As we approach the 60th Anniversary of Doctor Who, revisit the story of Doctor Who, the occasional series written for the 50th Anniversary, explaining the origins of the programme.

Episode 4 - An Unearthly Series - The Origins of a TV Legend: First published 25 Jul 2012

Planet of the Dead RatingsBookmark and Share

Sunday, 12 April 2009 - Reported by Marcus

According to unofficial overnight figures, Planet of the Dead was watched by 8.41 million viewers, a 39.6% share of the audience. An additional 184,000 watched the programme on BBC HD, the channel's highest rating so far.

Doctor Who was the most watched programme on BBC1 for the day and had the second highest rating on all TV. ITV1 got the highest rating of the night with 10.52 million watching Britain's Got Talent. Up against Doctor Who, Primeval got only 2.71 million. Robin Hood got 5.26 million watching.

This makes Doctor Who the eighth most watched programme of the week so far.

On BBC3 Doctor Who Confidential, got 0.46 million watching, a 2.2% share.

Final figures will be released in 10 days time.

FILTER: - Specials - Ratings - UK - Series 4/30 Specials

Saturday Round UpBookmark and Share

Saturday, 11 April 2009 - Reported by Marcus
Saturday's Daily Telegraph has an interview with Russell T Davies in which he talks of his love for the series and his plans for a grand finale. An extended version is available here.

Davies is also interviewed in this week's Time Out.

Davies's co-writer on Planet of the Dead, Gareth Roberts, is interviewed in the Pink Paper. The paper also features a preview of Katy Manning's new show and a photo news story on Russell T Davies at BAFTA.

To celebrate the Easter Special the Telegraph is offering a free Doctor Who Adventures USB stick. There are only 25,000 units available and these are not available in any shop, it is a one off, strictly limited promotion. Postage and Packing costs apply. Applications can be made online.

The Weeping Angels have been voted the scariest Doctor Who monster of all time, according to a poll of young Doctor Who fans. Although the statues only appeared in one episode of the TV series, 2 out of 5 readers of Doctor Who Adventures magazine voted the Weeping Angels the monster they're most likely to dive behind the sofa at the sight of. The poll, conducted to coincide with the Easter special, saw the Weeping Angels secure 41% of reader votes with the Daleks coming in second with 22% of votes, followed third by the Cybermen with 8% of the votes. has just published some new content. There is now a Planet of the Dead homepage featuring two galleries, one taking a look behind the scenes and one previewing the episode with 60 images.

This month's edition of the UK Internet magazine .Net has a four page feature about the origins and the future of theDoctor Who Website, written by designer and writer Paul Wyatt. With behind the scenes information on creating exclusive web content for the show and an interview with Rob Francis, Doctor Who web producer. The article also reveals titbits about the new branding expected for next year. This article is available from newsstands in the UK and in the States under the name Practical Web Design.

A signed Doctor Who script is one of the items being auctioned for the charity Beat Bullying. The script to The Sontaran Stratagem was donated byCatherine Tate and signed by herself and David Tennant.

The Radio 2 show hosted by David Tennant and Catherine Tate and featuring John Barrowman, is available tolisten again for the next 7 days. Pictures of Tennant arriving at the studio, and being mobbed by fans, are here.

Tennant also appeared on this morning's edition of BBC Breakfast talking about kissing co-stars Kylie Minogue andBillie Piper, leaving the show and why he is named after a Pet Shop Boy.

FILTER: - Russell T Davies - Press

The Waters of MarsBookmark and Share

Saturday, 11 April 2009 - Reported by Anthony Weight
A brief trailer for the next Doctor Who special was shown at the end of tonight's BBC One premiere of Planet of the Dead. The trailer confirmed that the next special, the second of four to be shown this year to round off David Tennant's time as the Tenth Doctor, will be called The Waters of Mars. No specific broadcast date was given - it was stated that the episode will be shown later this year.

For viewers in the United Kingdom, David Tennant's fifth video diary is now online.

FILTER: - Specials - Production - Series 4/30 Specials

Tennant radio blitzBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 8 April 2009 - Reported by Josiah Rowe
David Tennant is participating in a media blitz in the run-up to "Planet of the Dead" (airing at 6:45 pm Saturday on BBC One). Today, Tennant appeared on three radio programmes and discussed "Planet of the Dead", his feelings about winding up his time on Doctor Who and his future plans.

In the morning, Tennant appeared with Christian O'Connell on Absolute Radio's Breakfast Show. On O'Connell's show, Tennant confirmed that along with Bernard Cribbins, Catherine Tate will be appearing in his final two-part story, which is currently filming.

At midday, Tennant joined Jo Whiley on BBC Radio 1. Tennant discussed the remaining Doctor Who specials, and mentioned that discussions are underway for a television adaptation of the RSC's production of "Hamlet".

And in the afternoon, Tennant was interviewed by Colin Murray, standing in for Simon Mayo on his BBC Radio 5 Live programme.

All the programmes are available on the internet:Additionally, Michelle Ryan promoted "Planet of the Dead" on CBBC's Blue Peter and on The Paul O'Grady Showon Channel 4.

Thanks to the posters in the Doctor Who Forum's Media Watch thread.

FILTER: - David Tennant - Press

Dalek invasion of Northern IrelandBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 7 April 2009 - Reported by Anthony Weight
A 100-foot high picture of a Dalek, made entirely from bed linen laid out on the ground, has appeared on the side of a hill overlooking the city of Belfast in Northern Ireland.

The Dalek was placed on the hillside to promote a science-fiction charity event themed around Doctor WhoSarah Jane and Torchwood to be held on the 3rd of May. It was created by Denis Rush of the group UT Events. He gained permission from the owner of the field in which the Dalek appeared due to the fact that proceeds from the convention will be going to charity.

Other stunts have been giant projections of Daleks on city buildings and local landmarks and even costumed characters like Ood and Clockwork Droids roaming the streets

The Dalek was made from 500ft worth of bed linen pegged into the mountain slope, it stands aprox 100ft high and took two days to make. Local radio stations who have been receiving alot of calls and have been teasing the listeners with invasion plots and other possible reasons before spilling the beans on the event.

More details on the event and the Dalek can be found on the UT Events website.

BBC News also has a report on the Dalek.

FILTER: - Press

BAFTA Craft Awards nominationsBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 7 April 2009 - Reported by Josiah Rowe
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts has announced the nominees for the BAFTA Craft Awards, and Doctor Who has been nominated in three categories. Russell T Davies has been nominated in the Writing category for "Midnight"; The Mill has been nominated in the Visual Effects category, for their work on the episode "The Fires of Pompeii"; and Philip Kloss has been nominated in the Editing Fiction/Entertainment category for his work throughout Series Four.

Doctor Who has been nominated for the BAFTA Craft Awards several times since its return to television, and has won once. The series received five nominations in 2008, including a win in Writing for Steven Moffat's "Blink" script. Doctor Who was also nominated in two categories in the 2007 awards, and in three categories for the 2006 awards (each honoring television broadcast in the previous year).

The winners of this year's BAFTA Craft Awards will be announced on Sunday, 17 May at a ceremony in London.

FILTER: - Awards/Nominations - Series 4/30

Wilf ReturnsBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 7 April 2009 - Reported by Marcus
Doctor Who executive producer Russell T Davies has confirmed that Bernard Cribbins will be returning to the series.

Speaking this morning on BBC Breakfast Davies said Cribbins would be the Doctor's companion in David Tennant's last two episodes, due to be shown at Christmas 2009.

Bernard Cribbins first played Wilfred Mott, Donna's Grandad, in the 2007 Christmas special and throughout Season 4. His return was expected after members of the Doctor Who Forum photographed Cribbins on the Doctor Who set. At the age of eighty, Cribbins becomes the oldest companion in Doctor Who history.

Also on the programme Davies confirmed that Saturdays special, Planet of the Deadwas only completed late Monday night. He said he expected the next special to be shown "Novemberish".

Davies' BBC Breakfast interview can be seen on the BBC News website.

FILTER: - People - Specials - Bernard Cribbins - Russell T Davies - Production - Series 4/30 Sp

New Home for Doctor Who in Canada?Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, 7 April 2009 - Reported by Mike Doran
According to the website of the Doctor Who Information Network there's a new home for Doctor Who in Canada. Reports have been received that cable networkSPACE is the new permanent home for the series. The first four series of the newDoctor Who aired on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. The CBC was a co-production partner for at least part of those four seasons. Despite an initial strong commitment to Doctor Who the CBC came into criticism from fans and viewers in recent years for delays in broadcasting new episodes, decreasing promotion and failing to air the annual Christmas specials in 2007 and 2008.

Upcoming special Planet of the Dead will air on SPACE on Saturday June 20th, 2009. It is reported that Series Five will follow in 2010.

Doctor Who premiered on SPACE in March when the channel aired The Next Doctor but it was not known at that time if the the move was permanent or just a one-off.

FILTER: - Canada - Specials

Big Finish Announces Details of Lost SeasonBookmark and Share

Monday, 6 April 2009 - Reported by Marcus
Big Finish has released details - including titles and release schedule - of its upcoming of Doctor Who: The Lost Stories season, starring Colin Bakerand Nicola Bryant as the Doctor and Peri.

In 1985, as the the 23rd Series of the programme was well into the planning stages, the show was placed on hiatus. Plans for Series 23 were scrapped, and when the show returned to screens 18 months later, at the end of 1986, it was with a new Series 23, the "Trial of a Time Lord" season. Big Finish is now releasing new adaptations of the stories that were lost as result of that hiatus.

Doctor Who: The Lost Stories season will include:

The Nightmare Fair, written by Graham Williams, adapted for audio by John Ainsworth

Mission to Magnus, written by Philip Martin

Leviathan, written by Brian Finch, adapted by Paul Finch

The Hollows of Time, written by former script editor Christopher H Bidmead

TBA (details are not yet available)

Point of Entry, written by Barbara Clegg and Marc Platt

Paradise 5, written by PJ Hammond and Andy Lane

The Space Whale, written by Pat Mills

The Nightmare Fair will be released November 2009, and the season will run through June 2010. The series is available for pre-order and subscription.

Please visit the Big Finish website for full information on all of these stories

FILTER: - Audio - Big Finish

Planet of the Dead gets three Easter outingsBookmark and Share

Saturday, 4 April 2009 - Reported by Marcus
The BBC has confirmed that Planet of the Dead will get three transmissions over the Easter Weekend.

As reported the first showing will be Saturday on BBC One at 6.45pm. This broadcast will be simulcast with the BBC HD channel, which is available free to air on Freesat as well as on Sky and Virgin Media. The programme is sandwiched between the Disney film Finding Nemo and the drama seriesRobin Hood. ITV1 will be showing Primeval from 6.15 - 7.15 clashing with the first half of Doctor Who. The second half is up against New You've Been Framed. On BBC2, Doctor Who faces the natural history series Planet Earth while Channel 4 is showing the News followed by Henry VIII: Mind of a Tyrant.

Planet of the Dead gets a second showing on the digital channel BBC Three at 7pm on Easter Sunday. For this showing satellite and cable viewers will be able to access a Red Button commentary from David Tennant, Julie Gardner andJames Strong.

The final showing will be on BBC One on Easter Monday at 5pm. This showing will follow the Disney film Bedknobs and Broomsticks and will be up againstTaste the Nation on ITV1. It will be simulcast on the BBC HD channel which is also showing the HD version of Doctor Who at the Proms on Monday afternoon.

Doctor Who Confidential also gets a number of showings over the weekend with a programme exploring behind the scenes as the cast and crew travel to Dubai. First shown on Saturday at 8.30pm on BBC3, the programme is repeated on Sunday at 4.10am and 8pm.

FILTER: - Specials - Series 4/30 Specials - Broadcasting