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

Robert Banks Stewart 1931-2016Bookmark and Share

Friday, 15 January 2016 - Reported by Marcus
The writer and producer Robert Banks Stewart has died at the age of 84.

Robert Banks Stewart is best known to Doctor Who fans as the creator of the Zygons, but his body of work encompassed far more than the shape shifting body snatchers, creating some of the most loved series on British Television.

Born in Edinburgh, Banks Stewart started his profession life as a journalist, but his interests always lay in television scripts. In the 1950's he worked for both Pinewood Studios and Thames Television providing scripts for series such as Danger Man, The Human Jungle, Top Secret, The Sweeney and The Avengers. He wrote 5 episodes of Arthur of the Britons for HTV.

In 1975 he was asked to write for Doctor Who and came up Terror of the Zygons, as story that went on to be one of the most fondly remembered of the original series. The Zygons would return for the show's 50th Anniversary special in 2013, their success ensuring a full return in the most recent series of the show.

Due to the triumph of Zygon script he was asked to write the six part conclusion to the series, coming up with The Seeds of Doom, introducing the Krynoid and the deranged horticulturist Harrison Chase.

In 1979 he created the detective series Shoestring. Set in Bristol the series was a major success for the BBC, toping the ratings and running for two series. When leading actor Trevor Eve declined to stay with the show, Bank Stewart created another series, Bergerac, set this time on the island of Jersey and starring John Nettles as the eponymous detective and recovering alcoholic who liked to drive his vintage sports car while solving crimes. The series would run for 9 years and would feature Louise Jameson as Jim Bergerac's girlfriend Susan Young.

In the 1980's he became a producer, working on the first series of Lovejoy. In 1991 he produced and adapted, H. E. Bates' novel The Darling Buds of May for ITV, which gained one of the highest ratings for a new series in the history of British Television. Banks Stewart was instrumental in casting the unknown Catherine Zeta Jones in the role of Mariette.

Robert Banks Stewart died at home on Thursday after suffering from cancer. He is survived by three sons from his second marriage and a daughter from his first.

FILTER: - Classic Series - Obituary

Sneak Peek - Eighth Doctor Comic #3Bookmark and Share

Monday, 11 January 2016 - Reported by Marcus
This week sees Titan release issue three of the Eighth Doctor comic.


Writer: George Mann
Artist: Emma Vieceli
Colorist: Hi-FI
Letterer: Comicraft
Cover A: Rachael Stott & Hi-FI / Cover B: Photo Cover by Will Brooks

Edinburgh, 1850. The Doctor and Josie Day visit a mysterious magic show, one which is replacing audience members with 'Silvered' duplicates, mirror dimension reflections who jealously watch their real-world counterparts! With the deadly doppelgangers causing chaos, can the Doctor and Josie escape the magician's grasp and avoid being Silvered themselves?


FILTER: - Comics - Eighth Doctor

Final Australian ratings for The Husbands of River SongBookmark and Share

Sunday, 10 January 2016 - Reported by Adam Kirk
Including time-shifted viewers, The Husbands of River Song averaged 761,000 consolidated viewers in the five major capital cities. With 186,000 extra viewers it was the highest time-shifted program of the day (the second highest time-shifted program only had 33,000 extra viewers) and the seventh highest rating program of the day overallThese ratings do not include iview or regional viewers.

Media Links: TV Tonight

FILTER: - Australia - Broadcasting - Ratings - Series 9/35

Class to be a BBC America Co-ProductionBookmark and Share

Friday, 8 January 2016 - Reported by Marcus
BBC AmericaBBC America have confirmed they will be co-producing the new Doctor Who Spin off series, Class.

The eight part series is written by American young adult writer Patrick Ness, best known for his award-winning book A Monster Calls.

The series will be set in Coal Hill school in contemporary London, and is executive produced by Steven Moffat and Brian Minchin, the team behind Doctor Who, and is due to be screened in Autumn 2016.

BBC America have also confirmed they have commissioned a new original scripted series based on the Dirk Gently books.

The series is an adaptation of former Doctor Who Script Editor Douglas Adams’ comic novels, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, and is set in the world of its hyperactive, absurdist, eponymous detective, Dirk Gently.

The books were inspired by the unfinished Doctor Who story Shada, intended for transmission in 1980 but never completed due to a BBC strike.

The channel have ordered eight one-hour episodes, scripted by Max Landis. The books were previously adapted for BBC Four, with Stephen Mangan in the title role and shown between 2010 and 2012.

FILTER: - Class

Sylvester Checks into The Real Marigold HotelBookmark and Share

Thursday, 7 January 2016 - Reported by Marcus
The Real Marigold Hotel (Credit: BBC/Vinod Singh/Twofour)Seventh Doctor Sylvester McCoy is to star in a new BBC Two travel documentary series, The Real Marigold Hotel, which takes the cast on the journey of a lifetime.

The series, inspired by but otherwise unrelated to the blockbuster film, documents the authentic experience of eight famous senior citizens as they head to India on an experimental adventure.

Joining the 72 year old McCoy will be actor Miriam Margolyes, dancer Wayne Sleep, comedian Roy Walker, chef Rosemary Shrager, darts champion Bobby George, singer Patti Boulaye and former news reader Jan Leeming for three weeks to see if they would consider spending their golden years retiring to the other side of the world.

Four thousand miles from home, the group will land in colourful Jaipur, capital of the state of Rajasthan in Northern India, to test whether they can set up a better, more rewarding retirement here than in the UK.

In the scorching heat, the group will take over a haveli - an Indian private mansion - and from the moment they arrive they will have to work out how to set up home together: from who’ll cook and clean and whether they will hire staff, to how they will get around and spend their time.

Their unforgettable Indian adventure will see the group fully embrace Indian culture, from the surprises of the capital’s largest slum to meeting Jaipur’s Royal family at the opulent Rambagh Palace. As they settle into local life, members of the group will take to yoga and learn some Hindi, experience shopping in the hectic streets, hunt for potential properties and take advantage of the medical care. We’ll see them visit the Ganesh Chaturti festival, ride elephants, make a trip to one of the holiest Hindu cities in India, Varanasi, and also test out long-distance travel by embarking on a 150-mile trip to the jewel in India’s crown, the Taj Mahal.

From the environment to the food, the transport to the customs, moving away from the UK is guaranteed to be a culture shock for our cast - as they leave routines and loved ones behind to adapt to living together and to a completely new way of life.

The series is set to air late-January 2016

Interview with Sylvester McCoy

Young at heart, Scottish actor Sylvester is most famous as Doctor Who and recently appeared in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies. A real people person, he wants to find out how the elderly are treated in India, and is set on visiting slums and understanding how the poor can seem so happy when living in what, by western standards, is such squalor.

What was the highlight of your stay?
Watching a young gypsy man, Danesh, enthusiastically teaching his joyful class of slum children how to read and write English, in his spare bedroom.

Tell us about some of the people you met
I dined with kings, drank cocktails with Maharajas, but best of all was dancing with puppeteers in the slums of Jaipur.

What was your role in the group?
To raise a smile, and play the spoons!

The Real Marigold Hotel (Credit: BBC/Vinod Singh/Twofour)The Real Marigold Hotel (Credit: BBC/Vinod Singh/Twofour)The Real Marigold Hotel (Credit: BBC/Vinod Singh/Twofour)

FILTER: - People - Seventh Doctor

Doctor Who Magazine #495Bookmark and Share

Thursday, 7 January 2016 - Reported by Marcus
Doctor Who Magazine 495 (Credit: Panini)The new issue of Doctor Who Magazine finds out what happens when River Song runs into the Eighth Doctor in the new audio series The Diary of River Song – and interviews both Paul McGann and Alex Kingston who says
River has to interact with the Eighth Doctor to save him, to help him. When she’s figured out how she can do that without having to be physically present in front of him, alongside helping him, she can then tease and flirt a little bit, because she knows she’s safe, and she knows she hasn’t overstepped a boundary, or changed his or her future in any way by that actual physical interaction. So she can then have fun! She’s in control.
And what does the Eighth Doctor make of River?
What the Doctor says to River when he realises her acumen, her calibre, is ‘Wow, hang on a minute – where did you pick up all this?! For an amateur, you ain’t half clever'. He says, ‘Any time you fancy joining me, I could always do with a pair of hands’. He realises, almost instantly, how clever she is. ‘If you’re ever stuck for a trip round the universe helping me out, you’re on.’ So there’s that lovely playfulness as well. Of course, he’s doing it in blissful ignorance. And she’s trying not to appear too clever, and give the game away, but of course she has to save his life. So it’s great. It’s childish, but it’s great fun.
  • Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat answers readers questions about the recent episode Heaven Sent – and find out whether the Doctor ever had to run around the castle naked.
  • The latest comic strip adventure continues with Part 2 of The Dragon Lord, written by Steve Lyons, with art from Adrian Salmon.
  • Doctor Who fans of the 1970s will get nostalgic, as we take a trip down memory lane and meet the artist behind Weetabix’s series of artwork cards, which were launched in 1975, and given away with packets of breakfast cereal.
  • The Time Team returns to watch the first adventure of the Eleventh Doctor – The Eleventh Hour. What will they make of the new Doctor, Amy Pond and Prisoner Zero?
  • A tribute to stuntman Derek Ware, who worked on Doctor Who during its first decade, and has recently passed away at the age of 77.
  • The Fact of Fiction takes an in-depth look at the 1974 Third Doctor adventure Death to the Daleks.
  • DWM reviews the recent Christmas Special, The Husbands of River Song. We also take a look at the latest books and audio and revisit 1968’s The Wheel in Space and 1977’s The Face of Evil.
  • Vote for your favourites of the most recent series, plus the book and audio releases from the past 12 months!
PLUS! All the latest official news, previews of upcoming releases, competitions, the answers to The Watcher’s Fiendishly Festive Christmas Quiz, The DWM Crossword and much more!

Doctor Who Magazine 495 is on sale from Thursday 7 January 2016, price £4.99.


Topps Doctor Who Trading CardsBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 6 January 2016 - Reported by Marcus
Doctor Who Topps trading cards have recently been released in the United States.

Topps Doctor Who trading cards is the first comprehensive Doctor Who trading card released in the US. Featuring 200 base cards, this set explores characters and storylines from across the whole 50+ years of the Doctor Who saga.

There are 5 insert sets to chase:
  • Memorable Moments
  • Companions
  • Christmas Time
  • Who Is The Doctor
  • Gadgets
Featuring 2 hits per hobby box.

30 TARDIS patch cards
Autographs from 31 signers including David Tennant, Tom Baker, Colin Baker, Paul McGann, Peter Davison, Billie Piper, Alex Kingston, Freema Agyeman, Noel Clarke, John Barrowman, Carole Ann Ford and many more!

4 Costume pieces including The Doctor’s Suit Trousers, Ood Alien Costume, Sally Sparrow’s Coat and Rory’s Green Shirt 15 Signed TARDIS Patch Cards from Doctors and Companions

3 Ultra Rare cut signatures from the original three Doctors

1 Ultra Rare signed costume piece featuring David Tennant

An additional set, Doctor Who Timeless, will be released in May.

Order on Amazon

FILTER: - Games - USA

National Television Awards shortlist announcedBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 5 January 2016 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Doctor Who has made the shortlist for Drama in the 2016 National Television Awards, which takes place live from the O2 in London on 20th January. The show is up against: Downton Abbey, which saw its final episode top the ratings on Christmas Day; Broadchurch, whose third series with former Doctor David Tennant will be shown this year; and Casualty, now entering its 30th year on television!

Doctor Who and Downton Abbey have dominated the category in the last decade, with Doctor Who holding the title between 2005 and 2010 (there was no award ceremony in 2009), and then Downton Abbey between 2012 and 2015 - with the exception of 2014 when Doctor Who regained the crown! The only other show to win the award during this period was school drama Waterloo Road in 2011.

David Tennant has been nominated in the Drama Performance category for his role as Alec Hardy in Broadchurch (fellow Time Lord actors Peter Capaldi, Christopher Eccleston and most recent sidekick actress Jenna Coleman did not make the shortlist). He faces Suranne Jones (Gemma Foster in Doctor Foster), Aidan Turner (Ross Poldark in Poldark) and Sheridan Smith (Jo Gillespie in Black Work). Tennant has previously won the award between 2007 and 2010 during his tenure as the Doctor, and received a Special Recognition award in 2015.

Votes may be cast via the NTA website until midday on Wednesday 20th January 2016, with the ceremony itself broadcast live on ITV from 7:30pm.

FILTER: - Awards/Nominations - David Tennant - Doctor Who

New Tenth and Twelfth Doctor ComicsBookmark and Share

Monday, 4 January 2016 - Reported by Marcus
This Wednesday sees the publication of brand new tales from The Tenth and Twelfth Doctor.

Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor: Year Two #4

Writer: Nick Abadzis
Artist: Elena Casagrande
Colorist: Arianna Florean
Letterer: Comicraft
Cover A: Leonardo Romero / Cover B: Photo (Will Brooks)

It's back to the deep, deep past and the dawn of humanity for the Doctor and Gabby, as their travels take them to the Pleistocene – and the epic struggle between Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon forces for the future of humankind! Plus: Anubis's galactic quest comes back to haunt them!

Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor – Year Two #1

Writer: Robbie Morrison
Artist: Rachael Stott
Colorist: Ivan Nunes
Letterer: Comicraft
Cover A: Alice X. Zhang / Cover B: Photo cover by Will Brooks / Cover C: Rachael Stott & Ivan Nunes / Cover D: JaKE

The Golden Years of the Doctor and Clara begin, as the Twelfth Doctor comics leap into Series 9! Writer Robbie Morrison is back with a year-long extravaganza that kicks off with an excellent jumping-on point for new readers - while Rachael Stott (Star Trek) joins us as new regular series artist!

Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor Year Two #1 (Credit: Titan)Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor Year Two #1 (Credit: Titan)Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor Year Two #1 (Credit: Titan)Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor Year Two #1 (Credit: Titan)Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor Year Two #1 (Credit: Titan)Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor Year Two #1 (Credit: Titan)Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor Year Two #1 (Credit: Titan)Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor Year Two #1 (Credit: Titan)

FILTER: - Comics - Tenth Doctor - Twelfth Doctor

Doctor Who Adventures #10Bookmark and Share

Monday, 4 January 2016 - Reported by Marcus
Doctor Who #10 (Credit: Panini)Doctor Who #10 (Credit: Panini)Issue 10 of the new look Doctor Who Adventures is out this Thursday 7th January.

In this month's issue
  • James Peaty scripts this issue’s tale as the Doctor visits Tokyo in search of sushi and winds up face to face with a giant robot and a massive lizard. Can he save the city from destruction? You’ll have to wait and see!
  • Make your party go with a bang with this cool Weeping Angels party game!
  • Revisit the latest series of Doctor Who with this cool quiz to test your knowledge of the Doctor’s latest adventures!
  • You get the chance to learn from the worst as Davros shows you how to make your own Hand Mine gloves!
  • This month gives you access to the UNIT Archive as we find out the truth about the Gallifreyans known as the Time Lords!
  • This month Strax is giving an informative lecture on the Veil, the Cloister Wraiths and the Sandmen!
  • Victorian London becomes a giant playground as an extra-terrestrial prankster pays a visit and turns the Tower of London into a giant bouncy castle. Can the Paternoster Gang put a stop to the madness?
Issue 10 comes with a Free Mega Poster and a free wind-up TARDIS.