Westmaas says goodbyeBookmark and Share

Sunday, 21 October 2007 - Reported by Jarrod Cooper

Conrad Westmaas, Eighth Doctor companion C'rizz, has issued aGoodbye Statement in the Big Finish Forum at DoctorWhoForum.com. This statement follows the release of his final audio for Big Finish,Absolution. Click on the Spoiler Box below to read the statement. It does not include actual spoilers, it is just to conserve space on the news page.

Dear All,

Well, my work here is done.

Five-ish years as a Who companion are up and before Lizard Boy is consigned to his odd little place in the Hall of Obscurity, I just wanted to say some thank-yous to a few fabulous people. (I would have prepared a Sarah-Jane or Tegan-style tear-jerker, but I haven't got a pot plant and it never "stopped being fun", so I've opted for the tried & tested 'thank-you-&-gush' format instead) Here goes:

DWM: First of all, HUGE thanks to the Talented Mr Clayton Hickman for keeping the flag flying in the wilderness years and beyond and for getting me involved in the crazy, mixed-up world of Who in the first place, to my then colleagues Scott Gray, Paul Burley, Peri Godbold, Benjamin Cook & Andrew Pixley - and to the new team Tom Spilsbury, Peter Ware & Stuart Manning. Big thanks to Martin Geraghty whose artwork has given me a great souvenir of my time in the TARDIS. And speaking of dreams coming true..

Big Finish: It's no secret that's it's been a bumpy ride at times but only when Pixley's Official History of Who is written will Big Finish's role in steering the show safely back to our screens get the credit it deserves. So another HUGE thanks to the wonderful Gary Russell and Jason 'Huge-Salary' for letting me guest in 'Omega' and then inviting me back on board proper to join the Eighth Doctor crew and making Daleks, Victorian freakshows and lethal ice-cream vans all part of a day's work! Thanks also to dear Nick Briggs and Barnaby Edwards for honouring what Gary started and giving me a great send off, to lovely Nigel Fairs, Ian Farrington, John Ainsworth & Ed Salt, and to BF's fine stable of writers including Joe Lidster, Lloyd Rose, Gary Hopkins, Julian Shortman, Alan Barnes, Trevor Baxendale, Nev Fountain, Simon Guerrier, Steve Lyons, Jim Mortimore, Will Schindler, Eddie Robson, Philip Martin & Graham Duff - and to the talents of the unsung post-production heroes, Steve Johnson and the CD cover artists - much appreciated. Thanks to my Who-gurus Davy Darlington & Robert Dick and of course to BF Doctors Peter, Colin, Sylvester & Paul and all the TV & audio companions & villains I've worked with, too numerous to mention, who've made the job such a joy. Oh, and just to put 3 quick myths to bed: a) No, Nick Briggs isn't systematically 'firing'/exterminating/deleting all the BF companions (hang on, what's that knock at the door? Aaargh!) b) Yes, Mr McGann recorded every single story with us in the studio and c) Yes, we really are all as buff as we look in the DWM 'Coming Soon..' comic strips.

Thanks to Derek & all at Tenth Planet for numerous signings & conventions, Cary & co at Regenerations, Ben & all at The Oncoming Storm, Shaun Lyon & the mods & bods of Outpost Gallifrey, James Goss & all at bbc.co.uk, Barnaby et al at The Offstage Theatre Co, lovely Charlie Ross, the fabulous naughty folk of KiNda and to Ed Thomas & Liz Griffiths at BBC Wales for a set visit I'll never forget.

And to every Who fan who's taken the trouble to write, email, draw a picture, buy a drink, make me laugh or just come up to say hi - you know who you are - thanks for making my day. (And to the less-than-kind corners of fandom - thanks for the tough exoskeleton.) Whatever you think of my contribution to BF, I hope you've enjoyed the work of some of the acting chums I've put their way like Daniel Barzotti, Liz Crowther, Lizzie Hopley, Eve Polycarpou and Zehra Naqvui.

Special mention must go to Edwardian adventuress and all-round best mate India Fisher. I suspect that (sooner rather than later..) Charley Pollard will be listed up there along with Sarah-Jane and Rose Tyler as one of the finest companions in any medium, just see if I'm wrong.

I'm bound to have missed a load of people out, so thanks to everyone who's made the last five years such a wild, weird & wonderful experience - aside from making all my fanboy dreams come true (Travelling in the TARDIS! Fighting Daleks! And getting paid!!!) it's been an invaluable source of fun, support and an incredible learning experience which has opened up some interesting new avenues of work. Speaking of which, if I can end on few of blatant plugs:

'Absolution' is available from Big Finish
Check out the trailer for my new film 'The Visitor'
& I'm currently appearing in 'Othello' at the Salisbury Playhouse.

To everyone listed above and to anyone I've missed - love always and thank you for giving me the trip of a lifetime.

Conrad xxx

Destiny cover releasedBookmark and Share

Friday, 19 October 2007 - Reported by Josiah Rowe

The BBC and 2|entertain have released the cover for the upcoming DVD release of the 1979 Tom Baker adventureDestiny of the Daleks. The DVD will be released in the UK on November 26, both individually and as part of the Davros box set. The cover is by Lee Binding

More Torchwood Books AnnouncedBookmark and Share

Friday, 19 October 2007 - Reported by Jarrod Cooper

BBC Books has released details on the second trio of Torchwoodbooks. The Twilight Streets by Gary Russell, Something in the Water by Trevor Baxendale, and an as yet untitled novel by David Llewellyn are currently due for release on March 6th, 2008.
by Trevor Baxendale
Dr Bob Strong’s GP surgery has been treating a lot of coughs and colds recently, far more than is normal for the time of year. Bob thinks there’s something up but he can’t think what. He seems to have caught it himself, whatever it is – he’s starting to cough badly and there are flecks of blood in his hanky.
Saskia Harden has been found on a number of occasions submerged in ponds or canals but alive and seemingly none the worse for wear. Saskia is not on any files, except in the medical records at Dr Strong’s GP practice.
But Torchwood’s priorities lie elsewhere: investigating ghostly apparitions in South Wales, they have found a dead body. It’s old and in an advanced state of decay. And it is still able to talk.
And what it is saying is ‘Water hag’…

by David Llewellyn
Tiger Bay, Cardiff, 1950. A mysterious crate is brought into the docks on a Scandinavian cargo ship. Its destination: the Torchwood Institute. As the crate is offloaded by a group of local dockers, it explodes, killing all but one of them, a young Butetown lad called Michael Bellini.
Fifty-eight years later, a radioactive source somewhere inside the Hub leads Torchwood to discover the same Michael Bellini, still young and dressed in his 1950s clothes, cowering in the vaults. They soon realise that each has encountered Michael before – as a child in Osaka, as a junior doctor, as a young police constable, as a new recruit to Torchwood One. But it’s Jack who remembers him best of all.
Michael’s involuntary time-travelling has something to do with a radiation-charged relic held inside the crate. And the Men in Bowler Hats are coming to get it back.

by Gary Russell
There’s a part of the city that no one much goes to, a collection of rundown old houses and gloomy streets. No one stays there long, and no one can explain why – something’s not quite right there.
Now the Council is renovating the district, and a new company is overseeing the work. There will be street parties and events to show off the newly gentrified neighbourhood: clowns and face-painters for the kids, magicians for the adults – the street entertainers of Cardiff, out in force.
None of this is Torchwood’s problem. Until Toshiko recognises the sponsor of the street parties: Bilis Manger.
Now there is something for Torchwood to investigate. But Captain Jack Harkness has never been able to get into the area; it makes him physically ill to go near it. Without Jack’s help, Torchwood must face the darker side of urban Cardiff alone…

Children in Need specialBookmark and Share

Friday, 19 October 2007 - Reported by Anthony Weight

The BBC Press Office has confirmed the long-standing rumours that this year's annual televised Children in Needfundraising night on BBC One will contain what is described as "a very special episode of Doctor Who".

No further details have yet been released. This year's telethon is on the evening of Friday 16th November, live on BBC One from 7pm.

Barrowman's Game Show Role ConfirmedBookmark and Share

Friday, 19 October 2007 - Reported by DWNP Archive

The BBC today confirmed that John Barrowman will host new TV entertainment show The Kids Are All Right.

According to the BBC Press Office, the primetime BBC One programme will see adults competing for cash prizes in a battle of wits, with seven children aged from nine to 15 determined to stop them.

Co-executive producer Andy Rowe said: "We are thrilled to have John Barrowman as our host: he's charismatic, commanding and very funny and gives the show that big event feel."

The show has been commissioned from Endemol company Initial. A pilot edition was taped on July 22, according to Barrowman's official site.

There was no indication as to when production would begin or when the series would start.

Outpost Gallifrey reported on July 20 media speculation that Barrowman had been tipped for the job.

UPDATE (21 OCT): Barrowman's official site is now reporting that the series will comprise eight editions, and will be recorded during the daytime at the BBC's Glasgow studios from November 26 to 30.

To apply for tickets to attend the recordings, follow this link.

BBC to sell TV Centre; Doctor Who safeBookmark and Share

Thursday, 18 October 2007 - Reported by Josiah Rowe
Mark Thompson, the director general of the BBC, has announced plans for major cuts at the BBC, including the sale of Television Centre by the end of the 2012-2013 financial year. The complex was one of the world's first purpose-built TV studios and the home of Doctor Who production from 1966-89. The sale of the property is planned as part of a series of cuts proposed to fund digital switch-over in the UK. In a speech to BBC staff today, Thompson declined to discuss how his proposals, which also include a 10% reduction of new programme commissions and a predicted rise in repeats, will affect the BBC's commercial wing, BBC Worldwide.

However, the BBC has confirmed that one of its priorities after the cuts will be television drama, and specifically mentioned Doctor Who as an example of the programmes on which the BBC will focus:
Television drama: prioritising high-impact, distinctive drama series of wide appeal and range, from classic drama such as this autumn's new five-part drama serial Cranford starring Judi Dench to modern drama that captures the imagination of audiences, such as Life On Mars, Doctor Who and Spooks.

A BBC press release about the planned changes can be found here; BBC News covers the story (including BBC staff reactions) here and here.

Sladen to sign SJA audiosBookmark and Share

Thursday, 18 October 2007 - Reported by Josiah Rowe

As previously reported on this page, on Saturday, October 27Elisabeth Sladen will be signing the new Sarah Jane Adventuresaudiobooks at Borders on Oxford Street in London. The two audiobooks,The Glittering Storm by Stephen Cole and The Thirteenth Stone byJustin Richards, will be available at the event a week before they become available for general purchase in stores and via digital download (on November 5). Sladen will be signing copies of the audiobooks from 2 to 4 pm at Borders, 203-207 Oxford Street, London W1.

Thumbnail images of the audiobooks' covers can be seen below.

Sarah Jane RatingsBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 17 October 2007 - Reported by Marcus
Ratings for The Sarah Jane Adventures continue to hold up, with unofficial overnight figures showing that episode four was watched by1.0 million viewers, a 9.2% share of the total TV audience. The AI figure for this episode was 85, the highest so far for the series and putting the programme in the excellent category.

Over on CBBC, episode five was up on last week's figures, with 0.289 million viewers, a 3.7% share of all children watching.

Sarah Jane Adventures Series Two?Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, 17 October 2007 - Reported by Chuck Foster

In an interview with Elisabeth Sladen conducted by LastBroadcastthis week, she was asked on whether a second series of Sarah Jane Adventures will appear.

The article also mentions an up-and-coming signing event with the actress for the release of the original audio adventures The Glittering Storm andThe Thirteenth Stone, which will take place at the Oxford Street Borders bookstore on Saturday 27th October (2-4pm).

(thanks to Andy Keast-Marriott)
Is there going to be a second series of The Sarah Jane adventures?
I know that they're writing it and planning it, yes, but as always with these things they've not had the green light yet, but it all looks very hopeful I think. They seem pleased with how it's done, it's such a clever format.

Sun gives "Voyage" details?Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, 16 October 2007 - Reported by Josiah Rowe

The Sun has reported alleged details from the upcoming Christmas Special "Voyage of the Damned", starring David Tennant andKylie Minogue.

In the past, the Sun has reported some accurate plot details about Doctor Who scripts (such as a 2005 report that the Daleks and Cybermen would face off, as they did in the episode "Doomsday") and has also printed some stories which proved to be false (such as a 2006 report that Zoe Lucker would be playing the Rani).

Time will tell which category today's story falls in; just in case it's correct this time round, the details of this story are in the spoiler box below.
The Sun reports that Minogue's character, named Astrid Peth, will share a kiss with the Doctor, and that at the end of the special the character "spins off into space in a strange 'half-form' of herself." The article also states:
  • The episode is set on board the Titanic, "which has become a spaceship run by arch-baddie Max Capricorn."
  • Astrid and the Doctor team up to save the earth from Max's scheme.
  • "Astrid tells the Doctor: 'You need someone to look after you -- can I come with you?' He agrees."
  • "The special ends with a stunning scene in which the Titanic falls from the sky and looks like crashing on Buckingham Palace."

National TV Award nominees announcedBookmark and Share

Monday, 15 October 2007 - Reported by Kenny Davidson

Doctor Who has once again been shortlisted for the three main awards in the UK's National Television Awards, those being Most Popular Actor (David Tennant), Most Popular Actress (Freema Agyeman) and Most Popular Drama (Doctor Who).

In the past two years, Doctor Who has gone on to win those three awards, recipients including Christopher Eccleston, Tennant and Billie Piper. Voting is now open online at itv.com/nta.

Further Update on Torchwood Region 1 DVD Box SetBookmark and Share

Monday, 15 October 2007 - Reported by R Alan Siler

BBCAmerica is now taking fan votes to pick the cover for theTorchwood Region 1 DVD Box Set of Season One. The channel has issued the following statement:
On January 22, 2008, BBC Video unleashes Torchwood: The Complete First Season starring John Barrowman (Doctor Who) as Captain Jack Harkness. The biggest hit and highest rated drama in BBC AMERICA's history, this action-packed, adrenalin-fuelled new sci-fi series, from Russell T Davies (writer of Doctor Who, Queer as Folk), follows the adventures of a team of investigators who use alien technology to solve crime.

And the fans have spoken - 1.6 million people alone watched the first episode. Now the fans can be a part of the show and get creatively involved with the DVD release by voting for their favorite cover artwork.

From October 15 through October 26, fans can go to a specialvoting page on BBCAmerica.com and vote for their favorite cover. When the voting closes, the artwork that receives the most votes will be used for this highly-anticipated 7-disc box set, which contains over 6 hours of bonus features. In addition, 20 voters will be chosen at random to receive a copy of the DVD once available at retail.

Sarah Jane down underBookmark and Share

Monday, 15 October 2007 - Reported by Adam Kirk

The Sydney Sun-Herald reports that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation will screen The Sarah Jane Adventures sometime next year. The ABC, which also broadcasts Doctor Who, is yet to confirm that it will be screening the spinoff programme.

The Doctor needs a tailor?Bookmark and Share

Monday, 15 October 2007 - Reported by Jarrod Cooper

The Sun is reporting that Fifth Doctor Peter Davison recently experienced a wardrobe issue while returning to the role of the Doctor for the upcoming Children In Need special. The Sun quotes an insider as saying "Peter's not exactly a fatty, but he's filled out a bit after 20 years." The article goes on to report that the costume worn by Sylvester McCoy fit.

It is to be made clear that the BBC have not confirmed ANY of the information currently circulating about the Children in Need special, including the involvement of Davison. Doctor Who Magazinehas reported that if there is any truth to the rumor, they will have full coverage. The Sun reports that the special will air on November 19th.