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

The Seventh Doctor Revisited On BBC AmericaBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 3 July 2013 - Reported by John Bowman
Remembrance of the Daleks is to be shown on BBC America this month as part of the channel's celebratory strand Doctor Who: The Doctors Revisited.

Airing on Saturday 27th July in omnibus form, it will be preceded by a documentary at 7pm ET/PT entitled Doctor Who: The Doctors Revisited – The Seventh Doctor, in which Sylvester McCoy, his companion actors Sophie Aldred and Bonnie Langford, plus current lead writer and executive producer Steven Moffat will be among the people examining the darker side of this particular incarnation of the Doctor. They will also be viewing some of his surreal adventures and discussing The Rani.

Remembrance of the Daleks, written by Ben Aaronovitch and directed by Andrew Morgan, was originally shown over four episodes in October 1988 and saw the Doctor return to Coal Hill School as well as the Totter's Lane junkyard first seen in the show's premier episode. In addition, it continued the story arc of the Dalek civil war, and marked the last appearance of the Daleks and Davros in the original run of the show.
The Doctor and his companion Ace arrive in 1960s London, where they are caught up in a fierce battle on Earth between two violently opposing factions of Daleks, who will stop at nothing to destroy one another.
BBC America is celebrating the programme's 50th anniversary by showing a story per Doctor per month.

FILTER: - Steven Moffat - USA - BBC America - Seventh Doctor - Sylvester McCoy

Details announced of Splendid Chaps: "Seven/Religion"Bookmark and Share

Monday, 1 July 2013 - Reported by Adam Kirk
.As previously reportedSplendid Chaps is a year-long performance/podcast project to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who hosted by comedian Ben McKenzie (Dungeon CrawlMelbourne Museum Comedy Tour) and writer John Richards (ABC1 sitcom OutlandBoxcutters podcast)

Described by its creators as part intellectual panel discussion, part nerdy Tonight Show, Splendid Chaps is a combination of analysis, enthusiasm and irreverence. The first episode went to number 1 on the iTunes TV & Film Podcast chart in Australia, and to number 4 in the UK.  The podcasts to previous episodes are now available at or at  iTunes.

Tickets are now on sale for their 7th Doctor show! This show discusses the seventh and final Doctor of what we now call the classic era, played by variety performer and actor Sylvester McCoy. Famous for escapology, spoon playing and putting ferrets down his trousers, McCoy’s casting raised a few eyebrows, but his performance changed many doubters’ minds – especially when combined with Sophie Aldred as Ace, and under the new direction provided by the incoming production team under Andrew Cartmel. Of course, no-one knew that the program’s days were numbered…

Splendid Chaps are also looking at the theme of “religion” in Doctor Who. The Doctor has been all across space and time and encountered zealots, fanatics, kindly priests, and beings who believed themselves to be gods or demons or the devil himself. But what does the program say about religion, faith and belief? Is the Doctor Who universe truly a rational one in which the supernatural is really just advanced science, or is The Beast really the Devil? Is faith worthwhile, and if so, what does the Doctor believe?

Hosts Ben McKenzie, John Richards and Petra Elliott are joined by guests including writer and game designer Paul Callaghan, comedian and television writer Dave Bloustien, and for their discussion of religion, the Reverend Dr Avril Hannah-Jones, Uniting Church minister and founder of the Church of the Latter Day Geek (as seen on Adam Hills In Gordon Street Tonight)! Plus a very special musical performance from the one and only Lee Zachariah, and all the usual prizes and surprises!

Space: The Public Bar, 238 Victoria Street, North Melbourne (opposite Victoria Markets)
Time: Sunday 14 July; recording starts 5 PM
Accessibility: This venue is wheelchair accessible.
Tickets: $15 (plus booking fee where applicable)
Bookings: via or at the door (subject to availability)
Podcast: not yet available; released 23 July 2013.

With thanks to John Richards

FILTER: - Special Events - Fan Productions - Seventh Doctor - Sylvester McCoy - Australia

BFI Seventh, Eighth, And Ninth Doctor Screenings UpdateBookmark and Share

Monday, 17 June 2013 - Reported by John Bowman
The special guests for the BFI's celebratory screening of Remembrance of the Daleks next month have been announced.

The sell-out event, part of the BFI's Doctor Who At 50 season, is being held on Saturday 27th July at BFI Southbank to mark the Seventh Doctor's era and will see Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred, Ben Aaronovitch, Dick Mills, and Mike Tucker taking part in the question-and-answer panel.

The BFI is running a competition to win a pair of tickets to the screening, with a copy of the BFI book 100 Science Fiction Films - to be published on Friday 28th June - also going to the winner. Enter via this link. The contest closes on Friday 19th July. Terms and conditions apply.

August's event should have seen the Eighth Doctor's solo TV venture (so far) being shown on the big screen but instead the Ninth Doctor will be honoured that month, with a story screening and guest panel being held on Saturday 24th August.

BFI spokeswoman Liz Parkinson told Doctor Who News today:
Due to guest availability, we've moved our Eighth Doctor event to a little later in the year, so our Ninth Doctor event has been brought forward.
The date for the TV movie screening is yet to be announced, while the story to be shown from the Ninth Doctor's era, and the accompanying guests, will also be confirmed in due course.

Because of the overwhelming demand to attend the monthly screenings, a ballot system is being run to allocate tickets and priority booking for the Ninth Doctor event will take place, as previously, via the members' section.

BFI Champions can enter the ballot from Monday 1st July and members can enter from Tuesday 2nd July.

The ballot will close on Friday 5th July and be run over the weekend of 6th and 7th July, with all entrants to be notified on Monday 8th July if they have been successful or not. Any tickets reserved for Champions and members through the ballot will be held until 8.30pm on Friday 12th July, and any that are unclaimed by then will be released for public sale on Saturday 13th July.

Although all the screenings in the season so far have been immediate sell-outs, returns and stand-bys are a strong possibility, so if all else fails keep checking with the BFI!

FILTER: - Ninth Doctor - Special Events - UK - Eighth Doctor - Seventh Doctor - BFI - WHO50 - Sylvester McCoy

Doctor Who Stamps Go On SaleBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 26 March 2013 - Reported by John Bowman
Today sees special Royal Mail stamps going on sale to mark the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who.

Each of the 11 TV Doctors is represented on his own first-class stamp (60p), as is the TARDIS, while four enemies – Dalek, Cyberman, Ood, and a Weeping Angel – feature on second-class stamps (50p). The enemies and TARDIS are on a five-stamp miniature sheet, while the stamp design for the Doctors sees the face of each one set against relevant opening title sequences along with a relevant logo. Since the first two Doctors' eras were broadcast in monochrome, the first two stamps are also black and white.

As well as the stamps - which are being sold at more than 9,000 Post Office branches in the UK, online, and via phone (08457 641 641) - a wide variety of associated products is also available, ranging from first-day covers and postcards to stamp sets and stamp strips plus a pin badge of the TARDIS stamp. Some of the items on sale include series information penned by Doctor Who writer, director, and script editor Gary Russell.

Royal Mail - which said it had had an unprecedented number of pre-registrations for the stamps since they were unveiled in December - is also creating unique postmarks in the home towns of the actors to have played the 11 TV Doctors. All stamped mail sent from those locations will have a special postmark celebrating 50 years of Doctor Who, with the name of the actor who played the Doctor plus the length of time they were in the role.

Andrew Hammond, the managing director of the stamps and collectibles division at Royal Mail, said:
Following our launch announcement last year, we've had a fantastic response from the public who seemingly can't wait for the stamps. This shows just how much we all love Doctor Who.

The time has come and we are delighted that the stamps are now on sale, meaning fans of all ages can send their letters with one of their favourite Doctors on. This is a fitting tribute to this remarkable 50th anniversary and we hope our stamps will enable people across the UK to feel part of the celebrations of such a national treasure.

Fiona Eastwood, the product development director at BBC Worldwide Consumer Products, said:
With the second part to the latest Doctor Who series out on Saturday, these stamps are the perfect way to mark this as well as the 50th anniversary. With all the Doctors to date featured in the set, these stamps showcase the fantastic actors who have played the Time Lord over the last 50 years.

Royal Mail's Special Stamp programme has been commemorating and celebrating events and anniversaries relevant to UK heritage and life for nearly 50 years itself. All UK stamp designs are approved by the Queen before they are printed.

The stamps are available to purchase from the Post Office.

Royal Mail Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Stamps: First DoctorRoyal Mail Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Stamps: Second DoctorRoyal Mail Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Stamps: Third DoctorRoyal Mail Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Stamps: Fourth DoctorRoyal Mail Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Stamps: Fifth DoctorRoyal Mail Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Stamps: Sixth DoctorRoyal Mail Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Stamps: Seventh DoctorRoyal Mail Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Stamps: Eighth DoctorRoyal Mail Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Stamps: Ninth DoctorRoyal Mail Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Stamps: Tenth DoctorRoyal Mail Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Stamps: Eleventh DoctorRoyal Mail Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Stamps: Minisheet

Pre-issue event

A special public affairs event marking the issue of the anniversary stamps was held by Royal Mail at BAFTA in London earlier this month, with Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Paul McGann, Steven Moffat, Jenna-Louise Coleman, Jon Pertwee's son Sean Pertwee, and William Hartnell's granddaughter and biographer Jessica Carney mingling among the invited guests, who included MPs, stakeholders, and key Royal Mail customers.

Speeches in praise of the show and the stamps were given by Moya Greene, Royal Mail's chief executive, and Steven Moffat. The showrunner also introduced a video message from Matt Smith, as the actor had been unable to make it to the function, plus an extended trailer for Series 7b.

Props made by the officially-licensed company Rubbertoe Replicas were on show, as were displays of the stamps, with Daleks and a police box also adding to the atmosphere.

Competition to follow

Doctor Who News will shortly be running a competition connected with the release of the stamps and there's a fabulous prize to be won, courtesy of Royal Mail, so keep checking back for details!

FILTER: - Steven Moffat - Merchandise - Doctor Who - UK - Tom Baker - Matt Smith - WHO50 - Peter Davison - Peter Capaldi - Colin Baker - Sylvester McCoy - David Tennant - Christopher Eccleston

Pointless Celebrities Doctor Who Special time confirmedBookmark and Share

Monday, 11 March 2013 - Reported by Chuck Foster
The "Doctor Who" edition of Pointless Celebrities has now been confirmed for Saturday 23rd March at 7:00pm on BBC One.

The show will feature four pairs of well-known Doctor Who stars pitted against each other to win the Pointless Trophy: the seventh Doctor team of Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred; the companion team of Frazer Hines and Louise Jameson; the 'noble' team of Bernard Cribbins and Jacqueline King; and finally the "sixth Doctor" pairing of Nicola Bryant and Andrew Hayden-Smith (standing in for Colin Baker who was participating in I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here at the time of recording).

Pointless Celebrities. 23 March 2013 (Credit: BBC) Pointless Photo (Credit: Louise Jameson)

The episode was recorded at BBC Television Centre on 13th November 2012, hosted as always by Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman - who will receive some assistance from K-9 (aka John Leeson and Mat Irvine)! Both are Doctor Who fans, with Osman telling Doctor Who Magazine:
Doctor Who's got everything, hasn't it? It's got amazing stories. It's got a sort of soap opera behind the scenes of who's going to be the next Doctor. It's got great writers and an intelligence and a humanity behind it. Doctor Who has brought nothing but good things to the world.

Please note that the time of broadcast has been confirmed by the Radio Times as for 7:00pm, and not 6:00pm as previously reported.

FILTER: - Specials - Bernard Cribbins - Sylvester McCoy

Big Finish: The Light At The EndBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 9 January 2013 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Big Finish have announced a special 100-minute story starring all five surviving classic series Doctors to be released for the 50th Anniversary. The Light At The End will see their paths suddenly intersect when they face imminent destruction . . .

The story is written and directed by Nicholas Briggs, who said:
We wanted to do a proper, fully-fledged multi-Doctor story for this very special occasion, and it's wonderful that all the surviving Doctors threw themselves behind the project so enthusiastically. That's not to say the first three Doctors don't appear – we wanted to pay homage to the whole history of the classic series.
As well as the Doctors, popular companions will also be involved from each era: for Tom Baker's Fourth Doctor it's Leela as played by Louise Jameson; then for Peter Davison there's Nyssa (Sarah Sutton); for Colin Baker's era there's Peri (Nicola Bryant); Sylvester McCoy's sees Ace (Sophie Aldred); and from the Paul McGann Big Finish adventures there's Charley, as played by India Fisher.

And if that wasn't enough, producer David Richardson added:
Geoffrey Beevers is back to create mayhem as the Master, and there will be a number of appearances from some much-cherished old friends from the TV series . . .
Released in November 2013, two versions of the story will be available: a standard two-disc release comprising just the episodes, and a limited edition five-disc release that will have two additional documentaries, plus Companion Chronicles tale The Revenants (performed by William Russell, previously available as a Doctor Who Magazine download).

FILTER: - Merchandise - Audio - Tom Baker - Peter Davison - Sylvester McCoy - Paul McGann - Colin Baker

People RoundupBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 9 January 2013 - (compiled by Chuck Foster and John Bowman)
David Tennant and wife Georgia Moffett are expecting their second child together, it was revealed on The Jonathan Ross Show last Saturday (5th).

During the show, the actor also talked about how he is still recognised as the Doctor in spite of four years away from the role: "It does carry on, yeah, because people are enthusiastic about it, it's one of those shows that people love. It becomes part of what you do, it's not a difficult thing to deal with.".

Talking about filming Spies of Warsaw - which is on tonight at 9:00pm on BBC4 - he commented on how wide-reaching his recognition is: "I didn't realise Doctor Who plays in Poland – but it obviously does. I've had a few fans coming up, wanting to say hello, or get a photograph or a signature. It doesn't happen quite on the scale that it happens at home – but then I don't think I've been to a country yet where I haven’t met someone who's a Doctor Who fan ... except maybe Uganda!" [Mail, 6 Jan 2013]

Burn Gorman - who appears with Tennant in Spies of Warsaw - has joined the cast of Revenge. He will play a recurring character named Trask, a member of the American Initiative. [Hollywood Reporter, 7 Jan 2013]

Tamsin Greig and Catrin Stewart will be on stage in Longing at the Hampstead Theatre in London. Adapted by William Boyd from two Anton Chekhov short stories, the play will run from Thursday 28th February to Saturday 6th April. The venue is currently staging Old Money, with Maureen Lipman and Tracy-Ann Oberman, ending on 12th January, which will be followed by Di And Viv And Rose, with Anna Maxwell-Martin and Tamzin Outhwaite (17th January to 23rd February).

An adaptation of Tom Baker's novel The Boy Who Kicked Pigs will be performed at Jacksons Lane in north London by theatre company Kill The Beast between 5th and 16th March. The actor said: "I wondered how a small theatre company could stage my story - which has a cast of hundreds, and includes a motorway pile-up with coachloads of people. I also wondered how they would manage to make my tale of evil horror funny, as I intended it to be." [EntertainmentWise, 8 Jan 2013]

Fenella Woolgar and David Troughton are up for honours in this year's BBC Audio Drama Awards. Woolgar is nominated for Best Actress for her portrayal of Rosemary Kennedy in BBC Radio 4's An American Rose, while Troughton is in the running for Best Supporting Actor as the Earl of Leicester in BBC Radio 3's Singles and Doublets. In addition, The Minister of Chance, by Dan Freeman, which stars Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, Paul Darrow, and Tamsin Greig, is nominated for the title of Best Online-Only Audio Drama, while Kafka The Musical, which aired on BBC Radio 3 and is by Murray Gold, has been shortlisted for the Tinniswood Radio Drama Award 2012 for Best Radio Drama Script. The winners will be announced at a ceremony on Sunday 27th January at BBC Broadcasting House in central London. [BBC Media Centre, 8 Jan 2012]

In Memoriam

The latest edition of BBC publication Prospero (page 15) has revealed that former Doctor Who crew member Marion McDougall died last March. Her first involvement with the series was as an assistant floor manager on The War Games, and she went on to be a production assistant on a number of stories between 1971 and 1977. Other BBC productions that she worked on included The Mayor of Casterbridge, Prince Regent, Mackenzie, Smiley's People, Mansfield Park, Blott On The Landscape, and Fortunes of War.
(With thanks to Garret Jackson)
(compiled by Chuck Foster and John Bowman)

FILTER: - People - Theatre - Tom Baker - David Tennant - Radio - Sylvester McCoy - BBC - Paul McGann

The Collectable Art Company: Seventh Doctor design print releasedBookmark and Share

Monday, 12 November 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster
After a slight delay The Collectable Art Company has announced that the second of its Limited Edition Fine Art prints, featuring the Seventh Doctor's original costume, has finally been released.

Grahame Flynn, Managing Director of The Collectable Art Company, explains:
7th Doctor Costume (1987) - Sylvester McCoy with printWe originally intended this print to be available sooner but Sylvester was filming The Hobbit in New Zealand. A good result of the delay was that we were able to spend more time on the From Script to Screen booklet that is included with the print. Sylvester sent me his introduction between filming his scenes.

Ken Trew takes us through his career at the BBC and about his early experiences on Doctor Who. We look in detail at the costume design process with all of Ken's concept designs reproduced for the first time.

Chris Pocock and John Walker have kindly allowed their original costumes to be photographed in studio and former BBC Vis-FX designer Mike Tucker has given us access to Sylvester's pocket watch and original TARDIS key.

Many of the photographs are exclusive and have never been seen before.

The officially-licensed print, based on Trew's original production drawing from 1987, is available worldwide in a limited edition of 750.

FILTER: - Merchandise - Sylvester McCoy

Janet Fielding Battles CancerBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 19 September 2012 - Reported by John Bowman
Former companion actress Janet Fielding is fighting cancer, it has been revealed.

No more details about her condition are known at the moment but Peter Davison, whose Doctor she appeared opposite as Tegan Jovanka, has won the support of other ex-Doctor actors to launch a charity fund-raising convention - Project MotorMouth - that aims to "not only raise money for a good cause but also keep Janet's spirits up."

Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, and David Tennant are the first guests announced for the event, which will take place on Saturday 19th January 2013 at the Copthorne Hotel Slough-Windsor. All guests will be appearing subject to work commitments.

The profits from the convention will go to Project MotorHouse, which is seeking to convert a derelict building in Thanet into a mixed-use venue promoting sustainable technology and a place where youngsters can get help with starting their own businesses. Fielding is the project co-ordinator for the organisation as well as its community champion.

She first appeared in Doctor Who in 1981 in Tom Baker's final story, Logopolis, and left the TV series in the 1984 story Resurrection of the Daleks, but made a cameo reappearance two stories later in a regeneration dream sequence for Davison's swansong The Caves of Androzani.

She has also worked as a theatrical agent - a job that saw her representing McGann when he won the role of the Eighth Doctor - and has played the role of Tegan in a number of audio productions for Big Finish.
(With Thanks To Kenny Davidson)

FILTER: - Special Events - UK - Conventions - David Tennant - Charities - Peter Davison - Sylvester McCoy

The Five DoctorsBookmark and Share

Monday, 4 June 2012 - Reported by Marcus
This weekend saw the biggest collection of living Doctors for many a year as the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth all gathered at Collectormania 18 in Milton Keynes.

The event, organised by Showmasters, took place at the Don's stadium and saw Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann all meeting fans and signing autographs. The Independent has published a transcript of the Q&A session.

(Pictures: Copyright Elspeth Renfrew)

FILTER: - Tom Baker - Peter Davison - Sylvester McCoy - Paul McGann - Colin Baker