Karen Gillan's cousin wins roleBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 24 November 2009 - Reported by Marcus
Karen Gillan's cousin has won a role in the next series of Doctor Who. Caitlin Blackwood, who is nine years old and comes from Inverness in Scotland, landed the role over hundreds of hopefuls. A pupil at the city's St Joseph's Roman Catholic Primary School, she has just returned from Cardiff, where the first series to star Gillan and Matt Smith is currently being filmed.

Blackwood is quoted as saying: "It was really exciting. Doctor Who was really nice and good fun." Christine Cameron, St Joseph's headteacher, said the whole school was delighted for Caitlin, adding "Everyone involved in the production of Dr Who is impressed with Caitlin, her ability to listen to and follow direction, be flexible in her approach, and get on with new people."

The Inverness Courier has a full report on its website.

It was also announced on the Paul O'Grady show today that actor Meera Syal will appear in two episodes of the new series. Syal rose to prominence as one of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me and became one of the UK's best-known Indian personalities portraying Sanjeev's grandmother, Ummi, in The Kumars at No. 42.

Tennant on TVBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 24 November 2009 - Reported by Marcus
David Tennant shows his versatility with many appearances on British television this Christmas, in addition to his swansong as the Tenth Doctor.

He takes on the role of storyteller for the BBC's channel for pre-school children, CBeebies, where Tennant will read five bedtime stories. Included in the selection is The Christmas Bear by Henrietta and Paul Strickland, which will be shown on Christmas Eve; How High Is The Sky by Anna Milbourne, illustrated by Serena Riglietti; Small Mouse, Big City by Simon Prescott; Emily Brown And The Elephant Emergency by Cressida Cowell and Neal Layton; and Miki by Stephen Mackey.

As previously reported, Tennant's critically acclaimed performance in the title role of Hamlet is also being shown on BBC Two this Christmas, and it has been revealed that the real skull of pianist André Tchaikowsky was used during the filming of the famous "Alas, poor Yorick" scene. The skull was bequeathed to the Royal Shakespeare Company in the hope it would be used on stage. It was used by Tennant in the original Stratford production of the play and also for the London run despite press releases at the time saying the version was a fake. Greg Doran, the plays director confirmed the use of the skull. He explained how important he felt the use of a real skull was to the production. "You can't hold a real human skull in your hand and not be moved by the realisation that your own skull sits just beneath your skin, that you will be reduced to that state at some stage. That is what Yorick's skull does to Hamlet. It reminds him of the very real presence of Death in Life."

Also over Christmas, David Tennant will host a special edition of Never Mind The Buzzcocks, with Bernard Cribbins and Catherine Tate as panellists. He also appears as a guest in Tate's Christmas special.

Sarah Jane Appreciation IndexBookmark and Share

Monday, 23 November 2009 - Reported by Marcus
The third series of The Sarah Jane Adventures ended on a high with Episode One of The Gift getting an AI score of 84 and Episode 2 receiving a score of 87.

The scores are once more way above the average for Children's Television, which is 72.

Final figures now available for story four, The Eternity Trap give Part One an audience of 1.14 million with Part Two getting 0.93 million viewers, an increase of 200,000 viewers over the initially reported overnights.

The End of Time - press releaseBookmark and Share

Monday, 23 November 2009 - Reported by Anthony Weight

The BBC Press Office has published its official preview of Christmas programming on the BBC, including a heavy emphasis on the forthcoming two-part Doctor Who special, "The End of Time", which will see the departure of David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor. The release states:

Highlights of this year's offering include David Tennant's final farewell in a two-part special of Doctor Who called The End Of Time. The Doctor's oldest enemy – the Master (John Simm) – returns alongside former companion Donna (Catherine Tate) and old favourite Wilf (Bernard Cribbins), as the entire human race faces its last ever Christmas – unless the Doctor can save the day.

A fuller preview of both episodes appears in the Network TV Programme Information release for weeks 51 and 52. This is available here, and contains some minor spoilers. It is also reproduced in the spoiler box below.

Doctor Who – The End Of Time: Part One

It's the Tenth Doctor's final journey – but his psychotic nemesis the Master has been reborn, on Christmas Eve. With both determined to cheat death, the battle ranges from the wastelands of London to the mysterious Immortality Gate, while the alien Ood warn of an even greater danger approaching, as a terrible shadow falls across the entire Universe.

David Tennant stars as the Tenth Doctor and guest stars include John Simm, Bernard Cribbins, Catherine Tate, Timothy Dalton, David Harewood and June Whitfield.

The End Of Time – Part One is written by Russell T Davies and directed by Euros Lyn. The producer is Tracie Simpson.

Doctor Who – The End Of Time: Part One is simulcast on the BBC HD channel – the BBC's High Definition channel, available through Freesat, Sky and Virgin Media.

Doctor Who – The End Of Time: Part Two

The Doctor faces the end of his life as the Master's plans hurtle out of control. With the sound of drums growing louder, and an ancient trap closing around the Earth, the Doctor and Wilf must fight alone. But sacrifices must be made, and the deadly prophecy warns: "He will knock four times."

David Tennant stars as the Tenth Doctor and guest stars include John Simm, Bernard Cribbins, Catherine Tate, Timothy Dalton, David Harewood and June Whitfield.

The End Of Time – Part Two is written by Russell T Davies and directed by Euros Lyn. The producer is Tracie Simpson.

Doctor Who – The End Of Time: Part Two is simulcast on the BBC HD channel – the BBC's High Definition channel, available through Freesat, Sky and Virgin Media.

News Round UpBookmark and Share

Saturday, 21 November 2009 - Reported by Marcus
The Evening Standard reports that the new European Union Representative for Foreign Affairs, Baroness Ashton, is the proud owner of a full sized Dalek. The replica was given to her by her husband as a fiftieth birthday present and proudly greets visitors to their home.

Michael Moorcock has written in the Guardian about Doctor Who and his new commission to write a novel for BBC Books first reported here.

BBC Worldwide has won its court case over the administrator of retail chain Woolworths in a dispute over 2entertain, the company which produces the classic series DVD's. BBC Worldwide, which already has a 60% majority stake in 2entertain, now has first option to buy up the remaining shares at an appropriate value. A spokesman for BBC Worldwide told Broadcast Magazine "This latest judgment fully upholds the position we have maintained from the outset, and we now look forward to being able to move ahead with taking full ownership of 2entertain". The dispute is over ownership of the company and will not affect the production of Doctor Who DVD's.

Doctor Who was mentioned in the US TV series NCIS when Tim McGee, the character played by Sean Murray, mentioned that the container trailer they were investigating reminded him of the TARDIS. "A contraption Doctor Who travels in time and space" His companion replies "Doctor Who? Who watches that?"

A revised version of the BBC iPlayer has been launched as a dedicated channel on the Nintendo Wii. The new version is faster and has a full-screen user interface. It is available free from the Wii shop.

Children in Need RatingsBookmark and Share

Saturday, 21 November 2009 - Reported by Marcus
Over 12 million tuned into BBC One to see the 3 minute preview of The End of Time on Children in Need last night.

The quarter hour beginning at 8pm had an average audience of 11.9 million viewers on BBC One, the highest peak of the evening on any of the channels. The share was 49.5%. Once the Doctor Who clip had been shown the audience dropped off by 2 million with some viewers switching to ITV1 for Coronation Street. Overall the first section of Children In Need had an average audience of 9.8 million. An additional 260,00 viewers watched the Doctor Who clip on BBC HD, taking the total above 12 million.

Meanwhile the final part of The Sarah Jane Adventures, The Gift, finished its strong run with an audience of 0.8 million and a share of 6.4%, far above the average for the channel at this time.

Preview on YouTubeBookmark and Share

Friday, 20 November 2009 - Reported by Marcus
The special preview clip of The End of Time, shown as part of the BBC Children In Need appeal is now available on the BBC YouTube channel.

BBC America have also posted their clip on their website and revealed that the full episode will be shown in the USA at 9pm EST on the 26th December 2009 a day after the expected UK showing and 1 week after the US showing of The Waters of Mars.

The charity Telethon also featured an appearance from fifth Doctor Peter Davison with a dog and John Barrowman dancing in his boxers.

Sarah Jane Ratings - ThursdayBookmark and Share

Friday, 20 November 2009 - Reported by Marcus
Episode one of The Gift was watched by 0.8 million viewers according to unofficial overnight figures, again far exceeding the average rating for the timeslot. The audience share was 6.2%.

Final figures will be released in two weeks time.

The End of Time Part One – New PictureBookmark and Share

Thursday, 19 November 2009 - Reported by Marcus

The BBC official site has confirmed the title of David Tennant's penultimate episode will be The End of Time, Part One. It is the first time since the series returned that a story title has been split into two parts. Previous two-part stories have always had their own title.

BBC Children in Need will feature an exclusive 2-minute scene from the episode on Friday night, at some point between 8.00 and 8.30. The official site has a short audio clip from this scene here.

A photo of David Tennant taken from the Children in Need scene has now been issued.Follow the Doctor Who News Page on Follow Doctor Who News on Twitter

Doctor Who Adventures 142Bookmark and Share

Thursday, 19 November 2009 - Reported by Marcus
This week’s Doctor Who Adventures magazine is all about The Waters of Mars. The magazine investigates the planet Mars and finds out if it is a place you should visit or avoid. It asks if you were to visit Mars with the Doctor what would you take and gives an essential checklist.

You can meet the brave woman who helps the Doctor – Adelaide Brooke. Discover who she is and how she ended up at Bowie Base. The week’s Top 10 is all about watery moments. Water bombs, raining in reverse and sea monsters; who will come top in this slippery countdown?

• Find out how well you know The Waters of Mars in this week’s quiz
• A Doctor Who note book and pencil
• Claim a free Dalek rucksack
• Part 1 of life-size Doctor Who poster

Waters of Mars Repeat RatingsBookmark and Share

Thursday, 19 November 2009 - Reported by Marcus
The Wednesday BBC Three repeat of the Waters of Mars was watched by 470,000 viewers according to unofficial overnight figures.

Dreamland UpdateBookmark and Share

Thursday, 19 November 2009 - Reported by Marcus
The BBC has confirmed that the animated story, Dreamland, will be shown, complete, on BBC Two on Saturday 5th December at 10am and on the BBC HD channel at a time to be confirmed.

Dreamland which stars the vocal talents of David Tennant, Georgia Moffett, David Warner, Stuart Milligan and Clark Peters, is set in the infamous alien hotspot Roswell and described by writer Phil Ford as 'Doctor Who meets a Fifties monster B-movie'.

The BBC Two showing will follow the story's début on the BBC's interactive services from Saturday 21st November. The six episodes will air on a daily basis and will be available on the BBC website as well as on the Red Button services on Sky and Virgin from 7am on 21 November to 4am on 28 November.

The service will also be on freeview at various times depending on other broadcast requirements.

Planned freeview times are

21 November – 7.00-8.50am, 11.10am-2.20pm, 7.25-10.35pm
22 November – 12.10am-7.50pm
23 November – 12.10am-7.50pm on 24 November
24 November – 10.40pm-2pm on 25 November
25 November – 3-10.15pm, 11.10pm-9.50am on 26 November
26 November – 7.10pm-9.50am on 27 November
27 November – 6.10pm-4am on 28 November

The story will not be available on Freesat.

Dry Springs, Nevada, 1958. During a visit to a local diner, the Doctor befriends a young waitress, Cassie, and her friend Jimmy. When he stumbles across a strange alien artefact, the Doctor is led to the mysterious Area 51 in Roswell, also known as Dreamland, the most secret base in the USA. There, he has a dark encounter with the sinister Colonel Stark.

So begins a momentous mission for the Doctor who, with the help of his new companions and Jimmy's grandfather, Night Eagle, sets out to rescue the stranded alien, Rivesh Mantilax, and his wife, Saruba Valek, from the threat of the ruthless Viperox, led by Lord Azlok, and the clutches of the American military.

As sunset falls the Viperox battle drones start to attack the US army base. Can the Doctor find a way to halt the seemingly unstoppable aliens in their tracks?

Classic Series on YouTubeBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 18 November 2009 - Reported by Marcus
BBC Worldwide have released a number of Classic Series episodes onto their YouTube Channel.

Stories uploaded so far are

The clips are usually blocked in the UK as under the terms of the BBC Charter it is not allowed to operate commercially in the UK. However viewers in the UK can view classic episodes on MSN Video, which is currently showing The Web Planet, The Tomb of the Cyberman and Planet of the Spiders, and BlinkBox which is also showing Tomb of the Cybermen and The Krotons.

Waters of Mars Appreciation IndexBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 17 November 2009 - Reported by Marcus

The Waters of Mars scored an AI of 88.

The score was the second highest of the weekend, only beaten by Foyle's War on ITV1.

The AI - Appreciation Index - score is a measure of how much an audience enjoyed a programme. The average score for drama is 77. For any programme, a score in excess of 85 is excellent. Any score in excess of 90 is exceptional. Any programme that falls below 60 has received a poor AI.

Meanwhile, Sunday has been dubbed "Super Sunday" by the media, as the total TV audience for peak hours was the highest since January 2000.