The Next Doctor - Appreciation IndexBookmark and Share

Monday, 29 December 2008 - Reported by Marcus
The Next Doctor had an Appreciation Index figure of 86 making it the second most enjoyed programme on mainstream television on Christmas Day. The only programme to score higher was Wallace and Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death which scored 88.

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.

With overnight figures now available for the whole of Christmas week, Doctor Who stands as the second most watched programme of the week, a position it is expected to retain when BARB releases the corrected figures next week. If so this would be the fifth top five place in succession, a record for the programme.

The Next Doctor - reactionBookmark and Share

Friday, 26 December 2008 - Reported by Marcus

Following the broadcast of last night's Christmas special episode of Doctor Who, "The Next Doctor", on BBC One, various newspapers and websites have been publishing their reactions both to the episode itself and its high position in the Christmas viewing charts.

The Telegraph's Christmas television review praises the episode, claiming that "As Morrissey's Doctor said, it was complete and utter nonsense, but wonderful nonsense, nevertheless." In The Mirror, critic Jim Shelley wrote that BBC One's Christmas schedule as a whole "From 2pm through to 11.35pm... was perfect viewing." He wrote of "The Next Doctor" that: "David Morrissey threw himself into the part and showed that if he gets the call he has the gusto to make a classic old-fashioned Doctor Who... Up against all this, the other channels simply rolled over." TV Scoop, meanwhile, was less impressed, calling the episode "something of a swing and a miss."

The high viewing figures attained by the episode have been covered across a wide variety of media. BBC News, along with several other outlets, has ranked the Christmas Day programmes in order of peak rather than average viewing figures, placing Doctor Who third rather than second. The main thrust of most media reports of the Christmas ratings, nonetheless, is BBC One's resounding victory over their main rival, ITV1. This is the angle taken by the Daily Mail. Other outlets covering the ratings results include The Guardian, The Sun, TeleText, CBBC and Digital Spy.

The Next Doctor - Overnight RatingsBookmark and Share

Friday, 26 December 2008 - Reported by Marcus
Unofficial overnight figures show The Next Doctor was watched by 11.7 million viewers, a share of 50.5 per cent of the audience.

The rating is the highest achieved by the programme in 2008 and the second highest since the programme returned in 2005, only being beaten by last year's Christmas special.

The programme was the second-highest rated of Christmas Day and of Christmas week so far, beating EastEnders, even though the soap was shown in a much later slot. The highest-rated programme of the day was Wallace and Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death with a massive 14.3 million watching.

BBC One ruled the day with the top seven places. The highest rating ITV1 could achieve was an average of 7.4 million for Coronation Street. Against the Doctor, Emmerdale could only manage 4.8 million viewers.

Doctor Who is now the tenth-most-watched programme of 2008, although this position could rise when final figures, including for those who recorded the programme and watched it later, are released by BARB in about two weeks' time.

On BBC3 Doctor Who Confidential had an audience of 0.46 million and Doctor Who: Top 5 Christmas Moments was watched by 0.48 million viewers. Gavin and Stacey: 12 Days of Christmas was the highest- rated programme on multi-channel television.

Next Special: Planet of the DeadBookmark and Share

Thursday, 25 December 2008 - Reported by Marcus
Confirmed on tonight's broadcast of "The Next Doctor"... the next Doctor Who special will be Planet of the Dead, starring David Tennant. It will air at Easter 2009. More details when available.

Mad Norwegian UpdateBookmark and Share

Thursday, 25 December 2008 - Reported by Anthony Weight

Mad Norwegian Press has formally scheduled two books for release in May 2009.

In the About Time 3 Second Edition, Tat Wood vastly expands upon the discussion of the Jon Pertwee era of "Doctor Who," bringing this installment of the About Time series up to the size and depth of its fellows. All told, this Second Edition has nearly three times the material of its predecessor.

Many existing essays and entries have been greatly retooled, and evidence from the new "Doctor Who" series (unbroadcast when this book was first published) has been taken into account. New essays in this edition include "The Daemons: What the Hell Are They Doing?", "Where Were Torchwood When All This Was Happening?" and "Is This Any Way to Run a Galactic Empire?".

Additionally, Mad Norwegian will be releasing Wanting to Believe: A Critical Guide to The X-Files, Millennium and The Lone Gunmen by renowned Doctor Who writer Rob Shearman. In this, Shearman critiques and examines all 282 X-Files-related episodes (as well as the two motion pictures), making this text one of (if not the only) books to cover the entire X-Files TV canon.

Media roundupBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 24 December 2008 - Reported by Anthony Weight
With transmission of the latest new episode of Doctor Who, the Christmas special "The Next Doctor", due tomorrow evening on BBC One, the past few days have, as usual, seen a flurry of coverage of both the episode and the series as a whole across the UK media. As ever, these articles may contain spoilers, so do be warned before clicking on any of the links below.

The Telegraph, always keen to run Doctor Who stories in recent years, claim that David Tennant has backed the idea of Next Doctor co-star David Morrissey succeeding him in the show's lead role. Radio Times, IO9, The Mirror, The Daily Record, The Telegraph, TV Scoop and The Quietus all look ahead to "The Next Doctor", with preview features. BBC News have also run a preview on television, available to UK internet users on the BBC YouTube page. The TorrenttFreak website has an article on Australian fans getting ready to download the special online.

The idea that there could possibly be a Doctor Who musical mounted for television or theatre has excited some comment over the past few days, apparently emanating from some off-the-cuff remarks made by David Tennant. The Telegraph picks up on the idea, as does Contact Music.

Russell T Davies is interviewed by Metro, and for BBC local radio. David Tennant, meanwhile, spoke to Heart Radio this morning. Elsewhere, monster actor Paul Kasey has been interviewed by The Stage.

Thanks to PolyG, Chuck Foster and all on the media thread at the Doctor Who Forum.

Tennant RSC UpdateBookmark and Share

Monday, 22 December 2008 - Reported by Chuck Foster

The RSC has issued a Press Release on the condition of David Tennant. The release says that Tennant is making encouraging progress following his back operation earlier this month. However it is unable to give a date for Tennant's return to the London production of Hamlet. It is still hopped that Tennant will be able to return to the role before the end of the run. Until then Edward Bennett will continue in the role.

David Tennant said " am so grateful for all the terrific medical attention I have received and although it is frustrating to have to take it easy whilst all my friends and colleagues continue at the Novello Theatre every night, I am aware that I must listen to the experts and take my time. I am impatient to be back at work and sincerely hope to make it back some time before the end of the run
I am very sorry to disappoint anyone who booked to come and see me in Hamlet, but confident that you will be far from disappointed by Edward Bennett's performance in the title role. He is one of British theatre’s most promising talents and an opportunity to see his Hamlet, alongside the brilliant ensemble of actors that I have had the great pleasure of working with all year, is very exciting."

The theatre box office is writing to all ticket holders for performances after 26th December to update them. If desired patrons can exchange their tickets for other productions in the RSC's London season at the Novello, subject to availability, or offer their tickets for resale at the Box Office, although the theatre can't guarantee this will be possible.

Behind the Scenes of The Next DoctorBookmark and Share

Monday, 22 December 2008 - Reported by Marcus
BBC One magazine programme The One Show has put online its behind-the-scenes look at The Next Doctor from last Friday.

The four-and-a-half-minute video exclusive is presented by famed Tom Baker impersonator Jon Culshaw, who goes on set and interviews David Tennant and David Morrissey.

Click here to watch the extract. (NB: May not be available to view outside the UK.)

New "Next Doctor" Clip OnlineBookmark and Share

Sunday, 21 December 2008 - Reported by Marcus

The official BBC Doctor Who website has posted a clip from the forthcoming Christmas special, "The Next Doctor", as the treat behind the door of day 21 on their "Adventure Calendar". The calendar counts down to Christmas with a variety of special material made available each day in December.

The new 50-second video clip, only available to UK users of the site, features the character of Miss Hartigan (Dervla Kirwan) interacting with the Cybermen.

Tshabalala Interview And Sladen In PantoBookmark and Share

Friday, 19 December 2008 - Reported by Anthony Weight
With just a few days to go now until The Next Doctor airs on BBC One, Last Broadcast has uploaded an interview with Velile Tshabalala, who plays Rosita in the Christmas special.

It was conducted last month but embargoed until now. In it, Tshabalala discusses the audition process, working with Davids Tennant and Morrissey, her costume, and performing stunts in the episode.

The actress opens in pantomime on December 20, appearing in Dick Whittington And His Cat at The Compass Theatre in Ickenham, Middlesex. The show runs until January 3.

Also in panto this festive season is Elisabeth Sladen, playing Mrs Darling in Peter Pan at the Theatre Royal Windsor. The production, based on the J M Barrie tale, is on until January 11.

With thanks to Jeremy Bentham

The Next Doctor fast-tracked to AustraliaBookmark and Share

Friday, 19 December 2008 - Reported by Marcus

The Next Doctor will make its Australian debut on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Sunday 25 January 2009 at 7.30pm on ABC1. This contrasts with previous years when the Christmas specials have debuted on ABC TV several months after the UK. This may also suggest that the ABC will 'fast-track' the other Doctor Who specials to be broadcast in the UK in 2009.

The ABC has also confirmed the Australian broadcast details of the 2008 Christmas special on its website.

Thanks to TV Tonight and the contributors to the Australian forums.

Inside the World of Doctor WhoBookmark and Share

Thursday, 18 December 2008 - Reported by Marcus
The experts of Doctor Who have revealed some of the secrets behind the show, from making the TARDIS appear to shooting Cybermen. What's it like to work with Daleks? How do terrifying monsters come to life? What do you use to blast a Cyberman?

BAFTA teamed up with the London Children's Film Festival and the BBC to present a special event in front of 2,000 Doctor Who fans at the Barbican Centre, London, the highlights of which are now available online at the BAFTA website.

Inside the World of Doctor Who brought together the experts responsible for creating the series, from creating a universe of sound to animating a Slitheen or the Ood. With excerpts from the show and real props from the programme, this is an unmissable opportunity to experience what it's really like backstage at Doctor Who.

Watch presenter Kirsten O'Brien emerge from the TARDIS and welcome a range of special guests to the stage including members of the Doctor Who special effects team and the man behind it all - Executive Producer and Lead Writer, Russell T Davies.

Video Highlights

  • Writer Russell T Davies shares his Doctor Who secrets
  • Master monster maker Neill Gorton introduces a range of Doctor Who creatures
  • Conductor and arranger Ben Foster plays music from the show
  • Special effects supremo Danny Hargreaves shows an audience member how to fire a Phaser (and attack a Cyberman!)

Christmas Special Press LaunchBookmark and Share

Thursday, 18 December 2008 - Reported by Marcus
The official BBC press launch for the forthcoming Doctor Who Christmas special, "The Next Doctor", was held in London today. A somewhat lower-key affair than the corresponding events of previous years, the event has nonetheless managed to attract a good deal of media coverage on television, radio, online and in print. Readers are warned that any or all of the following links may contain spoilers for "The Next Doctor".

SFX Magazine have posted a spoiler-free review of the episode, which they describe as "not an out-and-out classic episode, but it is great Christmas entertainment. And it does have a few classic moments." OffTheTelly describes how outgoing BBC Controller of Fiction Jane Tranter implored journalists "to promise not to tell anyone else what to make of that. The ability of Doctor Who is to ask big questions and keep everybody guessing. Please enter into the spirit of that, and allow everyone to keep asking questions."

Gareth McLean, writing for The Guardian, describes the episode as "a lot better than last year – a lot – and not just because David Morrissey is a magnificent actor and a lot easier on the eye than Kylie Minogue. For a start, The Next Doctor is about something. It has a proper story (as opposed to a surfeit of CGI), some lovely sharp lines and self-referential moments that, mostly, aren't self-indulgent." Michael Deacon in The Telegraph says the episode is "a blizzard of action... Much of the plot is devoted to the relationship – at times amusing, at times poignant – between these two Doctors, as we begin to learn the life story of Morrissey’s character."

Writer Russell T Davies appeared in the last half-hour of BBC Radio 5 Live's Victoria Derbyshire programme to discuss the special, and also popped up on television on the BBC News channel's coverage of the press launch.

Tennant expected to be fit for specialsBookmark and Share

Thursday, 18 December 2008 - Reported by Anthony Weight
BBC News reports that Doctor Who chief writer and executive producer Russell T Davies expects Tenth Doctor actor David Tennant to be fit enough to begin work next month on the first of the four specials which will end his tenure in the part.

Tennant is due to resume work on Doctor Who on the 19th of January, but has recently undergone much-publicised back surgery which forced him to pull out of several dates of the London run of his acclaimed starring role in Hamlet. However, speaking at the press launch for the Christmas special "The Next Doctor" today, Russell T Davies commented that he was hopeful Tennant would be fit to start work on schedule.

Davies did, however, comment that: "We'll have to be very careful. I don't think we'll be swinging him on a wire on his first day back." He did, however, add that no rewrites were expected to be needed to accommodate Tennant's injury.