DVD Update: Terror of the ZygonsBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 31 July 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster
The British Board of Film Classification has now passed special features that will appear on the forthcoming DVD release of the last complete Tom Baker adventure Terror of the Zygons:
00:01:47:19 (EASTER EGG)
In addition, the Board have also passed a "director's cut" version of episode one, which has a run-time of 23m21s (the broadcast version is 21m41s).

No release date for the story has been announced at present.

The current confirmed schedule consists of Planet of Giants for 20th August, Vengeance on Varos (special edition) for 10th September, and The Ambassadors of Death for 1st October. Online retailers have also listed The Claws of Axos (special edition) for 22nd October.

Other known releases still be to scheduled include The Legacy Boxset (known to feature Shada and More Than Thirty Years In The TARDIS), The Reign of Terror (with animated episodes 4+5), Inferno (special edition), and The Mind Of Evil (with colourised episode 1 and colour-restored 2-6), plus the two recently returned episodes Galaxy Four: Air Lock and The Underwater Menace: Episode 2. How the remaining episodes of The Tenth Planet and The Ice Warriors are to be released has yet to be announced.

The Ambassadors of Death - Cover:

A clean version of the cover art by Lee Binding for October's The Ambassadors of Death has been published via the Tea-Lady Design Facebook page.

FILTER: - Tom Baker - Classic Series - Blu-ray/DVD

Big Finish's Licence Is ExtendedBookmark and Share

Monday, 30 July 2012 - Reported by John Bowman
Big Finish has had its licence to make Doctor Who audio adventures extended to December 2015.

Executive producer Jason Haigh-Ellery said:
I'm so excited that we can continue our voyages with the Doctor for at least another three years, and so pleased that AudioGO and the BBC continue to trust us with the telling of these stories.
Fellow executive producer Nicholas Briggs commented:
It's been a privilege and a pleasure for me to have worked on the Doctor Who audio range since 1999. I'm looking forward to continuing the excellent relationship we have with AudioGO and the BBC – and, of course, to the many exciting adventures for the Doctor I'll be working on over the next three years or more.
Line producer David Richardson added:
We're already making plans for 2015, which will be the sixteenth year of Doctor Who audio productions from Big Finish and will include our landmark 200th main range play!

In addition to the Doctor Who main range and Companion Chronicles, we are working through ideas for an exciting new range which we hope to announce during 2013.

FILTER: - Merchandise - Audio - Big Finish

Geoffrey Hughes 1944-2012Bookmark and Share

Saturday, 28 July 2012 - Reported by Marcus
Geoffrey HughesThe actor Geoffrey Hughes has died at the age of 68.

Geoffrey Hughes was well known for supporting roles in several British television series. He played the lovable rogue Eddie Yeats in the soap opera Coronation Street from 1974-1983 as well as Onslow in the sitcom Keeping Up Appearances, Twiggy in the television comedy The Royle Family, and Vernon Scripps in the ITV drama series Heartbeat.

In 1986 he played Mr. Popplewick in The Ultimate Foe, the story which comprised the final two episodes of the Trial of a Time Lord Series of Doctor Who. Popplewick was the identity used by the Valeyard while in the Matrix.

Hughes also had a number of film credits to his name including Smashing Time, Till Death Us Do Part, The Bofors Gun, The Virgin Soldiers, Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall, Carry On at Your Convenience, and the cartoon Yellow Submarine for which he supplied the voice of Paul McCartney.

Hughes lived on the Isle of Wight where he was appointed Deputy Lord Lieutenant in 2009, providing the official link between the island and royalty at formal events.

Hughes had thought he had beaten prostate cancer in 2009, but a year later, after collapsing at his home, found it had returned. His agent said he died "peacefully in his sleep" on Friday night.

FILTER: - Obituary - Classic Series

TARDIS "materialises" at Olympic Opening CeremonyBookmark and Share

Saturday, 28 July 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster
The eyes of the "universe" were focused upon London last night for the Opening Ceremony of the 30th Modern Olympic Games, with some 27 million viewers in the UK alone tuning in to watch a celebration of British iconography, including James Bond escorting the Queen to the Games and Mr Bean in Chariots of Fire. Doctor Who was also represented by the TARDIS materialisation sound effect complementing Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody during the 1970s music section.

An additional segment to feature the theme tune itself had originally been planned but was dropped for timing reasons. However, a video montage did accompany the TARDIS within the Queen track during the technical rehearsal, though it appears to have been dropped for the live ceremony broadcast (available via BBC iPlayer until the 4th August, at about 1h01m10s). Doctor Who's brand manager Edward Russell clarified:
A video montage which very briefly showed all 11 Doctors was approved but we were told it may not be included which was clearly the case.

In Doctor Who lore, of course, the ceremony saw the Doctor himself light the Olympic Flame (Fear Her, 2006). In reality, the Olympic Cauldron (made up of 204 copper petals representing every country competing at the Games) was ignited by seven aspiring young athletes chosen by British Olympic champions.

FILTER: - Special Events - UK

UK Trailer confirmed for 2nd AugustBookmark and Share

Friday, 27 July 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster
The BBC have confirmed that the first official television trailer for Doctor Who's next series will air on Thursday 2nd August, around 8:00pm on BBC1, with a repeat the following week.

The trailer forms part of a series of promotions for shows that form the latest Original British Drama campaign that will run throughout the London Olympics coverage over the coming seventeen days.

As well as Doctor Who, the list includes Merlin, Hunted, Good Cop, Accused, The Secret of Crickley Hall, The Paradise, Ripper Street, plus the stalwart soap EastEnders. The 'series' of trailers kicks off from 28th July with a special "Bundle" compilation.

Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning, said:
BBC One drama offers audiences the most vibrant and most original home-grown drama in Britain today. This upcoming range of new drama titles are the very best of British, made with ambition and scale that I hope will capture the imagination of our audiences with the same spirit as the London 2012 Olympics.

FILTER: - Series 7/33

50th Anniversary StampsBookmark and Share

Friday, 27 July 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster
The Royal Mail is to release a set of stamps to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who next year, with the first day cover reportedly due on 8th January 2013.

No other details are available at present, with the Royal Mail informing us:
Unfortunately it is too soon to have or to send out any information regarding an issue in January 2013. Probably around end of November or start of December we should have a FIRST publication that we can send.

It won't be the first time that Doctor Who has been officially recognised in such a prestigious way. A Dalek was chosen by Royal Mail to represent television in The Entertainers' Tale issue that was released on 1st June 1999. The set also comprised Bobby Moore (sport), Charlie Chaplin (cinema), and Freddie Mercury (popular music).

(with thanks to: Richard Thomas)

FILTER: - Merchandise - WHO50

Doctor Who Magazine 450Bookmark and Share

Thursday, 26 July 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster

The new issue of Doctor Who Magazine - out today - has a "Patrick Troughton" flavour to it, with a number of features on the actor and his Doctor's adventures. To mark this, an exclusive brand new interview imagines what would happen if the current Doctor Matt Smith were to talk to him ...
MATT: Patrick has a very Doctory face. Everything about Patrick is Doctory! He is peculiar without ever asking you to find him peculiar. All the elements were right. I loved his costume.

PATRICK: Well, you go along to the costumiers and they produce various things, and you say, "Ahh, that would be good..."

Also in this issue:
  • Do You Want To Know A Secret? Head writer and executive producer Steven Moffat drops his guard and reveals what's happening with the next 14 episodes of Doctor Who, exclusively in Production Notes!
  • Dinosaurs on a Spaceship! DWM talks to writer Chris Chibnall and grills him about his forthcoming scripts in the new season of Doctor Who – Dinosaurs on a Spaceship and the "very different" Episode 4...
  • Remembering Carry: DWM pays tribute to the late Caroline John, the much-loved actress who played the Third Doctor’s assistant Liz Shaw and died in June – and looks back over her life and times.
  • Recollections of the Daleks: seasoned Dalek operators Nicholas Pegg and Barnaby Edwards give DWM readers on a unique, Dalek-eye view of the making of 2005’s Bad Wolf/The Parting Of The Ways – accompanied by photos from their private collections!
  • When Pat met Colin: stern Sontarans, ambitious Androgums and fantastic food! Yes, it’s time to uncover the fascinating details of what really happened when the Second and Sixth incarnations met, as The Fact of Fiction looks back at the 1985 adventure The Two Doctors
  • Doctor Who's Replacement? DWM investigates Starwatch, a sci-fi series that, had it been made in the 1990s, would have starred Jon Pertwee. With never-before-published images from the project, DWM talks to the people who tried to make it happen...
  • When Pat Met Jon... and Peter and Richard and Tom: Countdown to 50 takes a nostalgic look back at the story which celebrated Doctor Who’s 20th anniversary with some old friends – and some ever older enemies! – as it remembers The Five Doctors.
  • Treasures Beyond Imagining... The Doctor, Amy and Rory face up to a ruthless collection of alien criminals within a mysterious ziggurat stuffed with priceless treasures in The Cornucopia Caper, the latest DWM comic strip, written by Scott Gray with art by Dan McDaid!
  • Find the Doctor! The Time Team convenes to watch one of the most innovative and controversial Doctor Who stories of all time – 2006’s Love & Monsters. But what will Emma, Chris, Will and Michael make of it...?
  • The Bare Essentials: DWM strands Toby Hadoke and Johnny Candon on a desert island, with only eight Doctor Who stories each to keep them company. But which episodes will they choose? And whose selection do you agree with? Find out, in A Battle of Wits!
  • Wotcha: the mysterious Watcher marvels at the TARDIS’ food machine, challenges readers with his Six Faces of Delusion, and champions another Supporting Artist of the Month in Wotcha!

PLUS! All the usual features, latest official news, TV and merchandise reviews, previews, competitions, a prize-winning crossword - and a giant-sized, double-sided poster featuring the Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Doctors, and "every Dalek ever"!

FILTER: - Merchandise - Magazines - DWM

Mary Tamm (1950-2012)Bookmark and Share

Thursday, 26 July 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Mary Tamm (1950-2012)The actress Mary Tamm - who played the first incarnation of Romana - died this morning aged 62 after a long battle with cancer, her agent Barry Langford has announced.

Born in Dewsbury, Yorkshire, on 22nd March 1950, she graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and then acted with the Birmingham Repertory Company. Stage roles included Amanda in Private Lives and Beverly in Abigail's Party. Film and television roles followed, including Tales That Witness Madness, two appearances in Coronation Street, The Odessa File, and the film version of The Likely Lads.

She joined Doctor Who in the role of Romanadvoratrelundar, aka Romana (or Fred!), alongside Tom Baker as the Doctor for the sixteenth year of the show, which revolved around the search for the Key to Time. During the run she had the chance to play another character in the form of the identical Princess Strella in The Androids of Tara (not to mention android versions of both!). She only played the role of Romana for one year, citing that the character could not develop any further from its 'traditional' companion role, with The Armageddon Factor's guest actress Lalla Ward continuing the character from the following story.

Post-Doctor Who, Tamm continued her TV career with a recurring role as Jill Fraser in The Assassination Run and The Treachery Game, Jennifer Reynoldston in The Hello Goodbye Man, Yvonne Edwards in Paradise Heights and a stint in Brookside as Penny Crosbie. Other guest appearances included Casualty, Holby City, Jonathan Creek, Crime Traveller, Heartbeat, and adding EastEnders to her CV as Orlanda in 2009. She was due to play a judge in the film Far Out Far In but illness forestalled that role.

Though departing from Doctor Who in 1979, Tamm continued her association with the show through the audio plays of Big Finish, reprising the role of Romana - as well as the villainous Time Lord Imperiatrix Pandora - in the Gallifrey audio series. Later, she again reprised her original role for the Companion Chronicle The Stealers from Saiph in 2009, followed by Ferril's Folly and Tales from the Vault in 2011. She is also set to feature posthumously alongside Tom Baker once more, with the pair starring in the second series of The Fourth Doctor Adventures, due to be released from January 2013.

The first volume of her autobiography First Generation (Fantom Films) was published in 2009. Her official website can be found here.

Update 9th August: Tragically, her husband Marcus Ringrose also passed away this week, a few hours after Mary's funeral on Tuesday 7th August. They are survived by their daughter Lauren and family, including grandson Max.


Her agent Barry Langford said:
She had a great zest for life. She was a fantastic actress - she played stage parts of such range, parts that would take your breath away. She could play any role, and do so wonderfully.
Tom Baker, who played the Fourth Doctor alongside Tamm, said:
She was a darling companion and wonderfully witty and kind. I'm so sorry to hear of her death.
David Richardson, producer for Big Finish, told us:
Such a sad day. My phone hasn’t stopped ringing – everyone is so deeply upset by the terrible news. Mary was just brilliant to work with – and such fun, with her infectious laugh and naughty sense of humour. I feel honoured to have had so many opportunities to work with her over the past year.
Dexter O'Neill, whose company Fantom Films published her autobiography, said:
As you can imagine, Paul [Ballard] and I are devastated to hear the news. Our condolences go out to Marcus, Lauren and Max. We will miss her sense of humour, her emails (affectionately known to us as Tamm Spam) and above all the gossiping. We won't half miss you xxx
Ian Fraser, Mary's photographer, told us:
I will always remember Mary’s honesty, down to earth approach and I have to say the dirtiest laugh I’ve ever come across in a Doctor Who girl, so opposed to the perceived image of ice-queen and aloof. The hours we spent working together in the studio, and her genuine kindness to me as her photographer... photographing such a beautiful woman - not just in looks but in her heart, and hearing her talk of her husband Marcus, daughter Lauren and how much she adored her time with Max her grandson, well you know there was goodness running through her.

My thoughts are with Marcus, Lauren and Max and the big wide Doctor Who actor family, who are missing Mary so badly already.
Steven Moffat, current lead writer of Doctor Who, said:
I remember Mary Tamm's first appearance so vividly - the ice Queen on the TARDIS. The Time Lady who thought the Doctor was HER companion. Perfectly brought to life by Mary, with such style and wit, you always thought she could have kicked the Doctor out of the time machine and got on with the adventure herself. A generation of little girls threw away the idea of being an assistant, and decided to fly the TARDIS for themselves.

On Twitter
  • Colin Baker (The Doctor): Shellshocked to hear Mary Tamm is gone. A funny, caring, talented, lovely and down to earth lady. My heart goes out to Marcus and Lauren
  • Nicola Bryant (Peri): Just heard the terrible news that Mary Tamm has died. Completely shocked. Very sad. Thoughts go to Marcus & Lauren. RIP Mary.
  • Anneke Wills (Polly): Mary Tamm - How sad! A brave, beautiful woman, she will be greatly missed. I'm grateful to have known her. Love Anneke x
  • Frazer Hines (Jamie): I'm still reeling from the shock of Mary passing away!always a smiley friendly person whenever we met at cons.
  • Edward Russell (brand manager): My condolences to Mary Tamm's family. As a companion, Romana was my hero when I was 8 years old. So very sad. Guess we've reached that point in Doctor Who's history where it's time for many of its rich cast to say goodbye. Thank you for taking part.
  • Nicholas Briggs (actor, Big Finish): Very sad indeed about the death of Mary Tamm. She was so much fun and lovely to work with. I shall miss her.
  • Barnaby Edwards (actor): Very sad to hear of the death of Mary Tamm. A lovely actress and a sharp, witty person.
  • Nicholas Pegg (actor): Raising a glass to the beautiful, talented, funny Mary Tamm. So young. What sad news.
  • Paul Cornell: I'm so sorry to hear about Mary Tamm. It's an obit every month in DWM these days. How terrible.
  • Andy Pryor (casting director): Sad times. Caroline John and now Mary Tamm. We salute you both.
  • Mark Ayres (composer): Sad news to wake up to: RIP Mary Tamm, Doctor Who's first Romana, aka Fred. She was of the few Doctor Who girls I never met properly, though I did "music" her Myth Makers, which she played as Alice in Wonderland.
  • Gary Russell (script editor): Mary Tamm, funny, sweet, smart and utterly outrageous. Will miss her so much RIP xxx
  • Toby Hadoke (performer): Reeling from the news that Mary Tamm has passed away. RIP. And what?!
  • Kai Owen (Rhys): Sad news indeed. RIP Mary Tamm.
  • Benjamin Cook (DWM): Such sad news about Mary Tamm. I interviewed her once, in 2009. (Couldn't believe she was old enough to be a grandmother.) RIP. "I never, ever thought of Romana as a sex symbol," she said. "Glamorous, but not sexy… An old-fashioned, movie star style."
  • Gary Gillatt (DWM): Mary Tamm now. Another tragedy. What an awful year it's been to be a Doctor Who fan. This terrible silence, slowly rolling over it all.

FILTER: - People - Obituary - Classic Series

Entertainment Weekly CoverBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 25 July 2012 - Reported by Marcus
Doctor Who has been granted the accolade of being the cover story of the US media magazine Entertainment Weekly.

The title, which has been running since 1990, is one of America's most popular entertainment magazines, with a circulation of 1.8 million and an estimated readership of 8.2 million. To make the cover is regarded as a major achievement, an honour unprecedented for a UK-made series, and something BBC America has been celebrating on its Facebook site.

Inside, it asks whether the time has finally come for the Time Lord to break big in America, and describes the upcoming season as maybe the most eagerly anticipated ever, as the Doctor prepares to say goodbye to his two trusty companions Amy Pond and Rory Williams.

The publication notes the number of on-screen shout-outs the show gets from programmes such as Community, Criminal Minds, Craig Ferguson's The Late Late Show, Supernatural, and Grey’s Anatomy. Executive producer Steven Moffat tells the magazine:
It's not an obscure show anymore. It's not even a 'British import'. It's just Doctor Who.
The cover story tracks the ups and downs of the show's long history and previews the new episodes with help from Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill as well as Moffat.

Entertainment Weekly also checks out the 25 Best Cult TV Shows From the Past 25 years.

FILTER: - Doctor Who - USA - Magazines

An Unearthly Series - The Origins of a TV LegendBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 25 July 2012 - Reported by Marcus
We Want To Sell You A Story

The fourth in our occasional series marking the 50th anniversary of events leading to the creation of a true TV legend.

The story so far. In May two BBC drama script editors had been asked to write a report identifying specific science fiction stories suitable for adapting for television.

It was on 25th July 1962, fifty years ago today, that Alice Frick and John Braybon presented their follow-up report to the Head of the Script Department at the BBC, Donald Wilson.

Science fiction was not unknown on British television at the time. In June the BBC had transmitted six half-hour episodes of a serial called The Big Pull, written by Robert Gould. Produced by Terence Dudley, the story concerned an alien invasion of earth, made possible by the return of a manned space capsule allowing the aliens to travel through the Van Allen Belt. Later in the month the sequel to the previous year's A for Andromeda, The Andromeda Breakthrough, also began a six-week run.

Dumb Martian Meanwhile, ITV screened Dumb Martian, adapted from a story by John Wyndham, an Armchair Theatre production broadcast as a prelude to Out of this World, the first science fiction anthology series in the UK. This was commissioned by ABC's drama supervisor, Sydney Newman, a lifelong fan of science fiction, who was working out his notice at the ITV company before joining the BBC later in the year.

FrickandBraybonThe report commissioned by the BBC was to investigate literary works and to see if any were suitable for adaptation for television. It was comprehensive and detailed. In the eight weeks it took to produce the report Frick and Braybon had read hundreds of science fiction stories, coming up with a short list of titles that they thought may be suitable for dramatisation on television. The two script editors were ambivalent about the appeal of science fiction, making it clear that they were not making a judgement as to whether any script should actually be produced. They were very clear that should a production be considered then it must be as realistic as possible.

They set out four main points at the top of their report. The stories must not include Bug-Eyed Monsters. The central characters must never be Tin Robots. The stories must not require large and elaborate science fiction-type settings, and they must provide an opportunity for genuine characterisation. The couple were very much of the opinion that any distraction which caused the audience to lose the belief that what they were seeing on screen was possible, would cause the drama to fail, citing some current ITV shows that they believed had failed for that reason.

They suggested two types of plot that they considered would make the best scripts for television: those dealing with telepaths, and those dealing with time travel. The latter they thought was particularly suitable as a variety of script editors could be assigned working on a number of plots.

The report went on to list seven titles that the couple considered would be suitable for television production:
Guardians of Time by Poul AndersonThree to Conquer by Eric Frank RussellEternity Lost by Clifford SimakPictures Don't Lie by Katherine MacLeanNo Woman Born by C L MooreThe Cerebrative Psittacoid by H Nearing JrThe Ruum by Arthur Porges
Guardians of Time by Poul Anderson / Three to Conquer by Eric Frank Russell / Eternity Lost by Clifford Simak / Pictures Don't Lie by Katherine MacLean / No Woman Born by C L Moore / The Cerebrative Psittacoid by H Nearing Jr / The Ruum by Arthur Porges

The report finished by concluding that a science fiction series was a possibility which had had a varied degree of success in the past. The report would not be acted upon for another nine months.

Next EpisodeWe Want To Sell You A Story

Frick/Braybon Follow-Up Report

SOURCES: The Handbook (Howe, Walker, Stammers; 2005) BBC Written Archive

FILTER: - The Story of Doctor Who