Tom Baker Out As BT Mobile Voice ReaderBookmark and Share

Monday, 24 April 2006 - Reported by Shaun Lyon

Tom Baker will no longer be the voice of BT's talking message service at the end of April, according to news reports. "The BT service which allows mobile phone users to have messages sent to landline telephones read out in the classic TV icon's voice will switch to two new voices," says the UK Press Association news feed. "The feature was introduced at the end of January allowing people to send their friends and family messages in the instantly recognisable actor's dulcet tones. But his voice is to be axed to allow the introduction of both male and female voices. The new voices will start being used from April 28 and will be rolled out nationally from May 1. Wendy McMillan, BT general manager, Consumer, said: 'Tom Baker has been a huge success and a great way to introduce a new audience to BT Text. 'As the technology develops we want to give people the option to have their texts delivered to landlines in a gender that is the same as their own or one they think will be more effective depending on the message they're sending. But if people haven't yet had their fill of Tom Baker they've still got more than a week to enjoy pretending to be The Doctor.' Research carried out by BT suggests male voices are appropriate for sending different messages to female voices. Seven out of ten people think male voices are better for telling jokes and were considered more powerful and better for disciplining children. Female voices were described as more comforting, truthful and persuasive than male voices." The story has also been reported today atYahoo NewsThe GuardianThe SunThe MirrorManchester Evening NewsThe Scotsman.




Elisabeth Sladen on Blue PeterBookmark and Share

Monday, 24 April 2006 - Reported by Shaun Lyon

Elisabeth Sladen appeared as the last feature of today's 'Blue Peter', joined by K9 and emerging from the TARDIS - which of course materialised in studio - carrying Socks the 'Blue Peter' cat! After the clips of 'School Reunion' from the 3-minute BBCi trailer were shown, Sladen talked to presenter Gethin - who apparently appears in the series himself as a Cyberman - about how she'd been reassured about re-appearing in the series after meeting with the people behind the new version and realising that they were on the same wavelength as her about where Sarah would be now. Sladen also talked about Sarah's past exploits with the Third and Fourth Doctors, and how she was left behind by the Fourth and perhaps always hoped he'd come back for her, but never did. As Sladen talked, clips were shown from 'The Time Warrior', 'Genesis of the Daleks' and 'The Hand of Fear'. Various clips of K9 in action were also shown when he was introduced, and the clip of K9 saying he was a present from the Doctor from 'K9 and Company' was used as Gethin explained how the Doctor had given the dog to Sarah as a present.

Sladen discussed how she thinks David Tennant has the qualities that make a good Doctor 'in spades' - the 'Girl in the Fireplace' clips from the BBCi trailer were shown as she talked about him. She alao said that Rose and Sarah do not initially get on as they are very proprietorial about the Doctor, both thinking he belongs to them, although Sladen noted that he doesn't really belong to either of them because he is an alien. Throughout, K9 chipped in with various comments, voiced as always by John Leeson. Towards the end of the feature he met the two 'Blue Peter' dogs - not getting attacked by either of them as he was by the incumbent dog on the show many years ago! - and when questioned by Gethin about his defensive capabilities, responded that he could not reveal them all and viewers would have to see for themselves on Saturday.

Gethin then introduced a competition for viewers to win one of fifty copies of the 'Genesis of the Daleks' DVD, signed by Sladen, before K9 reminded viewers to watch 'at 7.15' on Saturday (an error, as the show will be on at 7.20 this Saturday), and also to watch Tuesday's 'Blue Peter', a trailer for which was then shown. (Thanks to Paul Hayes)




Inferno DVD CoverBookmark and Share

Monday, 24 April 2006 - Reported by Shaun Lyon

Tenth Planet have provided us with the full-color high-resolution cover image for the forthcoming UK DVD release of Inferno starring Jon Pertwee, Nicholas Courtney and Caroline John. Click on the thumbnail for a larger version.

The DVD release is out 29 May in the UK. As we noted when the story was originally announced, the release will feature commentary by Courtney, John Levene, script editor Terrance Dicks and producer/director Barry Letts; "Can You Hear the Earth Scream?," a 35-minute "making of" documentary which includes interviews with Dicks, Letts, Levene, Courtney, Caroline John, Ian Fairbairn and stunt arranger Derek Ware; "The UNIT Family (Part One)", a 36-minute documentary featuring a look at the first half of the "UNIT family" from the Third Doctor's era with interviews with Letts, Courtney, Levene, Dicks, John, Ware and UNIT Creator Derrick Sherwin; "Visual Effects Promo Film," an excerpt from an early sales pitch from the BBC Visual Effects department featuring rare Doctor Who footage; "The Pertwee Years Intro," a short intro by Jon Pertwee originally included on BBC Video's "The Pertwee Years"; a Jon Pertwee radio announcement; a PDF of the 1971 Doctor Who Annual; Radio Times billings; plus photo gallery and production notes.




Tooth and Claw Overnight RatingsBookmark and Share

Sunday, 23 April 2006 - Reported by Shaun Lyon

Initial overnight viewing figures for Saturday night's new Doctor Who episode Tooth and Claw on BBC1 have come in, and it's good news: an average of 8.9 million viewers watched the episode, with an average 42.3% audience share... a gain of nearly a million viewers over last weekend's "New Earth" which had an average of 8.0 million. According to the individual breakdown of 15-minute intervals, Doctor Who was reported peaking in its last quarter hour at 9.3 million viewers (43.1% share during that fifteen-minute period) and dropped off 4.75m viewers after the episode was over, but even more interestingly, in the ViewingFigures 5-minute interval breakdown, it actually peaked at 10.03 million (44.3%). This is higher even than the peak figure for the preceding FA Cup semi-final (9.91m, of which 1.4m switched off or over as Doctor Who began); this high-profile match was Saturday's second most-watched programme with an average figure of 6.6m (42.6%). ITV, meanwhile, proved no match for "Doctor Who" this week, sustaining just shy of four million viewers at the same time as the episode broadcast. "Doctor Who" is currently in the top-ten for the week's overnight ratings on British television in equal eighth place with Thursday's episode of EastEnders and outrating all five of Emmerdale's episodes. It's likely that 'Tooth and Claw' will end the week in ninth place, as another episode of Coronation Street screens on ITV1 on Sunday evenings, although other Sunday night programmes could yet push Doctor Who out of the top ten in the week's overnights. In comparison with the same weekend last year, 'Tooth and Claw' is well up on the performance of 'World War Three', which had overnights of 7.26m (38%).

Meanwhile, the BBC Three installment of Doctor Who Confidential at 8.00pm scored 616,100 viewers (with a 3.8% audience share), peaking at just after the start at 676,000. It was fourth for the evening on the list of non-terrestrial broadcast channels. And the second edition of Totally Doctor Who last Thursday pulled in 900,000 viewers (8.2%) in its 5pm slot, about the same as Blue Peter's audience size in the same timeslot. (Thanks to 'Shaun Lyon', Andy Parish)




TARDIS Report: Saturday ReviewBookmark and Share

Saturday, 22 April 2006 - Reported by Shaun Lyon

More "Tooth and Claw"

At half-time during the Liverpool - Chelsea game today, the trailer was shown for 'Tooth and Claw' after a brief BBC News summary. Immediately after the trailer, the football coverage presenter, Gary Lineker, assured viewers that the episode would follow 'even if the match goes to penalties', thus reassuring all us nervous Who fans! He even said that 'The Time Lord is a bit of a football fan you know,' and suggested that if viewers had a TARDIS they could have gone back 20 years to see Maradona knocking England out of the 1986 World Cup, linking into a forthcoming BBC documentary on the Argentine player.

Garry Bushell writes in tomorrow morning's The People, "So Dr Who is an Ian Dury fan. Good man. Unfortunately the Blockheads could be writing his scripts. Let's be honest about Russell T Davies: His sci-fi sucks like the Lotus Thirst Pocket elephants. He's great at thinking up/nicking striking images... creepy cat nuns, killer monks, zombies with rice crispy-blitzed faces. And last night's werewolf will have scared the pants off more kids than Jacko. But no amount of flash computer images can disguise the pot-holes in his plots. Russ never bothers to knit a ale together, which is why his Who episodes fail to live up to the hoo-ha. As with last series, the best stories will be written by others. David Tennant, left, is a great casting, though: fun, upbeat, and his relationship with Rose is far less creepy than Chris Eccleston's was."

Says The Guardian, "There's been a bit of griping about the casting of young master David Tennant. True, he's no hefty thesp like Eccleston, and yes, his Ritalin-starved toddler shtick (part David Helfgott, part butch Kenneth Williams) does grate occasionally. But if you liken his Doctor to Patrick Troughton taking over from William Hartnell, you'll sleep better. This week he and Rose travel back to 1879 for an encounter with Queen Victoria (the wonderful Pauline Collins), a band of warrior monks and a very scary werewolf..."

The Evening News of Scotland says of tonight's episode, "Much has been made of the fact that with David Tennant's tenure as Doctor Who now well underway, there is a Scot back at the controls of the Tardis. ... For former Boroughmuir High pupil Ruth Milne, however, the most terrifying aspect of tomorrow's adventure will the fact that more than eight million viewers are expected to tune in to watch the episode in which she makes her TV debut. 'Everyone that I have ever met seems to know that I'm in Doctor Who tomorrow,' laughs the bubbly 18-year-old, as she reacquaints herself with a Tardis of sorts, an Edinburgh Police Box. I play Flora, the youngest maid in a big Victorian house. She gets separated from the rest of the staff and is looked after by Rose and the Doctor. But I'm so nervous about watching it because I've haven't had a chance to see the finished episode yet.' Although set in Scotland, filming took place in Wales - Treowen House in Dingestow doubling as Torchwood Estate, a castle in the Scottish Highlands. At a recent press screening producer Russell T Davies excused this by saying: 'We just didn't have a big enough budget. But there was no need to go to Scotland because we've made Wales look like London, France and Mars. So we could make it look like Scotland too.' However, if the locations are less than authentic, the same cannot be said for the cast, the majority of whom, like Milne, are Scots. Casting sessions were held at the Scotsman Hotel last August and it was at one of these that Milne, then just 17, was discovered, when the then leader of the Lyceum Youth Theatre, of which she was a member, put her up for the role. 'I'd been with the Lyceum Youth Theatre for five years when the BBC contacted them and asked if they had anyone they thought might be good for the part of a Victorian maid - I got a call to tell me about the auditions and I went along.' Two weeks later, she was offered the role of Flora. 'I was absolutely thrilled, because at the time everyone was watching the first series and thought it was really good.' Filming of Tooth and Claw started last October and lasted for two weeks. And on her first day on the set Milne admits she had to pinch herself. 'It was my first ever job, so I was very nervous and really excited, but everyone was very nice and looked after me. On my first day it was quite good because we weren't filming my bigger scenes, just the ones where I was in the background. That eased me into it, but it was really weird to be there - I even had my own little trailer. It was crazy. When someone says you have a part in Doctor Who that's one thing, but when you get there and David Tennant and Billie Piper are standing beside you, it's like: 'How did I get here.' In tomorrow's tale, the time-travellers set out to earn their By Royal Appointment crest by saving crown and country from the threat of an ancient werewolf. This being Doctor Who, the crown is that of Queen Victoria, played by Pauline Collins who returns to the show after a break of almost 40 years. Previously she played Samantha Briggs in a story called The Faceless Ones, alongside the second Doctor, Patrick Troughton. 'Obviously it's much more hi-tech now and I did absolutely adore Patrick Troughton, he was a wonderful Doctor. Our story was about aliens who inhabited human beings, which was quite advanced for its time. However, now, having seen David Tennant in action, I believe he is going to be the best Doctor ever,' she enthuses. 'He seems to combine authority and humour and quirkiness which, in a way, is an amalgam of all the very best Doctors. He's terrific in it and I think he'll be great,' Collins opined recently. Milne agrees, but says everyone on the show was really friendly, especially Queen Margaret University College trained Michelle Duncan, who plays Flora's boss, Lady Isobel. 'Pauline Collins was really lovely and I had a scene with her at the end. But the first actor I met was Michele Duncan. We were staying at the same hotel so I spent quite a lot of time with her and she looked after me,' says Milne. Other Edinburgh actors appearing the story include Jamie Sives, who plays Captain Reynolds, and Tom Smith, who has to morph into the werewolf. 'There were a few Scottish actors in the episode and Tom Smith was really good,' says Milne. 'He is a great actor and even though special effects hadn't been put on, he was still quite scary.'"

The television listings section of 'Saturday' magazine in today's Daily Express featured a preview of 'Tooth and Claw', which it marked as their 'critic's choice' for Saturday, with a picture of Rose and the Doctor above the following write-up by Mike Ward: "We're going to be seeing oodles of guests in this latest series. Here in episode two it's Pauline Collins who pops up, delivering what I'd imagine could well be a fine impression of Queen Victoria (I can't be sure, I never met the woman). The Tardis delivers the Doctor and Rose back to 1879, where it turns out things aren't all they appear to be in the Scottish Highlands. This is partly because the programme is actually filmed in Wales and they're hoping nobody will notice, but mostly it's thanks to the presence of some rather sinister monks, blatantly up to no good. Oh, and there's a sort of werewolf-type thing on the rampage, which doesn't help. The Queen herself comes across as a tiny bit less stern and grumpy that you might expect."

School Reunion

SFX Magazine has a full (and somewhat spoiler-laden) preview of "School Reunion," the next Doctor Who episode to air, next Saturday.

The Manchester Evening News says of next week, "Hi-tech K9 is set to return to the small screen as Dr Who's sidekick next weekend. But the robot dog has already been spotted being walked around parts of Manchester. While it may be more than 24 years since the clever canine last appeared on screen alongside the Time Lord, played by Tom Baker, he was quickly spotted by fans. And while the spin-off K9 and Company was a ratings flop in 1981, BBC bosses believe the pet, who has already had three screen comebacks, will help boost the huge success of the Dr Who revival. Mark's K9, which usually lives in his sitting room, is made from the same mould as the mark three version, which returns next Saturday. Mark, 33, a law costs clerk in Oldham, said: 'Everyone loved K9 when he first appeared on Dr Who. There was something about the way he looked and sounded that appealed to everyone, even people who weren't big fans of the series. He got a great reaction today. One woman couldn't take her eyes off him. People definitely remember him. It's really exciting that he is coming back. He was one of the best things about the vintage Dr Who episodes and I can't wait to see what he gets up to this time. He is part of what made Dr Who great and unique, not a soap opera and not a documentary, just real family fun.'"

Other Items

CBBC News says, "Doctor Who is starting to dominate Your Charts again. Series two has only just started and you've already voted the new Doctor, David Tennant as a new entry in the celeb chart. He replaces singer Kelly Clarkson, but can he take on the mighty Emma Watson for the title of your fave celeb? The top sci-fi TV show also enters your fave thing chart this week as you are bored with books!"

TV Squad reviews "The Long Game" which aired Friday night on the Sci Fi Channel in America; The Sun discusses Big Brother star Michelle Bass' desire to be in Doctor Who;

(Thanks to Paul Engelberg, Steve Tribe, Paul Hayes, Andy Parish, Peter Weaver and 'Shaun Lyon')




Doctor Who Wins at BAFTA Cymru AwardsBookmark and Share

Saturday, 22 April 2006 - Reported by Shaun Lyon

It may not necessarily win during the big national award ceremony, but Doctor Who has won five categories at theBAFTA Cymru awards, the BAFTA ceremony for television and film made in Wales. The program today won the awards for Best Drama Series, Best Drama Director, Best Costume Design, Best Make-up Design and Best Photography Direction. Series executive producer Russell T Davies also the Sian Phillips Award for Outstanding Contribution to Network Television. In a quote to BBC News, BBC Wales head of English programmes Clare Hudson says, "We are thrilled that the spectacular contribution made by Russell T Davies to television over the past few years has won him such a very special award."




School Reunion Time ChangeBookmark and Share

Saturday, 22 April 2006 - Reported by Shaun Lyon

Radio Times has reported, and now the BBC One website has confirmed, that the start time for next weekend's episode of Doctor Who, "School Reunion", has been delayed by twenty minutes and will now begin at 7:20pm. The program runs to 8:05pm, and presumably the third episode of the companion documentary series Doctor Who Confidential will start at that time. As always, check Outpost Gallifrey's broadcast calendar (located in the left-hand column of the news page) for the latest updates on scheduling.




Ratings UpdateBookmark and Share

Saturday, 22 April 2006 - Reported by Shaun Lyon

The overnight result for BBC Three's repeat on Friday shows New Earththat evening with an average audience of 454,000, a share of 2.1%. From 9pm, 406,000 were watching and the audience had climbed to a peak of 510,000 by 9.40pm; the following programme (Three's Outtakes) was watched by 213,000. Doctor Who was BBC Three's second most-watched programme of the night, behind EastEnders, and was second in its multichannel timeslot, behind American Idol (ITV2). The total audience for 'New Earth' (combining its BBC One premiere and both BBC Three repeats) stands at 8.83m, pending any adjustment for 'timeshift' viewings, which should be available in a few days.

BARB's Top 75 Network Programmes chart for 10–16 April has 'New Earth' at Number 12 with 8.0m viewers, behind five episodes of Coronation Street (ranging from 8.6m to 11.0m viewers), four of EastEnders (8.3m to 10.3m) and two of Emmerdale (8.1m and 8.2m), making Doctor Who the fourth-highest-rated show of the week and the highest non-soap. The episode also heads the Top 10 Drama chart. In the Top 25 Multichannel chart, Number 6 is the first edition of Doctor Who Confidential, 'New New Doctor' (Saturday 15, BBC3), which was also the top-rated mutichannel programme on Saturday.

Ratings for episode two of CBBC's Totally Doctor Who, the children's variety tie-in show on Thursday, were up slightly this week, with 900,000 viewers and a share of 8.2%. This is roughly the same viewership numbers attracted to an episode of the long-running show "Blue Peter".




TARDIS Report: End of Week PressBookmark and Share

Friday, 21 April 2006 - Reported by Shaun Lyon

Tooth and Claw Pre-Press Continues

Several stories in the past two days about this weekend's broadcast of the second episode of the season, Tooth and Claw:

The Daily Record says that "when Glasgow actor Derek Riddell dies in Doctor Who this weekend, it's at the hands of a man-sized Teletubby. The No Angels star, who last night brought the curtain down on the hit Channel 4 comedy-drama, switches to BBC1 on Saturday playing a Scottish nobleman who meets a grisly end fighting a giant werewolf. Despite his convincing portrayal of being eaten alive, Derek's adversary was nothing more than a student earning pocket money. He said: 'The werewolf was a guy in an all-in-one Lycra bodysuit with a pole attached to the top of his head. I just needed an eye-line, something the right height, so it looked like I was acting with a werewolf, which was all done with computer-generated imagery (CGI). That was a challenge - I had to look scared of a student in a body stocking.' ... New Doctor David Tennant, from Paisley, has already received flak for not playing the famous role in his native accent. Viewers will hear the Doctor and - less successfully - his assistant Rose (Billie Piper) pretend to be Scottish on Saturday, after the Tardis crash-lands in the countryside in Victorian 'Scotland'. But Derek doesn't see why that should be aproblem. He said: 'David doesn't do a lot of his stuff in a Scottish accent now. It's good to do somethingthat's not your native tongue, that's what you're trained to do. I remember wondering whether he'd play the Doctor Scottish or not, but that's a decision made between David and Russell T. Davies. It works really well, as it's allowed David to change his accent for this episode, which gives it an extra dimension. And Rose can't manage, so they make a gag out of it.'"

Newsquest Media Group notes that "This Saturday night the eagled-eyed residents of a Monmouth village will be glued to their television screens to try to catch a glimpse of their leafy home on Dr Who. BBC Wales film crews were in Dingestow last October filming scenes at Treowen House for the second episode of the new series - entitled Tooth and Claw - which is due to be screened this weekend on BBC One at 7.15pm. But residents may be disappointed to find that only footage filmed inside the historic building has been used. So local villagers will be unable to see any views of the outside of the Grade I Listed building, nor Dingestow itself, on the prime-time cult show. Saturday's 45-minute episode sees the Doctor and Rose Tyler, played by David Tennant and Billie Piper, travelling back to the year 1879 to Victorian Scotland. Programme makers had been struggling last year to find a suitable grand staircase for a chase scene in the episode, until one of the designers recalled attending a wedding at Treowen House and that it boasted a suitable flight of stairs. And after viewing the property, owned by Monmouth brothers John and Dick Wheelock, the crew not only agreed to shoot the chase scene; but filmed scenes in other interior rooms including the hallway and a reception room. John's wife Jane Harvey said last week: 'We will indeed be watching, and I know a lot of the people who come down and hire out Treowen House will be too.' The family staying this week at Treowen House are great Dr Who fans and are avidly awaiting Saturday's screening. In Tooth and Claw, the heroes are forced to battle with a terrifying werewolf and the epi-sode is one of the very few not to feature the infamous Daleks. The Dr and Rose come into contact with Queen Victoria herself, played by actress Pauline Collins who first starred alongside the second Dr Who, Patrick Troughton, in the 1960s. The werewolf, which was created with special effects, has been criticised in some circles as being too scary and over-produced, with director Russell T Davies taking the show away from its low-budget cult roots."

Manchester Online quotes Pauline Collins during coverage of the episode this week. "Bleak House star Pauline Collins teams up with the Time Lord this weekend to take on a werewolf. ... The Doctor (David Tennant) and Rose (Billie Piper) travel back to 1879 where they have a royal appointment with the Queen on her way to Balmoral. 'The episode is very scary - particularly the werewolf,' says Pauline, who originally played Samantha Briggs, alongside the second Doctor, Patrick Troughton. She found the 21st century version of the show completely different. 'Obviously, it's much more hi-tech now. Having seen David Tennant in action, I believe he is going to be the best Doctor ever. 'He seems to combine authority and humour and quirkiness, which, in a way, is an amalgam of all the very best Doctors. He's terrific in it and I think he'll be great.' ... 'One of the great things that Russell has really taken up in this reincarnation of Doctor Who is once you unleash the imagination of writers, it can go anywhere. He's kind of set us off on a rocket into the universe in a way. That's the appeal and that's why it's timeless. It can catch up with whatever is available to us scientifically, or in our imaginations, whatever the era is.' Older viewers will remember Pauline's role as young Sarah in Upstairs Downstairs. She says Queen Victoria's outfit was the heaviest costume she has ever worn. 'It was like carrying several small children around with me all the time.' What does she think Her Maj made of the Doctor and Rose? 'In the first encounter, she's immediately drawn to Rose. She likes Rose very much - although in the Queen's view, Rose looked rather inappropriately dressed in her modern clothes. She's a bit wary of the Doctor. I think that manifests itself all along. For some obscure reason, she challenges him constantly - she's not sure about him.'"

Miscellaneous Press Coverage

As widely reported in press, during an interview screened today on Sky News, the Duke of York also reflects upon growing up in the royal household and describes the informal side of life with the Queen, including settling down to watch television programmes such as Grandstand and Doctor Who with her. "The Queen has been praised on the eve of her 80th birthday as a 'consummate parent, outstanding monarch who has no equal', by her son the Duke of York. In a television interview screened on Friday Andrew described life growing up with a woman who is both his mother and the Monarch. The Duke revealed details of family life during his childhood when he would rollerblade in state apartments, race in miniature cars with his brother Prince Edward and watch the BBC show Doctor Who with the Queen." During the interview he said that he was 'a child of the original Doctor Who'. He pointed (off camera) and stated that down there there was a settee behind which he was able to hide from the Daleks. Reported in such places as the Daily Mail, theGuardian, the Express, the Scotsman, theMirroric NetworkIn The News.

The official Doctor Who website reports that "Doctor Who has been a hit TV show for more than 40 years. Unfortunately more than 100 of the early black and white episodes no longer exist in the BBC's film and videotape library. However, episodes that the BBC thought had been lost forever have turned up in car boot sales, in peoples' attics and in other weird locations. So the wonderful people at Blue Peter have launched a campaign to try and track down these lost episodes. The prize for anybody who finds a missing episode is a full-size replica Dalek... so it's definitely worth asking your family to check their lofts, garages, and spare bedrooms for any old film cannisters that might have the magic words 'Doctor Who' on the label." There are details of "how you can get in touch with the BBC if you do find one of these lost reels of film" on the website.

Sci Fi Wire, the news service of the US-based Sci Fi Channel, interviewsDave Houghton, visual effects supervisor, who says that "technicians broke ground to create a computer-generated werewolf for the upcoming second-season episode 'Tooth and Claw,' airing this week in the United Kingdom. 'Our modelers and animators have worked on films like Harry Potter,' Houghton said in an interview. 'So they were very well aware of what they could achieve in the time allowed, and we planned the episode accordingly. We were in talks with [executive producer] Russell T. Davies quite early on, even before the script was written, to determine how much could be done, and what we've done is very good in terms of TV or even for film. I think our werewolf is the best creature we've done for the show so far. It's fantastic. ... The great thing about doing a CG creature is you're obviously not mucking around with somebody on set in a costume, which takes ages, and time is something you just don't have on Doctor Who,' Houghton said. 'So there had to be a few ground rules. Once we got the script, our team basically animated to the script and what we thought would look good, and that really couldn't be changed. In film, a lot of noodling goes on after the fact. It gets animated, and then the producer or director comes in and changes it, so you have a lot of people giving their input, which we didn't have time to do. We had to take our cues as to what we thought was good and basically stuck to that, because we didn't have time to re-animate anything. ... Our werewolf was created with a new Maya [software] plug-in called Shave and a Haircut, which we used for the first time on this job, and it's worked very nicely. It all comes down to the guy who textures it, but our werewolf is very realistic. We've blown wind through it; we've thrown water on it, and it all looks rather splendid.'"

The Daily Record "pays tribute to an outstanding group of people, the finalists in the search for Our Heroes 2006. Once again we were inundated with thousands of nominations from readers. They ranged from brave members of the forces and emergency services to volunteers who give their time to help others. There were tales of youngsters brave beyond their years and pensioners who defied the age barrier to make a real difference. At the Hilton Hotel in Glasgow tonight, the winners of this year's awards will be announced during a star-studded event hosted by BBC newsreader Jackie Bird and comedian and Record columnist Tam Cowan. ... OUR ENTERTAINMENT HERO: David Tennant. The new Doctor Who has had an amazing rise to fame since his days at the RSAMD in Glasgow. The actor, from Bathgate, West Lothian, said at the age of 13 that his ideal role was the Time Lord. His determination, talent and hard work have achieved it. With no airs and graces and an understated charm, he is a true gentleman."

The Daily Express says that "Actress Sophia Myles looks as though she is auditioning for her own role as a Timelord by sporting a long brown trenchcoat. The blonde girlfriend of Dr Who star David Tennant, is currently filming feature film Hallam Foe in Edinburgh. The Scots actor is rumoured to have been having intimate dinner dates in the capital with Sophia who is said to keep an action figure of him in her bag. But yesterday the 26-year-old only had a giant blue parka style jacket to keep her warm between takes and there was no sign of a Dr Who doll in the black handbag she was carrying."

The Sun wonders if the premiere of "New Earth" really was the TV event of the year. "You don't think BBC1 over-sold it just the teeniest little bit, do you? A series of BBC3 repeats. Front cover of the Radio Times. Trailers every 30 minutes. Two spin-off shows. With another couple on the way. Then finally, FINALLY, it's the real thing. Yes, in case you missed the Beeb's low-key publicity campaign, Dr Hype is back, accompanied by the sort of fan-fare that would have made Rocky blush. A right royal pain in the jacksie it's been too, what with all the plugs it's been getting on other BBC shows. So, at the very least, you'd expect series two to open with a dynamite episode and maybe some Daleks or Cybermen, wouldn't you? But oh no. Instead? We have a huge letdown, from the moment David Tennant's pop-eyed, Mockney Doc took aim at the entire universe...and ended up back in a field full of cowpats in south Wales. ... o what we ended up with on Saturday was Carry On Doctor, rather than 'the TV event of the sodding year.' ... Because what's happened here is that, at best, someone (probably Russell T Davies) has chosen the wrong opening episode. Or, at worst, we're in for a lousy series. Hopefully it's the former. As we need something half decent to watch on Saturdays. And I'd like to stay tuned, if only to discover that David Tennant's four-word secret to the universe is -LOSE. THE. ENGLISH. ACCENT. "

The Daily Record yesterday said "All this Beeb-generated 'will they, won't they' hype about Jarvis Cocker being winched by an Ewok - er, sorry, I mean Billie Piper snogging David Tennant - was in danger of turning Doctor Who into Doctor When? And, I wondered, Doctor Why? Meeting the series' remastermaster Russell T. Davies in Glasgow recently, I agreed whole-heartedly (do I get a gold badge from the Doctor Who geek-club if I say two-heartedly?) with his suggestion that the fizz goes flat when chemistryblessed couples lock lips. Lois and Clark in the appalling New Adventures Of Superman, said R.T.D. by way of illustration. Cue over-enthusiastic nodding on my part - memories of Ross and Rachel (Friends), David and Maddy (Moonlighting), heck, even Miss Piggy and Kermit (The Great Muppet Caper) bringing me out all clammy. Then, barely five minutes into Saturday night's show, and the biggest threat to humanity appeared to be the inter-galactic cheeseballs being cooed between our happy couple. 'So, where are we going?' asked Rose, having ditched her boyfriend (again) for a man whose only possessions are a multi-purpose screwdriver, a moth-eaten wardrobe and a mobile home. 'Further than we've ever gone before,' purred the Doc. Jings. Cold shower for you-Who."

Other items: Both the Independent and Belfast Telegraph feature a story about Peter Kay (starring in the forthcoming "Love & Monsters");Manchester Online profiles Bruno Langley (Adam in last year's "Dalek" and "The Long Game"); the Welwyn and Hatfield Times profiles "a brave man who would steal a Dalek"; DVD Verdict reviews the "Doctor Who: The Beginning" DVD boxed set; Now Playing Mag reviews "New Earth".

Finally... We received a correction to the Derby Evening Telegraph story (see last TARDIS report), about the Doctor Who Make and Play Day at Pickford's House Museum last weekend, from the museum's assistant gallery supervisor: "For some reason known only to themselves, the Derby Evening Telegraph stated that 80 youngsters attended the event. The actual final visitor figure for the day was a staggering 805. Staff had expected around 400 max. The whole day was an overwhelming success and was one of the museum's biggest special events ever. There will be an extensive selection of pictures from the event published this Saturday in the Derby Evening Telegaph's Picture Edition."

(Thanks to Steve Tribe, Paul Engelberg, Paul Hayes, Peter Weaver, John Bowman, Graham Lowe, Luke McCullough, Ian Kildin, Andy Thompson)




Merchandise UpdateBookmark and Share

Friday, 21 April 2006 - Reported by Shaun Lyon

Some reports on new, recent and upcoming Doctor Who related merchandise:
The BBC Shop Doctor Who Store is now listing the Complete Series Two DVD Boxed Set for Region 2 (UK) release on Monday 20 November, with a recommended retail price of 69.99 (the shop itself is offering a pre-order price of 44.99). The blurb for the five-disc set (BBCDVD2122) reads: "Can Rose trust a man with a new face? David Tennant (Casanova, Blackpool, Quatermass Experiment, Harry Potter) steps into the role of the Doctor for the second series of Doctor Who. Following on from the phenomenal success of the first series, the second installment is full of more thrills, more laughs, more heartbreak and some terrifying new aliens. The Doctor and Rose meet Queen Victoria, an evil race of Cat Women and the dreaded Cybermen."
Doctor Who: Battles in Time is a new collectible card game and companion magazine licenced by BBC Worldwide. Roughly styled on collectable card sets like the hugely popular "Magic: The Gathering," the first set of cards "is the Exterminator series and it covers everything from Daleks to the Moxx of Balhoon". The magazine is intended to be published over 52 issues, with "a new issue every fortnight," and there will be different card sets released periodically in conjunction with new issues of the magazine. There is also a corresponding magazine holder, card album, electronic LED dice, a TARDIS combination lock and more released separately. The website has complete details.
Amazon.co.uk is now listing three new titles in the Tenth Doctor novel range from BBC Books for publication in hardback on 21 September. These are:The Art of Destruction by Stephen Cole; The Last Museum by Jacqueline Rayner; and The Nightmare of Black Island by Mike Tucker. These details are slightly different from those listed recently on Amazon.com (and reported by OG on 11 April). The details on each of the three books is in the outset box, below.
Amazon.co.uk is also listing more information about October's CD release from BBC Audio, Monsters on Earth: "This tin contains a bumper number of three brand new (to audio) "Doctor Who" soundtracks, each hailing from the Jon Pertwee era. Two of the stories also feature UNIT, the military organisation led by the Brigadier, whilst the third sees the Doctor working alongside the Royal Navy in combatting the latest menace."
Last week's release of Genesis of the Daleks on DVD helped by a significant advertising effort and some positive mainstream reviews, has charted at number 24 in the UK's DVD charts, with first-week sales - according to Steve Roberts of the Restoration Team - of 17,000. (Past 'Classic Series' releases have had first-week sales of about 5,000.)
Regarding the last batch of Doctor Who books just released, all three novels have entered this week's Top 20 Fiction Heatseekers chart (9-15 April), published in today's edition of trade magazine The Bookseller; Jacqueline Rayner'sThe Stone Rose is at number 6 (3,036), Stephen Cole's The Feast of the Drowned at number 10 (2,696), and Justin Richards' The Resurrection Casket at number 11 (2,634). These sales are substantially higher than the first-week sales of the first batch of Ninth Doctor novels eleven months ago (1,781 to 2,014 units) and the second batch last September (1,718 to 1,797). The Bookseller observes, "A new series of Doctor Who, with stellar viewing figures, propelled three tie-ins into the chart," commenting that "The new series of Dr Who got of to a flying start over the Easter weekend with widespread media attention attracting an audience of more than eight million viewers for the first episode. It was good news for Doctor Who in a month of hits and misses for shows with tie-in books."
(Thanks to Steve Tribe)
The Nightmare of Black Island, by Mike Tucker
On a lonely stretch of Welsh coastline, a fisherman is killed by a hideous creature from beneath the waves. When the Doctor and Rose arrive, they discover a village where the children are plagued by nightmares, and the nights are ruled by monsters. The villagers suspect that ancient industrialist Nathanial Morton is to blame, but the Doctor has suspicions of his own. Who are the ancient figures that sleep in the old priory? What are the monsters that prowl the woods after sunset? What is the light that glows in the disused lighthouse on Black Island? As the children's nightmares get worse, the Doctor and Rose discover an alien plot to resurrect an ancient evil...

The Art of Destruction, by Stephen Cole
The Tardis lands in 22nd century Africa in the shadow of a dormant volcano. Agri-teams are growing new foodstuffs in the baking soil to help feed the world's starving millions - but the Doctor and Rose have detected an alien signal somewhere close by. When a nightmare force starts surging along the dark volcanic tunnels, the Doctor realizes an ancient trap has been sprung. But who was it meant for? And what is the secret of the eerie statues that stand at the heart of the volcano? Dragged into a centuries-old conflict, Rose and the Doctor are soon elevating survival to an art form - as ancient, alien hands practice arts of destruction all around them...

The Last Museum, by Jacqueline Rayner
Civilizations rise and fall, time moves on - and species die out. Extinction is a fact of life in the universe. But extinction doesn't have to be for ever. The Tardis arrives in the Museum of the Last Ones - a facility dedicated to preserving the final specimens of every species in the universe. But all is not well, and before long the Doctor and Rose are in deep trouble. How will Rose react to the stasis cabinets and preservation techniques? What will happen if - and when - the stasis fields break down and the specimens escape? And how will the Curator of the Museum react to the arrival of the last surviving Time Lord?




The Girl in the Fireplace Press ReleaseBookmark and Share

Friday, 21 April 2006 - Reported by Shaun Lyon

Programme Information for 6-13 May has today been released by the BBC Press Office about the season's fourth episode, Steven Moffat's The Girl in the Fireplace. The episode is currently scheduled for 7pm on Saturday 6 May, and this week's PI Features (note: PDF file) includes a two-page piece on the episode and its writer, Steven Moffat. Moffat reveals that he "could not believe his luck when lead writer Russell T Davies asked him to write an episode of the new series based on Madame Du Pompadour and the 18th-century court of Louis XV -- not least because it was his first time writing a period piece, and he knew nothing about the subject matter. 'Russell said he wanted a story that involved Madame Du Pompadour and possibly a clockwork man,' recalls Steven, writer of the acclaimed series Coupling. 'I had to read up about her – I didn't have the faintest notion of who she was! I had never done [a period piece] before ... I'd never had to do research in my life for any show that I've ever written -- they've always been a kind of mutation of my own love life! So to suddenly have to pick up a book and learn about the Blitz [for The Empty Child], or learn about Madame Du Pompadour in 18th-century France, almost seemed like being sent back to school!' After completing his research, Steven had a new-found respect for Madame Du Pompadour. 'She's tremendous!' exclaims Steven. 'She's someone who keeps her position at Court by being incredibly clever, incredibly smart… one of the sharpest, most educated women who ever lived and she was only the King's mistress – it's kind of a ludicrous position to be in! The story kind of writes itself. If you place the Doctor in a room with a woman like that, what is she going to make of him? What's she going do to him? They're obviously going to get it on! ... I can't see it any other way! I just thought it would be really interesting if he came face to face with someone like Madame Du Pompadour, someone who won't be so easily impressed and who can be a real ‘woman' with him.' Best known for his comedy work, Steven didn't find it difficult to take on the more dark and sinister storylines of Doctor Who. 'The point of Doctor Who in many respects, or the thing that people say about it, is that it's scary, so it's necessary for a Doctor Who story to have frights in it. It's just part of the job description – if I'm writing a comedy I have to write jokes, and if I'm writing for Doctor Who I obviously have to make it scary, but there are quite a few jokes in Doctor Who, too, it has to be said.' A self-confessed Doctor Who fan, Steven admits that at first he found the whole idea of writing for the series an intimidating experience. 'The first week when you're sitting down to write it, as I did a year or so ago, it just seems so weird writing the words ‘Doctor' and ‘Tardis' – all those words that are so iconic and huge. It was very, very odd and disorientating. 'It took me about a week to get over the stage fright!' he laughs. 'But after that, to be honest, it becomes an extremely exciting job, and you start enjoying it for reasons that have nothing to do with being a fan. It's a big action-based pictorial show, with fantastic production values. There's a kind of story-telling that you can do on Doctor Who that you simply can't do anywhere else. I mean, nowhere else on Earth are you going to get to write a scene where Madame Du Pompadour walks from a room in Versailles to a corridor of a space ship. You're not going to do that anywhere else and that's really exciting.'" The episode is also among Saturday's highlights.
Doctor Who: The Girl in the Fireplace
Madame Du Pompadour finds the court at Versailles under attack from sinister clockwork killers, as the award-winning Doctor Who continues. Her only hope of salvation lies with the man who has haunted her dreams since childhood – a mysterious stranger known only as the Doctor. Can a broken clock summon the Lord of Time? David Tennant plays the Doctor, Billie Piper plays Rose, Noel Clarke plays Mickey, Sophia Myles plays Reinette, Madame Du Pompadour, Ben Turner plays Louis and Jessica Atkins plays young Reinette.




Doctor Who MagazinesBookmark and Share

Thursday, 20 April 2006 - Reported by Shaun Lyon

Issue #369 of Doctor Who Magazine and issue #2 of Doctor Who Adventures are previewed with press releases and covers for both, below; click on the thumbnail on each for a larger version. (Thanks to Tom Spilsbury/DWM and Lynsey Brown/BBC Magazines)
DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE #369
Rejoin some old friends in the new Doctor Who Magazine!
This issue, Elisabeth Sladen chats about Sarah Jane Smith's return to Doctor Who for the first time since 1983...
"I've been in a perpetual state of surprise," says Elisabeth, "at how amazingly welcoming everyone has been; how aware of easing me back into the hierarchy. I mean this show is running so well; I think it's a very brave, very bold decision, really, to bring back a character who left 30 years ago. But it's an amazing script. Actually, it's so good that I thought, 'Am I up to this? Should I do it? But I just knew that they wanted the best for my character, as I did, and that's all that mattered..."
Also in this issue, DWM goes to the year Five Billion and Twenty-Three to go behind-the-scenes on New Earth, and a chat with the last human, Cassandra - Zoe Wanamaker! Then it's back to nineteenth-century Scotland for a picture-packed look at Tooth and Claw, including a not unamusing chat with Queen Victoria herself, alias veteran Doctor Who actress Pauline Collins.
There are also exclusive sneak previews of new episodes School Reunion, The Girl in the Fireplace, Rise of the Cybermen and The Age of Steel; a chat with the writers of the new Tenth Doctor novels from BBC Books; the Time Team discover the horror of Meglos and Full Circle; Russell T Davies takes us to the series wrap party in the latest Production Notes; the Second Doctor and Jamie find themselves trapped in the Matrix Data Bank; plus all the latest audio and DVD previews and reviews!
Plus! All the writers for Series Three are confirmed in another bursting-with-news Gallifrey Guardian; a competition to win fan-favourite Genesis of the Daleks on DVD; and the start of a brand new comic strip adventure for the Doctor and Rose, in F.A.Q. by Tony Lee and Mike Collins.
It's all in DWM 369 published on Thursday 27 April, priced 3.99!

DOCTOR WHO ADVENTURES #2
In this thrilling second issue we take a sneaky look at two new episodes, there's a fascinating fact file about the Doctor's best friend Rose, an exciting comic strip. the second part of our win a Dalek comp, and a look at New Earth. There are posters, puzzles and loads to win and you can find out about the Slitheen and make a Empty Child mask, too!
The issue comes with two fantastic free gifts - a Slitheen Gas Exhchange (an alien whoopee cushion!) and set of holographic stickers. And it's out now.




TARDIS Report: New Earth Press ReviewsBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 18 April 2006 - Reported by Shaun Lyon

A sampling of the reviews of "New Earth" from the British press:

The Daily Telegraph: "Back like lightning in a bottle, Doctor Who (BBC1) returned last night with David Tennant taking over from Christopher Eccleston as the quixotic spaceman in the plywood phone booth. It's often forgotten that, when it started in the Sixties, Doctor Who was an earnest, philosophical piece of sci-fi, before it slowly degenerated into an unwatchable pantomime featuring Bonnie Langford; and when jump leads were attached to the old warhorse last year, one worried that the burlesque might be too big a facet of the revival. In the event, the head writer, Russell T. Davies, embraced both sides of the tradition, cranked up the electrodes to 11, and somehow kept everything in balance with fearless, Frankensteinian brio. Davies's stories are equal parts waggish, decadent and penetrating, full of Broadway-style wordplay and moral outrage against the modern world, the whole mad carnival serenaded by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. The first of the new episodes targeted biotechnology, as a sisterhood of sinister cat-people (hospital nuns, actually) were caught running Porton Down-style experiments on hordes of pustular human lab-rats. As usual, the script stayed just this side of Douglas Adams and proceeded at warp speed, with explanations and plot fixes chucked in on the run. The Doctor managed to save the pustular human lab-rats by drenching them with disinfectant in a lift. OK, it wasn't a classic, but the main point of interest was Tennant, who has returned the Doctor more to the commedia dell'arte figure of his earlier lives. Where Eccleston was a northern mentalist in a leather jacket who menaced you with his teeth, the froggy-faced Tennant offers breezier possibilities. He wears a thrift-store pinstripe and is somewhere between a rumpled commodities trader, a Renaissance swain and Jarvis Cocker. Flirtation with his sidekick Rose (Billie Piper) is already higher up the agenda for the galaxy's most celebrated celibate, and the two even had a snog in last night's episode (though Rose was under alien control at the time). Less promising are Tennant's efforts to keep pace with Piper's street-girl backchat: his estuary English sounds decidedly off, halfway to slummed-down Ben Elton."

The Herald: "Bend space and time all you like, but Doctor Who is, and has always been, intended for children. Adults are allowed a small slice of nostalgia if they sit up straight and behave. They can have fun spotting the jokes put there - and how clever is this? - for them to find. But if you have a companion who is entitled to vote yet still regards the show as the week's high spot, find a real doctor. Tennant's qualifications were obvious, in any case, after his performance in the marvellous Casanova, though you probably shouldn't ask the kids to corroborate that claim. A talent for cheek is undervalued in acting, as is a sense of the absurd: Tennant has both. Equally, as in Casanova, he can do man-running-for-dear-life better than most. ... Nippy fiends remain a problem, nevertheless. During Saturday's contagious zombie jail-break five billion years 'and 23 days' in the future, I could have sworn the afflicted ones were slow on their feet, but not a bit of it. Down corridors, up ladders: wherever the Doctor and the Cassandra-possessed Rose scurried, zombies awaited. It was like being trapped in Ikea. ... Still, say this for the show: in the time-warp known as Easter weekend TV, it more than held its own. Russell T Davies knows his way around a script and the production values are, by the old standards, out of this world. Obsessives can, meanwhile, ponder another profound question. Forget Tennant: is Billie Piper the best assistant a doctor ever had?"

The Guardian: "It's scary sci-fi, camp humour and warm family viewing all in one - Star Trek, Dawn of the Dead, Shaun of the Dead and Carry On. And it's wonderful. Tennant turns out to be a splendid Doctor - likable, funny and sexy. Piper continues to be brilliant and gorgeous. And Russell T Davies' script has given Doctor Who a whole new injection of life. At last there's something to watch on a Saturday evening - apart from CSI and Match of the Day, obviously."

Lancashire Evening Telegraph: "I'm not sure you will agree, but I think the Doctor is in need of a bit of a tonic. Clearly all that rejuvenating has left the Time Lord feeling a little lacklustre or at least that was the indication after the first episode of the new series of Doctor Who. After all the hype, where was the substance? Sure we had some typically hiding-behind-the-sofa moments when some plague ridden, zombie-like humans wandered around looking to be loved, but this wasn't a classic by any manner of means. David Tennant was all wild-eyed stares and ill-fitting suit. Given time one thing which Doctor Who always has the lad shows promise, to slip into footballing parlance but he's not totally convincing. For the writers, they are under the same pressure as a band trying to follow up a hugely successful debut album. A few cats dressed as nurses and Billie Piper getting raunchy won't be sufficient although dads across the nation are no doubt hoping that she does indeed stay raunchy for the next few weeks. Don't get me wrong, Doctor Who is still several galaxies ahead of the majority of fare being served up and the effects are getting better and better. But without a decent plot it will all be in vain. So come on Doc, pull yourself together and get to work saving the planet."

The Independent: "Shock, horror, then that there was a full-blown snog between the Doctor and his young sidekick in Saturday's episode, albeit that Rose's body was being inhabited at the time by an old foe of the duo's, the vampish Lady Cassandra. David Tennant's Doctor looked surprised but not entirely displeased, although the fact that Rose is supposed to be 19, while the Doctor is about 900, is enough to make Peter Stringfellow seem like love's young dream. For someone with Russell T Davies's bold imagination, the possibilities of a man with two hearts is surely too tempting not to explore. Imagine the tragic potential if it were revealed that, as an amorous youth of, say, 240, the Doctor had lost one of his hearts to one of the Cybermen. I use the gender advisedly, and actually there is something very disco-era Castro Street about the Cybermen's dress sense. Tennant, by the way, is inspired casting for the Doctor - mildly dotty but with a hint of danger. Hopefully, he will take a leaf out the Queen's book and feel duty bound to stay in the role."

The Daily Express: "At the risk of receiving death-threats from Doctor Who extremists, I'd like to say that David Tennant is the best Tardis captain in the history of the universe. Or at least the last few decades. He's funny, quirky and mischievous -- and the atmosphere between him and sidekick Rose (Billie Piper) just fizzes with the clever chemistry of a 1930s screwball comedy. ... To be honest, I don't remember the Doctor Who of the Seventies having such a well-developed moral conscience. But ever since the 2005 re-launch, it seems like every episode comes complete with a gentle sermon about global pollution or the evils of capitalism. But maybe there was just as much preaching going on 30 years ago -- we were just too busy hiding behind the sofa to notice."

The Northern Echo: "Doctor Who would just have jumped in the Tardis and travelled back to watch the original game. Instead he - now looking like David Tennant rather than Christopher Ecclestone - and Rose (Billie Piper) journeyed five billion years into the future, only to encounter old adversary Cassandra, who consists of a face in a piece of stretched skin. Tennant has swiftly settled into the doctor's skin and will, I reckon, make as good a Who as his predecessor."

Times Online: "The traditional checklist of the journalist is the mantra 'What? Why? When? Where? Who?' On Saturday, pleasingly, the answer became 'Who Who Who Who and Who!' -- for Doctor Who (BBC One) returned for its second series under the fabulous Russell T. Davies, and the entire medium of television immediately looked 50 per cent brighter and more fun. The key question of every episode of Doctor Who is -- what is the scary bit? In this case, the scary bit was a disease made of Rice Krispies, in which the secondary symptoms appeared to be 'mass hammery in serried ranks of extras'. God bless drama, but it's never yet cracked a convincing zombie. The great actors will tackle the most challenging of roles but none, as yet, has had a pop at the automaton corpse. Pacino's zombie, Hoffman's zombie, the zombie of Dench -- you've got to figure, if these titans of thespiana blench from rocking from foot to foot, arms outstretched, drooling 'Ooone of uuus', what hope has some kid fresh out of stage school got? Poor zombies aside, however, this was a great bit of cheap, imaginative television with perfect casting. Billie Piper became possessed with the spirit of Cassandra, the atomically coquettish Last Human Being, and showed a real skill for comedy -- like Lucille Ball, but with the teeth of a wolf. David Tennant, meanwhile, wore an extremely fetching pair of spectacles, and continued to project the aura of a phenomenally great lay with access to a Tardis -- in other words, the first Timephwoard."

The Mirror: "The TV event of the week by a million miles - by a billion light years - was, of course, Dr Who. Rarely has a British programme had so much expectation, or even excitement, riding on it. Two big questions dominated. Could it be as good as the last series? And could David Tennant cut the mustard replacing Christopher Eccleston, who - along with writer Russell T Davies - was the show's saviour last year? The answers: a resounding Yes to the first, and a surprising Mostly to the second. Yet Tennant's first five minutes were thoroughly irritating. ... With his long brown mac, jutting chin and cloying Mockney accent, Tennant came over as a cross between David Bowie circa Dancing In The Streets and Bruce Forsyth. Daft bordering on (don't say it) zany. Mostly, Tennant just ran around and grinned a lot. Luckily, when it came to the futuristic story that followed, Davies's imagination was on fine form. ... Davies's other speciality is humour. Rose was set upon by a stingray-faced wall-hanging called Lady Cassandra. ... As he showed with the last series, writer Russell T Davies is also a master of the modern-day political parable. Here he turned in a story that had parallels with vivisection, battery farming, even Aids. ... It was imaginative, energetic, highimpact, completely bonkers good fun - amusing, original entertainment that, uniquely for television these days, could appeal equally to viewers from eight to 88, although the chase scenes drag a bit. Compared with Eccleston, Tennant is pretty but vacant - too vapid to affect it much. The real star, happily, is the character himself, and then the writer."

Sunday Mirror: "Yup, Doctor Who is back. And, after the tricky manoeuvre of turning Christopher Ecclestone into David Tennant, normal service has been resumed. Silly schoolboy sci-fi plots, unconvincing special effects and badly conceived space monsters that look as though they've just shuffled out of the BBC's make-up department. Which they have. But Who cares! Everyone loves the Doctor and they always will. .. The Beeb's computer graphic boys must have been working under-time when they created that rubbish fake silver hospital by the sea. A kid with a laptop could have done better! But that's the charm of Doctor Who. This venerable national TV institution has always been endearingly amateurish. And long may it continue to be so! ... The stupid story may have been characteristically crap, but that classic Doctor Who feelgood factor was bang on target. The latest - err - tenant of the Tardis acquitted himself well. Tall, skinny and angular, Dr Dave has wild lunatic eyes and looks just a little bit creepy. But he's clearly revelling in landing one of TV's most iconic roles. And for the sheer exuberance it was hard to fault his first full episode as the man in the long brown coat. You get the feeling that - unlike his predecessor Ecclestone - Tennant will not cut and run after just one series. It remains unclear why the Scottish star chose a Mockney accent that too often sounds like Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins. But after the Doc's unexpected passionate kiss with ravishing Rose there should be no problems with on-screen chemistry. Fasten your seatbelts. We're in for one hell of a ride!"

Daily Star: "The mutual lust between these two is hotting up with every episode. But the snag is, it can never be allowed to reach boiling point. The Doc blatantly fancies the kecks off his sidekick (and no doubt loves her with both his hearts) but he knows it would wreck things between them if he made a move on her. Besides which, he's probably also got two willies which, surprisingly, girls can find a bit off-putting. Rose did, of course, plant a huge, plungerlike snog on the Doc in Saturday's episode, but she'd temporarily had her body hijacked by Cassandra, that old trampoline-face we met in the last series, so this didn't really count. Even so, this has become a strangely sexy series for a Saturday teatime, hasn't it? Probably for that very reason you know the pair can only go so far."

SyFy Portal: "As I sat on my couch clutching my Sonic Screwdriver (Yes, I proudly own a Sonic Screwdriver!), I was unexpectedly overcome with excitement as David Tennant made his 'proper' debut as the centuries old Time Lord. ... The episode is literally filled with the same slapstick comedy element of the first season, poking fun at Tennant for becoming the New-New Doctor and also Billie Piper for her chavtastic Rose Tyler. ... I haven't seen much of David Tennant (although he was astounding in 'Secret Smile'), but if 'New Earth' is any indication, then he might actually be the best Doctor yet. What I love about this New-New Doctor is the way in which he instantly takes moral-high ground. Eccleson had the same energy about him, but the difference is that his views tended to come off as slightly sarcastic and on occasion arrogant, not unexpected for someone who knows everything. Tennant however sends the Doctor off on a different direction, bringing a fresh voice to a classic character. The sheer level of emotion in his acting sends ripples throughout the episode.In particular, his scenes with The Face of Bo carried a heartbreaking overtone. It was quite a surprise to be honest, considering Bo is just a big rubber head in a jar. But nonetheless, it had a significant impact. It was actually something we never got to see on the same level with any of the previous Doctors so I have to say Tennant is the perfect man for the job."

Leicester Mercury: "Forgive me, dear reader, if today's review has the feel of a first draft. It's sunny outside, and I quite fancy nipping off to the pub, but the weather's not actually to blame. The real reason this column has the air of a work in progress is Doctor Who. More pointedly, it's down to Russell T Davies. After all, if submitting a script that seemed half-done is good enough for him and the BBC, well, then it's good enough for me. Like my kids, I was looking forward to this first episode of this new series. Like my kids, I was a bit underwhelmed."

TV Squad: "... At this point in the show, my four-year-old son decided he didn't like watching disease-infected zombies stalking the living, and the pause button on my Sky Plus box was promptly called into action while he was safely tucked into his bed. Executive Producer Russell T. Davies promised us an upping of the scare factor in this series, and judging by the opening episode, he's started with a horrifying bang -- although I've always felt that the episodes of Doctor Who that set themselves in an unimaginable (not to mention unbelievable) future, tend to be weaker than the others, often calling on overacting from the principles in order to carry off a typical run-and-scream plot. This one was no exception, and didn't quite manage to beat The Christmas Invasion on the enjoyment factor, but still succeeded in giving me the heebie-jeebies for 60 minutes."




Torchwood To Be Set in CardiffBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 18 April 2006 - Reported by Shaun Lyon

According to the South Wales Echo, "It's always been an attractive but baffling city landmark - and now we know why. Cardiff Bay's oval basin with its peculiar concrete pillars is the headquarters of a secret group dedicated to saving the world from invading aliens. At least, it is in the unusual world of Welsh screenwriter Russel T Davies' new Doctor Who spin off Torchwood. Filming is set to begin soon on the BBC series - which insiders are likening in style to cult American sci-fi hits Buffy and Angel. And the Echo can today reveal that the headquarters of the alien-busting investigators will be hidden under the decked floor of the Oval Basin, also known as the Roald Dahl Plass. The justification for putting Torchwood, which was introduced to Doctor Who fans in David Tennant's first outing as the Doctor in last year's Christmas special, in Cardiff, is that it is hidden away. But city residents should forgive that minor slight for the pleasure of seeing the city as the set for one of the BBC's most innovative new projects. Writer and executive producer Russell T Davies said: 'With Doctor Who we often had to pretend that bits of Cardiff were London, or Utah, or the planet Zog. Whereas this series is going to be honest-to-God Cardiff. We will happily walk past the Millennium Centre and say, 'Look, there's the Millennium Centre.' 'It's nice to be able to say this is the city, and this is how good it looks.' It has already announced that Doctor Who character Captain Jack, played by John Barrowman, will take the lead role. Torchwood, which is the anagram of Doctor Who used to disguise the first preview tapes of the show, is expected to be broadcast sometime later this year after the new series of Doctor Who starring David Tennant finishes."