Adams' AsteroidBookmark and Share

Monday, 31 January 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
Former Doctor Who script editor and "Hitchhiker's Guide" author Douglas Adams, who passed away in 2001, was honored last week with a celestial commemoration: the naming of an asteroid for him. Asteroid "Douglasadams" was among the 71 newly named celestial objects announced Tuesday by the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, according to a report on MSNBC. Read the full article for the details, including how this particular asteroid was settled upon for the honor.

FILTER: - People

Character Options Follow-UpBookmark and Share

Monday, 31 January 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
Further to our story last week that Character Options has become the new Doctor Who series toy licencee, BBC News Online have run a news story today in which they discuss the new products, including a radio-controlled Dalek, an electronic sonic screwdriver as well as vehicles from the new series. The Times Online have also run a similar story. Read the news items for details (though there really aren't any new items of note that weren't in the press release first posted on OG last week!) (Thanks to Steve Tribe, Paul Engelberg)

FILTER: - Merchandise - Radio Times

Gallifrey Series TwoBookmark and Share

Monday, 31 January 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
Big Finish has released details for series two of their Gallifrey audio series, which runs from April to August 2005. The cover blurbs and cover illustrations are below, although a few items of note: originally "Masques," the first episode is now called "Lies"; and the numbering actually notes these as chapters five through nine.

Series cast: Lalla Ward (President Romana), Louise Jameson (Leela), John Leeson (K9), Lynda Bellingham (Inquisitor Darkel), Miles Richardson (Cardinal Braxiatel), Sean Carlsen (Coordinator Narvin), Ian Hallard (Castellan Wynter), Andy Coleman (Andred), Nicholas Briggs (Gold Usher), Trevor Littledale (The Archivist), Brenda Longman (Pandora), Michael Cuckson (Commander Hallan), Robin Sebastian (Commentator Antimon), Steven Wickham (Chancellor Valyes), Daniel Hogarth (Nekkistani Ambassador), Heather Tracy (Melyin), Stuart Piper (Student Neeloc), Gary Bakewell (Student Taylor), Jenny Livsey (Student Galadina), Lucy Beresford (Student Gillestes), and Mary Tamm (Romana). Directed by Gary Russell.

LIES (Chapter 5), by Gary Russell

Some time has passed since the events of the Timonic Fusion Device threatened Romana's presidency with impeachment, and life has calmed down on Gallifrey. Well, apart from Romana's latest scheme, the opening up of Gallifrey's famed Academy to the students of alien races with the ability, or the potential, to harness temporal powers.

Unfortunately, deep below the Capitol, Leela, confused and morose over the truth about her husband Andred, disturbs a malevolent power. Something from the Dark Days of Ancient Gallifrey.

Something that wants to be reborn and will use any and every means that is at hand. Including the past of Gallifrey's incumbant Presidentà

SPIRIT (Chapter 6), by Stephen Cole

Leela is tired. Tired of the backbiting politics and intrigues in the sterile society of Time Lords. With the fate of her husband now known, she feels lonely and out of place on Gallifrey.

Romana is tired. Tired of justifying herself and her policies to a hostile council. With the line between allies and enemies beginning to blur, she persuades Leela to go with her to the presidential retreat of Davidia, a protected paradise.

Then an anomalous time ship arrives, carrying a single passenger. His hands are crushed, his tongue torn out, his mind destroyed. Is this broken man a victim of some terrible crime or part of a trap now primed and ready to spring? After this strange encounter, Romana and Leela may never be the same again.

PANDORA (Chapter 7), by Justin Richards

A rogue TARDIS that should not exist... A mutilated, comatose Time Lord who cannot be identified... A new Castellan desperate to make his mark... Evils of the past, events of the present, and echoes of the future conspire to destroy the very heart of Gallifrey's civilisation.

Only Romana can understand it - but she is haunted by her own ghosts. Only Leela can sense it - but she has unfinished business. Only Braxiatel can stop it - but he cannot begin to guess the personal cost.

With both Narvin and Darkel waiting for Romana to make a mistake, the President must take decisions that will change Gallifrey forever. And an ancient evil is ready and waiting for just that moment?

INSURGENCY (Chapter 8), by Steve Lyons

They are the brightest minds of their generation; the architects of tomorrow. And now, they have the chance to attend the finest, most exclusive school known to the temporal powers. After millennia of secrecy, the Gallifreyan Academy has opened its doors to off-worldersà

But the experiment is failing. As interracial violence erupts in the corridors of learning, somebody is using the students as pawns in a political power game - and, while Tutor Leela struggles to unravel the motives of her ex-husband, Andred, President Romana may be falling under an ancient spell.

It's a dangerous time to be a stranger on Gallifrey.

It seems that not all Time Lords want to share their secretsà

IMPERIATRIX (Chapter 9), by Stewart Sheargold

The Free Time influence in the Capital is spreading, while Darkel has played her hand and opposition to Romana's policies from without and within is growing. When the bombs start going off, the President of Gallifrey decides enough is enough.

While Leela and K9 race to track down the terrorist to avoid more bloodshed, Romana enters into a risky bargain for control with a dangerous, influential figure from her past. But she soon discovers that the answer to her problems lies in the future. A future she has already witnessed. And one she has been trying to avoid.

But someone desperately wants this future and will stop at nothing to make it occur.

Even if it means leading Romana and Gallifrey to war.

FILTER: - Audio

Eccleston Leads Holocaust RemembranceBookmark and Share

Monday, 31 January 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
Christopher Eccleston was present along with actor Stephen Fry ("The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy") and holocaust survivor Paul Oppenheimer to lead the memorial services on Holocaust Memorial Day in London on January 27, commemmorating the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz labor camp, according to reports in The Sun, on the icNews network (link)The ScotsmanChannel 4's website and other locations.

FILTER: - Christopher Eccleston

DWM 353Bookmark and Share

Monday, 31 January 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
Issue #353 of Doctor Who Magazine is due out this week; click on the thumbnail at right for a larger version of the cover. Meanwhile, here's the press release for the latest issue (with thanks to Tom Spilsbury, Assistant Editor):

"Ease the agony of waiting for the new series with another feature-packed 68-page issue of Doctor Who Magazine! This issue, Unquiet Dead writer Mark Gatiss talks about the challenges of bringing the Doctor back to television...

'My Doctor Who episode is the most serious thing I?ve done since my first Doctor Who novel, Nightshade. At second draft stage my episode changed a lot, and the reason was that the first draft was far too grim. I can still hear myself saying to Russell [T Davies, executive producer], 'This story?s about grief!' Of course it can be about grief or whatever, somewhere in there, but fundamentally it?s got to be a good, scary, story.'

Meanwhile, we speak to Fifth Doctor companion, alias actress Janet Fielding, who tells us exactly what she really thought about playing Tegan. Former script editor Andrew Cartmel presents the fascinating second part of his article about the making of Remembrance of the Daleks, while we take a look behind-the-scenes of the 1965 movie Dr Who and the Daleks in our Archive Extra feature.

Plus - it's the end of an era as the Eighth Doctor makes his final stand in the shocking final part of our comic strip adventure The Flood. It's one you don't want to miss...

Plus we have all the latest news and cast updates from the set of Doctor Who in Gallifrey Guardian, The Time Team encounter The Deadly Assassin, and there's a grave warning from Russell T Davies in his unmissable Production Notes column.

DWM 353 goes on sale at all good newsagents from Thursday 3 February priced ú3.99."

FILTER: - Magazines - DWM

Billie in the SunBookmark and Share

Monday, 31 January 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
Today's issue of The Sun features an article concerning Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) and the Daleks, including a photograph of an exploded Dalek, a strange flesh-colored alien, and the usual comments about how the Daleks are back because of the newspaper's "campaign" to bring them back (which is incorrect.) Click on the link to check out the photographs. Meanwhile, the print edition of the Sun on January 29 ran a large article and accompanying photo of Billie hugging the blue alien we showed you in a photo late last summer while the actor was on break. (Thanks to everyone who wrote in to let us know!)

FILTER: - Series 1/27 - Press

BBC Books: No More Submissions (Right Now)Bookmark and Share

Monday, 31 January 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
BBC Books has decided to change its submissions policy for new Doctor Who novels, according to a statement on the official Doctor Who site. "With Doctor Who set to return to our television screens, bigger and better than ever before, the interest in Doctor Who fiction - from readers and from prospective writers - is already increasing enormously," says the statement. "At the same time, we are waiting to evaluate the impact of the new series on our continuing lines of Doctor Who books. That means that at the moment - without the help of a real TARDIS - we do not yet know what our requirements for Doctor Who novels will be for 2006 and beyond. With this in mind, it simply isn't fair for us to try to evaluate proposals against criteria that are bound to change. So, for the time being, we have decided it is not possible for us to accept Doctor Who novel proposals for consideration." The statement goes on to note that once there are more concrete plans for long-term publishing, they will revisit the policy.

FILTER: - Books

North America DVD UpdateBookmark and Share

Thursday, 27 January 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
As expected, the next confirmed releases for North American DVDs -- following the releases of "The Green Death" and "The Visitation" on March 1 -- will be The Leisure Hive starring Tom Baker and Ghost Light starring Sylvester McCoy, likely in early June, according to the BBC America Shop website. We expect to have cover illustrations as soon as they're released by Warner Home Video, the distributor. (Thanks to David Deddo)

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

New Series Toy LicenseeBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 26 January 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
BBC Worldwide today issued a press release announcing a deal with Character Options to become the master licensee for toy products for the new Doctor Who series. The press release is reprinted below. (Thanks to Steve Tribe)
BBC Worldwide has appointed Character Options as the Master Toy Licensee for the brand new series of Doctor Who.

Already in production, the new series (13 x 45minutes), which is written and executive produced by Russell T Davies, and stars Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor and Billie Piper as Rose, is scheduled for transmission on BBC ONE in 2005.

The special effects have been created by Oscar«-winning visual effects house The Mill and bring the world's longest running sci-fi series into the 21 st century.

Travelling through time and space, the new series sees the Doctor and Rose come face to face with a number of new and exciting monsters - as well as battling with the Doctor's arch-enemy: the Daleks!

Jon Diver, of Character Options, said: "We are delighted with the appointment, and will be producing an innovative range of products to complement the heritage of this property. The footage that we have seen to date is simply awesome".

Richard Hollis, Head of Licensing BBC Worldwide, commented: "We are excited to be working with such a strong toy partner, and one who has had such success with technological and robotic toys".

Shipment to trade will be October 2005 with further product development in Spring 2006. Initially product will focus on gift and novelty lines which will include Radio Control Daleks and Doctor's Electronic Sonic Screwdriver.

Publishing for the new series includes audio products and ranges from BBC Books and BBC Children's Books, due for release in 2005

Notes to editors:

Character Options is a manufacturer, designer, distributor, and marketeer of toys, gifts and games, with sales primarily within the UK, and internationally through its distribution network. Character Options is part of the Character Group Plc.

FILTER: - Merchandise - Press

Oscar NodsBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 25 January 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
Two Doctor Who connections to this year's Academy Awards nominations: Sophie Okonedo (Alison in the BBCi animated DW serial "The Scream of the Shalka") was nominated for Best Actress for "Hotel Rwanda," and John Debney(composer of the music for the 1996 TV movie) was nominated for Best Original Score for the film "The Passion of the Christ". (Thanks to Paul Hayes, Brent Johnson)

FILTER: - People