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 www.audiocall.co.uk/doctorwho
(which 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 News
, Evening Standard
, the Independent
and other locales.
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
. 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 Register
, The Guardian
, The Inquirer
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!"
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 www.oxforddnb.com
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 here
comments on Sylvester McCoy's review of the series; the Daily Record
comments on Billie Piper accidentally swearing on yesterday's Chris Moyles show (two articles, here
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)