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

BBC Site ChangesBookmark and Share

Saturday, 26 March 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
The official site at the BBC has been altered; instead of the countdown there is a splash page with more items on it, as well as further downloads and a guide to the episode "Rose". Additional information is expected to come in the near future. In addition, the "Who Is Doctor Who?" site -- the BBC's "fake" site based on a plot point in the first episode, has been altered now (note: this contains some fairly massive spoilers, so don't visit that unless you are prepared!)

FILTER: - Online

Friday Series UpdatesBookmark and Share

Friday, 25 March 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
BBC Radio Wales' flagship breakfast show, Good Morning Wales will feature a short item previewing the new series and interviewing a local fan sometime between 7.15 and 8.30am UK time on Saturday, 26th March 2005.

The Evening Gazette has an interview with new series writer Mark Gatiss. "I didn't sleep for a week after the announcement it was coming back," Gatiss is quoted. "I thought if they don't ask me to write an episode, I'll have to shoot myself. Then Russell called and asked if I would like to do it. The 'it' was the big challenge. Because I'd talked to so many people over so many years about how would you tell a story about the Doctor. I wanted to avoid my story becoming an exercise in nostalgia for the show. But then Russell gave all of the writers vague storylines to work on. I was hoping I'd get the historical storyline and I did." The article also features a brief history of Doctor Who.

BBC South East Wales contacted us to let us know about their special Doctor Who section. "Our site has pictures and background information about the locations in South East Wales where the new series was filmed. We'll be adding detailed location guides and photogalleries as the series progresses."

BBC News today features an article that states that "thanks to Doctor Who, blue police boxes topped with flashing police lights became a national icon during the 1960s." The article goes into the history of the police box and its use in the show, including the new series.

Our correspondent went to the recording of tonight's Friday Night with Jonathan Ross show that featured Christopher Eccleston. There are going to be several spoilers in terms of clips on this show this evening, we're warned, as such: "The aliens running around number 10 - hitting people - the space ship crashing into the Thames - the infamous 'can you stop farting whilst I am trying to save the world' line - the captured Dalek shouting to exterminate the Doctor - the dragon creatures from Father's Day, a shot of Victorian characters being taken over, Gas masked zombies and The Doctor with Charles Dickens - asking who he was 'just a traveller - passing through' - etc." As he tells us, "Also, they get out the prototype toys on sale for next Christmas - they play with the sonic screwdriver and a Chris action figure (could be a talking Doc) it looked that size etc. He had the new gold remote Dalek from the series too (but sadly that never came out and stayed at the side of the desk). The interview was really good - Chris was extremely relaxed and having a nice time. JR took the general mickey about a scally manc Doctor and the size of Chris's ears - all of which was taken in very good humour by Chris. Jonathan did hassle him about how long he was planning on staying in the role and he did not let him off lightly - despite Chris's insistence about only being signed for a year."

The "Video clips" section of the official Doctor Who website now has interviews with script editor and former BBC1 controller (and our hero) Lorraine Heggessey. They're in the Video Diaries section of the Media Player, as "Script Editor" and "The Exec". The player also contains The 60s, the first of three musical tours through the show's history (formerly known, when they've been shown at UK conventions as "The Doctor Who Years").

Today's Guardian "enters the time-warped world of Doctor Who's assistants," with an article discussing the role of the companions. "Few appointments carry the gravitas of the role of Doctor Who's sidekick. Its social and cultural significance is perhaps on a par only with discovering which blue-blooded virgin the heir to the throne will choose to be his bride. With Doctor Who returning to our screens tomorrow after a 14-year absence, the nation will be forced to acquaint itself not only with a new incarnation of the Doctor, in the shape of Christopher Eccleston, but also a new accomplice, Rose Tyler, played by fledgling actor and former teen popstrel Billie Piper. But what can we expect? A continuing of the fine tradition of short skirts and screaming? Or could Piper change the role for ever?" The article quotes Clayton Hickman of DWM, David Howe of Telos Publishing, and Elisabeth Sladen. As Hickman notes: "Russell T Davies is into strong women. If you look at his earlier work, such as Bob and Rose and Queer as Folk, there's always a woman chaperoning the guys. So I don't think Billie will be hobbling down the corridor in high heels. ... Strong women is what you do now. You can't get away with a bit of totty on Doctor Who's arm anymore."

TV Zone Special #62 is out now, and features some nice Doctor Who content. The issue has interviews with Noel Clarke and Camille Coduri, and Lance Parkin talks about wrapping up the Eighth Doctor's fictional life in a special preview of The Gallifrey Chronicles. UK readers can visit the website here, while US readers have their own site here.

The Highbury and Islington Express discusses a party at the Printworks pub that states that "former doctors and stars of the cult series have been invited, along with hundreds of fans."

Yorkshire Today features an article with quotes from Christopher Eccleston. The Scotsman also features Eccleston comments, some re-run from articles in the recent past.

The Harveys furniture retail outlet has run a poll of the "Top 5 Most Frightening Moments" on British TV. Doctor Who weighs in at numbers two and five, with the Daleks and the Cybermen being on the list. The story is run in today'sScotsmanUTV,

Today's The Sun has tonight's "Friday Night with Jonathan Ross" on its "What to Watch Tonight" list today; Christopher Eccleston is on the show tonight. The Sun also notes today how stunning Billie is 'out of this world' while a second report has Billie as "Babe Of The Week". Also in today's Sun, a bit in their TV Biz about the mole being 'exterminated' from his job after leaking Rose on the Internet, and "Dr Whoo" on page 19 featuring a couple of stills from Unquiet Dead. There are several reports on the leak being stopped today, like other days, at the Register and Contact Music as well as a lengthy article at CNet News.

The Media Guardian is running a news report on this Saturday's ratings war between Doctor Who on BBC One and Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway on ITV. Says Timms: "Oxford will clashing oars with Cambridge this weekend and Ireland will be hoping to defeat Israel in the World Cup qualifier, but the struggle of truly galactic proportions will take place in living rooms across the UK on Saturday night." He goes on to outline the bookmakers' odds on which show will triumph, reporting: " 'Rather than wasting bets on sports events like the Boat Race, the smart money is going on whether Chris and Billie can pull in more viewers than Ant and Dec on ITV1, in a clash perhaps not seen since Jeremy Paxman took on Michael Howard and er... won. "What we are trying to weigh up is the BBC's endless plugging of Doctor Who against Ant and Dec's spoiler tactics of bringing in David Beckham," said bookmakers Paddy Power. "The BBC have been stuck in a time machine with their heavy promoting of the Time Lord's return while Ant and Dec are hitting back with an appearance from David Beckham." The result? Doctor Who is 1/2 while the ITV duo languish on 6/4. Despite all the free plugging and a significant marketing push, the Doctor and Rose face an uphill slog if they are going to overturn the sultans of Saturday night TV, who pulled in 8.2 million viewers last Saturday and 8.4 million the week before. And that's almost what Sporting Index, the darlings of high-rolling city punters, predict is going to happen. "The last price we had was that Doctor Who would attract 8.25 million," said Sporting Index's Bill Esdaile, before trading was suspended, perhaps because of the appearance of Beckham and Mariah Carey on Ant and Dec. But Blue Square is less bullish about Doctor Who, even given the added support of Graham Norton's new show Strictly Dance Fever, which will immediately precede the sci-fi series opener. "Even with all the press Doctor Who has generated, I still think Ant and Dec will win," said Blue Square, which makes Ant and Dec odds-on favourites at 1/3 and Doctor Who at 9/4. Those looking for a little more guidance before rushing out with their life savings may want to look at how the two shows are faring in terms of internet searches. According to web measurement specialist Hitwise, the pint-sized Geordies' share of online searches has fallen in the face of an intergalactic onslaught. Currently there are 50% more people looking for the phrase 'new Doctor Who' than searching for 'Ant and Dec.' "

DWAS's Antony Wainer was on BBC Radio Essex this morning on the Dave Monk show to talk about the series' return, and there were a few bits including a Russell T Davies interview on BBC Radio Wales's Nicola Heywood Thomas show.

The 25 March edition of the Yorkshire Post newspaper includes interviews with Christopher Eccleston and DWAS Coordinator Ian Wheeler. Wheeler also appeared on Radio York on the 25 March to promote the new series and will appear again on Monday 28th March to review the first episode.

The Winston Salem Journal in America features a mention of the new series in their TV Tidbits column. "Doctor Who will be making its return to television in Britain this weekend. But the enduring British science-fiction saga still hasn't found an American distributor," along with other comments about the program.

Today's Guardian covers the appointment of Peter Fincham as Controller of BBC One, and includes "advice" to him from various pundits, including John Whittingdale MP (the Conservative Party's spokesman on Culture): "It's a terribly important job - there's no shortage of programmes made by BBC1 which do not meet that public service remit. Less Fame Academy, certainly. And EastEnders is a whole different debate. I do, however, applaud the return of Doctor Who."

Tonight's Now Show (Friday March 25) features a number of Doctor Who gags as well as a new Doctor Who based song by comedy writer Mitch Benn. It goes out on BBC Radio 4 at 18.30 GMT and is repeated tomorrow at 12.30, and will be available on BBC radio player after the Saturday repeat.

On Radio 2 this morning, DJ Richard Allinson was asking listeners to nominate their "scariest Doctor Who monster". Allinson's approach was somewhat jokey - some listeners took it seriously, others less so! Allinson excluded the Daleks because he wasn't convinced by them (and is surely one of the few people in the country still doing the "stairs" comment!) Among the nominees were Sutekh, the Sea Devils, Aggedor ("a hairy pig thing who lived in the dungeons of a castle"), Scaroth ("who was Julian Glover until he took his mask off, and then he was a wet privet hedge with one eye"), K-9, Bonnie Langford, and "Billie Piper's eyebrows."

In an editorial in this weeks New Musical Express, NME writer Dan Martin gets enthusiastic about the new series, explaining why Dr. Who is a "classic rock'n'roll star." Some highlights: "... British folklore feeds off our history of exploration, mad scientists, freaks and (yes) libertines ... in other words, the history of rock'n'roll. And so, therefore, does our sci-fi. Which makes our greatest, soon to be revived export the ultimate libertine and the most rock'n'roll TV character ever."; "He's a renegade timelord on a vigilante mission with a series of scantily-clad chicks"; "Whether it's John and Yoko's bed-in, Rickey Manic cutting 4-Real into his arm to prove a point to a journalist or Bono using his superfame to shame the G8 leaders, rock'n'roll history is a succession of colourful eccentrics, all on their own ridiculous missions to help good triumph over evil."; and "For the first time ever, Doctor Who is about to become cool. And there's nothing any of you f**kers can do about it! (evil laughter, to fade."

Frazer Hines was on BBC Look North for East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire last night at 6.30 talking about the new Doctor Who series, though we don't have any details.

The BBC's weekly Science and Nature e-mail newsletter, which describes recent articles on BBC Web sites relating to science and nature, also has a section listing highlights of science and nature programming on the BBC in the coming week. This week they've included Doctor Who as one of the "TV and Radio Choices" in among the documentary and factual programs.

Morning Ireland, the Irish version of Today, broadcast an item on the return of Doctor Who to the BBC on March 23. It didn't feature clips from the new show but did use clips from older episodes. The spot was mostly Irish fans memories of Dr Who plus some comments about hope for the new series. The show's website is here.

Finally, Choices Direct now has blurbs for the first two DVD set releases in the UK for the new series, as in the box below.

(Thanks to Steve Tribe, Paul Engelberg, Chuck Foster, Paul Hayes, Timothy Farr, Ian Wheeler, Neal Douglas, Bob Fischer, Dan McGrath, Daniel Blythe, Darren Kramble, David Shepherdson, Michael Blumenthal, Stephen Graves, Steve Freestone, Jamie Austin, Nathan "Obstreperous" and the BBC South East Wales team)

DVD Release #1: May 16

Doctor Who is back. With his seemingly inexhaustible spirit of adventure, the Time Lord makes a welcome return, in his ninth incarnation, as he continues to travel space and time meeting friends and enemies, both old and new. Written by Russell T Davies (Queer As Folk, Bob And Rose, Second Coming, Casanova), the show stars Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor. He is joined by Rose (Billie Piper), his new companion, who hopes to escape her unhappy life and prove her true worth. Contains three episodes. Rose - The Doctor and Rose meet and soon face trouble in the shape of the Autons. The End Of The World - The two travel to the year five billion where representatives from many different planets have gathered to commemorate the end of the world... The Unquiet Dead - Victorian Cardiff is their destination. Here they meet Charles Dickens as well as some spooky aliens.

DVD Release #2: June 13

Doctor Who is back. With his seemingly inexhaustible spirit of adventure, the Time Lord makes a welcome return, in his ninth incarnation, as he continues to travel space and time meeting friends and enemies, both old and new. Written by Russell T Davies (Queer As Folk, Bob And Rose, Second Coming, Casanova), the show stars Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor. He is joined by Rose (Billie Piper), his new companion, who hopes to escape her unhappy life and prove her true worth. Contains three episodes: Aliens Of London, World War Three and Dalek.

FILTER: - DWM - Series 1/27 - Press

Friday Night PressBookmark and Share

Friday, 25 March 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
The Scotsman says that "People could be mistaken for thinking they have been transported to a different time dimension if they stumble across a Doctor Who Tardis. In fact, there are 237 blue police call boxes (PCBs), on which the BBC modelled the fictional time lord's transporter. Ordnance Survey has tracked down the locations of all former PCBs using a digital master map of Britain - technology which may well have delighted the creators of the sci-fi classic. The curious-looking cubes can now be found disguised as coffee kiosks since personal radios made them redundant in 1969. But just as the television show is being resurrected, police are experimenting with bringing the boxes back, although now they are more hi-tech." The Sun also picked up this story, as did icWales.

Leeds Today says it's "16 years on, and fans can't wait for return of the Doctor". "Sixteen years after being exterminated by Beeb bosses, look Who's back. Doctor Who fans in West Yorkshire are gearing up for the return of the nation's favourite timelord. ... Leeds teacher and Doctor Who fan Chris Hoyle admitted he was "giddy" with excitement . He said: 'It's a shame that a whole generation of kids haven't had a doctor to grow up with, but now that's going to change.'" Other fans are interviewed.

The London News Review says that "In short: episode one ("Rose") is wonderful, and we only have one and half niggles. The chief beef is Murray Gold's incidental music. Gold did a fine job of reworking the theme tune. And his trendy/derivative music was entirely right for Queer As Folk, which is presumably why he was recruited by the man behind that show and the new Who, Russell T. Davis. But his incidental music in 'Rose' sounds like bad library CDs from the 1990s. It's the only thing that makes the fantastic new episode already seem dated." (Outpost Gallifrey begs to differ...)

The Birmingham Evening Mail says that "Doctor Who fans can't wait for the future to come in the shape of Saturday night. Suky Singh, a member of the Dr Who fan club the Wolves of Fenric, based in Wolverhampton, said: 'People just want to spend Saturday evening in front of their television and not be distracted.' ... The return of Dr Who has rekindled some affectionate and frightening memories. The Evening Mail took to the streets of Brum to gauge public reaction. Graham Taylor, aged 54, ajournalist from Droitwich, said: 'The new Dr Who looks quite exciting and more up-to-date. I certainly won't miss the old effects.' Angela Bowyer, 63, from Stoke-on-Trent, said: 'I have lots of memories of children being frightened but it was also good fun.' Her husband Peter Bowyer, 69, added: 'It will be interesting to compare the old and new programmes.' David Dai, 23, a graphic design student who lives in Harborne, said: 'I don't know Dr Who. I will be watching it, but I usually watch Channel 4 and Five.' Rashila Lad, a 33-yearold window dresser from Kings Heath, said: 'When I was a kid I was scared of the Daleks.' Lucy Stacey, 23, a window dresser from Great Barr, said: 'My older brother Danny used to make me watch it with him because he was scared.'"

The Spectator jokingly reviews the series: "I'm not sure which aspect of his latest incarnation, as written by Russell T. ('Queer As Folk') Davies, I find most objectionable: his new pink headquarters on the planet Stifado One, his mincing young assistant Julian or that his foppish, vaguely Edwardian kit has now been replaced by a pair of leather chaps, a studded belt and an enormous black codpiece with a little holster on the side for his sonic screwdriver." Later he changes tune a bit: "Davies is such a dedicated Doctor Who fan that he even carried on watching in that difficult period after Peter Davison had gone, when it apparently went down and down. If anyone on this planet was ever likely to breathe new life into an aging Time Lord, then Russell T.was surely the man. And, sure enough, he has, with extremely unlikely support from the actor playing Dr Who ù Christopher Eccleston. Eccleston, I get the impression from all those non-interviews he gives, is an actor who takes himself very seriously. You just know if you sat next to him at a dinner party he'd bang on about the Kyoto Agreement, or some such, and never once vouchsafe any juicy asides like fun actors do about which thesp has the biggest penis, which has the best coital one-liners ('Tom's in now, ' is popular with one, I gather), which is secretly gay and so on. The idea of him summoning up the lightness of touch required to play the Doctor seemed about as remote as the Daleks of conquering the universe when they can't even walk up staircases." He ends with a positive note: "Why ever didn't they think of it earlier?"

Scotland's Evening Times says that "Scotland fans stuck at home could miss the start of the vital World Cup clash with Italy because of Doctor Who. BBC bosses have scheduled coverage of tomorrow's game to begin at 7.45pm - the same time as kickoff. And if earlier programmes run late, the Milan match could have started before the closing credits in the new series of Dr Who. Ironically, the game was brought forward weeks ago to suit Italian TV chiefs. But despite the alteration, BBC are sticking to their original schedules. The move has angered fans who can't make the journey." Priorities!

Curiously, the Daily Star says the Cybermen won't be back. "One of Doctor Who's greatest enemies, the Cybermen, have been killed off because TV bosses think they are out of date. And in their bid to give the SF series a fresh look, they claim the Time Lord is more likely to go up against iPod-man. Fans had been hoping that the silver-suited aliens who enjoyed many a battle with the Doctor would return now the show is back on our screens tomorrow. But writer Russell T Davies claims that although he's happy to bring back foes like The Daleks, the Cybermen are to be banished into cyberspace. He said: 'I am afraid aliens like the Cybermen would be somewhat dated. I think you're more likely to see the Doctor fighting iPod-man.'" Though Davies has, of course, gone on record several times saying that if the show goes on long enough, he might want to bring back the Cybermen. The Daily Star also ran a Doctor Who quiz: "Are you a Timelord or a Sci-Fi Dunce from the Dull Dimension? Dare you try..."

The Coventry Evening Telegraph says "Two, four, six, eight, Who do we appreciate?" and it's Doctor Who, of course. "Doctor Who fans across Coventry are eagerly awaiting the return of the cult science-fiction show this weekend after a 16-year absence from our screens. ... And computer programmer Wes Campbell, of Beausale Croft, Mount Nod, is looking forward to seeing Dr Who updated for the 21st century. Mr Campbell, 39, a member of a Dr Who fan group called The Warwickshire Who Group, said: 'It's good to see that the writers haven"t just slavishly tried to recreate the old Dr Who. They are trying to create something new and exciting, not just an extension of the old series.' In particular the show's famously ropey special effects have been ditched in favour of impressive new graphics."

In today's Times, in the People section: "After all the fuss about the new Doctor Who, you would think that Christopher Eccleston would be glad to associate himself with the role. But asked in The Stage about a second series, he replied: 'I'll have to think long and hard about it ... It could be a poisoned chalice.'" That is, of course, a quote from Eccleston in the recent past, also regurgitated today by the Daily Express: "I'll have to think long and hard before I make a final decision."

Newsquest Digital Media says that "Unless you've been hiding behind a sofa for the past month (and be honest, has anyone ever done that?) you'll be aware that a new series of Doctor Who is upon us from Saturday. I'm looking forward to it, not least because one of my relatives is getting exterminated in a later episode. Of course, one of the main concerns that people (the sort who inhabit TV list programmes and just pop up as "experts on popular culture" as if that's a proper job) put forward is that it won't be like it was in the good old days - to which I say, good. I was very fond of the Doctor's adventures when I was a kid, and some of it was very good indeed, especially given the production values of the day. But a lot of it was shambolic tosh, with wobbly sets, school play special effects, and pantomime acting. It shows you what a slower, gentler world we lived in, when simple plots could be stretched out over four half-hour episodes (episode three = everyone runs up and down suspiciously-similar corridors a lot). I doubt the new version will be as complete a regeneration as the excellent new "reimagined" Battlestar Galactica series. But as long as Doctor Who can be watched without the aid of nostalgia-tinted glasses, it should be a step in the right direction. (OK, I've mentioned wobbly sets and hiding behind the sofa... now if I can only step into something and have it disappear to the sound of the Tardis and a bad dematerialisation special effect, I can get a job as a regional news presenter... )"

Today's The Forester (Forest of Dean) says "Doctor Who has returned to the Forest to rediscover his roots. Ninth Who Christopher Eccleston and his side-kick Billie Piper shot scenes for the new BBC1 series, which starts at 7pm on Saturday, on the western flanks of the Dean in Monmouth. Billie, who stars as the Doctor's companion Rose, told the secret to Radio 1 listeners. Last week, The Forester revealed the Doctor first visited the Forest in 1974 to film on the River Severn at Broadoak."

The Express and Echo (Exeter) says that "Exeter youngsters with an appetite for time travel are appealing to new Doctor Who Christopher Eccleston to help them put the finishing touches to a school play based on the famous TV time lord. On the eve of the return of the classic BBC series this weekend, children at John Stocker Middle School in St Thomas are rehearsing their own version of the much-loved sci-fi show. The musical, Where's Who?!, was written by head teacher John Palmer and his wife Ann in the early 1980s when Doctor Who, - with its police-box-cum-time-travel-machine the Tardis and robotic aliens, the Daleks - was still being regularly screened. First staged by pupils at Willand primary near Cullompton where Mr Palmer used to be deputy head, the play featured an opening speech delivered by former Doctor Who actor Colin Baker, recorded especially for the production. Now John Stocker children - who weren't even born before the TV show was last aired in 1989 - have written to the latest actor to portray the Doctor to ask whether he would make a similar recording. Mr Palmer, an amateur actor himself, explained: "When we originally did the play the opening speech needed to be done by Doctor Who. We just wrote to the BBC and sent the script off and Colin Baker recorded the speech which was only about a minute long. We're trying to get Christopher Eccleston to do the same thing but so far we have not had a reply. "The play is about the children having just come out of school for their summer holidays and going up to their den which is a cave. It turns out that the cave is a Tardis and as they approach they hear a crackly radio message which is Doctor Who saying: 'Help me! The Zeldons have captured me and my Tardis and banished me to the rubbish heap at the end of the universe'. This is what was recorded by Colin Baker. The children then have to punch some co-ordinates into a computer to try and get to the Planet of the Zeldons but get the numbers wrong so end up travelling into the future and then the Pyramids in Egypt. Their mission is to find the Tardis and rescue Doctor Who."

The Evening Times (Glasgow) says "If we can accept Worzel Gummidge as a timelord we can easily accept Shallow Grave star Christopher Eccleston. Where the new series differs is the investment in character developments. Writer Russell T Davies has created a timelord with a Salford accent, an enigmatic smile and a short temper. Overall he's a very human alien, whose two hearts seem to be in the right place. His assistant, Rose - played by former teen popette Billie Piper - is also real. She is bored with her life as a shop girl, fed up with her childish boyfriend and her man-mad single-parent mother. We can readily believe why Rose would run off around the universe with a bloke who looks like a social worker and is old enough to be her dad. What's difficult to grasp is that Dr Who has gone outdoors. The storyline takes us around London, to shopping centres and cafes. And without that sense of studio-based claustrophobia of old, it all looks worryingly much less malevolent than the 1960s efforts." A downer at the end: "Doctor Who has enough character base to be a success with Buffy-loving teenagers but perhaps it simply can't appeal to grown-ups who grew up with the original. Back then, the strong storylines and weak special effects prompted the imagination to work overtime. Or perhaps we recall too fondly the time of our lives when we could be so easily terrified. And to overcome that nostalgia is asking a little too much of television."

Today's Sunderland Echo has a two-page centrespread on DW, under the title 'Time, gentlemen, please!'. It features your usual brief-history-of-the-Doctor alongside a photo montage of the nine TV incarnations and a couple of small photos from the new series. There's also a box-out about the novels and audios alongside a montage of a Dalek, Cyberman and an Ice Warrior. Another box-out features an interview with Wearsider William Russell, talking about his time on the show, his reading of 'The Daleks' CD, and his delight at the return of the TV series.

The Bolton Evening News has four pages dedicated to the show, thanks to the deputy editor Ian Savage being a long-time fan. Large cover photo on the weekend supplement (the familiar Doctor/Rose publicity shot) Two page preview with photos from Rose and End of the World. Then a one page episode guide with some more photos familiar from other newspapers this week.

(Thanks to Paul Engelberg, who needs sleep as much as I do, plus Steve Tribe, Mick Gair, Chuck Foster, Paul Hayes, "gazhack")

FILTER: - Series 1/27 - Press - Radio Times

Eccleston on Jonathan RossBookmark and Share

Friday, 25 March 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
Christopher Eccleston appeared on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross this evening, and below are some stills from the show as well as from the rather lengthy spoiler-iffic trailer they showed! Says our correspondent Mike Morris: "Christopher Eccleston appeared tonight (March 25th) as a guest of Jonathan Ross; a well known chat show host in the UK and probably elsewhere, who is also well known for having difficulting pronouncing his R's. After the initial chat about Christopher's memories of the original series, his costume, and about playing the Doctor with a Northern English, Manchester accent. A montage clip of the new and not so new monsters was shown. I can report with pride, that the effects are stunning and the monsters far scarier than in the original series. Also this time (if you don't know already) the action is mainly on film rather than studio based, which gives it a more realistic edgy effect. After the montage clip, it was also revealed for the first time that a new range of merchandise will be hitting UK shops this Christmas. A prototype doll in the image of Christopher Ecclestone's 9th Doctor and a replica of the updated Sonic Screwdriver, which Christopher said 'seemed better than the real thing'. (When one presses a button, a blue light flashes and pressing another button makes the light retract into the handle of the Sonic Screwdriver). Christopher also reveals that the script in Episode one makes reference to his large Ears! He explained to Jonathan and the audience, 'its that moment when each of the Doctors after a regeneration sees themselves or himself for the first time and comments on his appearance'." (Thanks to Mike Morris for the writeup and Gavin Worby, John Molyneux for the screen captures)

FILTER: - Christopher Eccleston

Eccleston on Whiley, MayoBookmark and Share

Thursday, 24 March 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
Correspondent Paul Hayes has sent us two lengthy reports on appearances today by Christopher Eccleston on two BBC radio programs: Jo Whiley and Simon Mayo. Click on the spoiler tag to read them (there are a couple of minor spoilers, but to keep the length of the news page down they're included this way.) (Thanks to Paul Hayes)
Jo Whiley

New Doctor Christopher Eccleston appeared on Jo Whiley's programme on the BBC's new music station Radio 1 this afternoon, appearing between the records for about half an hour between 12 midday and half past. After being played four audio clips of monsters from the old series to try and identify (Cybermen, Daleks, Zygons and Ice Warriors - he got them all wrong apart from the Dalek, claiming that the Ice Warrior was an Ogron!) he then discussed the new series in some detail.

Chris revealed that he does not meet the Cybermen when Whiley asked him about that monster, although he did say that he meets one "in a glass case" in one episode. When asked what his favourite monster from the new series is, he claimed it was "the creatures who come through a crack in time in episode eight". He also said that this particular episode was his favourite, as it deals with Rose going back in time to meet her dead father, who she never knew.

Chris explained that he will not be doing a regeneration scene, and discussed how his casting means that the next Doctor could be "anybody". He talked, as he often has, of his admitation for Russell T Davies' writing, and how his characterisation of the Ninth Doctor is "a car crash between me and Russell T Davies". When asked if he had any previous favourite Doctors, he said that he liked Patrick Troughton, who he thought seemed very alien, but also said that Tom Baker had had "a pop" (made unpleasant comments) about him.

Towards the end of the interview Whiley read out questions e-mailed and texted in by listeners. Chris said that he was unlikely ever do attend a convention, and on the subject of a second series said that he was "reserving judgement", claiming that he and Davies had only ever initially discussed one series. Whiley ended the interview by reading out a message from a woman called Anna who apparently worked on the beginning of the filming last year, saying that Eccleston had promised to take the entire crew out to dinner if he ever said a certain phrase. Whiley asked what the phrase was, and Eccleston laughed and replied that it was: "Trust me, I'm a Doctor!"

The programme is available to Listen Again online at the BBC's website here; Chris appears a little over two hours into the programme.

Simon Mayo

Christopher Eccleson made his second BBC radio appearance of the day to promote the new series this afternoon when he appeared on Simon Mayo's afternoon show on the Corporation's news and sport talk station, BBC Radio 5 Live. Coming on just after the news and sport at two o'clock, Eccleston was present for the majority of the hour, and began with a good-natured argument with the sports correspondent after he was told by Mayo that he disliked Doctor Who. The sports correspondent outlined why, and Eccleston suggested that he had a lack of imagination!

Eccleston then talked about previous Doctors such as Pertwee and Baker seeming too much like authority figures which was why he had never been drawn to them, and made the comparison with Sean Connery being his favourite James Bond actor because he spoke with a Scottish accent rather than a typical 'RP' voice. The sports reporter chipped in again at this point and insisted that Roger Moore was the best Bond, which resulted in more banter between the pair of them.

Simon Mayo then asked Eccleston how "your Bond" differed to previous ones, a slip of the tongue cheerfully pointed out by Eccleston. "Bond is my dream!" he joked, saying he would be a big-eared James Bond! He then went back to serious Doctor Who talk, saying how it's different but key elements have been kept, particularly the TARDIS interior which he is very proud of. The "soul of the TARDIS" is apparently a key concept in the series.

Mayo then introduced a series of clips from the new series, which mostly consisted of various shouts, screams and monster roars, with an excerpt from the "Run for your life!" scene and a few lines from Richard Wilson as Doctor Constantine. After the clips, Eccleston talked about Russell T Davies huge fandom for the series, and how he'd always apparently dreamed of the TARDIS appearing in Swansea when he had been a child, and going off and becoming the Doctor's assistant.

He then discussed how it was a "balancing act" having to appeal across the generations, and how he had to make sure he seemed like a hero so that the children would not be frightened by the peril the character is often in. The Doctor is not frightened "except for when the Daleks arrive."

Mayo then introduced a caller on the phone, 13 year-old Johnston from Macclesfield, who asked about a second series. Eccleston says it depends on ratings and then asks him what he likes about the Doctor's character. Johnston replied that it's the mystery of the character that appeals, and Eccleston found this interesting.

Mayo then asked if Eccleston ever found himself laughing at some of the things he had to go in the series, and the actor says he didn't, but that some people had found some of the humour, and one scene from episode on in particular, "too broad." He uses this to move on to talk about what they've done with the Doctor's character: "We can do what we like with this Doctor... we're not going to be pinned down...Pulling the Doctor and his image out of shape and re-inventing it."

He said that he thought the programme as a whole was a "brilliant idea by Sydney Newman," and praised the cast and crew who had worked on the new series. He said that he was publicising the show because he thinks it's so good, the implication being that if he didn't think much of it he wouldn't be doing all of these interviews!

An American lady e-mailed and asked if they can see it. "They seem to be hanging back," Eccleston replied, mentioning that Canada had already bought the show. "Please don't watch the pirated episode one... it doesn't show us in our best light and is also illegal."

Mayo and Eccleston the talked about how many Doctors there had been, after one listener e-mailed in and claimed that Eccleston was "the eighth or tenth Doctor," as they hadn't counted "Christopher Lee from the films." Both Mayo and Eccleston pointed out that this was in fact Peter Cushing, and Eccleston specifically mentioned that the listener must have forgotten "the brilliant Paul McGannn." He then joked about 'canon' being a hot topic of debate amongst fans of the show: "This thing about Doctor Who fans, is it canon?"

Another listener e-mailed and asked if they will do the famous 'knock knock' joke. Mayo reluctantly suggests this to Eccleston, who surprisingly agrees and they do the old routine. Mayo suggested after this that the nation was probably groaning at their radio sets.

There was then a discussion of the new costume, leather jacket etc, and Mayo asked about the Doctor's sexuality, picking up on a Daily Telegraph article asking if the Doctor would be gay. "Yes and no," was Eccleston's cheeky answer - before adding that "human sexuality is not an issue to him," and explaining that this was one of the factors that attracted him to the character. He moved on to talk some more about the Doctor's character in general, saying that he can be "brutal pragmatist", but is also "very accepting." He thinks that being accepting of alien races is "a clever, powerful message," to have in a show for children.

There was then some discussion of budgets and production values, and Eccleston said that the imaginations of the writers deserved the bigger budgets and better production values to realise the scripts. Mayo said he was surprised at people dying in early evening television, but Eccleston insisted that there is "always a price paid in each episode." He added that darkness appeals to the children because it "throws up strong emotions and strong questions." He likes the idea of the Doctor having shades of grey, saying that this was why he liked Connery's Bond so much.

Mayo then asked about how he got the part, and seemed surprised that he had had to audition instead of simply being given the role straight away. Eccleston talked about his audition after initially joking that it was a "state secret", and jokingly complained that the nasal hair trimmer he had used as a sonic screwdriver prop in the audition had "never been returned to me by the BBC."

An e-mail correspondent asked who will be playing The Master - Eccleston replied that The Master was not in the series, but was also possibly confusing the character with Davros as he went on to say that "Something connected to the whole Dalek lore..."

Another e-mailer wrote in to praise his famous death scene in the early 1990s ITV drama Cracker, and Eccleston praised the work of Cracker's writer, Jimmy McGovern. His belief is "an actor is only ever as good as his writer." He brings this back to Doctor Who by defending some of the criticism of older Doctors, saying that it's it's about the writers, "the writing lost some of its strength...Television is about the writers and the scripts, not actors and directors."

On the subject of the old series, he talked about watching An Unearthly Child after he had got the part, describing it as "a fantastic and original piece of television... Doctor Who works brilliantly in black and white." Later he apparently "got leathered on a couple of bottles of wine" six months into the job and watched Tom Baker - "that is a brilliant Doctor."

Mayo asked if the Doctor really needs a companion figure, and Eccleston insisted that he does. "Our hearts and minds and eyes and ears," are how he explained the role of the companion in the stories.

After the news at half past two, Mayo read out an e-mail from somebody pointing out to the sports correspondent that in Remembrance of the Daleks the Daleks did indeed go upstairs, which was one of the criticisms the reporter had made at the top of the hour when Eccleston was introduced. The sports reporter then says that he actually liked Sylvester McCoy, and recalled the actor "hammering six inch nails up his nose" in his pre-Who career.

Eccleston then praised the crew who had worked a "tough rate" on the series, 13 episodes in eight and half months, 14 hour days. Mayo asks if he ever thought it was too much work and if he ever thought about giving up, and Eccleston said that he did but that "Russell's writing and the idea that I was doing something for kids," kept him going.

Mayo the asked about Michael Grade "I'm pretty sure that we can change people's minds with the writers that we've got," was Eccleston's verdict, but he didn't know whether or not Grade had seen any of the new series yet.

An e-mail was read from somebody asking if he would ever be doing another play at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds. "Theatre is one of the things I'd like to do next," he replied, also suggesting that he may do something at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.

'Sue from Stockport' phoned up and enthused about hiding from the Daleks, asking if the new ones will be scary. "There are certain things that they can do now that they didn't used to be able to do," was Eccleston's answer, also saying that the psychology is frightening: "they know a lot more about the Doctor than anybody else... a mental chess game with the Doctor. They change the Doctor's personality in episode six - they drive him mad. He's frightened of the Daleks. It's the psychological interplay."

Another e-mailer asked him what he thinks about his role in 1996's Our Friends in the North. "Very proud that British television would attempt something on that scale with that intelligent. Very proud to be involved in it - again what was most important about that was the writer."

A woman e-mailed to ask if it will be too scary for her five year-old son. Eccleston's verdict was that "it's down to the kid, each five year-old's different - give it a go, let him watch episode one and episode two." He talked about the reaction to frightening things in the programme, and said again that: "The Doctor's attitude to terror is not a typical reaction, except for when he sees the Dalek."

Apparently the origins of the TARDIS looking like a Police Box is discussed in both episode one and at great length in episode eleven. Apparently the Doctor is very fond of it because it's: ***DIRTY HUGE GREAT BIG SPOILER*** "The only remnant of his civilisation."

He then briefly discussed his film career: "I had a go at Hollywood and gave one of the worst performances on record... My art lies with British culture and British television and British life."

Finally Mayo enthuses that "I think you're going to have a very large audience there at seven o'clock on BBC One". Eccleston finishes with "Russell's got a long way to go with this series..." and after the show's travel reporter suggested they might make a film, said that "Maybe an American film and we'll all sell out, you'll have to bring me back and drag me over the coals."

-- Paul Hayes

FILTER: - Series 1/27 - Christopher Eccleston - Press

Thursday New Series CoverageBookmark and Share

Thursday, 24 March 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
There's been a massive amount of media coverage and news today, so let's get to it...

BBC Worldwide and BBC Audiocall have released a new polyphonic ringtone of the new series theme tune in the UK. The ringtone is the only one officially licensed by the BBC, and details will appear on is hosted by BBC Worldwide). However, the ringtone ordering information will not be available until the minute the first episode finishes on Saturday - 7.46pm in the UK.

The BBC has named Peter Fincham, outgoing chief executive officer of Talkback Thames, as the new controller of BBC1, replacing Lorraine Heggessey (the woman who commissioned the new "Doctor Who" series) who is leaving the BBC for Fincham's former job. "The BBC is going through big changes, but BBC1 remains its flagship channel and reinterpreting and reinvigorating it for new audiences is about as exciting a challenge as it gets," Fincham said. "I grew up watching BBC1 and the first programmes I made as an independent producer were for BBC1, so it's enormously flattering to be asked to take over as channel controller from Lorraine Heggessey. I am used to being responsible for a wide range of programmes and BBC1 stands for range, quality and integrity. It also has a unique breadth of appeal." Talkback Thames is responsible for shows such as Da Ali G Show, I'm Alan Partridge, The Bill and Pop Idol and has made various programmes for the BBC including They Think It's All Over, Never Mind The Buzzcocks and the Bafta-award winning drama The Lost Prince. Some of the reports quote him on the topic of Doctor Who as well: "I'm of that generation that is old enough to remember a world when there was only the BBC to watch and in our house BBC was the default setting. I grew up with BBC1 and cowered behind the sofa when Dr Who was on." It was great that his name was being announced just a few days before the Time Lord returns to the small screen, he added. The story's also been picked up in the Edinburgh Evening NewsEvening Standard, the Independent and other locales.

Today's Xchange on the CBBC channel showed two clips from "The End of the World" including a CGI space station shot and the Doctor and Rose together. The Mill's Will Cohen also talked about special effects on the new series and some incidental music was heard.

Choices Direct have now listed the first two DVDs for the new series. They state that the first three episodes will be out on May 16, and episodes 4-6 on June 13; you can see the listings here and here. This is the first retailer listing of the new series with dates, which have been rumored by various websites over the past few days.

Various press agencies commented on the BBC's official statement about the leak of "Rose" (which Outpost Gallifrey printed in its entirety yesterday), including the Mirror (no link), The RegisterThe GuardianThe Inquirer andBBC News.

Several papers ran stories about Shona McLaren, a mother who said "her life has been ruined because she is terrified of Daleks. McLaren... is sent into a blind panic if she even hears the words 'exterminate.' The mum-of-two claims her life has been wrecked by her bizarre phobia." Um.... indeed. The articles were run in the Daily Record, as well as the Daily Star and the Daily Express as well as other locations.

A short item about the new series was included yesterday on The Richard And Judy Show on Channel 4. This short item featured an interview with Clayton Hickman and the well known impressionist and Doctor Who fan Jon Culshaw. Host Richard Madely was "rather mocking in his tone" says our correspondent, making jokes about Daleks going upstairs and asking Hickman what he'd filled the magazine with for so many years without a new series (Clayton, however, remained calm and
positive about the effect that Doctor Who has upon people.) At the end of the item viewers were treated to Jon Culshaw's first public impersonation of the ninth doctor, something that will probably become a regular feature on his show Dead Ringers.

Today's Leicester Mercury profiles Paul Kasey, an actor who's been in the sci-fi blockbusters Blade II and 28 Days Later... "and the chances are, you've never heard of him. That could be about to change, though, for former Bagworth boy turned movie bit-parter Paul Kasey. ... 31-year-old Paul is set to enter the annals of cult TV history by playing a Doctor Who monster. In fact, he plays four of the Timelord's enemies - plus a goodie robot too - in the spanking new series starring Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper. It says he plays a Slitheen ("Aliens of London"), an alien whose name he can't remember, and one of the, shall we say, bad guys from the first episode (you probably know which ones but we'll still protect the spoilers here!) "A Slitheen is a very large green alien, about 8ft tall. It's also quite cute and quite sweet to look at. It's like ET. He was quite ugly, but quite cute at the same time. I also play an android robot. That was totally different again. It was also a she. That was fantastic, but really hard to play. The costume was so hard; we were basically built into it. It was a full body costume in lilac and cream. As soon as you were in, you were in for good, although you could take the head off while the crew wasn't working. Each character was totally different, and I like the challenge of bringing all these characters and creatures to life. They chose me for my movement. Because inside you can't see very well, it tends to make most people freeze or clam up. In Blade, they chose me for my look. Out of all of them, I did enjoy playing the female robot - it was good in a typically Doctor Who way."

Newsquest Digital Media toady profiles York pastor Mark Troughton, son of Patrick Troughton, the second Doctor. "Mark was six when his dad landed the role, taking over from William Hartnell. And unwittingly, he was responsible for what became one of the great icons of early children's TV. Troughton senior was looking for a gimmick to make the part his own. 'And I was learning to play the recorder,' Mark says. 'So I taught him to play.'" He discusses the classic series: "What carried the whole programme was the fact that the scripts were very strong, and the acting was strong. It was really frightening. And what made it even more exciting was that you were kept in suspense for seven days, waiting to find out what happened. That was awful. ... We used to sit down waiting for dad to come on the telly. And then at about 10.30pm dad would walk in after a hard day's work being beaten up by Cybermen or Daleks." So what kind of person was his dad - and did he enjoy playing the Doctor? "He was generous hearted, with a great sense of humour. He loved playing the Doctor and had great fun doing it. He was a great corpser, and was giggling all the time. He thought if you're going to act the fool - and he did in one sense, he had that sort of clownish character - then you had got to play it for laughs." It mentions that Mark Troughton will be watching this weekend as the new show starts: "You bet. And I'm sure my kids will too," he says, commenting that his six children have gotten to know their grandfather, who they never met, by watching videos of his old episodes. "It will be interesting to see it!"

Today's Guardian carries an article written by Sylvester McCoy about the new series. Some excerpts: "Everybody says now that when Doctor Who was on, they were so frightened they would hide behind the sofa. I did, too, back in my day as the Doctor, but only because I couldn't face watching myself. Now I'm a mere mortal, it's nice to relax on the couch, instead of behind it, and let it wash over me. I was a bit worried that the new series might not work. Paul McGann played the doctor in the big-budget American film version of 1996 and although I enjoyed it, something about it did not quite gel. But this new version with Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor and Billie Piper as his assistant, Rose, is just wonderful. Part of its charm is the way in which it makes a sly wink to earlier series. ... But if there is one thing that is going to get the Whovians going crazy on the web forums, it is the new tardis. They have changed it! For one thing, it is brand, spanking new, as if it has come straight from the shop. My tardis, the original one, was so battered and bruised it would have been condemned as unsafe, but this one doesn't have a scratch on it. ... You can tell that the writers love Doctor Who, because of all the references to the old days, and the writing is crisper than ever. It is sharp and often very witty, but not overblown. ... There are clever, subtle nods to current affairs too - the mannequins coming to life and massacring people on the streets touches on the modern fear of going shopping and being gunned down by terrorists. And there is a scary Jabba the Hut-type creature, a sort of jelly monster intent on destroying humanity by turning everything into plastic, because it needs all the plastic in the world to survive, which touches on ecological issues. ... It is very scary, just like in the old days, but now children will be frightened of mannequins. And dustbins - there's a wonderful bit where a wheelie bin attacks someone and sucks them in before eating them up. ... Eccleston makes a fabulous Doctor. Within minutes you truly believe that he has been around for 950 years. ... And Billie Piper as Rose is awesome, just wonderful to watch.... All I know is that she is so right for the part. Russell T Davies says she is going to be our next great Hollywood export and on the basis of this performance, I can well believe it."

Fan reactions to the new series are noted at BBC News: "The show has attracted a huge number of followers since William Hartnell first stepped out of his Tardis in 1963 - many of them members of fan clubs and attending gatherings around the globe. Yet it seems most will be staying home to watch Christopher Eccleston's debut as the time-travelling Doctor." The story says that "International Doctor Who website Outpost Gallifrey lists a very full calendar to keep even the most dedicated of fans, known as Whovians, busy all year... No sooner have you emerged from the Doctor Who weekend in Somerset's Wookey Hole than it is time for a swift Sci-Fi Sea Cruise around Europe, a Whovention convention in Sydney and Chicago Tardis 2005. When not doing that, groups such as the Sisterhood of Khan [sic] dress up as their favourite villains and heroes from the series, including the sinister Cybermen." "It is time to sit down on your sofa, aim your remote control and enjoy it," says Antony Wainer, spokesman for the Doctor Who Appreciation Society. "If this was a movie we would hire a cinema and if it was made for the internet we would gather around a computer screen. But we want to see the show in the way it is intended - in our homes up and down the country." Ian Chandos of the Sisterhood of Karn (it misquotes as "Khan"), "an Earth-based group of gay people united by their interest in Doctor Who and cult TV" says that "We all want a chance to watch the first episode in its entirety then meet up the following week to discuss it. Having said that, we'll probably all be on the phone to each other as soon as it's over."

There are many teasers in the papers today, mostly promoting the series for Saturday night. The South Wales Echo asks "Who's going to scare you the most?" today: "Get ready to dive behind the sofa again! Doctor Who will once again battle against a host of weird and wonderful monsters in the new series..." BBC1 Radio Entertainment also has a mention.

Sky News ran with a piece called "A Look Into Billie's World", which has various facts about Billie Piper. "She sang for Bill Clinton, had a No.1 hit by the time she was 15 - and a failed marriage to one of Britain's biggest media moguls by the age of 22. Now Billie Piper stars alongside Christopher Eccleston as Rose Tyler, in the long-awaited return of Doctor Who. It opens the latest chapter in her remarkable life... check out our Billie fact file." There are a variety of facts and figures about the actress/singer. Today's "This is Wiltshire" also has some of the quotes.

The Sun yesterday wants to know if you're terrified yet with the return of the evil Doctor Who monsters? "We have a large Epsom sofa from MFI worth Pounds 595 for you to win -and hide behind! To enter just call 09063 612237. Leave your contact details and answer this question: Who is the new Dr Who?" Calls apparently cost 60p a minute "and last no longer than two minutes. Lines close at 8pm tonight. Winner chosen at random."

Today's The Northern Echo biographies Christopher Eccleston. It starts with his film and television roles, then: "None of which would have suggested asking him to play the Time Lord in the BBC1's hotly-anticipated revival, especially as Eccleston has always been a very private actor who shied away from publicity and parties. You couldn't imagine him welcoming the barrage of press and public recognition that playing the doctor would bring." It says that Eccleston had a taste of media interest after being romantically linked by the press with Billie Piper: "Maybe I felt I was able to handle it now, " he says of becoming public property. "Only time will tell. There are still ways to remain private. I've always felt that there were some people in the industry who will use their personal life to further their career, rather than their actual performances and I don't think that's right. What my dad taught me was, basically, do your job properly. I hope my privacy remains and that my performance will get me another job and that will be enough. I do think, actually, that readers and viewers really aren't that interested. If you give them a performance, they'll invest in you, whether you're sleeping with a goat or whatever." It says that "As a child, he preferred Star Trek to Doctor Who. Now, he's a fan of the Time Lord. 'I finally allowed myself to watch Tom Baker in a DVD of The Talons Of Weng-Chiang. I drank two bottles of red wine and thought, 'right, I'll watch it'. I knew then what the role entailed and how difficult it is to play. It's great, all the profile you get, but it's a difficult thing to do. You're the motor for every scene, and you have to deliver a lot of pseudo and scientific jargon and give it some charisma and wit.'" It does mention next year: "Whether he would play the Doctor again if the BBC commits to another series has yet to be decided."

A preview of this weekend's "The Spectator" dated March 26 profiles Russell T Davies: "Davies is such a dedicated Doctor Who fan that he even carried on watching in that difficult period after Peter Davison had gone, when it apparently went down and down. If anyone on this planet was ever likely to breathe new life into an aging Time Lord, then Russell T.was surely the man. And, sure enough, he has, with extremely unlikely support from the actor playing Dr Who ù Christopher Eccleston. ... For me, though, the true star is Russell T. Davies. It was he who got Eccleston on board, and it's his reverence for tradition (e. g. , ensuring that the Tardis still looks like a Fifties police phone box) combined with his understanding of what it will take to win over a blas? new audience (fart jokes, breast-implant jokes, a breathless pace) which is going to make this revival such a massive triumph. He has even, you might have heard, solved the Dalek problem. The evil buggers have now developed the ability to fly, which means they can conquer earth after all. Why ever didn't they think of it earlier?" (Well, of course, they did, but no one seems to remember...)

Today's Daily Star profiles many of the former assistants and guest stars -- all of the female gender. "[Billie Piper's] not the first sexy side-kick to act as the time traveller's gorgeous right-hand woman. Since the show first began back in 1963, there's been plenty of ballsy babes who have taken on awful aliens and scary monsters." Profiled are mostly companion actresses with a few guest stars (such as Honor Blackman and Rula Lenska) thrown in.

The Daily Express also profiles Billie Piper today: "As she makes her debut as Doctor Who's new sidekick this Saturday, former teenie pop favourite Billie Piper admits she has been nursing a few bruises after struggling to perform stunts on the show. 'I've had a bit of a nightmare with the stunts. I'm clumsy but I want things to go well. I overcompensate and it ends in tears.' That's what you get for taking on Daleks, Billie"

"Doctor Boo!: Why the Timelord should stay in his Tardis" says an article in the Sun today, which does a "who's who" of new monsters and also runs a piece of fluff about the theme tune ("Dun da dun da dun da dun da dun da dun da di di di di... Ohh-wee-ohh. Weeeee-ohh...") It basically regurgitates reports from the past several days. The Daily Star also discusses the new monsters today in an A to Z of them, mentioning the usuals like Daleks, Cybermen and Autons, but also Borad, the Haemovores, the Kandyman, the Nimon and the Vervoids.

"Doctor Who: funny he never married" says today's Telegraph, which wonders that cliched question "To put it more bluntly, is Doctor Who gay?" "Before considering the case for the prosecution (or defence, depending on your point of view), let us make one thing clear: we are not questioning the sexual orientation of the actors who played the role... But the Doctor himself is apparently not the marrying kind of Time Lord. ... The obvious answer is that the Doctor, not being human (he has two hearts, for example), is not turned on by homo sapiens of either sex, any more than we are by Cybermen. A more intriguing possibility is that, just as he has no idea what he will look like when he regenerates - Pertwee's Doctor shrieked when he looked in the mirror - so he does not know in advance for which team he will be playing, as it were. In which case, perhaps he ought to keep two photographs next to his bed in the Tardis: one of Scarlett Johansson, say, and one of Justin Timberlake. When he regenerates, all he has to do is look at both of them and discover which one makes his hearts beat faster." Riiight.

There's a report on BBC News that says that "Finally, the Sun reports that Dr Who's faithful robot dog K9 has been tracked down to a dogs' home in Devon. Apparently he was bought at a BBC auction four years ago." It quotes Derek Hambly of the Tenth Planet story, who says: "I'm amazed he's in Devon. He was last seen on the planet Gallifrey."

This week, Manchester's listings and lifestyle magazine City Life has given its cover over to the new series. Inside, there's a two page interview with (Manchester resident) Russell T Davies on 'who and Casanova, and a one page interview with (Salford born) Christopher Eccleston: "It was my idea to bring a bit of Northern realism to the whole thing".

Net4Nowt analyses the scheduling of the new series: "By scheduling Doctor Who in the prime timeslot of 7:00PM Saturday night, BBC One is evidently hoping to capture market share from Ant and Dec's popular 'Saturday Night Takeaway' series. An analysis of Internet searches for both 'ant and dec saturday night take away' and 'new doctor who' suggests that BBC One has a fighting chance: despite Ant and Dec's solid audience base, share of searches for their show online have decreased in the lead-up to the resurrection of Doctor Who. The share of Internet searches for the phrase 'new doctor who' overtook 'ant and dec saturday night take away' two weeks ago, and the phrase is currently receiving 50% more searches than its rival. This spike in interest can't be explained away by the online leak a couple of weeks ago of the first episode, titled 'Rose'. Following the leak, fans rushed online to search for 'doctor who rose download'. Since the week of the leak, interest in the download has plummeted while interest in Doctor Who remains strong." WebUser also runs the story.

Sheffield Today says that "there is one place where residents would probably shocked to hear of the notorious reputation of Daleks - and that is the streets around Anchorage Crescent, Sprotbrough. Every Halloween, a procession of youngsters follows one of the monsters around the village as part of a trick or treat tour. It has even taken detours past children's Halloween parties as a special favour to entertain them. For most of the year, it lives in Doctor Who fan Grant Belshaw's shed." The article discusses that this man's Dalek prop was originally used at the Longleat exhibition.

Doctor Who is featured on the cover of long-running Welsh-language weekly Golwg this week (published this past Wednesday). The cover is a publicity shot overlaid on a photo of Cardiff's Millennium Stadium. The translated byline is "Dr Who - Cardiff's big project" and ties in with a larger feature on celebrating the centenary of Cardiff's city status. Inside, the series is covered in their centre colour section with a short article, a description of a set visit by the press, along with some quotes from designer Ed Thomas and photos.

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, the principal biographical reference work for the British past will be marking the start of the new series of Doctor Who on Saturday by having Jon Pertwee as the 'Life of the Day'. The article, first published in print and online in September 2004, is written by David J. Howe. Most of the online edition is subscription only, but the Life of the Day is free to non-subscribers for that day and for a few subsequent days. It has normally appeared by 0100GMT on the day in question. A link will appear on the front page at

Today's East Anglian Daily Times has a half page article on Billie Piper and the new series. It includes comments from Billie about her career to date and Doctor Who. The article finishes with promise of an interview with The Doctor in tomorrow's edition.

The Croydon Guardian is looking for "any Doctor Who fans planning anything special to mark the Timelord's return to our screens this Saturday (March 26). Perhaps you and your assistant will be throwing on Cybermen costumes or building your very own cardboard Tardis? If you are crazy about the guy from Gallifrey, dotty about Daleks or mad about the Master then we want to hear from you" and suggests you send email here.

The Chicago Tribune discusses the "Rose" leak: "Building online buzz by putting full episodes online has become such a hot marketing tool that there's speculation the BBC was behind the recent 'unauthorized' online release of an episode of its new 'Dr. Who' series. But the BBC denied to Wired News that an in-house 'viral marketing' plan was responsible for the show's premature online debut." Of course, the BBC's also denied this speculation to everyone...

Some other press notes: Today's Sun includes a monster comparison, eg. Anne Robinson vs Lady Cassandra and Jade Goody vs Moxx of Balhoon hereMegastar comments on Sylvester McCoy's review of the series; the Daily Recordcomments on Billie Piper accidentally swearing on yesterday's Chris Moyles show (two articles, here and here); theMirror has more comments on the various assistants over the years; and a brief Who comparison to Joe Cole in the Times Football section here.

(Thanks to Paul Engelberg, Steve Tribe, Paul Hayes, Ceri Laing, Chuck Foster, Matthew Kilburn, Rajiv Awasti, Craig Hinton, Nick Smale, Stephen Woollen, Guy Lambert, Barry Bridges, Alex Wilcock, Gareth Humphreys, Matthew Kilburn, and Andrew Jackson)

FILTER: - Series 1/27 - Press - Radio Times

Episode 3 Press ReleaseBookmark and Share

Thursday, 24 March 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
The BBC's press office has issued a release on programs starting the week of April 9 including the third episode of Doctor Who, The Unquiet Dead. You can see it here (note: PDF file requiring Adobe Acrobat); meanwhile, click on the spoiler tag below to see the "Unquiet Dead" information.
Charles Dickens, played by Simon Callow, joins The Doctor and Rose in the battle against the Gelth in Mark GatissÆs "The Unquiet Dead." The Doctor and Rose travel back through time to Victorian Cardiff, where the dead are walking and creatures made of gas are on the loose. The time travellers team up with Charles Dickens to investigate Mr Sneed, the local undertaker. But can they halt the plans of the ethereal Gelth? Christopher Eccleston stars as The Doctor, with Billie Piper as Rose and Alan David as Sneed.

FILTER: - Series 1/27 - Press - Broadcasting

Wednesday Series CoverageBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 23 March 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
BBC Radio Wales have some further details on their website about their Dr Who documentary, Back In Time. "This weekend Doctor Who returns to BBC One Wales. BBC Radio Wales has been granted exclusive access behind the scenes for a two part special called Dr Who: Back in Time. This Saturday at 13:05 we look at the links between the Time Lord and Wales, including Dalek road signs in Llangollen." The two parts air on consecutive Saturdays, March 26 and April 2 at 1:05pm, with repeats on Sundays, March 27 and April 3, at 5:30pm.

ITV's This Morning program that aired, er, this morning, featured by far one of the best, and funniest, interviews with Russell T Davies to date. It showed clips from "Rose" including the Doctor peering through Rose's cat-flap and the "That's who I am" clip betwen Eccleston and Piper shown widely. It may also have included one of the first released shots from "The End of The World" showing The Doctor and Rose in front of a large window filled with flames and asteroids. The Doctor says "come with me" and takes Rose's hand. Shots were included of Chris and Billie on set, and interviews with them took place in front of TARDIS and Dalek. The presenters Phillip Schofield and Fern Briton interviewed RTD on the sofa, and showed shots of "Who's who in Who" from today's papers. The main picture was of Simon Day as "The Steward" who has 10 minutes of screen time (and then meets with an interesting fate which we won't spoil here...) Schofield claimed that Eccleston was the eighth ever actor to play the Doctor, obviously unaware of Paul McGann. And Davies mentioned that he made up alien's names by sitting at home with a glass of whiskey!

BBC 2 today ran an episode of The Daily Politics which featured a 10 minute segment on Doctor Who with three guests: political correspondent Andrew Marr, who appears in "Aliens of London"; Tim Collins MP, Shadow Spokesperson for Health and Education and well-known Doctor Who supporter; and Barry Letts, former series producer during the 1970's. The crux of the feature, although a thinly veiled excuse to talk about Doctor Who (of which Andrew Marr and Tim Collins are huge fans), was about how Doctor Who, especially in the 70's provided much political comment as the basis for many stories. Issues of environment, tax and Government bureaucracy were illustrated by using parts of 'The Green Death', 'The Sun Makers' and Pertwee at odds with a government Minister. They had a clip of Helen A (they were comparing her to Thatcher) from "The Happiness Patrol" as well. Marr confirmed aliens would be taking over MP's in an episode to be transmitted between now and the general election (May 5th).

Ratings war on the horizon? As of April 2, Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, Doctor Who's timeslot rival on ITV, moves forward to 6.45pm in the schedule,
giving it a 15 minute jump on our show. The gauntlet's being lowered now...

The official site has been updated today with a new "Media Player" that now features the latest Doctor Who trailer (narrated by Christopher Eccleston), the "Project Who" radio broadcast and other goodies, as well as clips from the 'classic' series. Also, on the front page of the official site is a link simply called "Lies", which goes to another site that has a certain tie-in appeal to the first episode, "Rose" (if you see the episode, you'll know what it's about!)

The Project: Who? CD, due out later this spring, is at number 3 in the BBC Shop bestsellers list (up from number 8 a week ago!). Meanwhile, the banner advertising it and other Doctor Who productions is on the front page of the BBC Shop site with an interesting catchphrase: "Saving the Earth, every week on BBC One. If you think TV is missing a hero, then you haven't met the Doctor. He saves planets for a living - more of a hobby actually, as he's very, very good at it. He's saved us from alien menaces and evil from before time began - but just who is he? Well, Rose Tyler is about to find out. She's 19 and she's not travelled much. But all that's going to change..." Also noted in that BBC Shop area is alisting for the new Doctor Who series DVDs, although without any information as yet.

Today's New Statesman features a story about the new series and its lack of a regeneration sequence: "To deprive us of a scene in which the doctor regenerates into Christopher Eccleston must have been one of the first decisions Russell T Davies made while writing his comeback episode. His reasons are sound enough. Most of the target audience of children will never have even heard of Doctor Who, let alone know that eight actors have played the role since 1966. It would have made a puzzling and slow start. Instead we plunge into young Rose Tyler's worst day ever in her menial job in a trendy West End department store." The review portion is a bit heavy-handed (noting that Doctor Who may now be "a bigger proposition than it looks").

Update on our report yesterday about Doctor Who in the Netherlands: according to the Spits newspaper, the show will indeed be broadcast on the Nederland 3 network "next year".

Creative Match analyses the new series and its visual effects. "The Mill have been working on the special effects. After their Academy Award for the effects on Gladiator there is no doubt that this will be a more sophisticated treat than the original. Chief Executive of The Mill Robin Shenfield has commented on the work, 'Visual effects can be the tail that wags the dog, but with Doctor Who the storytelling was so good we knew it was something we really wanted to do. It's soul-destroying to do great effects work on a project lacking in other areas because when it gets panned, it feels like your work is being panned, too. Whether we take something on really depends on the quality of the scripts and the team that's working on it.'"

An article called "Well, he took his time" appeared in today's Herald, which actually plays up the whole notion of being a Doctor Who fan, including discussions with Mark Gatiss, Phil Collinson and the Edinburgh Doctor Who group.

Some other news clippings today include a briefer version of yesterday's Sun article on the Sun website, a two page article in the Western Mail, a "Guide to the new series monsters" in today's Mirror (which mentions some new aliens in "End of the World" beyond the ones we already know about, including "Spark Plug," "Hop Pyleen" and "The Steward," which we now know is Simon Day's character), and an interesting article at BlogCritics called "What BattleStar Galactica Can Teach Doctor Who About Television In The Digital Age."

(Thanks to Steve Tribe, Chuck Foster, Paul Engelberg, Sergio Ferr?, Wayne Barry, Ceri Laing, Mark Wright, Paul Blakemore, Karen Bryan, Michael Spence, Graham Kibble-White and Bas Pierik)

FILTER: - Series 1/27 - Press - Radio Times

BBC Statement on "Rose" LeakBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 23 March 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
Outpost Gallifrey received the following statement from Vicky Thomas, Head of Press, Consumer Publishing at BBC Worldwide: "After a thorough investigation by BBC Worldwide's Canadian broadcast partner, the source of the leak of episode one of the new Doctor Who series has been traced to a third party company in Canada which had an early preview copy for legitimate purposes. The individual responsible for the leak has had their employment terminated by that company as a result. BBC Worldwide is considering further legal remedies and takes extremely seriously any unlawful copying or misuse of its copyright material."

FILTER: - Online - Series 1/27 - Press - Broadcasting

DWM 355Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, 22 March 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
Update: Outpost Gallifrey has received the full cover illustration and blurb for Doctor Who Magazine issue #355; click on the cover for a larger version. (Thanks to Tom Spilsbury/DWM)
DWM takes a look at the new-look TARDIS.

In issue 355 concept designer Bryan Hitch explains how the new-look TARDIS was created.

"What we eventually eureka!-ed was that the TARDIS was the Doctor's VW camper van - old and a bit hippy-ish, somewhere to sleep," he says. "It needed to feel as if it had been repaired on the road for 900 years with whatever technology a particular time period had to offer, and that the Doctor had rigged it to work for one pilot, rather than the three that we thought a six-sided console would need. All of these factors needed to be taken into account when designing the feel of the set. Also, it's the control room, not the living room, so armchairs were out!"

Also this month, the Ninth Doctor and Rose make their DWM comic strip d?but, in the first part of a brand-new full-colour adventure, The Love Invasion, written by Gareth Roberts, with artwork by Mike Collins.

Actor Simon Callow talks about his guest role as Charles Dickens in The Unquiet Dead; DWM goes behind-the-scenes on Episode 1, Rose, to find out what it takes to bring an episode of Doctor Who to the screen; and there are some tantalising previews of the next four episodes coming soon on Saturday nights - The End of the World, The Unquiet Dead, Aliens of London and World War Three!

There's also an in-depth review of the first episode; more from executive producer Russell T Davies in his Production Notes column; the latest casting news, and a special report from the Doctor Who press launch in Cardiff.

DWM 355 is published on Thursday 31 March.

FILTER: - Magazines - DWM