Doctor Who Adventures 305Bookmark and Share

Thursday, 31 January 2013 - Reported by John Bowman
The new edition of Doctor Who Adventures - out today - takes a look at the latest series trailer and examines just what is in store in the forthcoming new episodes.

Also in issue 305:
  • A free mystery gift plus free Doctor Who Monster Invasion trading cards
  • Comic-strip adventures with the Doctor and Decky Flamboon
  • Behind-the-scenes Dalek fun
  • How to spot an alien
  • Puzzles
  • Posters
As well as being available in print form, the publication can also be downloaded as an app for the iPhone and iPad from the App Stores in the UK and USA.

FILTER: - Magazines - DWA

Dark Bunny T-Shirts: 50th Anniversary designsBookmark and Share

Thursday, 31 January 2013 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Dark Bunny Tees have announced a new range of officially licensed t-shirts to tie in with Doctor Who's 50th Anniversary.

Owner Alex Chenery said:
Dark Bunny Tees: I.M. ForemanDark Bunny Tees: Masters of Earth
I have been working closely with BBC Worldwide to produce some very special designs every month throughout 2013. Dark Bunny Tees will be celebrating 50 years of Doctor Who by releasing two designs a month; one inspired by each of the Eleven Doctors and the other inspired by a classic and iconic monster. These strictly limited edition t-shirts will also come with an exclusive post card, designed by Dark Bunny Tees, with 12 to collect throughout the year.

In January we celebrate the First Doctor, William Hartnell and the iconic Daleks, with designs inspired by the classic episodes An Unearthly Child and The Dalek Invasion of Earth.

Details on Dark Bunny Tees can be found via their website, Facebook, Twitter, and Blogger.

(with thanks to BBC Worldwide)

FILTER: - Merchandise - Clothing - WHO50

The Aztecs Special Edition: Full DVD DetailsBookmark and Share

Thursday, 31 January 2013 - Reported by Chuck Foster
The cover and contents of the forthcoming two-disc special edition DVD release of The Aztecs in the UK have been finalised.

As well as representing a huge technical improvement on the original DVD release from 11 years ago, it also features a selection of new extras and the premiere of the recently recovered third episode of Galaxy 4. Missing for many years, the episode is presented in its entirety, within a shortened reconstruction of the rest of the adventure.

The Aztecs - Special Edition
Release date: 11th March 2013 (available for pre-order)

Starring William Hartnell as Doctor Who, with Carole Ann Ford as Susan, William Russell as Ian, and Jacqueline Hill as Barbara
Written by John Lucarotti
Directed by John Crockett

Broadcast: 23rd May - 13 June 1964

The TARDIS arrives in fifteenth century Mexico inside the tomb of Aztec High Priest Yetaxa. The travellers become cut off from the ship after the tomb door closes behind them and Barbara is proclaimed as Yetaxa's divine reincarnation. However, she incurs the enmity of the High Priest of Sacrifice, when - against the Doctor's advice - she attempts to use her new-found authority to put an end to the Aztec practice of human sacrifice.

Special Features - Disc One
  • Commentary - with actors William Russell and Carole Ann Ford, producer Verity Lambert OBE.
  • Arabic Soundtrack - optional soundtrack for episode four only.
  • Remembering The Aztecs - actors John Ringham, Ian Cullen and Walter Randall recall the production of the story and of television production in the sixties in general.
  • Designing The Aztecs - designer Barry Newbery talks about his work on the story, illustrated with many never-before-seen production drawings and photographs from his personal collection.
  • Cortez and Montezuma - an extract from a 1970 Blue Peter, introduced by Valerie Singleton on location in Mexico, giving historical background to the Aztec belief in human sacrifice.
  • Restoring The Aztecs - a short featurette demonstrating the restoration and videoisation effects used for the release. With subtitles.
  • Making Cocoa - an animated guide to making cocoa the Aztec way, voiced in character by John Ringham as Tlotoxl and Walter Randall as Tonila, with both characters animated and presented in South Park style.
  • TARDIS-Cam no.3 - the third of BBCi’s TARDIS-Cam shots.
  • Photo Gallery - production, design and publicity photos from the story
  • Easter Egg - an animated BBC Enterprises logo recovered from the end of one of the prints sold overseas.
  • Intro Sequences - the umbrella story title The Aztecs does not appear on any of the episodes, so for (outdated now) BBFC compliance a caption card with the title has been provided. To add interest, six versions have been provided, each with a different voiceover, in character, from three of the actors involved in the production. The intention is that the disc will randomly select one of these six sequences and play it out at the appropriate point.
  • PDF Material – Radio Times listings in Adobe PDF format for viewing on PC or Mac
  • Programme subtitles
Special Features - Disc Two
  • Galaxy 4 (dur. 64’ 43”) – a shortened reconstruction of the missing story Galaxy 4, using off-screen stills, audio recordings and animation plus the recently recovered complete episode three to tell the story.
  • Chronicle – The Realms of GoldJohn Julius Norwich’s superlative 1969 retelling of the story of the Spanish conquest of Mexico and the Aztecs, which also features music by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.
  • Dr. Forever! – Celestial Toyroom – the first of a new five-part series introduced by Ayesha Antoine looks at Doctor Who toys. With original series producer Verity Lambert, new series creator Russell T Davies, writers Mark Gatiss, Rob Shearman, Paul Cornell and Joseph Lidster, BBC Worldwide product licensing executive Richard Hollis, product approval executive Dave Turbitt and ex- range editor Steve Cole, AudioGO commissioning editor Michael Stevens, Character Options’ Alasdair Dewar, DWM’s toy reviewer Jim Sangster and last, but by no means least, Doctor Who’s very own Winston Churchill, actor Ian McNiece.
  • It’s a Square World – the very first Doctor Who skit (as far as we can ascertain), with Clive Dunn in full First Doctor costume as a scientist demonstrating his new space rocket to Michael Bentine, resulting in Television Centre being launched into space! Features cameo appearances by Patrick Moore and Albert Steptoe.
  • A Whole Scene Going – an excerpt from a recently recovered edition of the sixties music and arts programme, featuring an interview with director Gordon Flemyng and a behind the scenes look at filming of his movie Daleks’ Invasion Earth: 2150 AD.
  • Coming Soon - a trailer for a forthcoming DVD release.
  • Radio Times Listings - in Adobe PDF format.
  • Programme subtitles

FILTER: - First Doctor - Classic Series - Blu-ray/DVD

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

Thursday, 31 January 2013 - Reported by John Bowman

The seventh instalment in our series looking at events leading to the creation of a true TV legend.

As stated in our previous feature, having joined the BBC in December 1962 as its new Head of Television Drama, Sydney Newman, pictured below, had been somewhat dismayed from the off, feeling that most of the directors, although perfectly nice people, were stuck in old-fashioned ways. He needed to implement long-overdue changes to re-energise the department - and a newly-published report helped the "new broom" do just that.

Sydney NewmanThe Pilkington Committee, chaired by glass magnate Sir Harry Pilkington, had been appointed in July 1960 to look into the organisation of the entire broadcasting industry and programmes. It eventually reported in June 1962, and among its recommendations it said that the BBC should be awarded a second national TV channel as an alternative to what was perceived as a populist approach by the BBC (whose Television Service had begun regularly-scheduled electronically-scanned programmes on 2nd November 1936 and was renamed and restyled BBC tv in 1960) and its commercial rival ITV (which began broadcasting on 22nd September 1955, initially in the London area). As a result, BBC2 (as it was originally styled) would be launched on 20th April 1964, with BBC tv becoming BBC1.

Then, in January 1963 - 50 years ago this month - Newman received some very welcome news. He would later recall being summoned to the office of Kenneth Adam, the BBC's Director of Television, to be told that as a result of BBC2 being given the go-ahead the Drama Department would now have a 40 per cent budget increase. Newman said:
Of course, that opened the door. I could then hire people whose work I liked. So I put the word around, and many of the directors and writers who worked for me at ABC - Philip Saville, Ted Kotcheff, Peter Luke and so on - came over to join me at the BBC.
One of the far-reaching decisions Newman made during January 1963 was to disband the Children's Department at the BBC, meaning that every children's drama programme would now be made by the Drama Department.

Further fundamental changes to working practices followed. Newman had found the Drama Department an unwieldy beast and impossible to control by himself. He therefore took the decision to break it down into three separate departments: Series, Serials, and Plays - each of which had its own head with direct control but doing his bidding.

In addition, Newman gradually abandoned the all-in-one producer/director role, replacing it with the production-team style used greatly by ITV and, hitherto, to a far lesser degree by the BBC. Directors would be appointed - either from staff or on a freelance basis - to make individual episodes or programmes, whereas producers would now act in a more
Joanna SpicerDonald Baverstock
executive capacity, with total financial and artistic control over a specific project. A story editor would also form a permanent part of the team, and their job would be to find writers and work with them to produce scripts. A move that would take some three months to fully put into place, this brave new world of drama production would ultimately see the Script Department become mostly redundant, leading to its eventual closure.

During March 1963, Newman would also hold talks with Donald Baverstock, pictured left, newly promoted from being BBC tv's Assistant Controller of Programmes to the role of Chief of Programmes for BBC1 (in anticipation of the launch of BBC2), and Joanna Spicer, pictured far left, the Assistant Controller (Planning) Television, on the need for a new drama serial to plug an important gap in the Saturday-evening schedule.
Here's what Newman would later say about it:
As Head of the Drama Group, I was privy to problems of scheduling. Probably articulated by Donald Baverstock or [Controller of Programmes] Stuart Hood, there was a gap in the ratings on Saturday afternoons between BBC's vastly popular sports coverage [Grandstand], ending at 5.15, and the start at 5.45 of an equally popular pop music programme [Juke Box Jury].

What was between them was, I vaguely recall, a children's classic drama serial, ie, Charles Dickens dramatisations, etc. This could be moved to Sunday if the Drama Department could come up with something more suitable.

So, we required a new programme that would bridge the state of mind of sports fans and the teenage pop music audience while attracting and holding the children's audience accustomed to their Saturday-afternoon serial . . . The problem was, as I saw it, that it had to be a children's programme and still attract adults and teenagers. And also, as a children's programme, I was intent upon it containing basic factual information that could be described as educational - or, at least, mind-opening for them.
Among the possibilities was a series centring on two lads in a boys' school, but Newman later settled on a science-fiction show. He gave a general outline of his idea to Baverstock and Spicer, who were extremely positive about it, and Newman subsequently asked Donald Wilson, head of the still-remaining Script Department, to think of format ideas for a 52-week science-fiction series made up of shorter serials. A meeting in Wilson's office was then scheduled for 26th March to talk about suggestions for the new series, using as the basis for discussion the April 1962 and July 1962 Survey Group reports concerning science-fiction.

Next EpisodeA Meeting of Great Minds

SOURCES: The Handbook (Howe, Walker, Stammers; 2005); Doctor Who: The Early Years (Bentham; 1986); Committees of Enquiry (The BBC Story); Wikipedia - BBC Television, History of ITV

FILTER: - The Story of Doctor Who

DVD Update: The Ice Warriors / The Mind of EvilBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 30 January 2013 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Coming Soon: The Ice WarriorsBack in December the BBFC classified a trailer for Second Doctor story The Ice Warriors - this trailer has now been confirmed for the forthcoming The Aztecs - Special Edition DVD, though it should be noted that, as the name implies, the trailer illustrates a release that is "Coming Soon". Restoration Team member Steve Roberts clarified:
I think you'll find The Ice Warriors has moved further back in the schedule. These things happen. It's one of the reasons we no longer put "Coming Soon" on the trailers, now it's simply "Doctor Who on DVD".
Though the trailer indicates that the story is to be released, there is no indication as yet if the new DVD presentation will also feature animated recreations of the missing episodes two and three in the same way as this week's release of The Reign of Terror. Steve Roberts has reported previously, however, that the DVD would include the reconstruction of those episodes that appeared on the original VHS release back in 1998.

The official confirmation of story releases beyond The Aztecs will be announced later in the year.

Meanwhile, the colour restoration work undertaken on The Mind of Evil is almost complete, with the Restoration Team reporting on Monday: "At TV Centre, grading episode one of The Mind of Evil - back in colour and looking stunning!". Unlike episodes two to six, which contained the chromadot information enabling Richard Russell to restore their original colour, the first had no such detail and needed to be painstakingly coloured from scratch by Stuart Humphryes and Peter Crocker.

The fruits of everybody's efforts will be premiered at the BFI on 10th March. The DVD release of the story has yet to be announced.

FILTER: - Third Doctor - Second Doctor - Classic Series - Blu-ray/DVD

Casting announced for "An Adventure in Space and Time"Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, 30 January 2013 - Reported by Marcus
The BBC has announced that actor David Bradley will play William Hartnell in the upcoming docudrama An Adventure in Space and Time, detailing events leading to the creation of Doctor Who fifty years ago.

Bradley is best known for playing Hogwarts caretaker Argus Filch in the Harry Potter film series. He is also an established theatre actor with a career that includes a Laurence Olivier Award for a supporting role in a production of King Lear.

This won't be Bradley's first involvement with the worlds of Doctor Who. He played Solomon in last year's episode Dinosaurs on a Spaceship and provided a Shansheeth voice in the 2010 Sarah Jane Adventures story Death of the Doctor.

An Adventure in Space and Time will tell the story behind the creation of Doctor Who and the many personalities involved. The BBC’s Head of Drama Sydney Newman, credited with the creation of the show, will be portrayed by Shakespearean actor Brian Cox, who voiced the elder Ood in the 2009 Doctor Who episode The End of Time.

Doctor Who's first producer, Verity Lambert, will be played by Call the Midwife star Jessica Raine (shortly to appear in one of this year's episodes), while the director of the first serial, Waris Hussein, will be played by Sacha Dhawan, best known for his appearances in The History Boys and Last Tango In Halifax. (Some photos of Waris and Sacha together can be seen courtesy of the Radio Times.)

Commenting on his upcoming role, Bradley said:
I’m absolutely thrilled. I first heard about this role from Mark [Gatiss] while watching the Diamond Jubilee flotilla from the roof of the National Theatre. When he asked if I would be interested, I almost bit his hand off! Mark has written such a wonderful script not only about the birth of a cultural phenomenon, but a moment in television’s history. William Hartnell was one of the finest character actors of our time and as a fan I want to make sure that I do him justice. I’m so looking forward to getting started.
The one-off 90-minute BBC Two drama has been written by Doctor Who writer and actor Mark Gatiss, who will also act as executive producer alongside Steven Moffat and Caroline Skinner. Gatiss said:
What a cast! I'm utterly delighted that everyone's favourite Time Lord will be in such brilliant and stellar company. We have a terrific team who can't wait to tell the fascinating and surprising story of how the Doctor began his journey through Space and Time.

The readthrough for the drama took place yesterday, with Gatiss describing the day as "thrilling and moving". Filming starts at the beginning of February at BBC Television Centre before moving to Wimbledon Studios. It is being produced by Matt Strevens (Misfits, Skins) and directed by Terry McDonough (Breaking Bad, The Street).

The film is a co-production between BBC America and BBC Cymru Wales and will air both sides of the Atlantic in November, after being premièred at the BFI in London.


Bernard Horsfall 1930 - 2013Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, 29 January 2013 - Reported by Marcus
The actor Bernard Horsfall has died at the age of 82.

He appeared in 14 episodes of Doctor Who, alongside the second, third and fourth Doctors.

Born on 20th November 1930 in Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire, Horsfall had a long career in film and television in the UK, including roles in the feature films On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Gandhi and Braveheart.

He appeared in many classic television dramas including Casualty, Agatha Christie: Poirot, The Bill, The Jewel in the Crown, Juliet Bravo, Minder, When the Boat Comes In, Within These Walls, Jackanory, Elizabeth R, Doomwatch, Out of the Unknown, Softly Softly, Dr. Finlay's Casebook and Z Cars. He also played the respected doctor Philip Martel in the Channel Islands wartime drama Enemy at the Door, which ran for 26 episodes between 1978 and 1980.

Horsfall's first appearance in Doctor Who came in the 1968 story The Mind Robber, where he played Lemuel Gulliver, encountered by the second Doctor in the Land of Fiction.

After a small role as the First Time Lord in the final Troughton story The War Games, Horsfall returned to the series in 1973, playing the Thal Taron in the six-part story Planet of the Daleks, working with the third Doctor to defeat the Daleks on the planet Spiridon.

His final role in Doctor Who is arguably the one he is most famous for, playing Chancellor Goth in the 1976 story The Deadly Assassin. His most famous scene involved a battle with the fourth Doctor inside the Matrix with the climax of episode three showing the Doctor being held underwater by Goth. The sequence prompted complaints from the TV campaigner Mary Whitehouse and was edited from repeat showings.

Horsfall returned to the world of Doctor Who in 2003 when he played Arnold Baynes in the Big Finish audio play Davros.

The actor, who was due to attend the 2013 Gallifrey One convention next month, collapsed and died this morning.

FILTER: - Obituary - Classic Series

Preview and Details for "Prisoners of Time"Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, 29 January 2013 - Reported by Josiah Rowe
Diamond Comics, the main distributor for comic books in North America, has published a preview of the first issue of IDW's new Doctor Who comic, Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time. The first five pages of issue #1 can be read in PDF format here.

As previously reported, Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time is written by Scott and David Tipton. Each issue will feature each of the eleven Doctors in turn, with art by a different artist. The first issue's art is by Simon Fraser; the second issue, featuring the Second Doctor, will be illustrated by Lee Sullivan; Mike Collins will tackle the Third Doctor in the third issue, and the fourth issue will have art by Gary Erskine. Artists on the remaining issues have yet to be announced.

Interested readers can find interviews with both the Tiptons at Comic Book Resources, with Scott Tipton at Comic Book Therapy, and with Simon Fraser at (though some readers may consider some of the promotional material in those interviews to be spoilers).

The first issue will be available in comic stores and via download at this Wednesday, January 30. North American readers who prefer their comics in old-fashioned paper-and-ink format can find their nearest comic store via the Comic Shop Locator.

FILTER: - Comics - First Doctor - WHO50

Guests Announced For Tomb Screening At BFIBookmark and Share

Monday, 28 January 2013 - Reported by John Bowman
The guest line-up for next month's celebratory screening of The Tomb of the Cybermen at the BFI Southbank was announced today.

The event, which takes place on Saturday 9th February at 2.30pm, will see seven people make up the Q&A panels. They are:
Part of the organisation's Doctor Who At 50 season to mark the show's milestone anniversary, it sold out to BFI members before tickets went on general release.

Throughout 2013, the BFI is showing a story per Doctor as well as digitally-restored prints of the two Dalek films. It will also be premièring An Adventure In Space And Time - a 90-minute BBC Two docudrama about the show's creation, written by Mark Gatiss, which is due to start shooting next month.

Marking the Third Doctor's era, the première of the colour-restored story The Mind of Evil plus a discussion takes place on Sunday 10th March at 2pm. Tickets will go on general sale on Tuesday 12th February at 11.30am. BFI members get priority booking plus discounts on ticket prices and are exempt from booking fees. An annual membership currently costs £30 - down from £40. This special offer expires at the end of February - click here for more details.

FILTER: - Special Events - UK - Second Doctor - BFI - WHO50

"Splendid chaps" podcast now availableBookmark and Share

Monday, 28 January 2013 - Reported by Adam Kirk
The Splendid Chaps podcast is now available on its website.  As previously reported, to celebrate 50 years of Doctor Who,  John Richards (creator/writer of the ABC1 sitcom OutlandBoxcutters podcast) and Ben McKenzie (Channel 31′s Planet NerdDungeon Crawl, ‘patron saint of geek comedy’ – T-Squat magazine) have joined forces to host a year-long performance/podcast project, entitled "Splendid Chaps", in Melbourne, Australia.
Each month, from January to November 2013, John and Ben will record a live Doctor Who panel discussion – one for each of the eleven Doctors – with a different theme, special guests, musical and comedy performances and loveliness. These will also be edited into podcast episodes, released on the 23rd of each month.

The highlight of the first podcast, featuring the first doctor, includes Alexandra Tynan (nee Sandra Reid) talking about her designs for the Cybermen, in both The Tenth Planet and The Moonbase, and also the filming of the first doctor's regeneration scene. The podcast is also available at iTunes.

FILTER: - Special Events - Fan Productions - Australia