Site Editor: Shaun Lyon
News Feature Editors:
News Editorial Consultant:
Archive of news items from Doctor Who News:
The Doctor Who News Page is copyright © 2008; all rights reserved. Any duplication or reproduction of items on this page without permission of the editor is prohibited. We accept all news story solicitations about the world of Doctor Who; click here to submit news or contact the editor.
For Earlier News, Visit the Archives
Because of the enormous amount of news being posted daily by our news team, additional material beyond the latest batch of news stories is immediately archived. Click the News Archives links at left to read the rest of this past month's archived news or news from earlier months!
This Week in Doctor Who
New Column PostedJuly 12, 2008 Posted By Benjamin Elliott
The latest installment of This Week in Doctor Who, the weekly guide to Doctor Who on television in the UK, North America and elsewhere, for July 12, 2008 has now been posted. Click here to read it.
DW Specials Transmission Update
General TV Series NewsJuly 11, 2008 Posted By John Bowman
Doctor Who's co-executive producer Julie Gardner has revealed transmission details for two of next year's specials.
And in the interview in today's Daily Telegraph about the show's future, the head of drama for BBC Wales says the cutback in 2009 is a good thing for the programme.
She says: "Aside from Series Five, which will have a full 13 episodes and transmit in 2010, we are making four one-hour specials. The first, which we've already filmed, will go out this Christmas. The next will go out the following Easter. The other specials have yet to be scheduled, although one will definitely be on at Christmas 2009."
In the interview, Gardner says: "The reduced schedule for 2009 acknowledges the fact that the show should continue not just for another one or two years, but for another five or 10. It needs to be nurtured, loved and looked after."
The article states that Russell T Davies is writing two of the specials and co-writing the other two. It is not revealed who the other co-writer is.
Russell T Davies to receive fellowship at Cardiff University
PeopleJuly 11, 2008 Posted By Chuck Foster
Doctor Who's head writer Russell T Davies is to receive an honorary fellowship at Cardiff University next Monday (14th July) during their annual degree ceremonies.
These degrees are conferred upon those who have been seen to achieve international distinction in their fields of expertise. Amongst those included this year are television personality Carol Vorderman and Welsh rugby legend Gerald Davies.
This award follows on from Davies's recent nomination for an OBE in the Queen's honours.
For more information see the University's details on the awards, and reports from The South Wales Echo and This is Swansea.
Doctor Who Storybook - 2009
MerchandiseJuly 10, 2008 Posted By Marcus
The third of Panini's fully illustrated Doctor Who Storybooks is due out in August.
The Doctor and Donna travel to previously unseen times and places in this new collection of adventures, full of monsters, thrills and scares, and all illustrated in full colour. The time travellers face mythical beasts on a desert island in the company of Jason and his Argonauts, square up to a terrifying Ice Warrior in the wastes of the Arctic Circle, battle the cute-but-deadly denizens of a theme park gone mad, get tangled up in the mystery of the Bayeux Tapestry, and try to prevent an entire planet from being kidnapped.
The book contains seven brand new short stories, featuring writers from the TV series itself.
Plus there's a comic strip, The Immortal Emperor written by Jonathan Morris with art by Rob Davis, and A Letter from the Doctor as told to new showrunner Steven Moffat (The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances, The Girl in the Fireplace, Blink, Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead).
The 80-page hardback also features a new painted cover by Alister Pearson and a frontispiece by David A Roach. It's published by Panini Books and edited by Clayton Hickman.
No Who in Primeval
BroadcastingJuly 9, 2008 Posted By Brigadier Bill
The creators of Primeval, the British time-travel series coming to BBC America, told SCI-FI WIRE that they are trying to shake off any comparisons to the wildly popular Doctor Who.
"It's the one question I've been getting asked about the most: people comparing the show to that Doctor," Douglas Henshall, who stars as an evolutionary zoologist who deals with creatures from the past and the future, said in an interview at the Television Critics Association's press tour in Beverly Hills, Calif., this week.
Of course, comparisons with that other British SF series are inevitable: Primeval counts among its writing staff Paul Cornell, who wrote for the new Doctor Who TV series and authored more than a dozen novels about the Doctor and his companion, Bernice Summerfield.
But don't expect any crossovers with Doctor Who. "No, absolutely not will we have a Doctor Who character pop in on Primeval," producer/writer Tim Haines insisted. "They have very different worlds and realities. Anything can happen on Doctor Who."
The world of Primeval is more reality based, said co-creator Adrian Hodges. But he admitted that he was tempted to sneak in a few Doctor references or inside jokes. "Every time I was tempted to even put in a vague Who reference, I stopped myself," Hodges said. "The worlds are very different. ... At one point, we considered a sly Doctor reference when someone got angry at another character and threw a box set of Doctor Who at them, but we thought not."
Major classic series character returns in SJA
SpinoffsJuly 9, 2008 Posted By Paul Hayes
The Doctor Who News Page is delighted to be able to confirm the return of a popular and much-loved character from the classic series of Doctor Who. The character appeared in many classic series stories, and will be seen in a two-part story in the next series of spin-off The Sarah Jane Adventures, starring Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith.
Click on the spoiler tab below, or on one of the thumbnailed photographs, to see who the returning character is.
Many thanks to Scooty from the Doctor Who Forum for the images.
Stolen Earth - Final Ratings
BroadcastingJuly 9, 2008 Posted By Marcus
Final figures released by BARB give episode twelve of series four, The Stolen Earth, an official rating of 8.78 million viewers.
The episode was the second highest rated programme of the week, only the second time in the series' 45 year history that it has achieved such a position. The other episode to score so high was last Christmas's Voyage of the Damned.
The programme beat all the soaps for the week and was only outrated by the the European Championship Final edition of Match of the Day, which got just 60,000 more viewers.
The Sunday repeat on BBC Three was watched by 1.01 million viewers, and was the 3rd most watched programme on multi-channel for the week. The highest rated programme on multi-channel was the Saturday showing of Doctor Who Confidential which got 1.27 million viewers.
Full ratings data, including data for iPlayer downloads, can be found in the Doctor Who Forum.
Top Programmes w/e 29 June 2008
1 EURO 2008: MATCH OF THE DAY LIVE (SUN 1856) - 8.84 - BBC1
2 DOCTOR WHO (SAT 1911) - 8.78 - BBC1
3 EASTENDERS (MON 1959) - 8.61 - BBC1
4 CORONATION STREET (MON 1933) - 8.56 - ITV1
5 CORONATION STREET (FRI 2031) - 8.53 - ITV1
6 CORONATION STREET (MON 2030) - 8.46 - ITV1
7 CORONATION STREET (FRI 1934) - 8.44 - ITV1
8 EASTENDERS (FRI 2002) - 8.24 - BBC1
9 CORONATION STREET (WED 1930) - 7.66 - ITV1
10 EASTENDERS (THU 1929) - 7.42 - BBC1
11 EURO 2008: MATCH OF THE DAY LIVE (WED 1929) - 6.95 - BBC1
12 EURO 2008 LIVE (THU 1929) - 6.77 - ITV1
13 TEN O'CLOCK NEWS (WED 2200) - 6.45 - BBC1
14 EMMERDALE (MON 1902) - 6.37 - ITV1
15 EASTENDERS (TUE 1928) - 6.24 - BBC1
16 EMMERDALE (FRI 1902) - 6.13 - ITV1
17 EMMERDALE (WED 1900) - 5.98 - ITV1
18 CASUALTY (SAT 2050) - 5.88 - BBC1
19 EMMERDALE (THU 1859) - 5.85 - ITV1
20 BBC NEWS (SUN 2215) - 5.32 - BBC1
Top Programmes (Multi Channel) w/e 29 June 2008
1 DOCTOR WHO CONFIDENTIAL (Sat 1959) 1,272,000 - BBC3
2 EASTENDERS (Tue 2159) 1,201,000 - BBC3
3 DOCTOR WHO (Sun 2002) 1,009,000 - BBC3
4 60 SECONDS (Sat 1958) 876,000 - BBC3
5 HOME AND AWAY (Thu 1829) 855,000 - Fiver
6 HOME AND AWAY (Mon 1829) 767,000 - Fiver
7 EASTENDERS (Mon 2202) 758,000 - BBC3
8 HOLLYOAKS (Fri 1859) 743,000 - E4 In
9 HOME AND AWAY (Fri 1828) 727,000 - Fiver
10 SUPERNATURAL (Sun 2104) 709,000 - ITV2
11 HOME AND AWAY (Wed 1829) 694,000 - Fiver
12 HOLLYOAKS (Thu 1859) 690,000 - E4
13 HOME AND AWAY (Tue 1829) 688,000 - Five
14 AMERICA'S GOT TALENT (Fri 2102) 674,000 - ITV2
15 GLADIATORS (Sun 1800) 656,000 - Sky One
16 60 SECONDS (Sun 2001) 650,000 - BBC3
17 HOLLYOAKS (Tue 1859) 640,000 - E4
18 KATIE AND PETER: THE NEXT CHAPTER (Thu 2100) 615,000 - ITV2
19 HOLLYOAKS (Mon 1859) 599,000 - E4
20 HOLLYOAKS (Wed 1859) 596,000 - E4
Doctor Who Adventures 72
MerchandiseJuly 8, 2008 Posted By Josiah Rowe
The next issue of Doctor Who Adventures is out tomorrow, 10 July, across the UK. The cover and press release are below; click on the thumbnail image for a larger version.
What to do when Doctor Who isn't on TV!
Missing the Doctor and Donna already? Do Christmas adventures with Cybermen seem far off? Then get a copy of this week's Doctor Who Adventures! It's full of monster facts, things to make and you could even win a life-size Dalek!
The big story this issue is Donna Noble's sad farewell in last week’s episode. Doctor Who Adventures looks at the life of the temp from Chiswick, and see how she changed after meeting the Doctor.
We've also got a monstrous fact file about the creator of the Daleks, Davros.
And the issue comes with a cool FREE inflatable Toclafane AND set of Doctor Who monster Power Rollers!
Doctor Who: The Forgotten
MerchandiseJuly 8, 2008 Posted By Josiah Rowe
In August, American comics publisher IDW will release the first issue of Doctor Who: The Forgotten, a new comic book miniseries starring the Tenth Doctor and Martha, and also containing flashback stories for each of the previous nine Doctors. The comic is written by Tony Lee, who previously wrote for the Tenth Doctor and Rose in the Doctor Who Magazine strip "F.A.Q." (DWM 369-371). It is illustrated by Canadian artist Pia Guerra, who is best known for her work on the Vertigo comic Y: The Last Man. Guerra has described herself as an "insane" fan of Doctor Who (see her studio for proof) and is a past winner of the Joe Shuster Award for Outstanding Canadian Comic Book Art. Covers for the series are provided by Nick Roche, who illustrated IDW's previous Tenth Doctor miniseries. That series, written by Gary Russell, will be available in trade paperback as Doctor Who: Agent Provocateur in August.
Comic Book Resources has an interview with Lee, along with sample art from the first issue of The Forgotten.
IDW also publishes Doctor Who: Classic Comics, which reprints Fourth Doctor comics from Doctor Who Weekly in full color.
Thanks to Margaret Roberts and Shane Williams.
In Doctor Who: The Forgotten, the Doctor finds himself stranded in a strange Museum that's dedicated to him; and with no TARDIS in sight. The Doctor and Martha must make sense of their surroundings, hindered by one small fact… the Doctor has lost his memories of every one of his previous incarnations! With items relevant to each Doctor in their possession, the Doctor must try to use them to regain his memories before it's too late.
Doctor Who: The Writer's Tale
BooksJuly 8, 2008 Posted By Josiah Rowe
This autumn, BBC Books will publish Doctor Who: The Writer's Tale, a close look at the work of chief writer and showrunner Russell T Davies on Series Four of Doctor Who. The book is co-written by Davies and Doctor Who Magazine journalist Benjamin Cook, and is scheduled for publication on 25 September 2008. The publisher's blurb is below.
The book has a foreword by bestselling novelist Philip Pullman and an afterword by Tenth Doctor David Tennant.
Davies and Cook will participate in a discussion about the book and Davies' tenure on Doctor Who at the National Theatre on 7 November 2008, as part of the theatre's "Platforms" series.
Thanks to "Gregor" of the Doctor Who Forum.
A unique look into the BBC's most popular family drama, Doctor Who: The Writer's Tale is a year in the life of the hit television series, as told by the show's Head Writer and Executive Producer. A candid and in-depth correspondence between Russell T Davies and journalist Benjamin Cook, the book explores in detail Russell's work on Series Four, revealing how he plans the series and works with the show's writers; where he gets his ideas for plot, character and scene; how actors are cast and other creative decisions are made; and how he juggles the demands of Doctor Who with the increasingly successful Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures spin-offs.
Russell's scripts are discussed as they develop, and Russell and Ben's wide-ranging discussions bring in experiences from previous series of Doctor Who as well as other shows Russell has written and created, including Queer As Folk, Bob and Rose, and The Second Coming. The reader is given total access to the show as it's created, and the writing is everything you would expect from Russell T Davies: warm, witty, insightful, and honest.
Fully illustrated with never-before-seen photos and artwork – including original drawings by Russell himself - The Writer's Tale is a not only the ultimate Doctor Who book, but a celebration of great writing and great television.
Davies vows clean break from Doctor Who
General TV Series NewsJuly 7, 2008 Posted By R. Alan Siler
As Series Four draws to a close, Executive Producer and Head Writer Russell T Davies talks about his involvement with Doctor Who, the show he was part of reviving after a 16-year hiatus in 2005. Answering fans' questions on the BBC News website, he says that once he leaves he will no longer be involved with the show even for an occasional writing stint. He hands the reins over to Steven Moffat in 2010.
"I think Steven's more than his own man. He doesn't need me at all. I won't write for it in the future. I'm done with it. It's time to move on and I'd hate to be just a ghost haunting the corridors that I used to walk.
"And who needs me? Because Steve's brilliant and they've got a thousand million plans. I'll just be old news and it's about time."
He said he would most miss the people he had worked with. "They are genuinely brilliant people, our designers and producers and the crew at BBC Wales. They are fantastic and they're part of the reason I've stayed for so long."
Despite his intial fears of low budget and a non-peaktime slot, he was pleased with the way the BBC treated the show. "I thought there'd be a lot of compromise, I thought we'd be compromised on budget. We could have ended up with no ratings and a Sunday afternoon slot, so absolutely nothing [was compromised] and that really is the honest answer. We got to make everything that I wanted to make.
"I knew what we'd made was good. So I knew I could sleep at night. I knew even if no one watched it, I could sit there and say I had done a great piece of work."
He added: "None of us ever saw this much success coming. I didn't even envisage a spin-off would be possible."
When asked about his favourite line of dialogue, he replied: "I did love Donna, played by Catherine Tate, in a show we did two weeks ago called Turn Left. She said: 'You liar, you told me I was special' to Rose, when she feels her life has been betrayed and lied. I think she delivers that line with such venom - I love that moment."
Asked which villains or creatures he might have brought back if he'd continued with Doctor Who, he said: "I've used a lot of the classics but the Silurians were always very good. They were a race of lizard people who were the original owners of the Earth. I always thought it was a very clever idea that there was a civilisation before us. I'm not bringing them back but they're ripe to be returned one day."
Journey's End - AI and Digital Ratings - Updated
BroadcastingJuly 7, 2008 Posted By Marcus
The final episode of Series Four, Journey's End, was the most-watched programme of the past week, according to unofficial overnights.
Although the men's final at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships peaked with an audience of 12.7 million, the average for the whole programme was only 7.4 million.
If this is confirmed when final figures are published by BARB in nine days' time then Journey's End will have achieved the highest chart position in Doctor Who's history.
The Appreciation Index for the programme was once more an incredible 91. For a minority programme on a digital channel, a score of over 90 is very unusual. For the most watched programme of the week to score this high is is virtually unprecedented and a massive achievement for the programme.
Sunday's BBC3 repeat got an overnight audience of 0.99 million viewers. It was a 4.4% share of the multichannel audience and the most-watched programme on all multichannel TV for Sunday, with nearly twice the audience of the second-placed Family Guy. Another 400,000 viewed or downloaded the episode using the BBC iPlayer over the past two days.
Saturday's edition of Doctor Who Confidential was watched by a record 1.32 million viewers, the highest ever achieved for this programme. It had a share of 7.6 % and was the most-watched on multichannel television on Saturday. The Sunday repeat had 0.42 million watching.
Doctor Who was also number one on Friday's multichannel list, with the repeat of The Stolen Earth getting 0.59 million watching. The earlier repeat of Turn Left got 0.35 million viewers and was 12th for the day.
Both The Stolen Earth and Journey's End will be repeated next Sunday afternoon on BBC1.
Series 4, Volume 3 DVD cover
DVD and VideoJuly 7, 2008 Posted By Paul Hayes
2|entertain Ltd, the company responsible for releasing Doctor Who on DVD, have provided the Doctor Who News Page with the cover image for the forthcoming series four, volume three DVD release. Featuring the episodes Silence in the Library, Forest of the Dead and Midnight, the disc is due to be released in the UK on the 4th of August.
Please click on the thumbnail below for a larger image.
Forthcoming UK DVD Schedule - UPDATED
DVD and VideoJuly 7, 2008 Posted By Shaun Lyon
On Saturday, Doctor Who News featured a forthcoming schedule for Doctor Who DVD titles for North America. After receiving several queries from UK readers, following is the current forthcoming DVD schedule for the United Kingdom (Updated on July 7th with further information):
Details on the next two of these releases are as follows:
The Brain of Morbius: Commentary by Tom Baker, Elisabeth Sladen, Philip Madoc (Solon), Christopher Barry (director), Philip Hinchcliffe (producer); "Getting a Head," a documentary on the making of the story; "Designs on Karn," with interviews with designer Barry Newbery; "Set Tour," a 3D CGI tour of the studio; "Sketch Gallery" with original design sketches and concept art; photo gallery, trailerse, Radio Times PDF, subtitles, production notes.
The Trial of a Time Lord Boxed Set: Commentary by Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant, Tony Selby (Glitz), Adam Blackwood (Balazar), Eric Saward (script editor), Philip Martin (writer), Michael Craig (Commodore), Pip and Jane Baker (writers), Chris Clough (director); "The Making of The Mysterious Planet," "The Making of Mindwarp," "The Making of Terror of the Vervoids" and "The Making of The Ultimate Foe" featurettes; documentaries including "Now and Then: On the Trail of a Time Lord" (locations of "Mindwarp"), "A Fate Worse than Death?" (Peri's fate with Yrcanos), "The Lost Season" (about the aborted season 23), "Now Get Out of That!" (cliffhangers) and "Trials and Tribulations" (Colin Baker's tenure); clips from "Lenny Henry," "Wogan," "Saturday Picture Show," "TV Talkback," "Blue Peter," "Points of View," "Open Air" and "Saturday Superstore"; the 1985 "Doctor in Distress" music video along with media footage on the 1985 hiatus and the 1985 Children in Need special; the full 35mm film sequence of the opening visual effects of episode 1; deleted and extended scenes, DVD/PDF material, trailers and continuity segments, music videos, photo galleries, production notes.Recent UK releases (in case you haven't picked them up) included the "Beneath the Surface" Boxed Set (which included "Doctor Who and the Silurians," "The Sea Devils" and "Warriors of the Deep") on 14 January, "The Time Meddler" on 4 February, "The Five Doctors: 25th Anniversary Edition" on 3 March, "Black Orchid" on 14 April, "The Invasion of Time" on 5 May and "K9 Tales" (featuring "The Invisible Enemy" and "K9 and Company") on 16 June.
PressClipsJuly 7, 2008 Posted By Paul Hayes
In the wake of the transmission of the final episode of Series Four on Saturday, interest in Doctor Who across the British media continues to be at a high.
On Saturday evening, after the episode was broadcast, Doctor Who Confidential producer Gillane Seabourne was interviewed live in studio on the BBC News channel, explaining - and, to an extent, having to defend from an irritated-seeming presenter! - the content of the episode.
One of the presenters commented to Seabourne how he had been unable to log on to a certain fan website that evening because it had shut down due to the number of users attempting to log on.
Seabourne's interview can be seen online on the BBC News website here, as part of a report on the high overnight viewing figure for the episode.
The impressive ratings performance is also the subject of pieces from The Daily Telegraph, The Times, The Scotsman, Digital Spy, MediaGuardian, The Guardian and The Daily Record.
Reaction to the finale was by no means limited to coverage of the ratings, however. As soon as they were able to, the websites of several sources had published reports summarising what had happened in the episode, such was the interest generated: The Telegraph ran such a piece, as did BBC News, The Independent, Metro, The Observer and the Sunday Express. The website of The Guardian also published a blog inviting comments on how well Russell T Davies had succeeded with the finale.
Reviews of the episode have come in from all quarters, as might be expected. While an article on the BBC News website suggests that amongst fandom there has been a "mixed reaction" to the finale, reviews amongst the majority of the mainstream media have been very positive. John Preston of The Telegraph felt that "As usual, Doctor Who served up a lot more than mere excitement. There was also plenty of heartbreak and heroism – clearly discernible emotions, even to the inhabitants of Planet Adolescence." In The Guardian, Lucy Mangan comments that " I think we can safely say there was something for everyone in that, can't we?" Andrew Billen of The Times had one or two reservations, but on the whole felt that "Davies did not sell us short in a spectacular finale." The finale is also reviewed by - among many, many others - Now Magazine, SFX, The Herald (an Irish paper), TV Scoop and the Radio Times website.
Elsewhere in the media, The Guardian has an interview with Russell T Davies, looking back at his time on the programme over the past few years, the inner workings of the BBC drama department and his own future career. He says of Doctor Who: "I am more in love with it than ever, but that's probably the best time to get out - not when you're bored." The Telegraph has a piece wherein Davies adds that: ""We don't want the audience to get bored of Doctor Who. When we come back in 2010, the amount of publicity we get will make what is happening now look like small fry." The Daily Mail, meanwhile, has an article alleging that 2,500 fans attempted to call the Doctor's mobile phone number, shown on screen in "The Stolen Earth". Sky News has picked up on the same story.
The Sun looks ahead to this year's Christmas special, based mostly on the few details seen in the teaser trailer at the end of Saturday's episode. The Liverpool Echo wonders what to do on Saturday nights now that Doctor Who has finished its current run, while the Boston Herald generally sings the praises of the programme.
Thanks to all on the Doctor Who Forum media thread.
Australian ratings and media
BroadcastingJuly 7, 2008 Posted By Adam Kirk
Excellent Australian ratings continue for Doctor Who down under with it topping the elusive one million mark for the second week in a row. Partners in Crime rated 1,112,000 viewers in the five major capital cities, coming third in its timeslot and was the the top ABC programme for the day (and 9th overall). The Confidential Cutdown version of 'A Noble Return' also rated very well gaining 921,000 viewers in the five major capital cities. The record-breaking Voyage of the Damned was also the ABC's top-rating programme of the week (coming 23rd overall).
Meanwhile, Crikey has previewed 'Voyage' and Series 4 saying '[f]orget about reality and indulge in a top class piece of escapism every Sunday evening . . . Let a Doctor banish any Sunday night blues for the next 14 weeks.' Karen Brooks of The Courier-Mail also writes of the good Doctor's appeal in that 'he continues to celebrate and believe in humanity's unquenchable goodness and our ability to survive and help each other.' CitySearch also describes 'Partners' as having 'some great laugh-out-loud moments' and 'a promising start to an interesting season.'
Meanwhile The Weekend Australia has described Catherine Tate as 'lovely and talented' and Sarah Lancashire as 'superb' in its preview of 'Partners' while Scott Jenkins of 'The Daily Telegraph' also previews 'Partners', calling it 'one that should please fans and newcomers alike' and is 'great fun.'
Thanks to LanzaroteLad and Theta Sigma
Big Finish Release Schedule
Big FinishJuly 6, 2008 Posted By Shaun Lyon
Big Finish Productions have announced their offerings for the remainder of 2008, with seven installments of their main Doctor Who series forthcoming in the next six months, as well as the two concluding episodes of the Eighth Doctor second series. Also in the pipeline are the first half of a year of offerings in their Companion Chronicles short story readings, with the series now becoming monthly and a full year's worth of details (until next summer) revealed.
Additionally, two new miniseries will begin in the next half-year: Big Finish is adapting the three Doctor Who stage plays into audio recordings ("Curse of the Daleks," "The Ultimate Adventure" and "Seven Keys to Doomsday"); and next January features the beginning of their three-story Key 2 Time series with Peter Davison, which will be included as episodes 117-119 of the regular monthly series.
The release schedules are below, while full details (as much as has been released) about the stories can be found in the spoiler note section (click on 'spoiler' to reveal).
Eighth Doctor Series
Classic-Era Studios May Get Special Status
MiscellaneousJuly 6, 2008 Posted By John Bowman
The BBC TV studios where Doctor Who was recorded during most of its classic era may be given special status.
English Heritage, the UK government's statutory adviser on the historic environment, is urging the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to recognise the architectural and cultural significance of Television Centre - which is at White City in London - and list parts of it at grade II.
This would classify them as of special interest and would ensure their historic and architectural interest was considered carefully before any alterations - internally or externally - were agreed.
Doctor Who was produced at TV Centre for the majority of its stories made between 1966 and 1989. Last October, this site reported that the centre, in Wood Lane, was being put up for sale.
Peter Beacham, heritage protection director for English Heritage, said: "As one of the first purpose-built TV studios in the world, it represents the moment when Britain led Europe into the television age. The BBC itself is an important part of our British identity and Television Centre has acquired an iconic presence.
"The nation has an immense fondness for this building and what it represents for our culture. We all feel we know areas such as the Blue Peter garden and the studios where people have watched significant moments in broadcasting over the last 50 years: from early Doctor Who to Top of the Pops."
He said the aim was to ensure the site remained flexible to adapt to changing technology or new uses, "despite being of undeniable national interest and one of very few monuments to television history".
English Heritage has assigned special interest to the scenery workshops, with their barrel-vaulted ceiling and rows of circular rooflights, the 1950s canteen that overlooks the Blue Peter garden, and the distinctive circular drum that houses offices and the main studios.
A BBC spokesman said: "The BBC is happy to discuss with English Heritage any proposal it has and we will comment to the Secretary of State on the historic and architectural merit of TVC in due course.
"The BBC has announced that it does not intend to occupy the whole of TVC after 2012 but any reference to detailed development plans for the building and site is premature.
"We recognise the historical importance of the building and will be looking for a solution that best preserves the interests of the BBC and licence-fee payer, but there are no firm plans currently on the table."
Already listed is Alexandra Palace in Wood Green, London, from where the world's first regular public television service came and where an establishing shot was filmed for The Idiot's Lantern in January 2006.
Journey's End - Overnight Ratings
BroadcastingJuly 6, 2008 Posted By Marcus
Unofficial figures show that the final episode of Series Four, Journey's End, was watched by 9.4 million viewers, giving it a 45.9% share of the total television audience.
Not only was the programme the highest rated on Saturday, beating the second placed Casualty by nearly 4 million viewers, it is currently the highest rated programme of the week. If no Sunday programme manages to beat it then this will be the first time in the series' long history that it has ever been the top rated programme of the week.
Fifteen minute breakdowns show that Doctor Who peaked with 9.8 million viewers while the highest rating ITV1 got against the programme was 2.4 million viewers. After it finished BBC1 lost 5 million viewers. ITV1's highest rated programme on Saturday was New You've Been Framed! with 4.2 million.
Final figures will be released by BARB in ten days time.
Coming This Christmas...
General TV Series NewsJuly 5, 2008 Posted By Shaun Lyon
In contrast to the past several years' episodes, the closing credits of the season finale "Journey's End" today in the UK did NOT feature a title for the forthcoming Christmas episode of Doctor Who... only the cryptic phrase "Return of the Cybermen". That's likely not the title for the next story; when it's announced we'll bring it to you. It's been known for at least two months that the Cybermen would play a part in the next transmitted episode.
Meanwhile, to avoid spoiling any surprises for our readers, we will refrain from mentioning anything on the News Page about the state of affairs at the end of the story. "Journey's End" airs in America in less than a month, and the fourth series is also now currently airing in Australia.
North America DVD News
DVD and VideoJuly 5, 2008 Posted By Shaun Lyon
The TV Shows on DVD website has provided a preview of the latest announced DVDs for the North American market, both due in October: The Trial of a Time Lord Boxed Set, starring Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant and Bonnie Langford, and The Brain of Morbius starring Tom Baker and Elisabeth Sladen. The box covers for the North America (US/Canada) releases are below; click on each for a larger version. (A new version of the "Morbius" disc release has now been uploaded). The "Trial of a Time Lord" set (four discs) includes commentaries by C. Baker, Bryant, Tony Selby (Glitz), script editor Eric Saward, writers Pip & Jane Baker, director Chris Clough and others, as well as "Making Of" featurettes, deleted and extended scenes, interview features, trailers, news coverage and documentaries (and even the famous "Doctor in Distress" music video!) The "Morbius" disc includes commentaries by T. Baker, Sladen, Philip Madoc (Solon), director Christopher Barry and producer Philip Hinchcliffe, a short documentary, trailers and photos.
Meanwhile, here is the complete schedule for announced DVD releases in North America for the rest of the year (subject to change and addition, of course):
Recent North America releases (in case you haven't picked them up) included "The Time Warrior" and "Timelash" in April, "Planet of Evil" and "Destiny of the Daleks" before that in March, and "Torchwood: The Complete First Series" back in January.With thanks to the Doctor Who DVD FAQ.
PressClipsJuly 5, 2008 Posted By Paul Hayes
The build-up to tonight's series finale of Doctor Who has continued unabated across the BBC and other British media sources during Saturday.
2005 Doctor Who Mastermind winner Karen Davies and Doctor Who Adventures editor Moray Laing appeared on BBC One's "Breakfast" news programme this morning, to discuss their thoughts on the finale. Throughout the programme, this feature was trailed with a sequence of clips showing all ten Doctors. Over on BBC Radio 2, Tim Smith was taking text message and e-mail suggestions from listeners on who should be the next Doctor during his early morning show. Various names were suggested, such as comedian Billy Connolly, and many listeners also contacted Smith to correct him after he erroneously gave out the episode's start time as five forty. The BBC News website (pictured) has made the excitement surrounding the finale the top story in their entertainment news section.
Journalist Andrew Billen asks if "time has finally run out for coolest man on TV" in The Times. Elsewhere in the same paper, long-time Doctor Who supporter Caitlin Moran ponders the speculation surrounding who the next Doctor might be. The same newspaper's TV previewer, David Chater, complains bitterly about not having been given a preview disc for the episode: "If the Daleks have conquered Earth, the Tardis has been destroyed and the Doctor is immobilised, the last thing anyone wants is news leaking out in the press. Think of the effect on public morale." The Times have also spotlighted a feature from their archives, a 1975 article reporting how Doctor Who has been blamed for an epidemic of spider fears among children.
The Daily Mirror has an interview with Russell T Davies, where he comments on how few people have seen tonight's epispde: "The Controller of BBC1 has not even seen it, or the Head of Drama, because it's been locked away. But I have seen it about 15 times." Even the Mirror's sports section gets in on the act, running the odds on possible contenders for the role of the Eleventh Doctor on their betting page.
In The Independent, Deborah Orr comments that: "It's OK to be scared by Doctor Who, though. Or lately, simply in awe of him." The Daily Telegraph have brought together all their recent Doctor Who content into a special mini-site, and their print edition features Davros on the cover of their TV listings supplement. The South Wales Echo looks at the curious practice of fans calling the Doctor's mobile phone number, as displayed in last Saturday's episode.
PeopleJuly 5, 2008 Posted By Paul Hayes
The actress Elizabeth Spriggs, who guest starred as Tabby in the 1987 Seventh Doctor serial Paradise Towers, has died at the age of 78. She appeared in many roles on stage and television for over fifty years, including performances with the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Spriggs was particularly well-known for her role as Nan in "Shine On Harvey Moon", and was well-loved by children for her starring role in the 1980s Children's BBC series "Simon and the Witch".
The Daily Telegraph has published an obituary.
Thanks to Chris Winwood and Matthew Kilburn
More Companion Chronicles
Big FinishJuly 5, 2008 Posted By Jarrod Cooper
Big Finish Productions has recently announced that their Companion Chronicles line will go from being a mini-series to an ongoing monthly range starting in July. The series will continue to be released in "seasons" with each season comprising of twelve releases. Each release is a new Doctor Who story as told by one of the Doctor's companions played by the actor who portrayed the role in the Classic Doctor Who TV series.
July's release is a First Doctor adventure narrated by Carole Ann Ford as the Doctor’s granddaughter, Susan. The story, entitled Here There be Monsters, has been written by Andy Lane. In the adventure, the Doctor, Barbara, Susan and Ian face creatures from another dimension.
August sees The Great Space Elevator, written by Jonathan Morris, featuring Deborah Watling as Victoria Waterfield in an adventure with the Second Doctor where a one-way trip leads to a confrontation with an alien force that threatens the Earth.
September's release is The Doll of Death by Marc Platt, an adventure for the Third Doctor told by Katy Manning as Jo Grant. This is the first time that Katy has reprised her role since she starred in the TV series in the 1970s.
The fourth adventure, Empathy Games by Nigel Fairs features the Fourth Doctor’s companion, Leela played by Louise Jameson.
November's release for the First Doctor features Sara Kingdom who originally joined the TARDIS crew for the epic length TV story, The Daleks' Master Plan. As in the original TV series, Sara Kingdom will once again be played by Jean Marsh. The story, entitled Home Truths, has been written by Simon Guerrier.
With the expansion of the releases, the series will now include tales from Companions to Doctors 5 through 8, as well as tales from characters who are not strictly companions. Already confirmed to be appearing later on in the range are Mary Tamm (Romana I), Richard Franklin (Mike Yates), Sarah Sutton (Nyssa), and Sophie Aldred (Ace).
BooksJuly 5, 2008 Posted By Jarrod Cooper
Telos Publishing has announced several new titles for 2008, and among them are the latest in their range of unofficial and unauthorised non-fiction guides to DOCTOR WHO and TORCHWOOD.
MONSTERS WITHIN is by Stephen James Walker and continues the story of DOCTOR WHO from the 2007 Christmas Special through the end of Series Four. The book is a detailed viewer's guide to the build-up and background to the show, as well as factual analysis and review of all the episodes. MONSTERS WITHIN will be published in December 2008.
SOMETHING IN THE DARKNESS is Stephen James Walker's follow up to the bestselling INSIDE THE HUB and looks at the second series of the DOCTOR WHO spin off TORCHWOOD. Like the DOCTOR WHO guide it delves into the background and production of the show and subjects all the episodes to critical review and analysis. SOMETHING IN THE DARKNESS will be published in August 2008.
Media round-up - UK in Doctor Who meltdown
PressClipsJuly 4, 2008 Posted By Paul Hayes
The British media has gone into Doctor Who overdrive in recent days, with a frenzy of comment, speculation and analysis across all kinds of outlets on television, radio, the internet and in print. As the week has gone on the avalanche of coverage ahead of tomorrow's climactic finale to series four has continued to build, and the excitement shows no sign of dying down yet.
This evening, BBC One's main early evening news bulletin, the Six O'Clock News, carried a report from entertainment correspondent Lizo Mzimba, looking at the secrecy surrounding tomorrow night's episode. It featured a short new clip from the episode, as well as comments from Freema Agyeman - who said friends had been texting her about the series, and people on the street had been asking her about the episode all week - and Russell T Davies. Following the showing of the report, the weatherman commented that this Saturday's rainy weather would be suitable for staying indoors and watching Doctor Who!
Davies is interviewed in text and in video on the BBC News website, answering questions from viewers and commenting on the secrecy surrounding the finale. In the former he reveals that he has no plans to write for the series under Steven Moffat's control - "I think Steven's more than his own man. He doesn't need me at all. I won't write for it in the future. I'm done with it" - while in the latter he extols the virtues of keeping plot details secret from the press, and comments on how the degree of excitement surrounding the cliffhanger ending to last week's episode has taken him somewhat by surprise! The subject of just how the production team have managed to keep the ending to the series a secret is studied in another piece by Lizo Mzimba on the BBC News site.
Concurrently with the BBC One Six O'Clock news, the series finale was also a topic on the BBC's flagship radio news programme, the Radio 4 news at six o'clock. This was then immediately followed by the comedy series The Now Show, one of the team behind which is fan and Doctor Who Forum regular Mitch Benn, which again mentioned the impending finale. And this was by no means the only BBC radio coverage of the day - producer Phil Collinson discussed the series on this morning's edition of Five Live Breakfast. Meanwhile, over on BBC television's breakfast programming, Freema Agyeman appeared as a guest on BBC One's "Breakfast".
All of this media promotion has not been limited to the BBC, however. On ITV1, Sylvester McCoy was a guest on the early morning GMTV programme, while later on in the morning Russell T Davies was a guest on the "This Morning" sofa. A particularly entertaining passage ensued when a clip was shown of Davies presenting the young children's programme "Playschool" in 1987! He answered various questions sent in by viewers, but refused to give away any information about tomorrow night's episode. Later on, in the early evening, a discussion of the series was a major feature of "Richard and Judy", the popular Channel 4 chat and lifestyle programme.
The print media has been no less enthusiastic in discussing the series ahead of Saturday. The Daily Telegraph newspaper, in particular, seems to have become something of a Doctor Who fanzine in recent days, publishing features on The Ten Greatest Doctor Who Stories, a Q&A; with their resident "Doctor Who expert", a piece speculating about the fates of various characters, an article explaining how Doctor Who is "Britain's favourite alien", a feature about reinventing Davros, and a piece generally celebrating the excellence of the series.
Meanwhile, the Daily Mail wonders who the best Doctor is, as well as claiming that Doctor Who fever is sweeping the nation. Jane Graham blogs for The Guardian about Doctor Who helping to teach children about empathy and tragedy. The Bournemouth Echo interviews local boy Julian Bleach. And last but not least, What's On Stage features David Tennant and Catherine Tate on its cover.
Many thanks to PolyG and all on the Doctor Who Forum media thread, without whom...
This Week in Doctor Who
New Column PostedJuly 4, 2008 Posted By Benjamin Elliott
The latest installment of This Week in Doctor Who, the weekly guide to Doctor Who on television in the UK, North America and elsewhere, for July 4, 2008 has now been posted. Click here to read it.
Turn Left - Final ratings
BroadcastingJuly 3, 2008 Posted By Paul Hayes
The Broadcast Audience Research Board (BARB), the company that compiles television ratings data in the UK, has today published final viewing figures for the week ending Sunday 22nd June. Final figures are more accurate than the initial overnight ratings, and include those who recorded a programme and watched it within the week of transmission.
The figures show that episode eleven of the current series, Turn Left, had a final viewing figure of 8.09 million for its debut showing on Saturday night on BBC One. This is over a million viewers higher than the initial overnight figure, and means the episode finished in 4th place in the most-watched programmes across all channels for the week. This is the highest chart placing ever gained by a regular series episode of Doctor Who, beaten only by the 2nd place finish of last year's Christmas special, Voyage of the Damned.
The BBC Three Sunday night repeat of the episode gained 915,000 viewers, finishing fourth for the week out of all BBC Three programmes.
Full ratings data, including data for iPlayer downloads, can be found in the Doctor Who Forum.
Top Programmes w/e 22 June 2008
1 CORONATION STREET (MON 2000) - 8.68 - ITV1
2 EASTENDERS (WED 1959) - 8.39 - BBC1
3 EASTENDERS (THU 1928) - 8.16 - BBC1
4 DOCTOR WHO (SAT 1838) - 8.09 - BBC1
5 CORONATION STREET (FRI 1934) - 7.90 - ITV1
6 EURO 2008 LIVE (SAT 1929) - 7.37 - ITV1
7 EURO 2008: MATCH OF THE DAY LIVE (SUN 1930) - 7.21 - BBC1
8 CORONATION STREET (FRI 2030) - 7.19 - ITV1
9 EURO 2008 LIVE (THU 1929) - 6.89 - ITV1
10 TOP GEAR (SUN 1959) - 6.72 - BBC2
11 EMMERDALE (MON 1929) - 6.72 - ITV1
12 EMMERDALE (WED 1859) - 6.54 - ITV1
13 EMMERDALE (TUE 1902) - 6.32 - ITV1
14 EURO 2008: MATCH OF THE DAY LIVE (TUE 1929) - 6.29 - BBC1
15 EMMERDALE (THU 1859) - 6.17 - ITV1
16 EMMERDALE (FRI 1902) - 6.16 - ITV1
17 TRAFFIC COPS (WED 1928) - 5.96 - BBC1
18 EURO 2008: MATCH OF THE DAY LIVE (FRI 1929) - 5.64 - BBC1
19 HOLBY CITY (WED 2101) - 5.59 - BBC1
20 THE ROYAL (SUN 1959) - 5.46 - ITV1
Top Multi Channel Programmes w/e 22 June 2008
1 HEROES (Thu 2231) 1,388,000 - BBC3
2 EASTENDERS (Thu 2200) 1,193,000 - BBC3
3 EASTENDERS (Mon 2203) 1,096,000 - BBC3
4 DOCTOR WHO (Sun 2002) 915,000 - BBC3
5 60 SECONDS (Mon 2201) 891,000 - BBC3
6 DOCTOR WHO CONFIDENTIAL (Sat 1931) 851,000 - BBC3
7 HOME AND AWAY (Tue 1829) 824,000 - Fiver (was
8 HOLLYOAKS (Tue 1859) 806,000 - E4 In
9 HOME AND AWAY (Fri 1829) 797,000 - Fiver (was
10 EASTENDERS (Wed 2202) 773,000 - BBC3
11 HOME AND AWAY (Thu 1828) 721,000 - Fiver (was
12 HOLLYOAKS (Wed 1859) 717,000 - E4 In
13 EURO 2008 LIVE (Wed 1929) 711,000 - ITV4
14 GLADIATORS (Sun 1800) 671,000 - Sky One
15 HOME AND AWAY (Wed 1829) 666,000 - Fiver (was
16 HOLLYOAKS (Thu 1859) 647,000 - E4 In
17 HOME AND AWAY (Mon 1829) 645,000 - Fiver (was
18 HOLLYOAKS (Mon 1859) 639,000 - E4 In
19 COME DINE WITH ME (Sun 1814) 635,000 - More4
20 AMERICA'S GOT TALENT (Fri 2101) 628,000 - ITV2