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 5 - An Unearthly Series - The Origins of a TV Legend: First published 23 Nov 2012

100 Years of the BBCBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 18 October 2022 - Reported by Nick Salmond

BBC Logo (Credit: BBC)Today marks the 100th anniversary of the creation of the BBC.

The British Broadcasting Company came into existence on 18th October 1922, a private company owned by the leading electronics companies of the day, with a remit to provide radio broadcasts that could be heard on wireless sets manufactured by its owners. 

Its first office was at Magnet House near Covent Garden in London. On its creation, it took over control of the already up-and-running Radio 2LO, owned by Marconi, one of the BBC's investors. 

Over the next five years, new Radio stations were launched in the major cities of the UK and the BBC soon became part of national life. 

On 1st January 1927, the BBC was reborn as a Corporation under a Royal Charter and the British Broadcasting Company became the British Broadcasting Corporation led by its first Director General, Sir John Reith. 

Experimental television broadcasts were started in 1929, using a 30-line system developed by John Logie Baird, using Radio frequencies after normal programmes had closed down for the night. A regular Television service started from Alexandra Palace in November 1936, the world's first High Definition Television service. 

The outbreak of World War II in 1939 saw Television broadcasts suspended, but Radio continued with the BBC, through its home and overseas services, becoming a vital part of the information war. Winston Churchill delivered 33 major wartime speeches by radio and in 1940, French general Charles de Gaulle, in exile in London as the leader of the Free French, made a speech, urging the French people not to capitulate to the Nazis. 

The Power of the DoctorTelevision resumed in 1946, with the BBC having a monopoly of the airwaves until the arrival of ITV in 1955. Almost everything broadcast was live, including drama, with very limited ability to record items in advance.  

When Doctor Who was first broadcast, on 23rd November 1963, there were still only two television channels available in the UK. A third arrived in 1964 with the launch of BBC Two. Recording was still very elementary, and editing was costly and avoided whenever possible.  Early Doctor Who's were recorded 'as live' onto 2 inch magnetic tape. Many of these early recordings were later wiped for reuse, meaning 97 episodes are missing from the archives. 

Colour television arrived towards the end of the 1960s. Doctor Who was made in colour from the start of its seventh season which saw the arrival of the third Doctor. 

Doctor Who would be an important part of the BBC One schedule throughout the 1970s and 1980s. The suspension of the series in 1989 was met by many protests from fans around the world. 

A TV Movie was made in America in 1996 but was not deemed successful enough to merit a new series. 

It was in 2003 that Doctor Who News reported that the BBC would be bringing back the series, under the artistic direction of Russell T Davies. The return in 2005 was spectacularly successful with the series an important part of the BBC schedules ever since. The TV landscape in 2022 is a world away from that when the series launched in 1963 with hundreds of TV stations competing for viewers with hugely well-resourced streaming services. 

 

Doctor Who has been part of the BBC's identity for over half of the BBC's existence and still remains a vital part of the BBC's output. 

A special 90-minute episode, the Power of the Doctor, will screen next Sunday, part of the events to mark the 100th anniversary. The story will feature the swan song of the first female Doctor, Jodie Whittaker.  

The episode will mark the end of the Chibnall era of the Doctor's adventures and mark the return of Russell T Davies to the helm. It is clear that Doctor Who will be part of the BBC's ethos for many years to come.

We have adventures for the Tenth Doctor in the pipeline and the series has a brand new Doctor to look forward to.  Ncuti Gatwa will be leading the TARDIS team into the BBC's second Century. 

 

 

 

 





FILTER: - BBC

Doctor Who features in most loved BBC Shows of all timeBookmark and Share

Saturday, 29 January 2022 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Logo for Most Loved BBC TV Show

As part of the BBC Centenary celebrations, The One Show conducted a viewer poll to discover the most loved BBC TV shows of all time. The results were announced live on Friday evening, revealing Doctor Who to be the second-favourite show in the Corporation's history, only beaten by the ever popular Only Fools and Horses.

The poll featured some 50 programmes showcasing a variety of genre from throughout the BBC's history, as chosen by a panel of experts which included Sara Wallis, Mirror TV Columnist, David Butcher, Radio Times’ Choices Editor, Dick Fiddy, BFI Archive TV Programmer and Hanna Flint, Freelance Critic and MTV Movies Host.

The full Top 20 programmes are:

  1. Only Fools and Horses
  2. Doctor Who
  3. Strictly Come Dancing
  4. Line of Duty
  5. Call the Midwife
  6. Gavin and Stacey
  7. Fawlty Towers
  8. Blackadder
  9. The Morecambe and Wise Show
  10. The Vicar of Dibley
  11. Dad's Army
  12. Planet Earth I and II
  13. Killing Eve
  14. Dinnerladiers
  15. Yes Minister / Yes Prime Minister
  16. Sherlock
  17. The Good Life
  18. Top of the Pops
  19. The Royle Family
  20. Blue Peter

The One Show presenter Alex Jones said:

It’s been a joy to look back and celebrate some classic TV shows from the BBC’s history as part of BBC 100. There’s been an absolutely huge response from our lovely viewers and though we couldn’t fit everything onto the list, our viewers have shown so much love for these classic shows that have connected with them across generations.

 

The full programme, including articles on many of the shows in the poll and guide through some of the objects illustrating the BBC's history, will be available via the BBC iPlayer for the next four weeks.





FILTER: - BBC - Doctor Who - Awards/Nominations

New Target Books AnnouncedBookmark and Share

Monday, 24 January 2022 - Reported by Marcus
Target

BBC Books has announced that it will be expanding the Doctor Who Target range with five new titles in Summer 2022, all published on 14th July 2021, each with newly commissioned cover artwork by Anthony Dry. 

Penned by the original scriptwriter the late David Fisher and adapted from his new 2011 and 2014 audio novelisations, The Stones of Blood, and The Androids of Tara are now being released as two Target books. The original Target versions, published in the 1970s, were written by former Doctor Who script editor Terrance Dicks. 

These will be accompanied by a Target edition of  The Fires of Pompeii by James Moran, as well as The Eaters of Light by Rona Munro and The Zygon Invasion by Peter Harness. 

For Doctor Who fans, the range of novelisations published by Target Books in the 1970s and 1980s holds a special place. There was a novel published for almost every Doctor Who serial between 1963  and 1989, with five notable exceptions.

Since 2012, BBC Books has been successfully reissuing these classic paperbacks and expanding the Target range to include all-new novelisations of modern-era Doctor Who episodes. These latest additions to the collection, all by the original writers of the TV episodes, will help Target fans complete their classic and modern-era collections.

  • The Stones of Blood by David Fisher - An ancient stone circle becomes a battleground as the Fourth  Doctor must outwit the deadliest alien criminal this side of hyperspace. 
  • The Androids of Tara by David Fisher - The Fourth Doctor and Romana’s search for the fourth segment of the all-powerful Key to Time leads them to the planet Tara. 
  • The Fires of Pompeii by James Moran - It is AD 79, and the Tenth Doctor and Donna arrive in Pompeii on the eve of the town’s destruction. Mount Vesuvius is ready to erupt and bury its surroundings in molten lava, just as history dictates. Or is it? 
  • The Eaters of Light by Rona Munro - The Twelfth Doctor takes Bill and Nardole back to 2nd century  Scotland to learn the fate of the ‘lost’ Ninth Legion of the Imperial Roman Army. 5,000 soldiers vanished without explanation - how? 
  • The Zygon Invasion by Peter Harness - It took three Doctors to broker a fragile peace between  Zygons and Humans. Now the Twelfth Doctor must face the fallout alone. With his allies compromised and his companion believed dead, can he stop the world from plunging into war? 


James Moran said:

I’ve been watching Doctor Who and reading the Target books for as long as I can remember. The books were an essential part of my childhood, examining the amazing cover art, and  “seeing” stories that aired before I was born. I loved learning new words from them, like  “capacious”, and am beyond thrilled to become part of this publishing legend!

Rona Munro said:

It’s wonderful to have another chance to revisit the ideas of my last Doctor Who story, Eaters of Light, they are ideas that have been with me for a very long time and Doctor Who, as always, proved to be the largest and most exciting world in which to realise them.

Peter Harness said:

Like many, many others, I learned to read and to love books by reading Target novelisations. The Saturday afternoon journey to Garland’s bookshop in Bridlington to see if any new  Doctor Who stories had materialised on their shelves. Scouring markets and second-hand shops in hope of finding an old copy of Doctor Who and the Sea Devils. Desperately pestering my poor cousin until he finally lent me his copy of Doctor Who and The Doomsday Weapon. Making my Grandad read me The Enemy of the World when he would’ve much preferred to fall asleep with the newspaper. There is a sense of magic and excitement about Target books which has stayed with me my whole life. And I can’t begin to tell you how wonderful it feels to be writing my own Target book  of one of my own Doctor Who stories.
 




FILTER: - Target - BBC Books

Trailblazers - Delia DerbyshireBookmark and Share

Saturday, 29 May 2021 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Trailblazers: Delia Derbyshire: Doctor Who theme (Credit: BBC Teach)

As part of this month's learning resouces from the BBC, CBBC have broadcast a series on classic music for schools over the past week: Ten Pieces have focussed on a number of works based around a theme, and Friday's episode, Back in Time, included a section on the groundbreaking work of Delia Derbyshire in creating the Doctor Who theme, presented by currrent series composer Segun Akinola.

The feature can be viewed via the Ten Pieces Orchestral Films page, and the full programme is currently available to watch on the BBC iPlayer until 27th June, with the Doctor Who theme segment starting from about six minutes.

Supporting material is available from the BBC Teach site, which includes downloadable scores for music showcased within the programmes. For Derbyshire, the Doctor Who theme tune has been published for performance by schools, arranged by Iain Farrington, and features arrangements for beginners, intermediate and grade 4/5 musicians.

 

(The site also features an item on Richard Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries, introduced by Christopher Eccleston)

 

The Arena docudrama, Delia Derbyshire: The Myths and the Legendary Tapes, remains available to watch on the BBC iPlayer for the next eleven months. Its director, Caroline Catz, can be heard discussing Derbyshire on Stuart Maconie's Freak Zone from BBC Radio 6, and her BBC Radio 4 Great Lives programme on the composer ifrom January is still available to listen to on BBC Sounds. 

 


 

Also launched recently is a new film, Sisters with Transistors, described as "the remarkable untold story of electronic music’s female pioneers, composers who embraced machines and their liberating technologies to utterly transform how we produce and listen to music today." The documentary looks at the careers of notable visionaries, including Delia Derbyshire and one of the founding figures of the BBC’s Radiophonic Workshop, Daphne Oram.

The film was disussed on BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour in April, and works from both composers can still be heard in the recentl repeat of the 2018 BBC Prom Pioneers of Sound.

Sisters with Transistors - Trailer





FILTER: - Broadcasting - Music - BBC

The Ruby's CurseBookmark and Share

Friday, 12 February 2021 - Reported by Chuck Foster

The Ruby's Curse (Credit: BBC Books)

BBC Books have announced a new fiction novel to be released later this year:

 

The Ruby's Curse
A River Song / Melody Malone Mystery

She's got ice in her heart and kiss on her lips...

1939, New York. Private Eye, Melody Malone, is hired to find a stolen ruby, the Eye of Horus. The ruby might hold the secret to the location of Cleopatra's tomb – but everyone who comes into contact with it dies. Can Melody escape the ruby's curse?
 

1939, New York. River Song, author of the Melody Malone Mysteries, is forced to find a reality-altering weapon, the Eye of Horus. River doesn't believe in curses – but is she wrong?
 

From the top-security confines of Stormcage to the barbarism of first-century Egypt, River battles to find the Eye of Horus before its powers are used to transform the universe. To succeed, she must team up with a most unlikely ally – her own fictional alter ego, Melody. And together they must solve another mystery: Is fiction changing into fact – or is fact changing into fiction?

 

The Ruby’s Curse is Alex Kingston’s first Doctor Who novel, and is released following the successful launch of Doctor Who adventures written by actors Tom Baker (Scratchman) and Sophie Aldred (At Childhood’s End) featuring the Fourth Doctor and Ace.

Alex said:

Having absolutely no idea of the journey I would be taking with River Song when I first uttered those words, ‘Hello Sweetie’, I cannot begin to express how excited I am to be able to continue not only River, but Melody’s adventures on the written page. A sassy private detective and a time travelling archaeologist joining forces to solve a mystery? What’s not to love!?


Albert DePetrilloPublishing Director at BBC Books, said:

Working with Alex on this highly original new story has been such a delight, and we couldn’t be happier to be publishing her first Doctor Who novel. River Song is such an iconic character, and I think Alex’s many fans will be thrilled and amazed with what she’s come up with.

 

The novel is released in hardback on 20th May 2021, and is available to pre-order from Amazon UK.





FILTER: - Books - BBC Books

First Look Images - Revolution of the DaleksBookmark and Share

Thursday, 8 October 2020 - Reported by Marcus
Revolution of the Daleks. (Credit: BBC Studios)Revolution of the Daleks. (Credit: BBC Studios)

The BBC has released two new images from the upcoming Doctor Who episode Revolution of the Daleks

The images were released today as part of New York Comic Con


The upcoming festive special will see the return of one of the Doctor’s biggest and most feared enemies – the Daleks. 

The Doctor is locked away in a high-security alien prison. Isolated, alone, with no hope of escape. Far away, on Earth, her best friends, Yaz, Ryan and Graham have to pick up their lives without her.

But it’s not easy. Old habits die hard. Especially when they discover a disturbing plan forming.

A plan which involves a Dalek. How can you fight a Dalek, without the Doctor?

Revolution of the Daleks will air during the upcoming festive period on BBC One and BBC America.

 





FILTER: - BBC - Thirteenth Doctor

Doctor Who: The Monster VaultBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 20 May 2020 - Reported by Chuck Foster
BBC Books have announced a new hardback book that delves into the background of one of the key elements of Doctor Who:

Doctor Who: The Monster Vault (Credit: BBC Books)Doctor Who: The Monster Vault
The Doctor's Enemies Unlocked

Written by Jonathan Morris and Penny CS Andrews
Edited by Paul Lang
Illustrated by Lee Johnson and Ben Morris


Doctor Who's biggest and most comprehensive monster guide yet, The Monster Vault takes you on the ultimate tour of the Whoniverse, discovering and cataloguing every wonderful and terrifying creature the Doctor has ever encountered.

From the notorious Daleks, to the evil Stenza warrior T’zim-Sha and the ancient Thijarians, The Monster Vault features in-depth profiles on each monster, showing the Doctor's most dangerous enemies in their natural habitat and unveiling their secret histories. You will also discover how monsters were created and designed, through exclusive behind-the-scenes interviews, anecdotes, case studies and unseen artwork.

This lavish and visually stunning book provides an unrivalled wealth of information, allowing you to explore the rich history of Doctor Who and expand your knowledge and understanding of monsters old and new.

Doctor Who: The Monster Vault is now available to preorder, and is due to be published on 22nd October 2020.




FILTER: - BBC Books - Books - Merchandise

Time Lord Victorious BBC Books ReleaseBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 12 May 2020 - Reported by Marcus
Time Lord Victorious (Credit: BBC Books)BBC Books to publish two new novels for the multi-platform Doctor Who project Time Lord Victorious.

Time Lord Victorious will tell a new and untold story, set within the Dark Times at the start of the universe when even the Eternals were young. Following several Doctors across space and time as they defend their home planet from a terrible race, this is a story like no other.

Time Lord Victorious will feature the Eighth, Ninth and Tenth Doctor characters, companion Rose Tyler and monsters including the Daleks and the Ood, with more to be revealed over the coming months as products are announced.

Credit: BBC BooksDoctor Who: The Knight, The Fool and The Dead
by Steve Cole

We live forever, barring accidents. Just like everyone else in the universe.

The Doctor travels back to the Dark Times, an era where life flourishes and death is barely known...

Then come the Kotturuh – creatures who spread through the cosmos dispensing mortality. They judge each and every species and decree its allotted time to live. For the first time, living things know the fear of ending. And they will go to any lengths to escape this grim new spectre, death.

The Doctor is an old hand at cheating death. Now, at last, he can stop it at the source. He is coming for the Kotturuh, ready to change everything so that life wins from the start. Not just the last of the Time Lords. The Time Lord Victorious.

Doctor Who: The Knight, The Fool and The Dead is published on 1ST October 2020 by BBC Books, priced £9.99
Doctor Who: All Flesh Is Grass (Credit: BBC Books)Doctor Who: All Flesh Is Grass
by Una McCormack

Even a Time Lord can’t change the past.

A wasteland. A dead world… No, there is a biodome rising from the ashes. Here, life teems and flourishes, with strange, lush plants and many-winged insects with bright carapaces – and one solitary sentient creature, who spends its days talking to the insects and tending this lonely garden. This is Inyit, the Last of the Kotturuh.

In All Flesh is Grass we are transported back to The Dark Times. The Tenth Doctor has sworn to stop the Kotturuh, ending death and bringing life to the universe. But his plan is unravelling – instead of bringing life, nothing has changed and all around him people are dying. Death is everywhere. Now he must confront his former selves – one in league with their greatest nemesis and the other manning a ship of the undead

Doctor Who: All Flesh Is Grass is published on 10th December 2020 by BBC Books, priced £9.99




FILTER: - BBC Books - Time Lord Victorious

#DoctorWhoLockdown: In The NewsBookmark and Share

Saturday, 4 April 2020 - Reported by Chuck Foster
The recent global DoctorWhoLockdown initiative organised by Doctor Who Magazine's Emily Cook was reported by BBC News in the lead-up to last night's The Eleventh Hour - you can watch the report via the DoctorWhoLockdown YouTube channel.

This is the second time the initiative has been reported on, with entertainment correspondent Lizo Mzimba reporting on the simulcast viewing of Rose back on its anniversary on the 26th March (online version).



The next planned DoctorWhoLockdown is for The Doctor's Wife on Saturday 11th April from 8:00pm BST.




FILTER: - BBC - Broadcasting

BBC Books to publish a new Target novel collection in July 2020Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, 10 December 2019 - Reported by Marcus
TargetBBC Books is expanding the Doctor Who Target range with seven new titles in Summer 2020 – some that fans have probably been expecting, and a few that should be a pleasant surprise.

After the successful hardback publication of Eric Saward’s long-awaited novelisations, Resurrection of the Daleks and Revelation of the Daleks, fans will finally be able to complete their Target collections with paperback editions. These will be accompanied by a Target edition of The Pirate Planet by James Goss, the first time this Douglas Adams story has been published in the Target range, and a reissue of the Gary Russell’s novelisation of The TV Movie.

To complete the set, BBC Books will be publishing 3 new-era novelisations: The Witchfinders by Joy Wilkinson – the first Thirteenth Doctor adventure to be published on the Target list – Dalek by Robert Shearman, and The Crimson Horror by Mark Gatiss.

For Doctor Who fans, the range of novelisations published by Target Books in the 1970s and 1980s hold a special place. There was a novel published for almost every Doctor Who serial between 1963 and 1989, with a very few (five, actually) notable exceptions, and BBC Books has been successfully reissuing a number of these classic paperbacks since 2012. In 2017, BBC Books expanded the range by publishing the first all-new batch of Target novels, filling in one of those classic-era gaps (City of Death), along with new-era novelisations from Russell T Davies, Steven Moffat, Paul Cornell and Jenny T Colgan – all five of them instant classics.

Joy Wilkinson said:
I'm thrilled to become part of the illustrious tradition of Target novels. It was so much fun dipping my toe back into prose with the Target Storybook so I'm now relishing the chance to return to the world of The Witchfinders and get fully immersed. It's a great chance to spend more time with the Doctor and fam, hang with King James, and find out more about the mysteries of Bilehurst Cragg and the mighty, muddy Morax.
Robert Shearman said:
I'm still pinching myself that I was asked to write the first Dalek story of the new series - and that was fifteen years ago! I didn't dare dream that the show would become such a big hit, and that it would still be on air now, as big and as exciting as ever - there have been so many adventures since, and so many new Doctors, and, of course, so many more Daleks. It feels like a real honour now to go back in time and relive my script... and maybe reveal a few surprises that never made it to the screen....
Mark Gatiss said:
Novelisations of the ‘new’ series are the final piece of this whole wonderful puzzle for me and to become a Target author after all these years is a complete delight! It’s been lovely to revisit one of my favourite scripts and flesh out the lurid residents of Sweetville in all their crimson finery.
BBC Books will publish all seven Targets on 23rd July 2020, each with newly commissioned cover artwork by Anthony Dry




FILTER: - BBC Books