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

Events This WeekendBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 23 November 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon

Two major Doctor Who events on both sides of the Atlantic take place this coming weekend!
Memorabilia 2005 takes place at the NEC Birmingham over the weekend, November 26-27, featuring tons of guests from the science fiction community (including most of the cast of "Red Dwarf". Tom Baker will appear on Saturday, while the rest of the weekend features Nicholas Courtney, Elisabeth Sladen and Terry Molloy. The Doctor Who guests will be at Scificollector's booth at the event and will be signing, so don't miss out!
Across the pond, ChicagoTARDIS 2005, runs Friday through Sunday, November 25-27 at the Wyndham O'Hare in Chicago. Guests include Peter Davison, Nicola Bryant, John Schwab, Rob Shearman, Maggie Stables, Siri O'Neal, Gary Russell and Jason Haigh-Ellery and others. The annual Outpost Gallifrey social (with members and staff from our Forum) will take place Friday starting at 9pm in the lobby bar.

FILTER: - Conventions

Stevens to Torchwood?Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, 22 November 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon

Is Rachel Stevens headed for "Torchwood"? The rumors have been flying and now there are reports that "the singer has a final audition to win the part of Gwen opposite John Barrowman's Captain Jack in the post-watershed sci-fi show. Rachel, 27, hopes to follow in Billie Piper's footsteps by transforming from pop star to actress. She was beaten to the part of the Doctor's sidekick Rose Tyler by Billie when the hit revival was cast.... Rachel said of her failure to land the role of Rose: 'Things happen for a reason and Billie is really great. If the right thing came around, I'd love to do something.' The former S Club singer said: 'I've been called back for a meeting about a permanent role. I so hope I get it as I'm sick of being attacked for my music.'" That's from The Mirror and there are other reports at Sky NewsAnanova,MyKindaPlaceMonsters and CriticsDrowned in SoundIn The NewsContact Music,Breaking News,Female First.

FILTER: - Torchwood - Production

Weekend/Early Week Series ClipsBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 22 November 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon

The Children in Need telethon, of which the seven-minute special (or, rather, 6'54" from start to finish, not the 3.5 minutes we were led to believe according to the official BBC roster) was part, raised over £17 million for charity, according to a BBC News article. "The BBC telethon Children in Need raised more than 17.2m during the fund-raising campaign on BBC One. The total is slightly higher than last year and is expected to grow to more than 30m when all donations are in. Presenter Terry Wogan said: 'Thank you for all your donations and everything you have done for Children in Need.' The telethon featured performances by Madonna, Rod Stewart, Girls Aloud and Liberty X and an appearance by Prime Minister Tony Blair. The organisers estimate that more than a quarter of a million people made donations." Additionally reported at CBBC News. Also, on the local East Midlands broadcast, "Derek the Dalek" (a fan-created Dalek) appeared; there are photographs here.

An update on last week's Cardiff Christmas lighting that David Tennant and Billie Piper took part in: you can now see the video of the two switching on the Christmas lights in Cardiff on the BBC South East Wales website, along with some still photos... click here. According to Andy Roberts of BBC Wales New Media, "This is a permanent, official web posting of the live insert featured in the regional news programme Wales Today. We'll keep it online indefinitely." Another report on the lighting was featured at Hello Magazine.

An article in Saturday's Birmingham Post asked, "Are you looking for a piece of film or television history? Props and scripts from classic films by directors such as Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Scorcese and Stanley Kubrick can sell for huge amounts of money at auction, but more contemporary film, music and television history is also very popular among collectors. ... As well as being famous for his love of jelly babies, Tom Baker's Dr Who was a great fan of scarves and one collector managed to get their hands on the actual scarf worn by Tom when he played the Doctor in the 1970s and early 1980s. It sold for £7,800. ... The rare 1970's BBC Television prop known as "The Dalek Supreme" sold for a staggering £36,000, over three times its pre-sale estimate, to benefit The Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children. The Dalek was greeted with a round of applause in the saleroom and was bought by the communications agency Indeprod. The Dalek had previously sold for £4,600 when bought as a charity lot in 1986 to benefit the BBC Red Cross Sponsored Appeal. A spokesperson at Indeprod said: 'We are delighted to have acquired a Dalek. We shall place it in our reception area for all to see and enjoy. We have been after a Dalek for years and this seemed to be the perfect opportunity especially as the proceeds will go to The Great Ormond Street Hospital. We are also very pleased that the Dalek will stay in this country.'"

A new and licensed Dalek top is now available from Marks and Spencer in the UK. It comes in sizes from 3 to 14 years and costs £8 or £11, according to size. It hit the high street this week and is also available online at Marks and Spencer.

The weekend's Sunday Mail noted that "the new Doctor Who has stunned fans by transforming into a cockney. Scots actor David Tennant sounds like mockney Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins in sneak previews of the new series. And the BBC were last night forced to admit that David, 34, had dumped his native accent to star as the timelord. The actor, from Bathgate, West Lothian, is proud of his roots and sported the kilt when he arrived at a recent awards bash with Cutting It star Sarah Parrish. ... Last night, a BBC spokeswoman said: 'Playing a character with an English accent is not alien to David. David is an incredibly versatile actor whose work on screen is not defined by his accent but by his talent. We have every confidence that David's Doctor, like the man himself, will be hugely popular.' But producer Russell T Davies has suggested there could be a twist in the tale. He said: 'Every planet has a Scotland - you'll have to wait and see. There are revelations on the way.' The new series sees Doctor Who and his sidekick Billie Piper transported to Balmoral in the time of Queen Victoria, played by Pauline Collins. Doctor Who has had a Scottish accent in the past, when Sylvester McCoy played him from 1987."

Also in the Sunday Mail, a note about "Tennant's cheeky chat-up line." While most of it is fairly innocuous, it does feature quotes by former Casualty star Claire Goose, who says "He's going to be a fantastic Doctor Who. I can't wait to see it. He is so thrilled and excited to be doing it in the first place. He is one of those people who loves his job. He's really enthusiastic." Goose stars with Tennant in the upcoming ITV drama, Secret Smile, in which he plays her psycho boyfriend.

Playbill notes that Broadway and West End singer/actress Elaine Paige's upcoming concert at the Birmingham Symphony Hall will be broadcast on BBC Radio 2; Paige will be joined by John Barrowman, her former co-star in "Sunset Boulevard". Also covered at BroadwayWorld.

Manchester Online notes that David Tennant lost out on an award in Manchester: "New Dr Who David Tennant was getting the female hearts-a-fluttering at the awards, looking stylish in pinstripe suit and laughing and joking with fans. David was nominated in the best performance in a comedy or drama category for his role as Casanova in the BBC production, which was part-filmed in Manchester, but lost out to David Threlfall for Shameless. Scottish heartthrob David has taken over from Salfordian Christopher Eccleston as the popular time-traveller, and admits he is a little in awe of his predecessor and his success as Dr Who. 'They are incredibly big boots to fill, but I'm going to do my best,' he told me. 'It's great to be back in Manchester tonight and, of course, it didn't really matter that I didn't win. It's just been a fantastic night.'"

Series two writer Stephen Fry received a degree from Anglia Ruskin University and spoke of the "ridiculous sense of elitism" at Cambridge in a BBC Newsarticle;

(Thanks to Paul Engelberg, Steve Tribe, Peter Weaver, Matt Dale, Andy Roberts, Rich Kirkpatrick)

FILTER: - Press - Radio Times

Belgium, Australia Broadcast NotesBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 22 November 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon

Belgium is the latest country to debut the new Doctor Who series. The series starts on Saturday 26 November at 3.55pm on the Een (One) network, with subtitles rather than dubbed voices. The channel can also normally be watched in Holland.
Also, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) in an email reply to a fan as to whether or not they had secured the rights to The Christmas Invasion, the following was received: "Thank you for your email regarding Doctor Who. At this stage, the ABC has not acquired the broadcast rights for these programs, however, please be assured that your comments have been noted and forwarded to our Television Programming Department so that they are aware of your interest." There is no word as to whether or not the broadcaster is in negotiations for the second season. (Thanks to Michael Simshauser, Richard Foxon)

FILTER: - Series 1/27 - Broadcasting

2005 TV MomentsBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 22 November 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon

The BBC is running a new Golden Moments competition... "Vote for your Golden Moment and you could be at the awards ceremony. You can log on and you can now vote for Doctor Who/EastEnders in the Golden Moment of 2005 category. The Golden Moment is your favourite moment of all the 24 clips nominated. By voting for the Golden Moment you could win the chance of two VIP tickets to the ceremony which is recorded on Tuesday 29th November. Winners must be available to travel on this date and be able to overnight in London if necessary. The show is hosted by Jonathan Ross and transmits in December. Viewers can log on and vote up until midday on Monday 28th November. ... You can also vote for David Tennant in the just added November/December catetory. He stars in upcoming ITV drama Secret Smile - and you can a sneak preview of the drama when you vote."

FILTER: - Online - Competitions

Big Finish UpdateBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 22 November 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon

Big Finish has several items on its website including mention of a Christmas sale of some of their spinoff ranges and gift vouchers. The site also notes that parts three and four of Cyberman have been delayed until December and February, respectively, due to Nicholas Briggs' work on the new series. Finally, the full cover illustrations for both Wildthyme at Large and The Devil in Ms. Wildthyme starring Katy Manning are now available and are reprinted below; click on each for a larger version.

FILTER: - Audio

Piper on Evans ShowBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 22 November 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon

Billie Piper appeared on television on Sunday evening on her ex-husband Chris Evans' new chat show, OFI Sunday. Says our correspondent Paul Hayes, "Piper seemed very cheerful and perky throughout, entering into the spirit of her ex-husband’s somewhat zany humour. They reminisced about their first ever meeting, which had also been on a television programme, Evans’s old Channel 4 show TFI Friday, and a clip was shown from that very edition back in 2000. Evans got the audience to cheer the fact that they are officially still married. He then asked her, much to everyone’s amusement, 'Why did you decide to leave m….usic for acting?'... He later asked her some so-called 'proper questions'. He asked her about how she prepares for doing a take when she’s acting. He told her what a great show Doctor Who is and the audience agreed... Piper was also a part of a game section of the show called Mine or Not Mine? in which she paraded various household objects the audience or phone-in contestants had to guess whether they belonged to Evans or not. Further embarrassing inanity followed for pretty much all of the rest of the show, such as Piper revealing 'this week’s fascinating fact!' that you only breathe out of one nostril at a time and they switch every twenty minutes." Says another correspondent, Peter Weaver, "After getting a big round of applause from the studio audience for her role in Doctor Who and agreeing that she was loving being in the show, Evans commented that there was one aspect of Doctor Who that she was not quite happy with. Piper hesitantly replied 'I don't know . . . Go on' to which Evans said: 'Well, it's Christmas time and they've done a Rose Tyler doll, haven't they?' Piper responded: 'Oh God, I know.' Evans asked her why she wasn't happy with it, and Piper said: 'Because I look like Master Splinter. You know, the giant rat from the (Teenage Mutant Ninja) Turtles, and I know I've got big teeth but this really takes the mick.' Evans then produced the offending item - the radio-controlled Dalek battle pack featuring the Rose action figure - which elicited a shrieked 'And I've got a gammy eye!' from Piper. He commented that Piper had been allowed approval of the doll, to which she replied 'Apparently I approved it - I can't remember.' Evans suggested that perhaps she had been 'a little bit tiddly' when she gave it the nod, to which Piper laughingly commented 'Possibly!' ... As a side note of possible interest, the Bewitched-style animated opening titles for OFI Sunday had a caricature of Piper on a billboard with the words 'Billie Piper in Professor Who?' coinciding with the sung lines, relating to Evans, 'He's taller than you think when you meet him in real life/He gets on ever so swell with his ex-wife.' The couple still have a year to go before they divorce." There are news reports about the appearance at BBC News. Also, The Sun features Evans/Piper gossip. (Thanks to Paul Hayes, Peter Weaver, Steve Tribe, Paul Engelberg)

FILTER: - People - Billie Piper

New Series DVD IssueBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 22 November 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon

The Doctor Who Series One Boxed Set is now in release... and there are a few reported issues with it including an authoring fault, as the episode "World War Three" is cut by several minutes while watching in the episodic mode. (A fix: it plays fine in "Play All" mode so you can skip forward to the episode start; it's only when it plays episodically that part of it is cut out.) Additionally, there are several music changes including 'classic' series music removed from one of the trailers, and the longer music cue in "Rose" (the Doctor and Rose walking back toward the TARDIS) on the 'vanilla' disc but not on the transmitted version.
UPDATE: There is word that the BBC will be replacing the faulty discs; details are forthcoming!
The official site has a brief story about the release. Meanwhile, Times Online reviews the boxed set. "Your £70 buys irresistibly cheesy Tardis packaging and five hours’ worth of extras, including cast-and-crew commentaries, the complete Dr Who Confidential, Davies’s wry video diary, featurettes on the special effects, and On Set with Billie (steady...). Travelling back a few months, the most revealing item is Eccleston’s interview for BBC Breakfast: watch his eyes as he squirms his way round the issue of long-term commitment, explaining that he’s done 13 episodes — '45 minutes, not half an hour' — and that’s really two series, and... Whatever, he’ll be missed. Four stars. Matthew Davis'. Another review inDVD Times says that 'Video-wise, the print appears to be identical to the previous bare-bones releases and it’s exceptionally clear at that... The sound quality - primarily presented in 5.1 Surround Sound - is also excellent, every nuance of Christopher Eccleston’s accent can be heard with crystal clarity... The one reason most fans will be buying this boxset is, of course, for the slew of extras. Spread over five discs, the extras comprise of the complete collection of trailers, storyboards, several video diaries and numerous 'making of' featurettes... Aside from this there is also an exclusive look at the special featurette containing behind the scenes footage of The Christmas Invasion which is sure to fascinate any fan counting down the days until David Tennant's first proper episode as the Tenth Doctor. ... Some of the video diaries are a little drawn out and repetitive in places." As previously reported, SFX Magazine has a feature on the DVD extras now on their website. Also, Restoration Team member Paul Vanezis interviewed by the online UK DVD Review podcast/magazine available here.

FILTER: - Series 1/27 - Blu-ray/DVD

Nick Briggs Does CybermenBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 22 November 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon

Nicholas Briggs is interviewed by BBC Wiltshire on audio, in which he announces that he will return to the series for its second year to voice the Cybermen. Says the website, "The recent revival of cult BBC1 sci-fi series Doctor Who was a huge hit with viewers when the 13-part series starring Christopher Eccleston as The Doctor was shown earlier this year. One of the most popular aspects of the new version of the show was the return of The Doctor's most fearsome foes - the dreaded Daleks whose terrifying catchphrase 'EXTERMINATE' sent an whole new generation of young viewers scurrying behind the sofa. The man who provided the voices for The Daleks in the new series is life-long Doctor Who fan Nick Briggs who is not only a Dalek expert but an actor and producer of Doctor Who audio stories. On the day of the launch of the DVD box-set of the recent series of Doctor Who, Nick spoke to BBC Radio Wiltshire's Afternoon Show presenter Mark Seaman about what it was like to work on the new series. He also demonstrated a piece of equipment called a ring modulator which is used to distort his voice into that of a Dalek. And Nick exclusively revealed he is to appear as the voice of another old enemy of The Doctor's when the series returns in the New Year." (Thanks to Daniel Garrett)

FILTER: - People - Series 2/28

CBBC eXtra CompetitionBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 22 November 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon

The official Doctor Who site says that "CBBC eXtra - the children's red button service - are running a Doctor Who competition from Friday. The main prize is the first season DVD Box Set, a sonic screwdriver with psychic paper and a TARDIS mobile phone flasher. There are runner-up prizes of a Doctor Who audio mug and TARDIS keyring. There will also be a preview of the DVD including some clips from the first series and a look at some of the special features. The competition will run for seven days starting on Friday. All viewers will have to do is answer a simple question to enter."Click here for further details.

FILTER: - Online - Competitions