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

February 15 Set ReportBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 15 February 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon

Another set report from Paul Mount, who braved the elements today in Cardiff Bay to report on the current state of affairs from the outdoor production of the new series; click on the spoiler tag for more information.
Paul Mount:

Well there's cold and then there's cold. Then there's freezing. Then there's Cardiff Bay, mid february 2005 and my extremities have never felt more extreme.

Just back from a recce down to the Bay to see what's going on tonight. A hive of activity and some interesting bits'n'pieces. Firstly, as reported above, the TARDIS is there outside the Millenium centre, covered by its tarpaulin and curiously, when I passed at around 8.40pm, unguarded. I was tempted to run inside and fiddle with helmic regulators or at least turn the heating on but thought better of it. (On the way back not long ago there are security guards milling around and the Police Box is lit up, still underneath the tarpaulin)

Further on, on the esplanade of the Bay where a number of restaurants and bars cluster together, the unit's been busy filming otuside the long Terra Nova bar. Here Noel Clarke and Billie Piper's stand-in (Billie's sick, apparently) are filming a scene on a bench by the railings overlooking the bay (the same bench,I think, where I once ate chips with a now ex-girlfriend....ah, the romance!) A couple of rehearsals and the camera turns. Mickey (for it is he) is talking with Rose. A number of pedstrians are passing by. Suddenly, they start looking alarmed, looking up and all around. They start running and screaming, mass panic. Rose jumps up and runs off. Mickey, clearly annoyed, jumps up too. "It's him again, isn't it?" he says (or words very much to that effect). "It's the Doctor. It's always about the Doctor, isn't it? It's never about me!" The scene is recorded again - Noel fluffs his line and curses in fluent Ango-Saxon (Denis Nordern wouldn't approve) to the amusement of crew and onlookers. A quick break and the scene's rehearsed and recorded again, this time with the addition of a shower of polystyrene rubble being thrown on the fleeing crowd from the balcony of the Terra Nova bar.

Now it's getting seriously cold. Even a cappucino from the nearby coffeee mania booth can barely get my fingers tingling again. The unit starts to reposition their equipment (oo-er). More extras (and Billie's double) rush around in front of another nearby building and more rubble is thrown. Much screaming.

Sorry, my toes are dying. As I drift off back to the warmth of my car (ah, blessed heater!) the crew are positioning tables and chairs outside the coffee bar so they look as if they've been knocked over during some sort of panicky exodus. On my way back to my own private TARDIS (well, my car) I pass the real thing, glowing beneath the tarpaulin. I take a quick snap but the flash obviously attracts the attention of a security guard who starts to wander over as I'm wandering away. I suspect that if I linger he'll chase me away with a big stick.

Dr Who returns in March (apparently)

FILTER: - Production - Series 1/27

New Series: 26 March 2005Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, 15 February 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon

While there is still no official confirmation from the BBC (and we stress that there's still plenty of time for this to change!), we've received enough information from various sources to safely conclude that the new series will indeed premiere on BBC1 on Saturday, March 26, 2005, likely at either 6:45 or 7:00pm (with the BBC3 "Doctor Who Confidential" series airing immediately afterwards at either 7:30 or 7:45pm.) Various sources have reported a range of rumored plans for a possible March 8 press launch, including radio and television trailers and broadcasts starting around that time; various radio interviews and photo shoots; new merchandise; a relaunch of the official Doctor Who website; and plenty of other publicity plans tying into the relaunch of the series. It also mentions that the show has been sold overseas in Canada, New Zealand and, surprisingly, Australia (for which a venue has not yet been announced), but omits the US as of this writing. As soon as we have a clearer picture of all of the various publicity plans, we'll pass the word along.

(Editor's note: Once again, I want to stress that this is not an official confirmation, but after checking with many sources, I'm now confident that this is indeed the broadcast date, barring any last minute change of plans, and that it will be announced through official channels soon. I've also been told that this date has only been finalized within the past month. More soon!)

FILTER: - Series 1/27 - Broadcasting

Isla BlairBookmark and Share

Monday, 14 February 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon

Actress Isla Blair, who appeared as Isabella in "The King's Demons" and is married to actor Julian Glover, will appear in the new Faction Paradox audio CD series from Magic Bullet, joining Glover and actor Gabriel Woolf.

FILTER: - People

More Doodles for CharityBookmark and Share

Monday, 14 February 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
As well as Colin Baker's doodle for National Doodle Day, the Epilepsy Action organization now has a doodle by the Fifth Doctor, Peter Davison, which will be auctioned on National Doodle Day, Friday 25 February, along with all the other celebrity doodles, and can be seen at this website. Other new Doctor Who-related actors include Hannah Gordon (the Highlanders/Shada webcast), Sean Biggerstaff (Shada webcast/Harry Potter), Tony Adams (The Green Death/Crossroads) and Stephen Fry (Death Comes to Time/The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy). Doctor Who fans may also be interested to see the doodles from Terry Gilliam, Nick Park (creator of Wallace and Gromit), Graham Norton, Rob Brydon and Josie Lawrence. Visit for more information on the charity event.
(with thanks to Alan Jones)

FILTER: - People

Rumors of US TransmissionBookmark and Share

Monday, 14 February 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon

Rumors have circulated today based on posts on the Restoration Team forum concerning a possible deal with NBC/Universal, who own the Sci-Fi Channel and USA Network, for broadcast of the new series, potentially with the Sci-Fi Channel as first broadcaster and USA as syndicators, which would include the entire back catalog of Doctor Who serials. While there is no official word confirming this, it's the first indication in some time of a possible deal for US broadcast of the new show. Stay tuned!

FILTER: - USA - Series 1/27 - Broadcasting

Enlightenment 125Bookmark and Share

Monday, 14 February 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon

The latest issue of Enlightenment, the fanzine of the Doctor Who Information Network -- North America's largest Doctor Who fan club -- says Goodbye To All That: Looking back fondly and saying farewell to the (mostly) TV-less Doctor Who universe of the past fourteen years. Looking back on the NAs and the books. Big Finish's contribution discussed. Scream of the Shalka and Death Comes To Time appraised. The final episode of The Key To A Time Lord. To order visit the website at

FILTER: - Magazines

Heggessey To Leave BBCBookmark and Share

Monday, 14 February 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon

According to a news report on BBC News this morning, Lorraine Heggessey, controller of BBC1, is leaving the BBC to become chief executive at Talkback Thames, the production company that produces both "The Bill" and "Pop Idol." Heggessey was instrumental in arranging for Doctor Who to return to television, and it was in an interview conducted with the Daily Telegraph in September 2003 that Heggessey let slip the news that the show was returning, causing a firestorm of coverage as the press confirmed the story was true. The report says she is not expected to leave until later in the year. This is not expected to have any impact on the production of the new Doctor Who series.

FILTER: - People

Jack Kine ObituaryBookmark and Share

Friday, 11 February 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon

Further to our report on January 25 about the death of BBC effects legend Jack Kine, the Times Online today ran a detailed obituary. (Thanks to Chris Winwood, "ABT 2004")

FILTER: - Obituary - Classic Series

McGann is MacNabBookmark and Share

Friday, 11 February 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon

Paul McGann plays Captain MacNab in "Kidnapped," CBBC's adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic tale, which airs at the end of February or early March according to the BBC Press office. Says the report: "Iain Glen stars as Alan Breck and James Anthony Pearson as Davie Balfour in Stevenson's tale of treachery, romance and rebellion, along with Paul McGann as Colonel McNab, Adrian Dunbar as Uncle Ebenezer, Gregor Fisher as James of the Glens and Kirstin Smith as Catriona. Kidnapped chronicles the adventures of Breck and Balfour as they escape murder and shipwreck on a quest for justice, all set against the fierce social and political backdrop of 1760s Scotland. The BBC is working with South Pacific Productions (makers of the Oscar nominated film Whale Rider) on location in New Zealand." At right is a photo from the recent installment of "Features" from the BBC Press Office with McGann in the role. (Thanks to Paul Hayes)

FILTER: - People

BBC Press Office "Features"Bookmark and Share

Friday, 11 February 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon

In their latest installment of "Features," a weekly promotional circular, for Week 9 of the year, the BBC Press Office have photos and promotion for Doctor Who... although not as a current series, but as part of the "Coming Soon" section. "Christopher Eccleston plays Doctor Who in a new, 13-part series for BBC One," says the document. "Billie Piper, who made her acting debut in the critically-acclaimed Canterbury Tales - The Miller's Tale, stars alongside Eccleston as the Doctor's companion, Rose Tyler. Traveling through time and space, the Doctor and Rose come face to face with a number of new and exciting monsters - as well as battling with the Doctor's arch-enemy, the Daleks! The series also features Penelope Wilton, Noel Clarke, Annette Badland, Camille Coduri, John Barrowman, Richard Wilson, Simon Pegg and acclaimed theatre, film and television actor Simon Callow." The document also features a mention of Doctor Who exec producer Russell T Davies' other serial, "Casanova," as well as Paul McGann's turn as Colonel MacNab in "Kidnapped" (see separate story). (Thanks to Paul Hayes)

FILTER: - Series 1/27 - Press