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

BBC Centenary - Doctor Who EpisodeBookmark and Share

Sunday, 17 April 2022 - Reported by Marcus
The Doctor (JODIE WHITTAKER) (Credit: BBC Studios/James Pardon)

The BBC has revealed details of the next episode of Doctor Who, to be shown as part of the celebrations to mark 100 years of the BBC. 

 

*** Spoilers For the Trailer Follow ***

 

The episode, to be shown this Autumn, will feature a dramatic encounter between The Doctor, The Master, the Daleks and the Cybermen as well as seeing the return of two companions from the classic series of Doctor Who. 

Both Tegan, as played by Janet Fielding, and Ace, played by Sophie Aldred will be returning in the story which will see the end of the Thirteenth Doctor and her regeneration into Doctor Number 14.

The Master, who last appeared in series 12’s final episode The Timeless Children., will be played once more by Sacha Dhawan.  For the first time since the show returned to BBC One in 2005, The Master, the Daleks and the Cybermen will all feature in one single story.

The trail, which aired after the Easter special Legend of the Sea Devils, revealed the surprise return of two of the Doctor’s companions from earlier eras of the show.  Janet Fielding as Tegan Jovanka -  companion to both the Fourth and Fifth Doctors -- and Sophie Aldred as Ace - companion to the Seventh Doctor, who will reprise their roles on screen for the first time since leaving the show.

 

Showrunner Chris Chibnall saysACE (SOPHIE ALDRED) and TEGAN (JANET FIELDING) (Credit: BBC Studios/James Pardon)

Jodie’s final feature-length story contains a plethora of treats and surprises for audiences and fans, not least the return of two of the most beloved companions in the show’s history. They’ll be helping the Doctor fight on three fronts, against her deadliest enemies: the Master, Daleks and Cybermen,  in one huge story!  

For the BBC’s Centenary, we’ll be celebrating the past, present and future of Doctor Who, in a fittingly thrilling, epic and emotional send-off for the Thirteenth Doctor.

Janet Fielding says

In some ways it was a very different experience to what it was like when I finished recording in 1983, but in many ways it was very similar. It was so lovely to be a working member of the Doctor Who family again.

Sophie Aldred says:

It’s been quite a challenge to have such a big secret to keep, even from my family, and I couldn’t be more thrilled and excited to have been asked back. I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I adored being part of the TARDIS team again.”

Also confirmed to be taking to the screen for the Doctor’s epic battle for survival are Vinder (Jacob Anderson) and Kate Stewart (Jemma Redgrave) .

 

Yasmin Khan (MANDIP GILL) and THE MASTER (SACHA DHAWAN) (Credit: BBC Studios/James Pardon)VINDER (JACOB ANDERSON) (Credit: BBC Studios/James Pardon)Yasmin Khan (MANDIP GILL) (Credit: BBC Studios/James Pardon)The Daleks (Credit: BBC Studios/James Pardon)ASHAD (PATRICK O’ KANE) (Credit: BBC Studios/James Pardon)Dan Lewis (JOHN BISHOP) (Credit: BBC Studios/James Pardon)KATE STEWART (JEMMA REDGRAVE) (Credit: BBC Studios/James Pardon)

 

Written by Chris Chibnall and directed by Jamie Magnus Stone, the feature-length special will air later this year as part of the BBC’s Centenary celebrations, with further details to be confirmed in due course.

 

Trailer.





FILTER: - Production

Lethbridge-Stewart: the end beginsBookmark and Share

Saturday, 16 April 2022 - Reported by Chuck Foster

Candy Jar Books has announced the first book in its final series of Lethbridge-Stewart novels.

The final year of Lethbridge-Stewart novels is split in two halves, with the first a trilogy of novels set during Lethbridge-Stewart’s time as a teacher at Brendon School. This first of these, A Most Haunted Man, sees the return of Sarah Groenewegen to the series, with her first novel since 2017’s The Daughters of Earth, although her most recent short story featured in the UNIT: Operation Wildcat collection.

 

Lethbridge-Stewart: A Most Haunted Man (Credit: Candy Jar Books)A Most Haunted Man

Written by Sarah Groenewegen

Cover by Martin Baines

 

 

In 1977, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart suffered a shock so great that he was hospitalised. Not that he can remember what happened. Teachers found him, knocked out cold beside the obelisk on the hill. No signs of an attack. No bumps on his head, and no memory of why he lay where he fell, who he’d been with, and great chunks of his past torn from his mind.

 

It wasn’t like any form of amnesia described in the textbooks. The clinic discharged him back to Brendon Public School and he resumed his duties as a teacher of mathematics and rugger.

 

Two years later and a series of nightmares send him back to the clinic. Then come the pranks played by identical twins, his own erratic behaviour and short-term memory loss leading to a breach of the Official Secrets Act. Someone else is living in his house, driving his car, and making changes to the school he loves.

 

It seems that the demons haunting him prove too big for him to fight on his own.

 

 

The 2022 series was put back a little when it was discovered the book planned to open the year was a little too close to the events at play in Ukraine. Thus, Spheres of Influence has been put on indefinite hold. Hopefully it will see the light of day at some point but, for now, and to make up for the delay, Candy Jar Books have also decided to reprint the very first Lethbridge-Stewart novel, The Forgotten Son: Special Edition, with a brandnew cover by Richard Young.

Head of Publishing Shaun Russell said:

When it became apparent that the themes and events depicted in Spheres of Influence too closely echoed current events, Andy Frankham-Allen and I quickly came to the decision that to release it at this time would be, at the very least, insensitive. Putting it on hold did mean bringing forward the rest of 2022’s books, and finding a replacement. Fortunately, Andy quickly solved that problem by commissioning a third Brendon novel, turning the first three titles into a loose trilogy. For myself, I decided it would be a nice idea to reprint The Forgotten Son with a new cover, to hopefully make up a little for the delay. I must stress, however, that the content remains the same from the previous revised version.

 

A Most Haunted Man is set two years after the Brigadier’s traumatic encounter with his future self in the Doctor Who television serial, Mawdryn Undead. Range Editor Andy Frankham-Allen said:

This is another of those books which started an idea that came up through discussions with Shaun – a good two years ago, at least. It was a while before I realised it was the perfect fit for Sarah. I’d been wanting to do another novel with her, and she came back for a short story in The Laughing Gnome: The HAVOC Files, so it was great when she agreed to do another novel for us. The only real prerequisite, other than the core idea, was that it had to be set during the Brig’s time at Brendon when he’d lost all memory of the Doctor.

Sarah Groenewegen said:

I adore writing for the Brigadier, and being able to explore different facets of this much-loved character has been great fun. When I was offered another novel in the series, this one set in 1979 and during the Brig’s post-army career as a school teacher, I immediately said yes. It’s an honour to be asked to contribute a novel to the final season of Lethbridge-Stewart novels, which has proved to be a terrific series of stories.

Sarah’s previous novel, The Daughters of Earth, delt with the breakdown of his relationship with his then-fiancée. In this book, Sarah’s dealing with a breakdown of a different sort::

I wanted to explore how he deals with strange goings-on when he has forgotten so much, and when he doesn’t have his soldiers to call on to help. My brief was to write a psychological thriller, in which the Brig’s identity and life is stolen from him. The novel allowed me to explore the nature of identity theft, and memory loss, and the combined uneasiness of not being able to trust your own mind. I added a set of identical twins to the mix, a boy at Brendon, and a girl at a local comprehensive. They are at the cusp of their own change from creepy kids who enjoy playing tricks on people, to young adults facing choices.

Setting the book in 1979 also freed Sarah up from the ongoing narrative, and gave her a chance to explore a different facet from the usual setting of the early-70s:

The setting was apposite because of the feeling of being on a cusp of change, but without knowing its direction. In that, it parallels much of today’s politics. I found it cathartic to explore similar themes of being seduced by the apparent certainty of authoritarianism — even with the attendant feeling it could turn on its own to destroy at a moment’s notice. 1979 proved to be a watershed year in Britain. The full assault on the unions, LGBTQIA people, and appeals to jingoism of the worst kind were all yet to come; and for a while the political turmoil that brought much of the UK to a standstill ceased. It’s hard to think that in this day and age of TV-on-demand, the stations that are now ITV were off air for much of the year. 1979 was an amazing year for British pop music. Punk began to segue into the New Romantic movement, and rap, reggae and disco attracted huge numbers of fans. It was fun delving into the music of the time through a few of the kids who are important during the story.

 

The cover is by popular artist Martin Baines, returning from the success of his recent cover for UNIT: Operation Wildcat:

I was partially inspired by a German poster of a classic British film. My last Candy Jar cover I did was for the UNIT anthology, Operation Wildcat. It was very flash, bang, wallop. Because of this, I enjoyed tackling a more psychological concept for this book.”

 

Both A Most Haunted Man and The Forgotten Son are available to purchase from the Candy Jar website.

 

The final series of Lethbridge-Stewart will be split in two parts over 2022, the first half is the Brendon trilogy and will continue with Legacy of the Dominator by Nick Walters, and The Overseers II by James Middleditch. The second half will be the final in the road to UNIT narrative which began in 2015, with novels by Natasha Gerson, John Peel, and Jonathan Blum.





FILTER: - Candy Jar Books - Books - Lethbridge-Stewart

Sonny Caldinez 1932-2022Bookmark and Share

Friday, 15 April 2022 - Reported by Marcus
Sonny Caldinez

The actor Sonny Caldinez has died at the age of 89.

Sonny Caldinez appeared in 17 episodes of Doctor Who between 1967 and 1974. 

Born in Trinidad in 1932, then part of the British West Indies, his large and imposing frame saw him win many parts in film and television. 

His first appearance in Doctor Who came in 1967 when he played Kemel in The Evil of the Daleks, working with Jamie to free Victoria Waterfield from the Daleks.

Later the same year he played Turoc, The Ice Warrior, in the debut story of the Martian invaders.  He would return playing Ice Warriors in three more stories, The Seeds of Death in 1969, The Curse of Peleadon in 1972, and The Monster of Peladon in 1974.

Other TV roles included parts in The Champions, Jackanory Playhouse, Mind Your Language, Sexton Blake and the Demon God and The Return of Sherlock Holmes

Fim roles included parts in The Man with the Golden Gun, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. 

Sonny Caldinez died on Tuesday 12th April. 

 





FILTER: - Obituary

TARDIS MagazineBookmark and Share

Thursday, 14 April 2022 - Reported by Marcus
TARDIS  Vol 17 Issue 4 (Credit: DWAS)

Vol 17 Issue 4 of TARDIS Magazine has been published by the Doctor Who Appreciation Society, raising funds for the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

 

In this issue, we celebrate the Second Doctor, Patrick Troughton, and 55 years of the Yeti. Frazer Hines (Jamie) looks back at his Abominable Snowmen cine film and recalls his experiences of filming with Yeti in Snowdonia! Marc Platt discusses his classic Doctor Who story Ghost Light, the spin-off drama Downtime, and Big Finish audio drama Spare Parts in an exclusive interview!
 
In Missing in Action, Robbie Dunlop and Si Hunt take an in-depth look at The Abominable Snowmen, with many details previously unexplored. This 23,000-word feature includes studies of the camera scripts and original production documentation, memories from Frazer Hines and viewers, a biography of director Gerald Blake with input from his daughter, and reviews by John J Johnston and Marc Platt!
 
Nicholas Courtney (The Brigadier) is remembered by his friend and biographer Michael McManus!We go behind the scenes of the Missing Story animations with director Gary Russell (who previews The Abominable Snowmen) and artist Colin Howard!
Allysha Lavino explores the Mystery of French village Rennes-le-Château, made infamous by her friend and associate, the late Yeti co-creator Henry Lincoln!
 
K9 the series producer and writer Paul M. Tams discusses the loveable robot dog, the charity single “Doctor in Distress”, and more in an in-depth interview which also features the late Bob Baker!
 
Artist Ian Fraser relates the story behind his cover art for the most elusive of Target Books, The Wheel in Space! Organisers and attendees of PanoptiCon VI tell the story of Patrick Troughton’s one and only UK convention appearance! Dalek Life: The Power of the Patrick Troughton Dalek stories is recalled in essays by Viv Corbett, David J Howe and Tony Jordan – including first-hand memories of the Doctor’s regeneration and the Dalek War on Skaro!
 
Our four New Adventurers (Daniel, Kevin, Mat and Sarah) take on the third New Adventure novel, Nigel Robinson’s Timewrym: Apocalypse – is it a hit or a miss for the team? Christopher J Hill’s Space Museum examines merchandise collected by fans during Patrick Troughton’s time as the Doctor! Downtime producer Keith Barnfather recalls the trials and tribulations of making the biggest independent Doctor Who spin-off to date!
 
Paul Magrs celebrates 25 years of Doctor Who stories in his column! In this issue’s Cover Story, Colin Howard discusses his VHS art for The Two Doctors! Mark Campbell scrutinises Terrance Dicks’ The Abominable Snowmen and The Web of Fear in Target Audience! Nigel Robinson poses another 50 taxing questions in his Doctor Who Quiz!
 
Plus – Patrick Troughton’s original hand-written recipe for Vegetable Soup with Dalek Krotons, from the 1985 Doctor Who Cookbook! 
 
Tardis is edited by Robbie Dunlop. The cover is by Caroline Tankersley, and the back cover by Ian Fraser. Interviews by Gavin Bailey, David J Howe, Si Hunt, Alex Moore and Phil Newman.
 
It can be bought directly from the society's online store at dwas-store.sumup.link or at their eBay site: ebay.co.uk/usr/dwas_auction




FILTER: - DWAS

Aaru Movies Get 4K RestorationBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 13 April 2022 - Reported by Marcus
Dr. Who and the Daleks

STUDIOCANAL has announced a brand new 4K restorations of the two classic Dr. Who feature-length films starring award-winning actor Peter Cushing – DR. WHO AND THE DALEKS and DALEKS’ INVASION EARTH 2150 A.D

Released initially in 1965 and 1966 respectively and directed by Gordon Flemyng, these two films, shot in glorious Technicolor, have been regenerated in 4K and are the perfect collector’s item for Doctor Who and sci-fi fans.

The films, which are to date the only big-screen outings for the Doctor, also boast a supporting cast including Bernard Cribbins, Roberta Tovey, Roy Castle and Jennie Linden. 

STUDIOCANAL will release DR. WHO AND THE DALEKS and DALEKS’ INVASION EARTH 2150 A.D. theatrically in the UK from 10th July 2022 following a special double-bill preview at the BFI in London on June 19th

Both films will be released on 4K UHD Collector’s Editions, steelbooks and digital platforms on 20th June (DR. WHO AND THE DALEKS) and 18th July (DALEKS’ INVASION EARTH 2150 A.D.)

 

DR. WHO & THE DALEKS (1965) was the first big-screen film adaptation of British TV’s most iconic sci-fi hero, and the first time Doctor Who was ever seen in colour. Having invented the TARDIS, the strange machine capable of travelling into other dimensions, the Doctor and his three young accomplices set forth on a quest through time and space.

Their journey takes them into the dark, undiscovered depths of the universe and to the planet of Skaro, a primitive world devastated by nuclear war and populated by two warring species, a peaceful tribe known as Thals and a life form heavily mutated by radiation, encased in protective machines, a merciless force of destruction known as The Daleks!

The second film, DALEKS’ INVASION EARTH 2150 A.D sees Cushing return to the big screen – the future of Planet Earth now belongs to The Daleks, but deep within the London Underground a group of resistance freedom fighters is planning an attack.  Can The Doctor help them succeed in destroying their extra-terrestrial enemies and take back control of Earth?

 
The stunning 4K UHD Collector’s Edition for each film will include:

  • UHD
  • BD
  • 42-page booklet with brand new essays
  • Exclusive 32-page Titan mini-book
  • Collectable coin
  • 5 artcards
  • 2 Posters – new and original artwork
  •  

Plus, an impressive array of extra features:Daleks' Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D (Credit: STUDIOCANAL)

 

DR. WHO & THE DALEKS

  • New featurette The Dalek Legacy: Destination Skaro
  • New Restoring Dr. Who in 4K
  • Audio Commentary with critic Kim Newman, screenwriter/writer Robert Shearman, and actor/writer Mark Gatiss
  • Audio Commentary - actors Jennie Linden (Barbara) and Roberta Tovey (Susan)
  • Dalekmania documentary
  • Interview with Gareth Owen
  • Original Trailer (remastered for 2013 release)
  • Stills Gallery

 

DALEKS’ INVASION EARTH 2150 A.D.

 

  • New featurette The Dalek Legacy: Invasion Earth
  • New Restoring Dr. Who in 4K
  • Audio Commentary with critic Kim Newman, screenwriter/writer Robert Shearman, and actor/writer Mark Gatiss
  • Dalekmania documentary
  • Interview with Gareth Owen
  • Interview with Bernard Cribbins
  • Original Trailer (remastered for 2013 release)
  • Stills Gallery
The preview at BFI Southbank on the 19th June will see both films screened back-to-back with a special guest Q&A including cast members Roberta Tovey and Jill Curzon as well as Anthony Waye (the assistant director of both films) and Jason Flemyng, son of the films’ director, Gordon Flemyng. 

The Q&A will take place after 'Dr. Who and the Daleks' has screened and will cover both films. Tickets will be available to BFI Members from 3 May and to the general public from 5 May at www.bfi.org.uk/whatson   

 

 

DR. WHO AND THE DALEKS + DALEKS' INVASION EARTH 2150 A.D.





FILTER: - Movie - Peter Cushing - Blu-ray/DVD

Legend of the Sea Devils: Next SundayBookmark and Share

Monday, 11 April 2022 - Reported by Marcus
Legend of the Sea Devils (Credit: BBC Studios/James Pardon)

Doctor Who returns to television screens next Sunday with the second in this year's specials Legend of the Sea Devils. 

 In a swashbuckling special adventure, the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker), Yaz (Mandip Gill) and Dan (John Bishop) come face to fin with one of the Doctor’s oldest adversaries: the Sea Devils. Why has legendary pirate queen Madam Ching come searching for a lost treasure? What terrifying forces lurk beneath the oceans of the nineteenth century? And did Yaz really have to dress Dan up as a pirate?

Legend of the Sea Devils is the second in a trio of specials airing in 2022.

Jodie Whittaker’s final feature-length special will transmit in autumn 2022 as part of the BBC’s Centenary celebrations.

 

Inteview with with Chris Chibnall

Where do we find our core cast at the beginning of this special? 

This special sees the TARDIS crew landing in a coastal village in China, on the trail of the mystery of the treasure of the Flor de la Mar, which the Doctor has been meaning to find out about for a long time. When they get there, they discover some very strange events and a terrible evil being unleashed in this village! 

What was your inspiration for this episode and how did you come to work together with Ella Road on this script? 

We had been intending to do a pirate story during Flux and we didn't manage to make it work for all sorts of reasons. So when it came to thinking about the final specials that were one of the things I  really wanted to revisit, to do a big, thrilling Bank Holiday romp of an adventure for Jodie's penultimate story, featuring a warrior pirate queen. Ella (Road) then came to us with the idea of  Madam Ching - this incredible character from history - and it all knitted together thanks to her. 

Legend Of The Sea Devils (Credit: BBC Studios/James Pardon)Can you tell us a bit about the process of bringing the new guest actors on board? 

We are always really lucky on Doctor Who as we have one of the best Casting Directors in the business in Andy Pryor. Andy’s great at keeping tabs on everyone and also uncovering great new,  young talent as well. So when we were thinking about the story, I talked to him and gave him a  heads up on the characters that we were thinking of. Usually, the process is that Andy will put together a list, people who will tape and we'll look at load of people so that's how it went on this and we saw some amazing people. Crystal (Yu) just absolutely shone out, and then we also Marlowe  Chan-Reeves who plays Ying-Kei, I think this is his first television job and he's an absolute star of the future. It's something that happens all the time on Doctor Who, down to the genius of Andy Pryor and his team – they’re the unsung heroes of the series since 2005. They have cast every episode and this litany of incredible guest actors is absolutely down to them and their brilliance. The show owes that team a huge debt of gratitude. 

Why did you decide to bring back the Sea Devils? Was it always planned? How did you go about bringing that vision to life with your team?

We didn't start with Sea Devils at all, but the great thing about Doctor Who’s history is sometimes  you can pull on all of that history and go, “Oh wait okay, the perfect monster has already been  created and is already in there!” So you can spend a long time thinking about creating or making a  bespoke monster for this story, but actually, we thought, “If you add the Sea Devils in, this becomes really exciting” – they bring an extra layer of story, an extra layer of thrills and an extra layer of meaning for the fans. And so it wasn't always in there but when we put them in and tried them out it really worked.  

Then the question is whether you do a big redesign, as we did with the Silurians when I was working for Steven Moffat on Matt Smith’s first season. They were created by the same writer, Malcom  Hulke, and are sort of cousin monsters! With the Sea Devils, it felt like there were ways that we could fit that original, brilliant and recognisable design into this story and have a bit of fun with it,  pirate them up a little bit while also doing little bits of updating and augmenting – but fundamentally retaining the incredible design by John Friedlander.  

So they’re very much his creation, and updated by Robert Allsopp and Ray Holman, our costume and monster designers. Then we were really lucky in that we had Craige Els, who played Karvanista in  Flux, as the Chief Sea Devil. He’s a magnificent actor who is now beneath another mask– we still haven’t seen his real face in the main show! He does a brilliant performance and we knew we needed a really great actor - a great voice actor and a physical actor as well. What he brings is just  gorgeous, as always. 

What was added in after filming? They seem very true to the prosthetic that was created by  Robert Allsopp. Ying Ki (MARLOW CHAN-REEVES), Madam Ching (CRYSTAL YU) (Credit: BBC Studios/James Pardon)

It’s just things like expression, blinking of the eyes, they do a bit of snarling - just tiny little things to  make sure that things come alive but they’re very much the monsters as you saw them previously. 

There seems to be great anticipation about their return? 

It’s the lovely thing you can do occasionally - there aren’t millions of Doctor Who monsters that you can bring back. But there’s a lovely affection for the Sea Devils, and they haven’t been used in the modern era. Also probably my earliest memory of Doctor Who and probably my earliest memories of being alive almost, is seeing them on the TV, so it was a nice thing to do in the penultimate story we were doing. 

How does the relationship between Yaz and the Doctor develop further in this episode? 

Dan has cottoned onto the dynamic between the Doctor and Yaz and from a distance, observed what they haven't been admitting to themselves. I think really, in Eve of the Daleks, both Yaz and the  Doctor have hinted that they have feelings that they are suppressing and keeping quiet about. So there are some conversations that need to be had and you'll see those conversations developing and taking place in Legend of the Sea Devils. The Doctor and Yaz have something to talk about! 

Would you say this is more of a standalone episode? 

Yes, it’s a big standalone bank holiday action romp for all the family! A rollicking, swashbuckling adventure for the Doctor, Dan and Yaz with big monsters, big pirate ships, the sword fights, lots of fun, loads of action, lots of lovely jokes and a great, fun tone before we go into the big epic battle for survival with Jodie's final episode.

This episode was of course filmed during strict COVID restrictions. What were some of the bigger  challenges that you faced in making it happen? 

It was a huge ask, and I didn't know whether we could do it after the production team had pulled out all the stops for Flux. We knew it was a big deal to be able to transport the show back in time,  around the world, onto ships and onto the seas. It’s just a testament to the whole production team from first to last - from pre-production to post-production.  

Daf Shurmer, our Production Designer, is an absolute legend himself and he did something that I  think should have been impossible - and I think was impossible - and he achieved it. He's just given us such scale with so many great sets that look amazing.  

Haolu Wang, our brilliant director, and Mark Waters our Director of Photography have shot it wonderfully with energy and love and fun, and the cast all got into that. And DNEG who do all our  CG and visual effects have just delivered something really special. We've got sea monsters, we've got pirate ships, we've got the oceans, and we’re in an ancient coastal village!  

As with every episode of Doctor Who, is it was a massive team effort. Everybody involved in the  COVID procedures on Doctor Who whether it was testing everybody or sorting out the bubbles - we never had a day shut down due to COVID, it involved incredible work by the whole team. And the fact that I think Jodie Whittaker did not go out for almost a year, while she was working on her final series -she set such a great and responsible example and put the show first.  

For anyone who is coming to Doctor Who as a new viewer is this an easy one to step in and get on board with? What do you hope families take from it? 

I think it’s definitely a great episode to come into. It's got a lot of action, very heroic plot, lots of fun,  big mad monsters, mad ideas, cinematic ambition, all that stuff and a great cast. We have a big, epic,  rollicking, fun adventure for you whether you've never seen Doctor Who or you've seen every episode. And then for long-term audiences and fans of the show there are loads of lovely little easter eggs and nods to the past so it's absolutely got something for everyone. 

Is it starting to feel a bit surreal now that your time on the series is coming to an end? 

The workload is less so it’s lovely doing the post-production on these last two specials because you're not having to write and film at the same time. As showrunner, when you're doing Doctor Who and you're in the thick of it you're doing three jobs at the same time. You're writing for episodes down the line, you're looking at all the filming that's happening and you're in the edit and post-production on multiple episodes. So it's really nice now that I don't have any other episodes to think about. I love the post-production process, it’s one of my favourite bits because you're just watching teams of geniuses produce great work! So it's nice not to have the workload, it’s nice not to have the pressure of what’s coming up. I'm sort of combining having a break with finishing these episodes and working on other things so it’s lovely right now.

Q&A with Jodie Whittaker

Q&A with Jodie Whittaker 

 

What can audiences expect from this special?  

We’re a few centuries off where the Doctor was aiming for and we stumble across a period in history that is a first for the Doctor Who universe. The TARDIS knows that it's going to China so Yaz and the  Doctor have prepared appropriately for it but Dan gets a bit of a bum steer and his costume is all wrong! It’s a Pirates of the Caribbean style sci-fi, action-adventure that marries historical characters with Whovian characters with a really brilliant high octane Doctor Who adventure.  

Did you enjoy stepping onto set – we heard the ship was impressive? 

Yeah, it was amazing! The art department worked night and day to create a really extraordinary set  and I think it's the biggest one that we've worked on. We walked into an incredible pirate ship - it  has so many different levels, it was really epic. It has so much depth and detail and also I think it was  one boat that ended up being three different ones and in the episode, you can tell that the art  department have worked so hard for that to go completely unnoticed. 

How was it to find out the Sea Devils were coming back, with Craige Els as the Chief Sea Devil?  How did they match up to other Doctor Who creatures you’ve come up against? 

I was really pleased to be working with the Sea Devils! It’s always good to work with creatures from the Doctor Who universe. This is a hat trick for me now with Craige Els! Me and Craige were in a play called Antigone at the National with Chris Eccleston – now it’s a trio of Whovian cast. I spent the entire time with Craige saying “What did you say?” because of the mask! I think they were less familiar to me so it interesting to see Craigs Els’ interpretation because obviously he's playing a very different kind of Sea Devil than we've seen before. Because of the costume and the restrictions of the mask it meant that Craige’s lines were recorded so that added complication to it but as far as the look of it, it looked great! I think an acting thing must have been incredibly challenging for Craige but once again he brought an incredible characterisation and smashed it.  

How was it working with the brilliant guest actors?  

On this episode, we got to work with some really exciting cast. Crystal was absolutely brilliant. And also I think, Madam Ching as a character was such a great character. I think Crystal is an actress  throws herself into things 100%. She's amazing, as is Craig, Marlowe and Arthur (Lee) - we had a  really contained cast. There was obviously more than that but for us it was a kind of ensemble feel as were together all of the time.  

Crystal’s energy was brilliant - she was never tired - she was running around, jumping off things,  swinging off things, fighting, memorising lots of lines and at no point does she ever stop smiling.  She's such a wonderful person to have on set and it was really was lovely. And I think the dynamic between her, Arthur and Marlowe was great too. What was lovely was that Marlowe was at the very beginning of his career and that’s always really exciting as well, to work with people that are starting out and Doctor Who plays a part in the start of their professional life as an actor. Working with our  Director Haolu (Wang) was absolutely brilliant too, I loved getting to work with her for the first time  - her energy and personality really shine through in this episode. 

We heard Marlowe is a big fan of Doctor Who?

Marlowe is a Whovian and his knowledge of Doctor Who far surpassed mine! There was a scene where I couldn't say one of my lines and it was a very specific scientific term. I just kept getting this word wrong and he would stand next to the camera and slightly mouth it to me as I did it. It really should have been roles reversed - I should have been helping him out because he has just started but he was always helping me out! 

Can you tell us about your stunts/action scenes in this episode? 

There was a scene where I needed to slide down the ship but the thing was the ship didn't have a  side on it, it was really high! The team’s issue was the fact that there was no other side so if I did topple over the other side it would have probably been quite a dramatic day at work, but I was absolutely adamant (to do it). When I did it was actually really controlled but I didn’t know if it looked as good as I really thought it was going to but I was really proud of it. With sword fighting I  was really nervous as I had not done it since drama school and then when we ended up rehearsing it,  it was just like choreographing a dance and as soon as it was like that I could do it and I really enjoyed it.  

How was your new costume? 

There weren’t as many tweaks being made to it throughout filming - I didn’t get to hang out with my wonderful dresser Ian as much as I’d like to as once this costume was on it was on! What always seems to happen on Doctor Who is you wear a thick heavy material in summer and a thin t-shirt in winter, so I was really sweaty but that was not down to the look – I felt I looked a million dollars. 

How does it feel as we get closer to the big centenary special? 

It’s interesting because time-wise, it’s such a long time off (before they air). What's great about the standalone episodes are that if you do watch it now and then you watch another episode in autumn,  you don’t need to rewatch it to understand what's happening in the next one. They are great standalone individuals stories, that obviously marry all of my seasons together, build on relationships and things like that. But they are also these individual set pieces that can be dipped into and watched without the context of the rest of the show, which I think is really important. It shouldn’t exclude viewers and or may you feel like you need to go back and do homework to watch something! 

Q&A with Mandip Gill


Q&A with Mandip Gill 

What can audiences expect from this special?  

It's definitely one for the family. It's got returning monsters in the Sea Devils and it's got new characters! For a new audience, you're able to relate to new characters, or if you're watching it with your grandparents, you then get to see the return of the Sea Devils. It's a really exciting story and it looks amazing. We have brilliant costumes and actors -it's a little bit scary and a little dark in parts,  but I think all that works if you're going to be watching it as a family. 

Where do we pick up like at the start of this episode? 

At the beginning of the episode, the TARDIS lands at a small coastal village but once again it's landed where it's not supposed to land. The Doctor promised Dan and Yaz that they’d be going to a beach somewhere exciting and they land on a beach, just not the beach that they expect. They get out,  hear a massive scream and they realize that something very terrible is happening in this place. 

How was it to film on this set? 

It was a really epic ship that was built in the studios at the BBC. I saw Matt Strevens our Executive  Producer in the hallway (before filming) and he was so excited for us to see it. It was brilliant, it was a huge ship so we didn't have to cheat any of the places or any of the angles. It was all there for us – things worked and moved and Jodie was able to do her stunt scene on that actual set which is always so helpful. It was one of the few times we had the whole thing there to work with. It was really spacious too, it was built to get all of us on it and a crew. The attention to detail was brilliant and having seen the episode it looks amazing! 

How was it for you working with the Sea Devils? Yasmin Khan (MANDIP GILL) (Credit: BBC Studios/James Pardon)

I thought the prosthetics were amazing. Also, we knew the Sea Devils were part of Doctor Who’s history so I've always found it really exciting to work with characters that have already been there previously like Cybermen, like Daleks - it always feels like it really cements our place in the world.  And then to be up against something that has been around for so long, was also an honour. They were so tall and the attention to detail was just brilliant. Again, it was great to be working with  something that's there in front of you so to a degree don't have to use your imagination. It's all there! 

Was it nice to have Craige Els back on set as the Chief Sea Devil? 

It was brilliant! Onset, you’re having these really natural conversations with a massive giant sea animal – we’re just casually having these normal conversations and having a laugh and I always wonder what it looks like from the outside looking in - he's ever so tall so he’s not always on the same chairs as us either to protect his costume. So he’s sat a little bit higher, and I am having these really in-depth conversations with this sea monster! 

Can you tell us about working with the guest actors? 

Every single time you get new guest actors you get new best mates. I had already worked with  Crystal on Casualty, so we knew each other and that felt quite familiar. Arthur was absolutely brilliant, you could see him going away to work on his lines - I love watching everyone else's acting techniques. Marlowe has done so well to be on a professional set and at young age and he’s so together. Also he’s a fan of the show and I love when people come in and they love the show. They want to be there as an actor, but they also love it and it's something that they actually watch on the outside. I’ve always liked that about our guest actors - I love that they love it for a multitude of reasons, not just because they get to work as an actor. As it was a pandemic there were very few guest actors on and they tended to stay a lot longer than they did in previous series – we spent a fair  bit of time together in Cardiff and I got on really well with them and had such lovely conversations.  Crystal has got a really gorgeous energy and I think she's a brilliant actress, I think she was perfect for the part. Their costumes were great and we all did action sequences together which you don't  often get to do, they were all brilliant! 

What was your experience of the sword fighting? 

We didn't do any training for the sword fighting but we rehearsed a sequence on the morning of it  and because the set was really big, there was space to practice on the actual deck. You only see a  little clip snippet of the whole work that we do after the edit but it was much harder than you think - the actual swords were a lot heavier than I expected! I was really into doing my own stunts before  then and then I hurt my finger and I was like, “It's not for me!” 

John Bishop mentioned that the team missed a trick not having Dan do more stunts. I don't know what you think about that? 

I love how confident he is! To be honest, you think it’s going to be all fun and games and you want to  do it all and are proper up for it. And then you do it and you realise that stunt people look so incredibly easy, because you have to go again and again and again! And so it's all fun and games until you're on the tenth take and you’re upside down again. But yeah, I guess I've had three years of being upside down and chased and whatnot.. John had one year but I mean, he probably wouldn't say that after three series! 

What would you say we can expect in this episode between the Doctor and Yaz? Will their feelings be addressed further? 

So the relationship between the Doctor and Yaz has definitely developed further. There’s not an awful lot I can say about it but there's a lot of bravery, there's a lot of emotion and a lot of understanding, and openness.. Conversations are not concluded in this episode, but they still definitely have advanced from where they were at the New Year’s episode. There are a lot of open and honest conversations. 

How does this episode set us up for the final special? 

We definitely get a sense that something is coming because there always is something coming when the Doctor is around! Things have not been resolved by the end of the episode and I think that can be said for the relationship between Yaz and the Doctor but also the Doctor’s history and future. 

Why should everyone tune in this Easter Sunday? 

I think it's a really jam-packed, epic story. It looks amazing - you'll see the hard work that went in from the crew and the cast during the pandemic. They've definitely excelled in terms of prosthetics makeup, costume and set design. Everything is just brilliant. It's a standalone episode that has adventure, and returning monsters, but also, ultimately and fundamentally there is a story of love at the center of it all. 

Q&A with John Bishop

Q&A with John Bishop 

What’s next in store for the trio on this adventure? 

Well, this adventure involves monsters, someone dressed as a pirate, real pirates, an underlying love story, and it involves somebody finding something in themselves to make a commitment to another person to look after them. It has all of those things, and sword fighting, so I don’t think you could ask for more! 

For this episode, we have the return of the Sea Devils, which everyone is very excited about. How did they compare to working with other Doctor Who monsters? Obviously, we have Craige (Els)  was back in a costume so you got to work with him again! 

That was quite an interesting dynamic. Craig is great, but when he was Karvanista we were mates whereas with the Sea Devils it’s a bit of a different story - so it made the coffee breaks interesting! It was also, from a performance point of view and so on, really odd because they were physically threatening. In Doctor Who some of the monsters are not necessarily bigger than you are or physically different than you. Whereas with the Sea Devils…put it this way - if they walked into a  pub, nobody is going to take them on!

Did you know much about them before filming or did anyone need to bring you up to speed on the history? Dan Lewis (JOHN BISHOP) (Credit: BBC Studios/James Pardon)

I knew a little bit about them and then Ray (Holman) our Costume Designer had a chat with me about their history, and how they’ve not been around for a while, so I knew what he had told me.  Like all the elements of Doctor Who, the main actors are a small part of the fabric of what makes it work. The designers, the art department, the prosthetics, wardrobe and all those things make it work on the day and then afterward, the post-production, the music; all of those things make what  you see so much better than what you’re doing on the day. And when you do it on the day and it’s  good, you know it’s going to be brilliant on the telly because all of those bits get added. 

You've got quite a striking pirate costume in this episode. How did that one come about? 

It starts out as a little joke between the characters – between Yaz and Dan - and then events take over and he never gets the chance to change! 

Was there anything about the sets that really impressed you?  

I’ll tell you what impressed me – having a ship! I just couldn’t believe it. It was a full ship built in the studio next door to the TARDIS. So we were filming a previous episode, and then you walk in next door and there's a ship that has been built. It absolutely floored me, honest to God it staggered me – the workmanship and the level of detail in it. It literally blew me away. 

There are some new guest actors in this episode. How was it welcoming them into the Doctor Who family? 

It's always good, particularly when they’re good actors! Crystal was familiar with Cardiff because obviously she has been in Casualty and when she was on set there she was thinking about what it was like in the Doctor Who studio - on the other side of the wall - so it was interesting to see it from that perspective. It was Marlowe’s first job and he was he was brilliant. Everyone wanted to look after him but he was just so accomplished, me and him were hanging upside down for half a day just having a laugh. Which is an odd way of getting to know someone! 

How was your experience filming this special compared to others? 

To get on the beach, on the coast, all of that setting and just being outside was good. But the main thing for me was just the ship, filming on the ship and just seeing the way it's done. There’s a  massive screen for all of the CGI and I've never seen anything like that before - it was just so impressive. 

Is Dan still involved with the Doctor and Yaz in this episode in terms of the development of their relationship?  

I think it was probably a surprise to both the Doctor and Yaz that it was so obvious to him that there was feelings between them. And I think as a character he is probably not the most obvious persons to be the matchmaker. Because he comes in as an ordinary bloke you would suspect is so bemused by the world that he's in is too busy to absorb what's going on around him to notice. But because the bond between them is so clear, and because I think as well as he says to Yaz in the New Year’s special - sometimes if you've got feelings for somebody you just have to act on them because otherwise if you don’t it will be too late.

Were you involved in any of the sword fighting for this episode? 

I'll be honest with you - I think they missed an opportunity because I was so desperate to do a few somersaults and swing on ropes - I really wanted to be a proper pirate! I got a bit done but if it was down to me I think there was a big likelihood that I wouldn't have been in the show at all because I  think I would have killed myself at some point. I was like a kid on the set, climbing up ropes and  everything - the stunt coordinator kept going “Get off, get off!” There’s a bit of rope swinging a bit of sword fighting and all that. Because we knew it was special and the way the story was we played it for fun - it was written to be big and bold and that’s what it was. 

How does it set us up for the final special? Does it gives any clues about what to expect? 

You know there’s something big about to happen. You can see the change in the Doctor and change  in the dynamic and you just know there’s something big around the corner.

Legend of the Sea Devils airs in the UK on BBC One and BBC iPlayer on Sunday, April 17th at 7.10pm

 

Other international broadcasts can be found on This Week in Doctor Who





FILTER: - Production

Doctor Who: RedactedBookmark and Share

Sunday, 10 April 2022 - Reported by Marcus
Jodie Whittaker (Credit: BBC)

The BBC has announced a new spin-off podcast, Doctor Who: Redacted will be available on BBC Sounds.

The 10-part series will begin alongside the television Easter special on April 17th, giving fans a brand new podcast of action-packed adventures.


Listeners will be introduced to characters, Cleo Proctor (Charlie Craggs), Abby McPhail (Lois Chimimba) and Shawna Thompson (Holly Quin-Ankrah) – alongside some familiar faces including the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker), Rani Chandra, Kate Stewart, Petronella Osgood and Madame Vastra.

Doctor Who: Redacted follows Cleo, Abby and Shawna - three broke university drop-outs from different cities across the UK who remain connected via their paranormal conspiracy podcast, ‘The Blue Box Files’. The trio speculates over Abby’s favourite conspiracy theory – intent on finding out the truth behind the mysterious ‘Blue Box’ that keeps cropping up across history. What if this random police public call box was actually an alien ship?

They don’t know who the Doctor is, or if aliens are real, but soon find themselves caught in a supernatural conspiracy as they learn that everyone who’s ever met the Doctor is disappearing and being forgotten. Essentially, they’re being redacted from reality. The Blue Box Files is so unsuccessful that our heroes are the last ones to be affected by the redaction, making Cleo, Abby and Shawna the world’s only hope. Now it’s a race against time to uncover the truth.

Set in the Doctor Who universe, the series entangles past and current storylines, cameos from the Doctor’s friends and allies, as well as appearances from monsters and aliens, identifiable to fans and non-fans alike.

Doctor Who: Redacted is scripted by bestselling author Juno Dawson, alongside a host of new and experienced writing talent. The audio drama primarily explores the relationships between ordinary people unknowingly immersed in the Doctor Who universe.

Juno Dawson, lead writer says:

Doctor Who was my first love, and it's an absolute thrill to add to the ever-expanding mythology in podcast form for the first time ever. What a total privilege to write for something so beloved, and put my own little flag on the landscape.

The cast for Doctor Who: Redacted includes Jodie Whittaker (Doctor Who), Charlie Craggs, Jacob Hawley, Lois Chimimba (Doctor Who, Vigil), Holly Quin-Ankrah (Coronation Street, Grange Hill), Ken Cheng, Jemma Redgrave (Doctor Who), Ingrid Oliver (Doctor Who), Doon Mackichan (Good Omens, Smack The Pony) and more.

Doctor Who: Redacted is available first on BBC Sounds weekly from April 17th.

Episode 1 will be available following Doctor Who’s Legend of the Sea Devils on Easter Sunday.

 





FILTER: - Thirteenth Doctor - Production

June Brown 1927-2022Bookmark and Share

Monday, 4 April 2022 - Reported by Marcus

The actress June Brown has died at the age of 95.

 

June Brown appeared in the 1973 Third Doctor story, The Time Warrior, playing Lady Eleanor.

She was most famous for creating the role of Dot Cotton in the BBC soap opera EastEnders, playing the role between 1985 and 2020. 

June Brown was born in Suffolk in 1927. She trained at the Old Vic Theatre School in London. 

She was a familiar face on British TV throughout the 1960's and 1970's appearing in shows such as Dixon of Dock Green, ITV Television Playhouse, Coronation Street, Z Cars, General Hospital, The Prince and the Pauper, and The Duchess of Duke Street. 

She joined the cast of EastEnders in 1985, recommended to the producers by fellow star Leslie Grantham,  She played Dot Cotton, mother of 'nasty' Nick Cotton until 1993, returning to the series in 1997. In 2008 she became the first soap actor to carry an episode single-handed, a performance which led to a nomination for a Bafta award.

She was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire in the 2008 Birthday Honours and an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 2022 New Year Honours for services to drama and to charity. 

June Brown was married twice. She is survived by her six children from her marriage to her second husband Robert Arnold, who died in 2003





FILTER: - Obituary

Gary Russell wins The Terrance Dicks Award For WritersBookmark and Share

Sunday, 3 April 2022 - Reported by Marcus
Gary Russell Accepting the Award (Credit: DWAS)
Gary Russell has become the inaugural recipient of The Terrance Dicks Award for Writers presented by The Doctor Who Appreciation Society. 
 
Russell has a long connection with Doctor Who. He worked as a Script editor on The Sarah Jane Adventures and Torchwood and has written a number of Doctor Who related  novels. 
 
The ceremony took place on Sunday, at the Society's convention The Capitol Five, held at the Crowne Plaza, London-Gatwick.
 
Russell received the award, a statue of The Master crafted by Gary Glover of Mooncrest Models, from Terrance's wife Elsa.
 
On receiving the award Russell said;
To be the recipient of this inaugural award is an honour, a pleasure and a scary responsibility I could never have expected. Terrance was an inspiration, a mentor and above all, a good friend. Thank you to the DWAS and to Elsa and the boys for this amazing award.
The award is given in memory of Terrance Dicks, who was script editor on Doctor Who from 1968 - 1974 and who wrote 45 episodes of the original series. 
 
The Doctor Who Appreciation Society was founded in 1976, and is the oldest Doctor Who fan club in the world.




FILTER: - Awards/Nominations

Legend of the Sea Devils - TrailerBookmark and Share

Saturday, 2 April 2022 - Reported by Marcus

The BBC have released a trailer for the upcoming story Legend of the Sea Devils.

Legend of the Sea Devils: TRAILER | Doctor Who





FILTER: - Thirteenth Doctor - Production