William Hartnell TV Interview DiscoveredBookmark and Share

Friday, 16 August 2013 - Reported by John Bowman
A TV interview with William Hartnell dating from 1967 has been unearthed and will feature on the DVD release of The Tenth Planet.

The news broke today following the BBFC's classification of extras, which included an interview with Hartnell among them.

Doctor Who Restoration Team member Steve Roberts confirmed that it was an in-vision interview - meaning that it was on screen as opposed to just being audio - and stated that it was fellow team member Richard Bignell who had discovered it.

The interview was conducted by Roger Mills for Points West - the BBC's regional news show - and was held in the dressing room of the Gaumont Theatre in Taunton, where Hartnell was appearing in the panto Puss In Boots less than three months after last being seen in Doctor Who. The interview aired on Tuesday 17th January 1967.

The extra runs for 3 min 16 sec, and Bignell detailed the discovery of what is now the only known on-screen interview with Hartnell to exist:
A few years ago, I was doing research into the article I was preparing for Issue 3 of Nothing at the End of the Lane on Hartnell's rather disastrous performance as Buskin the Fairy Cobbler in the pantomime Puss In Boots, which toured around four different venues in December 1966 and January 1967, just three months after he had completed work on The Tenth Planet.

Whilst doing some work at the BBC Written Archive Centre, I checked the respective Programme-as-Broadcast sheets for the period, looking specifically at the local BBC news programmes to see if Hartnell's appearance in panto was deemed worthy of a television report.

He was in fact interviewed twice. Once in the first week of the tour in Ipswich (shown on Look East on 27th December 1966) and again during the final week in Taunton for Points West, shown on 17th January 1967. As I'd built up some contacts in the BBC's regional news libraries working on the DVDs, I dropped the respective archives a line to see if there was any chance the two interviews survived.

The first interview for Look East had long gone, but the ladies in the Bristol News Library very quickly got back to me to say that the interview done in Taunton still survived. We arranged for the footage to be sent over to London, where it was duly transferred. It shows Hartnell in his dressing room doing his make-up for one of his performances, with his "Doctor's ring" on the table and a Berwick Dalek playsuit stuffed in the corner. Hartnell speaks about his problems acting against the Daleks and how pantomime isn't "legitimate" theatre! Enjoy!!
Roberts also revealed that David Bradley was shown the footage as part of his preparation for playing the role of Hartnell in the upcoming BBC Two drama An Adventure In Space And Time.

The Region 2 DVD will be released on Monday 18th November and is available to pre-order.

Doctor Who Live: The Next DoctorBookmark and Share

Friday, 2 August 2013 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Charlotte Moore, BBC One Controller (Credit: BBC)The BBC have announced that the next star of Doctor Who is to be revealed this coming Sunday evening in a special programme to be broadcast live on BBC One at 7:00pm, and simulcast by BBC America.

Update Friday Canadian channel SPACE have confirmed they will also broadcast the live show.
Update Saturday ABC Australia have also confirmed they will broadcast the live show.

Doctor Who Live: The Next Doctor is to be presented by Zoe Ball, and is expected to feature previous Doctors, companions, special guests and 'celebrity' fans, leading up to the reveal of who has won the coveted role. Charlotte Moore, the Controller of BBC One, said:
BBC One is the home of big live events and this special live show is the perfect way to reveal the identity of the next Doctor and share it with the nation. The Doctor is a truly iconic role and I’m more than excited about the booking.
In order to keep the half-hour show and the announcement under wraps, the BBC promoted it last week as an entertainment pilot that would pay tribute to 50 years of Doctor Who. For television schedules they instead listed a repeat of Celebrity Mastermind in the timeslot - a similar tactic was employed back in 2009 with Matt Smith's announcement, when the scheduled The Ten Doctors turned out to be a smokescreen for The Eleventh Doctor. BBC America, meanwhile, have had a repeat of The Eleventh Hour scheduled for Sunday afternoon.

Smith will also feature in Sunday's broadcast, lending advice on what it takes to play the Doctor; the show will also include interviews with Jenna Coleman and executive producer Steven Moffat, who said:
The decision is made and the time has come to reveal who’s taking over the TARDIS. For the last of the Time Lords, the clock is striking twelve.

The casting process itself has been a well-kept secret, with plenty of speculation as to who will take on the role. Ben Stephenson, the Controller of BBC Drama Commissioning, commented:
We can’t wait to unveil the next Doctor with everyone live on BBC1 on Sunday night. Amongst all the speculation and betting, there has been lots of fun and intrigue at work as we’ve been using the codename Houdini as a decoy! It’s the biggest secret in showbiz, even those working with the new Doctor on other projects at the moment have no idea they are in the presence of the 12th incarnation.
As reported on Wednesday, established names such Peter Capaldi, Ben Daniels, Chris Addison, Rory Kinnear and David Harewood have all been popular choices with the betting public - though it is just as likely that a previously unconsidered name will be revealed come Sunday evening, as with Smith in 2009.

Anniversary Episode To Have Simultaneous Global BroadcastBookmark and Share

Friday, 26 July 2013 - Reported by John Bowman
The 50th-anniversary episode of Doctor Who is to be broadcast around the world at the same time, it has been revealed.

It is believed the deal has been struck with global networks to prevent any spoilers and plot leaks, and is set to make it the world's biggest drama simulcast when it goes out on Saturday 23rd November.

In a statement, BBC Worldwide said:
It's always been our ambition to work with our broadcast partners so that international Doctor Who fans can enjoy the 50th-anniversary special at the same time as the UK. We'll have more details soon about our very exciting global plans for November.
The episode, whose title is yet to be publicly announced, will be shown in both 2D and 3D.

The time differences around the world mean that an evening transmission in the UK on the Saturday would see it being shown earlier the same day in North America and early on Sunday 24th November in Australia and New Zealand.

Matt Smith to leave after Christmas SpecialBookmark and Share

Saturday, 1 June 2013 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Photo: BBC/Adrian RogersThe BBC have announced that Matt Smith is to relinquish the role of the Doctor at the end of the year, once filming has completed on the Christmas Special.

In a press release, the actor reflected:
Doctor Who has been the most brilliant experience for me as an actor and a bloke, and that largely is down to the cast, crew and fans of the show. I'm incredibly grateful to all the cast and crew who work tirelessly every day, to realise all the elements of the show and deliver Doctor Who to the audience. Many of them have become good friends and I'm incredibly proud of what we have achieved over the last four years.

Having Steven Moffat as show runner write such varied, funny, mind-bending and brilliant scripts has been one of the greatest and most rewarding challenges of my career. It's been a privilege and a treat to work with Steven, he's a good friend and will continue to shape a brilliant world for the Doctor.

The fans of Doctor Who around the world are unlike any other; they dress up, shout louder, know more about the history of the show (and speculate more about the future of the show) in a way that I've never seen before, your dedication is truly remarkable. Thank you so very much for supporting my incarnation of the Time Lord, number Eleven, who I might add is not done yet, I'm back for the 50th anniversary and the Christmas special!

It's been an honour to play this part, to follow the legacy of brilliant actors, and helm the TARDIS for a spell with 'the ginger, the nose and the impossible one'. But when ya gotta go, ya gotta go and Trenzalore calls. Thank you guys.


Head writer Steven Moffat said:
Every day, on every episode, in every set of rushes, Matt Smith surprised me: the way he'd turn a line, or spin on his heels, or make something funny, or out of nowhere make me cry, I just never knew what was coming next. The Doctor can be clown and hero, often at the same time, and Matt rose to both challenges magnificently.

And even better than that, given the pressures of this extraordinary show, he is one of the nicest and hardest-working people I have ever had the privilege of knowing. Whatever we threw at him - sometimes literally - his behaviour was always worthy of the Doctor.

But great actors always know when it's time for the curtain call, so this Christmas prepare for your hearts to break, as we say goodbye to number Eleven. Thank you Matt - bow ties were never cooler.

Of course, this isn't the end of the story, because now the search begins. Somewhere out there right now - all unknowing, just going about their business - is someone who's about to become the Doctor. A life is going to change, and Doctor Who will be born all over again! After 50 years, that's still so exciting!

Some tributes to Matt's tenure as the Doctor on Twitter include: Nicola Bryant (Peri) - "I'm sad that Matt Smith is leaving. I've loved his Doctor. I wish him and thank him for his time. :)"; Yee Jee Tso (Chang Lee) - "YeeJeeTso for the next Doctor!” Ha! It'd be fun... but I'd never be able to fill those shoes!"; Caitlin Blackwood (Amelia) - "Oh my Gosh. I'm a little upset that Matt smith is leaving doctor who..."; Mark Gatiss (writer) - "Desperately sorry to see Matt Smith go. A truly wonderful Doctor Who, a gifted actor & a lovely man. It's the end. But ( altogether now!)..."; Neil Gaiman (writer) - "thank you, Matt Smith. It was an honour and a delight to write scripts for you: you never did what I expected."; James Moran (writer) - "Anyway. End of an era. Start of a new one. It's why we love the show- laughs, tears, surprises. Also: explosions!"; Gareth Roberts (writer) - "Very sad Matt Smith will depart from Doctor Who. A brilliant actor and a good man."; Nicholas Pegg (actor) - "Matt Smith is a terrific actor, and a lovely, kind, funny, generous, considerate man. Always a pleasure to threaten him with extermination."; Barnaby Edwards (actor) - "Farewell, Matt. You were a joy to work with and a wonder to watch. Thanks for all the good times."; Tom Spilsbury (DWM editor) - "I am very sad to see Matt Smith leave. He has been a brilliant Doctor Who, as well as being a kind and generous man. Thanks from all at DWM."; Edward Russell (brand manager) - "It feels impossible to think that anyone could be as good as Matt. Still, I thought that when David left."

The news will of course generate a lot of media interest, with many of the Sunday newspapers commencing their speculation as to who the next person to play the Doctor will be (with front pages coverage by the Times, Mail and Star). It is also expected that bookmakers will begin offering odds for Smith's replacement imminently!

Lizo Mzimba presented an item on Matt's tenure during BBC One's news bulletin at 10:30pm (available in the UK via the BBC News site), whilst BBC Breakfast is expected to have an item on the news in the morning, with Doctor Who Magazine's editor Tom Spilsbury reporting on Twitter that he will appear on the programme.

Fans asked not to spoil the season finaleBookmark and Share

Sunday, 12 May 2013 - Reported by Marcus
Some fans in America have been enjoying the Doctor Who series finale early due to a mistake in the American distribution of the Series 7 Blu-rays and DVDs.

The Name of the Doctor, which concludes the current series of the show, is due for transmission next weekend in the UK, North America and Australia. The episode is included in the Series Seven - Part Two Blu-ray and DVD sets, which were due to be released on 28 May.

However a distribution error has meant some copies of the discs have already been sent out in North America giving some fans a sneak preview of the final episode.

Doctor Who's brand manager, Edward Russell, has appealed to fans who have seen the episode to keep the show's secrets until it is broadcast at the weekend. On twitter he said
Production error in US means DW bluray shipped early. Let's hope no one spoils it for those who want to enjoy it together on Saturday. This is like a Doctor Who version of the Dunkirk spirit! I know some folk want to boast, but it's so much better if we all watch together.

Update Monday. The BBC have now added on Twitter: "Steven Moffat has promised if fans help keep the finale’s secrets, we’ll release a special video featuring Matt and David right after the ep!". This was also detailed via their Facebook page:
We understand that a small number of US fans have received in error their DVD edition of Series 7 Part 2 early. We respectfully ask those fans not to divulge information or post content publicly so that fellow fans who have yet to see the episodes do not have their viewing pleasure ruined.

If everyone keeps the secrets safe until next Saturday we will release a special new clip featuring material of the Tenth AND Eleventh Doctor!

Update Tuesday. An email has been sent to recipients of the boxed set, as follows:
Dear Valued Customer,

I'm sending this e-mail on behalf of BBC America Shop and understand you've received, or will be receiving, the DVD of Doctor Who Series 7 Part 2 early.

We respectfully ask you not to give away information or post content publicly online so that you don't ruin it for fellow fans who won't see the finale until it airs on Saturday. Lead Writer and Executive Producer Steven Moffat has promised if fans help keep the finale's secrets until after it airs on Saturday, we'll release a special video featuring Matt Smith and David Tennant.

We really appreciate your help in keeping the finale a secret for the rest of your fellow Whovians!

Thank you so much,
Gina Lee
Customer Care

Brian Minchin Appointed As Co-Executive ProducerBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 30 April 2013 - Reported by John Bowman
Brian Minchin has been made executive producer on Doctor Who alongside showrunner and lead writer Steven Moffat with immediate effect, it was announced this afternoon.

He replaces Caroline Skinner, who stepped down last month to join BBC Drama Production in London.

Minchin is an executive producer for BBC Wales's drama department, where he has been working on The Game, a new Cold War spy thriller from Toby Whithouse for BBC One, and Wizards vs Aliens, the Russell T Davies and Phil Ford co-creation for CBBC. He has also worked as BBC executive producer on Dirk Gently - based on the novels by Douglas Adams - and Being Human (another Whithouse creation).

He has been a script editor on Doctor Who and was a producer for spin-off series The Sarah Jane Adventures as well as the UK sections of Torchwood: Miracle Day, and was assistant producer on Torchwood: Children Of Earth.

Having grown up in Aberystwyth, Minchin joined the BBC Wales drama department in Cardiff in 2005 as a script editor working on the BBC One Wales production Belonging, before moving to network dramas Doctor Who and Torchwood in the same role.

He said:
I'm thrilled and excited to be joining Steven Moffat on a show that has meant so much to me over the years. I've watched in awe as Steven has taken Doctor Who to wild and imaginative places and I can't wait to get started on many more adventures with the Doctor.
Faith Penhale, the head of drama at BBC Wales, said:
I've no doubt Doctor Who will enjoy a very exciting time with Brian at the helm working alongside Steven. Since joining BBC Wales in 2005, he's proved he has a fantastic eye for story and a sharp awareness of what makes a drama like Doctor Who unmissable.
And Moffat added:
When I first took over Doctor Who, Brian was there as script editor, and in the most difficult time of a new Doctor and a new era was completely brilliant. We lost him to producing The Sarah Jane Adventures at the end of our first run. Rising talent keeps rising, is how I comforted myself back then - but now I am beyond happy that Brian has risen all the way back to Doctor Who in his new role of executive producer. I look forward to getting hopelessly lost in space and time with him.

No Eccleston in 50th Anniversary SpecialBookmark and Share

Friday, 5 April 2013 - Reported by Marcus
The BBC has confirmed that Ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston has decided that he will not take part in the 50th anniversary episode.

The statement follows reports in the tabloid press that the actor had pulled out of the story just as filming was due to begin. However, the BBC makes clear the actor was never contracted for the story, which is currently in production.

A BBC spokesman explained:
Chris met with Steven Moffat a couple of times to talk about Steven's plans for the Doctor Who 50th anniversary episode. After careful thought, Chris decided not to be in the episode. He wishes the team all the best.

Eccleston played the Ninth Doctor when the series returned in 2005, staying with the show for just one season. In 2011 he gave an interview saying he left the series because of politics and because he did not see eye-to-eye with senior members of the production team. He has stated how much he enjoyed the role and fans had hoped he could be persuaded to make an appearance in the 50th anniversary special.

An appearance from the Ninth Doctor in the story may still be possible using archive footage from the series.

Filming has continued this week, with Gelligaer Common north of Caerphilly playing host to the TARDIS (times two) yesterday. Jenna-Louise Coleman was present for recording scenes involving her on the Doctor's anti-grav bike, and a helicopter was also present during the morning. You can read a summary of events up in the hills via the She-Goat: blog.

Meanwhile, John Hurt was at the BAFTAs yesterday, with the BBC report saying: "Hurt revealed he had come to the event from filming Doctor Who, for its 50th anniversary, in Cardiff."
Compiled by:
Marcus and Chuck Foster

The Bells of Saint John confirmed for 6:15pm, 30th MarchBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 20 March 2013 - Reported by Chuck Foster
The Bells of Saint JohnThe BBC have now confirmed the time of the series "7B" premiere of Doctor Who: The Bells of Saint John will be broadcast on BBC One at 6:15pm on the 30th March 2013.

The episode launches the new early evening line-up for BBC One, with the new series of The Voice following it at 7:00pm. BBC Two broadcasts Easter from Kings until 6:30pm, whereupon there is a repeat of The Good Life leading into a tribute at 7:00pm to Richard Briers, who died last month. Meanwhile, ITV are broadcasting the news followed by You've Been Framed, Channel 4 have racing followed by the news, whilst Channel 5 are showing the film Police Academy 4.


To celebrate the return of the series, Doctor Who News are offering readers the chance to win one of two copies of Series 7 Part 2 when it is released (currently scheduled for 20th May in the UK).
As usual, the aim is to guess the BARB final consolidated viewing figure for The Bells of Saint John, to the nearest 10,000 viewers (i.e. two decimal places).
To enter the competition, please send your answer to this email address with the subject line "Run, you clever boy!", along with your name and address, plus your preferred format (Blu-ray or DVD) and region. The competition closes at 6:15pm GMT on Saturday 30th March.

Publicity Images

New publicity images have been released for the story which can be viewed below, along with the other images from earlier in the week:

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The Bells of Saint John: Character PortraitsThe Bells of Saint John: Character PortraitsThe Bells of Saint John: Character PortraitsThe Bells of Saint John: Character PortraitsThe Bells of Saint John: Character PortraitsThe Bells of Saint John: Character Portraits

BBC announce 50th Anniversary Doctor Who EventBookmark and Share

Thursday, 7 March 2013 - Reported by Marcus
The BBC has announced details of a special three day event to be held in London in November to celebrate 50 years of Doctor Who.

The three day Doctor Who 50th Celebration Weekend will be held at the ExCeL centre in London, beginning on Friday, 22 November with tickets for over 15,000 fans available.

More details about the event, including guests, itinerary, ticket prices and booking information will be revealed soon with fans invited to sign up to the doctorwho.tv newsletter.

Amanda Hill, Chief Brands Officer at BBC Worldwide said:
Generations of fans young and old have been captivated by the Doctor and we’ve seen Doctor Who go from strength to strength, enjoying something of a global march over the past few years attracting new followers from Turkey to Brazil to South Korea. This year long celebration is an opportunity for fans around the world to come together and celebrate the glorious past, present and future of Doctor Who.

The event follows the two day convention which took place in Cardiff last year and which saw fans get a chance to meet the current stars of the show and take a trip to the TARDIS set.

The last time the BBC celebrated an anniversary of the show with a convention was in 1983 when thousands of fans attended an event to celebrate the 20th anniversary at Longleat House in Wiltshire.

Doctor Who returns 30th MarchBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 23 January 2013 - Reported by Chuck Foster
The BBC have announced that the first of the eight episodes that comprise the second part of Series Seven will premiere on BBC One from Saturday 30th March - back in its 'traditional' Easter weekend slot! Though Doctor Who Magazine had already reported that the series would be on during April, this is the first time the BBC themselves have confirmed the date of a regular series of episodes so far ahead of its intended schedule - normally it is only announced a few weeks beforehand.

The time of broadcast has yet to be confirmed.

Both BBC America and SPACE (Canada) have confirmed that they, too, will launch the second part from the 30th March; no announcements have been made for the series to premiere in the other main countries as yet, though based on recent years they are likely to be close to transmission of the series in the United Kingdom.