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

Doctor RoundupBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 6 August 2003 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
Tom Baker Update
August 6, 2003  •  Posted By Shaun Lyon
Tom Baker will be taking over the job of Unbound Doctor Geoffrey Bayldon in a new series of action adventure gameshow "Fort Boyard", to be broadcast on UK satellite/cable channel "Challenge TV" from October. "Fort Boyard" is a programme in which a team of five athletic lycra-clad contestants are forced to endure a series of horrible challenges in order to win keys that will unlock a treasure vault. One of the regular challenges each week is to climb a tower to meet "The Professor", a weird eccentric who poses a series of riddles and quizzes. During its first few series, the Professor was played by Geoffrey Bayldon, but for the new series he will be played by none other than Tom Baker - almost typecasting, you might say! The role of the fort's evil master Boyard has also been recast, with Resurrection of the Daleks actor Leslie Grantham having gone back to his legendary role of Dirty Den in EastEnders, Boyard will now be played by ex-The Bill actor Christopher Ellison. (Thanks to Paul Condon)
McCoy Spotlight
August 6, 2003  •  Posted By Shaun Lyon
Sylvester McCoy is currently starring as Selsdon Mowbray in Michael Frayne's farce "Noises Off" at the Piccadilly Theatre, which began running on August 4. Meanwhile, McCoy will be a guest on this coming weekend's Radio 4 chat show "Loose Ends", which broadcasts on August 9; click here for details. (The show will be available soon after to listen to over the internet.)Finally, McCoy actually returns to the role of the Doctor -- sort of -- in a BBC Three series called "Risky Business" which features "looks at why celebrities have done something silly". The show, which attempts to analyze the celebrities by featuring animation of 'emotions' inside the head, features Sylvester McCoy providing the voice of the Doctor, piloting a CGI TARDIS to the day of that episode (we don't know when this recent episode will re-air, if at all.) (Thanks to David Innes, Stuart Ian Burns, Ian Robinson)

FILTER: - Tom Baker - Sylvester McCoy

The Curse of FenricBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 6 August 2003 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
The British Board of Film Certification (BBFC) website recently announced the extras package for the forthcoming DVD release of The Curse of Fenric starring Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred. They are as follows:

00:04:30:02 | TAKE TWO ITEM
00:02:12:01 | CLEAN TITLES
00:20:45:04 | NEBULA 90
00:05:10:16 | MODELLING THE DEAD
00:17:38:15 | CLAWS & EFFECT
00:05:43:01 | PHOTO GALLERY
00:01:48:07 | EASTER EGG

The DVD will also feature the usual production notes and other surprises; there is no further detail at this time on what many of these extras actually pertain to, though the "Nebula 90" segment is thought to be footage from a convention featuring "Fenric" actors (regulars and guests), and "Modelling the Dead" is likely a featurette on the making of the Haemovore costumes and masks.
Australia Release Update
August 6, 2003  •  Posted By Shaun Lyon
The DVD release in Australia of The Dalek Invasion of Earth, previously announced for August 4, will instead now be on Wednesday, August 13 according to Meanwhile, we've received a report that the old cassette versions of "The Evil of the Daleks" and "The Power of the Daleks" have been re-released in Australia as well, though we've been unable to confirm this. (Thanks to Matthew Yarnold, David Dungey)

FILTER: - Classic Series - Blu-ray/DVD

The Two DoctorsBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 6 August 2003 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
BBC Worldwide has issued a press release for the forthcoming release of The Two Doctors, starring Colin Baker, Patrick Troughton, Nicola Bryant, Frazer Hines and Jacqueline Pearce. The press release is as follows:

Doctor Who: The Two Doctors DVD

Colin Baker's incarnation of the Doctor faces old enemies the Sontarans in this September 8th release. An alien scientist allied with the warlike Sontarans kidnaps the second Doctor (played by Patrick Troughton) in order to obtain the secret of time travel, which is found in a Time Lord's genes. This two disc set was originally transmitted in February 1985.

Special Features include:

Disc 1: 3 x 45 minute episodes
  • Commentary by stars Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant, Frazer Hines, Jacqueline Pearce and director Peter Moffatt

  • Isolated music soundtrack

  • Production Notes
    "A Fix with Sontarans" - a short mini-episode from 'Jim'll Fix It'. (approx 10 mins)
    Easter Egg

    Disc 2 includes:

  • Behind the Sofa - Robert Holmes & Doctor Who - a featurette about the work of the acclaimed Doctor Who writer and script editor. (approx 45 mins)

  • Beneath the Lights - in studio during recording of part of episode one. (approx 25 mins)

  • Beneath the Sun - VHS-sourced raw takes from the location filming in Spain. (Approx 35 mins.)

  • Adventures in Time and Spain - Production Manager Gary Downie talks about the trials and tribulations of working in a foreign location. (Approx 30 mins)

  • Wavelength - a radio production from 1984 following the cast and crew as they record the story. (Approx 29 mins).

  • Photo Gallery (approx 8 mins)

    Catalogue number: BBCDVD1213. RRP : ú12.99. Running time : 150 mins approx. Cert: PG

  • FILTER: - Classic Series - Blu-ray/DVD

    Big Finish UpdateBookmark and Share

    Wednesday, 6 August 2003 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
    Big Finish has issued some new details on upcoming releases. First, the cover illustration and cast list for the forthcoming story Master by Joseph Lidster has been announced; in addition to Sylvester McCoy as the seventh Doctor, the news report confirms the participation of Geoffrey Beevers as the Master (reprising his role from the televised story "The Keeper of Traken" as the decaying Master). Also making a guest appearance in the story (as Victor Schaeffer) is Philip Madoc, among whose many Doctor Who roles over the years was as the War Chief in "The War Games" and as Dr. Mehendri Solon in "The Brain of Morbius". The story also features Anne Ridler (as Jacqueline Schaeffer), Charlie Hayes (as Jade) and Daniel Barzotti (as the Man). Click on the cover illustration at right for a larger version of this cover. Meanwhile, full details about the long-awaited The Inside Story, the hardcover book on the making of the Doctor Who audio adventures, have been announced; the 224-page book, by Benjamin Cook, will be released in November. The press release is below. Also below is the press release for Doctor Who: The Scripts Volume 3 due out later in 2003, featuring the scripts for Marc Platt's "Spare Parts," Nicholas Pegg's "The Spectre of Lanyon Moor," Joseph Lidster's "The Rapture" and Rob Shearman's "The Chimes of Midnight". Finally, now available are both the audio story Flip-Flop by Jonathan Morris (starring Sylvester McCoy, Bonnie Langford and Trevor Martin) and the hardcover Doctor Who: The Scripts Volume 2 featuring the full scripts for "The Eye of the Scorpion" by Iain McLaughlin, "The One Doctor" by Clayton Hickman and Gareth Roberts, "Dust Breeding" by Mike Tucker, and "Seasons of Fear" by Paul Cornell & Caroline Symcox. (Thanks to Big Finish)

    THE INSIDE STORY by Benjamin Cook

    A no-holds-barred account of the making of every Big Finish Doctor Who story from 1999's The Sirens of Time to 2003's anniversary special Zagreus, taking in special releases, the Doctor Who Unbound series, Dalek Empire and Sarah Jane Smith along the way.

    With interviews with over 100 actors, writers, directors, producers and contributors, plus scores of previously unseen photographs, The New Audio Adventures The Inside Story takes you behind the scenes on the production of every Big Finish Doctor Who audio adventure.

    New facts, figures and trivia tell the story of the range, alongside never-before-published missing scenes, candid reminiscences from all the major players and exclusive excerpts from original archive documents.

    Featuring a foreword from Queer as Folk creator Russell T. Davies.


    Since 1999, Big Finish Productions have produced regular, fully-licensed ongoing audio adventures for the Doctor and his companions on CD. Each four-part story stars members of the original Doctor Who cast in brand-new adventures through time and space.

    Presented in this book are the original scripts for four of Big Finish's most popular stories.

    Representing the Fifth Doctor adventures, starring Peter Davison, comes Spare Parts, written by Marc Platt and focussing on the eary days of the Doctor's old foes, the Cybermen.

    Colin Baker featured in Nicholas Pegg's The Spectre of Lanyon Moor, featuring the long-awaited first meeting between the Sixth Doctor and Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart as played by Nicholas Courtney.

    From the Seventh Doctor run, with Sylvester McCoy, is The Rapture by Joseph Lidster, set around the hedonistic clublands of Ibizia.

    Rounding this collection off is The Chimes of Midnight, an eeries thriller featuring the Eighth Doctor and Charley penned by Robert Shearman.

    This collection also features a number of deleted scenes, observations by the writers and directors, script annotations, alternative episode scripts, original outlines and other features!

    FILTER: - Big Finish

    Doctor Who in AustraliaBookmark and Share

    Wednesday, 6 August 2003 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
    Word from the Doctor Who Club of Australia: Doctor Who returns to the airwaves this September! ABC-TV (Channel 2) will be screening the series in Australia four nights a week (Monday through Thursday) starting September 15, 2003 at 6:00pm. Says the press release: "The most famous time traveller of all time Dr Who returns to ABC TV in September. ABC TV will screen the entire Dr Who series from episode one every Monday to Thursday at 6pm from September 15th. The first episode æAn Unearthly ChildÆ stars the original Gallifreyan Time Lord William Hartnell. Head of ABC TV Programming, Ms Marena Manzoufas, said re-screening the original Dr Who episodes coincided with the programÆs 40th Anniversary. 'Dr Who made its debut in November 1963 and ABC TV last screened it in March 1994,' she said. 'Since then we have received an endless number of requests from Dr Who fans. Dr Who was the longest running science fiction series ever made and everyone has a favourite episode, Doctor or evil foe such as the Daleks and Cybermen. There are many fans addicted to the program who want to re-live the whole Dr Who experience from the start.' And ABC TV also decided to re-screen the entire series from episode one for those who missed them or where too young to see how the adventure began." (Thanks to Jason Fraser and the DWCA)

    FILTER: - Classic Series - Australia