News Roundup - UpdatedBookmark and Share

Saturday, 31 October 2009 - Reported by Marcus
With attention on the outgoing Doctor with the press launch of The Waters of Mars, incoming Executive producer Steven Moffat has been talking about the new series currently being filmed with new Doctor Matt Smith. Interviewed by Ben Cooke, at the Screenwriters' Festival in Cheltenham, Moffat described Smith as simply "the best". "He's all the things you'd expect, including ancient," and described the new Doctor as "someone you can't take your eyes off". Moffat confirmed he will be writing six episodes of the new series.
A full transcript can be found at Digital Spy

Meanwhile outgoing Doctor David Tennant will be a guest on next Monday's Graham Norton show on BBC One. Tennant has also been talking to PBS about his new role as host of Masterpiece Contemporary.

Steve Roberts of the DVD Restoration team has been giving details of the processes involved in returning colour to Doctor Who stories which currently only exist in black and white. Speaking at an event sponsored by the Doctor Who Information Network. Roberts talked about work being done on the Mind of Evil as well as discussing future plans for the classic range with all complete stories due for release by November 2013, the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. He confirmed there are no plans for any further animated restorations of lost episodes, nor any plans to issue any more partial stories.

John Barrowman has been sitting in for Elaine Paige on her Sunday afternoon BBC Radio 2 show. He read out an e-mail asking if he knew if Torchwood was coming back or not. He said that they were currently 'in negotiations' and that he hoped Torchwood would be back some time in the future. Barrowman has released his new memoirs I Am What I Am, which covers the last three years and includes behind the scenes secrets and gossip from the sets of Doctor Who and Torchwood, complete with behind the scenes photos of the cast.

Finally, obits for Barry Letts have now been posted in the Independent as well as on the BBC Doctor Who site. As reported below, it was confirmed at the press launch that The Waters of Mars will be dedicated to Letts.

FILTER: - Steven Moffat - Matt Smith - Classic Series - Blu-ray/DVD - Series 5/31

Sarah Jane Ratings - FridayBookmark and Share

Saturday, 31 October 2009 - Reported by Marcus

The second part of The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith, was watched by 1.1 million viewers, with an audience share of 9.6%.

This is again far above the average for the timeslot. The programme inherited an audience of 0.3 million and built it to 0.9 million for the first quarter hour and 1.2 million for the second.

The highest rated programme on BBC One in this timeslot, this year, prior to The Sarah Jane Adventures was Outback8 on 2nd January, which got 0.71 million watching.

Final figures will include those who record the programme and watch it within seven days, and will be released by BARB in two weeks time.

FILTER: - Ratings - UK - Sarah Jane

Waters of Mars American AirdatesBookmark and Share

Saturday, 31 October 2009 - Reported by Marcus
Following the release of the UK transmission date, BBC America has confirmed The Waters of Mars will air in the US on Saturday December 19 at 9:00pm ET/PT.

Tennant's final two stories will then air over the holiday season as a two-part special. Airdates will be released in early December.

The BBC will release The Waters of Mars and the two-part finale on DVD and Blu-ray on Tuesday, February 2, 2010 both as individual releases and also as part of a 5 disc specials collection including The Next Doctor and Planet of the Dead.

FILTER: - Specials - USA - Series 4/30 Specials - Broadcasting

Tennant launches Waters of MarsBookmark and Share

Friday, 30 October 2009 - Reported by Marcus
David Tennant today launched The Waters of Mars, which airs on Sunday November 15 at 7pm on BBC One. The episode is the second Doctor Who special to be screened this year, and Tennant will also star in two more shows before bowing out at Christmas.

Tennant said he was excited for new Doctor Matt Smith, saying: "I remember how exciting it was starting out on this kind of a journey and nerve-wracking. I'm jealous that he's going through that now - but it couldn't happen to a nicer chap. I'm looking forward to not knowing what happens next. I'm looking forward to being a viewer again."

Of the special, Tennant said: "The Doctor finds himself in a situation where he knows what the end is. It's all about whether he can un-knit the inevitable. With this particular Time Lord's life coming to an end, if he starts fiddling with the fundamentals of time and space, it might lead to his undoing."

At the end of the episode, viewers will glimpse some familiar faces who will appear in the Doctor's adventures to come, including Catherine Tate, who plays the Doctor's former companion Donna, and his arch-nemesis the Master, played by John Simm. He teased: "It's fitting and proper he should be there to see the Doctor off - if that's what happens."

Tennant said: "The Doctor now knows incontrovertibly that he's running from his own demise." He described shooting the final scenes as "emotional" but said that as they were filmed out of sequence, the situation did not get too weepy. The actor said the last line he said as the Doctor was: "'You two, with me, spit spot'... so it was robbed of any epic quality. It was very emotional saying cheerio. Filming the final scene was very, very sad. There's lots of scenes in the final, final story that are very sad and were very sad to play."

Tennant spoke about the big opportunities that arose in killing off the current tenth incarnation of the Doctor, to take the story "to places we've never quite been before". He said: "It allows it to be bigger and more epic and wilder... and sadder."

Tennant said he had originally felt under some pressure in taking on the role, saying: "It means so much to so many people. It meant so much to me." He said the bit he would miss the most was "when the new script comes. That was always such a thrill. It was always surprising." Asked if he felt he was in danger of becoming typecast, Tennant said: "I seem to have managed to do quite a variety of things while I've been doing Doctor Who. I haven't felt that it has been anything other than a positive." The star said he had his own sonic screwdriver which he kept locked up in a "secure location" in case his house was burgled.

On playing the role, he said: "You're not really expected to follow what went before, you're sort of expected to go your own way and mess it up a little bit the Doctor is different each time. You know James Bond is always James Bond and Tarzan is always Tarzan and Sherlock Holmes is always Sherlock Holmes but the Doctor is up to you, it's a blank sheet and you can scribble all over it, it's up to you."

He compared the job to being the United States president, saying: "You always get to be called the Doctor."

At the launch, Executive producer Russell T Davies confirmed The Waters of Mars will be dedicated to former producer Barry Letts. Davies paid tribute to his predecessor saying "He was one of the finest producers of Doctor Who and many programmes.. He used to do the Sunday afternoon classic serials and he actually produced the Jon Pertwee years. And then he cast Tom Baker. He cast Lis Sladen as well. He was an extraordinary figure in Doctor Who history and in pop culture – and he passed away, sadly. So, of course, we wanted to have that tribute to him on screen."

The launch has been covered by BBC News, The Guardian and BBC Newsbeat.

Journalist Ian Wylie has posted the full transcript of the press launch with Tennant and Davies on his blog.

FILTER: - Specials - David Tennant - Series 4/30 Specials - Press

Maida Vale celebrates 75 years.Bookmark and Share

Friday, 30 October 2009 - Reported by Marcus
The BBC is today celebrating the 75th Anniversary of its Maida Vale studios, best known to Doctor Who fans as the home of the Radiophonic Workshop. A series of programmes being broadcast across the entire BBC radio network will celebrate the role the studios have had in the cultural life of the country, many including music from the classic series of Doctor Who.

The Radiophone Workshop was involved with the series from the very start when, in 1963 the unit were given the task of realising composer Ron Grainer's theme tune for the upcoming television series. Working in Maida Vale, Delia Derbyshire created the sound which has become one of the most recognisable themes in British television.. The Workshop was responsible for most of the sound effects used in the series throughout it's entire run and it was in these studios that such iconic sounds as the TARDIS materialisation and the sound of the Sonic screwdriver were created. The workshop provided much incidental music for the programme including every score from 1980 to 1985.

The Maida Vale studios were also used to broadcast news across Europe during the Second World War and were the home of Radio 1's Peel Sessions from 1967 until 2004. They also hosted early radio performances from such acts as The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and David Bowie, drama recordings for Radio 3 and Radio 4 including Dr Zhivago and King Lear and Bing Crosby made his last recording session in the studios in 1977.

FILTER: - Audio - Production - Classic Series

Tennant boosts Sarah Jane's RatingsBookmark and Share

Friday, 30 October 2009 - Reported by Marcus
David Tennant's arrival at Sarah Jane's wedding was watched by 1.3 million viewers according to unofficial overnight figures. With an audience share of 10.9% this is roughly double the usual audience for the show and more than three times what CBBC usually gets in this slot.

The rating is the highest by far that The Sarah Jane Adventures have achieved in this time slot. Series One was shown in a later time slot and got figures of around 1.4 million watching. The figures saw BBC One move into third place for this timeslot. Usually the ratings for children's TV are eclipsed by those watching the lifestyle programme on the other four main channels.

The programme was promoted on BBC Breakfast with an appearance from Elisabeth Sladen and Russell T Davies. For Sladen this was a return to studio TC7 in Television Centre. The studio Breakfast is broadcast from is the same studio in which she recorded stories such as Robot over 35 years ago.

Final figures will be released in around two weeks time.

The final part of the story will be shown in the UK this afternoon.

Final figures are now available for the first two programmes in Series Three. Prisoner of the Judoon had 0.73 million watching part one and 0.82 million watching part two. Final figures are more accurate then initial overnight estimates and include those who record the programme and view it within seven days.

FILTER: - Ratings - UK - Sarah Jane

The Waters of Mars - Transmission DateBookmark and Share

Friday, 30 October 2009 - Reported by Chuck Foster
The forthcoming special The Waters of Mars will be broadcast on Sunday 15th November at 7:00pm; the date and time were confirmed by David Tennant during this morning's GMTV.

The press preview for the episode is also due to take place today.

FILTER: - Specials - Series 4/30 Specials - Press

The Waters of Mars - Coming SoonBookmark and Share

Thursday, 29 October 2009 - Reported by Marcus
The BBC press office has released details of the forthcoming special The Waters of Mars. The episode is currently unplaced in the schedule, but is expected to be shown in mid November.

Mars, 2059. Bowie Base One.

Last recorded message: "Don't drink the water. Don't even touch it. Not one drop."

Starring David Tennant as The Doctor and guest starring acclaimed British stage and screen actress Lindsay Duncan, The Waters Of Mars is the second Doctor Who special to be screened this year.

Lindsay plays Adelaide – the Doctor's cleverest and most strong-minded companion. She and the Doctor face terror on the Red Planet in one of the scariest adventures yet.

Neighbours, Flying Doctors and Casualty star Peter O'Brien also guest stars as Ed, Adelaide's second-in-command at the base.

The Waters Of Mars is written by Russell T Davies and Phil Ford and is directed by Graeme Harper.

FILTER: - Specials - David Tennant - Series 4/30 Specials - Press

The Space Museum/The Chase en route to DVDBookmark and Share

Thursday, 29 October 2009 - Reported by Marcus
The BBFC have passed a trailer for two stories, The Space Museum and The Chase, indicating that both are being lined up for a DVD release in the next few months. The stories were part of Doctor Who's second season and were first shown between April and June 1965.

They feature William Hartnell as the first Doctor along with Jacqueline Hill as Barbara Wright, William Russell as Ian Chesterton and Maureen O'Brien as Vicki, and introduce Peter Purves as new companion Steven Taylor.

The Space Museum was written by Glyn Jones and directed by Mervyn Pinfield, who as Doctor Who's first Associate Producer was responsible for many technical innovations used on the programme.

The Chase was the final story for Ian and Barbara. It sees the Daleks return in their third story for the series, which was again written by Terry Nation. Directed by Richard Martin, it also starred Hywel Bennett. The original transmission included a clip of the Beatles performing "Ticket to Ride".

FILTER: - William Hartnell - Classic Series - Blu-ray/DVD

SJA nominated for BAFTABookmark and Share

Tuesday, 27 October 2009 - Reported by Anthony Weight
BBC News reports that The Sarah Jane Adventures has been nominated for a Children's BAFTA award by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. The Children's BAFTAs celebrate and reward the best in children's film and television, and the CBBC Doctor Who spin-off starring Elisabeth Sladen has been nominated in the drama category. It is the second year running that the programme has been nominated in this category at the awards. The ceremony will be held at the Park Lane Hilton in London on November 29th.

FILTER: - Awards/Nominations - Sarah Jane