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

Mind Robber DVD CoverBookmark and Share

Sunday, 19 December 2004 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
The BBC Shop website has revealed the cover illustration for the forthcoming UK DVD release of The Mind Robber starring Patrick Troughton, due out in March 2005. Click on the thumbnail for a larger version of the cover. (Thanks to David Howe)

FILTER: - Classic Series - Blu-ray/DVD

New Series Press ClipsBookmark and Share

Sunday, 19 December 2004 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
Noel Clarke (Mickey) is interviewed in the December 18 Daily Express 'Saturday' magazine. Whilst he mostly comments about the upcoming 'Auf Wiedersehen Pet' TV special he is in, he does mention, very briefly, his role in Doctor Who " Mickey, the boyfriend of Rose Tyler (Billie Piper). The two have been romantically linked off-screen, but Noel bats off questions about offering Billie a shoulder to cry on after her split with husband Chris Evans, which happened during filming. "We do our job and we go home," he says. "All I do know is that Billie is great, very down to earth. She is a brilliant actress and seriously underrated. So what about the kissing scene? Who doesn't like doing kissing scenes?" he jokes. "They were fine! And my girlfriend doesn't mind me kissing Billie... she knows it's only work!" (Thanks to Peter Weaver)

The Chicago Tribune Discussed in a December 17 article the return of the series in its "Television: The Watcher" section by Maureen Ryan. "Get Your Geek On Again: I'm sure more alert sci-fi mavens have known about these development for months, but a new 'Babylon 5' feature starts filming in April, according to, and filming has already begun on a new "Dr. Who" series, featuring Christopher Eccleston as the newest doctor. No U.S. channel has yet lined up the rights to air the new Who, which will hits British TV next year, according to, which is now my main source for the latest "Who" info. The original series ran from 1963 to 1989, and as most Who fans know, Tom Baker was the best Doctor, followed by Peter Davison and Jon Pertwee. Anyway, I hope the new series is better than the 1996 one-off "Dr. Who" movie that starred Paul McGann, an actor I otherwise like a lot. It wasn't his fault that the TV movie, an attempt perhaps to sex up the venerable British series, was mostly a mess (Eric Roberts as the villain? Never a good sign.). But I'm hoping the BBC raises the bar with Eccleston's outing as the good Doctor." (Our thanks to Maureen Ryan at the Chicago Tribune for the plug for Outpost Gallifrey, and Paul Engelberg for the news)

Russell T Davies was interviewed on a regional ITV1 broadcast of The Afternoon Show on December 15 for the eager TV audience of freelancers, students and the unemployed. There were some behind-the scenes clips of "Casanova" were shown, with David Tennant commenting on how great the script is, and how nice a person Russell is. Davies was then interviewed by the host Eamonn O'Neal, and talked about his work on Chucklevision and Mine All Mine, before moving on to Doctor Who, and how it mustn't be aimed simply at the audience who grew up with it. "I think that's the most important thing," Davies said, "if we were doing it for nostalgia, just to look back and make a pastiche of what was, I'd think - what was the point of that? I fell in love with that programme when I was 8 years old, and it actually made me fall in love with television full stop. And I'm still here, 'twenty' years later. It's aiming for those 8 year olds who sit there now: who want something like that. I mean, they've got American things like Buffy, but (it's important) to have something set in Britain, that's really British." Davies also said that the discussions about the use of the Daleks went all the way to the controller of BBC1, who was insistent that they were included, "Because everyone loves them." And when wrapping up, O'Neal stated that both Casanova and Doctor Who would start in March,... and Russell didn't contradict him. (Thanks to David John Parker)

FILTER: - Series 1/27 - Press

Myth Makers 14Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, 15 December 2004 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
The latest issue of DWIN's award-winning fiction magazine Myth Makers, #14, is in release, with ten new stories "told from a personal perspective," featuring fiction from Doctor Who novelists Simon A Forward, Mags L Halliday (with a new tie-in to her forthcoming Faction Paradox novel, Warring States) and Dale Smith, and Short Trips anthology writers Ian Mond, Stephen Hatcher and more. "Whether you're a fan of the classic series, the novels, the audios, the spinoffs or even the Richard E Grant Doctor, you're sure to find something that appeals to you." Further details available at DWIN's website. (Thanks to Richard Salter)

FILTER: - People

Underwater Menace CD CoverBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 15 December 2004 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
We've received the cover illustration for February 2005's CD release of the audio soundtrack of The Underwater Menace, the adventure starring Patrick Troughton, Frazer Hines, Anneke Wills and Michael Craze. Click on the thumbnail for a larger version. (Thanks to Stephen Roddam, Mark Backhurst)

FILTER: - Audio - Classic Series

Dalek ChristmasBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 14 December 2004 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
The recent installment of Radio Times magazine features a gag photo with the Daleks settling down for Christmas dinner. Says BBCi: "The metal meanies seem to be enjoying a traditional mix of of turkey, stuffing, sprouts and carrots - but have foregone roast potatoes in favour of mountains of the fluffiest mash you have ever seen. Well, they do have rather good whisk attachments, we guess." You can view it on the BBCi site by clicking here. (Thanks to BBCi)

FILTER: - Online - Radio Times

Tom Baker's CometBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 14 December 2004 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
According to Retail Week, the retailer Comet has hired the unmistakable voice of Tom Baker to present its "surprising gifts at predictably low prices."

FILTER: - Tom Baker

Annuals ReturnBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 14 December 2004 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
In a small sidebar news article in the recent issue of Doctor Who Magazine, DWM announces that Autumn 2005 will see the first Doctor Who Annual for twenty years; they got the licence to do annuals as part of their recent renewal, and it will evidently be aimed at a younger audience than the magazine itself.

FILTER: - Magazines - DWM

Big Finish UpdateBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 14 December 2004 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
The Big Finish website has been updated with a lot of new information including the following; note that you can see all of the covers and cover blurbs for everything listed below now on our Forthcoming Releases page:
  • Short Trips: The twelfth book, Short Trips: Seven Deadly Sins now has a cover illustration and cover blurb. Big Finish has also officially announced Short Trips: A Day in the Life edited by Ian Farrington; the cover blurb and illustration plus writer and story list are now on the releases page.
  • Catch-1782: This Sixth Doctor tale by Alison Lawson will be the second of several stories next year with Bonnie Langford as Mel; the cover illustration is now online. The story Unregenerate! by David A McIntee, due out in June, will also feature Langford playing Mel, but this time alongside the Seventh Doctor.
  • UNIT Series: Provisional covers (subject to change) for all four volumes are now on the releases page. Nicholas Courtney is currently only appearing in the first story (though the cast lists for parts three and four haven't been updated.)
  • The Juggernauts: You can now listen to a preview of this story online on the Big Finish website.
  • A Storm of Angels: This seventh Unbound CD will not be released until January due to post-production issues ("The sound and music requirements of this play have proved to be particularly demanding and, despite much planning and preparation, this has taken us all rather by surprise. In fact the complete post production time on A Storm of Angels has turned out to be almost three times as long as it normally takes for a double CD release.")

Visit the Releases page for more details.

FILTER: - Audio

Script Doctor CoverBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 14 December 2004 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
At right is the cover illustration for the forthcoming Script Doctor book by former series script editor Andrew Cartmel, featuring an introduction by Sylvester McCoy, sent to us by the Galaxy 4 retail shop. "Script Doctor" is Cartmel's memoir of his time working on the show as script editor during the McCoy era. Click on the thumbnail for a larger version. (Thanks to Galaxy 4 for the cover illustration!)

FILTER: - Books - Classic Series

New Series NotesBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 14 December 2004 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
A few updates we can pass along: in the third episode (still tentatively called "The Unquiet Dead"), we can attach two confirmed actors with their roles -- Eve Miles plays Gwyneth and Alan David plays Gabriel Sneed -- while a new name,Meic Povey, plays The Driver. Also, Paul McFadden is the sound editor for the new series; his credits include "Agent Cody Banks 2," "Waking the Dead" and "Captain Corelli's Mandolin," and he was nominated for an MPSE Golden Reel award and won a BAFTA Wales award for his work on the film "Veronica Guerin" with Cate Blanchett. Also, the latest issue of Dreamwatch magazine mentions the name of an alien race apparently appearing in Paul Cornell's episode (the one they note as "Death Day" although this is not the title): the race is called the Vanishers. December 15 update: I'm told this is also not correct, there is no race called the Vanishers in this story.

FILTER: - Production - Series 1/27