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 7 - An Unearthly Series - The Origins of a TV Legend: First published 31 Jan 2013

Anita Dobson and Michelle Greenidge in Series 14Bookmark and Share

Friday, 20 January 2023 - Reported by Marcus
Michelle Greenidge (Credit: BBC Studios/Bad Wolf)Anita Dobson (Credit: BBC Studios/Bad Wolf)

The BBC has confirmed that Anita Dobson and Michelle Greenidge will be starring in the next series of Doctor Who.

Anita Dobson is best known as the neurotic pub Landlady Angie Watts in the BBC soap EastEnders, playing the role from the series launch in 1985 until 1988. Other television roles include the 1989 ITV sitcom Split Ends.

In 2003, she was nominated for the Olivier Award for Best Actress for the National Theatre production of Frozen. She has also starred in the West End as Mama Morton in the musical Chicago (2003) and Gertrude in Hamlet (2005), and made her RSC debut in the 2012 revival of The Merry Wives of Windsor. Her film appearances include Darkness Falls (1999) and London Road (2015).

Michelle Greenidge is best known for her portrayal of Valarie in the Netflix series After Life. She played Lola Okonedo Akimbo in the BBC Two comedy Mandy, PC Williams in the police comedy-drama Code 404 and Rosa Babatunde in the Russel T Davies television drama It's a Sin.

She has also worked in theatre with some of her credits including Ear for Eye, At the Feet of Jesus, Super Skinny Bitches, House, All Saints, Stopcock, Do You Pray?, The Distance Between Us, People Who Need People, The House They Grew Up In and Omega Time

Both actresses will join Doctor Who for its fortieth season, the 14th series since the show returned in 2005. The series will star Ncuti Gatwa as the Fifteenth Doctor and will screen in 2024. 

Doctor Who will return in November 2023 with three special episodes to coincide with the 60th anniversary with David Tennant as the Fourteenth Doctor.


FILTER: - Series 14/20 - Production

Vworp Vworp! Issue 5Bookmark and Share

Thursday, 29 December 2022 - Reported by Marcus
Vworp Vworp 5 - Cover A

The acclaimed Doctor Who comics and artwork fanzine Vworp Vworp! returns with its fifth issue in January 2023. 

The 148-page issue kicks off with an in-depth series of articles and script reviews focusing on the many Doctor Who animation projects that have, for a variety of reasons, been abandoned over the years.

The Canadian company Nelvana might be the best known, but as researcher Richard Bignell has uncovered for Vworp Vworp!, through a wealth of interviews, documentation, scripts and design drawings, there’s so much more to learn, including the real reason it was aborted. But what of Ruby-Spears, the company behind Scooby-Doo? Interest from a Japanese anime studio? Terry Nation’s Daleks? The BBC itself, in 2001? And who can forget Karen McCoy and her Doctor Who: The Animated Series?

Elsewhere in the issue:

  • Interviews with artist JOHN RIDGWAY and writer/artist STEVE PARKHOUSE, as we go behind the scenes of their magnum opus, the Voyager saga.
  • PHIL BEVAN remembered, with personal recollections of his brother Kit and those he worked with, offering a unique insight into this much-loved artist, who illuminated the vibrant fanzine scene in the 80s and 90s.
  • Packaging beauty! Graphic and packaging designer ANDREW PREWETT, who designed the beloved Doctor Who Sound Effects LP, reveals unused designs for a number of Doctor Who DVD boxsets.
  • ABSOLUTE DAAK: A REVENGER’S TRAGEDY – The Dalek Killer deconstructed by Alan Stevens ahead of his return in our comic strip, Paper Tiger.
  • New features on TERRY NATION and DAVID WHITAKER’s work on the TV Century 21 DALEKS strip and the stage play THE CURSE OF THE DALEKS.

    Also, issue 5 includes several brand new comic strips and fiction:
  • The truly epic 22-page THE IRON EMPIRE, written by Lance Parkin and drawn by Steve Andrew. What happened to the Empire during the reign of Emperor Vesuvius? Find out in this much anticipated sequel to the Mills/Wagner great that launched Doctor Who Weekly.
  • Ever pondered the fate of the Thals in the TV Century 21 Dalek strips? Find out in YEAR ZERO, a new instalment in the adventures of outer space robot people, imagined by Alan Stevens, Matthew Kilburn and artist Andy Walker.
  • Abslom Daak gets a bittersweet coda in PAPER TIGER, written by Alan Stevens with crisp black and white art by the legendary John Ridgway.
  • We’re also treated to three thrilling pages of DALEK KILLERS! – an intriguing reboot (of sorts) pitched to Titan by Richard Starkings and Lee Sullivan.
  • Thrill to Sam Gingell's debut strip NEWTON'S SLEEP, a thought-provoking examination of the Cybermen as a reaction to societal decay and decadence. Sam crashed onto the scene in 2022 and we're sure this won't be the last we see of him.
  • Sixties script editor Donald Tosh’s final piece of fiction, JOURNEY TO NOWHEN, a whimsical tale of competing realities and the power of nostalgia.
  • Finally, we take a visit back to the scene of one of the Doctor’s lesser-discussed small-screen adventures in Graham Kibble-White’s ENCOUNTER AT CRINKLEY BOTTOM!

Vworp Vworp 5Plus, an exciting FREE GIFT this issue:

DOCTOR WHO: ROWEN – a full-cast audio adaptation of the 1992 initial script for the cancelled Nelvana series. Presented on CD, directed and adapted by Sean Mason and introducing ARTHUR BOSTROM as the Nelvana Doctor, this brand new drama is intended to give an authentic taste of what this new era might have been like.

Order Vworp Vworp! issue 5, price £10.99, from now. Pre-orders open on New Year’s Day with shipping scheduled for early February 2023.

FILTER: - Fan Production

Whotopia: Issue 41Bookmark and Share

Monday, 5 December 2022 - Reported by Marcus
Whotopia (Credit: Jon Huff / Robert Carpenter)

The latest issue of the fan magazine Whotopia is now available


Whotopia Issue 41 Includes:


    Ian McLachlan examines the Hartnell-era story, "The Edge of Destruction"
  • Daniel Tessier reviews Jodie Whittaker’s swan song finale
  • Reecy Pontiff delves into the history of the BBC Eighth Doctor novels
  • Tony J Fyler discovers there is much more to the Thirteenth Doctor's era
  • The best bits of the Thirteenth Doctor's era as picked by Greg Maughan
  • Aidan C Matear gets to know the character of Kate Lethbridge-Stewart
  • Bob Furnell sits down with "Temporal Logbook 3's" editor James Silvester to talk about the recently released short-story collection
  • Jez Strickley continues his look into the metaphysical worlds of Time Lords and TARDISes in search of all things curious, puzzling and perplexing.
  • Aidan C Matear reviews this episode from Torchwood's first season
  • Dave Etches returns for another installment of prop construction
  • Aidan C Matear examines who exactly were the Family of Blood
  • Stacey Smith reviews this unique story from 'The Sarah Jane Adventures
  • Another new installment of our ongoing strip by John Swogger



Available free in downloadable PDF format



FILTER: - Fan Production

Production Team ConfirmedBookmark and Share

Friday, 11 November 2022 - Reported by Marcus
Fourteenth Doctor (David Tennant) (Credit: BBC Studios)

The latest edition of Doctor Who Magazine has confirmed details of the production teams working on Doctor Who as it reaches its 60th Anniversary.

The Anniversary will be marked by three specials, all scheduled to be broadcast in November 2023, the anniversary month of the series. They will star David Tennant and Catherine Tate as the Fourteenth Doctor and Donna Noble. 

Directing the first special will be Rachel Talalay, a name well-known to Doctor Who fans, She directed several stories in the Peter Capaldi era including the conclusions to all three of his series. She directed Twice Upon A Time, the final Capaldi story where the Twelfth Doctor met the First Doctor played by David Bradley.

Special Two will be directed by Tom Kingsley. New to Doctor Who, Kingsley is best known for directing two series of the BBC sitcom Ghosts and the Channel 4 sitcom Stath Lets Flats.

The final special will be directed by Chanya Button. Also new to Who, Button started work in the theatre working at The Globe on London's south bank. Her first feature film was Burn Burn Burn. She directed episodes of Starz drama about Katherine of Aragon, The Spanish Princess as well as Acorn TV's The Whitstable Pearl.

The next full series of Doctor Who will be screened in 2024 and will star Ncuti Gatwa as the Fifteenth Doctor. Filming begins this December and directing the first block of the series will be another newcomer Dylan Holmes Williams. Williams's short film The Devil's Harmony won the jury prize at Sundance 2020. He directed two episodes of the Apple TV series Servant. 

Many familiar faces will be involved with the series as it moves into the future. As well as Russell T Davies acting as showrunner,  Julie Gardner, Phil Collinson and Jane Tranter will all act as Executive producers. Att three were behind the return of Doctor Who in 2005. Joel Collins will also act as an Executive Producer. Collins has recently been working for Bad Wolf on Industry and His Dark Materials

Looking after the look of the show will be Production Designer Philip Sims. Sims was the supervising Art Director on the sixth and seventh Mission Impossible films as well as Episode IX of Star Wars, Guardians of the Galaxy 9  Avengers:Age of Ultron. The Script Editor will be Scott Hancock, who worked on The Sarah Jane Adventures as well as many scripts for Big Finish. 

Our full guide to Doctor Who can be found here

FILTER: - Fourteenth Doctor - David Tennant - Production

Neil Patrick Harris Joins Doctor WhoBookmark and Share

Monday, 13 June 2022 - Reported by Marcus
The Power of the Doctor: Neil Patrick Harris (Credit: BBC Studios)

The BBC has confirmed that American actor Neil Patrick Harris is to join the cast of Doctor Who.

The actor is currently filming scenes that will be shown as part of Doctor Who's 60th Anniversary year in 2023.

Russell T Davies, Showrunner said

It’s my huge honour to open our studio doors for the mighty Neil Patrick Harris… but who, why, what is he playing?  You’ll just have to wait.  But I promise you, the stuff we’re shooting now is off the scale.  Doctor beware!

Harris first became known for playing the title character on the ABC series Doogie Howser, M.D.  which aired from 1989 until 1993.

He later worked in Hollywood and Broadway winning a Tony Award and five Primetime Emmy Awards, including  Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for his guest appearance on the musical series Glee

Last year he appeared in the first episode of Davies's Channel 4 drama about gay life in the 1980s It's a Sin,

FILTER: - Production

Birkbeck Study Doctor WhoBookmark and Share

Monday, 30 May 2022 - Reported by Marcus

A research project conducted at Birkbeck, University of London, is looking at Doctor Who as part of a project studying the incorporation of fandom into everyday life (and vice versa).

The researchers are looking for consumers of the show to answer a brief online survey, as well as volunteers for interviews.

Participants must be 18 or over.

The short survey can be found online here.

If you have any queries about the survey, please email Mike Stack at

FILTER: - Production

Yasmin Finney Joins Doctor WhoBookmark and Share

Monday, 16 May 2022 - Reported by Marcus
Yasmin Finney (Credit: BBC Studios)

The BBC has announced that Yasmin Finney is joining the cast of Doctor Who Series 14.

Finney will be playing the character of Rose and is currently filming scenes that are due to air in 2023 to coincide with the show’s 60th anniversary.

The actress is best known for her role in the Netflix series Heartstoppers, where she plays Elle Argent. She is listed as one of Tik Tok's biggest influencers’ where her ground-breaking videos, sharing her experience as a Trans woman growing up in Manchester, have been watched over twelve million times and where she has over two hundred and ninety thousand followers.

Speaking of joining Doctor Who Finney says:

If anyone would have told 8-year-old Yasmin that one day she’d be part of this iconic show, I would have never in a million years believed them. This show has a place in so many people’s hearts, so to be seen as a trans actress by the legend himself Russell, has not only made my year, it’s made my life. I cannot wait to begin this journey and for you all to see how Rose blossoms. Get Ready.

Russell T Davies, Showrunner adds:

Life on Doctor Who gets brighter and wilder, how can there be another Rose?  You’ll find out in 2023, but it’s an absolute joy to welcome Yasmin to the Doctor Who set. We all fell in love with her in Heartstopper, one of those shows which changes the world - and now Yasmin can change the Whoniverse!

Finney joins the new Doctor Ncuti Gatwa as well as David Tennant and Catherine Tate, who are currently filming for Doctor Who's 40th series, which will be shown in the programme's 60th Anniversary year.  

FILTER: - Yasmin Finney - Production

BBC Centenary - Doctor Who EpisodeBookmark and Share

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

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


*** Spoilers For the Trailer Follow ***


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

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

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

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


Showrunner Chris Chibnall saysThe Power of the Doctor: Ace (SOPHIE ALDRED) and Tegan (JANET FIELDING) (Credit: BBC Studios/James Pardon)

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

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

Janet Fielding says

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

Sophie Aldred says:

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

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


The Power of the Doctor: Yasmin Khan (MANDIP GILL) and The Master (SACHA DHAWAN) (Credit: BBC Studios/James Pardon)The Power of the Doctor: Vinder (JACOB ANDERSON) (Credit: BBC Studios/James Pardon)The Power of the Doctor: Yasmin Khan (MANDIP GILL) (Credit: BBC Studios/James Pardon)The Power of the Doctor: The Daleks (Credit: BBC Studios/James Pardon)The Power of the Doctor: Ashad (PATRICK O’ KANE) (Credit: BBC Studios/James Pardon)The Power of the Doctor: Dan Lewis (JOHN BISHOP) (Credit: BBC Studios/James Pardon)The Power of the Doctor: Kate Stewart (JEMMA REDGRAVE) (Credit: BBC Studios/James Pardon)


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



FILTER: - Production

Legend of the Sea Devils: Next SundayBookmark and Share

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

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

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

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

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


Inteview with with Chris Chibnall

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There seems to be great anticipation about their return? 

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

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

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

Would you say this is more of a standalone episode? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q&A with Jodie Whittaker

Q&A with Jodie Whittaker 


What can audiences expect from this special?  

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

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

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

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

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

How was it working with the brilliant guest actors?  

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

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

We heard Marlowe is a big fan of Doctor Who?

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

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

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

How was your new costume? 

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

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

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

Q&A with Mandip Gill

Q&A with Mandip Gill 

What can audiences expect from this special?  

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

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

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

How was it to film on this set? 

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

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

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

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

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

Can you tell us about working with the guest actors? 

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

What was your experience of the sword fighting? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why should everyone tune in this Easter Sunday? 

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

Q&A with John Bishop

Q&A with John Bishop 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Was there anything about the sets that really impressed you?  

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

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

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

How was your experience filming this special compared to others? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

FILTER: - Production

Doctor Who: RedactedBookmark and Share

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Juno Dawson, lead writer says:

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

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

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

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


FILTER: - Thirteenth Doctor - Production