People RoundupBookmark and Share

Saturday, 29 December 2012 - (compiled by Chuck Foster and John Bowman)
David Tennant made one of his regular guest appearances on the Christian O'Connell Breakfast Show on Absolute Radio on 21st December, again starring in the show's festive performance - this time as the Virgin Mary in their Nativity, Dude, Where's My Donkey? The play was recorded and can be watched in three parts: One; Two; Three.

The actor also made the news for his novel way of deterring foxes from his back garden. [Standard, 21 Dec 2012]

Steven Moffat talked about his rituals over Christmas (as well as watching Doctor Who of course!). For example, on the subject of the inevitable requirements to put things together: "Sue will tell me to assemble something. Maybe just put batteries into some toys. And I'll sit on the floor with a screwdriver, and do my Daddy thing. Slowly, by degrees, it becomes a compulsion. I find more and more things to assemble. And then I need more and more! I'm rummaging in the bins, trying to find the instruction manuals among all the scarves and Sue's new jewellery. They start calling me for Christmas lunch, but "No!" I cry. "Just one more thing. I need to assemble just one more thing!" Then I'm breaking into the boys’ Lego kits and putting them together like a crazed junkie, destroying weeks of fun at a stroke. Somehow, though, before I can make it to Ikea to demand flatpacks at gunpoint, Sue will manage to get me to the dinner table to eat with the family." [Standard, 21 Dec 2012]

The recent series of Pointless Celebrities in the lead-up to Christmas - hosted as always by Alexander Armstrong - saw a number of Doctor Who-related actors and actresses taking part in the quiz. Nicholas Parsons appeared in episode eight, though he and partner Rick Wakeman were unable to win through to the final. However, former companion actress Bonnie Langford did reach the final with partner Todd Carty, though they were unable to find the pointless answer they needed to win the prize money for their charities. Likewise, the final episode of the series saw the pairing of two stalwart character actors Derek Martin and Graham Cole also make it to the final but fail to be pointless!

BBC Radio One DJ Reggie Yates presented his last edition of The Official Chart on 23rd December. He has been at the BBC for some ten years, and presented the chart show on Sunday evenings for the last five. Future projects include a new documentary series for BBC Three.

Karen Gillan has published a photo of her and co-star Brenton Thwaites during filming for her upcoming movie Oculus. [Karen Gillan via Twitter, 23 Dec 2012]

Louise Jameson goes on tour in January and February with the adult-themed play My Gay Best Friend. She will be appearing at The Lass O'Gowrie in Manchester on Saturday 5th January, Hull Truck Theatre on Thursday 24th and Friday 25th January, The Old Town Hall in Hemel Hempstead on Tuesday 12th February, Harrow Arts Centre on Wednesday 13th February, and The Under Ground Theatre in Eastbourne on Thursday 14th February. Jameson will also be appearing in Pulling Faces at The Berry Theatre in Hedge End on Friday 8th February. Again, this production has adult themes. []

(compiled by Chuck Foster and John Bowman)
(with thanks to Kenny Davidson)

New Year Honours List

Michael Cashman has been made a CBE - Commander of the Order of the British Empire - for public and political service. The former actor played Bilton in Time-Flight but became more widely known as an actor for his role as Colin Russell in EastEnders. He is now a Labour MEP for the West Midlands and was a co-founder of Stonewall.

As an aside, the singer-songwriter Kate Bush has also been made a CBE, with her honour being given for services to music - for many years a fan myth persisted that she had written both Kinda and Snakedance under the pseudonym of Christopher Bailey - something the real Bailey found quite amusing!

FILTER: - Steven Moffat - Theatre - David Tennant - Broadcasting

Doctor Who Adventures Goes Global With AppBookmark and Share

Friday, 28 December 2012 - Reported by John Bowman
Doctor Who Adventures reaches issue number 300 today and to mark the occasion it has launched an app, making the publication available around the world via iPads and iPhones.

Returning after its Christmas break, the magazine has a free set of Dalek figures and a pack of Doctor Who Monster Invasion Extreme cards, while among the contents of issue 300 are:

  • An episode guide for The Snowmen
  • A peek at the Whoniverse in 2013
  • Monster resolutions
  • More comic adventures
  • A look at the brand-new TARDIS

People can get the app from the App Stores in the UK and USA.

FILTER: - USA - UK - Magazines - DWA

The Snowmen: Press Preview Q&ABookmark and Share

Thursday, 27 December 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster
The BBC have made some of the press preview Q&A for The Snowmen that took place on the 18th December available to watch online; the session features Matt Smith, Jenna-Louise Coleman and Steven Moffat interviewed by TV reviewer Boyd Hilton, and then taking questions from the audience, including where the idea of Clara came from, a new-look TARDIS, and how long Matt is going to stay as the Doctor!

A full transcript of the Q&A has also been made available by Ian Wylie.

FILTER: - Online - Series Specials - Press - Series 7/33

The Snowmen: Press ReactionBookmark and Share

Thursday, 27 December 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster
A roundup of selected quotes from the media after the broadcast of The Snowmen on Christmas/Boxing Day. Links to the full review can be found by clicking on the author's name. You can also read our own review here.

Note: reviews can contain spoilers!

UK: The Independent

Overall Moffat has dished out a stronger offering this year. The story was apparently based on a piece written by Douglas Adams. This may the reason why this year was decidedly more comic than previous Christmas specials. The humour is largely thanks to Strax who provided most of the laughs through his Sontaran view of the human race. But it was also more disturbing in a behind-the-sofa way, even at Christmas a little scare isn’t always a bad thing. The Snowmen has now brought the Doctor out of his state of retirement and ready for action again after such a brooding period.

While the episode was enjoyable the problem was that the story feels truncated and rushed. Granted the time frame leaves little room for dalliances but it would have been nice to have seen more of Simeon’s developing relationship with the Great Intelligence. Grant is brilliant as the villain but more of him would have been even better.

UK: The Radio Times

Well, hats off to Steven Moffat. He’s just presented us with alternative abominable snowmen, and not only reintroduced the Great Intelligence but also established how this malignant, disembodied force came into being.

There are lots of lovely images (the Jack and the Beanstalk-like spiral staircase leading to the clouds), and my favourite moment being the truly wonderful effect of the camera (and hence the viewer) following the Doctor and Clara directly through the police box doors into the huge Tardis interior. Has this effect ever been achieved before..? I may have forgotten. And how was it done? Where’s BBC3’s Doctor Who Confidential when you need it!

UK: The Mirror

Suddenly, the Doctor is faced with an intriguing new mystery – one that involves, among other things, soufflés. So where the kids will look forward to it and the fans will discuss it endlessly, maybe the casual watcher will be intrigued enough to follow the Time Lord into his golden year, just to see how the latest curious twist of the twice-dead girl unfolds.

Where this year’s Who snowtacular fails is appealing to the dinner-bloated and mildly disinterested middle viewer. It’ll totally pass by family members who, at 5.15 in the afternoon, just want to sleep for a bit until they feel the need to attack the cold cuts. Through sprout-engorged eyes and a brandy befuddle, it’s a great piece of entertainment but it doesn’t hold up to much sober fanboy scrutiny. It’s miles better than anything else on, but for the casual Christmas viewer there’s little to hold the interest besides noticing how gorgeous the new companion is, and well... maybe the ending.

UK: The Telegraph

It was an enjoyable enough romp, I suppose, and I imagine that reference-spotters had a field-day. There were nods not only to The Snowman but also to Sherlock – cheekily suggested to have been, in “real-life”, the lesbian Silurian Madame Vastra. The shadow of Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw could be detected in the CGI figure of the dead governess, made of ice and snarling “That’s The Way To Do It!”. There were shades of Dickens and CS Lewis and maybe even the smoke-fashioned staircase from the Mary Poppins film too in the episode’s best touch - having the newly refurbished Tardis float above town on a bed of “super-dense water vapour”, reachable only by a vertiginous spiral staircase.

At least twinkly-eyed Matt Smith was on irrepressible form as always, his careworn Doc emerging from ethical hibernation to save the world, again, and exchange repartee with, oh please no, his adopted comedy sidekick Strax (Dan Starkey) of the once terrifying now just silly Sontaran race. The sooner his luscious new companion, revealed as Jenna-Louise Coleman’s Clara – former barmaid and erstwhile Dalek (yes, really) – fills the Pond-shaped void in his life the better but I fear that if Moffat doesn’t rein in his tendencies to make every script a brain-teaser of Sudoku-like complexity, his young audience will melt away, fast.

UK: The Guardian

Welcome back, Merry Christmas, and wow. The Snowmen was easily the finest Christmas special under this regime. After last year's dog's giblets of an episode, it needed to be, but this poetic romp was actually the best since The Christmas Invasion, and possibly better. It had everything we like about Doctor Who (frights, romance, running, a menacing baddie, lizard people) while being just sentimental enough to tick off a lot of things we like about Christmas.

UK: Crave Online

Matt Smith was terrific as always, particularly during the inspired bit when the Doctor briefly impersonates Sherlock Holmes. But as the Doctor is won over by Clara, the audience is as well. And when Clara is lost, the Doctor makes the viewers feel that loss as well.

“The Snowmen” was a rousing “Doctor Who” story that feels like it matters in the long term of the series. A new TARDIS, a new opening sequence and a new companion? That’s the start of a new era for sure. And the prospects for it look good for now.

USA: Los Angeles Times

Clara appears to be a mirror image of the Doctor: fearless, curious and intuitive, a match not only of wits but of shared delight in the power of knowing. That is the perpetual tension that fuels the Doctor. A Time Lord weighted with the wisdom of the ages, believing himself to be the last of his kind, has only his sense of wonder to protect him from the great sorrow born of endless knowledge and experience. Fortunately it is boundless, like his energy, and of all the recent Doctors, Smith best captures the power of willful youthfulness. Not in appearance, though he is the most boyish of the canon, but in resilience, the springiness that allows a child to find miracles in the mundane, to truly believe that today will be better than yesterday.

The world always needs the Doctor, but perhaps never more than on Christmas day.

USA: New York Magazine - Vulture

There can’t be enough praise showered on Coleman at this point, who is quite simply a breath of fresh air for this series, at a time when it so desperately needs it. I’ve not fallen for a new companion this hard and fast since Rose Tyler, who had the benefit of being there when the series relaunched, so that’s not even a fair comparison. This new girl just devours the camera lens; a more photogenic companion we’ve probably never seen. It was easy to understand the Doctor’s reinvigoration through her, because as viewers we were experiencing the same feelings, and the scene in which he gives her the TARDIS key, only for her to be lost seconds later, was a serious tearjerker; that was more moving than anything in “The Angels Take Manhattan.”

I had mad, crazy love for both “A Christmas Carol” and “The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe,” Moffat’s previous holiday outings, and hoped to feel the same about “The Snowmen,” but ultimately didn’t. Yet this episode held a much different function in the series than either of those entries, coming in the middle of a season as it did. Whereas his first two Christmas specials were entirely standalone tales, this one was anything but, steeped in the ongoing storyline as it was. What worked within it worked very, very well, and what didn’t was disastrous.

USA: EntertainmentWise

So, there you have it - it was one intense episode full of adventure and tense scenes, but what would Doctor Who be without all of the chaos? In between such madness the Doctor and Clara even managed to find a moment to embrace in a loving/unexpected kiss and joke around with each other, including Doctor Who doing a one man version of Punch and Judy - what more could you ask for? It gave us all a brilliantly entertaining hour on our Christmas day and I am sure it has left most of us wanting to know what happens next! We will just have to wait very patiently for later on into the year.

USA: io9

... an episode that shows Moffat returning to form with a lot of fun and zaniness bolted onto a pretty successful fairy-tale framework. The overall task of this episode is to relaunch Matt Smith's Doctor with a new(ish) companion and a new(ish) semi-regular supporting cast, and in those terms it works beautifully. The story takes the classic "companion becomes fascinated with the Doctor and learns about him/tracks him down" storyline and does something new and interesting with it. And it advances the Doctor's arc of trying and failing to go it alone, which Moffat has been building since "The God Complex."

USA: Wired

I came away from this episode with a major question: Is Moffat setting us up for a new Doctor romance? Or is there more to Clara than meets the eye? The flirting between her and the Doctor reminds me a lot of the flirtatious relationship he has with River Song, and I wouldn’t put it past Moffat to be playing us. Given that Clara has a remarkable gift for not dying, could she be regenerating somehow? But then why is this the first time “Clara” has seen the TARDIS in this episode. Then again, we’ve never seen the first time that River saw the TARDIS. In “Let’s Kill Hitler”, she knew the Doctor had a time machine and didn’t have the standard “It’s bigger on the inside argument.”

Despite a few short-comings, this years Christmas outing is a good deal stronger than last years rather disappointing “The Doctor, The Widow, and the Wardrobe.” That was an episode with a lot of promise but a story that never seemed to gel. “The Snowman” had a story that, despite a sentimental ending with a families tears defeating the frozen menace, still held together.

USA: The Examiner

It was an excellent episode, and it was a nice and welcome Christmas present for all the fans of the show. The biggest mystery of course (besides the fact that the sonic screwdriver can obviously harden clouds enough to walk on) is Clara. How is it possible for her to be the same person? Because based on her name and the words Clara threw at the Doctor, she is one and the same. The past and the future. How is that possible?

Australia: WA Today

All told The Snowman is a strong Doctor Who episode. Jenna-Louise Coleman, who we first met as Oswin Oswald in Asylum of the Daleks, returns as Clara Oswald, presumably an ancestor. In true Moffat style, we finish the episode knowing a little more, and whole lot less, about her.

Further Reading

Daily Mail, International Business Times(UK), LSMedia(UK), IGN(UK), Forbes(USA), Wall Street Journal(USA), TGDaily(USA), AssignmentX(USA), ComicMix(USA), Blast(USA), Mashable(USA), Boston Standard(USA), TwitchFilm(CA), The Age(AU), The West Australian(AU)

FILTER: - Series Specials - Press - Series 7/33

The Snowmen scores an AI of 87Bookmark and Share

Thursday, 27 December 2012 - Reported by Marcus
The Snowmen had an Appreciation Index, or AI score, of 87.

The Appreciation Index or AI is a measure of how much the audience enjoyed the programme. The score, out of a hundred, is compiled by a specially selected panel of around 5,000 people who go online and rate and comment on programmes.

Doctor Who scored higher than most of the Christmas Day output. The most appreciated programmes were Downton Abbey on ITV1 and Call the Midwife on BBC One, both of which scored 90.

This year's score is higher than the majority of the previous Christmas Day specials, with last year's The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe scoring 84. Only the first part of the Tenth Doctor's swansong, The End of Time - Part One, equalled the score of 87.

An additional 0.56 million have now watched The Snowmen, via the Boxing Day repeat on BBC Three, where it achieved a 2.3% share of the total TV audience.

FILTER: - Ratings - UK - Series 7/33

Australian ratings for The SnowmenBookmark and Share

Thursday, 27 December 2012 - Reported by Adam Kirk
The Snowmen has debuted in Australia, averaging 697,000 viewers in the five major capital cities. It came second in its time-slot, was the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's top-rating drama of the day and the twelfth highest rating programme of the day overall.  These ratings do not include regional or time-shifted viewers.
Media Links: TV Tonight

FILTER: - Ratings - Broadcasting - Series 7/33 - Australia

Sir Richard Rodney Bennett (1936-2012)Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, 26 December 2012 - Reported by John Bowman
Sir Richard Rodney BennettThe composer Sir Richard Rodney Bennett has died aged 76.

As well as many and varied classical pieces, he also wrote film and TV scores, with the incidental music for the 1964 story The Aztecs being among them. The four-part adventure is to be released as a special edition DVD in March.

Born in Broadstairs, Bennett - who was also an accomplished jazz pianist - studied and later taught at the Royal Academy of Music.

His film work included the score for Nicholas and Alexandra, which starred Tom Baker as Rasputin and Michael Jayston as Nicholas and featured Julian Glover, Maurice Denham, Gordon Gostelow, Brian Cox, and Steven Berkoff.

He also provided the score for Four Weddings And A Funeral, written by Richard Curtis and starring Hugh Grant, who was one of the Doctors in the 1999 Comic Relief spoof The Curse of Fatal Death, written by Steven Moffat. Other films to feature Bennett's music included Murder On The Orient Express, with George Coulouris among the cast.

Bennett was Oscar-nominated for his music for Far From The Madding Crowd, Nicholas and Alexandra, and Murder On The Orient Express, with the latter garnering him a BAFTA award.

Appointed a CBE in 1977, he received his knighthood in 1998. Bennett moved to New York in 1979 and in his later years also became an artist noted for his collage work.

FILTER: - People - Obituary

The Snowmen - Overnight Viewing FiguresBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 26 December 2012 - Reported by Marcus
The Snowmen had an overnight audience of 7.59 million viewers, a share of 33.9% of the total TV audience.

Doctor Who was the fifth most-watched programme of the day, which saw BBC One take seven of the top ten places in the ratings chart. The most watched programme of the day was EastEnders which had 9.4 million watching.

ITV1's highest rated show of the day was Coronation Street with 8.6 million viewers.

Doctor Who was down on last year's overnight figure, which saw the show transmitted in a much later time slot, where it had 8.9 million watching. This year, against the Doctor, Emmerdale achieved 4.7 million viewers.

Despite its early start, Doctor Who out-rated some prime time shows including the Christmas episode of Downton Abbey and Call The Midwife.

Final figures, which will include those who record the programme and watch it later, will be available next week.

FILTER: - Ratings - UK - Series 7/33

Doctor Who: 50th Anniversary stamps confirmedBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 26 December 2012 - (article by Chuck Foster and John Bowman)
The Royal Mail has confirmed that it will release a set of stamps in March to commemorate Doctor Who's 50th anniversary. All 11 television Doctors will be represented on first-class stamps, with their image surrounded by the title sequence and associated logo.

Royal Mail Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Stamps: First DoctorRoyal Mail Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Stamps: Second DoctorRoyal Mail Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Stamps: Third DoctorRoyal Mail Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Stamps: Fourth DoctorRoyal Mail Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Stamps: Fifth DoctorRoyal Mail Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Stamps: Sixth DoctorRoyal Mail Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Stamps: Seventh DoctorRoyal Mail Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Stamps: Eighth DoctorRoyal Mail Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Stamps: Ninth DoctorRoyal Mail Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Stamps: Tenth DoctorRoyal Mail Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Stamps: Eleventh DoctorRoyal Mail Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Stamps: Minisheet

A five-stamp miniature sheet will also be released, with pride of place going to the TARDIS as a first-class stamp. The other four stamps will be for second class and will feature a Dalek, Cyberman, Ood and Weeping Angel.

Andrew Hammond, Managing Director, Stamps and Collectibles at Royal Mail, said:
We are delighted to be able to celebrate this remarkable 50th anniversary. These stamps pay tribute to the brilliant actors that have played the Doctor over the years as well as the adversaries that helped make the show so popular.

Fiona Eastwood, Product Development Director, BBC Worldwide Consumer Products, said:
The Doctor Who stamps are the perfect way to mark and celebrate the 50th anniversary of this much-loved programme. The collection is really impressive, and I am sure they will delight all Doctor Who fans.

The stamps - which will be available to buy online from abroad - will be released on Tuesday 26th March 2013 and can be pre-ordered by registering with Royal Mail. A dedicated link for overseas buyers should be available tomorrow but if people from overseas want to register before then they can do so by using the "Register" link at the top right of the page linked to above.

More information relating to the issue will be released nearer the time, and Doctor Who News is delighted to say that it will be running a competition when the stamps are issued, with some terrific Doctor Who stamp prizes from Royal Mail.

UPDATE: Overseas residents can now register their interest in the stamps by using this dedicated link.

(with thanks to Royal Mail)
(article by Chuck Foster and John Bowman)

FILTER: - Merchandise - WHO50

The Snowmen: Behind the ScenesBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 26 December 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster
The BBC have released a behind-the-scenes video that explores the making of The Snowmen. The confidentialette looks at how modern-day Bristol was transformed into Victorian London, with observations by Jenna-Louise Coleman (Clara), Matt Smith (The Doctor), Saul Metzstein (director) and Caroline Skinner (executive producer).

The clip joins a number that have been released over the course of December, including interviews with Jenna, Dan Starkey (Strax) and Richard E Grant (Dr Simeon).

FILTER: - Online - Series Specials - Series 7/33 - BBC