Nominees Announced For RTS Programme AwardsBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 29 February 2012 - Reported by John Bowman
Steven Moffat, John Simm, Russell Tovey, James Corden, and The Sarah Jane Adventures are all in the running for gongs at this year's Royal Television Society Programme Awards.

Moffat is nominated in the Writer - Drama category for Series 6 of Doctor Who, Simm as Best Male Actor for the BBC One psychological thriller Exile, Tovey is co-nominated with Sarah Solemani for Best Comedy Performance in the BBC Three anti-romantic comedy Him And Her, and Corden is nominated in the Best Entertainment Performance category for the Sky 1 comedy panel show A League Of Their Own, while Series 5 of The Sarah Jane Adventures is up for Best Children's Drama.

The awards ceremony takes place at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London on Tuesday 20th March.

Last year's RTS Programme Awards saw Moffat winning the Judges' Award and The Sarah Jane Adventures scooping the Children's Drama prize.




People RoundupBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 29 February 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Eve Myles talks about her audition for her role in All New People, the play by Zach Braff: "It was one of the strangest auditions of my life. On the Friday my agent phoned me up very excited because I was desperate to get back to doing theatre, and I wanted to do some comedy because I've never done comedy. She said 'I've got this wonderful script, I'm going to send it to you and they're going to have a look at some of your stuff over the weekend. And if they like what they see then on Monday you might get a phone call and you might have to read for them.' Monday came and they were very interested in me. They arranged for me – on the Wednesday – to audition on Skype, which I’d never done before. Anybody who knows me knows that I have difficulty with a mobile phone, never mind the internet! So I had a Skype audition with Peter DuBois, who was in New York, which lasted an hour and a half, then I had another 40-minute audition with Zach in Los Angeles. So the audition lasted nearly three hours with these two geniuses. In the meantime my babysitter had let me down so we put Alice In Wonderland on for Matilda. So I’m doing all these big scenes on Skype and my daughter is screaming, 'Off with her head!' in the background. But within 20 minutes they'd made an offer." [SFX, via Dave Golder, 21 Feb 2012]

Sylvester McCoy talks about his role in the play Plume, opening at the Tron Theatre Company on Thursday 1st March: "It's a beautifully written play about loss and sadness, and the change in a human being because of that loss. The man I play is a retired teacher, who's widowed, and his son being blown up in a plane affects and changes him from being a lovable, nice, kind, caring human being into an angry person. (On the influence of the real-life Lockerbie tragedy) Lockerbie is there, but it's not principal to the story. It's not a political play in that way, but there's the final straw that releases all this anger in him. One of the reasons for me wanting to do it was that I've got sons, and when I was reading it, I thought, well, how would I feel if that happened to me? I was touched." [The Herald, 28 Feb 2012]

David Morrissey will appear in the next series of The Walking Dead, playing the role of "The Governor". The series is due to start filming in Atlanta in the spring. [News in Time and Space, 26 Feb 2012]

Bill Pullman is returning to a familiar role ... the Independence Day star will be once again assuming the mantle of US President, this time in the new NBC comedy series 1600 Penn set around 'ordinary' life in the White House. [TV Guide, 24 Feb 2012]

A performance of Arthur Darvill's Cinderella forms part of the Nabokov Arts Club's Fable event at Battersea Arts Centre on 2nd/3rd March. The composition is described as a rock-opera, and is "a musical subversion of the Cinderella story". [Nabokov Online. A Younger Theatre]

Roger Lloyd-Pack has been named as patron of the 2012 Breckland British Film Festival. The festival aims to bring classic films to local villages, with the actor attending a screening of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (in which he played Inspector Mendel) in Garboldisham on 14th March. [Norwich Evening News, 27 Feb 2012]

Katherine Jenkins is to appear as one of the contestants on the US version of the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing, Dancing With The Stars. The singer is about to begin training for the show, saying on Twitter: "So now I have a spare day to prepare myself for DWTS and for my first day of training with Mark Ballas" [Katherine Jenkins, 29 Feb 2012]

Visual effects designer/supervisor Tim Barter (between Smith and Jones and The End of Time) has made a remarkable recovery from a skull fracture he suffered in 2009. Reflecting on his accident, he said: "Life stopped for a number of months. I couldn't work and I had double vision. I was frightened that my eyesight would never go back to normal and that I would have to give up my job for good. I'm making the most of everything now where I didn't before." [Standard, 28 Feb 2012]

We'll Take Manhattan, starring Aneurin Bernard as David Bailey and Karen Gillan as Jean Shrimpton will premiere in the United States on 3rd March on cable channel Ovation.

The channel have provided links to three interview segments with Gillan: in the first, Karen talks about the impact of Jean Shrimpton and David Bailey; in the second she discusses the differences between her two characters, Amy and Jean; finally, she talks about the real Jean Shrimpton.

Matt Smith on Top Gear

Matt Smith demonstrated his driving skills on last Sunday's Top Gear as the "star in the reasonably priced car", and achieved the fastest lap-time of all the 'modern' Doctors that have appeared on the show so far, completing the circuit in 1:43.7, as compared to David Tennant with 1:48.8 and Christopher Eccleston with 1:52.4. Billie Piper has also completed the circuit, with a 'controversial' time of 1:48.3 (a three second penalty was overturned). The lap can be watched in the UK via the BBC iPlayer until 22nd April (starts at 30:32).


Behind the scenes of Matt Smith's attempt, via Top Gear Blog

The 'current' Doctors aren't the only ones to take the challenge, however; back in 2003 the Sixth Doctor aka Colin Baker participated in a special 'sci-fi' item on the show, appearing in costume in a competition against a Dalek, Cyberman, Klingon, Darth Vader and Ming the Merciless to find the "Master of the Universe"! Unfortunately he ended up in 4th place, with the Cyberman being the fastest - the Dalek was disqualified for not fitting in the car! Baker was reported as completing the lap in 1:43, but the missing decisecond makes it unclear if he actually beat Smith's own lap time ...

In Memoriam

BAFTA-winning costume designer Michael Burdle, who worked on Colony In Space and The Armageddon Factor, has died at the age of 69. Other programmes he was involved with included Dad's Army and Don't Wait Up, but his great passion was period dramas and in 1985 he won a BAFTA for the BBC's Masterpiece Theatre adaptation of Bleak House. [The Stage, 23 Feb 2012]

Actor, director, and producer Malcolm Taylor, who played Walters in The Ice Warriors, has died aged 74. Among his many credits, he was the dialogue coach for Richard Harris in This Sporting Life - the 1963 film that also included William Hartnell and brought the latter to the attention of Verity Lambert when she was casting the role of the Doctor. [The Stage, 21 Feb 2012]




IDW Comic SaleBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 29 February 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster
A back catalogue of some 56 Doctor Who comics featuring both the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors from publisher IDW are currently available to purchase in a special 99c sale from ComiXology.

The sale runs until 11pm EST tomorrow (1st March).


In addition, a few of the comics are available to read online for free as an introduction to the series:
  • Adventures of the Fourth Doctor in issue one of Classics
  • The Tenth Doctor needs to recover memories of his earlier selves in part one of The Forgotten
  • The beginning of the final adventure for the Tenth Doctor in the Doctor Who Annual 2010

(with thanks to Jim Spivey)




Production RoundupBookmark and Share

Monday, 27 February 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster

Production

In an interview with SFX, executive producer Caroline Skinner confirmed that the first recording block contains two individual stories (being directed by Saul Metzstein). On whether all the scripts were written, she said: "No, if only. But we’ve got a lot of them and the ones that are written are really, really epic and very exciting. (The opening episode) is indeed written by Steven and it’s going to blow everybody’s mind."

Speaking on the Richard Bacon Show, BBC1 Controller Danny Cohen talked about series developments: "The Doctor Who team are writing away. There are more episodes next year. We've got some big events coming up in the near future. So, stay tuned! I always try and keep things close to my chest with Doctor Who because there's such interest in it, and I think it's right that Steven Moffat and the team are the people that bring the news on Doctor Who to the audience rather than me."

Toby Whithouse talked to BBC America about writing for the new series: "My episode is in a genre I’ve never written before — frankly, no one has written in that genre for quite a while now. But I absolutely love it. Steven gives me a one-line pitch, and then I’ll go away and put together a story and so on. And he gave me a great one-line pitch for this, so I’m really excited about it. Doctor Who is always a joy to write. It never gets boring, it never gets dull, it never gets routine. It’s an incredibly difficult show to write because it’s remarkably complex, but it also has to have such momentum and pace. And within that there has to be room for character and humour and so on. It’s always a huge challenge but always extraordinary fun. That’s why I keep going back."

On Location

As well as production commencing on the new series last Monday, later in the week saw filming taking place at Southerndown Beach; the distinctive Dunraven Bay location has featured in a number of BBC Wales programmes, including Merlin and Being Human, and has been used previously in Doctor Who to represent an alien planet (Army of Ghosts), Bad Wolf Bay (Doomsday/Journey's End) and Alfava Metraxis (The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone). Matt Smith, Arthur Darvill and Mark Williams were pictured during filming, which was covered by a number of media sources including The Sun, Radio Times, and the Western Mail.



Casting

According to Spotlight, Rudi Dharmalingham will feature in this block, playing the role of ISA Worker. The actor has had a number of small guest roles in recent series, including The Bill, Casualty and New Tricks. He has also undertaken a number of stage roles, including the international tour of History Boys.

The Rumour Zone

This section talks about elements of the series that have not been formally confirmed and might well be considered spoilers!





In her discussion with SFX about Worlds in Time, Caroline Skinner was also asked about the possibility of a foe returning to the series itself:
SFX: The Zygons are in it! Is this a hint they’re going to be returning to the show anytime soon?
Caroline Skinner: [Laughs] “Wait and see.”

The Express has suggested that Sherlock actor Benedict Cumberbatch might have a role to play in Doctor Who's 50th Anniversary. The traditional 'insider' said:
It's fitting that the Doctor comes face to face with his ultimate enemy, The Master, for the 50th anniversary and it's felt Benedict is the perfect choice if schedules can work. Fans will love the idea of the man who plays Sherlock Holmes taking on the Doctor.

Benedict has often been asked about whether he would like to play the Doctor so it will be ironic if he now ends up being The Master instead.

(with thanks to Chris Williams, Ruther)




Doctor Who Children's Books for AmericaBookmark and Share

Sunday, 26 February 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Diamond Comic Distributors have announced a distribution deal with Penguin Books UK to enable them to publish the successful Doctor Who Children's Books in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Penguin Books UK have published a large number of books and novels in its Doctor Who young adult and children's line, including titles like Monstrous Missions, Step Back in Time and Alien Adventures, the Doctor Who Activity Book, and Where's The Doctor?. The new deal brings the range to American comic book specialty stores, bookstores, mass-market merchandisers, libraries and other outlets.

Bill Schanes, VP-Purchasing for Diamond Comic Distributors, said:
Doctor Who has been one of the growing brand licenses for Diamond and we’re happy to be selling the Penguin Books UK line in North America. These books haven’t been directly available from any U.S. source except for those that might have imported a small quantity.
Juliet Matthews, Penguin UK’s Media and Entertainment Publisher, said:
We're excited to be working with Diamond. The growing audience of Doctor Who fans in the U.S. makes it an ideal partnership to extend our reach.

(with thanks to Kuo-Yu Liang/Diamond Book Distributors)





Council Is Ordered To Release DW RecordsBookmark and Share

Sunday, 26 February 2012 - Reported by John Bowman
A tribunal has ordered Cardiff Council to hand over all its records to do with Doctor Who.

A request under the Freedom of Information Act was made last year by journalist Christopher Hastings to see all documents between the BBC and the council relating to the series. He also wanted to see complaints about the programme that had been sent to the council, as well as all the relevant civic correspondence with utility firms and other public bodies.

The council had refused to comply, saying that it would take longer than the 18 hours that legislation allows. That stance was rejected by the Information Commissioner so the council appealed to the Information Rights Tribunal. However, the tribunal ruled that Cardiff "failed to prove, on the balance of probabilities, that responding to Mr Hastings' enquiry would have involved in excess of 18 hours' work."

Ordering the council to release the information, it also reproached it for what it called poor evidence, with two officers at the civic authority - Phil Bradshaw and Dave Parsons - contradicting each other, and one of them (Bradshaw) contradicting himself.

A council spokesman said:
"The council is disappointed with the tribunal decision but while accepting the judgement we are still concerned that it will take significantly longer to process than the 18 hours of employee time which allows requests to be refused under the Freedom of Information Act.

"We estimated the cost of processing the original request for information would have been prohibitive.

"In hindsight we accept we did not provide sufficient evidence to the tribunal in regard of the costs of processing the request for information. However, we note that the tribunal recognised the efforts made to clarify the request which were rejected by the requester of the information."





Peter Halliday 1924-2012Bookmark and Share

Saturday, 25 February 2012 - Reported by Marcus
Peter HallidayOne of Doctor Who's most prolific actors, Peter Halliday, has died at the age of 87.

Peter Halliday had a long and productive career, working in theatre, film and Television. He had credited roles in 23 Doctor Who episodes, working alongside the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 7th Doctors.

Halliday was born near Llangollen in Wales, but spent much of his life in Welshpool, Powys. After serving in World War II he won admission to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.Three years later he joined the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, now known as the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Television roles followed including parts in Z Cars, Armchair Theatre and The Citidal, but it was as Dr John Fleming in A for Andromeda that Halliday really made his name. Made in 1961, the science fiction series featured Halliday as a young scientist alongside Julie Christie. A follow up series, The Andromeda Breakthrough followed in 1962.

Halliday made his first appearance in Doctor Who in 1968 playing Packer in the Cyberman story The Invasion. Packer was the security chief of International Electromatics who assisted Tobias Vaughn. Halliday returned to Doctor Who in 1970, providing voices for both The Silurians and the aliens in Ambassadors of Death.

It was as Pletrac in the 1973 story Carnival Of Monsters, that Halliday is probably best remembered. His portrayal of the leader of the tribunal charged with safeguarding Inter Minor's border control is widely appreciated and Halliday appeared on the recent Special Edition DVD release of the story talking about the role.

In 1979 he joined Tom Baker in the classic story City of Death playing a Soldier and providing the Jagaroth Voice. His final appearance in Doctor Who came in 1988's Remembrance of the Daleks, where he played a Vicar.

Outside of Doctor Who, Halliday had roles in The Saint, The Avengers, Goodnight Sweetheart and Dalziel and Pascoe on TV as well as appearing in the Oscar-nominated movie Remains of the Day.

Peter Halliday died earlier this week. His funeral will be held in London on Tuesday and a memorial service is planned in Welshpool at a later date.

He leaves three sons and five grandchildren.




New Eternity Clock Trailer Released As Adventure Games EndBookmark and Share

Saturday, 25 February 2012 - Reported by John Bowman
A new trailer for the forthcoming PlayStation game Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock has been released by BBC Worldwide.

Players can look forward to the global release of the game next month on PS3 and PS Vita, via the PlayStation Network. The exact date of release has yet to be confirmed, as does the price. A PC version will be released soon after.

As well as being the first PS Vita game to use the cutting-edge Unreal Engine toolset, it will also boast two-player co-operative action and split-screen footage.


Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock new teaser trailer, BBC Worldwide, via YouTube

However, fans of the Adventure Games series, which is free to download in the UK, will be disappointed to learn that the BBC has no plans for any more.

BBC spokeswoman Michelle Osborn told Doctor Who News:

As Doctor Who approaches its 50th anniversary, online content will focus on more ambitious and innovative filmed content than ever before to reflect the show's epic milestone.

Although there are no plans for more Adventure Games, over the next two years fans can expect fantastic fictional exclusives (eg, prequels), backstage content and buzz - plus clips and information about every episode of Doctor Who ever broadcast by the BBC.

There have been five Adventure Games in all since they started being released by the official website in June 2010: City of the Daleks, Blood of the Cybermen, TARDIS, Shadows of the Vashta Nerada, and The Gunpowder Plot.

The Adventure Games have had more than 3.7m downloads and are still available for free.





People RoundupBookmark and Share

Friday, 24 February 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Details and images have now been released for the new CBeebies series Tree Fu Tom, starring the voices of Sophie Aldred as Tom and David Tennant as Twigs. [News in Time and Space, 23 Feb 2012]

Tennant has also been announced as one of the performers in a new series of comedies and dramas from Sky Arts called Playhouse Presents, with the actor appearing in The Minor Character by Will Self. [Sky Arts, Guardian, 23 Feb 2012]

After 'conquering' the BBC, John Barrowman may be making his presence felt on ITV next - having guest-hosted This Morning a couple of times, it has been suggested that this may become more regular, with an insider saying: "ITV think John is a real talent who shouldn't only be seen on the BBC. They want to work with him on a series of upcoming projects." [Daily Mail, 23 Feb 2012]

Channel 5 won't be immune to him, either, with C5 Productions planning to make a show with the actor exploring the origins of the popular 1980s show Dallas! [C21 Media, 23 Feb 2012]

Monster actor extraordinaire Paul Kasey is to be involved in the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics, with his online CV stating: "Movement Assistant + Performer (Locog, Danny Boyle + Toby Sedgwick). [Spotlight via Ruther, 22 Feb 2012]

Bernard Cribbins is one of several stars performing in Winchester: Chronicles of Light, a show recalling the history of Winchester Cathedral. The actor said: "We've had a long day recording and it went well, and to be in this lovely building with such a great atmosphere has been an absolute joy.". Other celebrities involved include Wendy Craig, Hugh Dennis, John Rhys-Davies and Tamsin Greig. [Romsey Advertiser, 22 Feb 2012]

David Walliams is to see his best-selling children's book Mr Stink turned into a television series for BBC1, with controller Danny Cohen describing it as a "heart-warming, nose-clenching and funny tale which will appeal to viewers of all ages.". [BBC News, 21 Feb 2012]

Gareth David Lloyd is to appear in a new eerie anthology series, Twisted Showcase, which will be launched on the web on 1st March. [News in Time and Space, 23 Feb 2012]

Doctor Who was singled out when culture minister Ed Vaizey praised the Welsh broadcasting industry's cultural and economic importance. During a visit to Cardiff, which included a tour round the programme's new home at the BBC Wales Roath Lock drama village, he said: "Global hits like Doctor Who act as a continual reminder of the role the creative industries can play in driving growth through the creation of jobs and attracting inward investment."[BBC News, 23 Feb 2012]

Lastly, don't miss Matt Smith's attempt to beat the lap record as the "star in the reasonably priced car" on this Sunday's Top Gear, broadcast at 8:00pm on BBC2/BBCHD.




Forbidden Planet release 9th Doctor Costume T-ShirtBookmark and Share

Friday, 24 February 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Forbidden Planet have announced the release of the 9th Doctor Costume T-Shirt, finally completing their set of exclusive t-shirts representing the distinctive costumes of the eleven television Doctors (so far). The t-shirt is available for pre-order, available from 30th March.

1st Doctor T-Shirt 2nd Doctor T-Shirt 3rd Doctor T-Shirt 4th Doctor T-Shirt 5th Doctor T-Shirt 6th Doctor T-Shirt 7th Doctor T-Shirt 5th Doctor T-Shirt 9th Doctor T-Shirt 10th Doctor T-Shirt 11th Doctor T-Shirt