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

Holiday Broadcast Schedule Alerts and GuideBookmark and Share

Monday, 19 December 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon

For the convenience of our readers, Outpost Gallifrey has compiled the following guide to important Doctor Who broadcasts over the next two weeks. You can also always refer to our Broadcast Calendar located down the left side of the News Page for the latest information about current Doctor Who broadcasts (or to This Week in Doctor Who for details about worldwide transmissions of repeats and other items).
Tuesday 20 December: "Doctor Who: Regeneration," a brand-new radio documentary, airs on BBC Radio 2 starting at 8.30pm.
Wednesday 21 December: "BBC Breakfast" (6-9am, BBC1) interviews David Tennant and Russell T Davies.
Thursday 22 December: The three-part miniseries "Casanova" starring David Tennant repeats on BBC3; part one airs tonight, parts two and three air on Friday.
Friday 23 December: "Doctor Who Back In Time: New Doctor, New Danger," a new installment of the BBC Radio Wales documentary, airs on that channel (link) at 6.30pm. "Front Row" on BBC Radio 4 has an interview with David Tennant at 7.15pm. The "Dead Ringers Christmas Special," featuring a Doctor Who (tenth Doctor) sketch, airs on BBC2 at 10.00pm. "Friday Night with Jonathan Ross" on BBC1 has David Tennant as a guest, 10.25pm.
Saturday 24 December: Episode 2 of "The Chimes of Midnight" starring Paul McGann airs at 6.30pm on BBC Radio 7; episode 3 will likely be on December 31. The new "Back In Time" repeats at 1.00pm.
Sunday 25 December: "The Christmas Invasion" debuts at 7.00pm on BBC1. "Attack of the Graske," the interactive Doctor Who 'episode,' will be live on BBC red button access after the conclusion of the special, likely until midnight. Also, the "Dead Ringers" special repeats at 11.35pm on BBC2.
Monday 26 December: For Canadian viewers, "The Christmas Invasion" debuts at 8.00pm on CBC Television. Also, a week-long series of repeats of Series One begin with "Rose" and "The End of the World" from 7.00pm to 8.30pm on BBC3; two episodes will air each night starting at 7pm until Friday, the concluding three episodes on Saturday.
Tuesday 27 December: "Front Row" on BBC Radio 4 has Russell T Davies as a guest, 7.15pm.
Sunday 1 January: "The Christmas Invasion" repeats on BBC3 at 7pm, and "Attack of the Graske" will be available again for the evening.
(Thanks to Steve Tribe for help in compiling this list)

FILTER: - Specials - Russell T Davies - Radio - Broadcasting

TARDIS Report: SaturdayBookmark and Share

Saturday, 17 December 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon

With the approach of The Christmas Invasion, the press has gotten back into the Doctor Who fold to a level not seen since last July. Here's a collection of items that have appeared in the past 24 hours alone:

According to today's The Sun, "Doctor Who bosses have hastily rewritten scripts after star Roger Lloyd Pack broke his leg. The actor, who played dopey Trigger in Only Fools And Horses, fell down the stairs at his home in Camden, North London. The accident happened just days before Roger, 61, was due to start filming the new series of the BBC sci-fi show, starring David Tennant as the Doctor and Billie Piper as his assistant Rose. So scriptwriters have made Roger's character wheelchair-bound - meaning he could end up looking a bit like evil Dalek creator Davros. A pal said: 'Roger was gutted when he broke his leg. He was worried he would not be able to take part in Doctor Who. But BBC bosses offered to put his character in a wheelchair to get around the problem. They were massively keen for Roger to stay in the show, so they were happy to accommodate him. His character is a real baddie and the wheelchair is a great prop, which adds a bit of mystery and intrigue to the part. So it has worked out very well.' Roger will play the Doctor's enemy John Lumic in the new series in January." Also reported atDigital Spy.

The Western Mail features an interview with David Tennant. "Standing in the cave of the Sycorax warriors, and sword-fighting a seven-feet-tall Sean Gilder as the Sycorax leader in prosthetics and weird contact lenses, and all of those extras standing there....," offers Tennant, almost going misty-eyed at the memories. "OK, it might have been in a warehouse in Newport, with special effects put in later on, but that was the first moment I thought to myself, 'This is something special.' And those moments keep coming every day. Just being in the Tardis, for example. And getting to act opposite Elizabeth Sladen as Sarah-Jane, a veteran Doctor Who sidekick who returns in the next series. I used to watch her when I was a kid, eating beans on toast and a cup of Irn Bru. She looks the same and sounds the same! ... It's mad, it's crazy - how unreal is this? ... I was three years old when I decided I wanted to be an actor. I just loved watching people on the telly. I was watching stories being told, and thinking 'this is just great.' I think I had a conversation with my parents about who those people were in the TV, and as soon as I had an understanding that this was a job, that people got paid for telling stories, that was what I wanted to do. ... My first TV memory is being entranced by Jon Pertwee regenerating into Tom Baker. ... I got another good luck message from Peter Davison, who was filming Distant Shores at the time. I was about ten when Tom regenerated into Peter Davison, so again, another amazing moment. In fact, Peter came on set one day with his children, which was a big thrill both for them and me! We are more aware that he's [the Doctor] someone who fought a war, lost all his people and because he's the last Time Lord, the last authority in the universe, he's less indulgent, more ruthless. ... Wales is a great place to film. You can be in the countryside or by the sea for one scene, and you can be back in the city in no time. ... Every Doctor Who fan I've met has been completely charming. They're always warm, polite, and enthusiastic about the show; they're delightful, welcoming and supportive. What's fascinating is the range of people who come up to you as a Doctor Who fan. They're not just a certain type of bloke, but you get women of all ages, young kids, elderly people - they've all come up to me. And that, I think, reflects the genius of Russell T Davies, that he's created a show that attracts a genuine nine-to-90-year-old audience - well, younger than nine, really."

Today's The Herald also features comments from Tennant: "It's reeeaaallly exciting. Apart from anything else, it's fun. It's a laugh. You've no idea. It's such a laugh. It really takes you back to tattie scones in front of the telly. ... I've never been boy-band handsome. So my looks have never been an obsession of mine. ... When I was offered [the role], suddenly it was real rather than some kind of childhood fantasy moment. You suddenly start thinking, 'I have to do this now.' It was curious. It was almost a 'be careful what you wish for' moment. ... You're finding ways to skin a cat each day. The Doctor is always right; he always knows where he's going; he has the moral high ground. He doesn't waver from that, so it's finding new ways to come at that. Part of the joy of the character is that he's unexpected. He's an alien and he's unpredictable. ... I was nervous about moving to Cardiff but I'm getting home to London on weekends, so I'm getting back and doing a bit of life. When you're here it's 12hour days, and then you're learning your lines for the next one. There's a relentlessness to it - but I have a lot of friends who are actors, so they know the score. You fall in and out of each other's lives all the time. ... It's different now in the way Russell writes it. The relationship between the Doctor and Rose is a love story - except they're not shagging. He's on his own and yet he has Rose, but can they ever be quite a couple in the traditional sense? He's 900 years old and she's 19, and that would be a bit weird. That said, there are moments in this series that are . . . well, sexual would be the wrong word, but they explore that side of things possibly more than we've seen before. ... You can be saving the universe and then talking about fly-fishing, but you've got to play it for the truth of the situation. You've got to believe that this guy can be talking about tangerines and then suddenly save the world."

Tomorrow morning's edition of the Sunday Herald interviews Russell T Davies about how he gave 'new life' to Doctor Who. "Nobody is more excited than me about the Christmas special," says Russell T Davies to the Herald. "I am a fiend for Christmas television. When the Radio Times came out, I turned to December 25 and scanned down the listings and there was Doctor Who! It's just astonishing. On a personal level, never mind professionally, I am so delighted that this has happened. ... On the day the first episode was broadcast I was nervous, but I knew how good it was. So if we hadn't got the viewing figures I would have been able to act like a martyr. I could have been burned at the stake with piety in my heart, saying, ‘Never mind! I know it was good!" Says the article, "Best of all were the scripts. One two-part episode, The Empty Child, in which the gas mask-wearing ghost of a little boy killed in the Blitz haunts his gymslip mother, was among the most disturbing and moving things to appear in British television drama. It is hard to believe that it was broadcast at teatime on a Saturday. ... Although suffering from a bad back, presumably from all the TV critics patting him on it, Davies has gamely agreed to discuss the Christmas episode. Talking in his Manchester home, he is clearly excited by the show, and determined to ensure that Doctor Who continues to redefine family viewing as an experience which makes the heart beat faster and the synapses in the brain snap and flex like hungry electric eels. 'Just wait,' he says, 'till you see this.'"

Sunday morning's The Independent notes in a review of television that "Christopher Eccleston made Saturday evenings on BBC1 a must-see again by breathing new life into an old character, Doctor Who. He fought off invasion by half a million Daleks - and then promptly walked away. If he doesn't regret it, I certainly do. He was, quite probably, the best doctor yet - writer Russell T Davies and Eccleston's replacement, David Tennant, will have a hard act to follow." Also, in the Guardian, "The consensus view was that reality television had peaked and some new hot genre would emerge in the course of the year. But what no one predicted 12 months ago was that the story of broadcasting in 2005 would be the return of family entertainment. This picture of returning innocence was admittedly patchy - 2005's Big Brother marked a TV nadir, when a drunken contestant masturbated with a bottle - but the fact is that three of the most talked-about series in the schedules were Saturday teatime shows with a potential audience age-span of around 60 years: Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing and The X Factor. It is also notable that the first two of them are clever reimaginings of concepts originated several decades ago."

The Scotsman today said that "A very different kind of Doctor comes under the spotlight... In Doctor Who: Regeneration (Tuesday, Radio 2, 8.30pm), producer Malcolm Prince offers a behind-the-scenes look at the eagerly-anticipated TV programme Doctor Who: The Christmas Invasion (Christmas Day, BBC1, 7pm). The new Doctor, David Tennant, whose film credits include Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, talks about how he intends to tackle the role, while director James Hawes promises that the first programme of the new era will see strange things happening to Christmas trees." The Independent says, "Mark Gatiss explores how the return of the Time Lord became one of the television phenomena of the year. The documentary traces the story, using interviews with David Tennant (who takes over from Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor on Christmas Day), Billie Piper and the creator of the new series, Russell T Davies."

Broadcast magazine says of Doctor Who: "There was an element of back to the future about some of this year's biggest hits. First we saw the old Time Lord himself, Doctor Who, re-emerge from his Tardis, attracting massive audiences and plaudits for BBC1. The Doctor proved there was still a place in the schedule for something long forgotten: family viewing. Doctor Who's success has sparked a hunt for old heroes with the BBC already commissioning Tiger Aspect to bring back Robin Hood and Granada looking to remake The Prisoner, possibly for Sky One. We can expect other retro heroes to resurface." It notes that Doctor Who was #4 on the list of BBC1's Top Five Programmes, beaten in the ratings only by "EastEnders," "The Vicar of Dibley" and "Comic Relief: Red Nose Night" (with "Little Britain" as #5 on the list). The Magazine also features an opinion piece of Emily Bell, editor-in-chief of Guardian Unlimited, in which she refers to Russell T Davies on the subject of "People of the Year," noting "creatively it has to be Russell T Davies for his high-quality output and his salvation of family viewing. "

Tomorrow's The Observer talks about the record numbers of gay men and lesbians occupying key positions across British life, noting Russell T Davies: "Head writer of the BBC's recently revived Doctor Who. Also responsible for other audience-pullers such as Casanova, Linda Green and Bob & Rose. Came to prominence in 1999 when Channel 4 showed his controversial drama series Queer as Folk, an explicit tableau of love, lust, clubbing and gay life in Manchester. Currently working on the Doctor Who spin-off series, Torchwood, about a team who investigate alien goings-on in Britain, due to be aired on BBC3 in 2006 - 'X Files meets This Life,' says Davies. Has been with his partner, Andrew Smith, a Customs officer, since 1999. Born in Swansea." It features a comment from Stuart Murphy, former Controller of BBC3, calling Davies "an absolute genius".

The Scotsman, in an article about the television year in review, says, "What a difference a year makes. ... Doctor Who (BBC1)... was great fun. No programme faced a bigger challenge in 2005 than how to 'do' the Daleks; Russell T Davies chose opera. With a whoosh of Wagner, the eggbox psychopaths took to the air, finally ridding themselves of all comparisons to Mariah "I don't do stairs" Carey, and there was a strange serenity about them as they croaked their last. Until next time, that is. ... On ITV1 came Secret Smile, starring Kate Ashfield and Claire Goose and featuring a dirty rotten scoundrel etc, etc. The latter right bad yin was played by David Tennant, Scotland's best-kept acting secret until last year's Blackpool, which he followed early in 2005 with the Carry On-ish Casanova (BBC3, Russell T again). Now he's about to go stratospheric as the new Doctor Who."

The Observer in the Guardian says of Tennant in "Secret Smile", "It was great to see Tennant building on last year's quite brilliant performances in Blackpool and He Knew He was Right and finally coming out as a primetime star. Gratifying too, to watch him providing some genuinely nasty, meaty, murderous filling in 2005's otherwise fluffy white-bread Casanova/Doctor Who sandwich. There were a couple of moments in Secret Smile when he was genuinely terrifying, which, given that his character (Brendan Block. Sounds like shock. Sounds like a dance DJ, too, come to that) had established his general horribleness within about the first 10 minutes, meant that building on all this without turning Block into a staring-eyed panto-turn would, in lesser hands, have been an insurmountable dramatic challenge." Today'sEvening Chronicle, Newcastle also says about the show that "Tennant was good as Brendan and he did menacing pretty well, but then he's had plenty of practice recently and is in danger of becoming rent-a-villain. Maybe he's getting in the nasty roles before he becomes forever associated with Doctor Who and his time-travelling exploits." And today'sDaily Telegraph says, "This was swept along by the sheer menace of David Tennant's staring-eyed performance as Brendan Block, a malevolent nasty who charmed women before beating or murdering them. (I hope he is not like this as Doctor Who)."

The Guardian today reviews the BFI TV Classics book about Doctor Who written by Kim Newman: "Newman's Doctor Who traces the sci-fi staple from 1963 genesis to Cool Britannia comeback, pointing out that only when fixating on its own fanbase has it struggled." The article also reviews DW comic strip artist Dave Gibbon's latest endevour, The Originals.

Also in the press: TV Squad talks about David Tennant in "Secret Smile" and "Harry Potter"; Digital Spy notes that Tennant "has been seeking advice on his love-life from co-star Billie Piper" according to the Daily Star.

(Thanks to Steve Tribe, Paul Engelberg, Peter Weaver, Faiz Rehman)

FILTER: - Specials - Russell T Davies - Press - Radio Times

TARDIS Report: Week-EndingBookmark and Share

Friday, 16 December 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon


Easter weekend for Doctor Who? It's looking possible. Besides the report in The Sun (see below), we've heard from several sources that Easter is a definite possibility. Of course, as happened last year, it's very likely that the final date of transmission won't be determined until next year, probably in February or even March. At any rate, that would put transmission on or around April 15, but as always, this is subject to official BBC confirmation.

The BFBS channel, which broadcasts television to overseas-serving members of the British Armed Forces, will screen "The Christmas Invasion" at 8.10pm Central European Time on Christmas Day, just 10 minutes after its premiere on BBC1. It will then repeat the broadcast on 26 December at 8PM CET. Our correspondent says that BFBS Navy will probably air the episode, but they do not have listings for that week up yet.

Back In Time, the BBC Radio Wales documentary from last season, apparently will be continuing this year! Back on the air with an episode subtitled "New Doctor, New Danger," it's aired on Friday 23 December at 6.30pm-7pm, repeated the next day from 1.05pm-1.35pm. We'll be checking the content of this as soon as possible.

While it's been rumored for some time, today's The Sun says that "Stephen Fry's Doctor Who script has been postponed. It was scheduled for the second series, due at Easter. But our Tardis insider reveals: 'Stephen's script is in its third draft and it's so ambitious that Russell T Davies decided it fitted in better with the next run. It will give the team more time to sort out all the special effects and prosthetics.' Blimey." Additional reports on this atContact Music,Yahoo News.

Tonight's edition of Newsnight Review selected Doctor Who as one of its television highlights of the year. The presenters praised the series overall, mostly stating that it got better as it went along.

The Christmas Invasion

Aint It Cool News, which last year had some of the very first reviews of "Rose" from early leaked copies of the episode, this year has a much more positive review of "The Christmas Invasion" from a viewer who saw it at a recent press screening. "In the end, it's the characters and not the action set pieces that make 'The Christmas Invasion' work," says the reviewer. "Billie Piper turns in a wonderful performance as Rose, who not only feels she's lost the Doctor, but is also powerless to stop the alien menace. [Camille] Coduri is annoyingly daffy as Rose's mom, who informed about the Doctor's two hearts, wonders if the time lord has two of anything else under his pajamas. And Noel Clarke finally begins to take Mickey out of the buffoon category, giving him a much more proactive role... There are also a few nice guest performances, particularly from Penelope Wilton ... Make no mistake about it, when Tennant's Doctor takes center stage, there's no doubt whatsoever who's in charge (no pun intended). ... For me, Tennant's biggest talent is the way he can deliver a speech, with the perfect combination of deadpan seriousness and twinkle-in-his-eye humor. ... As a holiday special that also introduces the new Doctor, 'The Christmas Invasion' is a thoroughly entertaining hour of television that will definitely whet viewer appetites for the upcoming season." The review also notes that there is a brief collection of clips from forthcoming episodes at the end of the special, which presumably will be aired along with this on BBC1 next week.

The people behind the offficial Doctor Who website have launched a brand new "spinoff site" for the forthcoming Christmas special, "The Christmas Invasion". The British Rocket Group and their space launch vehicle, Guinevere One, can now be accessed directly, or through a link from the front page of the official Doctor Who site. (This is indeed an actual spinoff site; other recent sites receiving widespread attention have been fan-created.) The official site also now has a photo of Broadcasting House in Llandaff, which is "currently sporting the TARDIS on its roof. There is also a giant screen with a countdown to the Christmas Invasion and a special promotional video highlighting the fact that over 70 per cent of the people working on the show are Welsh."

What's with the Doctor's new accent? Says today's The Sun, "THE Doctor's new Cockney accent comes from sidekick Rose. Show writer Russell T Davies said: 'It is meant to be from all the time he has spent with Rose, to show just how close they are. We were due to explain this in the Christmas special - but then we cut the line out!'"

Manchester Evening News calls the special its "Pick of the Day". "Not sure what's funnier - that Who's now so valued a property it gets an Xmas special or that ITV have bottled it completely and avoided scheduling any competition. David Tennant makes his full debut in The Christmas Invasion, as the Sycorax invade London. Fantastic. Really, nothing else matters today."


The Telegraph on Saturday morning features an interview with Penelope Wilton, the returning guest star who's now Prime Minister Harriet Jones (instead of "Harriet Jones, MP, Flydale North" like last year!) "If the acting profession needed such a thing as a head girl, it would look no further than Penelope Wilton. It's not just that she brings the kitemark of integrity to anything she's in, or an air of quintessential Englishness. More than these, it's the gameness with which she troops between screen and stage, bit part and lead, the lightest entertainment and the blackest tragedy. She does a good line in slightly batty mothers, for example: on screen last year in Edgar Wright's zombie spoof, Shaun of the Dead, but more recently as the battiest mother of all in The House of Bernarda Alba at the National Theatre. Early next year she gets up to the foulest pimping imaginable in a new RSC production of Thomas Middleton's Women Beware Women. But before that she is more prime ministerial than the PM in the Doctor Who Christmas special. Wilton at Number 10 is fantasy casting to rival Martin Sheen in The Oval Office: the leader a nation knows it will never have or deserve. In the first series, Wilton was a backbench MP who spent her screen time running away from a race of large worm-like creatures called the Slitheen. It was somehow very Wiltonesque that she never let go of her handbag. 'It's what I thought she would do,' Wilton says. She got the job thanks to another of her batty mothers in Bob and Rose, written (like Doctor Who) by Russell T Davies. 'He has the most wonderful sense of humour. So when he asked me to play 'Harriet Jones, MP for Flydale North', I said 'Certainly. Unfortunately power goes to my head a bit in this. I keep saying 'Harriet Jones, Prime Minister' to which a lot of people say, 'Yes, we know who you are.'' How many people know who Wilton is? She puts herself in the category of actors who 'if the reality be known, get two scripts and choose the better one of the two'. In films - Calendar Girls, Iris, Clockwise (as John Cleese's wife), and Woody Allen's forthcoming tennis thriller Match Point - the fireworks go off elsewhere." Read the whole story at the website.

The List magazine, a listings publication for Edinburgh and Glasgow, has named David Tennant number 1 in its list of "Scotland's hottest creative talent of 2005". Some relevant quotes from inside: "No other Scottish personality could come witihin a royal mile of matching the current ubiquity of David Tennant. The Paisley-born actor's 2005 career trajectory could be compared to a quickly growing snowball that can supersede everything in sight....As we teeter on the verge of a new year, a quick scan of any newsagent's shelf reveals a plethora of magazine covers featuring tennant as the tenth incarnation of Doctor Who, battling Cybermen in the ressurected TV sci-fi series 'Christmas Invasion'.... Followers of Tennant (not to mention legions of loyal Who-vians) will be watching his first proper outing as the Doctor this Christmas Day with great interest. Judging by the teaser trailer in November's Children In Need extravaganza, the actor is leading the character further away from his authoritarian origins, creating a more hip, laid back incarnation. It will be interesting to see what playing such an iconic character will do for Tennant's wider career. Christopher Eccleston quit the role to avoid typecasting, while previous Doctors have struggled to wriggle out of the outrageously long scarf. That said, watching the Timelord as a child is the reason Tennant went into acting. "From that point on, I absolutely didn't want to do anything else," he has said. It seems the star-struck Paisley boy has come full circle."

Meanwhile, the Mirror says today that "New Doctor Who David Tennant is battling a fresh enemy - a concrete factory planned near his North London home. He's joined residents in opposing the proposal at an inquiry." And The Sun says that "Stunning Sophia Myles is definitely seeing Doctor Who hunk David Tennant. Sophia, 25 -Lady Penelope in the new Thunderbirds movie -was dating Bleak House star Charles Dance, 59, earlier this year. But she found love with Scots heart-throb David, 34, when she filmed a role in the BBC1 sci-fi hit -and the actor gave the game away at a TV party. Sophia plays Madame Du Pompadour in the fourth episode of the new series, called The Girl In The Fireplace. Speaking at the launch of the Christmas Day special, she told TV Biz: 'Our relationship is too private to talk about.' But unluckily for her, David chose that moment to stroll up and nuzzle her neck, saying: 'Are you OK, sweetheart? We'll be going soon.' Bet he wishes he could jump in his Tardis and go back in time... "

Tennant also reveals that he has not had any contact from his predecessor Christopher Eccleston, according toNewsquest. "The Casanova star said former timelords Tom Baker -his childhood hero -and Peter Davison had both sent him good-luck notes on his first day of filming. But he has not heard from Christopher -who left the BBC under a dark cloud after quitting the hit show after just one series. BBC bosses were furious after Chris left them in the lurch. And they made sure they signed David up for TWO series. However, BBC drama boss Jane Trantor praised Christopher for helping to revive Doctor Who. She said: 'He completely launched the show into the 21st Century.'"

Bruno Langley (Adam from last year's "Dalek" and "The Long Game") will be appearing in "A Taste of Honey", a new staging of the play (originally written in the 1960's) by Shelagh Delaney at the Oldham Coliseum Theatre running 20 April to 13 May, 2006. The Coliseum has a website and the play is mentioned in a column at What's On Stage.

Eve Myles (Gwyneth from "The Unquiet Dead") can see her in a short film, "Say It With Flowers" on Thursday 5 January at 21.45, along with an episode of "Belonging" at 21.00 the same evening. It'll be on BBC2 Wales.


Inside Housing has a feature report called "Estate Invasion" by Daniel Martin on local residents of the Brandon Estate, which is used for filming during Doctor Who as Rose's flat and neighborhood. (Note: this is a PDF file.) Among the highlights: "Many council tenants complain about noisy neighbours and anti-social behaviour. But they've had it easy. One south London estate has been invaded by the army and was nearly crashed into by an alien spaceship. On Christmas Day it'll be menaced by a troupe of evil Santas. Not to mention the mysterious blue box that keeps appearing and disappearing. The tenants, however, have nothing to fear. The estate - the Brandon in Walworth - is a key location for the new BBC series of Doctor Who. It's the setting for the Powell estate where the Doctor's companion Rose Tyler grew up. The crew filmed three episodes on the estate last year and for series two they're filming even more. It's a huge logistical problem: how do you film on an estate populated by hundreds of people and not cause chaos for the tenants? Some disruption is inevitable but it can be mitigated with a little bit of help from the residents' association. That's where Dot and Gwen Smith (no relation) come in. These two formidable 66-year-olds have both lived on the estate for years and are known by all. They work closely with the BBC to ensure that filming goes on with as little disruption as possible. 'Our job is to liaise with the film crew to make sure there are no problems for the tenants,' says Gwen Smith as a day's shooting gets under way. 'We go round asking if they wouldn't mind closing their windows and once when they did a night shoot we asked tenants if they wanted black outs. They were great about it.' ... It's early morning and the estate has been transformed into a mini film set, with a little tent full of monitors propped up against a wall, enabling the director to see if he's got the shot he wants. On this occasion there are few residents around. ... 'We'd been told they were filming some scenes with the army,' recalls Gwen, 'but one evening these massive big tanks came onto the estate. We looked at each other and said "we're going to get complaints". But we never had one. The tenants love the excitement.' 'Unfortunately,' adds Dot Smith, 'one of the tanks went down a manhole and the BBC had to pay for it being fixed.'" You can read the full article by downloading it.

There's more coverage of this week's TARDIS auction (see earlier press clips columns) at The Scotsman, the Daily Record. Another mention of Christopher Eccleston's trip abroad for relief efforts at AlertNet.

(Thanks to Paul Engelberg, Steve Tribe, Ian Golden, Peter Weaver, Joanna Pinkney, David Baker, Leighton Calvert, Benjamin Elliott, Matthew Kilburn, Paul Hayes, Daniel Martin)

FILTER: - Russell T Davies - Press

I Am A DalekBookmark and Share

Friday, 16 December 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon

Amazon is now listing the Tenth Doctor novel to be published by BBC Books next spring written by Gareth Roberts as being called I Am a Dalek. The paperback is due for publication on 11 May and is part of the government-sponsored Quick Reads initiative, designed to encourage literacy among reluctant readers. More information available atQuickReads and Amazon.

FILTER: - Books

Aus/NZ (and UK) DVD UpdateBookmark and Share

Friday, 16 December 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon

According to Data Extract, the news magazine of the Doctor Who Club of Australia, Genesis of the Daleks will be released there on DVD by Roadshow Home Video in April 2006, with Inferno following in June. This meshes with Outpost Gallifrey's previous reports that both DVDs will be part of BBC Video's 2006 DVD release schedule in the UK, although neither DVD have been officially announced yet; we believe "Genesis" will be out in March 2006 in the UK, but as always, it isn't official until it's formally announced.

FILTER: - Classic Series - Blu-ray/DVD - Australia

TARDIS Report: WednesdayBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 14 December 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon

BBC News reports today that the auction of the miniature TARDIS replica (which we reported about in yesterday's press column) has been sold at Christie's auction house for £10,800. The plywood replica was built at the BBC visual effects department and was last seen on television in 1970. Sarah Hodgson, head of popular entertainment at Christie's said: "There was strong international interest throughout today's successful sale for film and entertainment memorabilia from all eras. The Stormtrooper helmets from Star Wars and the Tardis from Doctor Who performed particularly well and attracted strong prices, with all doubling their pre-sale estimates."

BBC News today notes that "Christmas comes once a year, except in Cardiff, where it has already been and gone. Back in July, shoppers in the city centre found themselves walking past a giant Christmas tree, a late-night festive market and Santa lookalikes. It was as if the Welsh capital had somehow been flung into a different dimension. And in a way, it had been. Perhaps thanks to the Tardis, the city was the backdrop for the Doctor Who special to screened on Christmas Day. The Hayes shopping area of the city has played its part in another climactic galactic tale of the changeling Timelord and his earthly adventures. Over two nights, the BBC Wales team which makes the show transformed one of the busiest areas of Cardiff into a tinsel and snow-filled location. They even borrowed the council's own Christmas lights to do it. Producer Phil Collinson said: 'The main problem was trying to find places that did not have leaves on the trees. We tried to be quite careful about that. We filmed on The Hayes, which wasn't so bad because it wasn't the greenest part of Cardiff. The people in the streets are so proud that this show is made here. It does make it easier for us. We have closed the main street for a whole evening. In any other place they would be shaking their fists as us, but in Cardiff, its 'okay, go ahead'.' A typical episode takes around two-and-a-half weeks to film, he said. 'We've had hordes of people turning up to watch. There is always a bang or a flash or a guy in a green suit to watch.'" Collinson notes that "The Christmas Invasion" is "scary... that's why we can't show it after the Queen (the Queen's speech), but it's still good fun.'" It also quotes Russell T Davies as saying, "I would never have let someone else write the Christmas episode - I have been dying to write a Christmas episode all my life."

BBC News is reporting that Christopher Eccleston was invited by the British Red Cross to visit the Indonesian province of Banda Aceh as part of relief efforts for last year's devastating tsunamis. "Before the Tsunami I'd never thought about Indonesia and I didn't know the Acenese as a race existed," Eccleston tells BBC News. "In the last two or three days here I've learned lessons about courage and optimism in the face of unimaginable grief that I shall never ever forget." The article notes that Eccleston met some of those re-building their lives in Aceh, including going to a school where 500 children lost their lives in the flood: now a popstars-style talent show is helping children regain their sense of fun; visiting one of the Indonesian islands hit by the Tsunami; and later appearing on BBC Breakfast (this Friday) to speak about his impression of the Red Cross' work in Indonesia. There is currently a video clip at BBC News; go to the front page and click on "Latest news in video and audio" at top. (Update: you can also find it atBBC News 24.)

MSNBC wonders today what sort of project famed director Peter Jackson ("The Lord of the Rings," "King Kong") will do next. "It seems almost certain that 'King Kong' will enjoy the same critical adulation and blockbuster popular success as the 'Lord Of The Rings' trilogy, which means that Kong isn’t the only 10-ton gorilla around. With four massive successes in a row, director Peter Jackson is an enviable position as an artist, having gained enough clout that he could choose just about anything he dreamed of for his next film and he’d find a studio that would let him make it. So what should that next movie be? ... The venerable British sci-fi series 'Doctor Who' is in good hands now on the small screen, brought back to life in a cheekily well-written, Buffyesque format by 'Queer As Folk' creator Russell T. Davies. But nobody’s made a feature-length film spinoff of the series since Peter Cushing starred in two forgettable 'Doctor Who' movies in the mid-1960s. Jackson would find an excellent match for his talents in 'Who’s' match of slam-bang action, creepy horror and thought-provoking science fiction. The villains of this hypothetical film would almost certainly have to be the tank-like Daleks simply because they’re The Doctor’s most popular foes, but we’d love to see what Jackson would do with such eerie aliens as the fungoid Zygons, the amoeba-like Rutan, or the reptilian Silurians and Sea Devils. There’s plenty of other forgotten or underappreciated science fiction that would fit Jackson. Like 'Doctor Who,' lots of them are British — we’d be intrigued to see his take on the 1950s 'Quatermass' TV serials and the 1962 monster-chiller 'Day Of The Triffids.'"

A review of The Christmas Invasion today in the Sun, which says "Killer Xmas trees, slaying Santas and a sackful of sexual chemistry -the Dr Who special is the best gift fans could hope for. Best bits are the PM scrapping the Queen's Speech in an alien invasion, the Doc being revived with a cuppa, and his regenerating hand. Just don't let the evil Sycorax put you off your turkey!"

Irish News reports today that Billie Piper is among a list of celebrities (which also includes Robbie Williams and Neil Morrissey) behind a new event in aid of a Belfast-based victims support group. Actor James Nesbitt will today launch Art Wave at Belfast City Hall, a new event which will see artwork by artists and celebrities auctioned to raise funds for charity Wave, which uses the arts as therapy to help children, young people and adults who have been traumatised as a result of the Troubles. The event, set to take place next spring, will see major Irish and English artists donate pieces of work for an exhibition and auction in Belfast's City Hall.

Newsquest Media interviews Andrew Skilleter, famed illustrator responsible for many Doctor Who portraits and book jacket/video covers over the years. "Watching with particular interest as actor David Tennant takes to our screens as the tenth Dr Who this Christmas will be artist and illustrator Andrew Skilleter. For Dorset-based image-maker Andrew has been closely involved in the intergalactic time-travelling adventures of the Doctor for more than a quarter of a century. ... Twenty two years on Christmas finds the good Doctor back on the cover of the Radio Times and Andrew back in the spotlight as all things Dr Who-related are suddenly a source of universal interest. ... 'When Chris Ecclestone [sic] came on the scene there was an enormous boost in interest and with David Tennant about to take over it is still riding high. A week or so ago I was at this huge memorabilia event at the NEC. It's really been quite hectic.' Having been closely involved in the time travelling glory days of the 1980s, Andrew says he isn't entirely sure about the new era of Dr Who. 'I've tried to distance myself from it and watch it simply as a drama but I think all I can say is that when it was good it was very good indeed. I think it's a shame that Chris Ecclestone didn't stay with it a little longer, but I'm certainly going to be interested to see what David Tennant does with it.'" The article mentions that Reeltime Pictures will shortly release a "Myth Makers" documentary video that focuses on him and his work, and that some of his Target and BBC Video covers will be released as collectors' prints throughout 2006.

More reviews of "Secret Smile" starring David Tennant: the Scotsman says it "wasn't totally pish. The Chicklife seemed accurate enough, as did the motifs of middle-class life: mixed salad bowls and bottles of olive oil. But David should get as far away from this Chickstuff as he can in his TARDIS for the time being (or indeed not being)." The Daily Express says, "It has to be said, Secret Smile... hasn't given us much to smile about so far. In fact, it began with the heroine, young architect Miranda Cotton, being dead, so it's hard to imagine there can be any sort of happy ending. But even if it does take you to places you feel you'd rather not go, it's addictive viewing – largely because of a great script and convincing acting. There's something totally believable about Miranda's evil stalker Brendan, played by former Casanova star and the new Doctor Who, David Tennant."

Additional comments about the anti-war stance of "The Christmas Invasion" at The Meanwhile, American Thinker is reacting to the news by saying that "the once-respected BBC is using a Christmas Day broadcast to a science fiction series to bash America... And this from a government-owned broadcaster." Finally,InformITV talks about the 'red button' episode "Attack of the Graske".

(Thanks to Paul Engelberg, Steve Tribe, Matt Kimpton, John Bowman)

FILTER: - Russell T Davies - Press - Radio Times

A Cultural History of Doctor WhoBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 14 December 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon

April 2006 will see the publication of Inside the Tardis: A Cultural History of Doctor Who by James Chapman. The book covers the show from 1963 through to the current series, and has been researched at the BBC Written Archives Centre. James Chapman is the author of a number of books on cinema and television, including "Licence to Thrill: A Cultural History of the James Bond Films" and "Saints and Avengers: British Adventure Series of the 1960s". Inside the Tardis (which has previously been incorrectly listed on Amazon as Doctor Who - A Cultural History) will be available in hardback and paperback; further details can be obtained from the publisher (Thanks to Steve Tribe)

FILTER: - Books

TARDIS Report: Massive UpdateBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 13 December 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon

Catching up from the past six days' worth of press clips and items:

The Christmas Invasion: News Items

The Independent notes that in "The Christmas Invasion," the Doctor will save the world... and join the protest in the war in Iraq. Says the article (with major spoiler items excluded; you can read the spoiler portions of the article in the spoiler tags below): "'Tony Blair may prefer to ride out Christmas Day's Doctor Who special by sheltering behind the No 10 sofa. For one of the highlights of the BBC's festive schedule will contain a pointed anti-war message and raise the suggestion that the Prime Minister is a poodle of the US President. Russell T Davies, the chief scriptwriter, said the hour-long show - the first to star David Tennant as the new Doctor - ‘absolutely’' included an anti-war message ‘because that's what I think’. ‘It's Christmas Day. Have you read the Bible? It's a day of peace,’ he said. ... It is all a far cry from 40 years ago when the first Doctor Who episode to be broadcast on Christmas Day, called "The Feast of Steven" and starring William Hartnell as the Doctor, steered clear of political controversy. But while the sight of the Sycorax leader - an unpleasant mass of muscle and bone - could unsettle young children as well as Mr Blair, Mr Davies said the BBC had been ‘very careful" in deciding how far to take the horror element. Peter Fincham, the BBC1 controller, said the show had brought back ‘family viewing" to the channel. ‘Doctor Who has rediscovered something we had lost on BBC1 which is family viewing. When Doctor Who started suddenly it was there again. I would compare Doctor Who with films like Toy Story or Shrek which have enormous appeal to children but manage to look at adults eye to eye.’" The article The BBC1 chief praised the new Doctor. "David Tennant brings wit, heart and intelligence to the role of the Doctor." He also paid tribute to the actor Christopher Eccleston, described as "an extraordinary Doctor too ... he completely launched Doctor Who for the 21st century." Tennant notes in the article that he "fully intends" to stay in the role next year as well. The spoilers are located in the spoiler tag at the bottom of this article. The controversy about blasting the war and Tony Blair is also noted by BBC News (again, with spoilers), Contact MusicThe Age (Australia), Yahoo News UK.

Today's MediaGuardian says that "As a timelord, Doctor Who star David Tennant should know space and time are no barrier - particularly not for autograph-hunters. Last night eager fans gathered outside the screening of the Doctor Who Christmas special in London's Soho, hoping to get his signature. Alas, Tennant sniffily told them he was having a 'no autographs' day."

The Mirror says that "With a cockney accent and goofy grin, David Tennant announces his arrival as the new Doctor Who on Christmas Day. Less menacing than Christopher Eccleston and a good deal funnier, Tennant's Doctor is a move back to earlier incarnations such as Peter Davison. Writer Russell T Davies has given him a cheeky edge his predecessor lacked. From the moment he crashes out of the Tardis in front of Rose (Billie Piper), Tennant barely stops smiling. 'Appy Christmas,' he announces on his entrance with a cockney accent which would make Dick Van Dyke wince. And despite spending half the episode in bed, Tennant is every bit as cool as Eccleston in the face of adversity. 'Am I ginger?' he demands of Rose, before going all Frank Butcher. 'Ello big fella,' he tells the lead alien before challenging him to a duel. He wins with the help of a satsuma. 'Not bad for a bloke in jim-jams,' he quips. Tennant's delivery of the witty script was flawless and he shows genuine comic timing. At one point he starts to give what promises to be a profound speech to the evil Sycorax army. Then he stops. 'Sorry, that was The Lion King,' he mumbles. BBC bosses seem to have nailed Tennant down to a third series of the show, avoiding a repeat of Eccleston's sudden exit. Few fans will be left remembering - let alone regretting - the departure of the one series wonder. Not bad indeed."

BBC News notes that "the episode also features a gang of deadly robot Santas and a killer Christmas tree. ... The new series will feature a brief kiss between the Doctor and Rose. 'There is a lot more of that to come but we don't like to give anything away,' said Mr Davies. For the first time in the show's history, the previous series encouraged viewers to empathise with murderous villains The Daleks. Amid the action and humour in the forthcoming series, would viewers be asked to sympathise with returning monsters The Cybermen? 'There is a moment with them - it is a very 'feely' show,' Mr Davies said. 'We want to treat them as real, to discover why they are the way they are.' Long-term Doctor Who fan Tennant added: 'Cybermen are part human, in a way. We want to look into that.'"

Various newspapers over the weekend ran the story that there would be "no playing Doctors and Nurses in the Tardis" in the words of the Sunday Mail: "The Scots star will appear as the 10th TV Timelord in a Christmas Day special with Billie Piper as his assistant Rose. But while sparks will fly between the two says there will be no hanky-panky in space. He said: 'The story between the Doctor and Rose is basically a love story without the shagging. That's certainly something we will continue to explore. But it's still absolutely celibate. I think that's very important. As soon as there's nookie in the Tardis, it would all go wrong.' David, 34, also revealed fans can look forward to learning more about the Doctor's sexuality in the new series next spring. Gay writer Russell T Davies caused controversy by introducing a bisexual character - Captain Jack Harkness played by John Barrowman - in the last series. David said: 'The Doctor's sexuality is explored as well. We have a gentle probe into that side of the Doctor's life but without dismantling sacred churches along the way.'" Meanwhile, Sky News asks, "Who is Billie snogging? As Doctor Who's sidekick Rose, Billie Piper has battled androids, zombies and Slitheens. But could her next challenge with the Doc be a more lusty one, as the romantic temperature on the Tardis gets steamy...? Will they? Won't they? Well, when it comes to a good session of tonsil-hockey, apparently they will. Sci-fi fans rubbing their thighs in anticipation of the Christmas special Doctor Who, with new timelord David Tennant, are in for a side order of sauciness. According to David Tennant himself, the new-look Doc and monster-fighting partner Rose Tyler lock lips. And they don't hang about either - getting busy with the snogging in the first episode, straight after the old Doc regenerates into the new one." AnanovaIn The News,Daily Record and ContactMusicalso report on this.

TV Squad reviews the trailer of the holiday special.

Broadcasting Items

MediaGuardian clearly believes David Tennant had something to do with the ratings success of Secret Smile last night. "More than 7 million viewers took the opportunity to watch new Doctor Who David Tennant playing a bad guy last night, in ITV1 thriller Secret Smile. ITV1's adaptation of Nicci French's novel stars Tennant as Brendan Block, a manipulative, obsessive former boyfriend of Kate Ashfield's character, Miranda, who when the relationship ends, starts going out with her sister, played by Claire Goose. The first episode of a two-parter, Secret Smile launched with 7.4 million viewers and a 33% audience share between 9pm and 10.30pm, according to unofficial overnights."

Industry magazine Broadcast on 9 December reported on the BBC's continuing efforts to sell the new series to US networks, saying, "The corporation is thought to be holding off making a long-term sale in the hope of attracting a mainstream cable operator after the success of the first series on major Canadian broadcaster CBS." The magazine has spoken to the chief operating officer of sales for BBC Worldwide, who mentions that there have been offers from a number of cable networks, but that the series is "a very important brand for us. We're looking for a commitment to the franchise and marketing it." The report also confirms that BBC America "remains keen to acquire the series" and is "currently in discussion" with BBC Worldwide. Broadcast, noting the now-scheduled US release of the DVD set, also observes that the commissioning of a third series may make Doctor Who more attractive in the USA. The full report is available on the Broadcastnow website.

Brand Republic reported on 8 December that BT had unveiled details of its move into broadband television, after signing content deals with the BBC, Paramount and Warner Music Group. "BT's TV over broadband will launch next autumn and give customers access to on-demand film, music and television, as well as communications services through their television sets. The service is being claimed as a world first, and is being offered to BT Broadband customers without the need for monthly subscription fees. Paramount's deal will see it provide BT with recent film releases in the pay-per-view window as well as a library of older and classic films, which will be served on an on-demand basis. BBC Worldwide is to provide what is described as 'blue-chip programming'. It is believed this will include top BBC comedy and dramas such as 'Dr Who' and 'Extras'. Ian Livingston, BT Retail CEO, said: 'Our customers will be able to enjoy enhanced TV services and easy access to a wealth of interactive content and new services straight to their TV. Whether you are a music fan, love films or hooked on drama you will get the best in entertainment when you want it. BT is defining next-generation TV.'" Also reported at CommentWireCBR Online,RevolutionMagazine.

Other TV Series Items

David Tennant and Russell T Davies were interviewed in the Observeron December 11: "This Christmas, 34-year-old David Tennant replaces Christopher Eccleston to become the 10th Doctor, bringing to the series a legion of female admirers won largely through his two recent acclaimed television roles, in Peter Bowker's Dennis Potter-influenced Blackpool, and Doctor Who writer Russell T Davies's equally left-field and compelling Casanova. ... 'I know that in Casanova Russell wrote a lot of that stuff where the character's thoughts change very quickly, so you're still finishing off one thought as you catch up with the next, and he's written the Doctor in the same way, which is great to play because you get to be the guy with all the best lines and the wit, and it really has to be played at a lick. I think that's very attractive to watch in a character, when they're plucking all these extraordinary thoughts down and you have to race to catch up, kind of like The West Wing. Russell's a lot like that himself.' ... 'He came to mind straightaway when we had to find a new Doctor,' says Davies, who is executive producer of Doctor Who as well as scriptwriter. 'We'd established that we were both fans when we were working on Casanova, and when Christopher left he seemed the obvious choice. It's a very hard part to play because a lot of character work is based on the character's past, and with a 900-year-old Time Lord it's hard to find the normal baggage. And he's the centre of every scene so he has to have great charisma and invention. I think David brings to it a fantastic sense of humour, he can find a lightness even in the darkest of scenes, which is a very human thing, and that's quite rare for a leading man.' I ask Tennant if he was nervous about accepting the role, in case his career might come to be defined by it. 'When I was first asked I just remember laughing an awful lot because it seemed so hilarious,' he says. 'Then in the days that followed I did have a few wobbles because it seemed such a specific thing to take on; any long series turns into a certain type of thing and this comes with so many expectations. Then I just woke up one morning and thought, what on earth are you thinking of, just do it, you're only the 10th bloke who's ever got to do this, you'd be kicking yourself for the rest of your life. It was made easier by the fact that Chris had done it, because of the type of work that he's done and wants to do again.' ... 'It's ...' here he becomes slightly awkward. 'Timelords can only have 13 bodies, but I'm sure when they get to that they can find some storyline where he falls in a vat of replenishing cream or something. But so many factors decide what happens next year, it's not entirely down to - I mean, if the show suddenly gets 200 viewers and I'm the only thing that's changed, then ...' he shrugs. 'You'll have Charlie Drake as the 11th Doctor before you know it.' ... '[Billie's] just perfect,' he says, 'she was so welcoming and easy to work with, and I was nervous about that, because it's nine months and a lot of stuff to do together and that relationship has really got to work, just from a getting-through-the-day point of view, never mind the acting side. I really think she is a brilliant actress, too: in every take she's got something new, she makes it look effortless.' He goes on to enthuse about the way in which Davies, since he took over, has invested the characters with an emotional life that wasn't foregrounded in the earlier series, so that in many ways it is a love story. 'I mean, they're not shagging, but in every other way, they're a couple. Like John Steed and Emma Peel. Mind you,' he adds, 'he is about 900 and she's 19, so it'd be a bit ... Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones.' ... 'So long as nobody falls out with me and they think that I am doing an all right job, I imagine I'll be back in Cardiff this time next year.'" More of the interview at the website.

Manchester Online reports that "Russell T Davies has revealed he would love to make a film of the hit sci-fi show. Speaking after the London premiere of the Doctor Who Christmas Day special, he said: 'Wouldn't that be marvellous?' The new tenth Time Lord, David Tennant, who took over from Salford's Christopher Eccleston, also said he would be up for a film version. He said: 'Let's do that.'"

The Sydney Morning Herald in Australia awarded Doctor Who’s return an "honourable mention" in annual TV "awards" given by the SMH's TV critics. "Casanova" starring David Tennant also won Best Imported Miniseries/Telemovie: "Funny, witty, colourful and naughty with excellent writing, acting, dancing and costumes, Casanova got the big smooch. The against-type casting of David Tennant was genius. ‘He wasn't good looking, but I'd give him one,’ said one female judge."

New Woman magazine (January 2006 issue) rates David Tennant their number one (out of 6) 'sexiest men on tv' for 2006 (the others are Hans Matheson, Adrian Lester, Mirek Simunek, Oliver Chris and Rob Rouse.)

The London local newspaper the Hornsey & Crouch End Journal this week reports that David Tennant has made time to join opposition to plans for the construction of a concrete factory. Tennant is a Crouch End resident (when not in Cardiff), and he has apparently joined a number of other local celebrities in the campaign. The report states that Tennant has "spoken out" against the factory plans, although the article carries no actual quotes from him. Also reported at Tottenham Journal.

The Daily Mirror on 8 December ran a short piece on some of Billie Piper's comments (although the paper does, unusually, credit DWM for its interview). Of most interest to the Mirror is that Piper sees the show as a "fantastic training ground" for her future career and, of course, her comment that Rose might be in love with the Doctor rather than with Mickey. Also highlighted is her description of herself and Tennant as "like a married couple" - "If we want to be silent between takes we can be and we don't worry about the other person thinking we're a bit boring."

Classic Series Stories

An article in the Medway News local newspaper written by Restoration Team member Richard Bignell asks locals on the Isle of Grain for their memories of the filming of the classic series episode "Inferno" to be included on the special features of a DVD release "next summer." Outpost Gallifrey previously reported that "Inferno" was tentatively on the books for release on DVD in 2006.

BBC News reports that an auction of film and entertainment memorabilia on 14 December will include a model TARDIS. "A 17-inch model of Doctor Who's Tardis first used as a prop in a 1965 episode of the classic BBC science fiction series is being auctioned. The plywood time-travelling device is being offered for sale at Christie's auction house on 14 December. The famous blue police box is expected to fetch up to £6,000 and was built at the BBC visual effects department. ... According to Christie's, one of its last screen appearances as a set-used model was in the first appearance of John Pertwee as the third Doctor in 1970. It was then photographed for use in the title sequences for the fourth Doctor, Tom Baker." Also reported at Yahoo NewsThe Mirror,Daily Record.

The Hampstead Express reported that Sylvester McCoy was on hand last week, along with X Factor contestant Cassie Compton, to help turn on the Christmas lights at the entertainment centre.

Cambridge News briefly covered a public appearance by Cybermen and Davros at an open day this past weekend in Cambridge. "The deadly aliens and their evil genius creator, Davros, will be joined by the terrifying Cybermen and a host of other Doctor Who characters as part of an open day at the University of Cambridge's physics department on Sunday. But rather than battling the good Doctor, the metal meanies will be taking on Albert Einstein in a Call My Bluff-style science quiz. And if you're worried about the prospect of being exterminated, don't panic - the Doctor's trusty robot dog K-9 will also be on hand to keep the murderous pepperpots at bay. The event, held at the University's world-famous physics laboratory on Madingley Road, is designed to make physics fun and accessible."

The Telegraph on 11 December discussed Doctor Who collectables, with the writer noting that "I've never managed to sit through an entire episode. I always seem to get lost somewhere in the space-time conundrum and end up making a cup of tea instead. Dr Who collectibles, however, are much more likely to hold my attention. There has been a resurgence of interest in all things timelord since the relaunch of the series earlier in the year. On eBay, there have been more than 4,000 trades in Dr Who merchandise over the past month. ... According to David J. Howe, the author of Transcendental Toybox, a complete guide to Dr Who merchandise, Dr Who memorabilia historically has proved a good investment. 'It's taken off in a big way with the new series and the whole market has become a lot more buoyant,' he says. 'The amount of merchandise produced has tripled this year, compared with 2004. For that reason, the rarer stuff from the 60s is obviously more sought after. There were only three or four genuine Tardises made. Asking how much they can fetch now is like asking how much someone is willing to pay for van Gogh's Sunflowers.'"

The BBC Press Office has put out a press release about the third series of the drama "Sea of Souls," which it notes that "the series finale ends in suitably dramatic fashion with a guest appearance from the eighth Dr Who and star of Hornblower and Kidnapped, Paul McGann, who plays a charismatic, yet sinister, businessman embroiled in black magic. ‘We are thrilled to have Paul McGann on board as a guest artist,’ says McKissack. ‘He is a real treat to work with - he's interesting because he's one of those performers who can be quite a sexy presence on screen one minute and then very scary the next. Which is the perfect combination for an unsettling show like Sea Of Souls.’"

December 11's Queensland Sunday Mail from Australia notes that original series actress Katy Manning, who now lives in Australia, "is bringing a one-person show, Me and Jezebel, to Brisbane for an eight-week season at the StageDoor Dinner Theatre in Bowen Hills next year. The play is writer Elizabeth Fuller's true account of how screen superstar Bette Davis came to her home to stay for one night and ended up staying for a month - turning her household upside down, teaching her child swear words and nearly wrecking her marriage. ... The show will run from February 3 to March 25. Bookings and details: 3216 1115."

Miscellaneous Items

Media Guardian reports that there is a possibility of a live Doctor Who show at some point in the future. "Now we are in development with a live dance show inspired by Strictly Come Dancing," says Craig Stanley of BBC Worldwide. "And there is also the possibility of a Doctor Who live show at some point in the future."

Some reviews of Secret Smile, David Tennant's new television foray. "Slightly predictable but Tennant makes a terrifically deranged villain, just in time for panto season," says the Guardian, which also notes (website) that "the real mystery in Secret Smile wasn't who killed Miranda - it was how they all managed to put away so much booze." "I can't imagine many blokes, other than the supinely married, watching much beyond the first ten minutes," says the Scotsman. The Sunday Life says that "Personally, I reckon he's Oscar material. It surely can't be long now before Hollywood discovers yet another British leading man who, as well as having great camera presence and being particularly toothsome, is blessed with the best pair of lamps in the business. For where David Tennant, the former Casanova and new Doctor Who is concerned, the eyes have it. They are large, deep-set and can convey an enormous range of expression within the space of a few milliseconds. ... The thing is well written and beautifully executed. The only fly in the ointment is the female lead, Kate Ashfield as Miranda. If Tennant's eyes do most of the acting for him, those belonging to Ms Ashfield do her no favours whatsoever, being as calm and devoid of expression as a millpond." And the Independent On Sunday says that "It's not easy to live with such dedication in the realms of the strange, but David Tennant has a go in Secret Smile, a thriller about stalking based on the novel by Nicci French. Crap title: not a bad show. ... Tennant perhaps overdoes the manic stare, but then with him it does come naturally. And he certainly turns in an unlikeable performance."

January will see an opportunity for small fans already kitted out in Doctor Who pyjamas to go to sleep under a Doctor Who duvetLinenstore UKare listing a matching set of pillowcase and duvet featuring the Dalek/Slitheen montage used in various publicity posters this year, in a child's bedding size and a single bed size; the set also includes TARDIS-themed curtains.

The US cable network Comedy Central program Last Laugh this weekend featured a mock Dalek accosting actor Andy Dick, who played a wedding planner for Tom Cruise and joked about his Scientology background; says our correspondent, "The eyestalk emitted a beam that erased Andy's memories as part of the non-disclosure agreement with Cruise."

(Thanks to Paul Engelberg, Steve Tribe, Peter Weaver, Chuck Foster, Paul Hayes, Peter Anghelides, John Bowman, Simon Bishop, Dennis Cattell, Michael Ewers, Stephen James Walker, Robert J.E. Simpson, Adam Kirk, Cody Schell, Darren Pickles)
From the Independent:

"In the prime-time special, the Doctor is called on to help repel an invasion by a particularly ugly race, the Sycorax. In a somewhat nostalgic interpretation of modern power politics, the newly elected Prime Minister Harriet Jones, played by Penelope Wilton, is in charge of handling the threat. When her assistant informs her the US President is on the telephone and wants to take control of the situation, she replies in no uncertain terms: 'Use these exact words - 'He is not my boss and he is certainly not turning this into a war'.'

The Prime Minister's pacifist instincts are overridden when, in an echo of Margaret Thatcher's decision to attack the General Belgrano during the Falklands conflict in 1982, she orders the destruction of a retreating alien spaceship. The Doctor, who opens the drama regenerating in bed, while his assistant Rose Tyler faces an evil trio of masked Santas and a killer Christmas tree, is disapproving and ensures that she is swiftly declared 'unfit for duty.'

According to Mr Davies: 'She [Prime Minister Jones] does that very easy speech about not listening to the American president, but at the end she's out of her depth and she does the wrong thing.'"

As well as the implicit reference to Mr Blair's support for President George Bush over the invasion of Iraq there is a plot line involving a new secret missile defence system called Torchwood.

FILTER: - Specials - Russell T Davies - DWM - Press

Boxed Set Brief UpdateBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 13 December 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon

The UK version of the New Series Boxed Set, as previously reported, contains several errors, including the inability to play the entirety of "World War Three" from the episodic option. UK viewers are asked to call the BBC help line at 0870 241 0624 prior to returning their discs; they will send a replacement disc as available. Meanwhile, Outpost Gallifrey has been informed that the Australian version of the boxed set has been recalled by the manufacturers because they hold the same problems; there is currently no word about when they will be re-released, although current information indicates it is likely in early January.

FILTER: - UK - Series 1/27 - Blu-ray/DVD

TV Series Book Sales - UpdatedBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 13 December 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon

The 9 December edition of the Bookseller focuses on Science Fiction and Fantasy books and includes a chart of the Top 20 SF Hardback Titles in the 26 weeks to 19 November, a period which neatly encompasses the whole sales period for the first three BBC Books Ninth Doctor novels. With combined sales of over 80,000 units, the initial Doctor Who range has been outsold only by Harry Potter and Terry Pratchett, and the trade magazine comments that "one of the stories of the year has been the revival of 'Doctor Who'. The six novels based on the regenerated BBC series all feature on the hardback chart, with combined sales through BookScan's Total Consumer Market of well over 100,000. A Christmas Day special will introduce the new Doctor, David Tennant, while three new novels by Stephen Cole, Justin Richards and Jacqueline Rayner will accompany the start of the next series at Easter 2006." The second batch of three novels also features in the chart although, with a sales period of only 38% of that for the first wave and with no series on television, this set has done well to sell 37% of the first-batch sales (30,673 in 11 weeks, to 81,942 in 26 weeks). The Bookseller's chart of the Top 20 Children's Books also continues to show great success for Panini's Doctor Who Annual 2006, which has continued to perform strongly over the last month and managing to break into the Top 10 for a while with steadily building sales.
Also, on the subject of TV series tie-in books, one of the books in the Doctor Who Files series from BBC Children's Books next spring has, according to Amazon, changed its title, from 'New Earth' to The Sycorax.
(Thanks to Steve Tribe)

FILTER: - Books