As we approach the 60th Anniversary of Doctor Who, revisit the story of Doctor Who, the occasional series written for the 50th Anniversary, explaining the origins of the programme.

Episode 31 - An Unearthly Series - The Origins of a TV Legend: First published 23 Nov 2013

Cybermen to return in new seriesBookmark and Share

Monday, 30 June 2014 - Reported by John Bowman
The Cybermen are to return in the new series of Doctor Who, the BBC revealed today.

Following the announcement earlier in the day of the casting of Michelle Gomez as the Gatekeeper of the Nethersphere, the show's official Twitter account subsequently tweeted a behind-the-scenes picture showing Gomez with Peter Capaldi in Cardiff and Cybermen behind them.

It is believed they were shooting scenes for the Series 8 finale.

Doctor Who returns on Saturday 23rd August.

The picture was tweeted again a few hours later with the words: "In case you missed it … Peter Capaldi, Michelle Gomez and some familiar faces, earlier today!"

FILTER: - Filming Reports - Series 8/34

Michelle Gomez joins Doctor WhoBookmark and Share

Monday, 30 June 2014 - Reported by Marcus
Michelle Gomez The BBC has announced that Michelle Gomez will join the cast of Doctor Who, playing the Gatekeeper of the Nethersphere in the new series.

Gomez is best known for her performances in Green Wing, The Book Group, and Bad Education. In 2008 she performed as Kate in Royal Shakespeare Company's production The Taming of the Shrew. Doctor Who fans may know her from her role as Jevvan in the 2007 Big Finish audio Valhalla.

Speaking about the role, Gomez said:
Well of course Peter Capaldi is our next Doctor, which makes complete sense. I'm thrilled to join him. Well, you would be wouldn't you?
Lead writer and executive producer Steven Moffat added:
I've known Michelle for years, and I'm thrilled to welcome her to Doctor Who. She's everything we need - brilliant, Scottish, and a tiny bit satanic.
Filming on Series 8 is nearing its conclusion with the crew believed to be based at a central Cardiff location, working on the series finale, directed by Rachel Talalay.

Guest stars confirmed to join Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman in the new series, which starts on BBC One on Saturday 23rd August, include Frank Skinner, Ben Miller, Tom Riley, Keeley Hawes and Hermione Norris.

FILTER: - People - Guest Stars - Series 8/34

Big Finish bring back The RaniBookmark and Share

Sunday, 29 June 2014 - Reported by Marcus
Siobhan Redmond as The Rani (Credit: Big Finish)Big Finish Productions have announced they will be bringing back The Rani in a new story by Justin Richards, as part of their ongoing series of Audio adventures based on Doctor Who.

The Rani was originally played by Kate O'Mara in two stories shown in the 1980's, The Mark of the Rani and Time and the Rani. She was created by Pip and Jane Baker as a renegade Time Lord, an amoral scientist who sees no limit to her research.

The return was suggested by O'Mara who told Big Finish she would love to reprise the role for the company. Producer David Richardson says
Her agent contacted me and said that she would love to reprise the role with us, and when I mentioned this to executive producer Nicholas Briggs and script editor Alan Barnes they leapt at the opportunity. Justin wrote The Rani Elite for us, and we were just a few weeks away from recording when the terrible news reached us that Kate had passed away. At first, we were not sure what to do – until Kate’s agent again got in touch again, and said that it had been Kate’s wish that we proceed with a new incarnation of the Rani.
The role will now be played by Siobhan Redmond, whose many leading television credits include Between the Lines, The High Life, The Smoking Room, Taggart and Holby City.
We’d worked with Siobhan a few months ago as a different character in Revenge of the Swarm, and we fell in love with her. She’s a smart, delightful person and also an amazing actress – she’s the perfect choice for this new, slightly different version of the Rani.
The Rani's return comes at the end of a new trilogy of stories exploring what happened to Peri Brown during and after The Trial of a Time Lord. In the 1986 story Mindwarp, Peri was killed, but later in The Ultimate Foe it was explained that she actually married to the warrior Yrcanos.

So what really happened?

The mystery is addressed in an set of adventures starring Colin Baker as the Sixth Doctor and Nicola Bryant as Peri. It begins in October with The Widow's Assassin by Nev Fountain, which takes up Peri's story a few years after trial, as the Doctor and his former companion are reunited.

November's release is Masters of Earth by Mark Wright and Cavan Scott, which, as the title hints, features the return of the Daleks and the Robomen, and is set during the Dalek occupation of Earth in the 22nd Century.

The trilogy ends in December with The Rani Elite, which sees the debut of Siobhan Redmond as the evil Time Lord.

The three stories are available to pre-order individually or as part of the discounted subscription deal.

FILTER: - Big Finish

Who Cares AuctionBookmark and Share

Sunday, 29 June 2014 - Reported by Marcus
Tenth Planet Events are holding a special event and auction to raise money for Denville Hall, a home for elderly members of the theatrical profession.

Items in the auction range from several signed Big Finish scripts and Doctor Who posters through to a a private dinner for ten with Lalla Ward and her husband Richard Dawkins, and the chance to spend a day with Big Finish.

The Auction is now available online until midnight (BST) on August 8th 2014.

FILTER: - Special Events - Charities - Big Finish

Doctor Who returns Saturday 23 AugustBookmark and Share

Friday, 27 June 2014 - Reported by Marcus
The BBC has confirmed Doctor Who will return on Saturday 23rd August 2014

The series will premiere with a feature-length episode Deep Breath.

No time has yet been confirmed for the BBC One Transmission, however BBC America have confirmed they will show the episode at 8pm ET. SPACE in Canada have also confirmed it will show the episode that evening as has FOX in Germany.

ABC Australia have confirmed the series will début downunder on Sunday 24th August.

Doctor Who Series Eight (Credit: BBC/Ray Burmiston)

FILTER: - Series 8/34 - Broadcasting

Inferno Fiction 17Bookmark and Share

Friday, 27 June 2014 - Reported by Marcus
Inferno Fiction 17Issue Seventeen of the Fanzine Inferno Fiction is now available online.

In this issue
  • The Fear Of All Sums
    by Samuel Marks
    Part 3: The Doctor is reunited with The Cavalier. A Zeronaught is exposed and the Kuricam catch up with their prey...
  • Old Iron
    by Michael Baxter
    Dr Who and his granddaughter Susan arrive at 76 Totters Lane, Shoreditch where the premises and its contents of the late Isaac Foreman are being checked out by two unsavoury rag and bone men...
  • The Rallax Operation
    by Al Dickerson
    Part 2: Spoilers are Avoided. A Number of Corridors are traversed. Oneness with the Universe is Achieved. An Unbearable Occurrence occurs. Unstoffe remembers Moe. A Trilling Sound bothers the Bobs. There is a Hook, a Line and a Stinker. A retirement is deferred.
  • Veil Of The Rani
    by Ryan Denyer
    Part 1: Arriving on Xtrina2, the Doctor encounters the mysterious Lucinda Black and an old, dying enemy, the Rani.
  • Oh My Giddy Aunt!
    by Sean Bassett
    Act I: Madame Kovarian presides over a musical extravaganza for members of the Church of the Silence, featuring the life story of the Doctor from his first incarnation to his fifth in Act I
  • In Her Absence
    by Julie Kay
    Part 1: This is the epic, beautiful and exciting tale of the early days of the Silurian warrior Madame Vastra. Ranging from her early travels with the Doctor to her adventures in the alleys of Victorian London, this is Vastra's story.
  • Threat Of The Cybermen
    by Nathan Mullins
    Part 1: The Doctor and Clara must stop the threat of the army of Cyber kings...

FILTER: - Fan Productions

Doctor Who Magazine 475Bookmark and Share

Thursday, 26 June 2014 - Reported by Marcus
DWM 475Vastra, Jenny and Strax all take centre stage in the new issue of Doctor Who Magazine.

Inside this month's issue is an exclusive interview with the actors who have brought the Paternoster Gang to life: Neve McIntosh, Catrin Stewart and Dan Starkey.
"It's crazy, how everyone knows where we're going to be filming," says Neve. "When we were doing Peter Capaldi's first one we went out nice and early in the morning and there was one person there. And then you turned around and suddenly there was a whole load of people."

"Peter himself wasn't there, of course," adds Dan, "cos his first actual filming was in the studio that afternoon, which was really exciting."

"Oh, God, it was amazing watching him," says Neve. "And seeing it grow - seeing it happen - and occasionally having these flashes of going, 'Ah! That reminds me of Tom Baker! Actually, no! That's the Doctor . . . '"
Also in this issue:
  • The magazine pays tribute to the life and times of Kate O'Mara, the actress who played the Rani during the 1980s.
  • Former script editor Andrew Cartmel talks to the writers he employed on Doctor Who's silver anniversary season back in 1988: Ben Aaronovitch, Graeme Curry and Stephen Wyatt.
  • Terrance Dicks – script editor, writer and novelist supreme – talks about his work on Doctor Who in the '60s and '70s.
  • Showrunner Steven Moffat answers readers' questions in his regular column.
  • The Fact of Fiction takes a detailed look at the 1977 Fourth Doctor adventure The Talons of Weng-Chiang.
  • The Crystal Throne ­– a brand new comic strip adventure starring Vastra, Jenny and Strax.
  • The Time Team watch the Tenth Doctor and Donna meet Agatha Christie in 2008's The Unicorn and the Wasp.
  • Jacqueline Rayner and her family take a trip to see a new police box in relative dimensions.
  • The Watcher poses more questions and reveals dubious secrets from the archives in Wotcha!
  • Reviews and previews of the latest CDs and books.
  • The DWM crossword and prize-winning competitions

FILTER: - Steven Moffat - DWM

People RoundupBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 25 June 2014 - Reported by Marcus
Billie Piper is to star at the National Theatre in London in a new play about press intrusion and phone hacking.

The play Great Britain, written by Richard Bean and directed by Nicholas Hytner, opens on 30th June, with Piper playing the ambitious young news editor of a tabloid newspaper. The opening was delayed on legal advice due to an ongoing court case which has now been concluded. It will run on London's South Bank until 23rd August.

The play also features Robert Glenister.

A new trailer for the upcoming ABC sitcom Selfie, starring Karen Gillan, has been released.

Selfie sees Gillan play a vain, social media-obsessed airhead, Eliza Dooley, forced to learn humility from a marketing consultant. The show is described as a modern update to My Fair Lady.

Selfie will debut in the US on ABC later this year on Tuesdays at 8pm.

ITV have released a trailer for the new series Chasing Shadows, which stars Alex Kingston and Noel Clarke.

Kingston playes Ruth Hattersley in the drama, who is described as "maternal, but not mumsy", while Clarke plays DI Prior. The show also stars Reece Shearsmith, who played Patrick Troughton in An Adventure In Space And Time.

Sophie Okonedo, who played Liz 10 in The Beast Below, has won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for her portrayal of Ruth in the play A Raisin in the Sun.

Dolore Whiteman, who played Aunt Vanessa in the Doctor Who story Logopolis, has died at her home in Australia. Whiteman was the mother of Tracey Wilson and Jodie Wilson who both appeared as the vocalist backing singers in Delta and the Bannermen.
(with thanks to Stephen Griffiths)

FILTER: - People - Karen Gillan - Billie Piper

Doctor Who tops poll of greatest sci-fi, horror and fantasy momentsBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 25 June 2014 - Reported by John Bowman
The Doctor's farewell to Rose in Doomsday has been voted the greatest moment in sci-fi, horror and fantasy by readers of the magazine SFX, it was revealed today.

To mark the publication of issue 250 of the monthly magazine, readers were asked to vote for a definitive list of the 250 greatest moments of sci-fi, horror and fantasy in genres covering cinema, television, books, comics and video games. A total of 96,300 votes was cast and Doctor Who came top with that emotional scene set in Bad Wolf Bay. Originally broadcast on 8th July 2006, the concluding part of the two-episode story that ended Series Two was written by Russell T Davies - who was the showrunner at the time - and directed by Graeme Harper.

In a statement, SFX said:
Revisionists would have you believe that Who was always a show with emotional impact, but barring a couple of companion departures, that didn't really become true until the advent of Russell T Davies.

His most heart-destroyingly tragic contribution was this scene, in which a holographic projection of the Doctor talks to a tearful Rose on a Norwegian beach, with the signal cutting out just before the slowcoach can declare, "I love you". It's a moment everyone can identify with because, as Davies put it, "There's an echo of every loss you've ever had."

We've all had to bid farewell to someone we care about - even if it wasn't forced upon us by the threat of universal destruction - and this eye-moistening moment perfectly encapsulates the agony of break-up.

David Tennant told SFX:
I remember worrying on the day we shot this scene that as I was actually a projection from inside the Tardis my hair shouldn't be blowing in the wind.

That seemed terribly important at the time, and although we didn't find a solution to it, it bothered me for weeks. Then I saw the finished scene and of course all that matters is the end of the Doctor and Rose's story. Russell had weaved some glorious magic for two seasons and it all came together so perfectly in this scene that people still talk to me about it with misty eyes all these years later (and I suspect they always will.)

Murray Gold created some heart-stopping music that accentuates the misery and Billie [Piper] is just breathtakingly good. I feel very lucky to be standing on that beach, with my hair flying around, in amongst all these brilliant elements. Whatever else I do and wherever else I end up, this will be a moment I will be forever proud to look back on. Thanks for having us at number one.
SFX recruited some of the biggest names in the world of sci-fi to share their favourite moments, with Buffy The Vampire Slayer star Anthony Head among those agreeing that John Hurt's chest-burst scene in the 1979 film Alien was their greatest.

He said:
The first thing that comes to mind is Alien, the great exploding John Hurt moment! You didn't hear until afterwards how they filmed it, and it was one of those moments of reality really hitting a group of actors. You believed it. So full on. It was a perfectly-formed science fiction film, and it's always stuck with me. I was very scared.
The Top 10 greatest moments in sci-fi, horror and fantasy as voted for by SFX readers are as follows:

  • 1: Doctor Who - The Doctor and Rose say farewell at Bad Wolf Bay in Doomsday
  • 2: Avengers Assemble - The Hulk destroys Loki
  • 3: Alien - The chest-burst scene
  • 4: Firefly - Mal Reynolds kicks a bad guy into Serenity's engine intake (The Train Job)
  • 5: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back - Luke discovers that Darth Vader is his father
  • 6: Blade Runner - Roy Batty's "Tears in rain" monologue
  • 7: Game of Thrones - "The Lannisters send their regards" (The Red Wedding)
  • 8: The Matrix - Neo dodges bullets in the bullet-time scene
  • 9: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (novel) - Dumbledore's death
  • 10: Back To The Future - "Where we're going, we don't need roads."

The full list is printed in issue 250 of SFX, which is on sale as of today and also features contributions from Davies and current showrunner Steven Moffat.

UPDATE - 8.20PM: Since the result was announced, the BBC has uploaded the scene to its official Doctor Who YouTube channel. Watch it below:

FILTER: - Steven Moffat - Doctor Who - Russell T Davies - Magazines - David Tennant - Series 2/28

Titan Comics reveal the Twelfth Doctor CoverBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 24 June 2014 - Reported by Marcus
BBC Worldwide North America and Titan Comics have revealed the first cover art and creator details for the new ongoing comic series starring the Twelfth Doctor, which hits comic stores on October 1, 2014.

Eagle award-winning writer Robbie Morrison (Drowntown, The Authority, 2000AD, Nikolai Dante) and New York Times-bestselling artist Dave Taylor (Batman: Death by Design, 2000AD) will be helping spin the new Doctor off to his most challenging destination yet.

As with the Tenth and Eleventh Doctor ranges, Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor #1 comes with a regular cover painted by Alice X. Zhang, plus five other variants - including a "100% rebel Time Lord" photo cover and Mariano Laclaustra penned picture of Clara.

Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor is available to pre-order from comic stores and will hit retailers on October 1.

NB: Due to licensing restrictions, fans in the UK and Ireland can only purchase this comic digitally.

As previously reported the new Tenth and Eleventh Doctor ranges will hit comic book stores on July 23, and print or digital editions are available to pre-order now.

FILTER: - Twelfth Doctor - Comics