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Editor: Shaun Lyon.   Associate Editors: Paul F. Engelberg & Steve Tribe.
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Tuesday-Wednesday Series News Roundup
May 18, 2005
The Empty Child

Press Pack Seven is now available on the BBC website. The press pack discusses the two-part story starting with this weekend's The Empty Child. "Discovering he had been chosen as one of the writers on the new series of Doctor Who helped to seal a perfect day for Steven Moffat, writer of Coupling. 'I heard I'd got the job on the way to the Comedy Awards, where we won for my BBC TWO series Coupling, and I got to meet (former Doctor Who) Peter Davison,' he recalls. Like the other writers working on the Doctor's return, Steven is a big Doctor Who fan. 'I remember me and (fellow Doctor Who writer) Mark Gatiss drunkenly pitching the return of the show to the BBC's Head of Comedy at a party once and him saying 'It sounds very interesting, but I'm comedy'. Getting involved in the new series was absolutely thrilling, but I guess I took a deep breath before I started writing my episodes.'" The press pack notes that Moffat scripted one of three two-parters in the new run, a sinister tale set in London during the Blitz, where a mysterious presence is mutating humans into something not of this world. Best known for his comedy work, he says: "Comedy is just another sort of drama really, and there's always been comedy in Doctor Who to offset its scariness. To my mind, Doctor Who should be predominantly scary, but you can't make it too terrifying if you're aiming it at a family audience. I've always seen it as a kind of badly-behaved children's show. It scared and thrilled me as a kid and will hopefully do the same to a new generation of viewers this time round." Also interviewed are Richard Wilson and John Barrowman, who star as Dr. Constantine and Captain Jack Harkness. "He can't quite believe it. But Richard Wilson was happy to take on the role of a second doctor in the continuing adventures of a certain Time Lord. The 'One Foot In The Grave' star plays Dr Constantine, a bemused hospital medic in a new two-part story..." says the article. "I thought the writing was of a very high standard and very interesting," explains Wilson. "I think that is one of the strengths of the new series of Doctor Who." Barrowman notes that his character is "actually a Time Agent - part of a kind of space CIA - and he's trying to find two years of his memory that have disappeared. He's a rogue Time Agent and he knows he's done something in the past and he's not sure what it is or whether it is good or bad, because his memory has been erased. But he's also an intergalactic conman and he starts off by trying to con the Doctor and Rose." Read the whole interview at the website. (Manchester Online has reprinted some of this.)

The weekly revision to the official site is now in place for The Empty Child, this week with sound: "Please let me in, Mummy. I'm scared of the bombs." As usual, the first part of the photo gallery for the episode has been added, concentrating on the regulars and guest star Richard Wilson, with more photo stories and video diaries promised for Saturday evening. There are also a couple of news items, covering Russell T Davies' appearance on Radio 4's Front Row last night (with a link to the listen again service) and a review of The Clockwise Man, the first of the Ninth Doctor novels published this week. The Fear Forecast childrens' column is also posted.

The week's best television in the new edition of the Radio Times has the FA Cup Final as its top pick for Saturday, ending Doctor Who's previously unbroken run, but The Empty Child is still included (page 4). With an illustration of guest star Richard Wilson, the RT says "I don't believe it! Richard Wilson crops up as a doctor - but not the Doctor - while Rose hangs around London in a giddy Second World War mystery." The full-page behind-the-scenes feature (page 15) concentrates on the introduction of John Barrowman ("When I was told I'd got the job... I literally screamed and jumped around") as Captain Jack, who is pictured with Christopher Eccleston, alongside a main picture of a number of gas-masked figures and a repeat of the Richard Wilson shot from earlier in the magazine. A half-page advertisement for the Volume 1 DVD appears, rather cunningly, on the same page as the cast lists for this week's soaps (page 47), and includes a quote from The Guardian: "TV really doesn't get better than this, ever." In the listings section (page 64), Saturday's episode is again in second place (this time behind the Eurovision Song Contest): "... the show has had to adapt and become slicker... it's best for the old guard to sit back and enjoy the ride. ... an enticing mystery set in a Blitz-ravaged London ... There's persuasive period detail and a crazy barrage-balloon flight, but the episode also contains nightmarish imagery (including a grotesque morphing sequence) that's probably too much for little ones." Also recommended is the ninth edition of Doctor Who Confidential: "This zesty little series is a goldmine for those who like their special effects with a little bit of elucidation ... Tonight we learn how Billie Piper 'flew' across London, while a brilliant montage of classic (ie rubbish) Who effects reminds us how far the series has come." he programme listing for the epsidoe (page 66) reads, "At the height of the Blitz, Rose meets the dashing Captain Jack Harkness", while on the next page that for Confidential offers, "Gone are the days of wobbly sets - for this 21st-century transformation of the perennial sci-fi classic, CGI effects have given the Doctor some state-of-the-art aliens to battle." As previously reported on Outpost Gallifrey, Saturday's episode is listed as running from 6.30pm for forty minutes (with Confidential following 7.10pm) while both repeats (Saturday 12.20am, Sunday 7.15pm) apparently run for forty-five minutes; no repeat of Confidential is listed for Sunday evening.

The next episode of the series has apparently been cut because of tone issues and also some ruminations of bisexuality. BBC News reports that "The next episode of Doctor Who has been toned down after producers decided one scene was 'a bit too horrible'. The episode, to be shown on BBC One on Saturday, sees the Doctor travel back to tackle a strange virus in the Blitz. It turns former 'One Foot in the Grave' actor Richard Wilson's face into a gas mask - but producers have cut out the sound of his skull cracking. But producer Phil Collinson said it was still the scariest episode so far. 'It was about time we did a scary one.' 'It's a little thing involving the scene with Richard Wilson's character and the gas mask,' said producer Phil Collinson." Several press reports also focus on the fact that the episode "reveals that the Time Lord attracts the attentions of a bisexual character in a later storyline. Producers have axed a scene in which skulls could be heard cracking in what has been billed as the scariest episode of the new Doctor Who series yet. And at a media screening of the show yesterday, it emerged that 'time agent' Captain Jack Harkness flirts with the Doctor in a future episode." It is too early to tell what, exactly, has been cut, or if the story is simply more hype. Also reported at the Mirror, Media Guardian, Manchester Online, Breaking News, Irish Examiner, CBBC News, Waveguide, the Scotsman, Press Association, Yahoo News.

Pre-airing reviews of The Empty Child are being posted. Heat magazine's Boyd Hilton gives it 5 stars: "The esteemed brains of the BBC Press Office are dubbing this 2-part story 'the scariest Doctor Who yet'. And they have a point. There's something about the sight of a bunch of zombie-like mutants with gas masks for faces that really gives us the willies. Add to the mix a hunky new love interest for Billie Piper's Rose and a wonderful cameo from Richard Wilson, and you have yet another triumphant episode." Closer magazine comments on the episode: "This series just gets better and better. Tonight, we're in London in 1941, at the height of the Blitz. The army is guarding a mysterious cylinder, while homeless children living on bomb sites are being terrorised bya scary kid infected with a strange virus. In the midst of the mayhem, love hearts are flashing in Rose's eyes when she meets a hunky captain. And look out for One Foot In The Grave's Richard Wilson as Dr Constantine, a GP in charge of a busy wartime hospital ward."

Doctor Who on the Web

The website of The Stage is carrying a feature by Paul Hayes on the internet streaming of BBC One that allowed many overseas fans to watch 'Dalek' on April 30. "When plans of a secret BBC test to stream its UK channels over the internet leaked out, overseas users logged on. Many said they would be prepared to pay to do so again." The article notes that "The BBC's research and development arm, based at Kingswood Warren, was conducting a test for the streaming of the BBC's television channels to UK-based broadband internet customers, in a move to provide a service similar to that already offered free for all by BBC Radio, whereby all stations are available to listen to live over the internet, with selected programmes stored in a ‘Listen Again' archive for at least a week following transmission. Offered free of charge, the radio services are available to any internet user in the world and are extremely popular with expatriates and overeseas fans of the BBC. The television equivalent would most likely not be available internationally, as quite apart from complicated rights issues, there would be a storm of complaints were television services paid for by the licence fee to be freely available to a potential audience of millions outside of Britain. But the tests being conducted of the broadband streaming service were just that - tests." Liz Mitchell of the BBC press office explained that it was "an internal demonstration stream which was intended for an internal audience." However, "the website addresses for the channels being tested for internet broadcast - BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Four and BBC News 24 - were either deliberately leaked by somebody or accidentally stumbled across by some lucky user. The links first appeared on a message board on a fan website of comedian Chris Morris and the internet being what it is the news quickly spread, finding its way to the message boards of Outpost Gallifrey, an American Doctor Who fan website hugely popular in the science-fiction community, with over 10,000 registered members. It so happens that Saturday, April 30 was the transmission date for Dalek, the sixth and perhaps most highly-anticipated episode of the new series of Doctor Who, which saw the return of the eponymous pepperpot. The sudden revelation that if they had a broadband internet connection they could watch the episode completely free of charge at exactly the same time as their fellow fans in the UK was greeted with considerable surprise and delight by those posting on the message board." The article quotes several fans on their reactions to the live feed and discusses the obvious market for streaming BBC television over the internet. "The idea is fraught with problems. These are not simply technical - how do you make a service free for users in the UK but ensure overseas users can only access it by subscription? - but there are rights issues too. Films and sports events held by other broadcasters in other countries could not be streamed and there may also be difficulties with showing BBC programmes that have been purchased by foreign networks. Doctor Who, for example, is already showing in Canada on CBC, is due to start in Australia on ABC in late May and has also been sold to New Zealand, Italy and the Netherlands. It is unlikely that any of these countries' broadcasters who have paid a great deal of money for the screening rights to the programme - entering into a co-production deal in the case of CBC - would be particularly thrilled to know that a substantial chunk of the fan audience in their countries has had the opportunity to see such an eagerly-awaited episode already, for no charge and no profit to them." It notes that the this was a one-off and the feeds were cut. "While this was not an ideal situation as the URL was not intended for a public audience, it was a simple technical error made while investigating technologies for encoding and transmission protocols, which was fixed as soon as possible," said Mitchell.

People

James Hawes, director of "The Empty Child" and "The Doctor Dances," will direct this year's Christmas Special that introduces David Tennant as the tenth Doctor, says TV Zone Magazine's next issue due out on May 26, which includes an interview with Hawes.

Confirming the reports that Christopher Eccleston will soon be filming "Double Life" with writer/director Joe Ahearne, SFX reports that Ahearne will also not be returning to the series for its second year. "I won't be working on the second series," Ahearne tells SFX, "but not because of this. I don't know exactly when the film is going to go. It's slated for this year but you never know with movies, dates change all the time. I'm not involved with the second series because I've just done five episodes of the current series and spent seven months living in Cardiff since September last year, and as wonderful and fantastic and amazing as it is it does take you over. I just want to get back to London really..."

Eccleston told an unnamed science fiction magazine, in an interview reprinted in today's Daily Star, that the series took its toll on him. "You can't have a life. You can't socialise. It's like having a Tardis in your skull and every time you open your mouth you see a Tardis. There were days when I got psoriasis, I got eczema. My face blew up in the Dalek episode. I looked literally disfigured with tiredness and poor skin." Eccleston admitted that playing the Doctor was still a lot easier than the labouring jobs he took while he was a struggling actor in his twenties, but he pointed out that the hours were a grind. "It is actually hard graft. With TV, you do a 14-hour day and then you're doing your line-learning. I think that's what would p*ss off most labourers and people who work in factories - get up at 6.30am, leave 7.30 at night, then starting learning lines, six days a week. I ain't moaning about it, but if you play the Doctor the hardest thing is you can't have a life." Despite his decision to leave the series, Eccleston said he loved playing the character alongside co-star Billie Piper: "I loved being part of that amazing team. By and large, it was a joy." Other places picking up the story include Female First, Digital Spy, Contact Music.

This morning's edition of Metro, a free newspaper distributed in London, has a short item attributing a quote to Christopher Eccleston: "Christopher Eccleston would like to return as Dr Who - but not on TV. 'If there was a radio version I would definitely look at that as it won't take up so much time,' he said." It's worth pointing out that Metro is not always the most reliable source, and that this could mean anything or nothing. There has been no official word from either BBC Radio or bbc.co.uk concerning any plans for further audio/online adventures, and Big Finish's licence from the BBC covers only the "classic series" up to and including Paul McGann's Doctor, so BF would need a new licence to produce audio adventures for the Ninth Doctor. But there's always hope!

More Australia Coverage

The new series has been getting a lot of promotion in Australia both on radio & TV before the first episode airs on Saturday. Besides the obligatory TV & radio promos, the Eoin Cameron breakfast show has been running a competition asking simple Doctor Who questions over the air with the prize being an advanced screening of "Rose" at the ABC studios. Additionally, Wednesday's program was devoted to the series with interviews from Katy Manning & Phil Collinson as well as local identities. Listeners were also asked to phone in and impersonate a Dalek voice. Additionally the ABC have filmed an item for the show "How the Quest Was Won" which is fun newsy lifestyle type show where one of their reporters Jane Cunningham visits the "West Lodge" (The Perth DR WHO Fan Club) & meets Beta the Dalek. They also travel to Pingelly a small town 150km from the city. The air date is not yet known but should be shown nationwide in the next few weeks.

The Herald Sun reviews this weekend's episode, "Rose": "New series. We've seen many actors play the famed doctor since the sci-fi series started in 1963. This new 13-part series stars Christopher Eccleston (left) as a smarter, more contemporary Doc, but after the 13th episode, Eccleston, fearing he'd be typecast, said no more and quit. The opener is all about department-store employee Rose, who's sent to take a package to an electrician working in the basement. However, the sparky isn't there and Rose becomes locked in with several store-window dummies who come to life and threaten her, which is about when you-know-Who comes to the rescue. Fear not, the good doctor is at hand."

News.com Australia notes that "THE Time Lord is back and better than ever. The scarf has been replaced with a leather jacket and best of all, there's a whole new breed of daleks to contend with." There are interviews with production designer Edward Thomas.

Other news notes: The Advertiser Age article posted the other day now has a web edition posted. ABC News Australia discusses making Daleks locally as a tie-in to the debut.

Other Stories

More on the DVD rating issue: The Irish Independent says that "The whole fun of Doctor Who is hiding behind the sofa at the scary bits. Granted, it looks a bit tragic when you're 33 and your arse is too big to fit behind any normal sofa, but it's our Saturday night and we'll do what we want. But that delicious sense of terror is being withheld from kids by those idiots in the British Board of Film Classification, who have refused to give the new Doctor Who DVD a PG Cert, because of scenes of cruelty to . . . wait for it - a Dalek. 'However cross one might be with a Dalek, being cruel is not the way to deal with the issue. Some children might take it into the playground.' Of course, maybe the Doctor should have talked to the Dalek. Perhaps he should have opened a dialogue with him. Maybe they should have made daisy chains together? Where do these idiots come from? Gallifrey? We particularly liked their fear that kids might take it into the playground. Yeah, because kids really need inspiration to be beastly to each other during recess." Also, In the News also has an article on it.

Part two of Planet of the Doctor, the CBC.ca Canadian network website's six-part documentary about Doctor Who, is now available on the site.

(Thanks to Steve Tribe, Paul Engelberg, Chuck Foster, Paul Greaves, Peter Weaver, Ian Berriman, Alan Creaser, and Paul Hayes)
Massive Weekend Series Roundup
May 16, 2005
Hello readers... your editor had a very busy last few days so the news got away from me; I'm back now and catching up, first with all the latest news updates on the new series as follows:

Ratings Update

Results have come in for the rest of the weekend after the broadcast of Father's Day (which we reported on Sunday) from ViewingFigures. The ratings are as follows: the repeat of "Father's Day" on Sunday morning at 12:10am had 156,950 viewers (3.4% viewing share), while the Sunday 7:00pm showing had 532,210 viewers (4.4% share). The initial broadcast of Doctor Who Confidential on Saturday night at 7:45pm had 579,660 viewers (4.6% share), the repeat early Sunday morning at 12:55am had 86,750 viewers (2.9% share) and the Sunday 7:45pm showing had 297,600 viewers (2.3% share). Confidential and its repeat showings performed excellent in the multi-channel ratings; Saturday's "Confidential 8" was first in its timeslot beating SkyOne's "The Simpson's" which had 488,810 viewers. Very consistent figures again all around on Sunday as well; the "Fathers Day" repeat was second in the 7pm-8:30pm timeslot and "Confidential 8" was placed fourth. Only programs from SkyOne beat, or come close to beating these figures. Once again Doctor Who is producing great results for BBC3 (especially not forgetting these are the third showings in 24 hours.)

New Series DVD News Stories

BBC News reports that the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) have given the first two "Doctor Who" new series DVD releases a "12" rating -- not to be sold to children under twelve years of age -- based upon the episodes "The Unquiet Dead" and "Dalek". BBC Ceefax notes that this is because of "violence and cruelty as a way of dealing with problems". The Times notes that "Censors ruled that the sequence sets a bad example to children because it implies that the only way to resolve disputes is through force allied with cruelty. A spokesman for the board said: 'However cross one might be with a Dalek, being cruel is not the way to deal with the issue. Some children might take it into the playground.'" The story has also been covered at Monsters and Critics, Pittsburgh Live, Sky News, MegaStar, The Scotsman.

The Times, meanwhile, has run an article condemning the BBFC for this action. "The Doctor's new enemies are, of course, the Censors. Inhabitants of a strange parallel universe known only as the British Board of Film Classification, the Censors suffer from tragic myopia but wield immense power. They have ruled that the latest series of Doctor Who cannot be shown to children under 12, when it comes out on DVD, because of the programme's 'excessive cruelty". The Censors specifically object to a scene broadcast last month in which the Doctor subjects an imprisoned Dalek to a bit of rough-house treatment. Taking a tough line with a species bent on mass murder and world annihilation is clearly too much for the Censors, who are worried that the Time Lord's behaviour may set an unhappy precedent. ... It's good to know that the BBFC are concerned that any Daleks who find their way through space and time into the nation's playgrounds should not be unmercifully bullied. But leaving aside the important issue of just how the nation's children should react to the arrival of a Dalek during lunchbreak (make sure it doesn't feel excluded by picking it first for the football team?) another ticklish question of space travel arises. Just what planet are these Censors on?" A smaller piece in the Times calls it an "absurd ruling" that "takes the fun out of Doctor Who."

The R2 Project has several items posted on the new series DVD's, including screenshots from the first disc's menus and a complete review of the release.

HMV are currently running an instore promotion for the new series DVDs which includes large "Doctor Who" coverings (featuring the Doctor and Rose with the tagline: "The Invasion Starts 16.05.05") over the security scanners situated near store doorways. Meanwhile, Childrens' CBBC is featuring a promotion to win copies of the first DVD release.

According to ezyDVD, Doctor Who fans in Australia will see the first new series DVD release on June 16.

This weekend's Independent reviewed the first three-episode DVD release: "The first three episodes of Russell T Davies' new Doctor Who incarnation may seem horribly unsophisticated next to the American likes of Buffy and Star Trek, but it does have decent effects and a sly sense of humour, and it gives the old formula some tantalising tweaks. The only major misjudgment is the Doctor himself, who now has an unseemly tendency to lech over a woman 880 years his junior. Christopher Eccleston blunders through the role with the fixed grin of a pre-school children's TV presenter, so David Tennant can't take over too soon."

Brighton Exhibition

The Doctor Who exhibition in Brighton has opened. The official BBC Doctor Who website has a video report on the exhibition as well as a Fear Forecast report (the four children who watch each week's episode). There are news reports/reviews at the BBC News and BBC News Southern Counties websites as well as at the DWAS website.

Outpost Gallifrey will feature a special report tomorrow including photographs from the exhibition and resultant news coverage.

Broadcasting

The BBC Press Office has released its weekly Programme Information for the week of 28 May to 3 June. The Features document (note: PDF file) includes a photograph of John Barrowman outside the TARDIS: "Intergalactic con-man Captain Jack (John Barrowman) tries to help defeat a zombie army in wartime London as Doctor Who continues on Saturday (BBC One). The same document notes that "An exciting new Doctor Who exhibition featuring monsters, villains and a host of original props and costumes, designs and original video clips from the brand-new BBC series opens its doors to the public for the first time on Saturday 14 May on Brighton Pier, and will run throughout the summer season." And the document of programme highlights for Saturday 21 May gives a brief description of The Doctor Dances: "Wartime London is in the grip of a zombie army in part two of Steven Moffat's time-travelling adventure. The Child's plague is spreading throughout the capital, and its zombie army is on the march.The Doctor and Rose form an alliance with intergalactic con-man Captain Jack, but find themselves trapped in the abandoned hospital. The answer lies at the bombsite, but time is running out… Christopher Eccleston is The Doctor, Billie Piper is Rose, John Barrowman is Captain Jack Harkness and Richard Wilson is Doctor Constantine." There is also a photograph of Eccleston with Richard Wilson, captioned "Richard Wilson (left) joins Christopher Eccleston in the second part of this action-packed wartime adventure".

Radio Times is now listing the BBC1 broadcast of The Empty Child on Saturday 21 May as being only 40 minutes from 6.30 to 7.10pm, with Doctor Who Confidential 9 now starting at 7.10pm (not 7.20pm as previously). Both the late-night and Sunday evening repeats of Empty Child are still listed as 45 minutes, so it's anyone's guess whether the first showing is being edited for the slot.

People

Christopher Eccleston has signed to star in the film "Double Life" from British production company Cougar Films, written and directed by "Doctor Who" first season director Joe Ahearne. The film, set to begin shooting later this year in Hungary, is described as a "high concept sci-fi genre piece." "Joe (Ahearne) is a master at combining great storytelling with high concept," said Cougar Films' Sophie Balhetchet, who produced Ahearne's vampire television series "Ultraviolet" for Channel Four. The film is budged at around 3.5 million pounds and is co-produced with Hungarian Film Connection. News reports on this feature at BBC News, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, icNetwork, Ananova, Daily Record, RTE, Dark Horizons, The Scotsman, Breaking News, Manchester Online, Irish Examiner, and other sources including print editions of the Guardian and the Telegraph.

Why did Christopher Eccleston quit Dr Who after just one series? According to today's Daily Mail it's because 'You cannot have a life. You can't socialise. It's like having a Tardis in your skull. There were days when I got psoriasis, I got eczema. My face blew up in the Dalek episode -- I looked literally disfigured with tiredness and my skin. It is graft. With TV, you do a 14-hour day and then you're doing your line learning. I ain't moaning, but if you play the Doctor, the hardest thing is you can't have a life.' Meanwhile, this weekend's Sunday Mirror said that "Eccleston's sleep patterns are clearly feeling the effects of Tardis living. We spotted him in Cardiff store Howell's stocking up on Origins' Sensory Therapy range which contains calming herbs to help you drift off and get a good night's kip. Time travel-proof favourites include Sleep Time On-The-Spot Gel Massage Cream, £14.50, and Float Away Sleep-Inspiring Milk Bath, £18."

David Tennant has been nominated as best actor for his performance as Jimmy Porter in the Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh's revival of Look Back in Anger, according to the Times. Also in the same category is Nabil Shaban, who played Sil during the Colin Baker years, for his performance as MacHeath in The Threepeny Opera in a production at Edinburgh's Theatre Workshop.

The Daily Star had a large picture of Billie Piper on page 3 of its 14 May edition, with the title "Doctor Phew!" and a brief article in which she was described as looking "Dalek-table".

Russell T Davies was on Radio 4's "Front Row" Monday 16th May, talking about the British Board of Film Classification's 12 certificate for the DVDs, about whether Christopher Eccleston was always only going to to one series, why he doesn't want to talk about the end of series one, and how he was thinking about series 2... all available on Listen Again. Starts 16'45" in and is available at the website.

Author Paul Cornell, who wrote last Saturday's episode "Father's Day," speaks to BBC Wiltshire at their website. The interview is in RealAudio format; visit the site to download it.

Merchandise

The first three Doctor Who new series novels have been released to stores; they are Winner Take All by Jacqueline Rayner, Monsters Inside by Stephen Cole and The Clockwise Man by Justin Richards. They are in stock in UK book stockists and, we're told, in Australia's ABC shop (their release date in Australia is May 31, so ABC Shops have them exclusively until then.)

TV Zone Special #63, a Doctor Who special issue, is now out, including interviews with John Barrowman, on joining the TARDIS crew as "intergalactic rogue" Captain Jack Harkness; Production designer Ed Thomas, on designing the TARDIS set; Concept artist Bryan Hitch, on updating the Daleks and the TARDIS; Mark Gatiss, on writing The Unquiet Dead, acting in Quatermass and writing and acting in the upcoming League of Gentlemen movie; Dalek director Joe Ahearne, on lending some weight to the metal monsters from Skaro; Steven Moffat, on penning the scariest Who script yet; Gillane Seaborne, on producing behind-the-scenes documentary Doctor Who Confidential; plus reviews and more. Details on the issue are available at their UK website and/or US website.

Australia Debut Coverage

"Doctor Who" debuts this weekend on Australia's ABC Network and there is a great deal of coverage in the newspapers, most of it very positive:

The Sydney Morning Herald reports from the set. "Only two elements were mandatory when screenwriter Russell T. Davies sat down with producer Phil Collinson and BBC Wales drama chief Julie Gardner to recreate the iconic TV series Doctor Who for a new audience. The haunting, synthesised theme music, by Ron Grainer and Delia Derbyshire, is back. So is the blue, 1950s-style London police call box that the Doctor uses to travel through time and space. 'I think those are quintessential parts of Doctor Who, and we'd have been fools to tamper with them in any way,' Collinson says. 'The theme is one of the best pieces of theme music ever written and it sums up the mood and the flavour of the series brilliantly well. As for the police box, for two seconds we toyed with whether our audience would recognise it, but we realised that, fundamentally, it doesn't matter. It's a box, it's small, and when you walk in it's bigger. It's a fantastic concept, as brilliant now as it was in 1963. No one has done it since because it belongs to Doctor Who.' Beyond that, Collinson insists, all bets were off." The interview took place during the filming of "Dalek". Collinson notes that the series is "very modern, very vibrant, action-packed. In order to achieve that you have to almost forget the past and think we're making something really new and hopefully really different." The writer notes that "Getting here, on the set to witness the much-discussed first reappearance of the Daleks, was an epic in itself, involving scores of telephone calls, emails and, finally, a signed confidentiality agreement." Series writer Mark Gatiss says that "For all of us who kept the torch burning all these years, including Russell, the best parlour game a Doctor Who fan can play is: wouldn't it be great if it came back," Gatiss says. "And suddenly it is, but you're dealing with a world of TV realities - ratings count and it's a very different environment." In a sense, Gatiss tells the Herald, the fans had been handed the keys to the kingdom, although Gatiss says it was important to draw a line between their memories and the cold, hard realities of making TV today. "If all of us had just been trying to bring back Doctor Who, I think it would be very different," he says. "It's all about having a proper perspective, and none of the people involved in this reincarnation is a slave to the past. ... You have to remember, Doctor Who wasn't a cult program for most of its life. It was just the most popular program on telly. Where it really started to go wrong was when it began to tell stories that you really wouldn't understand unless you'd seen early serials, such as The Tenth Planet. That is when pop [culture] eats itself - it starts to become too inward looking." There's a large roundup of the classic series in the article as well.

The Herald's TV section, The Guide, also names Doctor Who their "show of the week" and Robin Oliver gives the following review: "This is a tingling introduction to young viewers and a most satifying reunion for old, partly because the Tardis flies again as only an old London police box could possibly manage. This new Doctor Who also tempts because writer Russell T. Davis takes an adult approach to one of television’s most famous characters -- and children will appreciate that. Davis overrides the cash-strapped production values of the past to make his new doctor competitive in a high-tech market, but keeps his soul alive with such jokes as bicycle-pumped gadgetry in the Tardis. ... The young (they will start around eight years) occasionally may be mildly scared, not a bad quality in a series that also mixes-in the humour of the wheelie-bin sequence. Older viewers (the doctor’s friends can never be too ancient) will find Eccleston easily the best time lord since Tom Baker. And he never had a Tardis like this."

The Herald Sun on Sunday said to "Prepare ye for the arrival of the ninth Time Lord played with hitherto unseen mirth by Christopher Eccleston, who only two weeks ago was the new-age Messiah in The Second Coming. ... This Doctor Who series of 13 one-hour episodes, which was launched in the UK earlier this year to a BBC audience of 10 million and generally kind reviews, is great entertainment for the whole family. ... The ninth Doctor Who still travels in the Tardis -- but this time the police phone box is blue and slightly bigger. The real neat change is his choice of companion -- Piper's Rose Tyler harkens to the sidekicks played by the likes of Carole Ann Ford and Katy Manning. She's feisty, cheeky and up for anything. Writer Russell T.Davis has also been let off the leash to make the most of this eclectic new pairing, which may or may not have hints of a romance. The opening episode of this series is OK -- but the outlandish plot suffers a bit for the need to set up the initial meeting between The Doctor and Rose. But the second episode -- where the doctor takes Rose billion years ahead in time to witness the death of Earth (to the jukebox accompaniment of the Britney Spears hit Toxic) -- is a delight, filled with a fabulous array of weird aliens and neat techno-effects."

The Sunday Telegraph noted that "the Doctor is back and he's making housecalls. While a revival of the classic sci-fi series could easily have had Tom Baker choking on his scarf, it turns out that Christopher Eccleston, as the new Doctor, and Billie Piper, as his sidekick Rose, are more than adequate replacements. Right from the opening credits - complete with slightly reworked dum-de-dum electronic soundtrack - there's no mistaking this for anything other than the often camp, often scary and always highly entertaining show that made its debut in 1963. Eccleston does seem a little at odds with his new role as the time-travelling alien adventurer. Perhaps he's just settling in but the actor who won plaudits for his roles in Shallow Grave and as Robbie Coltrane's boss in Cracker seems slightly confused amongst his alien foes, and turns in a rather muted performance. The same cannot be said for ex-pop princess Piper, who shines as the doctor's soon-to-be female assistant."

The Advertiser noted that "Sixteen years since it sank into a TV black hole, cult classic Doctor Who is about to regenerate on Australian screens. .. The new $24 million series has been a smash hit in its native UK, drawing 10 million viewers to its premiere and averaging 7.5 million. ... Series production designer Edward Thomas said there was definitely a chemistry between the Doctor and his sidekick. 'I think the Doctor all the way through the series allows her to have her boyfriends but, at the end of the day, he's so impressive he knows that she'll always come back to him,' he said. Gone are the creaky cardboard sets and comical special effects. The new Tardis has an organic interior, while the daleks will return midway through the 13-part series (flying daleks no less, and even a sobbing dalek that evokes sympathy)." The article features a list of Doctors and companions.

The Sunday Age gives the series its top pick: "Fear not, dear viewer, there really is something more than Desperate Housewives on the horizon. The Doctor is back with a vengeance, a triumph of television in his ninth incarnation thanks to tight scripting, clever editing, dazzling effects and a gloriously full-blooded performance by actor Christopher Eccleston. The big deal of the week is undoubtedly this Russell T. Davies updating of Doctor Who, another wonderfully eccentric journey through time and space with the Time Lord and his alien pals. Davies, a dedicated follower of a program that first went to air in 1963, has managed to bring new spirit to the show without losing a few crucial links to the past. There is still the whooshing and whirring Tardis, that old, now defunct blue police box-cum-spacecraft with its impossibly spacious interior. There is still the familiar pounding introductory theme. And there is still that touch of scary other-worldly loopiness about the Time Lord. But it is the acerbic humour, in-jokes and imaginative plotting as much as the visual spectacle that makes this new venture such a great trip. And the Doctor, sharp, amusing, sometimes alarmingly focused more on the bigger picture than foolish human concerns, is definitely one for our age. Eccleston, possibly the finest Doctor Who since Tom Baker's permed eccentric, plays him with Manchester accent and a fierce intensity. In the opening episode he meets his new sidekick, Rose Tyler, a street-smart London store assistant played with sparky, Buffy-like energy by Billie Piper. The Doctor starts by saving her from an army of plastic shop dummies brought to life."

The Daily Telegraph chose a different approach: "With a brand new series of Dr Who to screen on the ABC this week, the coming months are an obvious time for afficionados and clubs to capitalise on renewed interest in the sci-fi legend. But if it wants to attract attention, the Dr Who Club of Australia might want to add a couple of actual Doctors to the list of those appearing at a Whovention convention in October. The best it can offer is Louise Jameson, who played Leela in the late 70s, and India Fisher, whose claim to fame is starring in a series of Dr Who audio-only adventures." Outpost Gallifrey would hereby challenge the Daily Telegraph to sponsor such guests for our Australian friends, since it costs money to bring guests over!

There's also local television coverage, including in unlikely places. Says our correspondent Paul Kennedy: "In the second year of a quiz called 'The Einstein Factor' on ABC-TV in Australia, a Doctor Who fan is winning. David Campbell, from Brisbane, has 'the television series Doctor Who 1963 to 1989' as his specialist topic and has now won on 3 episodes of the quiz. Each episode of the show has 3 contestants and 3 rounds. In the 1st round against the clock, each contestant answers up to 15 questions on their chosen topic. The 2nd and 3rd rounds have general knowledge questions. David Campbell---not *that* David Campbell, obviously---won his heat early in the year. He then returned and won the play-off. Last week (Sunday 8 May) he won the series final. He will return later in the year in the grand final. In the series final he scored 14 in the specialist round, missing only 'Which is the only of the Doctor's companions never to have travelled in the TARDIS?'"

Other Stories

The BBC has begun a beta test of a new service called 'Backstage' which allows programmers and web developers to use BBC content to produce new applications that the BBC would not normally fund. Among the items made available for the beta test is a Doctor Who news feed in RSS format. Possible uses for this include a Doctor Who screensaver or a desktop 'widget' that displays the latest Doctor Who news from the BBC. The Doctor Who newsfeed can be subscribed to by pointing your RSS software or RSS-enabled browser (e.g. Safari 2.0, Firefox etc) to this site; more details on Backstage available here.

Sunday's Daily Star asked "Who's crying wolf? Doctor Who fans think they have found a hidden clue on the show bout how the Time Lord will meet a nasty end. They have spotted several references to something called "Bad Wolf" throughout the series since it began 7 weeks ago... a hint from writer Russell T Davies that the Doc isn't Who he seems to be. They think by the end of the series his true identity will be unmasked - resulting in his death and re-generation into the new Time Lord... Show addicts think the phrase refers to the Doctor being a "wolf in the sheep's clothing". And they believe his sidekick Rose... will only find out the truth at the end of the current series."

A brief visual joke about the possiblity of cost-cutting having an effect on the next series of "Doctor Who" appeared on Have I Got News For You...? (BBC1, 13 May).

BBC Ceefax (14 May) had "Doctor Who" as TV Choice: "No kidding: this is the best episode of the series so far. And it manages to be that despite having exasperating plot holes and convenient solutions. But what's so great is that while we get the usual monsters, this is really about Rose and her dad. She never knew him: he died when she was little. Now she's got the TARDIS though, she wants to go back in time to see him. Rose is played perfectly by Billie Piper, while Shaun Dingwall does well as Rose's father". The BBC homepage (14 May) listed "Doctor Who" as its TV Pick with a prominent picture from the episode crowning its schedules homepage.

Not directly new series-related, but Russell T Davies cropped up a few times on last night's edition of ITV's regular Sunday night arts programme The South Bank Show, this week's edition of which looked at the life and career of Davies' friend and contemporary Paul Abbott, writer/creator of such acclaimed British TV dramas as "Touching Evil" (upon which Davies worked with him), "State of Play" and "Shameless". Abbott talked about how Davies persuaded him to leave writing for "Coronation Street" for the producer's job on "Cracker" in 1993 when he was undecided as it meant a huge pay cut. "It'll make you look taller!" was apparently Davies' advice!

Last Thursday's The Methodist Recorder's TV reviewer David Bridge examined the return of Doctor Who, noting that the show had been billed as suitable for younger viewers he notes. However, as he notes, "one recent episode featured two scenes of torture that were certainly not appropriate for a children's programme." Bridge also noted that Eccleston tackles the role with a "certain jaunty swagger" and that Rose is a "small but significant victory for the women's movement."

The latest edition of British adult comic Viz (May - #145) features Doctor Who extensively in its own choice style. The cover has an illustration of one of its characters Roger Mellie (outrageous broadcaster - and that's putting it mildly) in floppy hat and long scarf running away from other Viz characters/Doctor Who monster hybrids (Mrs Brady/Dalek and Mr Logic/Cyberman) with, in the background, the Tardis plus two Daleks - one of them with a handbag over its sucker and saying "Con-sti-pate, con-sti-pate". The actual Roger Mellie strip does not have any Doctor Who reference, nor do the Mrs Brady or Mr Logic ones, though. The masthead claims that Viz is "the mag that farts a hole through the space-time continuum" and boasts the feature "Cybermen Behaving Badly: Sex Secrets of the Doctor Who Monsters!" The feature is a two-page extract from the fictional memoir called Who Were You With In The Moonlight? by the equally fictional BBC tea lady Iris Poldark, in which she describes her sex sessions with the Master, a Sea Devil and Cyberman, plus a threesome with two Daleks. (To spare the sensibilities of younger visitors to Outpost Gallifrey, no more details are given here, but cognoscenti of Viz and the lurid kiss 'n' tell stories in some of the more sensational newspapers can no doubt guess as to its style and content.) It is illustrated with colour photos of Daleks, Cybermen, Roger Delgado as the Master, and the Doctor with a Sea Devil, plus a mono picture of a woman said to be Ms Poldark and the book cover.

"When we saw the Tardis, we knew this was something significant," Stephen Harries, a director at Cardiff Royal Infirmary, told the Guardian this weekend; the Royal Infirmary is where scenes were shot for the TV drama Doctor Who (specifically in "Aliens of London").

The Guardian on May 14 in the "Smallweed" column stated "Don't you dare do away with our Daleks!" "Much though I enjoy the new Dr Who series, I think it was an infernal liberty on the part of the scriptwriter Russell T Davies to have the last Dalek liquidate itself a fortnight ago. The Daleks in my view constitute a national treasure and to sweep them out of existence is like trying to liquidate, let us say, Sherlock Holmes. Conan Doyle, of course, did so, but such was the public outcry that he had to bring him to life again, adopting the pitiful course of pretending that the great detective's plunge from the Reichenbach Falls could have been other than fatal. I forget the precise explanation - maybe Doyle suggested that someone had left a trampoline at the foot of the falls and Sherlock simply bounced back. There ought to be a similar public outcry now." Er, someone should tell this poor writer...

Clippings

There are many reports on the downfall of ITV on Saturday night and the success of "Doctor Who" in the ratings; some of them can be read at Megastar, Media Week, Broadcast Now,

Other stories: IGN Filmforce reports on recent stories such as the purported film rumors from Cannes and the BBC props folks being shut down; the Crewe Chronicle has an article about Dalek merchandise; more on the Halcyon Software Dalek "invasion" from PR Leap and 24-7 Press Releases; Sheffield Today reports on the appearance of the TARDIS at Hallam FM stage during the sixth annual Mayfest over the May Bank Holiday; and the Sunday Times refers to Lord Birt, nicknamed "Dalek", and how 'they' might be used to 'exterminate' Gordon Brown's hopes to become prime minister.

(Thanks to Steve Tribe, Paul Engelberg, Chuck Foster, Andy Parish, Peter Anghelides, Gregg Smith, John Bowman, Dave King, Dan Garrett, Jamie Austin, Chris Winwood, Faiz Rehman, Paul Hayes, Peter Weaver, Cameron Yarde Jnr, Eddie Brennan, Andrew Norris, John Hatfield, David Traynier, Ben Stephens, James Sellwood, Paul Kennedy, Stephen Graves, Jonathan Baldwin, and AndyC at the R2 Project)
Father's Day Ratings Triumph
May 15, 2005
Father's Day has scored big... 7,471,900 viewers according to the overnights, with an impressive 42.74% of the audience share for the episode. The ITV installment of "Celebrity Wrestling" had only 2.3 million viewers with a 14.2% ratings share. It's an enormous win for "Doctor Who" as the viewers stay equal but the audience percentages get larger. More details soon... (Thanks to Neal Douglas, Nev Fountain)

By the way... a note to our readers -- The rest of the late-week news will be sorted out on Sunday!
Mid-Week Series Update
May 12, 2005
A very quick update from the past two days as attentions are focused elsewhere... I'll get caught up sooner or later!

Dalek scored high ratings with the final BARB ratings tally landing at 8.63 million viewers. "Doctor Who" was the fourth most watched series of the week, after the multi-episode airings of "Coronation Street," "Emmerdale" and "Eastenders". Very impressive figures for a Saturday night. (Also of note: the former ITV challenger for Doctor Who's time slot, "Celebrity Wrestling," has been relegated to a Sunday morning 9.45am time slot.)

BBC News reports that the long-touted Doctor Who film isn't dead. The article states that BBC films will produce several new projects "that may include a Doctor Who feature. ... BBC Films boss David Thompson confirmed that BBC Films is pushing ahead with its plans for a Doctor Who feature, the progress of which is dependent on how the new Doctor Who TV series is received in the US." This was announced at the Cannes Film Festival, according to the report.

Several magazines and sources are reporting on the BBC shutting down the BBC Model Unit. The Sun's article, headlined "Dalek Ace Is Sacked By Beeb", with the intro "The man who put the Daleks back on telly has been EXTERMINATED", it says the "special effects guru . . . was told the BBC had run out of cash." According to the article, the BBC says it is shutting his award-winning department, the Model Unit. It specifically refers to Mike Tucker, who has done model work on the new series and worked on the original series during the Sylvester McCoy era: "Mike's team, who won a Bafta and Royal Television Society gong, were told they can work on the new series - but only as freelancers. As well as recreating the Daleks, Mike was responsible for the amazing scene when an alien spaceship sliced through Big Ben." The article quotes a BBC spokesman as saying: "We'd work with Mike again on a freelance basis if there are projects requiring his expertise." Criticising the "failure by the BBC to appreciate the power of the Daleks", the piece also takes the opportunity to have another swipe at the Beeb for its treatment of Dalek designer Ray Cusick, and mentions how the new series nearly failed to include the Daleks because of a row over rights. Private Eye also reports this: "The new series of Doctor Who has seen praise heaped on the head of Mike Tucker, the special effects supervisor responsible for bringing the Daleks back to the screen, demolishing Big Ben and crashing an alien spaceship into the Thames. Last month the Radio Times rewarded him with a double-page feature on his work, and he was nominated for a BAFTA for his miniature work on the documentary The Brighton Bomb. To show its appreciation, BBC resources also informed him that the unit he heads is not "financially sustainable" and that it would be closed down and he and his team would be made redundant - though they were welcome to reapply for freelance work." It's also been reported at Female First.

Dead Ringers featured a sketch about the "real reason" Christopher Eccleston left Doctor Who... Turned out his very Northern family are all Star Trek fans. They even explained Eccleston's ears as being a gift from his dad (they're Ferengi ears)... unable to cope with his parents' shame of their son being the new Doctor Who, Eccleston quits... only to take on a role in Blake's 7: The Movie.

This weekend's Brighton Doctor Who Exhibition is offering free entry to all those "dressed in a recognisable Doctor Who theme." Visit the exhibition's website for further details.

Wednesday's Sun offered a picture preview of the forthcoming episode "The Empty Child." Headlined Who's A Bad Girl? it says Rose is swept off her feet by Capt Jack Harkness (played by John Barrowman) in the story set during the Blitz in London. Accompanied by two colour pictures - the main one being of Rose with Jack in front of Big Ben's clock face, the other of Richard Wilson as Dr Constantine - the three-par piece, which labels the episode the scariest yet, also reveals a plot twist concerning Constantine.

Colin Baker praises the next Doctor, David Tennant, or so says the Belfast Telegraph. "Baby-faced actor David Tennant will make a great 10th Dr Who, says stage and television star Colin Baker, who is about to appear in high drama at the Opera House in Belfast. And Baker should know - he was the sixth Dr Who and he still attends Dr Who conventions all over the world. 'I'll be back in Belfast next August 14 for a meeting of the Type 40 Dr Who Society which has over 160 members,' he said. Colin, who opens at the Opera House in Dracula on Monday, May 23, isn't surprised that Christopher Eccleston gave up as Dr Who after one series. 'Really one is enough for any actor,' he said. 'I did two, but they were over three years. 'Christopher was so believable as Who, but David will be special too, as he is an absolute Doctor buff which makes him perfect for the role. I loved my time as Dr Who, with Louise Jameson as my partner Leela in the Tardis and the bonus now is the reunions in towns like Belfast,' adds Baker. 'I spend my day with people who think I am wonderful.'" This might be picking up on another story, since of course Colin Baker never worked with Louise Jameson on screen!

Thursday 26 May sees the first National Skills Day, launched today by the UK television industry. Broadcast Now reports that the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, five, BSkyB, Pact and Bectu have combined to stage the event, as part of National Learning at Work Day, to "raise awareness of the fundamental importance of skills development and career progression to the future of the industry" and that it will include "A masterclass on the making of the new Doctor Who". A series of masterclasses will include a workshop hosted at BBC Scotland by Doctor Who producer Phil Collinson. Broadcast Now gives a link to the website for the event.

Note to viewers: there is no listed repeat of "Doctor Who Confidential" at all on Sunday, May 22, according to Radio Times... not even the "Cut Down" version. Make sure you tune in on Saturday for that day's broadcast.

The Daily Star, meanwhile, notes that "Rose's sexy space hunk has Doctor Who green with envy. It's the green-eyed monster facing Doctor Who when he becomes jealous of sidekick Rose's new hunk. Sexy Rose - played by 22-year-old Billie Piper - is about to be swept off her feet by a handsome time traveller called Captain Jack Harkness. She and the Doc meet the dashing space hero (actor John Barrowman, 38) when they travel back in time in the Tardis to London in the 1940s and find themselves in the middle of the Blitz. The inter-galactic star takes an immediate fancy to Rose - with the Doctor (Christopher Eccleston, 41) looking jealous. 'The pair clearly connect and there is a real sexual chemistry between them,' said a show source. 'It even looks like Rose may have found a hero better than The Doctor himself.' However, the pair don't get much time to snog - they discover that London is being terrorised by something more frightening than the Nazis."

(Thanks to Steve Tribe, Paul Engelberg, Chuck Foster, John Bowman, Faiz Rehman, Robert JE Simpson)
Monday-Tuesday Series Updates
May 10, 2005
ITV has blinked: "Celebrity Wrestling" is moving away from Saturday nights after being trounced by "Doctor Who" in the ratings. "The show, which saw 12 personalities train and fight each other, was part of ITV's primetime schedule but failed to compete with the relaunched Doctor Who," says BBC News. "The show will go out at 1830 BST this Saturday but it is not known what will happen to the final four episodes. ITV said the show had enjoyed a 'strong start', but ratings fell to 2.6 million viewers on Saturday." BBC News says that ITV will be pinning its hopes on its next big reality TV show, "Celebrity Love Island" which begins on May 16; however, as far as that timeslot, Broadcast Now says that after this weekend, the Saturday night ITV time slot will be filled by repeats of the "Star Wars" movies, "which ITV executives hope can dent Doctor Who's ratings." The story has also been covered today at Ananova, The Sun, Sky News, Brand Republic, Media Guardian, The Scotsman, DeHavilland. Also, yesterday there were a few stories about the ITV show slipping even further in the ratings this past Saturday at Media Guardian, Broadcast Now, Express and Star.

Ratings Updates: The actual overnight ratings for The Long Game on Saturday night were 7,508,730 viewers with a 39.04% share, which is revised slightly higher in share than the original number we posted in Sunday's news update; this according to ViewingFigures. Meanwhile, the ratings for the rest of the weekend's airings are in: the 12:10am Sunday morning repeat of "The Long Game" had 157,900 viewers, and the Sunday evening 7pm repeat had 654,390 viewers. Doctor Who Confidential scored 472,780 viewers in its original Saturday evening transmission, with 97,100 viewers watching the 12:55am Sunday morning repeat, and 327,230 viewers enjoying the Sunday evening 7:45pm repeat. The repeat showings again performed well in the multi-channel ratings; Saturday's "Confidential" was second in its timeslot with a viewing share of 4.1% and was beaten only slightly by SkyOne's "The Simpsons", while the Sunday night repeats of both "The Long Game" and "Confidential" had viewing shares of 4.7% and 2.2% respectively and both featured in the top five of the multi-channel ratings.

After ten weeks of promoting the new series, Radio Times shows no sign of tiring of the show and today's edition has "Doctor Who" as its top pick for Saturday in the week's best television (page 4) for the eighth week running ("Meet the Reapers: monsters who swallow glitches in time. When Rose saves her dad's life back in 1987, they swoop in to wreak havoc in a moving episode."). Dalek is the subject of this week's Letter of the Week (page 9: "... was there a dry eye in the country after this episode?"), and there are two more letters on the series, one complaining that "We don't want to empathise with [Daleks] - we want to hate and fear them as we always have", the other Who-mourously pointing out that the Ninth Doctor is "turning into a real 'Wholigan'." This week's double-spread behind-the-scenes feature (pages 16-17) is dominated by a large photograph of one of the Reapers and includes an interview with Paul Cornell ("Initially I thought of cloaked figures [...] but then went for animals. I was thinking about snatching claws, like those piggy banks where the hand flashes out and grabs the coin - a scary predator-like motion. The Mill have done a fantastic job..."). There's a very brief comment from costume designer Lucinda Wright on dealing with an episode set in the 1980s ("fantastic") and more from Will Cohen, the visual effects supervisor, talking through the several stages of realising this week's aliens on "a horrendously tight schedule": "The model took about two months to make, on and off, and we've had two or three weeks to do 40-odd shots with it." Father's Day is one of Saturday's Choices (page 62) - "a superb performance by Billie Piper [...] a gem of an episode that exercises the emotions as well as the intellect - though it would work equally well if you removed the monsters altogether, cleverly crafted as they are." Finally, Saturday's listings include another picture of the monstrous alien creatures seen in the episode.

Heat magazine gives this coming Saturday's episode, Father's Day, five stars out of five. "An extraordinary story told in ordinary surroundings, this one resembles a sci-fi EastEnders, with a hint of Only Fools and Horses... Brilliantly emotional, Doctor Who has to be the most ingenious primetime drama in years." Reveal Magazine calls it an "unmissable installment" while the Star magazine briefly previews it and gives it four stars out of five.

The BBC official Doctor Who website has once again been updated to match this weekend's forthcoming episode, "Father's Day".

The Daily Express reviews this past weekend's episode, "The Long Game": "Seven weeks in, and Doctor Who is still the best fun on the box. The joy of the series is that it does all the things sci-fi is meant to do - using imagined worlds to look askance at our own, questioning the present by thinking about the future - while also taking the mick out of the genre. ... The Jagrafess itself was behind-the-sofa scary - although small children have been exposed to so much John Prescott lately that they may be beyond fear." The Guardian said that the episode "seemed comforting and reassuring... Anything that satirises the profession of journalism is all right with me, but this did it with style."

Writer Matthew Norman's political column Media Diary in the Independent yesterday discusses the series in a brief mention. "He has taken out the Autons and overseen the suicide of the last Dalek in the cosmos, but one enemy that the Doctor cannot handle is the BBC censor. In fairness, the superlative two-part story about the Slitheen, a family of flatulent intergalactic mercenaries planning to provoke thermonuclear war and sell off the planet as radioactive fuel, was pretty rich in political satire. There was, for example, a wry reference to the Slitheen being able to launch a strike against Earth in 45 seconds. However, a shot of a newspaper headline including the term 'sexing up' was thought too inflammatory during an election campaign, and was duly excised."

The Metro's Green Room on Monday mentioned actress Rachel Weisz ("Constantine," "The Mummy") wanting to be in the series: she says she is gutted that she was never asked to become Dr Who's assistant. "I always dreamed I might play the role on stage or radio as I never thought they would bring it back." Also reported on at Contact Music.

Other news today: there's more coverage of Billie Piper taking the role of Vicky Pollard in "Little Britain" in the Scotsman, Ananova, Megastar and Yahoo News (and also in many stories in other papers that aren't online); more coverage of Christopher Eccleston at the VE day ceremonies at Contact Music, Evening Standard, Hello Magazine; and the Times featured a preview of "The Long Game" prior to airing.

(Thanks to Steve Tribe, Paul Engelberg, Chuck Foster, Peter Weaver, Paul Hayes, Keith Armstrong, Andy Parish, James Armstrong, Andrew Gallagher, Luke McCullough, John Bowman, Rich Kirkpatrick, Paul Greaves, Cameron Yarde, David Baker)
Weekend Series Roundup
May 8, 2005
Overnight ratings are in for The Long Game, the seventh transmitted episode of Doctor Who in the UK. "Doctor Who" averaged 7.51 million viewers throughout the evening with a 38.9% share of the viewing audience. Its ITV competitor, "Celebrity Wrestling," continued its nosedive with only 2.56 million viewers (14.1% share). "Doctor Who" peaked in the last 15 minutes to 8.28 million viewers, and actually had the largest audience share of Saturday night even though more viewers tuned into "Casualty" (8.04 million viewers, but only a 35.8% share of the audience at the time.)

Canada's CBC Television website has posted the first episode of Planet of the Doctor, the six-episode documentary series taking a look at both the new Doctor Who series as well as the history of the classic show. The first episode features interviews with original producer Verity Lambert, actress Elisabeth Sladen, series writer Terrance Dicks, producer Barry Letts, science fiction novelist Robert J. Sawyer, members of the Canadian fan club DWIN and attendees of the Gallifrey 2005 convention in Los Angeles.

BBC1's Points Of View (8th May) made reference to the return of the Daleks with two viewer comments. Dan Kemp said: "I'd been looking forward to the return of the Daleks all series. Was that it?" while Fiona Lorimer's concern was: "If the last Dalek in the universe has exterminated itself, does this mean that the Daleks are never to be seen again?". Host Terry Wogan's advice was to keep watching.

Christopher Eccleston appeared as part of BBC1's "A Party To Remember: Live From Trafalgar Square" (8th May) leading a poetry reading to celebrate the 60th anniversary of VE Day. He was introduced as: "...one of the most respected actors of his generation. The man who has been lighting up our Saturday nights quite literally. Who else, but...Christopher Eccleston?"

Doctor Who Confidential: Cut Down is a limited-time affair. The 15-minute version of the half-hour documentary, which is being aired after the Sunday night repeat of "Doctor Who" on Sundays, has been airing since last week. However, according to the Confidential website, "The Sunday repeat of parts 6-9 will feature new series material only and be edited to fit a fifteen-minute slot. Full-length repeats will return from part 10 onwards."

There have only been a handful of press reviews for The Long Game. One was printed in today's The Sun: "I loved last week's Dr Who with the levitating Dalek, Todd Grimshaw from Corrie and the Doctor's growing lust for his assistant Rose. This is one of the few shows the whole family can watch which doesn't have Heart in the title and a sickly sweet storyline. It is scary, intelligent and funny and has raised the bar for Saturday night TV. It's just a shame the powers that be ignored pleas from sci-fi fans to bring it back for so bloody long."

Simon Pegg and Colin Prockter, who played the Editor and the briefly-seen Head Chef in "The Long Game, " are profiled in this weekend's "The Citizen". "Tv's Doctor Who will come face-to-face with two Gloucestershire actors tonight. Brockworth actor Simon Pegg, who starred and co-wrote the zombie comedy flick Shaun of the Dead, plays an evil villain known as The Editor in the seventh episode of the sci-fi series called The Long Game. You might also recognise Stroud actor Colin Prockter who plays Head Chef in the same episode. ... Simon was reported as saying the other day: 'I think it's going to be spectacular. It's a real honour to be in it. To be a Doctor Who villain was a bit of a dream come true, so I was very happy to do that.' His father, John Beckingham, who lives at Green Way in Brockworth, said his son had always been into science fiction, and had been a huge Star Wars fan. Mr Beckingham said: 'I think he was very pleased to do Doctor Who. He loves science fiction and that sort of thing. It is a well-known, big series and is high profile so it is good for him. I used to watch the original series with Simon. I don't think he ever hid behind the sofa like other kids. He was always into sci-fi, especially zombies. It will be good for him to play a baddie and a change from fighting zombies. I haven't seen the episode yet - just the trailer. We'll definitely be watching it. I am very proud.' Simon has also narrated the series of Doctor Who Confidential which airs on BBC3 after each Saturday night episode. Simon's Doctor Who co-star Colin Prockter, is famous for his roles as stand-in landlord Rodney Bostock of the Rovers Return in Coronation Street and parts in The Whistleblower and Minder. He has done a lot of charity work for The Spring Centre and the Stroud Cats Protection League."

As part of its second week of "Sci-Fi Saturday" the Daily Star (7th May) gave away a free CD which was promoted heavily on the front page of the newspaper as "Doctor Who And Friends". The half-page promotion featured pictures of Chris and Billie and (in small text) informed readers that it was the 'original series tune' on the CD (in fact it was the Mark Ayres arrangement that appeared on the double CD "The Cult Files" in the 1990s). The accompanying TV magazine had "Doctor Who" as its 5-star top pick for the day and made much of the appearance of ex-"Coronation Street" star Bruno Langley.

Yesterday's Guardian discussed ITV's turn to nostalgia "in the face of Dalek threat," noting the disasterous ratings they're suffering. "At a time when ITV is battling falling ratings and increased competition, it is hoping to regain the affection of viewers by broadcasting more than 30 hours of nostalgia-fuelled peak-time programming to celebrate its 50th birthday. The network, which last weekend suffered one of its worst ratings defeats at the hands of the Daleks on BBC1, has unveiled an ambitious programme of on and offscreen events around the anniversary of its first broadcast in September 1955. Classic shows and big names will be wheeled out in an effort to remind viewers of their emotional attachment to the 'people's channel.' ... Last Saturday, fewer than one in five viewers tuned in to ITV's Hell's Kitchen and Celebrity Wrestling, which were up against Doctor Who on BBC1 and Lord of the Rings on Channel 4. As part of the plans, unveiled by ITV's director of programmes, Nigel Pickard, at the Rose d'Or TV festival in Lucerne, viewers will be asked to vote for their favourite ITV shows from a list of 50, with the results forming the basis of a three-hour countdown. The nominations include light entertainment shows from This is Your Life to Opportunity Knocks, comedies such as Spitting Image, much-loved dramas such as Jewel in the Crown, The Sweeney and Cracker, and long-running soaps Coronation Street and Emmerdale."

The Sunday Telegraph has an early review of next Saturday's episode, Father's Day. "'The past in another country', chirps Eccleston's tough-casual Time Lord at the start of tonight's typically terriffic episode. Written by longtime fan Paul Cornell, it's a slicker, snappier, more affecting update of the concept-heavy shenanigans... Piper is perfect, as ever, Eccleston is near his best... and Shaun Dingwall is superb as Rose's n'er-to-do-well dad. Was Doctor Who ever this dependably good before?"

Some recent press appearances for the series: Radio 4's The Now Show (6th May) again featured a number of "Doctor Who" references, including a Dalek standing as part of a local election. The latest edition of Zoo magazine (3-9 May) features an interview with Simon Pegg which promotes his role in "The Long Game" and includes a picture of Pegg as The Editor with the caption "He wasn't sure if the Rutger Hauer look was really working". The magazine also has "Doctor Who" as its Drama TV highlight for Saturday, accompanying it with a picture of a Dalek from last week's episode. On 7th May ITV Teletext had "Doctor Who" as a pick of the day: "It's been an astonishing return to form for everyone's favourite Time Lord, and the press haven't been slow to praise Russell T Davies's Doctor Who. But in this episode the camera is turned on the media - albeit in the year 200,000. Long-time Dr Who fan Simon Pegg, writer and star of Shaun Of The Dead, plays the villainous Editor. Tonight's alien is truly the stuff of nightmares, so it might be best to get the kids behind the sofa straight away". BBC Ceefax also had "Doctor Who" as its TV Choice on 7th May: "It's the first ho-hum episode of the new series, but stick around because next week's one is off the scale: easily the best so far. Tonight Simon Pegg stars as The Editor in a not-even-thinly-veiled mockery of extreme journalism. Unsurprisingly, this is all on Earth again. Or strictly speaking, it's above the planet: this is on a space station in the year 20,000. There's a lot to enjoy but no real meat to the story, not until next time". Channel 4's new Monday night show FAQ U is been trailed as, amongst other things, "...like Doctor Who, but with no-one in it". And Garry Bushell writing for today's The People: "Why don't people being "chased" by Daleks simply run away? You see faster milk floats."

Today's Mail on Sunday notes that Billie Piper will be "brought back down to earth as the nemesis to infamous 'chav' Vicky Pollard in the award-winning BBC comedy series Little Britain. A friend of the actress claims that the show's creators, Matt Lucas and David Walliams, approached Piper because they thought she would be a perfect foil for the foul-mouthed Vicky, whose 'Yeah but, no but' catchphrase, tracksuit and fake gold jewellery epitomise Britain's chav anti-culture. The source says the duo asked Piper out to dinner so they could pitch the idea to her and convince her to be part of their third series. She has also been seen stepping out in London recently with Walliams. 'Vicky Pollard is one of Little Britain's best-loved characters, and David and Matt wanted something new to keep the routine fresh,' Piper's friend told The Mail on Sunday. 'They knew an arch-enemy for Vicky would bring a new dimension to the chav sketches, and they told Billie she would be perfect. Billie loves the idea and knows it would be a super role after Doctor Who. She's now looking at her schedule to make sure she can fit it in.'"

Other items of note: the Mirror and Digital Spy speculate that ITV will drop "Celebrity Wrestling" in the wake of its failure against "Doctor Who"; CBBC News talks about Doctor Who as the top programme and Billie Piper's celebrity; and Digital Spy says that Piper is buying a house near ex-husband Chris Evans.

(Thanks to Paul Engelberg, Steve Tribe, Chuck Foster, Jamie Austin, Keith Armstrong, Peter Weaver, Steve Berry)
Late Week Series Updates
May 6, 2005
Sorry about the delay in bringing you this update... it's been a busy week. On to the news:

Note to UK viewers: the broadcast time for May 21's episode, The Empty Child, on its original run on BBC1, has been changed due to that evening's transmission of the Eurovision Song Contest. "The Empty Child" will air at 6:25pm (to 7:10pm) on BBC1.

The BBC Press Office has today posted its programme information for the week 21–27 May. The Features section (note: PDF file) includes a photograph of Christopher Eccleston and Richard Wilson in The Empty Child, captioned "The Doctor and the doctor ... Christopher Eccleston and Richard Wilson, as Dr Constantine, star in Saturday's action-packed Doctor Who, set in wartime London (BBC One)". Saturday's highlights document (also a PDF file) includes a (slightly spoiler-y) preview for The Empty Child, which is to be broadcast at 6.25pm. That spoiler summary is located in the spoiler tag below.

The BBC Press Office has also posted press releases for various items in its Commercial section today, including a press release on the Doctor Who Exhibition in Brighton, plus the new series radio documentary Project Who release on CD as well as the release of the classic serial The Crusade on audio.

Canadian ratings this week: "World War Three" had 936,000 viewers tune in for this past Tuesday's broadcast, the second highest number of viewers (behind "Rose") of the new series in that country. It appears to have been fourth in the overall ratings for the evening and second in its time slot.

Transmission of the May 17 broadcast of the series in Canada, for the episode "The Long Game," will be preempted that week in one province, British Columbia, in place of coverage of the BC provincial elections. However, tentative plans have been reported for CBC to rebroadast the series on Sunday evenings in June, so Canadian fans in BC will have to wait until then, if it happens, to see it. Meanwhile, the CBC website has replaced the trailer for the long-delayed documentary "Planet of the Doctor" with excerpts from the first three of an expected six episodes, including "Who is the Doctor?" "Fandemonium," and "The Adventures of Doctor Who." Broadcast is not quite scheduled yet... but at least it's something more than the trailer. No indication as to when the full episodes will be posted.

Issue 131 of SFX is released next week. The issue comes with a free set of nine postcards, five of which feature images from the new series: Chris and Billie, the TARDIS interior, and the gold Dalek. Inside the issue itself is a five-page Doctor Who feature, the bulk of which is made up with SFX's interview with Christopher Eccleston. It was carried out shortly before the announcement was made that he wouldn't be returning for a second series, but it still contains some interesting hints as to what may have informed his decision. He talks quite candidly about how exhausting the job was, for one thing: "If you play the Doctor, the hardest thing is: you can't have a life. You CANNOT have a life. You can't socialise. It's like having a TARDIS in your skull and every time you open your mouth you see a TARDIS. There were days when I got psoriasis, I got eczema. My face blew up in the Dalek episode - I looked literally disfigured with tiredness and my skin." The feature also includes short interviews with Mike Tucker and guest star Simon Pegg. For full details of the issue, check out the SFX website. You can also read SFX's ongoing reviews of each episode here.

Christopher Eccleston is making new waves on the football front: the Doctor Who star has stumped up £10,000 to help stop Manchester United being sold to American businessman Malcolm Glazer. "Christopher couldn't bear the thought of his beloved team falling into the hands of Glazer so dug deep to put an end to the team being take over," says Sky News. "The United fan's donation may sound like a lot, but it's merely a splash in the water considering the £100 million that is needed to save the club. ... Eccleston's money went to supporters group Shareholders United, who plan to block Glazer's plans to bid for the club in July." The story has also been reported at BBC News, ESPN, Red Issue, Belfast Telegraph, Tribal Football, The Times, the Daily Mail, Manchester Online, and ContactMusic.

David Tennant will play Brendan Block, a man with disturbing psychotic tendencies, in "Secret Smile," an ITV1 drama adapted from Nicci French's bestselling novel of the same title. ITV executives apparently believe they have pulled off a casting coup in securing Tennant prior to his trip in the TARDIS which starts filming this summer. Secret Smile goes into production next week and will be broadcast on ITV1 in two 90-minute episodes. The story's covered in The Guardian and in print editions of various papers.

A review of the series in the Wessex Scene: "When I tuned in to see the first episode of the new Dr Who I was pleasantly surprised to find that it is really quite good. Writer Russell T Davies, whose most famous creation aside from Doctor Who is Queer as Folk, the controversial Channel 4 series, ensured that the general tone of the show contained drama, character development and good-natured, self-mocking cheesiness in equal measure. Eccleston's impressive CV shows that he's an accomplished actor, and this was certainly apparent in the show. He seemed to give the Doctor charm with depth, and brought out the enigmatic qualities of his character so well that I wanted to tune into the next episode just to find out how much of the character he will reveal next. Piper, though best known as a teenage pop singer and ex-wife of Chris Evans, appears to be a genuinely good actress, as her recent acclaimed performance in The Canterbury Tales would suggest. Judging by the first episode, her character is more of a co-star than a sidekick to the Doctor, and it will be interesting to see how their relationship develops."

The Times Online has reviewed Russell T Davies: Unscripted, the biography of the executive producer of the series."A naughty big, gay cuddly man from Swansea, Davies is a writer and the executive producer of this new Doctor Who series and generally one of television’s greatest assets. Russell T. Davies Unscripted (BBC Two) was a short romp through his career to date, featuring lots of hand-waving and self deprecation from the man himself, as well as insightful asides from various former bosses and that stalwart of the British arts scene, Mark Lawson. ... The programme had clearly been made to coincide with the start of the new Doctor Who series, as much was made of Davies’s love of the original Doctor, William Hartnell. Davies remembered watching this at the age of three, in particular the feeling of being scared out of his wits. Overseeing the injection of emotion and self-doubt into a Dalek’s brain before having it blow itself up must, therefore, have been somewhat cathartic for him. It is also, in some ways, a metaphor for his career."

More coverage: Billie Piper's personal life is under scrutiny (again) in the Mirror and Megastar; a Derby fan reflects on Doctor Who at Derby County; BBC News reports on the reelection of Vernon Coaker, the Labour candidate told off for using a Dalek in his campaign; FemaleFirst reports on the fluffing of Simon Pegg's lines for this weekend's episode; and Milton Keynes Today reviews this past weekend's Collectormania event.

Finally today, a note of relevance to Doctor Who fans: Tim Collins, Conservative MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, narrowly lost his seat to the Liberal Democrat party. Whatever your stance or party affiliation, you may realize Tim's devotion to the series has kept it in the public eye - most notably when he spearheaded a letter to Michael Grade last year asking for assurances that he would not interfere in the show. So here's a shout out to Tim from Outpost Gallifrey for helping keep the spirit of the show alive.

(Thanks to Paul Engelberg, Steve Tribe, Chuck Foster, Ian Wheeler, Jamie Austin, Dominic May, Jonathan Grills, Ian Berriman, David Farmbrough, Jonathan Massey, Geoff Wessel, Tom Beck, Rod Mammitzsch, Matthew Wilson, Bob Furnell, Benjamin Elliott)
From "Radio Times": summary of "The Empty Child"

The Doctor and Rose travel back in time to Forties London in the first part of an action adventure, written by Steven Moffat (Coupling).

It is 1941 and the Blitz is raging. A mysterious cylinder is being guarded by the Army, while homeless children, living on the bombsites, are being terrorised by an unearthly child. And when Rose meets the dashing Captain Jack Harkness, it seems she may have found a hero better than the Doctor himself...

Christopher Eccleston is the Doctor, Billie Piper is Rose, John Barrowman is Captain Jack Harkness and Richard Wilson is Doctor Constantine.
Episode 5 Final Ratings
May 5, 2005
The final UK ratings for World War Three, episode five of the new series, were released today. According to BARB, 7.98 million viewers watched the episode, nearly three-quarters of a million more than the overnights. While in twentieth place for the total chart for the week (comparable to previous installments) it was sixth on the BBC chart and third on the "non-soap" chart, and was beaten for the week by only five other series, "Coronation Street," "EastEnders," "Heartbeat," "Emmerdale" and "Casualty". Doctor Who is expected to outperform the latter for episode six.
New Series DVD #2
May 5, 2005
BBC Video/2Entertain has released the cover illustration for the forthcoming second Doctor Who new series DVD set, featuring three episodes: "Aliens of London," "World War Three" and "Dalek". It was expected originally that this disc might have four episodes, but this is the final episode count. Click on the thumbnail at right for a larger version. (Thanks to Louise Gray/2Entertain)
Wednesday Series Updates
May 4, 2005
Posted this afternoon at the BBC Press Office is the sixth 'phase' of the new series press pack, this week concentrating on Episode 7, The Long Game and comprising two parts – an episode synopsis and an interview with Simon Pegg – illustrated with a couple of photographs, one previously unseen. For once, the episode synopsis avoids any major spoilers. The Simon Pegg interview refers to the 'tongue-twisting' line of dialogue mentioned in the latest Radio Times, refers to Pegg's longstanding love of the series and even manages a brief plug for the Big Finish CD Invaders from Mars on which Pegg appeared in 2002. "Actor Simon Pegg isn't likely to ever forget appearing in Doctor Who - and certainly won't fail to recall the tongue twister line he had to deliver in his role as The Editor," says the press pack. "I had to say: 'The Mighty Jagrafess of the Holy Hadrojassic Maxarodenfoe' which is the name of The Editor's alien boss. I will never forget that - ever - as I had enormous problems saying it. It is absolutely and without question the toughest line I have ever been given to say in anything I have done - it was hilariously arcane and quite purposely so. I could sense everyone's buttocks clenching every time we got to shooting that bit - it was quite distressing! It is a really hard thing to have to say and I kept blowing it. Everyone was being very supportive and I could feel everyone willing me to get it right each take, and in a way that was worse - I wished they had just shouted at me! I got it right in the end and that's the one they will use." Pegg notes that he grew up watching the seies and was keen to be in it. "Doctor Who was a big part of my childhood so it was a great honour to be in it. I'd got into Doctor Who just before Jon Pertwee regenerated into Tom Baker, and as a kid I never remember the special effects being as primitive as they were. It scared the hell out of me but I loved it. I particularly recall monsters like the Sontarans, who had very strange heads; the giant insects in The Ark in Space and in one episode, Julian Glover tearing his face off to become this one-eyed creature." There are some spoilers about the episode and it even notes that he'd been in "Doctor Who" previously, doing "Invaders from Mars" for Big Finish. You can read the full press pack update here.

The Canadian broadcast of World War Three on CBC last night had an unfortunate (and likely accidental) cut... everything prior to the credits, which included the recap of the previous week's episode as well as some other important information. Canadian viewers who missed how last week's cliffhanger was resolved can go to the DWIN website (the Canadian national fan club) where you'll see a brief note recapping what happened.

Books Update: The official Doctor Who website has now reported on the books story we reported a few days ago, but has a notable change: Mike Tucker's "Rain of Terror" is nowhere to be found (perhaps delayed until a subsequent batch?) while the site says that the third book released in September will be The Stealers of Dreams by Steve Lyons ("The Space Age," "The Crooked World").

Regarding Doctor Who Confidential, a clarification: the programme shown this past Sunday, and presumably for future Sundays, was indeed called "Doctor Who Confidential Cut Down". (Not watching the Sunday installment, the editor had no idea!) Readers have let me know that "It was mostly the same material, but re-edited for the cut down version. Even the title was in a different place (i.e. "The Daleks" was written centre-screen on the first show, but placed at the bottom of the screen on the cut-down.) It was not just the classic series material that was cut, lots of stuff about the current series was removed too." Also, "The running time of the Saturday showing was more than 28 minutes. The cutdown version was only 12. Not only was all of the past Doctor content removed but also significant parts of the making of content. The rest of the 15 seconds was taken up by two sets of trailers and 60 Seconds News." Of course, you can always find the full episode on the official Doctor Who website.

In the Times Literary Supplement, there's a review of the series in general by Roz Kaveney: "The first three episodes are at once enjoyable in themselves and a celebration of the show's past -the trip to the far future and the terrifying Victorian ghost story are both plots the show repeated time and again; a repetition known, when viewed favourably, as playing to your strengths rather than a mere obsession. Christopher Eccleston is a hipper, sexier Doctor than we were used to in the past - less a scarily dour grandfather or wonderful mad uncle than a friend's very cool elder brother. But the show's principal strength is Billie Piper as Rose, the new companion. She is clearly a post-Buffy consort, the type who can swing on a rope and knock an animated shop-window mannequin flying. Rose is attractively vulnerable, seeing the wonder of the Earth's end, but also being upset by it, and possessed of common sense that counterpoint's the Doctor's sometimes naïve idealism. She is also what is commonly known as a 'Mary Sue' - an uninronic reflection of the writers' and fans' desire to get in there and help the Doctor out (while managing to stay pretty). At the same time, she is a modern working-class woman, with an affecting back story - a childhood on a London estate as the only daughter of a needy, single mother."

More "Dalek" reviews. Tuesday's London Evening Standard reviewed the episode, with columnist Victor Lewis-Smith -- "renowned as one of the most caustic reviewers around" according to our correspondent -- enjoying the episode. "By turns dramatic, imaginative, ironic, allegorical - and touching - the storyline never faltered from first to last. ... For once the BBC haven't put a foot wrong, and have even improved on the original. There are clever, funny, and challenging scripts here, fine ensemble acting and direction, Ron Grainer's theme tune and a backlit Billie Piper to get yet another generation of Doctor Who nerds rushing off to find the kleenex." Also, on Monday's "Thought for the Day" on Radio 4, the speaker talked about 'Dalek' and commented that it seems even this evil race has a hope of redemption. Apparently the speaker was reaching for the Kleenex by the end of the episode - clearly a reference to the moving Dalek moments; not the reaction of the 14-year-old boy fans watching Miss Piper.

Says the Independent, "An effort to persuade Britain's spotty ranks of science fiction fans to vote Labour tomorrow has rather gloriously backfired. Vernon Coaker " a Dr Who fan, and Labour candidate for Gedling " has spent recent weeks parading a replica Dalek around his constituency, highlighting Tory plans to 'exterminate public services'. Unfortunately, the Daleks are a registered trademark, owned jointly by the BBC and the estate of their late creator, Terry Nation. Labour HQ has therefore received a stern letter ordering them to withdraw the pepperpot- shaped villain. 'The BBC takes very seriously the unauthorised use of its brands,' explains a spokesman. 'We've written to Labour asking them to stop this, and will take further steps if necessary.' Coaker was unrepentant yesterday. 'It was supposed to be a fun way of getting our message across,' he said."

More coverage of ITV's loss of ratings to the BBC in today's Mirror and Independent (the latter accidentally noting that "Celebrity Wrestling" only got 800,000 viewers instead of lost that many!); and BBC News discusses a Cyberman helmet up for sale.

(Thanks to Steve Tribe, Paul Engelberg, Paul Hayes, Chuck Foster, David Traynier, Benjamin Elliott, Michael Stead, Faiz Rehman, Nat Titman, Chris Goater, and Simon Lydiard)
Tuesday Series Updates
May 3, 2005
The BBC's official site has had its weekly refurbishment and now has a Long Game theme. The front page comprises sixteen 'screens', each cycling through a series of images which at various stages form complete larger images of the Doctor, the Editor, Rose or Adam. At different times, the individual screens form links to other areas of the site and to the Clive/Mickey site and the spoof Geocomtex site launched last weekend. Intriguingly, the screen in the bottom right corner, when highlighted, turns red, with an image of a wolf and the text "badwolf, badwolf, badwolf..." This seems to be a link to a forthcoming area of the site or possibly to another spoof site we have yet to see. The Episode Guide section has been updated for The Long Game and, as usual, currently offers the 'Next time...' trailer from Episode 6 and a photo gallery - this with sixteen new photos, mostly of the TARDIS crew. Also promised for after the episode has broadcast are the usual photo stories and video diaries, including one from Bruno Langley.

Today's edition of Radio Times is published today, and promotes this weekend's episode The Long Game, although there is slightly more Dalek content. The second token for the giant Dalek poster is on page 3 (and a bonus token is apparently on the Radio Times website). As ever, this week's episode is the top choice for Saturday in the week's best television (page 4) - a photo of the Doctor and Adam, and a brief blurb: "A lively, if haphazard, outing for the Time Lord (and a shifty new 'companion', Adam) takes a gruesome peak at the future of journalism." There's a letter from a Slitheen (page 9), as Elizabeth Frost corrects the impression that there were only two performers inside the costumes: "In fact there three! Two six-foot men and me, a five-foot-seven woman. Although my contribution was small, I would like to think it makes a tiny stand for intergalactic girl power!" This week's behind the scenes feature (page 17) concentrates on the inside of a Dalek and includes three photos of the "cuddly creation"; only a quarter of the page is given to The Long Game and concentrates on guest star Simon Pegg and the trouble he had saying one of his lines. There's also another plug for the forthcoming Monsters and Villains book. A large feature on VE Day includes comments from Christopher Eccleston and Richard E Grant, both of whom are contributing to the concert on Sunday. Alison Graham has Tamsin Greig as "This Week's One to Watch" (page 63) noting that she is playing "a neurosurgeon of the future in this week's Doctor Who story." Which is, again, one of Saturday's choices (page 64), although with a rather mixed view: "... a slavering nightmare of which Gerald Scarfe would be proud (send tots to bed though). But despite bubbling with great ideas, the story doesn't quite hang together, and with a dateline that far away, you'd expect a greater leap of imagination from the design department." Saturday's BBC1 listing is headed with a photo of Bruno Langley as Adam ("Milky Way kid", apparently; page 66). The episode blurb reads "Simon Pegg guest-stars as teh sinister Editor. In the future, he oversees the entire Earth Empire. But who is he working for?" The listing for Doctor Who Confidential says that "The evil genius has been a feature of Doctor Who throughout the years, and he made a welcome return to the series earlier this evening, in the form of the Editor, alias Simon Pegg. Here, he discusses the role he's always wanted to play." Also, "One Final Question" (page 146) this week interviews David Warner and asks about his Doctor Who connections - he gives a plug for the Big Finish Unbound CD Sympathy for the Devil, in which he played the Doctor, and is asked whether he was interested in replacing Christopher Eccleston on television: "No, no. It was never mooted for me. I'm 63 and these are issues I don't think about much - it's not as if I'm trying to establish a career! Would I accept Doctor Who? I don't know. I should be so lucky to be asked - then I could consider it." Meanwhile, the Radio Times website is running a competition to win a cardboard life-size cut-out TARDIS and new Doctor Who books - UK readers only can simply submit their details and vote in a poll for best villain (Dalek, Darth Vader, etc) before 10 May and the first names out of the hat will win. The competition is on the website here.

Regarding Doctor Who Confidential, Radio Times listing confirms the Sunday timeslot for the second repeat of the documentary is only fifteen minutes, so "Doctor Who Confidential Cut Down" (not the official title, of course) would seem to be the format for Sundays from now on. Last weekend's "Confidential" aired as normal on Saturday but was cut to 15 minutes on the Sunday repeat for the first time in order to fill a one hour slot on BBC3.

Film Focus had a brief interview chat with David Tennant last night at the European premiere of "Kingdom of Heaven." They first chatted about his latest film project: "I'm playing Barty Crouch Jr. in the new Harry Potter film," he told Film Focus. "it should be good. I think I've done all my stuff, as far as I know, but I'm really looking forward to seeing it." He then turned his attention to the current series of Doctor Who: "It's very exciting and very daunting, in equal measures. Just the amount of attention it gets is quite overwhelming. But there's no better show in the world. We start shooting in July." The article says (perhaps their own speculation) that Eccleston will return for the Christmas special that will introduce Tennant as the Tenth Doctor, but Tennant has no plans to outdo Eccleston's Doctor. "Christopher Eccleston was so brilliant. I shan't be trying to steal his thunder. I'll be trying to do something different."

Book Update: The "Doctor Who: The Shooting Scripts" hardback from BBC Books that we reported on yesterday will actually be published on October 6, not the 31st.

Politics: The statement promoting Labour featuring David Tennant, as we reported yesterday, has been reported in Brand Republic, while the Labour official site quotes Tennant's statement ("voting will take you 30 seconds and will last five years"). The Labour Party election broadcast featuring Tennant in two brief clips did indeed go out Tuesday; it also featured Richard Wilson (who appears as Dr. Constantine in "The Empty Child" and "The Doctor Dances" later in the season). Finally, an article at the Milton Keynes website notes that the 2005 General Election "has had a much-needed boost with the emergence of the Dalek Party. The metal monsters chose Central Milton Keynes to launch their campaign wooing would-be voters at the Collectormania event at the weekend. Their local candidate told the Tuesday Citizen, in a quavering screech, their policies included free space travel for pensioners, home rule for Skaro and zero tax on sink plungers. More controversial are strict controls on Time Lords, and the conquest of the galaxy. 'This election we aim to put the X in ex-ter-min-ation,' he said before checking behind sofas in John Lewis for floating voters."

EDITOR'S NOTE: The editor would like to emphasize that he is not advocating any UK political party -- not Labour, the Conservatives, the LibDems, the Dalek Party, the Monster Raving Looney Party, or any other party -- in reporting this information, as not being a UK citizen it would be spurious for me to do so; I'm merely reporting the information that pertains to Doctor Who (specifically, David Tennant). I would recommend, however, that whatever your party affiliation, you vote in this week's elections... it's always a good idea to take part in the political process.

Ratings: Several sources are reporting on this past Saturday's "ratings disaster" for ITV. "ITV had a disastrous Saturday night after all of their five main evening shows failed to attract even a fifth of viewers," reported the Daily Record. "More than 800,000 deserted Celebrity Wrestling as ratings slumped to three million after just two weeks. The BBC triumphed as 7.8 million people watched Dr Who take on the Daleks. ITV have been unable to find a replacement for Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, which regularly pulled in up to eight million viewers." The Daily Record quoted an "insider" as saying "'Saturday nights have turned into a total disaster and there's pressure for big changes to be made" although an ITV spokesman said "There are no plans to reschedule Saturday nights. It just isn't happening." The editor of Broadcast magazine said: "It's very bad news for ITV1. How long can they keep it in that slot? They would do better with a movie. ITV is clearly under a lot of pressure on Saturday nights. Doctor Who is absolutely trouncing them." This was also reported in Media Guardian (and again in a second article), the Scotsman, and Broadcast Now (registration required). However, to redress the balance, Broadcast Now have reported that the ratings for BBC on Monday were their worst audience share ever: "BBC1 suffered its worst overall share for a day's viewing yesterday with an average of 2.4 million (18.8%) from 9.30am - 12.59am. It was also its second worst peak time share this year of 21.2%."

More reviews of Dalek today. The Mirror says that "Before its recent return to our screens, there were two legacies of Dr Who's 42-year history that remained universally loved - the Daleks and the theme tune... The theme tune remains flawless. As for the Daleks, I'm not so sure. As is the way with television these days, the Daleks were given a makeover. ... The comeback series has been a success because it has been fun. It has been bold and vigorous and - if you're seven - even quite scary. The scripts have been witty and knowing, choc-full of references to everything from Star Wars, ET and Alien, right up to The X Files and Buffy generation. ... The much-heralded chase scene, in which the Dalek got to float upstairs, was so slow it was a damp squib." The Western Daily Press: "Daleks never frightened me, although I knew the BBC meant us to be terrified by these curious motorised dustbins adorned with plastic balls. ... So I had a queer turn when I saw the new hightech, digitally-enhanced, super de deluxe Dalek... I'm also warming to Christopher Eccleston's doctor, although he does have annoying mannerisms, including breaking into a dopey Stan Laurel smile when the tension lags. Meanwhile the special effects are getting better and Billie Piper's transformation from sultry popette to nothalf-bad actress is remarkable to behold. The stories are good, too, and Saturday's drama held my attention from start to finish as the doctor took on the Daleks deep below Utah." In the Sentinel: "On Saturday night, in a King Kong-esque kind of way, I couldn't help but be moved by the plight of the last [Dalek] around. ... Hang on, this isn't an episode of Dr Who, it's an advert for the Welsh Tourist Board. In the end, overcome by the futility of its existence alone, it topped itself. I wasn't crying. I'd just poked myself in my eye."

Other press stories today: continued discussion of the Davison-disses-Eccleston story at Manchester Online; and the DVD Times weblog discusses "Dalek".

(Thanks to Paul Engelberg, Steve Tribe, Chuck Foster, Paul Hayes, John Bowman, Cameron Yarde Jr., Gregg Smith, Scott Andrews)
Additional New Series Books
May 2, 2005
Amazon.co.uk has details of the second set of three Doctor Who new series novels being released by BBC Books, mentioned in the last issue of DWM. The novels include The Deviant Strain by Justin Richards, Only Human by Gareth Roberts and Rain of Terror by Mike Tucker. All three books will be released in hardcover and are due out simultaneously on September 5. Amazon has a quick summary of one of the novels, Richards' "The Deviant Strain," as follows: "The Novrosk Peninsula: the Soviet naval base has been abandoned, the nuclear submarines are rusting and rotting. Cold, isolated, forgotten. Until the Russian Special Forces arrive and discover that the Doctor and his companions are here too. But there is something else in Novrosk. Something that predates everything else, even the stone circle on the cliff top. Something that is at last waking, hunting, killing. Can the Doctor and his friends stay alive long enough to learn the truth? With time running out, they must discover who is really responsible for the Deviant Strain Featuring the Doctor as played by Christopher Eccleston, together with Rose and Captain Jack as played by Billie Piper and John Barrowman in the hit series from BBC Television."

Additionally, BBC Books will release Doctor Who: The Shooting Scripts on October 31. Listed as being written by Russell T Davies, it's unclear whether this will include all thirteen episodes of the first season, or merely the episodes Davies wrote himself (eight out of the thirteen.)

A further book, Doctor Who Through Time by Andrew Cartmel (former series script editor during the Sylvester McCoy years) is listed as being published in December 2005 by Continuum Publishing, said to be "an accessible history of the show for casual and hardcore fans."

(Thanks to Fred Harrison, Allan Alexander, Steve Tribe, Paul Engelberg)
Sunday-Monday Series Coverage
May 2, 2005
Ratings News

Great news for Doctor Who and BBC3. Saturday night's Doctor Who Confidential had 504,051 viewers according to ViewingFigures, with 175,740 viewers tuning into the 12.15am repeat of Dalek early Sunday morning and 105,800 viewers watching the 1.00am repeat. "Confidential" once again performed excellently on BBC, being number one in the multi-channel timeslot with a viewing share of 4.1%, beating the previous week's winner "The Simpsons" by over 200,000 viewers.

On Sunday night, 543,960 viewers tuned in for the 7.00pm repeat of "Dalek," with a 4.6% viewing share, and 339,970 viewers were watching the Sunday night repeat of episode 6 of "Confidential".

"Father's Day" Spoilers

The Daily Star today posted information on the episode airing on May 14, "Father's Day," written by Paul Cornell. This includes some major spoilers about the storyline and the names of the aliens involved; click on the SPOILERS tag at the bottom of this article to see them!

"Dalek" Reviews

In the Daily Mirror by TV critic Ian Hyland: "Yes. The Daleks were back. And for 30 pant-sh*ttingly wonderful minutes, BBC1's new Doctor Who was the best thing on telly. Ever. Then they went and spoilt it with a load of symbolic, sentimental, one world, one-universe, war-what-is-it-good-for nonsense. But before the meddling, it was getting crowded behind the sofa."

DigitalSpy: "The return of Doctor Who has been far more successful than I imagined but I had been harbouring reservations as to why they needed to saddle the show with a Dalek episode. ... Robert Shearman was the writer tasked with coming up with a story that would live up to the status of what is, however tarnished, a cultural icon and he seems to have pulled it off. Had we got an episode steeped in Dalek mythology I think I'd have been bored to tears; what we actually got was something akin to Beauty and the Beast via Silence of The Lambs and it turned out to be the best episode so far. The idea of having the Dalek being tortured by its human captures helped to turn the relationship between the audience and the creature on its head and by the episode's end, our sympathy lay with it rather than the Doctor in fine piece of storytelling."

The Independent: "I'm not sure that anyone has ever created a less frightening monster than the Dalek, the homicidal bumper car that can only invade planets that are in full compliance with disability access legislation. In fact, the only thing that gets even close for risible lack of threat is a Cyberman, the implacable enemy of humanity that comes with its own built-in carrying handle. And yet, both of them apparently stirred the viewers so deeply that they can do the television equivalent of a comeback concert. Which is the bigger news for the coming week: the general election or the return of the Daleks in Doctor Who? Radio Times just couldn't call it, so they split the difference with a 'Vote Dalek' cover, the Houses of Parliament providing a backdrop for the latest model, which comes in a rather chavvy bronze and copper colourway.... Robert Shearman, who scripted this episode, had some fun with the robot's famous limitations as a killing machine. 'What are you going to do, sucker me to death?' scoffed a museum curator when menaced with the rubber plunger, which then shot out and fixed on his face with a prehensile grip. He also did the staircase gag, with the fleeing humans gratefully scampering up a set of steps only to discover that this Dalek could levitate."

The Times: "Was anyone ever truly frightened by the monsters in Doctor Who? Even giving them names such as the Giant Spiders of Metebelis III didn't work when they still looked like something you'd get from the joke shop to scare your little sister. Yet the return of the Doctor's old foe, the Daleks, on Saturday, was clearly a major television event -it doesn't get any bigger than having a Radio Times fold-out front cover. ... All the Daleks' dubious design features were gleefully addressed by Robert Shearman's script for Saturday's story. So there were references to 'space dustbins,' the Dalek's sink plunger sucked someone to death, and there was no escape in running upstairs because it took to the air. No wonder the body count was alarmingly high. Shearman also continued to strike the right balance between the respect and renovation displayed by the series... Instead we got a surprisingly poignant story. And Eccleston's combination of blokiness and otherworldly intensity came into its own here, but I can still see why he's already decided to leave the show. Just look at the Daleks -you don't see them in any other line of work."

Garry Bushell, writing in The People, was full of praise for Dalek. "An old familiar menace has returned to haunt Saturday night telly. Cold, full of hatred for humanity and armed with tired old catchphrases, everything about this creature is joyless and old hat. But enough about Julian Clary... wasn"t that Dalek terrific on Doctor Who? Anyone who ever loved this show as a kid must have cheered the roof off when the chained killer realised who it was up against." He noted that the episode "worked in a way most of the previous ones didn't. It was well-written, not pointlessly camp, with a decent story". His piece was accompanied by a small pic of the Dalek. Elsewhere on his two-page TV round-up, he lists the Dalek as being "hot on TV", although, strangely, he also says "shame he didn't exterminate Russell T Davies". The feature also quotes Andrew Alexander as saying "Dr Who: Designed for young people, enjoyed by adults. Just like Billie Piper."

The Guardian: "The Daleks are back on BBC1, Ian McKellen is starring in Coronation Street and beautiful people are ripping each other's clothes off for our entertainment on ITV1. If this isn't the golden age of TV, then what is? After all the build-up, the return of everyone's favourite squawking pepperpot to Doctor Who (Saturday) could have been an anti-climax, and in truth it was a curiously subdued affair. But who could have guessed that ... it would turn into a sci-fi Socratic dialogue?"

The Daily Express: "I think it's fair to say that this was the one we'd all been waiting for... A splendidly scary but rather sad (and politically laboured) story ended with the Dalek exterminating itself because it had taken on human characteristics and was no longer motivated to kill everything that moved. As usual, the script fizzed with good jokes. ... Now, bring on the Cybermen. But go easy on the anti-war rhetoric, please." (Incidentally, cheers to the Daily Express which noted that "Daleks have surmounted the problem of stairs before - See Remembrance Of The Daleks, 1988.")

Newsquest Media Group: "In the old days, these metal creatures rattled around pointing that egg whisk they call a weapon at people and screaming 'exterminate, exterminate'. This new story showed their softer side. ... Christopher Eccleston's Doctor is a troubled time lord. It's becoming increasingly clear that his relationship with Rose, a girl young enough to be his daughter, is not the usual Doctor and travelling companion one. His feelings towards her seem more than paternal. I look forward to seeing how they develop."

The Socialist Review, the monthy political magazine of the Socialist Workers Party, has a review of the return of Doctor Who in its May issue. The review is online here

People in the News

New series star David Tennant is to co-star in a BBC Radio 4 revival of the classic BBC Television police series Dixon of Dock Green. The series, which originally starred the late Jack Warner, ran on BBC Television from 1955 to 1976, and was a spin-off from the 1949 feature film "The Blue Lamp", with Dixon recovering from the notable obstacle of having been killed-off in the movie. Says the report: "The new shows will feature Bramwell actor David Calder as George Dixon, and the forthcoming Doctor Who and Casanova star David Tennant as his sidekick Andy Crawford." Many sites covered this today; the BBC News site ironically didn't mention Doctor Who at all, but others did, including the Scotsman, UTV, WaveGuide, The Independent, and The Guardian.

The Sunday Mirror renewed the Eccleston leaving debate this week. "He quit Doctor Who to head for Hollywood – but is Christopher Eccleston too miserable to be famous? When the BBC announced Christopher Eccleston was quitting Doctor Who after just one series, it caused shock waves. Only one episode of the new series had been screened, to huge ratings and critical acclaim, and his departure took the gloss off the success for the BBC. It also means all the merchandise planned for Christmas will be saddled with a previous incarnation of the Time Lord – by then, Casanova star David Tennant will be the man accompanying Billie Piper through space and time. Chris is rumoured to have rejected huge cash offers – a large advance on his £1 million salary – but his decision to leave may have been a smart move after all. ... He could simply be being honest, or maybe he's just being awkward. Christopher did once admit, ‘I am not known for my charm... I think I'm seen as a grumpy old sod.' Born in Salford, Christopher went to the prestigious Central School of Speech and Drama in London, but after leaving, worked on building sites, in between periods of signing on the dole and working as an artist's model. A few years ago, he moved back to Manchester from London, saying, ‘The beer's better up here, the women are better looking – and the football is better. United is in my blood.' Christopher has always passionately professed his loathing of the showbiz establishment and associated actor-type pretensions. ‘I'm not into the celebrity circus – I'm close to my family and prefer time with them,' he says. A friend says, ‘Chris takes his work seriously, but he also takes his roots seriously.' Or could it be he just takes himself very seriously? After all, this is the man who spoke of bringing a ‘weight and ambiguity' to the role of the Doctor, and said, ‘Everything about the daleks tells you about the duality of people'. Rather ‘luvvie' comments for this most non-‘actorish' of actors. As for how the star will cope with the gaze of the world on his Salford retreat, only time will tell."

The Times yesterday made some interesting observations about Eccleston's departure: "According to a mole within BBC Wales (which makes Doctor Who), however, Eccleston quit after being presented with a fait accompli: the unappetising choice of starring in only half the next series (not enough) or another two full series (far too big a commitment). Who knows what really happened? The show's executive producer, Julie Gardner, wouldn't comment."

The People had a full-page interview with Camille Coduri, headlined "I've got the hots for DR WHO . . but I want to flirt with DR NEW". No prizes for guessing the angle of that piece. The paper calls her "telly's dalektable flirty mum" but the feature does settle down from time to time to include a bit more insight, with comments from Coduri such as: "Christopher Eccleston was superb. Sometimes I'd have to look away because he'd make me laugh so much. It's a shame he's not doing the second series but people forget he'd been working on it for practically a year. I don't blame him for wanting to move on." She adds: "David Tennant will bring a different dimension to it and he and Billie Piper will work brilliantly together." Later in the piece, Coduri says: "Billie really shines. She's one of the leading actresses of her generation - divine, funny and witty." Elsewhere in The People, it is reported that Simon Callow gave a repeat performance as Charles Dickens from Doctor Who to shoppers at a London store last Sunday, although the Sunday Express merely says he was reciting from his show The Mystery of Charles Dickens while at upmarket grocers Melrose & Morgan.

Bruno Langley spoke to April 30's Daily Post. "Not everyone can claim to have been chased down a corridor by a Dalek screaming 'Exterminate!', but for Bruno Langley - best known for his role as Todd Grimshaw in Coronation Street - it was all in a day's work on the set of Doctor Who. 'When they brought the Dalek onto the set, it was really exciting and everyone was taking photos,' the 22-year-old remembers, though he admits he missed out on seeing the Doctor's legendary adversaries in action the first time around. 'I do remember Doctor Who being on, but it was a bit before my time. I liked Alien and Terminator and stuff like that.' And while it wouldn't be Doctor Who without the appearance of a Dalek, fans will be pleased to hear that the creatures are now more than a match for more recent alien counterparts - especially when it comes to tackling stairs. 'When you watch it, it's a bit like the Terminator films, when something's chasing after you and you can't stop it. You can use that as a metaphor for a lot of different things,' says Bruno of the scene in which his character, boy genius Adam Mitchell discovers that stairs are definitely not a problem for the evil oversized pepperpots. In fact, it's also rumoured that Adam, who helps the Doctor and his assistant Rose through their traumatic Dalek encounter, may also develop an evil streak. 'I do end up on the wrong side of the tracks,' admits Bruno of the inquisitive Adam. 'I get the Doctor and Rose into a bit of trouble because I like meddling with things. Him thinking he's a genius gets him into bother.' But, while Christopher Eccleston has confirmed he won't be returning to play the Doctor, Bruno reveals that the door is left open for Adam. 'There's a chance of me coming back if the storyline allows it. I'd love to do it,' he smiles, having clearly relished his two months on the Doctor Who's Welsh set And he readily admits that flirting with Billie Piper was a high point: 'We got on great - I was working with her for two months. 'She's a great girl. I think she's really got a lot going for her. She should probably make her way to America soon,' he says of his famous co-star, though he's quick to add that there was no romance either off or onscreen for the duo. I think Adam's more interested in the technology side of things,' he adds. 'Of course he fancies Rose, she's a gorgeous girl, but he's got more on his mind.'"

The SF Crows Nest website has posted five interviews conducted by Jessica Martin, who has previously conducted interviews with cast members. They include writer Rob Shearman, actor Bruno Langley (Adam), Dalek vocalist Nicholas Briggs, writer Mark Gatiss, and actor Simon Callow (Charles Dickens).

Several reports in today that David Tennant has joined the mix of celebrities promoting Labour for this week's elections. "I will be voting Labour this time because the alternative is a disaster area," Tennant says, and also notes that it takes only 30 seconds to vote while the consequences last for five years... The story's covered by icScotland (and indeed all of the iC network websites), the Mirror and Scotsman.

Miscellaneous Coverage

The BBC's Doctor Who website front page has changed. Before, it showed the Dalek in chains; now it shows the Dalek having broken free and pointing its weapon at us.

The Observer yesterday noted that "The BBC was braced for viewer complaints last night after screening possibly the most terrifying Doctor Who episode ever. In the story, shown on BBC One before the watershed, Time Lord Christopher Eccleston came face to face with his arch-enemy, a Dalek, which then went on a killing spree. In one scene the Doctor was shown half-naked being tortured with electric shocks. Four viewers complained to Ofcom after an earlier episode, claiming it was too scary for children, but the media watchdog chose not to investigate."

The Daily Star Sunday (May 1) ran an article titled "Who's For Starters..." which previewed next week's episode and opened with: "Doctor Who looks a bit tied up to fight off his latest enemy. But the Time Lord, played by Christopher Eccleston, is living out every fella's fantasy - being chained up to sexy sidekick Rose, actress Billie Piper." The article was accompanied by a large photograph from the episode. Also in the same newspaper "The Biz" reveals: "Current Doctor Who star Christopher Eccleston has kept the leather jacket he wears in the BBC1 series. But he says he is too scared to wear it in the street in case a show-worshipping geek attacks him for it. He adds: "It could be in the cupboard for a while yet."" A less than favourable review of "Dalek" also featured (titled "D-aargh-lek's wimpy ending").

Says correspondent Rowan Bridge, West of England reporter for BBC Five Live, on our previous report on Nick Briggs' interview: "I was the one who suggested that they cover it. Yeah it was indeed Nick Briggs that did the continuity announcements. There was also an interview with him where he turned himself into a Dalek mid-way through the interview (modulation and all) and back again. It went out twice, just before 0630 (the programme now starts at 0600 on Saturdays) and again at about 0850 or so (just after, in fact, my piece on the M4 motorway protest) You can hear both that interview and Robert Shearman's on the listen again function of the Five Live site here."

In the run up to the General Election as part of it's pro-Labour Party stance the Daily Mirror is running an ongoing item called "EXTORY-MINATE!" in which a marginal Conservative Party member is pictured in the sights of a 60s Dalek with details of his/her slim majority. The "Daily Mirror" also ran a similar campaign in the last General Election called "Exterminate A Tory" which had the dome of a Dalek replaced by Conservative Party Leader William Hague's head (complete with eye-stalk protruding from his forehead!).

The Sunday Mirror's page three lead was a picture exclusive of Billie Piper - headlined "Thrillie Piper" - while filming her role as Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing on the south coast for the BBC, but with the wind catching her skirt and revealing more than we're used to seeing. It was likened to the famous picture of Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch. The paper also had a piece about David Walliams writing for the next series of Doctor Who, which is on the website here

The Sunday Express lampooned the forthcoming general election by tapping into the topicality of the Daleks and having a near-half-page cartoon of the three main party leaders as Daleks chasing a terrified Britannia-type figure to a polling station. Meanwhile, its TV reviewer, David Stephenson, asked if the Dalek had "gone all touchy-feely". Calling Doctor Who "the hit of the year so far", his piece, in which he said he felt sorry for the creature, was illustrated with a decent-sized photo of Rose touching the Dalek. His Quote of the Week, at the bottom of the page, was "Elevate!" from the episode.

Saturday night's Phil Williams show on BBC Radio 5 Live featured (very positive) listener reaction to the Dalek episode plus an interview with former Dalek voice artist Roy Skelton. Skelton talked about his extensive career in voice work, including his years on Doctor Who and Rainbow, and refuted the suggestion that the new episode was the first instance of a Dalek going up stairs. He spoke of his appreciation for the new series and for the work of current voice of the Daleks Nicky (sic) Briggs. The interview, which took place just after midnight, can still be heard by following the link to the Phil Williams show from the 5 Live website.

The Sunday Sport ran a double page colour centre-spread yesterday with an adult-themed headline (think the Dalek cry of "Exterminate" but...) featuring 'the star of last night's Doctor Who' - a Dalek - in about a dozen poses with a topless model. The article that accompanied this covered the return of the Daleks the night before, and revealed that in addition to being able to 'Elevate' up stairs, the Dalek could now apparently copulate, as the pictures attempted to prove.

The News of the World says Christopher Eccleston and Siwan Morris are an item again. It pictures them on holiday in Cornwall taking a stroll, hand in hand, and with bikes near Porthleven.

More press coverage: More on David Walliams writing for Doctor Who at Digital Spy; The Sun interviews Ian Clarke, who is "the only person the BBC has licensed to construct and sell Daleks" with his firm, This Planet Earth; and the Daily Record says that "Britain's best bachelor pad" is available for rental next door to Billie Piper's flat in Cardiff.

(Thanks to Steve Tribe, Paul Engelberg, John Bowman, Andy Parish, Jamie Austin, Paul Hayes, Rowan Bridge, Roderick Cobley, Gregg Smith, Steve Hatcher, David Traynier, Mark Gardiner, Rich Kirkpatrick)
The Daily Star, May 2

Doctor Who is about to come face to face with the show's scariest-ever monsters. And telly chiefs are confident that the deadly creatures - called the Reapers - will send fans rushing to hide behind their sofas. The terrifying pterodactyl-like demons swoop from the sky and eat people. And they will cause havoc on Earth in an episode called Father's Day on May 14.

The Doctor (Christopher Eccleston, 41) travels back to 1987 with his sidekick Rose Tyler (Billie Piper, 22) so she can get to see her dad. Pete Tyler (Shaun Dingwall, 35) was mowed down by a car that year when Rose was just a baby and was too young to remember him. The Timelord takes her to the spot where the accident happened to let her watch his death. But Rose decides to stop her father from dying and pushes him out of the way of the on-coming car. And as a result of her changing history, the Reapers swoop out of the sky and begin attacking and killing everything in sight.

A source on the show said: "The Reapers appear because Rose has upset the balance of time. She has changed the world because she has altered history by saving her father from dying. At first she doesn't think she has done anything wrong. That is until the terrifying Reapers suddenly come on the scene."
"Dalek" Overnight Ratings
May 1, 2005
The initial overnight ratings are in for Dalek, episode six of the new series broadcast Saturday night... and it's great news! "Dalek" was not only the top of its time slot for the evening, with an average viewership of 7.83 million viewers and a 42.73% viewer share, but was in fact the most watched British television show on Saturday, day or night! The episode peaked at 8.73 million viewers (45.9% share). Its competition on ITV, "Celebrity Wrestling," scores 3.05 million viewers, 17.73% viewer share. The usual Saturday night ratings winner, "Casualty," had 7.3 million viewers, leaving it in second place for the evening. As usual, these ratings will be adjusted next week when the BARB releases its final viewing numbers for the night. (Thanks to Steve Berry, Keith Armstrong, Roger Anderson)
Saturday Series Press Roundup
May 1, 2005
According to The Mirror, David Walliams of "Little Britain" fame - and a Doctor Who fan to boot - will be writing a script for the second season of the series, perhaps filling in the gap for the one episode that the last issue of DWM said hadn't yet been assigned. "He was approached after BBC bosses decided his surreal sense of humour would be ideal for the revived show's wacky new storylines," says the Mirror. "A single playboy-about-town who has been linked to Patsy Kensit, Abi Titmuss, Denise Van Outen and Jayne Middlemiss, David took Dr Who star Billie Piper out for dinner to find out more about her character as the Doctor's sidekick Rose Tyler. One TV insider said: 'Russell T. Davies, the chief scriptwriter, is a massive fan of Little Britain. He was impressed by the fact David's comedy writing is always full of really original ideas. David jumped at the chance and is taking it very seriously.'"

The BBC's official site has another spinoff website tieing into the new series: www.geocomtex.net, featuring Harry van Statten's company from "Dalek".

"Dalek" Reviews Pour In

Says The Times: "Tonight's episode may not have the zany, off-the-wall humour associated with the ones written by Russell T. Davies, but Robert Shearman's script -and I can't believe that I'm about to say this -is strangely moving. It concerns the last surviving Dalek, which is being held in chains in an underground museum in Utah. Daleks, as we know from the lessons of history, are programmed to hate. But, amid all the excitement, tonight's episode manages to sneak in a message about the redemptive power of human kindness and the way in which victims can turn into oppressors. This new Doctor Who is an unqualified triumph."

The Guardian: "Robert Shearman's script bamboozles expectations, offering a fresh take on the famous metal drama queens, here both more formidable and sympathetic than we've ever seen them in the past. Claustrophobic and suitably melodramatic, this should hopefully show 2005's kids what was always so wonderful about the iconic tin-rotters."

The London Evening Standard: "This week's episode title- Dalek- may crush the surprise the script clearly hoped to generate around the return of the killer pepperpot, but that's the only disappointment here. ... At its best, science fiction is supposed to be a metaphor. It's not a theory that always pans out, but here, in the conflict between a murderous intergalactic dustbin and a double-hearted time traveller, we get a powerful look at the way war- whether it's in the Balkans, Iraq or outer space- twists even the best of people. 'If you can't kill, then what are you good for?' the Doctor hisses at the imprisioned Dalek. But by the end, you're left wondering whether it is the Dalek or the Doctor who has been damaged most by the conflict. It's heady, surprising, spiky and occasionally pretentious stuff, but I'll take this over ITV's spandex celeb-grappling any Saturday night."

Ian Hyland in The Mirror: "For 30 pant sh*ttingly wonderful minutes BBC1's new Doctor Who was the best thing on telly. Ever."

Weekend Press

In The Sun Doctor Who is "Watercooler TV": Climb behind your sofa and stay well out of sight - the Daleks are back on TV screens across the nation tonight. Doctor Who's dreaded foe makes his big and much-anticipated return, although as I revealed he turns out to be a big old softy. And there's a truly explosive ending - don't miss it." The accompanying "TV Mag" features a small picture of the Dalek on the cover ("Exterminate. The Daleks Are Back!") and a one-page article, interviewing Mike Tucker, Barnaby Edwards and Bruno Langley. "Doctor Who" is Pick Of The Day.

The Daily Mirror television magazine "We Love Telly!" has a Dalek as pride of place on its cover, standing before an explosion with the line: "Be afraid! Hide behind the sofa as the Doctor's deadly foe returns". Inside is a full-page article ("The Last Dalek") with a "Dalek Databank" (Dr Who trivia), a review of the "Claws Of Axos" DVD ("Time lord-tastic!") and a Reader Rant: "Dear We Love Telly! The new Doctor Who is trendy, infantile and utterly vacuous. Russell T Davies obsession with passing wind is a disgrace to the memory of 26 years of family entertainment".

The Daily Star contains a two-page article ("Exterminate The Wrestlers: Daleks To Floor 'Em") about tonight's ratings war with "Celebrity Wrestling" and how "Doctor Who" is likely to come out on top. "Star TV Mag" features a Dalek on the cover ("Ex-ter-min-ate") with a third-of-a-page article inside (" A Step-Up For Daleks") giving details of the episode and more "Dr Who" trivia. The episode is the TV pick, with a five-star rating. The newspaper also begins a promotion today called "Sci-Fi Saturday" to run for three weeks. As part of this next week the newspaper will contain a free "Sci-Fi Sounds" CD which will feature an arrangement of the "Doctor Who" theme by Mark Ayres.

Says Newsquest Media, "They're back at last! Or rather, it's back. Doctor Who faces his old arch enemy once more with the return of a Dalek to the cult TV series on April 30. There's only one so far, but it's enough to worry the Timelord, as this week's episode sees him trapped in an underground museum with a relic from the past. And there's a twist - this Dalek's had a major upgrade, and doesn't need a stairlift to get off the ground floor. Long-time fan of the show Nick Wade from Sandbanks is a big Dalek fan and is delighted to see one of the megalomaniac rust-buckets square up to the Doctor once more. 'It's what a lot of people have been waiting for. Doctor Who without the Daleks is like Star Trek without Mr Spock,' he said. 'It can work but it's just not the same.' ... But Nick believes this updated Dalek won't be a laughing matter. 'One of the things about Daleks that used to make people laugh was that they couldn't go up stairs. But this time, the Dalek can fly. I'm sure there will be a lot of people watching, especially children. I think it would be good if they brought back some of the other old enemies too.' Nick, who landed a role as an extra in the hugely successful new series starring Christopher Ecclestone and Billie Piper, has also picked up a full-size remote-controlled Dalek built by a special effects designer."

The Scotsman reports that "the BBC is hoping the dreaded Daleks will exterminate the opposition in the ratings war when they make their return to the nation’s TV screens tonight. ... Although only one of the metal menaces will appear, it is rumoured that more Daleks will return later in the series." The Scotsman reports in another article that the "Daleks Learn to Fly on Their Deadly Return"... "and this time the Daleks are even scarier." Says writer Rob Shearman, "People want to see the Dalek again, in all its glory, being taken seriously and killing rather brutally. I don’t think it’s any great spoiler to say there’s an awful lot of death in my episode... You won’t like what they do with their sink plungers now, I promise you."

Radio and Television

Next Thursday's Dead Ringers: Election Special is being promoted with a trailer that spoofs Eccleston's "Trip of a life time" trailer. The trailer, featuring impressions of the leaders of the three main UK parties, is accompanied by the new Doctor Who theme and has been running on BBC1 from at least the evening of Thursday 28th April.

The Now Show (Radio 4, 29th April) again featured Doctor Who, including reference to complaints regarding the apparently inappropriate language used in the upcoming Dalek episode.

BBC Ceefax has "Dalek" as its TV Choice for 30th April, running as follows: "So what was it the Doctor promised Rose at the end of last week's episode? Something about a glorious joyride through interstellar space. But here we are back on Earth. Again. Still, the old show often argued that it was more scary to see monsters in England than in outer space somewhere. And it's the monster that matters tonight, as the Doctor meets a Dalek. By the end of the show, you'll no longer think that Daleks are silly and that's quite an achievement."

Doctor Who, and more specifically the return of the Daleks, was a topic of conversation on Weekend Breakfast on BBC Radio 5 Live this Saturday, which runs on the station from 6.30 to 9am. A recorded interview with Robert Shearman was played at around 7.20am and there were regular Dalek continuity announcements telling listeners not to change station or they would be exterminated, which sounded as if they were done by Nick Briggs himself. Also, throughout the show presenters Brian Alexander and Rachel Burden were taking e-mail and text message suggestions from listeners as to what the Dalek's first line to the Doctor should be tonight. As the subject of waiting times to see National Health Service doctors has become an issue in the British General Election campaign over the past couple of days, many suggestions tied in with this, i.e. "It's been years since I last saw you - you must be an NHS doctor!"

Nick Briggs was on BBC 'Breakfast' on Saturday (from 08:53 to 08:56) on BBC 2. He was interviewed by Bill Turnbull behind a large image of the dome of the Dalek from tonights episode. There was a clip from the episode (of troops being exterminated, with the Dalek rotating its mid-section to do so) followed by Nick demonstrating the Dalek voice with the Ring Modulator; firstly, talking normally through the modulator, secondly talking with a 'Dalek voice' his examples being: and There was a brief chat about how the ring modulator worked, then the item ended with Bill Turnbull doing his next link through the ring modulator.

The Blue Peter website contains details of what was on the 27th April edition, in addition to a Dalek picture in the photographs from rehearsals section and a competition for children to win a radio controlled Dalek.

According to the Newsround website "The Doctor Rules In Your Charts". In their online poll "Doctor Who" has been voted the most popular TV show, beating "The Simpsons" into second place after a year of the cartoon reigning supreme. In the TV/Film section of the site is "Exterminate! Check out our new Dalek pics!" which features 8 photographs from today's episode. In addition, yesterday's "Newsround" promoted today's "Newsround Showbiz" on the CBBC channel with clips from "Resurrection Of The Daleks" and "Dalek".

ITV Teletext has "Doctor Who" as a Pick Of The Day.

BBC news 24 on Saturday morning showed clips of "Dalek" from this weekend's episode with an new force field it used to stop an array of bullets in their tracks, and its new trick of moving the centre part of it shell independantly of the rest. Also, the Dalek trailer was played, half-screen over the end of Neighbours on Friday 29th April just before 6pm. Significant as it didn't relate to the programme and wasn't the next programme to be shown, indicating the BBC's increased promotion for the episode.

For once Friday's Newsround didn't manage to crowbar a DW item into the headlines, but did describe WeeMan (a three tonne robot sculpture made of electrical items, representing the amount thrown away by the average Briton in his lifetime) as looking 'like something out of Doctor Who'. It went on to note the people behind the educational display, meant to promote recycling, hoped to 'exterminate' the problem.

ABC TV in Australia has shown its first full length promo for the new series stating "Doctor Who is coming to YOU!". The promo showed clips from "Rose" and "The End of the World"

Other Stories

The May issue of Limelight, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's magazine focusing on the arts, literature, theatre and film has announced that the June issue will feature articles and interviews with the stars, writer and designers of the new series of Dr Who. The magazine will be on sale at newsagents on May 18.

The Mirror notes today that Ray Cusick, "the man who designed the Daleks," was paid just £80 by the BBC. "Instead, royalty payments go to the family of the late Terry Nation, who wrote the first Dalek script. Raymond Cusick has revealed that he came up with the design for the Daleks over lunch in the BBC staff canteen. Cusick told The Mirror, 'We went to lunch in the canteen and I was scribbling on the back of napkins the ideas of the Daleks. I picked up what could have been a salt pot and moved it around the table. I said, 'It moves like that, without any arms or legs.' The design was already partly on paper and partly in my head at the time.'" The story was also picked up by Digital Spy.

Other stories of note: The Belfast Telegraph has a story about the return of the Daleks, interviewing fans at Forbidden Planet; the Mirror discusses Billie Piper's filming of Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing";

(Thanks to Steve Tribe, Paul Engelberg, Jamie Austin, Paul Hayes, Chuck Foster, Garry J/"Facethemusic", Stewart Carswell, Widya Santoso, John Paul Street, Daniel Lamb, Russ Port, Mark Williams, Ian O'Brien, Michael Davoren, and Matt Kimpton)
Friday Series Updates
April 29, 2005
Two items to watch for tonight, unfortunately both opposite each other: Billie Piper will be interviewed on the Friday, April 29 edition of Richard and Judy airing at 5.00pm on Channel 4, while over on BBC1, Blue Peter will have a behind the scenes feature on the new Doctor Who series. CBBC have been giving some promotion to the coverage of Doctor Who on Friday's installment; the Wednesday edition of Blue Peter (27th April) showed an extract from Saturday's episode (with Rose and companions running up a stairwell as the the Dalek pursues them) in their 'Coming Soon' promotion, while on Thursday's CBBC (28th April) the upcoming Blue Peter was described by the linking presenters as an edition where the team "Go behind the scenes on Doctor Who". Their comments were accompanied by the Ron Grainer theme - played so quietly that it was almost subliminal!

ITV Teletext ran an interview with new series writer Rob Shearman on April 29. Entitled "Dastardly Dalek Ready To Roll Again," it opened with: "It takes a skilful writer to make you afraid of a giant pepper pot with a sink plunger stuck to the front of it." The interview covered aspects such as the idea behind the story ("Russell wanted to make it an emotional episode, something that doesn't rely on people running down corridors") and reinventing the Daleks ("I decided to take all those things people find funny about the Daleks and turn them into something people would find memorable. This is also the first time we'll see inside the Dalek."). The script also apparently went through 14 revisions.

Nicholas Briggs was on BBC Radio Berkshire on April 28 talking about his work on "Dalek" and demonstrated how he does the voice. Also, Russell T Davies spoke briefly about the fact that Daleks will fly in this new episode, and playing down the event by saying they always have been able to fly - but adding the BBC just could never afford to show it until now. The five minute segment also included a couple of clips from this Saturday's episode including the moment the Doctor is reunited with his oldest enemy, and the moment where Adam and Rose witness the Dalek go up stairs shouting "EL-EV-ATE"!

Today's Guardian put Doctor Who at the top of its "MUST" list, saying that "It's the moment several generations have been waiting for: the return of Doctor Who's most terrifying enemies. An unsuspecting billionaire has bought one of the metal exterminators - and it has been upgraded. With a 360° swivel-head feature, a shiny gold finish and a stair-defying ability to levitate, this top-of-the-range Dalek is the most fearsome yet."

Canada's CBC Television documentary series Planet of the Doctor, long touted as "coming in April," will now be "starting in May" according to their official website.

One Scottish Doctor to another, Sylvester McCoy spoke to the Daily Record about David Tennant's upcoming shot at the role. "It'll be interesting to see if he does it in a stronger Scottish accent than I was allowed to use. Mine had to be a gentle lilt compared to my normal accent," said McCoy. "For the pilot I wore a tartan scarf as a homage to Tom Baker's scarf, but they wouldn't allow it and after the pilot they got rid of it. So I said I'll have a Paisley scarf then. They didn't realise Paisley was in Scotland." But McCoy, the article mentions, tempers any furore that there's a Scot in the Tardis. "I'm an internationalist. It's nice to see another person as The Doctor. If he was Chinese I'd be equally delighted. I'm not a Scottish nationalist." As noted in the report, McCoy and Tennant have already worked together for several Big Finish audios. McCoy also discusses Eccleston's departure. "It's a shame he's leaving. He must have thought of typecasting before he took the role. I think that's an excuse. I think there's something else underlining but I don't know what it is. You don't just take the role. You know it's going to be typecasting and he is typecast. He's done it. He won't be able to run away from it." He likes the new series, though: "I'm delighted it's back. I love it. I think Eccleston is terrific but it's Billie Piper as Rose who steals it." Would he want to be in it? "It would be great fun to be a villain. I wouldn't want to be a Dalek. I'd like to come back so you could see my face. Maybe I'd have a beard. It would be marvellous to see Peter, Colin,Tom and I back as baddies. When it's been back a few years and has established itself again I think they'd do things like that."

The Daily Record article above also notes an interesting fact about Australia's launch of the series; it says that Sylvester, Tom Baker and Colin Baker are all in negotiations to travel there to promote the series. McCoy notes that "Australia hasn't see it yet so we are in negotiations to go out there and do promotion." There is no further word on what this might entail.

Bill Nighy, a familiar name to Doctor Who fans a year ago when he was reported to be the top choice to play the role of the Doctor (and was in fact named as such by a few papers who got the details wrong!) is mentioned in yesterday's Daily Express. "A brave-faced Bill Nighy is insisting he was not disappointed to be overlooked for the role as Doctor Who for a second time after Casanova star David Tennant landed the part," says the Daily Express's Hickey column. "Nighy first lost out to Christopher Eccleston, who has now quit the role of the Time Lord. 'It was never to be,' Bill tells Hickey."

heat Magazine this week features an interview with Bruno Langley (who plays Adam as of this weekend's "Dalek" episode) about filming the show and his role (and about Coronation Street). Bruno reveals that his character and Rose fancy each other but do not actually hook up as "certain things get in the way", and that his character hasn't seen a girl in ages, as he has been "locked away in a lab." In the TV Listings there is a major spoiler - apart from a glowing 5-star review of the show, and naming it as their pick of the week (coming above "Desperate Housewives" in heat's top ten TV of the week) - that has to do with the Doctor's current predicament about his own people...

Channel 4 in the UK featured a report on the 100 Greatest Kids' TV Programmes last Sunday night, and Doctor Who came in ninth place, according to the Channel 4 website.

Some brief press mentions: in today's Mirror reporter Brian Reade says he watched Doctor Who last weekend "and must admit the sight of slimy, long-necked, big-eared aliens waving their hands about, releasing hot gas and making weird noises had me squirming behind the couch. But I'm told Andrew Marr isn't in next week's episode so I might let the kids watch," referring to political commentator Andrew Marr, who appeared in the last two episodes as himself. Australia's Courier Mail notes that "Britain jokesters Matt Lucas and David Walliams... both want cameos in the new Doctor Who. Lucas, best known for his role as Dafydd, 'the only gay in the village' in the sketch comedy, is good pals with Casanova star David Tennant, who will take over the role of the Time Lord from Christopher Eccleston in the second series. Tennant was reportedly mobbed by celebrities, all begging to appear on the cult show, at the recent British Academy Television Awards. Lucas and Walliams, who picked up two Baftas, believe their chances are better than most -- former Dr Who Tom Baker is the surreal narrator of Little Britain, which screens here on the ABC."

The Paisley Daily Express says that the next Doctor, David Tennant, will be invited to switch on the town's festive lights this Christmas; Tennant is from Paisley. "David Tennant is definitely going to be invited to do this," says the report, quoting an unnamed source. "We are just hoping he will be free and will be able to come up. He’s bound to attract huge crowds, not just from Paisley but from all over the country. It could be a huge event."

Some other press mentions: the Daily Record reviews last weekend's episode, "World War Three"; the Staffordshire Sentinel notes the Daleks' presence at the Churnet Valley Railway this weekend; icCoventry, the Community News Wire Manchester Online and the Edinburgh Evening News all discuss yesterday's report of Christopher Eccleston's role in the Mencap charity; and the Milford and West Wales Mercury has more on the "creator" of the Daleks.

(Thanks to Paul Engelberg, Steve Tribe, Jamie Austin, Chuck Foster, Paul Hawkins, Peter Weaver, Chris Wood, Jonathan Grills, Nick Palmer, Andrew Norris)
Season Two Writers Announced in DWM - Updated!
April 28, 2005
The new issue of "Doctor Who Magazine" confirms the writers list for the forthcoming second season of Doctor Who. Executive producer Russell T Davies will pen five scripts for the second season, sharing the writing duties with five other confirmed writers. Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat will return from the first year's writing bloc, and they are joined by Matt Jones, former script editor on Davies' "Queer as Folk," "Linda Green" and "Clocking Off", writer of "Now you see her", "Serious and organised", and "P.O.W" as well as the Virgin Doctor Who novel "Bad Therapy" and the Bernice Summerfield novel "Beyond the Sun"; Tom MacRae, writer of the pilot episode of Sky One's "Mile High", the BAFTA-nominated drama "School's Out," "Money Can Buy You Love," "UGetMe," script-editing "Nine Lives" and "As If" as well as currently writing an original series for the BBC and writing "No Angels" for Channel 4; and Toby Whithouse, an actor/writer whose credits include creating and writing Channel 4's "No Angels," writing for "Attachments," "Outlaws," "Where The Heart Is," writing for the stage the play "Jump, Mr. Malinoff, Jump" which won the Verity Bargate Award, and currently penning episodes of "Other People," "Scarlet and Guy" and "Hotel Babylon". Jones and MacRae are each writing two episodes, with Moffat, Gatiss and Whithouse writing one. One additional script has yet to be assigned, but that story will be done in-house (meaning, don't expect to find a major announcement of another writer.) Jones noes that the working title for his story is "The Satan Pit", and Davies has apparently asked him to make it "as scary as possible."

"We've been planning this since the beginning of the year, hoping and praying that the second series actually gets commissioned," said producer Phil Collinson, "so that these great ideas could make the screen. Work has started, and at least seven of the scripts are currently underway." Julie, Russell, and I have chosen a mixture of old and new, all with bold, wild imaginations, to launch Series Two with wit, flair, energy, and, no doubt, plenty of scares along the way." He notes that, like last year, "Russell has drawn up an overall plan for the whole series, with synopses of the tone and setting for each episode, although the writers have then have the absolute freedom to create what they want." Collinson also mentions the Christmas special: it will be shot as part of the second series block, meaning there will be fourteen episodes in production next year instead of thirteen, and there is no actual confirmed date it will air (it may not be on Christmas): it is "too early to guess whether the episode will be broadcast on Christmas Day. Christmas schedules are the most volatile, changeable and secret schedules of the lot," Collinson notes, with the recording schedule "more or less" following last year's. He says that the writers are "planning the same mix as this year: seven one one-off adventures, and three two-part stories. The adventures cover the full range -- trips to the future, the past, and yes, we'll be setting foot on alien worlds! We're planning lots of weird and wonderful new creations, as well as the return of familiar face or two."
Episode 12 Title Announced
April 28, 2005
According to the new issue of "Doctor Who Magazine," out Thursday, the title of episode twelve is Bad Wolf, confirming rumors that the ongoing hints of this phrase in several previously aired episodes do indeed have something to do with the ongoing plotline. DWM also confirms that Anne Robinson, known on both sides of the Atlantic as the host of "The Weakest Link," will be making a cameo voiceover appearance in one of the last stories of the season, as "the Anne Droid," confirming rumors circulating the past week.
Wednesday Series Updates
April 27, 2005
Doctor Who has won the ratings war every week against ITV after all: according to the BARB final numbers on the ratings for Aliens of London, Doctor Who had 7.63 million viewers, compared to 7.37 million for the season finale of "Ant and Dec". Originally, Doctor Who had fewer reported viewers in the overnights, but the BARB figures - the final total ratings for each broadcast - add in timeshifted viewing. This means that Doctor Who has won its timeslot in every broadcast since the debut on March 26.

In Canada, yesterday's ratings for episode four, "Aliens of London," scored 849,000 viewers on the overnight reports, a small slip from the previous week's 878,000 but nothing major. "Doctor Who" is still #2 for the timeslot across Canada and #4 in all of primetime for Tuesday nights.

According to Yahoo News (and also mentioned in the Independent), Christopher Eccleston is becoming an ambassador for the learning disability charity Mencap. "Learning disability used to be known as 'mental handicap' but times change and people with a learning disability now find the old term offensive," says Eccleston. "I am very proud and excited to become an ambassador for Mencap and will do my best to justify such an honour." Eccleston first became aware of the issue when he researched his role in the 1991 film, Let Him Have It.

Issue 14 of British Cinematographer, the April 2005 edition, features a two page piece: "On the job - behind the scenes of the new Dr Who series with Ernest Vincze BSC".

The Brighton Evening Argus yesterday noted that "Daleks will invade pier in summer" discussing a Doctor Who exhibition taking place at Brighton's Pleasure Dome from May until October. We hope to bring you further details on this exhibition shortly. The Daleks will also appear at an exhibition at the Churnet Valley Railway this bank holiday weekend; a full-size Dalek will be looking for humans to exterminate in the waiting rooms of the railway's Cheddleton, Kingsley and Froghall stations on Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday, and details on that are available at the railway website.

Newsquest Media Group today has a story about an extra in next week's "Dalek" episode. "Aspiring actor Oliver Hopkins gets exterminated on his first-ever television appearance - and he couldn't be more delighted. For 19-year-old Oliver's assassins are none other than the deadly Dr Who villains, the Daleks! Meeting his fate at close proximity to some of the small screen's most famous baddies has been a thrilling experience for the former Greenhill School and Pembrokeshire College student. 'I'm on the book of Phoenix Agency in Swansea and had a day's work as an extra for the filming of Dr Who, in Newport,' explained Oliver, of Cambrian Cottages, Stepaside. 'It was really good fun.' As well as meeting the show's stars, Billie Piper and Christopher Eccleston, Oliver was able to see the workings of a Dalek and stood inside the famous Tardis. Now he is keeping his fingers crossed that his TV debut gets screened. 'I'm pretty realistic about the fact it could be edited out, or you might only get to see my arm,' he admitted. 'But even so, I've had a brilliant experience and it won't look bad on my CV.'"

David Tennant was interviewed briefly by phone on the XFM radio station this morning. Amongst other things, he suggested that Casanova was his audition for Doctor Who and he didn't actually need to audition for the Doctor. He's excited but daunted by being the Doctor, thinks Eccleston and the new series are fantastic, and managed to plug Big Finish in the same breath as knocking the 'rubbish' that's appeared in the press in the last few weeks. You can hear the full interview at the XFM website.

Other press mentions: a vicar is ready to swap the pulpit for the TARDIS according to the Northwest Evening Mail; more reports of Peter Davison's comments about Christopher Eccleston, which we reported yesterday, at DigitalSpy and WaveGuide; the Sun comments further on the ratings win over Celebrity Wrestling and the upcoming "Dalek" episode; "Let Doctor Who give us a fright" says the Bristol Evening Post; and more news about ABC's pickup of the new series in Australia at the Courier Mail.

(Thanks to Paul Engelberg, Rod Mammitzsch, David Guest, Steve Tribe, Chuck Foster, John Bowman and Mike Noon)
Editor's Note
April 26, 2005
Hello, readers... I wanted to let everyone know why news reports are more sporadic the past week: I'm currently finishing up the last few chapters of Part One of my book, Back To The Vortex: The Unofficial and Unauthorized Guide to Doctor Who 2005 (coming in August 2005 from Telos Publishing), and because of some rather tight editorial deadlines, it's crunch time. (Part one, incidentally, is the narrative section; part two, which is being written concurrently, details each episode... but of course, there are still eight weeks of episodes to go, so that's less critical on timing right now.) Once that's finished, regular updates should proceed again, so thanks for bearing with me!
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Doctor Who
Produced by BBC Wales for BBC1
Broadcasts from Saturday, March 26 at 7:00pm (UK)
13 episodes, 45 minutes each
Transmission
BBC1 (UK) 7pm Saturdays
CBC Television (Canada) 8pm Tuesdays
ABC (Australia), 7:30pm Saturdays
   beginning May 21, 2005
PrimeTV (New Zealand), Autumn 2005
No US Broadcaster Announced
Starring
The Doctor
Rose Tyler
Saturday, May 21
6.30pm: DOCTOR WHO: "The Empty Child" (Episode 9), BBC1
7.10pm: Doctor Who Confidential - "FX" (#9), BBC3
7.30pm: DOCTOR WHO: "Rose" (Episode 1) - series debut, ABC Australia
12.35am: DOCTOR WHO: "The Empty Child" (repeat), BBC1
1.20am: Doctor Who Confidential (repeat), BBC3
Sunday, May 22
7.00pm: DOCTOR WHO: "The Empty Child" (repeat), BBC3
7.45pm: Doctor Who Confidential: Cut Down, BBC3 (note: tentative!)
Tuesday, May 24
8.00pm: DOCTOR WHO: "Father's Day" (Episode 8), CBC TV, Canada
Saturday, May 28
7.00pm: DOCTOR WHO: "The Doctor Dances" (Episode 10), BBC1
7.30pm: DOCTOR WHO: "The End of the World" (Episode 2), ABC Australia
7.45pm: Doctor Who Confidential - "The Weird Science of Dr Who" (#10), BBC3
Sunday, May 29
7.00pm: DOCTOR WHO: "The Doctor Dances" (repeat), BBC3
7.45pm: Doctor Who Confidential (repeat), BBC3
Tuesday, May 31
8.00pm: DOCTOR WHO: "The Empty Child" (Episode 9), CBC TV, Canada
Saturday, June 4
7.00pm: DOCTOR WHO: "Boom Town!" (Episode 11), BBC1
7.30pm: DOCTOR WHO: "The Unquiet Dead" (Episode 3), ABC Australia
7.45pm: Doctor Who Confidential - "Unsung Heroes and Violent Death" (#11), BBC3
Sunday, June 5
7.00pm: DOCTOR WHO: "Boom Town!" (repeat), BBC3
7.45pm: Doctor Who Confidential (repeat), BBC3
Tuesday, June 7
8.00pm: DOCTOR WHO: "The Doctor Dances" (Episode 10), CBC TV, Canada
Saturday, June 11
7.00pm: DOCTOR WHO: "Bad Wolf" (Episode 12), BBC1
7.30pm: DOCTOR WHO: "Aliens of London" (Episode 4), ABC Australia
7.45pm: Doctor Who Confidential - "The Cult of Who" (#12), BBC3
Sunday, June 12
7.00pm: DOCTOR WHO: "Bad Wolf" (repeat), BBC3
7.45pm: Doctor Who Confidential (repeat), BBC3
Tuesday, June 14
8.00pm: DOCTOR WHO: "Boom Town!" (Episode 11), CBC TV, Canada
Episode 1 • March 26, 2005
Written by Russell T Davies
Directed by Keith Boak
Cast: Camille Coduri (Jackie Tyler), Noel Clarke (Mickey Smith), Mark Benton (Clive), Elli Garnett (Caroline), Adam McCoy (Clive's Son), Alan Ruscoe, Paul Kasey, David Sant, Elizabeth Fost, Helen Otway (Aliens), Nicholas Briggs (Alien Voice)
Episode 2 • April 2, 2005
Written by Russell T Davies
Directed by Euros Lyn
Cast: Zoe Wanamaker (Cassandra), Yasmin Bannerman (Jabe), Simon Day, Jimmy Vee (The Moxx of Balhoon), Camille Coduri (Jackie Tyler), Beccy Armory (Raffalo), Sara Stewart (Computer Voice), Silas Carson (Alien Voices)
Episode 3 • April 9, 2005
Written by Mark Gatiss
Directed by Euros Lyn
Cast: Simon Callow (Charles Dickens), Alan David (Gabriel Sneed), Eve Myles (Gwyneth), Huw Rhys (Redpath), Jennifer Hill (Mrs. Peace), Meic Povey (Driver), Wayne Cater (Stage Manager), Zoe Thorne (The Gelth)
Episode 4 • April 16, 2005
Written by Russell T Davies
Directed by Keith Boak
Cast: Penelope Wilton (Harriet Jones MP), Camille Coduri (Jackie Tyler), Noel Clarke (Mickey Smith), David Verrey (Joseph Green), Annette Badland (Margaret Blaine), Rupert Vansittart (General Asquith), Navin Chowdhry (Indra Ganesh), Naoko Mori (Dr. Sato), Eric Potts (Oliver Charles), Steven Speirs (Asst Commissioner Strickland), Corey Doabe (Spray Painter), Ceris Jones (Policeman), Jack Tarlton (Reporter), Lachele Carl (Reporter), Fiesta Mei Ling (Ru), Basil Chung (Bau), Andrew Marr (Himself), Matt Baker (Himself), Jimmy Vee (Alien Voices), Elizabeth Fost (Slitheen), Paul Kasey (Slitheen), Alan Ruscoe (Slitheen)
Episode 5 • April 23, 2005
Written by Russell T Davies
Directed by Keith Boak
Cast: Penelope Wilton (Harriet Jones MP), Camille Coduri (Jackie Tyler), Noel Clarke (Mickey Smith), David Verrey (Joseph Green), Annette Badland (Margaret Blaine), Rupert Vansittart (General Asquith), Steven Speirs (Asst Commissioner Strickland), Morgan Hopkins (Sergeant Price), Jack Tarlton (Reporter), Lachele Carl (Reporter), Andrew Marr (Himself), Corey Doabe (Spray Painter), Elizabeth Fost (Slitheen), Paul Kasey (Slitheen), Alan Ruscoe (Slitheen)
Episode 6 • April 30, 2005
Written by Robert Shearman
Directed by Joe Ahearne
Cast: Bruno Langley (Adam Mitchell), Corey Johnson (Henry), Anna-Louise Plowman (Diana), Steven Beckingham (Polkowski), John Schwab (Bywater), Jana Carpenter (DiMaggio), Nigel Whitmey (Simmons), Joe Montana (Commander), Barnaby Edwards (Dalek Operator), Nicholas Briggs (Dalek Voices)
Episode 7 • May 7, 2005
Written by Russell T Davies
Directed by Brian Grant
Cast: Simon Pegg (The Editor), Tamsin Greig (The Nurse), Bruno Langley (Adam Mitchell), Colin Prockter (Head Chef), Judy Holt (Sandra), Christine Adams (Cath), Anna Maxwell Martin (Suki)
Episode 8 • May 14, 2005
Written by Paul Cornell
Directed by Joe Ahearne
Cast: Shaun Dingwall (Pete), Camille Coduri (Jackie Tyler), Frank Rozelaar-Green (Sonny), Rhian James (Suzie), Eirlys Bellin (Bev), Christopher Llewellyn (Stuart), Natalie Jones (Sarah), Casey Dyer (Boy)
Episodes 9-10 • May 21/28, 2005
Written by Steven Moffat
Directed by James Hawes
Cast: John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness), Richard Wilson (Dr. Constantine), Florence Hoath (Nancy), Vilma Hollingberry (Mrs. Harcourt), Albert Valentine (Empty Child), Cheryl Fergison, Damian Samuels, Robert Hands, Martin Hodgson, Joseph Tremain, Jordan Murphy, Brandon Miller
Episode 11 • June 4, 2005
Written by Russell T Davies
Directed by Joe Ahearne
Cast: John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness), Aled Pedick (Idris), Will Thomas (Mr. Cleaver), Mali Harries (Cathy Salt)
Episodes 12-13 • June 11/18, 2005
Written by Russell T Davies
Directed by Joe Ahearne
Cast: John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness), Paterson Joseph (Rodrick), Camille Coduri (Jackie Tyler), Noel Clarke (Mickey Smith), Anne Robinson, Jamie Bradley (Strood), Abi Eniola (Crosbie), Jenna Russell, Jo Stone-Fewings (Male Programmer), Jo Joyner (Lynda Moss), Nisha Nayar (Female Programmer), Martha Cope (Controller), Sam Callis (Security Guard), Sebastian Armesto, Kate Loustau, Dominic Burgess, Karren Winchester
Executive Producers
Russell T Davies, Julie Gardner, Mal Young
Producer
Phil Collinson
Script Editors
Elwen Rowlands (1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13), Helen Raynor (2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12)
Series One Writers
Russell T Davies (1,2,4-5,7,11-13), Paul Cornell (8), Mark Gatiss (3), Steven Moffat (9, 10), Rob Shearman (6)
Directors
Keith Boak (1,4,5), Euros Lyn (2,3), Joe Ahearne (6,8,11-13), Brian Grant (7), James Hawes (9,10)
First Assistant Directors
George Gerwitz (1), Lloyd Ellis (2,3), James DaHaviland (4,5), Gareth Williams (6,8), Jon Older (9,10)
Second Assistant Directors
Steffan Morris (1), Sean Clayton
Third Assistant Director
Daffyd Rhys Parry (1), Dan Mumford
Associate Producer
Helen Vallis
Casting Director
Andy Pryor, CDG
Production Manager
Tracie Simpson
Production Accountant
Endaf Emyr Williams
Costume Designer
Lucinda Wright
Makeup Designer
Davy Jones
Theme / Incidental Music
Murray Gold
Production Designer
Edward Thomas
Director of Photography
Ernest Vincze
Visual Effects
The Mill
Special Effects
Any Effects
Prosthetics
Millennium Effects
Visual Effects Producer
Will Cohen
Visual Effects Supervisor
David Houghton
Editor
Mike Jones
Location Manager
Clive Evans
Unit Manager
Lowri Thomas
Production Coordinator
Dathyl Evans
Sound Recordist
Ian Richardson
Boom Operator
Damian Richardson
Gaffer
Mark Hutchings
Best Boy
Peter Chester
Stunt Coordinators
Rod Woodruff, Lucy Allen
Production Buyer
Catherine Samuel
Set Decorator
Peter Walpole
Supervising Art Director
Stephen Nicholas
Standby Art Director
Julian Luxton
Property Masters/Designers
Patrick Begley, Mark Cordory, Nicholas Robatto
Construction Manager
Andy Smith
Assistant Costume Designer
Yolanda Peart-Smith
Makeup Supervisor
Linda Davie
Makeup Artist
Sarah Wilson
Casting Associate
Kirsty Robertson
Post Production Supervisor
Marie Brown
On Line Editor
Matthew Clarke
Colourist
Kal van Beers
2D VFX Artists
Simon C. Holden, David Bowman, Sara Bennett, Alberto Montanes, Jennifer Herbert
3D VFX Artists
Andy Howell, Chris Tucker, Jean-Claude Deguara, Mark Wallman, Paul Burton, Chris Petts, Porl Perrot
Digital Matte Painter
Alex Fort
Dubbing Mixer
Tim Ricketts
Dialogue Editor
Paul McFadden
Sound Effects Editor
Paul Jefferies
Brand Manager
Ian Grutchfield
Business Manager
Richard Pugsley
Conceptual Artist
Bryan Hitch
Special Makeup & Prosthetics
Neill Gorton
Models & Miniatures
Mike Tucker
Action Vehicles
Miller's Action
Assistant Production Accountants
Debi Griffiths, Kath Blackman
Continuity
Sian Prosser
Choreographer
Ailsa Altena-Berk
Camera Operators
Mike Costelloe, Martin Stephens
Focus Pullers
Steve Lawes, Mark Isaac
Grip
John Robinson
Special Thanks To
Russell T Davies
Rob Shearman
Paul Cornell
Steven Moffat
Mark Gatiss
Roger Anderson
Chuck Foster
Paul Hayes
Jim Sangster
Jamie Austin
John Bowman

Plus everyone credited in the news stories.