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

Jodie Whittaker Offered the Freedom of the City of LondonBookmark and Share

Friday, 8 March 2019 - Reported by Marcus
Jodie WhittakerJodie Whittaker is one of more than 100 women who will receive the Freedom of the City of London to commemorate the centenary of the Representation of the People Act 1918.

The Court of Common Council, the City of London Corporation’s top decision-making body, has today set the final seal of approval upon the Freedoms, paving the way for ceremonies to take place at Guildhall over the coming months.

Last year, the City Corporation agreed to mark 100 years of female suffrage with the award of the Freedom by inviting members of the Court of Common Council and colleagues in their City of London Wards to nominate candidates.

The nominees are drawn from a wide range of backgrounds, but all of them have a connection to the City. Jodie Whittaker trained at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, based in the City Of London.

Catherine McGuinness, Policy Chair at the City of London Corporation, said:
Many congratulations to everyone who accepted the City’s invitation to receive the Freedom of the City of London, among them, a restaurateur, actor, florist, ecologist, beauty salon owner, town planner, and the Bishop of London.

My colleagues shared my enthusiasm to invite women from as many walks of life as possible, and I am very encouraged that we have exceeded our target of 100 women, and that we are announcing the news ahead of International Women’s Day.

I hope that our new Freemen enjoy attending their ceremonies at Guildhall and will take pride in their Freedom, which is one of our most historic and celebrated traditions.
The Freedom of the City of London is believed to have begun in 1237 and enabled recipients to carry out their trade; and today, people are nominated for, or apply for, the Freedom, because it offers them a link with the historic City of London and one of its ancient traditions.

The Freedom is also offered to individuals by the City of London Corporation to help celebrate a significant achievement or to pay tribute to their outstanding contribution to London life or public life.




FILTER: - Jodie Whittaker

Big Finish celebrates International Women's DayBookmark and Share

Friday, 8 March 2019 - Reported by Marcus
The 8th of March (Credit: Big Finish)Big Finish celebrates International Women's Day today, with the release of Doctor Who: The 8th of March.

In celebration of all the strong female characters from the Doctor Who universe, a female lead cast, along with female writers, producer and director, has come together for a Doctor Who audio box set like no other.

The 8th of March explores some of the amazing female characters of more than 50 years of the BBC Studios television show.

The 8th of March -  Alex Kingston/Louise Jameson (Credit: Big Finish)Starring Ace (Sophie Aldred) and Professor Bernice Summerfield (Lisa Bowerman), Professor River Song (Alex Kingston) and Leela (Louise Jameson), UNIT-team Kate Stewart (Jemma Redgrave) and Osgood (Ingrid Oliver) and, in a Big Finish first together, Madame Vastra (Neve McIntosh) and her wife Jenny (Catrin Stewart). This box set celebrates these powerful, multifaceted characters in stories very unique to the Doctor Who universe.

Big Finish Productions was formed 20 years ago in 1998 with its first release being a tale from one of the Doctor’s companions, Bernice Summerfield, and it continues to this day to create new empowering female heroes in their own series. The 8th of March is not only a celebration of many great female characters (including the Thirteenth Doctor, played by Jodie Whittaker), but a reminder that one of the great virtues of Big Finish is that it is able to explore and add to the mythology of characters that we have more to learn from.





FILTER: - Big Finish

The Macra Terror Cover Art and ExtrasBookmark and Share

Monday, 4 March 2019 - Reported by Marcus
The Macra Terror (Credit: BBC Studios)The cover art and special features of the animated version of the missing Doctor Who adventure The Macra Terror, releasing on DVD, Blu-ray, special edition Steelbook and digital download on 25th March 2019, have been revealed.

Originally broadcast in four weekly parts from 11th March to 1st April 1967, and starring Patrick Troughton, Anneke Wills, Michael Craze and Frazer Hines, no full episodes of this serial are known to have survived on film. Fortunately for fans, a complete audio recording of all four parts still exists. Now, 52 years later, the four episodes will be brought back to life through the power of animation, available on disc and digital download, in both colour and black and white, from 25th March 2019.

Anneke Wills says,
Back in 1967 “There's no such thing as Macra!” was the cry; and for many years after there was no such thing as “The Macra Terror”. Now, thanks to the magic of animation, we can see the story come to life again. I can't wait to see this adventure and how gratifying to have a little more of Ben and Polly’s time with the Doctor available to be seen by new generations.
The Doctor (Patrick Troughton) and his companions arrive on a human colony in the far flung future. The colony appears to be a giant recreational complex - a holiday camp for rest and relaxation. Everyone looks happy and carefree but all is not as it seems. The colony has been infiltrated and brainwashed by a race of giant parasitic crab creatures called the Macra.

The Macra have only returned once since, 40 years later, coming face to face with the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) and Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman) in the 2007 episode Gridlock.

Paul Hembury, Executive Producer, BBC Studios says,
After the success of Shada, we were very excited by the possibility of further animations. We are therefore delighted to be able to bring fans these missing episodes in a completely new form.
Special features for the DVD and Blu-ray release include:
  • Audio Commentary: Toby Hadoke presents an audio commentary track on all four episodes of ‘The Macra Terror’, featuring cast and crew from the original 1967 production - Frazer Hines (Jamie), Terence Lodge (Medok), Anthony Gardner (Alvis), Maureen Lane (Majorette) and director, John Davies. Commentary produced by John Kelly and recorded in London on 4th January 2019.
  • Episode Reconstructions: Surviving film frames, fragments of existing footage and set photographs are brought together with the original unedited audio to reconstruct a presentation of the original now lost live-action production of ‘The Macra Terror’, as seen by viewers of BBC 1 in 1967. Produced by Derek Handley. Available to watch with or without an optional narration track read by Anneke Wills.
  • Bonus Mini-Episode: A ten-minute animated short, built around an otherwise lost Doctor Who episode from 1968 starring Patrick Troughton and Frazer Hines. Directed by AnneMarie Walsh.
  • Animation Test: Prior to the project being formally commissioned, this short animation test (of a scene from episode 3 of ‘The Macra Terror’) was produced in March 2018, to investigate the feasibility of mounting the production in full.
  • Animatics: A selection of scenes showing how the new animated production of ‘The Macra Terror’ went from initial storyboards to final animation. Storyboard art by Adrian Salmon.
  • Animation Gallery: A gallery of artwork from the development, pre-production and animation of the new animated version of ‘The Macra Terror’, including character art from Martin Geraghty and background paintings from Graham Bleathman, Colin Howard and Lydia Butz.
  • Teaser Trailer: A short teaser trailer animated by Rob Ritchie, produced to promote the announcement of a new production of ‘The Macra Terror’ in December 2018.
  • Alternative Black and White presentation: The full four-part animation is also available to view in an alternative black and white format on disc 2.
  • 1992 Audio Presentation: In 1992, the BBC Audio Collection released ‘The Macra Terror’ on audio cassette, in a special release narrated by Colin Baker. It was the first time that the story had been made commercially available by the BBC and that audio-only release is included here in full. Surviving Footage: Less than two minutes of original footage still exist from the 1967 production of ‘The Macra Terror’. These film fragments have been painstakingly restored and digitally remastered for this release, with considerable improvements made to the overall picture quality and resolution of this unique footage. Film restoration by Peter Crocker.
  • Behind the scenes film: In 1967, during pre-production of ‘The Macra Terror’, film cameras visited the visual effects workshop in Uxbridge where work was underway on construction of the Macra props. Special effects props and models from other Doctor Who stories can also be seen in the workshop, including parts of a Cyberman from ‘The Tenth Planet’ (1966) and an aeroplane from ‘The Faceless Ones’ (1967). This footage is accompanied by a new audio commentary track from Doctor Who visual effects designer and BBC visual effects historian, Mike Tucker, explaining some of the effects techniques and props featured in the film.
  • Censored Scene: A reconstruction of a scene from episode 2 of ‘The Macra Terror’ that was heavily re-edited by censors for the episode’s Australian television transmission in November 1967.
  • Title sequences: ‘The Macra Terror’ saw the debut of a new title sequence for Doctor Who - the first time the programme had made such a change. The title sequence is presented here in full, remastered in HD and in a number of alternative versions.
  • Photo gallery: A collection of 36 photographs taken during the production of ‘The Macra Terror’ in 1967, featuring original design department set photographs and Radio Times publicity images. All presented in HD.
  • Production Paperwork: A full set of original camera scripts, studio schedules, floor plans and other materials are available to view by accessing disc 2 via your computer’s DVD or Blu Ray ROM drive.
Additional extras exclusive to Steelbook:
  • Gridlock: The Macra returned to Doctor Who in 2007, in this episode starring David Tennant and written by Russell T. Davies
  • Audio commentary: Julie Gardner, Travis Oliver and Marie Jones discuss the making of 'Gridlock' in this audio commentary track from 2007.
  • Doctor Who Confidential – Are we there yet?: A documentary looking at the making of the 2007 story, 'Gridlock'.
The Macra Terror (Credit: BBC Studios)The Macra Terror (Credit: BBC Studios)The Macra Terror (Credit: BBC Studios)




FILTER: - Blu-ray/DVD - Second Doctor

Who Talk - March ReleasesBookmark and Share

Sunday, 3 March 2019 - Reported by Marcus
This month's Who Talk releases feature the legendary Daleks and the reptilian Ice Warriors.

Mars Attacks (Credit: Fantom Films)First up is a new selection of commentaries for stories featuring the Ice Warriors, in the form of Mars Attacks!

Producer Paul W.T. Ballard explains
I literally couldn’t resist the title, even though I’m sure a lot of people will groan. This is the first time we have released a new series commentary track, and we were thrilled to be joined by Adele Lynch and Richard Ashton, who are the most recent Ice Warriors, to have a look at the Peter Capaldi episode The Empress of Mars, little over a year after it was first broadcast.

Such is the way of recording these things, as Adele and Richard were leaving the studio, Wendy Gifford was coming in, and we shot back fifty years to look at the very first appearance of the Martian invaders!
Rounding off the set are commentaries for episodes two and five of The Seeds of Death, with guest star Louise Pajo.

Louise was over on a rare visit from Down Under, so we took the opportunity to grab her for a commentary track. She isn’t featured on any of the BBC releases, and is a very outspoken commentator… especially when it comes to Miss Kelly’s ‘three balls’…!”
Mars Attacks! is moderated by Toby Hadoke, and features Wendy Gifford, Louise Pajo, Adele Lynch and Richard Ashton.

Resurrection (Credit: Fantom Films)The second release this month comes in the form of 1980’s Dalek blockbuster Resurrection of the Daleks.

I think Resurrection is one of those stories which has such a vast and dynamic cast, that there was plenty of scope to invite people who hadn’t spoken about it before. Amongst those joining us are Sneh Gupta, who fitted us in on a quick UK trip, and Rula Lenska, who had some choice words to say about her outfit… but I won’t spoil it. I also won’t reveal which contributor wore their Dalek socks especially for the recording!
Mark Strickson makes his Who Talk debut on the special edition of Resurrection.

As is a seemingly a theme with these two releases, Mark was working in the UK and we obviously made him sit through a variety of his episodes on his day off. For this release we get to hear his thoughts on Resurrection and Frontios, and discover which guest star he snuck into the TOTP studio to have a dance to Karma Chameleon with!
Resurrection is moderated by Toby Hadoke, and features Rula Lenska, Jim Findley, Sneh Gupta, William Sleigh, Brian Miller, Roger Davenport, Mike Mungarvan and Eric Saward, and the special edition also features Mark Strickson.

Please note: these commentaries contain no BBC copyrighted elements and do not feature audio from the episodes themselves - these are designed to be played alongside the official DVD releases.




FILTER: - Classic Series - Fantom

Doctor Who: Thirteenth Doctor #5Bookmark and Share

Saturday, 2 March 2019 - Reported by Marcus
Next week sees the latest in the Titan series of comics, with a new story arc begining for the Thirteenth Doctor

Doctor Who: Thirteenth Doctor #5

Writer: Jody Houser
Artist: Giorgia Sposito, Rachael Stott
Colourist: Enrica Eren Angiolini
A new story starts for the Thirteenth Doctor, as her debut season leaves fans hungry for more stories starring the Doctor, Yasmin, Ryan, and Graham! There's never been a better time to board the TARDIS, with Eisner Award nominee Jody Houser (Mother Panic, Stranger Things, Star Wars, Faith, Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows) writing fresh adventures through time and space!
DOCTOR WHO: THIRTEENTH DOCTOR #5 - Cover A (Credit: Titan )DOCTOR WHO: THIRTEENTH DOCTOR #5 - Cover B (Credit: Titan )DOCTOR WHO: THIRTEENTH DOCTOR #5 - Cover C (Credit: Titan )DOCTOR WHO: THIRTEENTH DOCTOR #5 - Page 1 (Credit: Titan )DOCTOR WHO: THIRTEENTH DOCTOR #5 - Page 2 (Credit: Titan )DOCTOR WHO: THIRTEENTH DOCTOR #5 - Page 3 (Credit: Titan )DOCTOR WHO: THIRTEENTH DOCTOR #5 - Page 4 (Credit: Titan )

Released 6th March 2019




FILTER: - Comics - Thirteenth Doctor