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 12:00 AM, 22-MARCH-06
Who Had Dickens Of A Time

Euros Lyn, who directed the Doctor Who episode "The Unquiet Dead" (airing on SCI FI Channel March 24 at 9 p.m. ET/PT), told SCI FI Wire that it was an enjoyable challenge to create the period adventure with a guest appearance by Charles Dickens. "There were lots of things we wanted to do in the episode," he recalled in an interview, "including lots of crowd duplication shots in the theater. But knowing we had to get the dramatic scenes done first and get the story covered, we had to leave big-scale shots to the end of the day, which meant we sometimes didn't get them. Sometimes we'd reach the end of our day, and some of those grander shots fell off the list, so that was tough. We also had big snow scenes with paper snow in whipping wind, with horse-drawn carriages and lots of extras, and those were really tricky to achieve as well, so there were lots of big set pieces that were a real challenge."

In "The Unquiet Dead," the Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) and Rose (Billie Piper) travel back to Cardiff on Christmas Eve of 1869, where they discover the bodies of the dead are being possessed by the alien Gelth. Their main ally against the creatures: a world-weary playwright named Charles Dickens (Simon Callow).

"It was brilliant to get him," Lyn said about the casting of Callow. "He's an actor of such great stature and experience, and the work that he's associated with is work of quality. The secret to getting him interested was the script. He read the script and loved it, but he's also a Dickens freak. He loves everything about Dickens and has written books and performed one-man shows about him, so the material was of great interest to him, and I think that helped. Yes, it's Doctor Who, and yes, it's popular drama, but it also has an erudite and classical dimension to it."

The director is currently working on another history-based episode for season two, which begins airing in Britain in April. "The Girl in the Fireplace" is set in 18th-century France and guest-stars Sophia Myles (Tristan and Isolde) as the French noblewoman Madame du Pompadour. "They're very different episodes, but that's one of the brilliant things about Doctor Who: Every episode is a genre piece and utterly different to each other. It's like starting again every time; virtually nothing is current from one episode to another. One day you could be shooting on a set two billion years in the future, and the next morning you're stepping onto a set in 1879. So that's wonderful." —Joe Nazzaro


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©2007, SCI FI. All rights reserved.

Harry Potter will appear on a special set of 10 stamps created by the French postal service and Warner Brothers Consumer Products, Variety reported.

Stargate: The Ark of Truth, the first ot two straight-to-DVD films based in the universe of SCI FI Channel's Stargate SG-1, begins filming April 17 in Vancouver, Canada; it follows SG-1 as the team searches for an ancient weapon that could help them defeat the Ori. A second film, Stargate Continuum, starts up in June, the blog reported.

Warner Brothers announced that its upcoming live-action film version of Speed Racer will open on May 9, 2008, two weeks earlier than previously slated.


Fire Serpent 1.4
ECW 1.3
Battlestar Galactica 1.1
The Dresden Files 1.1
King of the Lost World 1.1
King Cobra 1.0
Snake King 1.0
Star Trek: Enterprise 1.0
Silent Predators 0.9
Red Planet 0.9

Source: Nielsen Galaxy Report, 2/19/07 -- 2/25/07