good too," he said. [i, 3 Oct 2012]

Meanwhile, Matt Smith and David Tennant bumped into each other at the press night for Our Boys. Also there was Billie Piper to give her support to her husband. [Mail Online, 4 Oct 2012]

Comedian and TV presenter Frank Skinner has told of his failed bid to secure a role in the current series of Doctor Who. In an interview with Absolute Radio, he said: "I got my manager to phone up the Doctor Who people when I heard this series was being filmed. He never mentioned it again so I take it that he couldn't break it to me." [i, 3 Oct 2012]

Comic book writer and playwright Grant Morrison, who penned stories for Doctor Who Magazine in the 1980s, told the MorrisonCon audience in Las Vegas that despite his desire to write for the show and apparent initial interest by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss in him doing so, nothing more had been forthcoming. "Moffat had been getting a lot of tweets from people who were saying, 'You should have Grant write Doctor Who', and I'd really love to write Doctor Who," he said. He added that a friend who had worked with Moffat and Gatiss suggested it to the pair and told him the duo wanted to hear from him. "We tried it four or five times, and he never wrote back," said Morrison. [Comic Book Resources, 1 Oct 2012 - NB: Article contains strong language elsewhere.]

In a two-page feature in the new Radio Times, Steven Moffat describes how he struggled to find the proper ending for Amy and Rory. "How and why would they leave? And would they live or die? I wrote and rewrote. I had a completely different ending and threw it away. So many times over those mad few days, the fate of the Ponds changed. Alive, dead, alive, dead . . . Nothing felt right. Nothing felt inevitable." [Radio Times, 3 Oct 2012]

Sheridan Smith
- companion Lucie Miller to the Eighth Doctor in the Big Finish audio dramas - is the latest signing to BBC In-House Comedy's production of Mr Stink. As previously reported, the children's novel by David Walliams stars Hugh Bonneville as the eponymous tramp and has been adapted by Walliams and Simon Nye. Smith, who will play the overbearing mother of lonely 12-year-old Chloe who befriends Mr Stink, said: "David is such a brilliant writer, and the character just jumped off the page when I read it." [BBC Media Centre, 4 Oct 2012]
(Compiled by John Bowman and Chuck Foster)

FILTER: - Steven Moffat - People - Special Events - Theatre - Matt Smith - Billie Piper

People RoundupBookmark and Share

Saturday, 4 August 2012 - Compiled by Chuck Foster, John Bowman and Harry Ward
Billie Piper is to make her National Theatre debut this autumn, starring in The Effect, by Lucy Prebble, at The Cottesloe. The play, described as "a clinical romance", deals with sanity, neurology, and medicine's limits. Tom Goodman-Hill will be among the co-stars. It runs from 6th November to 2nd March, and tickets go on sale to the public on 24th September. [BBC News, 3 Aug 2012]

Christopher Eccleston recently undertook a Q&A session at the National Theatre, where he is appearing as Creon in Antigone, during which he was asked about playing the Doctor: In response to a question about whether he felt he'd taken the character as far as he could he (very tellingly) said he felt that one series isn't enough to get under the skin of the character and that if he'd had two or three series he'd have developed the role considerably. He said that if you looked at the other Doctors (with the exception of Tom Baker) you can see them working out how to play the character through their first series because it's such a complex and challenging role. He said several times that there was more for him to do with the character... [BadGirlSeeksGoodMan@GallifreyBase, 19 Jul 2012]

Matt Smith commented on having Eccleston make a guest appearance: "Chris will be alright. Well, I mean, who knows? I'd love it. I'd love him to come back. I love his Doctor. I really do. He was from Manchester. Proper hard. Leather jacket. He'd give my Doctor a bit of a whopping, wouldn't he?" [Esquire via FemaleFirst, 3 Aug 2012]

Eccleston's name has also been associated with the film sequel Thor: The Dark World. If cast he would be playing the principal villain Malekith The Accursed. [Cinema Blend, 1 Aug 2012]

Bernard Cribbins is to return to television next year in his own series, Old Jack's Boat, playing a retired fisherman named Jack who tells stories to children. The actor said: "I am delighted to be back on CBeebies telling stories as I am storyteller. There are some marvellous writers, such as Russell T Davies, who I have been in touch with for a long time and who, of course, I worked with on Doctor Who. I am looking forward to sitting back and being able to tell some wonderful stories." As well as Doctor Who's former lead writer Davies, another familiar name in the show will be Freema Agyeman, who will play Shelley. [Mirror, 4 Aug 2012]

Karen Gillan met the actress to play her double in Not Another Happy Ending, the movie she is currently filming. Rebecca Davidson will double for Gillan in shots where her character Jane Lockhart meets her perfect double in a pub. [Huffington Post, 1 Aug 2012]

Neve McIntosh talks about meeting the new co-star, Jenna-Louise Coleman: "She's absolutely gorgeous as well, she's lovely. I've not had much work with her. I think she's got a lovely quality to her so I think is going to be really exciting. And obviously I don't know the rest of whatever's been going on, so it'll be interesting to start watching the new series and see how she's introduced." [Cultbox, 2 Aug 2012]

Alex Kingston is to feature in the next series of Who Do You Think You Are?, the BBC genealogy series that looks into the ancestry of celebrities. Now into its ninth series, it will also include celebrities like singer Annie Lennox and actor Patrick Stewart. Former Doctor David Tennant explored his family history in Series Four (2006).

Tennant came top in a poll of favourite Doctors recently undertaken by Entertainment Weekly.

Former costumer designer Leslie Rowland-Warne has been talking about his experience of working on Death To The Daleks, following his appearance in the extra features on the DVD, which was released in June. He said: "On the disc is a documentary asking all the stars and crew about their experiences working on it and I'm on it. I was the costume designer and mostly I talk about how I came up with the idea for the costume of the character Bellal. The script said he lived underground so I thought he should be small, and I told the director to hire a small actor to fit into it. Then I added some reflective strips to liven the suit up." [Leatherhead Advertiser, 4 Aug 2012]

FILTER: - People - Freema Agyeman - Bernard Cribbins - Russell T Davies - Theatre - Karen Gillan

Moths Sequel To Take To The StageBookmark and Share

Friday, 15 June 2012 - Reported by John Bowman
HadokesonicActor, writer, and comedian Toby Hadoke has penned a sequel to his acclaimed show Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf.

My Stepson Stole My Sonic Screwdriver is to tour on preview before being taken to the Edinburgh Fringe.

Teasing the new show, Hadoke, who also acts as a moderator on classic Doctor Who DVD releases and is a contributor to the Doctor Who Magazine column A Battle of Wits, said: "It mentions Vernon Dobtcheff, Meglos, genocide, and Fear Her - and it is nice about two of them."
Inspired by an obsession with Doctor Who and picking up where Moths Stole My Doctor Who Scarf left off, Chortle Award nominee Toby Hadoke's highly anticipated second show is compelling, incisive, and universal in appeal. Join him as he takes you on a heart-warming journey that begins with losing a partner, ends with gaining a stepson, and pays homage to the restorative powers of the Time Lord in between. Intimate knowledge of the TARDIS is not required to enjoy this bitter-sweet comedy of parenting through sci-fi evangelism.
Directed by Mark Attwood, it will be previewing as follows:
  • Sunday 1st July: The Beacon, Tunbridge Wells (NB: Free entry to ticket-holders of Friday 29th June performance of Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf)
  • Friday 20th July: Bedford Fringe, The Howard Room, Bedford Corn Exchange
  • (to be confirmed) Sunday 22nd July: New Diorama Theatre, Triton Street, Regent's Place, London
  • (to be confirmed) Monday 23rd July: XS Malarkey, Fallowfield, Manchester
The 60-minute production will then transfer to the Edinburgh Fringe, where Hadoke will be performing it at The Gilded Balloon Teviot every afternoon from Wednesday 1st August to Sunday 26th August, except for Wednesday 15th.

FILTER: - Special Events - UK - Theatre