Voyage - Ratings UpdateBookmark and Share

Monday, 31 December 2007 - Reported by Marcus
More Audience data is now available for the Doctor Who Christmas Special,Voyage of the Damned. The programme was enjoyed by both sexes with the 35-54 age group enjoying it the most. The programme scored above the drama average on questions such as whether it was a high quality programme and whether it was original and different. It scored below average on whether it was thought provoking or if the viewer learned something new. An above average sample said they would recommend the programme to a friend.

With overnights now available for the whole of Christmas week, the programme stands at number two in the list of the weeks top rated programmes. If, as expected, this is confirmed when the final figures are released by BARB next week, Voyage of the Damned will be the highest placed edition of the programme in its 44 year history. The previous highest weekly placing was fifth for episode two of Tom Baker's second story, The Ark in Space. The highest placing of the new series has been sixth for Rise of the Cybermen.

The programme finished top of the Children's Chart for the week being the most watched programme on British television by 4-15 year-olds.

Billie Piper WedsBookmark and Share

Monday, 31 December 2007 - Reported by DWNP Archive
Billie Piper married fellow actor Laurence Fox today.

The ceremony took place at 2pm at St Mary's Church in Easebourne, near Midhurst, West Sussex, where the couple live.

Among the guests were David Tennant and Piper's former husband Chris Evans, as well asKevin Whately, alongside whom Fox stars in the ITV seriesLewis.

Also reported by BBC NewsDigital SpyThe TimesThe Daily TelegraphThe Guardian, the Daily Mail, the Daily ExpressAFPRTÉThe SunThe Press AssociationITNSky News,The Belfast Telegraph and even the Toledo, Ohio FOX News affiliate.

BBC News and The Times also carry profiles of Piper on the occasion of her wedding.

UPDATE, 1 January: The TimesThe GuardianThe Daily MirrorThe ScotsmanMSN and Fametastic have further coverage of the wedding, and The Daily Telegraph has another Piper profile.

"Voyage" reviews and other news bitsBookmark and Share

Saturday, 29 December 2007 - Reported by Josiah Rowe
"Voyage of the Damned" has received both positive and negative reviews in the British press. The Daily Mirror (published before the special aired) calls it "a corker", with "plenty of the Doctor's joky humour, some nice Christmas gags and even a touching romance." However, the reviewer at The Herald (Glasgow) complains that Kylie Minogue looked "matronly". Sam Wollaston of The Guardian feels that Kylie "may be Kylie, but she's no Freema or Billie." The Daily Mirror gives a mixed review, praising the "brilliant psychedelic Pink Floyd-esque imagery" as well as "great baddies ... and neat jokes", but lamenting that "the plot was a mess, consisting mostly of one hi-tech chase scene after another, and it descended into noise and bluster." And theLiverpool Echocalls it "a load of old tongue-in-cheek nonsense".

Tim Teeman, writing in The Times, goes further, saying that "Doctor Who sucks" and calling the show and its protagonist "lazy, predictable and indulgent." But James Walton, writing in the Daily Telegraph "can’t imagine how this episode could have done its job any better", calling Voyage of the Damned "a winning mixture of wild imagination and careful writerly calculation." And 10-year-old George Baker, whose TARDIS bedroom has been previously mentioned on this page, tells Newsround that the Christmas special was "BRILLIANT": "I give it 10 out of 10 - and I cannot wait for the new series!"

UPDATE: A few more reviews have come to light. The Sunday Times describes "Voyage of the Damned" as having "big-screen aspiration with small-screen production values and half a radio script." However, The Stage says "Voyage of the Damned was well up to Doctor Who’s impeccably high standards, neatly combining comedy and thrills to stunning effect," and The Observer says "Doctor Who was an oasis of cheeky nonsense and careless invention."

Before "Voyage of the Damned" aired, Billie Piper was quoted in the Aberdeen Press and Journal saying that she was looking forward to watching the Christmas special, and was envious of her once and future costar David Tennant: "I'm just gutted that I missed [Kylie Minogue]. I speak to David and he's like, 'I've got Kylie's number on my phone.' I want to be Kylie's friend!" The Sun puts Minogue and Piper together in their list of 2007's "top TV babes". TheDaily Mirror has a profile of Piper's "great year", and the Western Mail has a Q&A with the actress.

Kylie Minogue's role in the Christmas special got a lot of coverage in her native Australia, including the Courier Mail(Brisbane, twice), the Herald Sun(Melbourne), Macquarie National News (Sydney) and Sky News. The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) calls "Voyage of the Damned" "the greatest Dr Who episode of all time" but also frets that some of Kylie's younger fans may have been unable to tell fact from fiction, as did Sky News.

Digital Spy provides "Ten Things You Never Knew About David Tennant" (although several items may be known to readers of this page).

The Halifax Courier concludes its three-part history of Doctor Who. Part one was linked in the last press round-up, and you can now read parts two andthree.

Catherine Tate's Christmas special has provoked some controversy. Ofcom, the UK's independent media reglatory agency, will investigate complaints that the special contained excessive foul language and stereotypical portrayals of Northern Irish characters. The story is covered by The Times and The Daily Telegraph. Meanwhile, The New York Times has a largely positive review of Tate's comedy series, as its third season airs on BBC America.

The Manchester Evening News has a profile of Frazer Hines, who played the Second Doctor's companion Jamie McCrimmon from 1966 to 1969.

The Sun is claiming that Kylie Minogue's sister Dannii is "tipped" for a role in Torchwood, and has a quote from John Barrowman; this story is also covered by Digital SpyAll Headline News and as well as news sites based in India and Estonia, both of which refer to "Kylie Minogue's successful stint on US TV show 'Dr Who'"!

Thanks to Greg Chapman and "PolyG" of the Doctor Who Forum.

Runaway Bride Repeat - RatingsBookmark and Share

Friday, 28 December 2007 - Reported by Marcus
The Thursday repeat of last year's Christmas Special, The Runaway Bride was watched by 3.0 million viewers, according to unofficial overnight figures. With a 17.2% share of the audience the programme won its time slot, beating "ET the ExtraTerrestrial" on ITV1. The audience grew throughout the programme, peaking at 3.9 million for the last fifteen minutes, and was the 15th most watched programme of the day.

The Sun Slips a SpoilerBookmark and Share

Friday, 28 December 2007 - Reported by Jarrod Cooper

The Sun has released a story which includes spoilers for the "Doctor-lite" episode of Series Four.

Please click on the Spoiler box for more info

The Sun is reporting that the "Doctor-lite" episode of Series Four is going to be "Doctor-less". According to the article, Rose, Martha and Donna take the TARDIS controls after an accident leaves the Doctor lost in space during an alien invasion.

The article's source adds: “It is a bit of a gamble having Doctor Who without the Doctor – it has never been done before. But everyone is so interested in the different assistants that it should be fantastic.

“Donna, Martha and Rose are all competing for his attention in different ways and all want to be the best.

“But the question will be, can they work together?”

Minogue honoured by QueenBookmark and Share

Friday, 28 December 2007 - Reported by Anthony Weight

Just days after guest starring in the Doctor Who Christmas special Voyage of the Damned - in which she helped to prevent Buckingham Palace from being destroyed, earning the gratitude of the fictional Queen of England! - Kylie Minogue has beenannounced as receiving an OBE in the annual New Year's Honours list.

The OBE - Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire - is one of the highest civilian orders. It is awarded by Queen Elizabeth, on the advice of the British and Commonwealth Governments, and has been given to Minogue for her services to music. Although awards given to non-British nationals are usually purely honorary, as Minogue is an Australian national she is entitled to the full award, as Australia is one of the Commonwealth Realms of which the Queen is Head of State.

Minogue is quoted by BBC News as saying: "I am almost as surprised as I am honoured... I feel deeply touched to be acknowledged by the UK, my adopted home, in this way... This last year I have felt so much love and support from everyone as I took greater steps back into the public domain, and it is with absolute gratitude and joy that I say farewell to 2007 and look forward to what the New Year will bring."

Voyage - Appreciation IndexBookmark and Share

Thursday, 27 December 2007 - Reported by Marcus
Voyage of the Damned scored an Appreciation Index figure of 86 making it one of the most enjoyed programmes on British Television this Christmas. A score above 85 is considered excellent. It was the highest score on either of the main two channels for the day.

For a drama series with such a massive audience to score so well in the Audience Appreciation figures is very unusual and a real measure of just how well the show is performing. The only other programmes to score higher on Christmas day were "Romeo and Juliet" on BBC2 and "The African Queen" on Channel 4.

The Appreciation Index, or AI, is a measure of how much the audience liked the programme. It is a score out of 100, based on responses from a carefully selected panel. The average score for drama on BBC1 and ITV1 is 77. A score in excess of 85 is regarded as excellent while a score below 60 is poor.

Record-breaking ratings for "Voyage"Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, 26 December 2007 - Reported by Marcus

Unofficial figures show that the 2007 Christmas special Voyage of the Damned was watched by 12.2 million viewers, a 50% share of the total television audience. This is the highest rating the show has achieved since its return in 2005.

The programme was the second most watched of the day, being beaten by the edition of EastEnders immediately following Doctor Who.

The audience peaked in the last fifteen minutes of the show with a massive 13.8 million watching, nearly 55% of the audience. The five minute breakdown shows that over 15 million watched the last five minutes of the programme.

The day was a triumph for the BBC, with BBC One taking nine of the top ten places. Against the Doctor, Emmerdale on ITV1 could only manage 5.8 million, with the Evening News only getting 3.8 million.

The previous highest rated episode of the new series was Rose, which got 10.8 million viewers. If confirmed these figures will make Voyage of the Damned the highest rated episode of Doctor Who in over 28 years. It has the largest audience since the 1979 Tom Baker story City of Death, which had the advantage of being broadcast when ITV was on strike and BBC1 was one of only two channels broadcasting.

In the Children's Charts, Doctor Who was top of the list with 2.2 million under 16's watching, an incredible 65.3% share of the audience.

Final figures, including data for those who recorded the programme and watched it later, will be released by BARB in two weeks time.

Several news sources are running stories on the BBC's Christmas Day dominance, including Doctor Who's large viewing figure. These include The Times,The Daily TelegraphThe SunBBC NewsThe Daily MailDigital SpyThe GuardianReutersThe HeraldThe Daily MirrorThe Daily ExpressThe Manchester Evening NewsThe South Wales EchoVariety and The Press Association.

Voyage of the Damned PremiereBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 25 December 2007 - Reported by Shaun Lyon

Doctor Who returns today on UK television for its third Christmas special, Voyage of the Damned starring David Tennant and special guest star Kylie Minogue, at 6.50pm on BBC1, followed at 8.30pm by Doctor Who Confidential at Christmas on BBC3. Today's Radio Times listings are below. (And don't forget to come over to The Doctor Who Forum, still the most popular Doctor Who discussion forum online, to discuss the episode and vote in our poll afterward!)
Voyage of the Damned
Tuesday 25 December, 6:50pm - 8:00pm, BBC1
You can tell that writer Russell T Davies was raised on glorious 1970s disaster movies such as The Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Inferno, because their influences are all over this spectacular, sometimes scary, journey into danger. (Worth bearing in mind if young children are watching.) Voyage of the Damned is packed with heart-thumping "survivors in peril" moments as the Doctor (David Tennant) leads a motley gang, including plucky waitress Astrid (Kylie Minogue) through the wrecked Titanic after the Tardis crash-lands on the doomed vessel. But their flight is thwarted by a phalanx of homicidal angels. It's Christmas, but they're not remotely interested in peace on Earth. As you'd expect from such a master storyteller, every necessary element is present - tension, heart-warming moments, cheeky bits, in-jokes and fun. This really is the most special Christmas special.
Episode written by Russell T Davies
* The Doctor - David Tennant
* Astrid Peth - Kylie Minogue
* Captain Hardaker - Geoffrey Palmer
* Midshipman Frame - Russell Tovey
* Max Capricorn - George Costigan
* Rickston Slade - Gray O'Brien
* Chief steward - Andrew Havill
* Engineer - Bruce Lawrence
* Foon Van Hoff - Debbie Chazen
* Morvin Van Hoff - Clive Rowe
* Mr Copper - Clive Swift
* Bannakaffalatta - Jimmy Vee
* Wilfred Mott - Bernard Cribbins
* Nicholas Witchell - Himself

Doctor Who Confidential at Christmas
Tuesday 25 December, 8:30pm - 9:30pm, BBC3
Behind-the-scenes look at Doctor Who, following the production team, writers and cast as they tackle the Titanic and invite Kylie Minogue aboard the TARDIS for the festive season as the Doctor's special companion, Astrid.

Outdoor Screenings Of Christmas SpecialBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 25 December 2007 - Reported by DWNP Archive

Seven city squares across England will be hosting outdoor screenings of Voyage of the Damned later this week.

The Doctor Who Christmas special will be running continuously from 10am to 4pm on Thursday, December 27 in a move designed to promote the BBC's iPlayer download service.

The screenings will be at:
Bradford (Centenary Square)
Derby (Market Place)
Hull (Queen Victoria Square)
Leeds (Millennium Square)
Liverpool (Clayton Square)
Manchester (Exchange Square)
Rotherham (All Saints Square)

Viewers in the United Kingdom can download the episode, using the BBC iPlayer, for the next seven days to then watch for a limited time.

Media snippetsBookmark and Share

Monday, 24 December 2007 - Reported by Josiah Rowe

Some more Doctor Who items from the news, to help tide you over tillVoyage of the Damned:

Doctor Who is, of course, the highlight of most British television critics' Christmas recommendations. Caitlin Moran in The Times calls "Voyage of the Damned" "amazing" and "a doozy", says that Kylie Minogue is "merry and squeezable" and David Tennant "can give 110 per cent intergalactic sexbrain, even when hanging up-sidedown, wearing a space helmet, or standing on the other side of a wall." The television reviewers of the Western Mail,Scotland on Sundayand the Sunday Sun (Newcastle) also give Doctor Who top billing for Christmas.

Russell T. Davies has denied reports that Jennifer Saunders was being sought to play the Doctor, report the Daily Mirror and the Richmond and Twickenham Times. The Mirror quotes Davies as saying: "That is b*****ks. They sit there and make things up. I can tell you it's pure invention. We have never approached her, never spoken to her, never met her."

Minogue's involvement in the Christmas Special gets Doctor Who more international coverage: RTÉ (Ireland) and The Times of India have stories about the pop star's return to acting (although the Indian paper oddly reports false rumors from months ago about her playing a "sexy Cyberwoman").

The Radio Times' website has some video shot by the Doctor Who Confidential team of Tennant and Minogue posing for the Radio Times cover shoot.

Digital Spy and Yahoo! News have picked up the Times' story, previously reported here, about Christian Voice representative Stephen Green's complaint about the Doctor being portrayed as a messianic figure. No source has yet identified any other member of the "Christian groups", plural, cited in the original Times report. But one site, theFreethinker, has taken Green to task in an irreverent and highly amusing piece written by Andy Armitagecalled"Boo Who! The tears of a clown", with a spoof master of ceremonies introducing the whole confrontation as a pantomime, with Green as the villain of the piece, of course, having first been cunningly disguised as the Dame. There's one potential spoiler paragraph, but you're given adequate warning. But it's a hoot - complete with a mockup of Green dressed in orange wig and big frock. The same story has been picked up by MediaWatchWatch, another British blog, whose brief is to log attempts (usually by religious bodies) to stifle freedom of speech.

The Halifax Courier has published the first part of a survey of Doctor Who history. The first installment focuses on previous Christmas specials and theWilliam Hartnell years, and also has a poll in which you can vote for your favorite Doctor.

In a Scotland on Sunday story about the continuing popularity of Charles Dickens, Simon Callow speaks fondly of his role as Dickens on Doctor Who. And Joan Collins, speaking to the Sunday Mirror, denies earlier rumors that she'd been sought for a role in Doctor Who, but says "I'd love to be on Doctor Who - I think it's a fabulous piece of TV."

The Daily Mail has lots of details about Billie Piper's upcoming wedding to Laurence Fox. The Daily Express, meanwhile, presents readers with a 10-question Doctor Who trivia quiz in its television section.

Thanks to Bill Rudloff, and to "Cheshire Pete" and "PolyG" of the Doctor Who Forum.

Backlash Over RTD Hitler CommentBookmark and Share

Monday, 24 December 2007 - Reported by R Alan Siler

The Daily Post is reporting that comments made by Executive Producer Russell T. Davies at the preview screening ofVoyage of the Damned have caused quite a stir.

When asked who from history he would like to see play the Doctor, Davies reportedly jokingly answered "Hitler. He was stern and strong. He would be great."

According to the story, some guests laughed, but others were shocked by the remark.

One fan later remarked: "Hitler carried out some of the world’s worst atrocities. He ordered the killing of millions of innocent people. I don’t want my kids thinking Hitler and Doctor Who are in any way the same."

When David Tennant was then asked the same question, he reportedly declined to answer.

Titanic survivor criticises specialBookmark and Share

Sunday, 23 December 2007 - Reported by Anthony Weight

Various sources in the UK media, including The Sun and Digital Spy, are reporting that 95 year-old Millvina Dean, the last surviving passenger of the sole voyage of the ill-fated passenger liner the Titanic in 1912, has criticised the BBC for setting the festive episode of Doctor Who aboard a replica space ship of the same name.

Dean - whose father drowned in the disaster - is quoted in The Sun as saying: "It is disrespectful to the dead and bereaved to make entertainment of such a tragedy." However, a BBC spokeswoman told the Daily Record newspaper that: "No offence was intended. Voyage of the Damned is set on a spaceship called The Titanic and not a boat."

Tennant on FourBookmark and Share

Saturday, 22 December 2007 - Reported by Marcus
This Saturday David Tennant stars in the BBC Radio Four Saturday Play ,The Wooden Overcoat.

The comic murder mystery, by Pamela Branch, is set in London in 1951, and is adapted byMark Gatiss. It also stars Graham Crowden.

The play can be heard on Radio Four at 1430GMT. After transmission it will be available via the BBC Listen Againfeature for the next seven days.

Much to his surprise, Benji Cann has got away with murder. He gravitates to the Asterisk Club, a place of refuge for those who have strayed beyond the pale and not paid the ultimate price. But then Benji turns up dead. Who killed him and how will they be able to get rid of the body without the neighbours noticing?