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

Revolution of the Daleks SoundtrackBookmark and Share

Monday, 4 January 2021 - Reported by Marcus
Revolution of the Daleks Soundtrack

The soundtrack for the Doctor Who New Year’s Day special, Revolution of the Daleks, is now available to download on Spotify, Amazon, Apple, Deezer and Tidal.

Composer, Segun Akinola, who has composed the score for Series 11 and Series 12 of Doctor Who,  said:

Revolution of the Daleks is an emotional rollercoaster full of action, tension, old friends, old enemies and some heartfelt goodbyes, all of which are accompanied by music that utilises many of the musical themes from Series 11 and Series 12, and very often moves from a solo cello to orchestra, and much more in-between. 

It’s a ‘special’ in every sense of the word which I hope those who’ve enjoyed listening to the Series 11 and 12 albums will love. So, if that’s you, thank you - this album is dedicated to you!

Segun is an alumnus of the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and part of 2017’s BAFTA Breakthrough Brit programme, with other works including Sundance 2019 favourite The Last Tree, Shola Amoo’s A Moving Image, (nominated for a Discovery Award, World Soundtrack Awards), David Olusoga’s Black and British: A Forgotten History. His work has screened at Sundance, the London Film Festival, LA Film Festival, BlackStar Film Festival and many others.

Tracklisting:

  1. 367 Minutes
  2. A Cuppa
  3. Something Revolutionary
  4. Breakout Ball
  5. The Clone
  6. The Production Line
  7. Stability and Security
  8. Thank You for Being My Friend
  9. Activate
  10. The Death Squad
  11. Bad Boys
  12. Bye Fam
Doctor Who Revolution of the Daleks Soundtrack is available now from £8.99.
 




FILTER: - Music - Specials

Masterful from Big FinishBookmark and Share

Saturday, 2 January 2021 - Reported by Marcus
Masterful  (Credit: Big Finish)

To mark a half-century of the Master, Big Finish has created a special multi-disc release, in the form of Masterful. Eight incarnations of Doctor Who’s favourite other Time Lord unite!

Released today, exactly 50 years since Roger Delgado made his dastardly debut as the Master in Doctor Who: Terror of the Autons, the Masterful box set is a full-cast audio drama celebration of the malevolent Time Lord in all his glorious regenerations.

Masterful stars Geoffrey Beevers, Mark Gatiss, Michelle Gomez, Derek Jacobi, Alex MacQueen, Milo Parker, Eric Roberts and John Simm, featuring guest appearances from Jon Culshaw as Kamelion, Katy Manning as Jo Grant, with Abigail McKern, Aurora Burghart and Zaqi Ismail.
 

The Master's finally done it. He's won. He summons his other selves to a celebration of his ultimate victory. And they come from across time and dimensions. But he's forgotten to invite someone. And Missy's not happy.

Has the Master really conquered the universe? Or has something more awful been unleashed? Something that even all the Masters cannot stop?

Missy is determined to reveal the truth. Because one fact about the Master's existence never changes.

No-one can trust the Master. Not even the Master.

Masterful is now available as a limited edition 8-CD box set (priced at £44.99), or on download (at £39.99), exclusively at the Big Finish website.

 

This edition contains:

  • Discs 1-3: Masterful by James Goss
  • Disc 4: Masterful - Behind the Scenes
  • Disc 5: Doctor Who - Short Trips: I Am The Master by Geoffrey Beevers and Short Trips: The Switching by Simon Guerrier (both previously available on download only)
  • Discs 6-8: Doctor Who: Terror of the Master by Trevor Baxendale, a brand new, narrated audiobook featuring the Third Doctor, the Master and UNIT.

 

A standard edition of Masterful (featuring only the content of discs 1-3 above) is also available, priced at £24.99 (on CD) or £19.99 (as a download).

Please note the box set edition is limited to 3,000 copies only.

 

Describing his own memories of the Master, Mark Gatiss said: 

I have profoundly scary memories of Terror of the Autons because it affected me forever, still does! I remember the Master being such a huge part of everything I loved about the show, and it just clicked so completely perfectly.

Alex Macqueen added:

I’m biased but the Master is frankly the most terrific character, so it’s totally right to have this commemoration. It’s a massive privilege and I love it because it’s an incredibly creative experience in the booth

Of the Masterful storyline, Geoffrey Beevers said:

It’s really different but it’s really good, because it explores who the Master might have been had he taken a different course in eternity. It’s beautifully written and it’s quite a challenge doing the transition into what that sort of person might have been – and back again – and what affect it has on him afterwards.

Eric Roberts added:

As a character in the story, it’s what we all should fear – all of our worst everythings, all of our worst wants, all of our worst behaviours and, for an actor, he’s just plain fun! How often do we get to play the extreme in evil?

Of the Master’s relationship to the Doctor, Michelle Gomez said:

Doctor Who couldn’t be Doctor Who without the Master. He gives the Doctor purpose in his plight for goodness, and the Master’s always there, shining a light on the Doctor’s dark side. The Doctor is a reluctant hero really, constantly being forced to be good because he can’t help himself but try and clean up the world of evil. The Master basically gives the Doctor work to do because he’s constantly in the background, undoing things and sabotaging goodness.

Milo Parker added:

All the other characters I’ve done in the past have been relatively well-behaved, so playing the Master is an opportunity for me to broaden my horizons, to try something new, and I’ve really enjoyed it.

Of playing the War Master, Derek Jacobi said:

He has a wonderfully wicked sense of humour which is lovely to indulge oneself in. The stories are very good, he usually comes out on top... heroic villains are the best things to play.

John Simm added:

He’s an iconic character – he’s the nemesis of the Doctor, the evil Doctor, the baddie Doctor Who. He thinks he’s the equal to the Doctor; he’s a Time Lord, he’s everything the Doctor is, but evil. It’s a real honour to play him.
Masterful - Glen McCready / Toby Hrycek-Robinson / John Simm / Derek Jacobi / Aurora Burghart / Ken Bentley (Credit: Big Finish)




FILTER: - Big Finish - Audio

Fifty Years of The MasterBookmark and Share

Saturday, 2 January 2021 - Reported by Marcus

The Master - Roger DelgadoRadio Times - January 1971 (Credit: Radio Times)Fifty years ago today a new character entered the world of Doctor Who when, in Terror of the Autons, we met the Doctor's nemesis, The Master.

Created by producer Barry Letts and script editor Terrance Dicks, the character was devised as a foil to the Third Doctor as played by Jon Pertwee. Given an academic name. The Master, to counterpoint the name of The Doctor, the character was to be the Moriarty to Pertwee’s Holmes, a character very much the equal to the Doctor in terms of intelligence and background. 

The character outline was sketched out in an internal BBC document sent to the writers of Season 8 of the series, a document which also introduced the characters of Jo Grant and Captain Mike Yates, played by Richard Franklin and Katy Manning. 

Only one actor was considered for the role of the Master, Roger Delgado, an actor known for playing sinister villains and a personal friend of Jon Pertwee.

The Master would appear in every story of season 8, becoming just as much a fixture of the series as The Doctor and Jo, somewhat to the chagrin of Jon Pertwee. 

He was used less in season nine but still appeared in two of the five stories. In season ten he was used just once and it was decided to write the character out at the end of season 11 in a big final story.

That final story never happened as on the 18th June 1973 Roger Delgado was killed in a car accident in Turkey. The death stunned the production team and helped Pertwee to his decision to leave the series at the end of the eleventh series. 

The actor may have died but the character he created was so strong it would return to the series in many incarnations. A mutilated Master at the end of his regelation cycle was seen in the 1976 story The Deadly Assassin. 

In 1981 new producer John Nathan Turner decided to bring back the character as a regular with a look based on the original Delgado character. Played by Anthony Ainley, The Master would appear regularly until the cancellation of the series in 1989, appearing with the fifth, sixth and seventh Doctors. It was perhaps fitting that the last story of the classic series featured the Doctor and Ace in a battle with The Master. In the story Survival.

The TV movie in 1996 saw the arrival of the eighth Doctor and The Master was there to welcome him, this time in the body of American actor Eric Roberts. 

When Doctor Who returned in 2005 there was much talk about reprising characters from the original series and The Master was high upon most fans wish lists. They had to wait until the series 3 before show-runner Russell T Davies obliged, and the story Utopia saw the character reappear in no less a body as that of veteran actor Derek Jacobi. At the end of the episode John Simm took over the role and a mad hyperactive Master took on the mad hyperactive Tenth Doctor. In 2010 the character helped bring about to the demise of the Tenth Doctor. 

The next showrunner Steven Moffat put his own spin on the character when he created Missy, played by Michelle Gomez, in 2014 to taunt the Twelfth Doctor as played by Peter Capaldi. Much speculation about the real identity of the character was ended at the end of Series 8 when she was revealed to be a female incarnation of The Master.

Although Gomez was the incumbent Master, John Simm hadn’t quite finished with the role as he returned at the end of series ten to take part in a memorable Master v Master battle with Missy and The Doctor

The strength of the character is such that just last year another incarnation arrived when Sacha Dhawan took on the role of The Master in the 2020 Chris Chibnall story Spyfall.

The character of The Master is the most enduring in Doctor Who apart from that of the Doctor himself. Today, 50 years on, we pay tribute to all the hugely talented actors who have made the character such an essential part of Doctor Who lore. And we pay tribute to the numerous writer and Directors who have helped create such a fascinating and enduring character. 
 

Peter Pratt - The Master (Credit: BBC )Anthony Ainley - The Master (Credit: BBC )The Master - Eric Roberts (Credit: BBC )Derek Jacobi - The Master

John Simm - The Master  (Credit: BBC )Michelle Gomez as Missy (Credit: BBC / David Venni)Spyfall: O (Sacha Dhawan) (Credit: BBC Studios (Ben Blackall))

 





FILTER: - Production - Moments in Time

Revolution - Overnight Viewing FiguresBookmark and Share

Saturday, 2 January 2021 - Reported by Marcus
Revolution of the Daleks (Credit: BBC Studios)

Doctor Who - Revolution of the Daleks had an overnight viewing audience of 4.69 million viewers.

The figure made Doctor Who the most-watched programme on BBC One for New Year's Day. Doctor Who had a 21.1% share of the total TV audience.

Top overall was ITV's Evening News with 5.5 million viewers while Coronation Street came second with 5.0 million watching. Against The Doctor, Emmerdale had 4.6 million watching.

On BBC One Eastenders had 3.3 million while the comedy Mrs Brown's Boys had 3.7 million viewers. 

Final official figures should be available next week.

 





FILTER: - Ratings - UK - Broadcasting

New companion for Series 13Bookmark and Share

Friday, 1 January 2021 - Reported by Chuck Foster

A post-credit teaser for a new companion to join the Doctor for Series 13 was broadcast straight after this year's New Year's Day special, Revolution of the Daleks ended.

Welcome to the TARDIS...

 

The BBC have issued a press release to introduce the actor playing the new character, Dan.

The Thirteenth Doctor and Yaz are set to welcome a new face to the TARDIS later this year as actor and comedian John Bishop joins the cast as ‘Dan’.

 

If I could tell my younger self that one day I would be asked to step on board the TARDIS, I would never have believed it.
— John Bishop


As he becomes embroiled in the Doctor’s adventures, Dan will quickly learn there’s more to the Universe(s) than he could ever believe. Travelling through Space and Time alongside the Doctor and Yaz, he’ll face evil alien races beyond his wildest nightmares.

Speaking about joining the show, John says:

If I could tell my younger self that one day I would be asked to step on board the TARDIS, I would never have believed it. It’s an absolute dream come true to be joining Doctor Who and I couldn’t wish for better company than Jodie and Mandip.

Chris Chibnall, Showrunner, adds:

It’s time for the next chapter of Doctor Who, and it starts with a man called Dan. Oh, we’ve had to keep this one secret for a long, long time. Our conversations started with John even before the pandemic hit. The character of Dan was built for him, and it’s a joy to have him aboard the TARDIS.

Piers Wenger, Controller, BBC Drama, says:

We are beyond thrilled to have John Bishop joining Doctor Who. Alongside Jodie Whittaker and Mandip Gill, John is a wonderful addition to the show and we have no doubt that series 13 is going to be another thrilling set of adventures for the Doctor.
Introducing John Bishop as Dan (Credit: BBC)

The 13th series of Doctor Who began filming in November 2020. John has already begun filming and will make his first appearance when the 13th series starts on BBC One later in 2021.





FILTER: - Series 13 - Companions

Mark Eden 1928 - 2021Bookmark and Share

Friday, 1 January 2021 - Reported by Marcus

The actor Mark Eden has died at the age of 92.

Mark Eden played the title character in the 1964 Doctor Who story Marco Polo. The seven-part story, completely missing from the BBC archives, was the first in which the Doctor met a famous figure from history. The character of Marco Polo, the famous Venician explorer, narrated the story which saw the TARDIS crew join the caravan of the adventurer as it travelled through the Gobi desert to Cathay and the court of Kublai Khan.

Mark Eden had a career of over 50 years in British Television with his first credited role in  1958 in the Sci-Fi story Quatermass And The Pit.

Eden decided to become an actor after falling in love with Shakespeare while a teenager. However, his career was delayed after contracting a serious illness in his twenties.

I contracted tuberculosis, spent two years in a sanatorium, worked on the fairgrounds, got married… in fact, I was almost 30 by the time I joined Everyman Theatre Group in Ramsgate,

The East Kent Times gave me a rave review for my first play and that was all the encouragement I needed.

He is best known in the UK for playing the villain Alan Bradley in the soap Coronation Street. He appeared for eight years leaving after his character was killed by a tram in Blackpool, in one of the most memorable scenes in Coronation Street history. The episode was watched by 21.4 million viewers. Eden later unveiled a plaque at the tram stop where the scene was filmed.

He appeared in the 1965 film Doctor Zhivago, as well as the TV show The Avengers  In The Prisoner he played Number 100 and had a role in The Newcomers. Other roles included parts in Z-Cars, Clouds of Witness, Murder Must Advertise, The Top Secret Life of Edgar Briggs, London Belongs to Me, Poldark, The Detective and Crown Court.

One of his last roles was playing BBC Executive Donald Baverstock in the 2013 docu-drama about the creation of Doctor Who, An Adventure in Space and Time

The actor, who had been living with Alzheimer's disease died early on New Year's Day. He is survived by his third wife the actress Sue Nicholls, his daughter Polly, his stepson Saul and grand-daughter Emma.





FILTER: - Obituary

New Year Special to be offered in 4K HDRBookmark and Share

Friday, 1 January 2021 - Reported by Marcus
Revolution of the Daleks (Credit: BBC Studios/Ben Blackall)

With this year's New Year special making its debut later today, viewers in the UK will be able to watch the programme in 4K resolution and high dynamic range (HDR) colour via iPlayer.

When Revolution of the Daleks is broadcast, viewers will be prompted to switch to the higher quality streamed version by pressing the red button.

To take advantage of the facility, households will need a compatible TV and a relatively fast internet connection. The BBC recommends a minimum of 24 megabits per second (Mbps) connection.

By contrast, regular 1080p high definition (HD) programmes require a 6.3Mbps connection and standard definition (SD) content 1.1Mbps.

Ultra-High Definition (UHD) - the other name given to 4K on TVs - delivers four times as many pixels as HD video. The benefits are that images can appear sharper and more detailed, although this is not always apparent if the screen is not large enough or viewers are sitting too far away.

HDR produces pictures that typically appear to be more vivid and colourful. It takes advantage of the fact screens can go brighter and/or darker than they used to be able to, providing a greater dynamic range.

As a result, the shadows of an image can be made less murky while the highlights - including sparks from special effects - can have more impact.

The BBC first publicly tested 4K HDR on iPlayer in 2016 when it offered four minutes from its Planet Earth II series. It has subsequently offered a limited range of full-length programmes including Dynasties; His Dark Materials; and Dracula, as well as sport including Wimbledon and Fifa World Cup 2018 matches.

Doctor Who has been broadcast in many different formats during its 57-year history.  The first episode being broadcast in the 405-line monochrome analogue format. The definition improved in 1967 when the 625 line format was used to record The Enemy of the World. Colour arrived in 1970 with Spearhead from Space.

By the time the series returned in 2005 the series was recorded digitally rather than on analogue tape.  The programme was first made available on iPlayer in 2007 with the Christmas special Voyage of the Damned. The first episode available in HD was Planet of the Dead, the 2009 Easter special.

Previous episodes have been made available in 4K on Blu--ray but Revolution of the Daleks is the first to be made available in this format on the iPlayer on the day of transmission,





FILTER: - Broadcasting - Specials

In Memoriam - 2020Bookmark and Share

Friday, 1 January 2021 - Reported by Marcus
As 2020 draws to a close, Toby Hadoke has released his annual look back at those from the Doctor Who universe who we lost over the past twelve months.
 




FILTER: - Obituary