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 Sensorites - Preview ClipsBookmark and Share

Friday, 20 January 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster
The BBC/2Entertain have released a couple of clips from Looking for Peter, a feature on the forthcoming The Sensorites DVD out next Monday. The item features presenter Toby Hadoke tracing the life of the largely unknown writer of the story, Peter R. Newman.

In the first clip, Toby meets up with Richard Bignell at Alexandra Palace to discuss potential clues:

Looking for Peter (clip 1), 2Entertain, via YouTube

In the second clip, Toby visits archivist Marcus Hearn to discuss Newman's work with Hammer Films:

Looking For Peter (clip 2), 2Entertain, via YouTube


In other news, Mark Ayres has reported that the 'Revisited' re-release of Sixth Doctor story Vengeance on Varos will also feature a new 5.1 Surround Mix to accompany the original mono soundtrack.

Also, last year's release of Day of the Daleks has been named the Best DVD Exclusive for 2011 in Home Cinema Choice magazine's awards.





FILTER: - Classic Series - Blu-ray/DVD

Contributors sought for book on religion in seriesBookmark and Share

Friday, 20 January 2012 - Reported by John Bowman
Two academics planning a book examining portrayals of religion in Doctor Who and its spin-offs are seeking written contributions.

Andrew Crome and James McGrath are compiling a publication - called Religion and Doctor Who: Time, Space and Faith - consisting of academic essays, and people are being invited to submit 300-word summaries (aka abstracts) for consideration. If accepted, they would need developing for inclusion in the publication. A word limit for the final pieces has not been set yet but even if there is one there will probably be some flexibility.

Dr Crome, who works in the School of English at Trinity College Dublin, told Doctor Who News:
"The book will examine the subject in its widest possible sense, and we encourage articles on any aspect of religion in Doctor Who, including its spin-off TV series, novels and audios, religion in fan cultures, and the use of Doctor Who in religious debates. We're looking for essays that will be both academically rigorous and engaging."

Other aspects of Doctor Who to be looked at are the internet and video games.

Dr McGrath, who works in religion and philosophy at Butler University, Indianapolis, said the book was aimed at a popular-academic readership, and possible subjects - among many - include:

  • Death and the afterlife in Doctor Who and Torchwood
  • The Doctor as a Christ figure
  • Portrayals of non-Christian religions in the classic or revived series
  • Fan response to "religious" episodes
  • The use of Doctor Who by religious organisations

The deadline for the summaries is Friday 20th April and a short biography of the author should accompany them. More details, including a contact e-mail address, are available here.




FILTER: - Books

Jenny Tomasin 1936-2012Bookmark and Share

Thursday, 19 January 2012 - Reported by Marcus
Jenny TomasinThe actress Jenny Tomasin has died at the age of 75.

Tomasin played the role of Tasambeker, an employee of Tranquil Repose, in the 1985 Doctor Who story Revelation of the Daleks.

She was best known for her portrayal of the long-suffering Ruby in the London Weekend Television production Upstairs Downstairs, appearing in 41 episodes. Her role, as the put-upon kitchen maid who nurtured dreams of running away with Rudolph Valentino, made her one of the most popular characters in the series.

In 1981 Tomasin had a small part in Emmerdale Farm as Naomi Tolly. She also had parts in Crossroads and Martin Chuzzlewit. During the nineties she performed in many regional pantomimes, and in 2005 she returned to Emmerdale, this time playing Noreen Bell, a cantankerous villager, who was eventually killed off in July 2006.

Jenny Tomasin was born on November 30, 1936 in Leeds, West Yorkshire. It is believed she died earlier this week.

UPDATE - 3rd February 2012:
Upstairs, Downstairs co-star Simon Williams, who appeared in the following Dalek story Remembrance of the Daleks, has paid tribute to Jenny Tomasin in an obituary in The Stage. The Independent has also run an obituary.

UPDATE - 12th February 2012:
Jenny Tomasin died on 3rd January from hypertensive heart disease, according to the coroner's office. Confirmation of her death was delayed because she had no immediate survivors. [The Washington Post]




FILTER: - People - Obituary - Classic Series

Moths un-mothballedBookmark and Share

Thursday, 19 January 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Just when you thought it was safe to finally stow your scarf away in the back of the wardrobe, actor/comedian/Doctor Who DVD moderator Toby Hadoke has announced some new dates for his acclaimed one-man show Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf!
I am supposed to have broken out the Mothballs, but as I run a very community based comedy club myself (XS Malarkey in Manchester) I find it hard to resist when asked to take my beloved show to a similar kind of place, so I've agreed to do four gigs this year, some of them quite out in the sticks. If you want a rare 2012 chance to catch it before the moths finally fly away, these look like your only options, although we think there's life in the old lepidoptera yet and hope to make an exciting Londonesque announcement soon.

2nd March - Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal
30th March - Neston Civic Hall
31st March - Bradwall, Cheshire (updated)
29th June - Beacon Fringe, Beacon Arts Centre, Tunbridge Wells

You can find out more details of Toby's shows via his website.





FILTER: - Special Events

Torchwood nominated for GLAAD AwardBookmark and Share

Thursday, 19 January 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Torchwood: Miracle Day has been nominated in the Outstanding Drama Series category of the 23rd Annual GLAAD Awards. The Starz series is up against Degrassi (TeenNick), Grey's Anatomy (ABC), Pretty Little Liars (ABC Family), Shameless (Showtime).

The GLAAD Media Awards honor outstanding media images of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community that inspire change. The GLAAD Media Awards serve as a benchmark for the media industry and complement GLAAD’s work to bring LGBT images and stories to Americans.

The Awards ceremonies take place at the Marriott Marquis (New York, 24 Mar), the Westin Bonadventure (Los Angeles, 21 Apr), and at the Marriott Marquis (San Francisco, 2 Jun).




FILTER: - Torchwood - Awards/Nominations - Miracle Day (Series 4)

Production RoundupBookmark and Share

Thursday, 19 January 2012 - Reported by John Bowman
As full production gets nearer, here is a roundup of current information known about the forthcoming seventh new series of Doctor Who.

Production

January 3rd saw producer Marcus Wilson announce a start to the new year on Twitter: "Back in Cardiff. Series 7 Production office open for business - here we go again." He also observed: "Just worked out this year we're making the hundredth ep of DW since the series returned. Nice milestone. There should be a cake!"

As far as the Series 7 writers are concerned, Mark Gatiss intimates in the Production Notes of the latest edition of Doctor Who Magazine that he is penning an episode. Previously, we reported that Torchwood scribe John Fay had been commissioned to write for the upcoming series, and his agency, Culverhouse & James Ltd, has updated its website entry on him to state that he has written for the show.

Filming for the series is expected to begin in February.

Series schedule

An interview with Steven Moffat that was published by The Scotsman shortly before the Christmas special aired tackled the thorny issue of Series 7's scheduling and how many episodes will be shown this year and next. Asked to shed light on it, he said: "I can clarify that we start shooting in mid-February, but I can't tell you what the schedule is. What headlines are you planning for that time of year? I’ve only just found out what the transmission schedule is for Sherlock, and I've finished making that. I've barely started writing Doctor Who. Loads of things are in flux, all for good reasons actually."

Where 2013 and the show's 50th anniversary are concerned, Moffat gave a strong hint that fans may get more than one special episode. "Why talk in the singular? Again, genuinely, the plans are at an early stage, but we have some very clear ideas about some of the things we're doing, and I think Doctor Who fans and kids will think it's the best thing ever. We've got a load of very big plans – the mere fact that we're talking about this two years before the event should tell you how seriously we're taking it."

During a video interview at this year's Radio Times covers party, which was uploaded yesterday, Moffat said of the show's 50th anniversary: "I promise you, for so many reasons I can't talk about yet, there will never be a better time to be a Doctor Who fan, I absolutely promise that."

He also said the series would be returning this year on an unspecified date in the autumn "for a long run" but he wouldn't be pinned down on its length. However, he stated that it would comprise at least 14 episodes, as it would include a Christmas special. "We always do 14 because we do the Christmas special as well and obviously we start in the autumn with the Christmas special as part of the run, so it'll be at least 14," he said.

Sidekicks

As we await an official announcement regarding Amy and Rory's replacement aboard the TARDIS following their upcoming departure, speculation continues in the press. After an enigmatic tweet by showrunner Steven Moffat, the Daily Star reckons Sophia Myles could be the one. What doesn't help the Star in the credibility stakes, though, is the photo it is currently using to accompany the article - the caption states that it depicts Myles but it is actually of Karen Gillan as Jean Shrimpton in We'll Take Manhattan, to be shown next Thursday on BBC Four at 9pm.

Meanwhile, in an interview for Radio Times in its new edition, which features her on the cover, Gillan talks about leaving the programme. "It was a completely mutual agreement," she insists. "Steven Moffat and I decided when would be the best time for Amy to go." Gillan might know when she's going but she doesn’t know how - only that Moffat has promised it will be heartbreaking. "I'd like to see her go out in flames of glory," she says.

One name that has resurfaced as potential companion material is that of Miranda Hart. It was widely reported last summer that she had been offered a role in the show by Steven Moffat but had been stopped from accepting it by BBC One controller Danny Cohen, who wanted her to focus on her comedy. Now it seems that her name is being bandied about again. Please note, though, that it is pure conjecture and may not even relate to a companion role. Last month we reported how Ladbrokes was offering odds of 4/1 for Jessica Brown Findlay as the new companion, with Lily Cole at 6/1, Daisy Lowe at 10/1, and Chelsee Healey at 12/1.




FILTER: - Steven Moffat - Karen Gillan - Production - Series 7/33

The Eternity ClockBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 18 January 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster
The official Playstation Blog has detailed twelve of what they consider the biggest and exciting game releases for 2012, one of which is the forthcoming Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock:
As the longest-running science fiction TV show in the world, Doctor Who will materialise this year on PlayStation 3 in a thrilling adventure game. Featuring a mysterious being known as the Doctor, hostile aliens, Earth-shattering plots and time travel, who wouldn't want to play a Doctor Who game?

Take control of the Timelord and his feisty companion River Song on a journey through space and time where your actions in one era can influence events in another...
The BBC have released a screen shot from the game (as seen above) via their Facebook page, and an additional two images appeared via the game's official Twitter feed.


(via Twitter)


(via Twitter)

(with thanks to Vitas Varnas)




FILTER: - Doctor Who - Games

Regional RoundupBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 17 January 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster

United Kingdom

Branton (Suffolk) resident Gary Gibbons surprised his wife Sandra by building her a TARDIS shed for the garden, complete with flashing light! The fan said of her new addition: "I needed a new shed for all my gardening tools so I could get them into one place and Gary piped up and said: 'Why don’t I make you a Tardis?' I thought he was joking at first and did not think he would actually go through with it, but there it is in our garden. All the neighbours have been commenting about how quirky it is and asking what time Doctor Who will be arriving. My children absolutely love it - my son Jody, who is a big sci-fi fan, helped Gary to build it." [East Anglian Daily Times, 8 Jan 2012]

Daleks and K9 were on-hand alongside Darth Vader and other Star Wars characters at the Orchards Shopping Centre in Dartford to raise money for charity. Mayor Cllr Eddy Lampkin said: "It was great to see these hugely popular characters drawing in people of all ages to have their pictures taken and donate money to Cherished Memories – a very worthwhile cause." [Dartford and Swanley News, 12 Jan 2012]

Members of the Loudoun Musical Society got to meet John Barrowman when they went to see him in Robinson Crusoe at the SECC. The group are staging The Producers this week, one of the actor's favourite shows - he played the lead tenor stormtrooper in the 2005 film version. [Kilmarnock Standard, 13 Jan 2012]

Staff at Sheffield Children's Hospital are to perform a concert of children's music at the City Hall alongside the city's Endcliffe Orchestra in order to raise money for an expansion to the facility. Music will include Peter and the Wolf, The Simpsons, Wallace and Gromit and Doctor Who; Endcliffe's conductor Martin Lightowler said: "We’re making the programme family-friendly to encourage mums and dads to bring their children and spend an afternoon doing something different. We all love Doctor Who – and it’s great to hear the music of such a fantastic TV show come to life in front of your eyes and ears." [The Star, 13 Jan 2012]




FILTER: - Miscellaneous

People RoundupBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 17 January 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Karen Gillan (seen here on the cover of the new Radio Times) commented on how she could have met Jean Shrimpton, who she plays in We'll Take Manhattan next week: "She runs a hotel in Penzance. Part of me was tempted to check in but I thought that might be a little weird. I read her modelling guide and her autobiography, though. The guide was written at the height of her fame, the autobiography later on in life, so she’s far more honest in that about how she feels. She hated the fame side of things." [Express, 12 Jan 2012]

The actress also commented on things that help unclutter her head: "Space! I went to the Royal Observatory the other day, and looked through the biggest telescope in the UK. I saw a star from 47 years in the past. Yep, space excites me. My dream is to go to space. And dreams – I find the meanings of dreams very interesting. And the brain. Did you know the brain has three layers, and when we're drunk, we revert to the bottom layer, which is only interested in eating, sleeping and 'meeting a partner'. And music connects to that layer, that bottom layer! Did you know that?" [Guardian, 14 Jan 2012]

Producer Caroline Skinner commented on her arrival into the world of Doctor Who with the Christmas Special: "That was an absolutely fantastic one to start on. And now, I'm thrilled and slightly daunted at the scale of what we're achieving in the next series. We're not too far away from starting shooting, and I think it's going to be the biggest series ever - 2013 is going to be the biggest year in the history of Doctor Who so far." [io9, 12 Jan 2012]

John Barrowman and Raquel Cassidy will be appearing in Hustle on Friday 3rd February as diet fraudsters Dr Dean Deville and his wife, Dana. The episode airs at 9pm on BBC One. [BBC Media Centre, 17 Jan 2012]

Bob Baker (writer/K9 co-creator) and his wife Marie have been helping students at Fareham College on literary and theatrical projects, sharing their experience in the industry and providing feedback on their work. The writer said: "The main thing is to start working on something and to keep sending it away. They should try to get their work on somewhere – whether on TV or a play – so they can hear it spoken because that’s important." [Western Wards Gazette, 13 Jan 2012]

In Memoriam

The actor Harry Fowler, who played Harry in Remembrance of the Daleks, has died at the age of 85. He had numerous TV and film credits and was possibly best known as Corporal "Flogger" Hoskins in the ITV sitcom The Army Game, in which he appeared with William Hartnell (as Sgt Major Percy Bullimore) during the show's fifth and final series, which ran from September 1960 to June 1961.

(newslinks: Telegraph, Guardian, Independent, Mirror, also with thanks to Chris Winwood)




FILTER: - People - Karen Gillan - Caroline Skinner - John Barrowman

iPlayer 2011 FiguresBookmark and Share

Monday, 16 January 2012 - Reported by Marcus
Doctor Who: iPlayerDoctor Who finished as the 7th most accessed programme on the BBC iPlayer for December 2011 and the 5th most accessed programme in Christmas Week, according to figures released by the BBC.

The Christmas Special, The Doctor The Widow and the Wardrobe, was accessed 0.85 million times in the last seven days of the year following its broadcast on Christmas Day. The top requested programme of December was the Top Gear India Special, which had 1.32 million requests. Frozen Planet and the Christmas episodes of EastEnders also scored highly along with Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow.

The BBC iPlayer hit record levels in 2011, with 1.94 billion requests across all platforms during the year. Doctor Who: The Impossible Astronaut finished as the 3rd most requested programme of the year, with 1.93 million requesting the episode at some point. Top of the list was Episode 1 of the David Attenborough Natural History series Frozen Planet, To the Ends of the Earth, which had 2.42 million requesting it. Second was Episode 2 of the comedy series Come Fly With Me.

Each episode of the 2011 series of Doctor Who finished in the top 50 for the year, with Torchwood: Miracle Day - The New World just scraping in at number 50.

As a brand Doctor Who had over 25 million requests during the year. The top brand was EastEnders with 114 million requests, albeit spread over many more episodes. Top Gear had 29.6 million requests and The Chris Moyles Show had 26.3 million requests.

For Doctor Who, Season 32/Series 6 accounted for 18.9 million requests with the previous year accounting for another 3.8 million requests. Doctor Who Confidential Series 6 accounted for 1.1 million requests.

The first Matt Smith episode, The Eleventh Hour, remains as the most accessed programme ever on iPlayer with over 2.62 million requesting it since its transmission. Frozen Planet: Episode 1 is now the 2nd most requested programme and The Impossible Astronaut is currently the eleventh most accessed programme.





FILTER: - Doctor Who - Ratings - UK