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The Doctor Who Television Series News Page and Outpost Gallifrey are copyright © 2005; all rights reserved. Any duplication or reproduction of items on this page without permission of the editor is prohibited. Credits and acknowledgements are noted below. Click here to submit news or contact the editor.
Editor: Shaun Lyon.   Associate Editors: Paul F. Engelberg & Steve Tribe.
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Boom Town Overnights
June 5, 2005
The overnight figures for Boom Town show 7.13 million viewers tuned in for the eleventh episode of the series, with a 36.95% audience share; "Doctor Who" was first in its time slot. This is the first time it's been back over seven million viewers in the initial overnights in three weeks (because of the early start time for "The Empty Child" and the bank holiday weekend affecting "The Doctor Dances"). More precise data should be in tomorrow.
Weekend Update
June 4, 2005
For the last time until Christmas, the BBC Press Office's weekly Programme Information release previews the new series, covering The Parting of the Ways in its Saturday Highlights (note: PDF file). "The Doctor's travels reach a terrifying conclusion as the Earth is plunged into all-out war, in the final episode of the popular series written by Russell T Davies. Rose Tyler has faced danger and seen wonders alongside The Doctor, but now their friendship is put to the test as Earth plunges into an epic war. With the human race being slaughtered, The Doctor is forced into terrible action. Will the time-travellers ever be reunited? Christopher Eccleston is The Doctor, Billie Piper is Rose, John Barrowman is Captain Jack Harkness, Camille Coduri is Jackie Tyler and Noel Clarke is Mickey Smith."

On Thursday, the Press Office also released official confirmation of the sale of the series to Korea television, as reported on Outpost Gallifrey and in various UK newspapers: "Pagishikinda! Pagishikinda! Now the Daleks take on Doctor Who in Korea. In the first deal of its kind, BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, has concluded a contract with Korea's biggest public television station, KBS, for the smash hit BBC One series, Doctor Who. This is the first time a UK drama series has been sold to a Korean public station, and KBS will launch Doctor Who on KBS 2 in a primetime, two-hour slot on Sunday 5 June. Viewers will be introduced to 'Dacter Who' (Doctor Who), his companion Rose, and enemy, the Daleks, who blast, 'Pagishikinda!' ('Exterminate!'). KBS will broadcast two episodes per week, and the series will be dubbed for the Korean audience. Russell T. Davies, writer and executive producer of Doctor Who said, 'The Doctor has travelled far and wide and knows no boundary and now the programme is doing much the same! We are delighted that Korea has embraced this wonderful adventure.' Jungwon Lee, Executive Director, KBS Media, said: 'We are very excited to launch Doctor Who on our network. For the first time in a primetime weekend slot, we are bringing the latest hit BBC drama to our Korean audience and anticipate a great reaction from all age groups.' Linfield Ng, Korea and Taiwan Territory Manager, BBC Worldwide (Asia) added: 'We are delighted that one of Asia's largest public broadcasters, KBS, is supporting one of the most recognised BBC brands. We thank KBS for being so ambitious in launching Doctor Who in such a great time slot.'"

The BBC has opened up their new Bad Wolf website at www.badwolf.org.uk. Beware spoilers... this website brings together all of the clues and information about the Bad Wolf in the first series of Doctor Who along with theories and even a surprise or two (look around and highlight things...) Meanwhile, the official site's "Last Dalek" game has reached half a million players; Yorkshire Today covers that story.

There are a few spoilers for the next two episodes in the spoiler tags below! Read at your own risk!

Today's Western Mail says of Boom Town: "The Western Mail is making headlines again, but of a slightly different kind. Tonight, Wales' national newspaper will feature in the latest installment of Doctor Who on BBC1. In an episode called Boom Town, the Doctor is seen reading the paper... [the] front-page coverage by the newspaper which tells the Doctor an alien is in town. Writer Russell T Davies said he wanted to include a copy of the newspaper in the show to prove the modern version of the cult classic is made in Wales. When the Swansea-born writer drew the blinds and shut himself away to write Doctor Who in his Cardiff Bay flat, he wanted to feature something that he felt summed up Wales - so he chose the Western Mail. He said, 'I read the Western Mail and I used it to make the show as Welsh as possible. We have had hundreds of people from Cardiff working on the programme, hosting venues, feeding the crew and appearing on camera and when a city works that hard, I like it to try and feature as much of it as I can.'"

Meanwhile, the episode was promoted on BBC1 with a short trailer. The trailer opens with the TARDIS in the vortex, before shots of the Doctor and Rose in the TARDIS. Finally the Slitheen is seen removing her human guise. Over these clips the Doctor is heard: "I've travelled to all sorts of places... done things you couldn't even imagine." The trailer ends with the Doctor and Rose standing in the TARDIS from the specially shot season promotion and aired on 3rd June at approximately 5.35pm, immediately prior to "Neighbours".

Yahoo News says that Brookside actress Jennifer Sprang wants to take over for Billie Piper next year. "At the start of last year, rumours were rife that ex-Brookie actress Anna Friel was about to be whisked off around the universe by an eccentric time-traveller who's over 900-years old. With news that Christopher Eccleston had been cast as the ninth Doctor Who, speculation mounted that Anna would play the character of Rose Tyler. The feisty shop assistant role was eventually taken by Billie Piper. But now Piper is said to be leaving the show half way through 2006's run, the rumour mills are working overtime with suggestions as to her possible successor - and once again a former Brookside star is in the frame. Jennifer Ellison sprang to fame as bad girl Emily Shadwick in the scouse soap, and is said to be desperate to land the job. Her spokesman told the Daily Star: 'She would love the role - she'd be ideal.' But Jennifer is not the only ex-Brookie resident to step on board the Tardis. In 2004, it was announced that Philip Olivier - better known as her onscreen husband, Tinhead - was to join Sylvester McCoy's Doctor for a series of audio-only adventures available on CD. Over the years the TARDIS has also dropped off a number of Doctor Who alumni in the now deserted Brookside Close. ... So will the Brookside connection prove strong enough to secure Jennifer her place onboard the Tardis? Appropriately enough, time will tell…"

Peter Davison wants to be in the new series. "I would love to do a cameo visit as my old self," says Davison. "I'm disappointed that Eccleston is only doing one series but Tennant is a genuine Doctor Who fan and a great actor. He'll bring a real sincerity to the role." The news story has been reported by Contact Music, FemaleFirst.

John Barrowman will appear on June 25 at the London Film and Comic Con in Earl's Court. The event also has Blake's Seven alumni and Doctor Who guest stars Paul Darrow, Jacqueline Pearce, Peter Tuddenham and Michael Keating. Further details are available at the Collectormania website. Barrowman will also be doing the Walk For Life, an annual 10k sponsored walk through London, on June 19 for the national UK HIV charity Crusaid; information and registration details for the day can be found at the Walk For Life website.

Writer Rob Shearman ("Dalek") has penned Afternoon Play - Teacher's Pet, a radio play set for broadcast on Tuesday, June 28 from 2.15pm to 3.00pm on BBC Radio 4. "When schoolmaster Peter bumps into his old French teacher, Mrs Townsend, it becomes clear they have a shared secret, and there may still be some surprising lessons to be learned. Twenty years ago, Peter, a teenager, develops a ‘crush’ on Stephanie Townsend, a female teacher at his school, and determines to ‘win’ her. Now a teacher himself, he is approached by Stephanie many years later. In the past, and horrified at the compromising situation in which she finds herself, she rejects him and in a fit of pique, young Peter ensures the school is informed that he’s had an inappropriate liaison. Forced to resign quietly because of the hint of scandal, Mrs Townsend’s marriage, already rocky, founders and peters out. In the present day, when Stephanie Townsend seeks Peter out, it is unclear what she wants – revenge or reconciliation. Carolyn Seymour stars as Stephanie with Simon Templeman as Peter and Steven Geller as both Young Peter and Philip." Martin Jarvis ("Vengeance on Varos," "Jubilee") produces along with his wife, Rosalind Ayres. BBC Radio 4 will also revive Dixon of Dock Green this summer, with David Tennant (the new Doctor) playing Andy Crawford; more details on that soon.

ITV will revive a quiz show to regain its prominence on Saturday night. "The Big Call," a studio-based general knowledge quiz presented by former Pop Idol judge Neil Fox, matches six members of the public with six celebrities competing to win either a cash prize of £20,000 or 100,000 tickets for that evening's lottery. Interestingly, "ITV said it had yet to decide on a definitive time slot, but a 'mid-evening' target for the 60-minute show, which launches on June 18, suggests it will be avoiding a clash with the last episode in the current series of BBC1's Doctor Who," says a report. ITV was the dominant force on Saturday nights until Doctor Who came back to television.

Some press mentions: The Sun (3rd June) featured an item covering Anne Robinson's upcoming appearance in "Doctor Who". The brief article (entitled "Anne-Droid") included a large photograph from the episode showing a "Weakest Link" contestant being 'zapped' by Anne's character. ITV Teletext (4th June) had "Doctor Who" as a TV Pick, under the title "Is it time to Dai for Dr Who?". The item opened with: "Chief Doctor Who scribe Russell T Davies takes a full-blown writing credit in this episode set in his beloved Cardiff..." before moving on to plot details. The Daily Star (4th June) ran an item entitled "###' fight to finish" regarding the return to "Doctor Who" of some old nasties in the very near future (we've taken out the name of the aliens, but you probably know what's coming if you see the trailer for next week...) The item was accompanied by a large photograph of Billie Piper and a smaller picture of flying saucers in space. The Star TV Mag listed "Boom Town" as 5-Star 'HOT': "It's common for alarm bells to ring when plans are announced to build a nuclear power station. But the Doctor finds out this week that the proposal to build one in Cardiff is a little more controversial than most. Since it's hiding an alien plot to destroy Planet Earth, the local residents are going to be really cross." And Have I Got News For You...? (BBC1, 3rd June) closed its final episode of this series with a culmination of the running gag of Ian Hislop being the new Doctor Who as his face was morphed over a picture of Chris and Billie, accompanied by the TARDIS sound effect.

More references: Armando Iannucci's Charm Offensive (Radio 4, 1st June) discussed the influence of television on teenage behaviour and featured a curious reference to "Doctor Who", with one participant noting:"There's no doubting that teenagers do copy what they see on TV, though. There's a kid on my street...all last week he was time-travelling and gurning!". The Sun (2nd June) featured numerous "Doctor Who" references. The story told by Russell T Davies in the "Radio Times" about the man involved in the car accident was covered under the title "I need a Doctor...". A centre-page feature on scientists opinions of what aliens would look like featured a Dalek. David Tennant's new role in ITV1's "Secret Smile" was covered in "Who's A Psycho" while one of the "Random TV Irritations was "Dr Who's fixation with London" (although the same person does describe "Doctor Who" as "TV Gold"). ITV Telextext (2nd June) ran an item on ITV1's new show "The Big Call" which will spearhead their Saturday night schedules from 18 June. The item noted: "ITV has lost viewers this spring since the arrival of Doctor Who on BBC1. Celebrity Wrestling and Hit Me Baby One More Time failed to take off." While it featured no actual "Doctor Who" content Dead Ringers (BBC2, 2nd June) was trailed with a 'Christopher Eccleston' complaining "Doctor this, Doctor that...".

Empire Magazine briefly, but rather positively, reviews the DVD release of Russell T Davies' Casanova this week, devoting approximately half its wordcount to telling readers that "the series is most notable for the first team-up of TV's hottest celebrity scribe - Dr Who's Russell T. Davies - and the man set to take over the Tardis in the next series.... Judging by this, Who 2005 v.2 is going to fly."

Other news items: The Mirror, the Daily Record and Hello Magazine talk about Anne Robinson's appearance in next weekend's "Bad Wolf"; the Sydney Morning Herald discusses "The Unquiet Dead," soon to be broadcast on ABC in Australia; "Unquiet Dead" writer Mark Gatiss and his fellow "League of Gentlemen" folk are interviewed by icHuddersfield; "I really need a Doctor..." says a man to The Sun, when a driver trapped in his car after a crash asked a paramedic for a mobile to phone his wife and get her to video Dr Who; TV Quick has a poll for top TV in the UK, with Eccleston in the Best Actor section, Piper in Best Actress and the series in Best New Drama.

(Thanks to Paul Engelberg, Steve Tribe, Mark Stammers, Jamie Austin, Matt Kimpton, Stuart from Showmasters, Elizabeth Hyder, Dan McGrath)
Says the Mirror: "This is the moment that Rose Tyler is captured by Doctor Who's arch-enemy, the Daleks. About a million of them converge on the planet Game Station where our heroes been dicing with death on special versions of Big Brother and The Weakest Link. And then they grab Rose! Could this be the end for her? (Er no, 'cos Billie's back - for a bit - in the next series...) Can the Doc save her? (Almost certainly.) Tune in on June 11 for more intergalactic action, followed by a full-scale war in the final episode a week later. Those pesky Daleks..."

Today's Sun also showed pictures of Rose being held captive by an army of half a million Daleks, as well as hologram of the Doctor. The hologram picture can be seen here.
New Series Books Update
June 2, 2005
Amazon.co.uk has published the cover illustrations for the forthcoming BBC Books novel The Deviant Strain by Justin Richards, due out in September, as well as two of Penguin Publishing's Doctor Who tie-in books, the Intergalactic Activity Book and the Sticker Guide. Click on the thumbnails below for larger versions of each image. Also revealed on Amazon are the cover blurbs for the other two Doctor Who new series novels due out in September, Only Human and The Stealers of Dreams, which are reproduced below (we previously posted the blurb for "Deviant Strain" and you can find it in our Releases guide.)


The Stealers of Dreams, by Steve Lyons

In the far future, the Doctor, Rose and Captain Jack find a world on which fiction has been outlawed. A world where it's a crime to tell stories, a crime to lie, a crime to hope, and a crime to dream. But now somebody is challenging the status quo. A pirate TV station urges people to fight back. And the Doctor wants to help - until he sees how easily dreams can turn into nightmares. With one of his companions stalked by shadows and the other committed to an asylum, the Doctor is forced to admit that fiction can be dangerous after all. Though perhaps it is not as deadly as the truth...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.

Only Human, by Gareth Roberts

Somebody s interfering with time. The Doctor, Rose and Captain Jack arrive on modern-day Earth to find the culprit and discover a Neanderthal Man, twenty-eight thousand years after his race became extinct. Only a trip back to the primeval dawn of humanity can solve the mystery. Who are the mysterious humans from the distant future now living in that distant past? What hideous monsters are trying to escape from behind the Grey Door? Is Rose going to end up married to a caveman? Caught between three very different types of human being past, present and future the Doctor, Rose and Captain Jack must learn the truth behind the Osterberg experiment before the monstrous Hy-Bractors escape to change humanity s history forever Featuring the Doctor, Rose and Captain Jack as played by Christopher Eccleston, Billie Piper and John Barrowman in the hit series from BBC Television.
Brief Wednesday News Update
June 1, 2005
The final BARB ratings figure for The Empty Child has been released: 7.11 million viewers watched the episode. The series was eighth in the week's top ten British broadcasts.

Part three of the Canadian network CBC's Planet of the Doctor web documentary is up on their website.

A few Doctor Who related news stories today in the press: the Rainbow Network features a report on the series plus comments about Christopher Eccleston; Playbill discusses John Barrowman's newest endeavour: his UK cabaret debut in July in Knightsbridge; This is London features an update on Billie Piper's housing situation in Hampstead; and the Guardian "Slack Dad" column heaps praise on the new Doctor Who series.

(Thanks to Steve Tribe, Paul Engelberg, Chuck Foster, Scott Matthewman)
Monday-Tuesday Series News
June 1, 2005
This week's Radio Times is now out, with the customary plug for the next episode, Boom Town on Saturday in "RT recommends... the week's best television" (page 4), describing the episode as "Frenetic fun". This week's letter writers are missing the point about programmes other than Doctor Who, but "Doctor Who Watch" continues (page 18), with photographs of Annette Badland as Margaret Blaine and a Slitheen accompanying an interview with Russell T Davies about the show's success ("we seem to have got it right. That's no reason to sit on your laurels, but it's quite weird"), his expectations for David Tennant ("He'll be different. He'll have his own traits. I'm writing that now.") and what he'd like to achieve with Series 2 ("we've set ourselves a challenge right from the start by having a new Doctor"). He also notes that "The fact that [the Slitheen] are back is dealt with in the first ten minutes, then the episode becomes a character-led piece about the Doctor's lifestyle [...] leaving the consequences of his actions behind him." On the same page, there's a short quote from Christopher Eccleston on Annette Badland: "the performance of the series [...] she just pinions the poor Doctor, in the same way as the Daleks do. It's spellbinding to watch." Once again, this weekend's episode is Saturday's pick of the day (page 64), with a colour photo of Margaret, Mickey and the TARDIS crew and the comment that "the smile count is high and there's plenty of dramatic meat on the bones. But there's no time to develop it [...] That said, it's slick, busy and, above all, great fun." A small photo of the Doctor and Jack heads Saturday evening's BBC1 listing (page 66): "The Doctor encounters an enemy he thought long since dead as a plan to build a nuclear power station conceals an alien plot to destroy the world." In Doctor Who Confidential, Jabe and Gwyneth "are honoured as unsung heroes from the current series who've laid down their lives to aid the Doctor." Lastly, RT Direct, the magazine's home shopping service, is this week promoting a range of digital television and DVD items, on the screens of which are Eccleston and Piper... well, it's what everyone's watching, isn't it?

Panini Books has released the cover illustration for the forthcoming Doctor Who Annual 2006, due out later this year. At right is a thumbnail of the cover illustration (sent to us by Tenth Planet; click on the thumbnail for a larger version.)

The official site has been updated with a "Boom Town" feel. The front page features what appears to be a post-nuclear Cardiff wasteland, in the midst of which is the TARDIS, with some mouse-revealed graffiti... So far, only the photo gallery has been updated for the next episode, although, as ever, video diaries and photo stories are promised for the weekend. Also, icWales previews "Boom Town" today, while Heat magazine previews "Boom Town" and the following episode, "Bad Wolf". Because both are full of spoilers, we've put them in the spoiler tag at the end of today's article.

BBC Worldwide has today issued a press release concerning the properties it is promoting at Licensing International in New York in June, led by Doctor Who. As well as confirming that filming begins for Series Two and the Christmas special this summer, the press release confirms the existing licensing partners as Italy, Holland, Finland, Denmark, Hungary, Korea, Thomsonfly (formerly Britannia Airways), Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The relevant sections of the press release note that "BBC Worldwide is a global leader in the business of entertainment rights management and these new properties, Doctor Who and Charlie and Lola, sit happily within its portfolio of high quality brands."

This week's showing of "The End of the World" in Australia made it into the Australian Top 50, showing at #48... better, in fact, than the debut episode, "Rose". The story rated 1,051,000 in the 5 main capitals (a slight drop in raw numbers from "Rose" but posting higher on the charts.) It was ABC Television's fourth highest rated programme after two editions of ABC News and "Australian Story".

Monday's Guardian has another in a string of highly positive reviews for the series, describing Doctor Who as one of the two best series of 2005 (the other being a documentary history of Soul music). Reviewer Rupert Smith thinks that The Doctor Dances "elevated an already great series into the realms of art." Likening the episode to the series 1960s/1970s "heyday" and citing various moments, he says that "you just don't get this sort of thing in British TV any more [...] The Tardis really is the fun place to be these days." The full review can be read at the website.

Today's Sun and Star both report on robot versions of Trinny and Susannah from "What Not to Wear," as being seen in the episode "Bad Wolf" in two weeks, along with photos of John Barrowman from the episode.

Issue 132 of SFX Magazine goes on sale on June 8. The issue has "an army of Daleks on the cover, and inside there's a nine page Doctor Who feature, which is a look forward at season two. The spine of the piece is an extensive Q&A with Russell T Davies, but it also includes an exclusive interview with concept designer Bryan Hitch, which includes his very first concept sketch of the TARDIS interior - drawn before he was even hired by the Beeb!; Steven Moffat giving a few hints about his season two episode, which he says will be "sexier" than The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances; an interview with Jack Barrowman (aka Captain Jack Harkness); an interview with Julie Gardner; a great opening spread image of Eccleston morphing into David Tennant (lovely!)" SFX has also posted the extended portion of the Barrowman interview on their website here, and the SFX site will soon be posting a special exclusive clip: an animated 3D visualisation of Bryan's initial concept for the TARDIS interior. The cover illustration is at right.

Australian newspaper The Age discusses the forthcoming Australia/New Zealand touring stage presentation Inside the TARDIS, featuring Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Katy Manning in select cities to promote the new series (see our May 19 story on the general Doctor Who news page here). "Don't expect Shakespeare, but for both hardcore fans and those new to the adventures of the Time Lord, the show will be a celebration of all things Who, with classic BBC clips and insiders' stories from a select group of former cast members."

According to a release from the BBC Press Office, new series writer and prominent fan Mark Gatiss has begun filming a role in BBC Three's new "comic thriller" Funland, which is co-written by his fellow League of Gentlemen member Jeremy Dyson. Set in the northern seaside town of Blackpool, the series is due to show on BBC Three in the autumn, consisting of one 60-minute and eleven 30-minute episodes. "Mark Gatiss (The League of Gentlemen) plays the bizarre and haughty repressed taxidermist Ambrose Chapfel," the press release says.

The Stage today noted that drama commissioning at the BBC is to undergo a "significant overhaul, with executives able to commission two or three series of popular shows at a time, in a bid to retain talent for future productions. In an unprecedented move for the Corporation, multiple runs of programmes such as Spooks, Hustle and Waking the Dead could be commissioned in one block rather than consecutively." Said Jane Tranter of BBC Drama, "Double commissioning is designed to allow independent production companies the creative freedom to think further forward with their development of long-running drama for the BBC. This is a clear commitment from us to secure the very best drama for our audience and another way of making commissioning more nimble." Noted in the article is that the BBC recently came under fire for failing to ensure that Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper were contracted for more than one series of Doctor Who. However the new process only applies to returning dramas that have proved their popularity and would not have kept the pair in their roles for a second run of the show.

Last week's Surrey Comet (a local newspaper) detailed a "win your own Dalek" competition and showed Christopher Eccleston's visit to a local school. "A timelord can turn up wherever he wants, whenever he wants- so school leavers at Great Court School felt honored to meet the latest incarnation of Dr Who. Actor Christopher Eccleston dropped in at the school in Ham Street, Ham to attend their leaving certificate ceremony. The year 11 students whose last day of school before taking GCSEs was on Friday-were also presented with record of achievement folders to mark their progress to date."

Yesterday's Huddersfield Examiner asks, "The wonderful new series of Doctor Who continues to go from strength to strength. So why did they get such basic details of the Blitz wrong? ... The writing, direction, acting and verve of the production was great - so how did they get the blackout so badly wrong? During the war, no light could be shown in case it acted as a guide to attacking bombers. Every window was covered with a blackout curtain and front doors were not opened until interior lights had been turned off. But not in Doctor Who. At the height of a bombing raid, RAF pilots stand on a balcony in the heart of London enjoying a drink with the curtains wide open and the lights blazing out behind them."

Other news: The People, Digital Spy and CBBCNews all report on the Billie Piper/how many episodes in season two? story; there are reviews of recent episodes at The Guardian and the Sydney Morning Herald.

(Thanks to Paul Engelberg, Steve Tribe, Adam Kirk, Stuart Ian Burns, Ian Berriman, Robert Simpson, Chuck Foster, Peter Weaver, Ian O'Brien)
From Heat Magazine:

Boom Town: Remember those green, but-eyed monsters called the Slitheen from earlier this series? Well, they're back in undoubtedly the funniest episode so far. The Doctor, Rose, their new companion Captain Jack (whose flirtatious banter with the Doctor is a joy) and Rose's boyfriend unite to foil a rogue Slitheen's attempt to destroy Earth. Watch in wonder as the Doctor takes the Slitheen lady to dinner.

Bad Wolf - Get ready for the most amazing Doctor Who of the series so far, and it's like an episode specially dreamt up for Heat readers. Writer Russell T Davies has come up with a story revolving around Reality TV for the penultimate episode of the series, and it features guest appearances from Trinny and Susannah, Anne Robinson and Davina McCall. In the episode, called Bad Wolf, the Doctor and his companions Rose (Billie Piper) and Captain jack (John Barrowman) get stuck in a future world of Reality TV shows. The Doctor ends up in the Big Brother house, complete with voice-over from Davina, Rose encounters an Anne Robinson robot fronting the Weakest Link, and Jack gets a makeover from Trinny and Susannah - who are turned into androids. Watch this episode.
Sunday Series Update
May 29, 2005
The overnight ratings for The Doctor Dances are in. The episode was watched by an average of 6.17 million viewers with a 35.9% viewing audience share, peaking in the second quarter-hour of the episode with 6.30 million. "Doctor Who" was the most watched programme of Saturday, day or night (versus 3.2 million for the ITV showing of "X-Men" at the same time) and while the overall viewer ratings are the lowest so far, this was during a major bank holiday weekend in Britain.

Meanwhile, a report on this week's airing of Father's Day on CBC in Canada: the episode was viewed by 809,000 viewers, down due to its main competition, the season finale of "American Idol". However, "Doctor Who" continues to hold on to 8pm's number two spot on Canadian networks, while rounding out the top four for all primetime (8pm to 11pm).

An update on the Billie Piper situation. Today's "News of the World," a tabloid, reports that Piper is not leaving the series at all, and will appear in all episodes of the next series despite reports to the contrary. "The People" also reports today that Piper "is to earn £120,000 after agreeing to star in four extra episodes of Doctor Who. The actress announced that she was quitting the show last week, and originally planned to star in just three episodes of the show's second series. However, Billie, who plays Rose Tyler, will now appear in seven episodes of the next series. 'It's great news she's on board for more,' an insider told The People." The reports on her possible departure vary widely, obviously; time will tell as to whether she stays for the entire season or leaves at some point therein.

Today's Telegraph covers the sale of the series to South Korea. "Pagishikinda! Pagishikinda! This is the blood-curdling cry of the world's first Korean-speaking Dalek. Doctor Who, the popular science fiction drama, has made history by becoming the first BBC drama series to be sold to South Korea." The series will be known in the country as "Dacter Who" and the Korean broadcaster KBS 2 will show two different episodes each week, starting with its debut next weekend, to make it easier for viewers to get to know the character. Says Russell T Davies, "The Doctor has travelled far and wide and knows no boundary and now the programme is doing much the same." Jungwon Lee, executive director of KBS Media, said: "We are very excited to launch Dr Who on the network. We anticipate a great reaction from all age groups."

Also notable about the Telegraph article is that it mentions expanded airings of the show on various airlines. Previously the series had been announced as airing on Thomsonfly Airlines, a local carrier (and only the first episode) but the Telegraph article says that the series "has also been sold to some of the world's biggest airlines including British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand who will begin broadcasting it from next month."

Last week's Dead Ringers didn't have a Doctor Who sketch proper, but did have a spoof news item on the DVD getting a PG rating for scenes of cruelty to a Dalek. They claimed the BBC had pointed out that there was a helpline number at the end of the show for Daleks who had been affected by any of the issues in the programme. The show also featured a piece on the resignation of former BBC political editor Andrew Marr (seen as himself in "Aliens of London" and "World War Three"). Marr explained that it was because he had evolved into an uber-correspondent, and would from now on exist as a being of pure energy, reporting news from throughout the universe.

BBC News illustrated a story on the revelation that space-time wormholes can't function as a stable means of achieving time-travel (apparently) with a screengrab from the new series titles, mentioning in the text that the tunnel seen in the credits of Doctor Who looks suspiciously like a wormhole, "although the Doctor's preferred method of travel is not explained in detail".

(Thanks to Steve Berry, Rod Mammitzsch, Paul Hayes, Peter Weaver, Matt Kimpton)
The Week's TV News Coverage
May 28, 2005
Editor's Note: As reported on Outpost Gallifrey's front page, I've been out of commission for a week due to illness. The following news article wraps up the series related highlights from the press on May 21-28:

The Billie Piper Story

The Dreamwatch exclusive that Billie Piper may not be appearing in all 13 episodes of Series Two -- reported on Outpost Gallifrey prior to the break -- was picked up in a large number of international news reports on Monday 23 May and throughout the following week. First off was the Daily Star, which gave the story front page status, and also set the tone of a show in crisis, its stars abandoning ship… With Rose's second-series episode count reportedly as low as three, The Sun soon joined the fray, along with the Daily Mirror, the Daily Mail, De Havilland, Brand Republic's Media Bulletin, The Scotsman, the Daily Record, Ireland Online, U.TV, Hello!, the Irish Examiner, the icNetwork, RTE Interactive, CBBC Newsround, Manchester Online, Contact Music, Female First, the Daily Express, World Entertainment News Network, the Herald-Sun (Aus), Newsquest, the Evening Standard, Digital Spy, SyFyPortal, The Guardian, the Melbourne Herald Sun, the Sydney Morning Herald, News.com (Aus), The Mercury (Aus), Dark Horizons, Mega Star, the Press Association, Northern Territory News (Aus), the Newcastle Herald, the Courier Mail (Queensland), The Age (Aus), Sky Showbiz, Ananova, ITV.com, the Western Mail, and the Doctor Who Appreciation Society rounded up much of the coverage on its own site.

BBC News and BBC Cult also reported on the reports, which prompted the press release that emerged on Monday afternoon from the BBC Press Office: "The BBC today confirmed that Billie Piper - who plays Doctor Who's companion Rose - will return for the second series on BBC ONE. A spokeswoman said: 'Billie Piper will return for the second series of Doctor Who. It has not been confirmed how many episodes she will be in. We are awaiting storylines and scripts.'" However, this is a not a denial that the actress is leaving, merely the official statement made by the production at this time.

The Daily Mirror was the first of many of the above papers to speculate on likely replacements for Rose, although its definition of 'likely' probably differs from the BBC's, including various singers and ex-singers, along with some familiar names from the acting and entertainment worlds. Among the names most often mentioned this past week were Michelle Ryan (Zoe Slater in EastEnders) and Jennifer Ellison (formerly in Channel 4's Brookside, now a regular in various 'celebrity' reality TV shows). The latter, at least, seems to have cropped up so often thanks to assiduous efforts by her agent: she's blond (like Billie); she can sing (like Billie); she's a celebrity (like Billie); and she's also been firmly reported in recent weeks as the next Bond girl amongst several other projects. The Mirror notes that "auditions began last week and TV bosses are keen to sign a dark-haired girl with a posh accent."

Episodes 10-12

The official site was as usual updated earlier this week to preview the new episode, #10, The Doctor Dances. This week's Fear Factor preview gives the episode a score of 4: Chilling. The episode has also been previewed in the Sunday Times ("ingenious"), the Taunton Times, and The Stage, which concentrates on John Barrowman's role as Captain Jack.

As usual, this week's Radio Times continues to give plenty of coverage, once again selecting Doctor Who as its top pick for Saturday ("RT recommends…", page 4): "an enjoyable, even uplifting adventure set during the Second World War." There's another letter on the new series, although this one has its writer taken aback by sight of "that little patterned dress I'd noticed in Top Shop!" ("Letters", page 10). After a two-page feature on Peter Davison's return in The Last Detective, this week's full-page "Doctor Who Watch" (page 16) is headed "To be continued…" and concentrates on the importance of cliffhangers in Doctor Who, via an interview with Steven Moffat ("it is wonderful to build it up to that screaming pitch, and the series does -- and this is a matter of absolute fact -- have the best cliffhanger music ever in the world") and a couple of colour shots from The Doctor Dances. There's also an opportunity for RT readers to get a free copy of Pyramids of Mars on DVD, as part of a DVD rentals promotion (page 17). Episode 10 recaptures the Pick of the Day slot ("Saturday's Choices", page 64, with a large photo of Captain Jack): "the Doctor's way of dealing with the advancing hordes [of zombies] is as sweet as it is unexpected. It's the first of many pleasing surprises in tonight's episode […] if any watching grown-ups still can't remember why they fell in love with the show originally, this story ought to do the trick. Full of wonder and wit, it's also Christopher Eccleston's finest hour." The Doctor Dances also regains the photo (Richard Wilson and Eccleston) slot at the head of the evening's BBC1 listings (page 66), with the episode details including promotion for the Volume 1 DVD release, and Doctor Who Confidential's listing says that "this programme looks at some of the gizmos and gadgets at the good Doctor's disposal." The BBC3 repeats are confirmed for the 12.15am on Saturday night and 7pm on Sunday evening (with another Confidential Cut Down at 7.45pm).

The BBC Press Office has released its weekly programme information documents (note: all documents are PDFs) for the week beginning Saturday 4 June. The Saturday highlights document previews Bad Wolf episode 12 as follows: "The Tardis crew fight for their lives on the Game Station in Russell T Davies’s penultimate adventure through time and space. The Doctor, Rose and Captain Jack have to fight for their lives on board the Game Station, but a far more dangerous threat is lurking, just out of sight. The Doctor realises that the entire human race has been blinded to the threat on its doorstep, and Armageddon is fast approaching. Christopher Eccleston plays The Doctor, Billie Piper plays Rose, John Barrowman plays Captain Jack Harkness, Camille Coduri plays Jackie Tyler, Noel Clarke plays Mickey Smith and special guest star Anne Robinson plays Anne Droid."

Ratings and Broadcasting

Episode 9, The Empty Child was well received by the UK press, with the Daily Express calling it "a brilliantly crafted episode". However, the overnight ratings for the episode were noticeably lower than for any other episode in the series, following the shift to an earlier timeslot to accommodate the Eurovision Song Contest, football-inspired last-minute changes to BBC1's Saturday evening schedule, and competition from a Star Wars film on ITV1. The episode scored a 6.6 million viewer average in its initial Saturday 21 May airing, but still placed a 34.9% share; the ratings peaked late in the episode 6.7m, and a 35% audience share, against 19% with 3.5m for The Phantom Menace. Once again, Doctor Who was top in its timeslot, although the FA Cup Final, Eurovision and Casualty all attracted higher ratings across the day. It also rated 181,390 viewers (4.2% share) in its 12.20am repeat late that night, and 669,400 viewers (4.2% share) in its Sunday night BBC3 repeat. It is interesting to note that the Sunday repeat is the highest-rated repeat of this season, meaning that it's possible that large numbers of people that intended to watch it Saturday missed out. Doctor Who Confidential episode nine had 405,130 viewers (3.2% share) in its initial airing at 7.10pm on Saturday 21 May, with 101,510 viewers (3.5% share) in the 1.05am repeat late that night.

The final UK ratings are in from BARB for episode 8, Father's Day: 8.06m, first in its timeslot, first for BBC1 on Saturday, fifth (behind four episodes of EastEnders) on BBC1 through the week, and 17th in the week's top terrestrial programming, behind the usual round of soaps, Heartbeat and the British Soap Awards. More detailed ratings information for the whole series so far is also available in the Outpost Gallifrey Forum.

"Rose" made its ABC Australia debut on Saturday 21 May and was among the weekend's top-rating shows, with 1,109,686 reported viewers. The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) noted that the series "was first in its 7.30pm timeslot for the ABC. It won in four of the five major capital cities, only just edged out by Channel 7's Inspector Lynley in Brisbane."

In addition to our announcement last week about South Korea getting the series, Benjamin Elliott of "This Week in Doctor Who" reports that TV2 in Finland is the latest acquirer of the new series. TV2 airs English language programming in English with subtitles - no dubbing. The station's statement (in Finnish, translated), says that it "has purchased the rights to Doctor Who, the cult youth sci-fi series, from the BBC. The BBC has produced an impressive new version which will be shown on TV2." This means that Finland is added to the list that includes the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Italy and South Korea.

Canada's CBC has scheduled repeats of Doctor Who Sundays at 7PM (7:30PM Newfoundland) starting June 19. This will make the CBC the first network around the world to give the Doctor Who episodes a second airing (not counting same week encores). It also means that the repeats will begin before the first run of the series on Tuesday nights ends on June 28.

20th Century Roadshow will be transmitted on Sunday, June 5 at 6.45pm on BBC1. The special features Doctor Who merchandise and memorabilia. The Doctor Who Appreciation Society has a review/preview available at their website.

Merchandise

Volume 1 of the Doctor Who new series DVDs, comprising "Rose", "The End of the World" and "The Unquiet Dead" was officially released on Monday 16 May, to great reviews and sales success. It made a Top 10 debut in several charts of DVD sales, including at Number 9 in the Official Chart listed on the BBCs' Radio 1 site. Several high street stores have also featured the DVD in their top tens (although these tend to be for promotional purposes rather than sales based), and the release was the bestseller at the BBC Shop as of 27 May, ahead of all other DVDs, CDs and books. Reviews have appeared in various Newsquest Media titles. (If you'd like to order it from Amazon.co.uk and support the Outpost, click here.)

The first three BBC Books novels featuring the Ninth Doctor and Rose were officially published on Thursday 19 May and, according to Friday 27 May's Publishing News, are already into a second printing after extremely strong sales. Publishing News reports that the three books "were reprinted before they even officially hit the shops on Thursday of last week. The original print run was 100,000 for all four, and the reprint was 75,000." "They're very, very successful, which isn't surprising considering the publicity and reviews that Doctor Who has had," Jon Howells, Press and Communications Manager for Ottakar's, told Publishing News. "They've had great sales, and I think that will continue." The novels have received strong promotion from UK booksellers, with Ottakar's and Tesco amongst those offering all three for the price of two. Friday 27 May's edition of The Bookseller also reports that the three novels are at five, six and seven in the "Top 20 Fiction Heatseekers" chart. Meanwhile, The Independent had Justin Richards' "Monsters and Villains" paperback at Number 3 in the Cinema and Television chart.

Looking ahead to September, the latest issue of DWM confirms the three Ninth Doctor novels previously reported on Outpost Gallifrey as "The Deviant Strain" by Justin Richards, "Only Human" by Gareth Roberts and "The Stealers of Dreams" by Steve Lyons. The same issue carries an interview with the authors of the current range, Richards, Stephen Cole and Jacqueline Rayner, and previews the provisional cover for "Only Human". Amazon.co.uk has released the cover for Only Human which can be seen at right; click on the thumbnail for a larger version.

Amazon now has a brief synopsis for Doctor Who: The Shooting Scripts coming later this year. "This book collects together the entire shooting scripts for the first series. Seven of the scripts are by Russell T Davies, with the remainder by Stephen Moffat, Robert Shearman, Paul Cornell and The League of Gentlemen's Mark Gatiss. Each of the scripts will be illustrated with screen grabs, ensuring the book appeals to broad audience. Introductions by the writers will explain the inspirations for the new series and the fascinating process of creating a Doctor Who script."

Series Two News

The new issue of Doctor Who Magazine began to reach subscribers on Monday 23 May (its official publication date being Thursday, 26 May) and has one big -- if probably unavoidable -- spoiler for Series 2 which we have placed in the SPOILER TAG at the bottom of this news update. The magazine also denies rumours that David Walliams of BBC3's Little Britain comedy series will be writing an episode of the next series. Producer Phil Collinson states that there is "no truth in the tabloid rumours". Meanwhile, Russell T Davies is working on the as yet untitled Christmas special, which is confirmed as having a duration of 60 minutes. In his "Production Notes" column, Davies also reveals that Tom MacRae has delivered his first episode ("brilliant"), which contains the words "sickness", "mole" and "meat", and that episode numbers have yet to be allocated to the stories for Series 2.

Several news reports this week have suggested that Christopher Eccleston will be in the Christmas special; however, we do not believe he will be, instead appearing for the final time in episode 13 of this series.

Press Coverage

An article entitled "The return of Doctor Who" has been circulated widely by the Associated Press over the past week, appearing in a variety of mainstream press in North America, including at CNN.com and in a variety of local papers.

Press response to the series in Australia has been as generally positive as elsewhere with lots of reviews, previews and other articles, including several pieces in the Sydney Morning Herald ("Thank goodness for Who weekly -- there's no knocking the return of the wild-eyed chap in the big blue Tardis"), Northern Territory News, the Sunday Mail, the West Australian (Perth), The Australian, The Advertiser, the Courier Mail (Queensland), the Melbourne Herald Sun, The Age, Townsville Bulletin (Aus), the Newcastle Herald

It appears that certain press reports of Christopher Eccleston's post-Who intentions were, once again, inaccurate. He has not, according to both Empire and Moviehole, been cast as Silas in the forthcoming adaptation of "The Da Vinci Code", the role having gone to Paul Bettany. Eccleston was, however, seen by various newspapers taking part in the Great Manchester Run, which raised £1 million for charity.

John Barrowman is interviewed by the Rainbow Network in which he says that "It's been great, but it's about to get much better! The thing is, is that I know what's going to happen, so I'm not watching it with the same baited breath that everybody else is. I know all the little secrets and storylines, but I am enjoying it; I think it's one of the better things on Saturday evening television." He notes that he is "in it until the end of this series, which is a cliff-hanger, and then we'll to wait and see what happens in the second and third series." On working with Eccleston and Piper: "It was just fantastic. When I initially started, which was just before Christmas 2004, I went into a series that had been filming since July. Everyone knew I was joining the team because I was hired at the same time as they were, but it was weird to walk into a situation where they'd been working together for a while. However, after we shot the first couple of scenes things just clicked and we had a great time together." He also discusses his next role, in the film version of Mel Brooks' "The Producers".

In an interview with The Stage, Peter Davison has said that his young children find the new series of Doctor Who "too scary", and ask to see old videos of "Daddy" playing the character instead. "They reckon the new Doctor Who is too scary and asked if they could watch Daddy playing him instead," Davison tells the Stage. "Although in fact, I'd say that was a compliment to the new series, as it implies that my episodes weren't scary at all and they merely wanted to be comforted by them." He also notes his feelings about Eccleston's departure: "I feel sorry for the fans, as I feel they've been rather let down. What it really needed, after all the effort and dedication of the fans over the years to get the show back on air, would be to have someone committed enough to stay with the role for two or three years. As it is, the fans must be disappointed and left feeling up in the air a bit."

Also in this week's The Stage, a note that "Jane Tranter, BBC head of drama commissioning, has pledged to open up early evening schedules on weekends and bank holidays to family-oriented drama, following the widespread success of Doctor Who. The show consistently attracts ratings of more than 7 million viewers and has already been credited with reviving BBC1's Saturday night fortunes. Now executives are hopeful it could mark a renaissance of family drama, a genre that has fallen out of favour in recent years with broadcasters and demographics experts blaming a lack of demand for it." Tranter tells the Stage that she thinks Doctor Who "has shown there is a real appetite for part of the week being set aside for family drama. ... It is clear that certain genres, such as fantasy or some real life situations, have the potential to get lots of people interested but if you are going to appeal to an 11-year-old and a 41-year-old there has to be something in its presentation that is universal."

Brand Republic's Digital Bulletin has reported on the huge online success of the Dalek game. The story says that "The Last Dalek" has "amassed 500,000 separate plays in just three weeks […] More than 275 websites now list the game and its popularity is said to be spreading around the world from players in countries including Australia, Switzerland and Japan. The game was also a top-three entry into the Lycos Viral Game Chart".

In the Guardian over a week ago, there was a note in the Smallweed column with an ultimatum, which we reported on these pages: "Don't do away with our Daleks, Davies." May 28's Guardian featured a reply from Russell T Davies: "Dear Mr Smallweed, I surrender. You win. My neighbours have stuck your campaign message in their car windows and keep driving past me, shaking an angry fist in my direction. All right, all right, all right, the Daleks will be back. Hundreds of 'em. No more girly consciences either, they're back to being mean metal bastards. What d'you fancy next year? Cybermen?"

Some TV mentions: During discussion on the London Eye controversy on "Richard And Judy" on Tuesday 24 May, Richard suddenly introduced a clip from Rose featuring the London icon. Friday's "Lenny Henry Show" had a brief bit on the news about Billie's departure (and Daleks serving in the Queen Vic (Eastenders)!). The Beeb showed the wrong trailer after "Neighbours" Friday evening, put on the Father's Day one instead! The correct one was shown after the news and Eastenders. And another comment about Doctor Who budgets on "Have I Got News For You!"

Some other brief press mentions: the Times mentions Billie Piper in a list of suggested replacements for Kylie Minogue at Glastonbury; the Scottish Daily Record features an article on John Barrowman (and his Scottish connection); and the Bristol Evening Post notes that a "junkie burglar who worked on Doctor Who set" has been jailed.

(Thanks to Steve Tribe, Paul Engelberg, Peter Anghelides, Andy Parish, Chuck Foster, Paul Greaves, Robert Booth, Ryan Piekenbrock, Duncan Rose, Paul Hayes, Scott Matthewman, Peter Weaver, Adam Kirk, James Sellwood, Widya Santoso, Jim Trenowden, Doug Vermes and Rich Finn)
According to issue 357 of Doctor Who Magazine, the Cybermen will return to the series for its second season. There is no word on how many stories they will appear in but it is expected that they will be in multiple episodes.
Doctor Who Magazine 357
May 28, 2005
DWM 357
Issue #357 of Doctor Who Magazine has been released. Below is the press release and a thumbnail of the cover; click on the thumbnail for a larger version (as always, a high-quality version only found here!)

Who's afraid of the Bad Wolf?
Doctor Who Magazine previews the final episodes of the current series...

"These episodes are going back to 1960s Doctor Who - the way it was on my head before I became awkward or embarrassed or analytical," says writer Russell T Davies about the thrilling climax to the series. "The black-and-white years... those were the days when great space fleets existed, where cosmic wars happened, where the lead character could do anything, and nothing was safe cos nothing was set in stone. That's what I wanted to create: an outer space epic..."

Meanwhile, the latest issue of the magazine chats to the Doctor and Rose's latest travelling companion, Captain Jack Harkness - alias actor John Barrowman - to find out about what he thinks about taxing tongue-twisters, stripping off for the cameras, and Rose's excellent bottom!

Voice artiste extraordinaire Nicholas Briggs presents the second part of his Diary of a Dalek, while DWM also goes Dalek-hunting under the Millennium Stadium to meet the cast and crew of Episode 6! Meanwhile the authors of the new Ninth Doctor novels chat about shaping new adventures for the Doctor and Rose, Billie Piper's interview from March's launch party is presented in its entirity, and all the usual regular features.

Plus: There's the exciting conclusion to the latest comic strip adventure The Love Invasion, as the Doctor and Rose try to foil Igrix's plan to destroy the moon!

DWM 357 is on sale from Thursday 26 May, priced £3.99.
Tenth Planet Posters
May 28, 2005
Tenth Planet have given us details on two new full colour posters available for the new Doctor Who series. "Now available: TWO large full colour posters featuring the Doctor and Rose and the last Dalek from the TV series starring Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper. Large Posters measure 915x610mm (36x24") each and retail for £3.99 each." Thumbnails of each are below.
Piper To Leave Series?
May 20, 2005
The next issue of Dreamwatch magazine will feature an exclusive report that the agent for Billie Piper has confirmed to the magazine that she will be leaving the series during its second season. "She's not doing the full season," the agent told Dreamwatch, indicating that she will likely appear in three to seven episodes of the second series. This is the first print indication that Piper may leave the show, although nothing official has yet been announced (we simply report what the magazine itself is reporting). Issue #130 of Dreamwatch will be available starting this weekend (and it also features interviews with Piper, Camille Coduri and John Barrowman).
Friday Series Update
May 20, 2005
BARB has now released the consolidated viewing figures for The Long Game: 8.01 million viewers, making the episode Saturday's second most watched programme (after Casualty, 8.35m), top in its timeslot, sixth on BBC1 in the week ending 8 May and seventeenth in the terrestrial top 30. In terms of its performance against the preceding six episodes of the series, it's in fourth place, behind "Rose", "The Unquiet Dead" and "Dalek". And today's Broadcast magazine confirms that the audience share for Dalek was 45%.

South Korea is the latest country to pick up the series. South Korean public TV station KBS (equivalent to BBC) is going to broadcast the new Doctor Who series from the 5th of June, every Saturday at 11.15 pm. No further details as yet.

On the official site, there is confirmation that the final appearance in the series of Christopher Eccleston will be in Episode 13, contrary to theories elsewhere that he will be appearing in the Christmas special, and that the remaining editions of Doctor Who Confidential will be cut to fifteen minutes for their Sunday evening repeats. The details of the episode titles for the last few shows in the run of Doctor Who Confidential have also been revised: "The Cult of Who" becomes "The World of Who" and focuses on the show's global appeal and its fans. Episode 13, "Finale", is retitled "The Last Battle". The show relives the highs and lows of the Ninth Doctor's time with Rose, and sees Christopher Eccleston taking his final bow. It's looking increasingly likely that all the remaining Sunday night repeats will be trimmed to fit a 15-minute slot, so be sure to catch Confidential on Saturdays if you want to see the uncut versions."

The BBC Press Office has released its weekly programme information documents (note: all documents are pdfs) for the week beginning Saturday 4 June. The Saturday highlights document (note: PDF file) includes a photograph of John Barrowman and Christopher Eccleston and a non-spoiler preview of Episode 11: Boom Town: "Building plans for the heart of Cardiff conceal a plot to destroy the world in Boom Town, written by Russell T Davies. When the Tardis crew take a holiday, the Doctor encounters an enemy he thought long since dead. It soon transpires that plans to build a nuclear power station in Cardiff city are disguising an alien plot to rip the world apart. And when the Doctor dines with monsters, he discovers traps within traps … Christopher Eccleston plays The Doctor,Billie Piper plays Rose and John Barrowman plays Captain Jack Harkness."

John Barrowman was on BBC Breakfast this morning at a little after 9am. BBC News is reporting on the item, which includes a RealPlayer file of the interview, which lasts a little under five minutes.

The Lincolnshire Echo is reporting that Christopher Eccleston could be filming in Lincoln this summer for the new movie "The Da Vinci Code" in which he has been widely reported to be participating. Filming will be focused in Lincoln Cathedral.

(Thanks to Steve Tribe, Paul Engelberg, Ross Fitzpatrick, Steve Freestone, Chuck Foster, Chris Winwood)
Thursday Series Updates
May 19, 2005
Later Episode Previews

The Sun has printed some spoilers for the next standalone episode after the forthcoming two parter. That would be episode 11, "Boom Town!" and notes that the Doctor is accosted by someone he thought was dead. Meanwhile, the Daily Star has spoilers for the episode after that, "Bad Wolf" (episode 12). We've put the text of the reports in our spoilers tag below, so click on it to find out the gory details!

Press Items

BBC Board Chairman and noted Doctor Who critic Michael Grade took part in a listener phone in on BBC Radio Leeds on Tuesday. Presenter Liz Green asked how he felt walking past a Dalek in reception - (the programme was broadcast from the BBC Radio Leeds studio at the National Museum of Photography, Film and TV in Bradford). Grade said he cringed but that "Doctor Who was now a production for the 21st Century". He also revealed his 6 year old son is a fan of the new show - "maybe I should ask for a blood test!" he joked. Later he said he was actually "enjoying the new series of Doctor Who".

The Associated Press has run a syndicated story that's appeared in a ton of newspapers internationally, all noting the success of the new series. (You can read the full article at MSNBC for example.) The article notes that the series "has become one of the biggest hits of Britain's television present" and that it is "packed with oddball aliens and frequent opportunities for the two heroes to save humankind. ... It's a welcome return for fans who'd been waiting more than 15 years for the comeback of the Doctor — an alien 'Time Lord' who's taken the form of nine different human actors in the course of the show — and his assistant, this time a working-class London girl named Rose Tyler." Says a DWAS spokesperson, "All the 'Doctor Who' furniture is there. That is the formula. And it still survives." Fan Fiona Moore notes that the series is "something that you grow up with, that's always there. [Now] you see children in the playground standing like Daleks or unzipping their heads like the bad guys." Read the full article at MSNBC or in a variety of international publications (they are pretty much all the very same article!)

AfterElton features a story about John Barrowman on Doctor Who, and specifically about the rumors that his character is bisexual. "The new imaginative BBC remake of the sci-fi series Dr. Who, created by producer/writer Russell T. Davis (the creator of the original UK-version of Queer as Folk), offers a reprieve. Beginning on May 21st, openly-gay actor and singer John Barrowman will join the cast of the brand-new British hit for the last five episodes of the first season as bisexual, inner-galactic time-traveler Captain Jack Harkness. Chances seem good that Barrowman’s character, who joins The Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) and his sidekick companion Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) on their time and space adventures, will also reappear in Season Two." The story notes that "with Dr. Who, Barrowman has a good chance to broaden his fame internationally, while also representing a bisexual man on TV. Filmed on widescreen DV [digital video] in Cardiff, Wales, the new Dr.Who has gotten rave reviews on its first handful of episodes for its slick special effects, witty writing, and contemporary take on the original 1960s series. Many comparisons have been drawn between it and the fantasy/horror genre shows created by Joss Whedon for the WB in the nineties. ... Creator Russell gladly acknowledges that Whedon’s sharp, playful, but also dramatically-deep writing style had great influence on him with regards to Dr. Who: '[Buffy the Vampire Slayer] showed the whole world, and an entire sprawling industry, that writing monsters and demons and end-of-the world isn’t hack-work, it can challenge the best. Joss Whedon raised the bar for every writer—not just genre/niche writers, but every single one of us.'"

Australian Debut Update

The Australian Associated Press says that "The ABC is so confident about new episodes of Doctor Who they have scheduled them for prime time Saturday night. The national broadcaster has bumped off the quirky machinations and breathtaking scenery of Monarch of the Glen and replaced it with a show best remembered for decidedly dodgy special effects. But it was a calculated decision." Says ABC TV deputy programmer Ian Taylor, "I don't like to make predictions but I'd be disappointed if there was anything less than one million viewers. Whereas this is good science fiction, it's also good fiction and I think that's the case with the best of science fiction. It can raise issues that have relevance that remind you or take you on to other areas. I think it's the human element actually that has been given to the doctor and his sidekick, because you actually care about these characters. There's more to it than just science fiction, there's good fiction as well. ... Now, admittedly we're certainly a different territory with different tastes and opinions but I do think that enough people who are familiar with the original series and remember it fondly to at least take a peak at this. And I think too that younger viewers, be they anything from sort of 15 up, will be intrigued enough by what they read about this to have a look at one episode. Once you see one ep you'll be hooked and you'll be back for the rest of them."

ABC Regional Online has a collection of Doctor Who related stories, including a local astronomer hosting a preview screening of the new series in Brisbane in conjunction with 612 ABC Brisbane, and how listeners go to share in it. "The Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium, at Mt Coot-tha, was the venue for the screening. Around eighty listeners watched the first episode with Christopher Eccleston as 'The Doctor' and Billie Piper as his new companion Rose Tyler. Planetarium curator Mark Rigby then screened 'The Search for Life', narrated by Harrison Ford. Finally, 612 ABC Brisbane's 4-6pm presenter Spencer Howson chaired a discussion about the new "Dr Who". Prizes, including a limited edition scale model of the TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimensions in Space), were awarded for the best contributions to the discussion. Highlights from the forum were broadcast on 612 ABC Brisbane." The site has audio excerpts.

The June edition of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation magazine Limelight has a 15 page special on the new Doctor Who series, including a front cover of Chris and Billie. Most of the articles are previously published having been taken from the BBC and possibly Radio Times with some photos although there is also a new article on Aussie fandom. There is also a competition to win 7 Doctor Who DVD packs (three classic DVDs plus the whole new season) which requires fans to say in 25 words or less who is their favourite Doctor and why. (However, they claim there have only been 7 previous Doctors, asPaul McGann is not mentioned!)

In today's Sydney Morning Herald: "For The Weekend: Doctor who. 7.30pm Sat, ABC: This New-Age series involving the venerable time lord is briskly paced and very watchable, with Christopher Eccleston bringing an agreeable eccentricity to the role. It seems probable that Earth's destiny will be defended successfully from a bunch of articulated window dummies - the Autons - and a sinister force known as the Nestene Consciousness. Definitely an improvement on the old cardboard episodes of yore."

Today's Courier Mail (Queensland, Australia) says the new series is Doctor Who, "but not as we've known it. The new series screening from this Saturday is as far removed from the halcyon days of Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker as the latter-day Star Trek spin-offs are from the creaky originals of the '60s. The glacial pace which stretched story arcs over several episodes has been turbo-charged so each 45-minute instalment is self-contained. Amateurish efforts at special effects have given way to state-of-the-art magic. And the Tardis has been transformed from a whitegoods showroom to a surreal blend of gothic mechanics and whizz-bangery that appears to owe much to Terry Gilliam's 1985 Brazil." They note that the stories retain their inventiveness and touches of whimsical English humour save the show from the earnestness which weighs down the better American sci-fis. Newcomers and Dr Who nerds alike should be well pleased."

The Sydney Daily Telegraph says that "hiding behind the couch won't work any more. This is a darker, scarier Who that knows our old safety drills. One suspects it is only a matter of time before it reveals that couches are actually alien life-forms that feed on children cowering from TV monsters. For now, however, we only have to worry about wheelie bins and shop dummies ... and the London Eye ferris wheel. ... Christopher Eccleston... is downright chirpy, which takes some getting used to for those who associate the actor with dark, gritty roles such as Cracker and the recent The Second Coming. But the series is dark enough without Eccleston adding to it and his sense of humour is for us, like new human sidekick Rose... This is a real adventure in time, not just a mosey down memory lane. Great to have it back."

The Critic's View in today's The Age notes that "Yes, the Time Lord is back, in a knockabout new incarnation (Chris Eccleston) with a willing new assistant (pop singer Billie Piper), a brilliantly updated signature tune, '60s styling, CGI effects, some wonderfully retro props, a tardis that sounds more knackered than ever, and lots of red double-decker buses. Doctor Who has returned with a new series that's light years ahead of its predecessors. It looks and feels great, like an intergalactic Cool Britannia cross-pollination between the cult classic of old, Bridget Jones and the Goodies. Eccleston and Piper are fantastic, it's genuinely funny and it's just scary enough to send a new generation of kids scurrying behind the couch. ... Carry on, Doctor." Also, this morning's Green Guide, the television guide The Age, had a cover story on Doctor Who.

Miscellaneous Press Items

Christopher Eccleston apparently was thanked tonight in person at a meeting of Manchester United fans to protest against the attempted take-over of the club by Malcolm Glazer for his £10,000 donation to the cause, and the chair of Shareholders United said that they were "delighted to have Doctor Who on board".

Channel 4's FAQ U (18 May) covered the BBFC's views regarding "Dalek", implying that the decision was ludicrous and that rather than torturing the Dalek the Doctor should have given it a big hug...

BBC Ceefax (18 May) addressed the cuts to "The Empty Child" with the title "Horrible Doctor Who Toned Down": "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'." The story was also covered on the Newsround site under the headline "Doctor Who Makers Edit Out A Scary Sound Effect". The details of the story also provided a link to pictures of the Brighton "Doctor Who" exhibition.

Update on the Fear Forecast column on bbc.co.uk: interestingly, in addition to noting that it's scary enough to need a recommendation to video it and watch it in the daylight, it seems to lack a 'next week' preview (identified in the text, somewhat mysteriously, as a 'recap').

Other items today: Empire Online discusses the Joe Ahearne-Eccleston project "Double Life"; the Times has letters on the BBFC issue with Daleks; and the cuts to "The Empty Child" are still being discussed at Northern Territory News, the Daily Mail, the Evening Times (Scotland), the South Wales Echo and The Londonist.

(Thanks to Paul Engelberg, Steve Tribe, Chuck Foster, Jamie Austin, Adam Kirk, Mike Noon, Matt Kimpton, Andrew Harvey, John Ryan and Paul Greaves)
Boom Town Spoiler: "WHO NO!," says the Sun. "A Slitheen is to be Mayor of Cardiff! Dr Who, played by Christopher Eccleston, thought he had got rid of the aliens that sneak inside humans. But one escaped. It takes over MP Margaret Blaine (Annette Badland) and terrorises the Welsh capital. The episode will be shown on Saturday, June 4."

Bad Wolf Spoiler: "GUESS WHO’S IN BIG BRU," says the Daily Star, ". . . and who's the Weakest Link. Doctor Who is to face his biggest ordeal yet by becoming trapped inside the Big Brother house. And his sidekick Rose will come up against something more scary than a Dalek - a robotic Anne Robinson on The Weakest Link. The Time Lord, played by Christopher Eccleston, 41, and sexy Rose - Billie Piper, 22 - do battle in an adventure on the BBC sci-fi show when the Tardis ends up in futuristic reality TV land. The bizarre idea was dreamed up by writer Russell T Davies, 41, who said last night: 'It's one of my favourite episodes. When you see it on screen you'll be blown away.' The Doctor ends up as a reality TV star when he lands inside the Big Brother house in the penultimate episode of the series, called Bad Wolf, to be screened in June. Telly chiefs wanted the setting to look authentic so they asked Channel 4, who run the game show, to help. And they have been given permission to use the famous Big Brother theme music during the scenes where the Doctor is trying to escape from the house. They are still in talks with TV host Davina McCall to do a voiceover. Bosses want her to say: 'Big Brother House, this is Davina. You are live on Channel 4 - please do not swear.' Russell added: 'We're hoping Davina will be able to do this. She's busy, but we're keeping our fingers crossed.' During the weird episode, the Doctor's sexy assistant Rose also finds herself up against a celeb in the form of Anne Robinson. She lands on the BBC2 gameshow The Weakest Link and discovers the Queen of Mean has been replaced by a robot. TV bosses have persuaded Anne, 60, to do the voice of Anne Droid - and it's even more cruel than the real acidtongued host. The Doctor's new assistant Captain Jack (played John Barrowman, 38) also finds himself in trouble in the bizarre special. He gets a roasting from none other than Trinny Woodall, 40, and Susannah Constantine, 42, after stumbling into an edition of What Not To Wear. When they see the time traveller dressed up looking like Han Solo from Star Wars they give him a much-needed makeover." The story has been picked up at Digital Spy, DeHavilland and the BigBrotherWebsite.net.
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's interview with SFX magazine has been reprinted by several newspapers. Today's Daily Star says that Eccleston told them (when in actuality, he told SFX) 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." Metro might be picking this up from the SFX interview. 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.
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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
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
12.25pm: DOCTOR WHO: "Boom Town!" (repeat), BBC1
1.10am: Doctor Who Confidential (repeat), BBC3
Sunday, June 5
6.45pm: 20th Century Roadshow, Doctor Who Special, BBC1
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 World 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
Saturday, June 18
7.00pm: DOCTOR WHO: "The Parting of the ways" (Episode 13), Season Finale - BBC1
7.30pm: DOCTOR WHO: "World War Three" (Episode 5), ABC Australia
7.45pm: Doctor Who Confidential - "The Last Battle" (#13), BBC3
Sunday, June 19
7.45pm: Doctor Who Confidential (repeat), BBC3
Tuesday, June 21
8.00pm: DOCTOR WHO: "Bad Wolf" (Episode 12), CBC TV, Canada
Saturday, June 25
7.30pm: DOCTOR WHO: "Dalek" (Episode 6), ABC Australia
Tuesday, June 28
8.00pm: DOCTOR WHO: "The Parting of the Ways" (Episode 13), Season Finale - 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), Christine Adams (Cath), Anna Maxwell Martin (Suki), Judy Holt (Adam's Mum)
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 (Young Mickey), Julia Joyce (Young Rose), Robert Barton (Registrar)
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), Annette Badland (Margaret Blaine), 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 (Anne Droid), Davina McCall (herself), Trinny Woodall (herself), Susannah Constantine (herself), 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.