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

Out Of This World ExhibitionBookmark and Share

Saturday, 28 May 2011 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Out Of This World is a new exhibition that has opened at the British Library in London, and explores science fiction in its many forms.
The exhibition will trace the development of the genre from True History by Lucian of Samosata written in the 2nd century AD to the recent writings of Cory Doctorow and China Miéville, showing how science fiction has turnednfrom a niche into a global phenomenon.

Visitors to the exhibition will discover an interactive space based on ‘other worlds’ presented by science fiction. These will include: Alien Worlds; Future Worlds; Parallel Worlds; Virtual Worlds; the End of the World and the Perfect World. Each area will draw on a variety of exhibits, multi-media interactives, film and sound to experience new surroundings and ask questions such as: ‘who are we?’, ‘why are we here?’, ‘what is reality?’ and ‘what does the future hold?’
It features a selection of the Library's extensive collection in this genre, from some of the earliest science fiction manuscripts like Thomas More's Utopia from 1516 through to modern best-sellers like The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger; these are supplemented with exhibits covering film, television and radio.

The guest curator of the exhibition, Andy Sawyer (Director of Science Fiction Studies, University of Liverpool), said:
There is no doubt that science fiction has split literary experts for decades and remains a source of debate and discussion across the world. What this exhibition shows is that science fiction is a way of asking questions about the world, its future, and our place in it that has roots in a number of literary traditions and cultures. What we call ‘science fiction’ has a long tradition and will continue to dominate popular culture for a long time to come.
Katya Rogatchevskaia, British Library co-curator, added:
This exhibition aims to show that science fiction provides a window on the world and society in which we live today. It pushes the boundaries of our imagination into uncomfortable and pleasant places and appeals to our desire to understand a deeper meaning of other worlds. We hope that visitors’ perceptions of science fiction will be challenged by this exhibition so that we can both celebrate the genre and use it as a warning for the future.

Of course a project like this wouldn't be complete without reference to Doctor Who, and amongst the displays visitors can encounter exhibits such as the TARDIS, steampunk K-1889, and composer Francis Chagrin's original score for The Dalek Invasion of Earth.

The show is also represented amongst the series of events running alongside the exhibit:
The Art and Science of Time Travel
10th June, 6:30-8:00pm

From A Wrinkle In Time to Doctor Who and Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse 5 the concept, appeal and paradoxes of time travel have inspired many mind-boggling flights of the imagination. Join the creators of two superb recent experiments with the idea: Stephen Baxter, whose The Time Ships is a sequel to HG Wells, and Audrey Niffenegger, the author of the best selling The Time Traveler’s Wife. Plus acclaimed science writer John Gribbin as the evening’s authority on the theory and logic of time travel, and Doctor Who writer Paul Cornell. Chaired by legendary SF publisher Jo Fletcher.

The Discovery Channel are broadcasting a number of associated programmes to accompany the exhibition, and there is also a tie-in book by Mike Ashley. BBC News reported on the exhibition's opening on the 19th May (video).

Out Of This World runs until 25th September, admission free.

FILTER: - Exhibitions

Next Time: A Good Man Goes To WarBookmark and Share

Saturday, 28 May 2011 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Doctor Who takes a mid-summer break after next week - but not before A Good Man Goes To War! The mid-series finale is due to be broadcast at 6:40pm in a 50 minute time slot, and the BBC have now released the third in their online "prequel" episodes to set the scene for the episode, alongside its trailer:

Prequel: A Good Man Goes To War, BBC, via BBC Website

Trailer: A Good Man Goes To War, BBC, via BBC Website, also via YouTube

A Good Man Goes To War will premiere on BBC1/BBC1HD at 6:40pm, 4th June in the United Kingdom; it then follows a week later (11th June) on SPACE in Canada at 8:00pm ET, BBC America in the United States at 9:00pm ET, and on ABC1 in Australia at 7:30pm.

Amy Pond has been kidnapped and the Doctor is raising an army to rescue her as the drama continues. But as he and Rory race across galaxies, calling in long-held debts and solemnly given promises, his enemies are laying a carefully concealed trap.

In her cell in Stormcage, River Song sadly acknowledges that the time has come at last – today will mark the Battle of Demons Run and the Doctor's darkest hour. Both sides will make their sacrifices and River Song must finally reveal her most closely guarded secret to the Doctor.

FILTER: - Series 6/32 - Online

Day of the Moon - Overnight New Zealand ratingsBookmark and Share

Friday, 27 May 2011 - Reported by Harry Ward
101,760 viewers tuned in to watch the debut of Day of the Moon on Prime in New Zealand last night, according to overnight figures. This is a drop of 44,760 from last week.

Against Doctor Who, Lorraine Kelly's Big Fat Challenge on TV One had 375,450 viewers, No Ordinary Family on TV2 with 298,840 and Bones on TV3 got 297,100 viewers.

Prime is the seventh national free-to-air television station in New Zealand and is owned by Sky Network Television. TV One and TV2 are operated by the state-owned Television New Zealand and TV3 is owned by MediaWorks New Zealand.

FILTER: - Ratings - Series 6/32 - New Zealand

Piers Wenger to leave the BBCBookmark and Share

Thursday, 26 May 2011 - Reported by Harry Ward
The BBC Doctor Who website has confirmed that Piers Wenger, currently one of three executive producers on Doctor Who, is leaving the BBC.

Wenger commented:
It is with great sadness that I say goodbye to Doctor Who and BBC Wales, and all of the extraordinary people who work on its shows. But Film4's output, with its ethos of encouraging film-makers to produce their most authored and original work, could not be closer to my heart.
He replaced Julie Gardner as Head of Drama for BBC Wales in January 2009 and in July of that year became executive producer of Doctor Who and took a central role in the casting of Matt Smith as the eleventh Doctor. His other executive producer credits on Doctor Who include The Adventure Games and Doctor Who Confidential. Away from Doctor Who, he worked on Ashes to Ashes, Christopher and His Kind and Upstairs Downstairs.

In March 2011 Wenger stepped down as Head of Drama but remained at BBC Wales to continue as a creative developer. His position will be filled by Faith Penhale from Kudos in June.

Wenger is leaving the BBC to join Film4 in September, where he will become the senior commissioning executive under Tessa Ross, Channel 4 controller of film and drama, who commented:
(he is) a hugely talented executive who will bring to Film4 real vision at a time when we are embarking on an exciting new phase in our development.

His successor as executive producer of Doctor Who will be filled in the coming months by head writer Steven Moffat and the BBC's controller of Drama Commissioning, Ben Stephenson, who said:
I will be very sad to see him go. He's been a fantastic colleague and friend - but I know that film is a huge passion of his and this is a great new role for him."

FILTER: - People - Series 6/32 - Production

Doctor versus Doctor at the 2011 Constellation AwardsBookmark and Share

Thursday, 26 May 2011 - Reported by Marcus
Doctor goes up against Doctor in the 2011 Constellation Awards, with both Matt Smith and David Tennant nominated for their role as The Doctor in the Best Male Performance - Television category.

The Awards, now in their fifth year, are Canada's premier awards rewarding excellence in science fiction film and television. Because they cover programmes broadcast in 2010, both the Tenth and Eleventh Doctor's are eligible. Tennant for his performance in The End of Time - Part Two, and Smith for his performance in last year's Christmas special, A Christmas Carol. David Tennant was given last year's award for his performance in The Waters of Mars. Also nominated is Tony Curran for his portrayal of Vincent Van Gogh in Vincent and the Doctor.

Karen Gillan is nominated for Best Female Performance - Television for her role in Amy's Choice and faces Katherine Jenkins nominated for A Christmas Carol.

Doctor Who is also nominated in the Best Science Fiction Television Series category, a category it has one three times before although it lost out in last year's awards to Supernatural, which has also been nominated for 2010.

Murray Gold earns a nominaton for Doctor Who's music in the Best Technical Accomplishment category, with Steven Moffat and Richard Curtis both being nominated for Best Overall 2010 Science Fiction Film or Television Script, Moffat for The Eleventh Hour and Curtis for Vincent and the Doctor.

For a full list of nomanees see the awards website.

The awards will be announced at a Ceremony on July 16, 2011 at the Sheraton Parkway Toronto North hotel.

FILTER: - Matt Smith - David Tennant - Awards/Nominations - Series 5/31

A Good Man Goes To War - UpdateBookmark and Share

Thursday, 26 May 2011 - Reported by Marcus
Doctor WhoDoctor Who will face the double peril of live football and Britain's Got Talent, for the final episode before the mid season break, according to schedules published today.

A Good Man Goes to War, which showrunner Steven Moffat promises will contain a 'game-changing cliffhanger', has been given a 50 minute slot between 6.40 and 7.30pm on Saturday 4th June. It will follow So You Think You Can Dance Live on BBC One and is followed by The National Lottery: Who Dares Wins.

As Doctor Who goes on air, ITV1 will be showing England playing Switzerland with live Football Coverage of the Euro 2012 Group G qualifier at Wembley Stadium, although the match should be over before Doctor Who starts. At 7pm they go into the Britain's Got Talent - Final, the show that has been winning the ratings on Saturday nights, but which has not yet been placed directly against The Doctor. BBC Two will show Dad's Army while The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is the film on Channel 4.

The BBC has issued more information about the episode. Steven Moffat has confirmed that everything on the BBC Website is approved and not a spoiler, but those wishing to avoid all information about the forthcoming episode should avoid the news below.

The BBC have confirmed that episode 7 will feature the Cybermen, Silurians and Sontarans, last encountered by the Doctor during The Pandorica Opens.

In the video below, Director Peter Hoar talks about shooting one of the Doctor's most famous enemies:

Director Peter Hoar discusses the Cybermen, BBC, via BBC Website

FILTER: - Series 6/32 - Broadcasting

Big Finish Week and ConventionBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 25 May 2011 - Reported by Harry Ward
WonderCon Big Finish has announced a series of one-day sales called "Big Finish Week". The weeklong sale starts on 6th June and features a selection of Doctor Who CD releases which are available to buy from the Big Finish website for just £5.00 each for one day only. These one-day sales are as follows:
  • 6 June – Doctor Who releases 1-10
    The Sirens of Time, Phantasmagoria, Whispers of Terror, The Land of the Dead, The Fearmonger, The Marian Conspiracy, The Genocide Machine, Red Dawn, The Spectre of Lanyon Moor and Winter for the Adept
  • 7 June – Doctor Who releases 11-20
    The Apocalypse Element, The Fires of Vulcan, The Shadow of the Scourge, The Holy Terror, The Mutant Phase, Storm Warning, The Sword of Orion, The Stones of Venice, Minuet in Hell and Loups-Garoux.
  • 8 June – Doctor Who releases 21-30
    Dust Breeding, Bloodtide, Project: Twilight, The Eye of the Scorpion, Colditz, Primeval, The One Doctor, Invaders from Mars, The Chimes of Midnight, Seasons of Fear.
  • 9 June – Doctor Who releases 31-40
    Embrace the Darkness, The Time of the Daleks, Neverland, Spare Parts, …Ish, The Rapture, The Sandman, The Church and the Crown, Bang-Bang-A-Boom!, Jubilee
  • 10 June – Doctor Who releases 41-50
    Nekromanteia, The Dark Flame, The Pirates, Creatures of Beauty, Project: Lazarus, FlipFlop, Omega, Davros, Master, Zagreus
The sale will end on 11 June, with the Big Finish Day Convention in Barking, Essex. Guests in attendance will include Colin Baker, Sophie Aldred, Katy Manning, Miles Richardson, Nicholas Briggs, Lisa Bowerman. More details on this event can be found on the 10th Planet Events website.

FILTER: - Conventions - Big Finish

Collectormania 17 - Milton KeynesBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 25 May 2011 - Reported by Harry Ward
WonderCon A number of actors from Doctor Who will be attending Collectormania in Milton Keynes over this coming weekend (Saturday 28th to Monday 30th May 2011).

Former Doctors Peter Davison and Colin Baker will join Alex Kingston (River Song), Stuart Milligan (President Richard Nixon, Colonel Stark, Tannoy), Anthony Head (Mr. Finch, School Reunion, Baltazar, The Infinite Quest) John Leeson (K-9), John Challis (Scorby, The Seeds of Doom), Roger Lloyd-Pack (John Lumic, Rise of the Cybermen / The Age of Steel), Dean Lennox Kelly (Shakespeare, The Shakespeare Code), Nigel Planer (Vorgenson, Doctor Who Live), Christopher Ryan (General Staal / Commander Stark), Miranda Raison (Tallulah, Daleks in Manhattan / Evolution of the Daleks), Darren Morfitt (Marco, The Time of Angels / Flesh and Stone), Ralph Morse (Foster Guardian, The Keeper of Traken), Les Conrad (Various - uncredited), Stephen Calcutt (Various - uncredited), Dean Mitchell (Armed Soldier, Aliens of London - uncredited) and Jill Curzon (Louise, Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D.).

You can find a full list of guests and show information on the Collectormania website.

FILTER: - People - UK - Conventions

The Doctor's Jacket - re-wornBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 24 May 2011 - Reported by Chuck Foster
After the controversy raised by Scottish media last weekend over the commercial sale of replicas of the Doctor's coat, Canada's premier news agency Postmedia investigated further from the perspective of the country where replica producer AbbyShot Clothiers are based.

BBC Worldwide spokesperson Emma Finlay clarified that AbbyShot approached them with the proposal:
... as rights-holder, we obviously don't dictate to our licensees where they make their products or other aspects of the product's manufacture (but that we) insist that they meet our ethical sourcing criteria, prohibiting products made from unregulated, sweatshop labour.
The agency also confirmed that the adapted jacket worn by Matt Smith for the current series was not a Chinese replica as intimated in the earlier reports, but was actually tailored into a warmer version for the actor by a Saville Row shop - though using a substitute for true Harris Tweed. The replica being produced by AbbyShot is a wool-acrylic blend based on that design.

Last year, AbbyShot received a Canadian SME Innovator of the Year award from Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters. The company specialises in making screen-accurate representations of popular iconic clothing seen on television and in movies.

FILTER: - Series 6/32 - Matt Smith

Alex Kingston on The Graham Norton Show this FridayBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 24 May 2011 - Reported by Harry Ward
The Graham Norton Show Alex Kingston will be a guest on The Graham Norton Show this Friday (27th May) at 10:35pm on BBC One. Other guests on the show are Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Rob Lowe.

Following transmission, the show will available in the UK on the BBC iPlayer for the next seven days.

The official BBC YouTube channel has uploaded three preview clips from tonight's episode but none of them feature Alex Kingston.

FILTER: - Press