Jenna-Louise Coleman: First Publicity PhotoBookmark and Share

Friday, 23 March 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster
BBC America have released the first official publicity photograph of the new Doctor Who co-star Jenna-Louise Coleman, here pictured in front of the TARDIS:

Eternity Clock delayedBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 21 March 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Originally expected this month, the new game from BBC Worldwide, Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock, has been delayed, with the game's official Twitter feed stating: "Finishing touches just being added to Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock with the release now set for April – believe us, it’s worth the wait!"

The release will initially be for the Sony PS3 and Sony PS Vita platforms, with a PC version due to be released at a later, currently unconfirmed date.

Jenna-Louise Coleman joins Doctor WhoBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 21 March 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Jenna-Louise ColemanThe BBC have announced that the new co-star to appear alongside Matt Smith in Doctor Who is to be Jenna-Louise Coleman, who joins the show in the sixth episode this year, due to be shown at Christmas.

The actress was announced via the BBC's Doctor Who feed on Twitter, which also included some quotes. Jenna-Louise said: "I want to get started already. I'm a huge fan of the show.« Matt Smith did my audition with me. It was fun and I felt like we were in it together.«"; and on her favourite companion, "Between Billie Piper and Karen Gillan". Lead writer Steven Moffat said: "We saw a lot of brilliant actresses. But Jenna was the only person going faster than Matt - he had to keep up!«"

Expanding on this in the press release, he said:
It always seems impossible when you start casting these parts, but when we saw Matt and Jenna together, we knew we had our girl. She's funny and clever and exactly mad enough to step on board the TARDIS.

It's not often the Doctor meets someone who can talk even faster than he does, but it's about to happen. Jenna is going to lead him his merriest dance yet. And that's all you're getting for now. Who she's playing, how the Doctor meets her, and even where he finds her, are all part of one of the biggest mysteries the Time Lord ever encounters. Even by the Doctor's standards, this isn't your usual boy meets girl.
Danny Cohen, the Controller for BBC One, added:
As we approach Doctor Who's 50th anniversary it's great to welcome a new companion to the TARDIS. I feel confident the Doctor will look after her in his own very unique style.

The BBC's One O'Clock News included an item on the casting, with the actress describing when she found out she had won the part:
I was in Marks and Spencers holding an avocado - having the debate of what goes best in a salmon salad - when I got the call from my agent. It was kind of a bewildered excitement, confusion, "really?", oh goodness - all sorts of emotions, and I thought, after I'd hung up, I thought I really can't carry on shopping so I just put the basket down and left Marks and Spencers, and just went for a little walk and try to digest!
A full version of the interview with Entertainment correspondent Lizo Mzimba can be watched via the BBC News site.

The twenty-five-year-old first came to public attention playing Jasmine Thomas in the long-running soap Emmerdale between 2005 and 2009. She then went on to appear in series five of the BBC's award-winning Waterloo Road as Lindsay Jones, and will be seen on television this coming Sunday in the ITV mini-series Titanic as Annie Desmond. Her debut in film came with the role of Connie in Captain America: The First Avenger, and she has also lent her voice to the English version of the game Xenoblade Chronicles.

NB: The BBC have confirmed that Jenna-Louise Coleman does not have, and does not plan to have, a Twitter account.


It was also confirmed this morning when Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill will depart, with Steven Moffat saying: "Amy and Rory will leave in the fifth episode that goes out, and it will be a final encounter with the Weeping Angels, and not everybody gets out alive - and I mean it this time!"

As well as the lonely assassins, Doctor Who Magazine have also reported that the Daleks, too, will feature during the first half of the series this Autumn.

Speaking to the Radio Times at the Royal Television Society awards last night, Moffat explained the style of story-telling for the next series:
This time we're moving closer to stand-alone stories. At this point, we're not planning any two-parters. So, every week is going to be like a different mad movie.

We went quite 'arc' last time and we're going stand-alone this time around. But that doesn't mean that there aren't those things creeping in. You've got to find a way to make the last episode special, and by God that worked ratings-wise last year. We don't want to abandon that idea.

Watch out for the title of episode two. I think that's a belter. It's one of my favourite titles ever.

After the six episodes broadcast in the Autumn/Christmas this year, the remaining eight will be shown next year, with Moffat adding: "Oh, there'll be more episodes than just those eight, but these are the ones we're making right now." No other details of when and what else will occur during the 50th Anniversary have been revealed as yet.

People RoundupBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 21 March 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Paul McGann has joined the list of former Doctors and companions who have indicated an interest in being involved in Doctor Who's 50th Anniversary: "Being Doctor Who, there's always anniversaries looming large - celebration programmes and episodes. I'm often asked, 'If they get the five Doctors together, would you do it?' and of course, I'd do it. They've just got to ring me up! Although I was [in] Doctor Who for six weeks, sixteen years ago, it never goes away - it only ever seems to get stronger - I'd love to do that again, but that's not up to me." [Digital Spy, 15 Mar 2012]

Three Doctor Who-related names join the principal cast of What The Butler Saw, which opens in the West End in May. The lead character of Dr. Prentice will be played by Tim McInnerny, with his wife to be played by Samantha Bond and secretary by Georgia Moffett. [Playbill, 15 Mar 2012]

Mark Gatiss talks about creating his appearance for his character Mr Snow in Being Human: "I wanted to have red hair, because you never have ginger vampires, and terrible teeth, and these really dirty fingernails. And they gave me everything I wanted. So there's lots of lovely close-ups of my filthy hands and terrible teeth. He's about 3000 years old, he's literally rotting from the inside." [Guardian, 15th Mar 2012]

The Fourth Doctor, aka Tom Baker, was the subject of a Forbes "Geek Picture of the Day", depicting him in costume with two Daleks for a publicity photo in 1975. [Forbes, 16 Mar 2012]

Maureen Lipman
is to be one of the guests in Matt Lucas's new comedy show The Matt Lucas Awards. It will air on BBC One in the spring. [BBC Media Centre, 16 Mar 2012]

Talking of awards, June Whitfield was honoured with a proper one at this year's TRIC Awards. The Television and Radio Industries Club event, held at the Grosvenor House in London, saw her given the TRIC Special Award. Sian Williams was named Best Newscaster/Reporter. [BBC News, 14 Mar 2012]

Steven Moffat, John Simm, James Corden and The Sarah Jane Adventures lost out last night in their respective categories at the Royal Television Society Programme Awards, but Moffat's mother-in-law, Beryl Vertue, was given the Lifetime Achievement Award. While representing writers at Associated London Scripts, Vertue negotiated Terry Nation's partial rights deal for the Daleks. Among her many other achievements, she founded the production company Hartswood Films, which makes the BBC One series Sherlock, co-created by Moffat and Mark Gatiss. At the awards ceremony, Russell Tovey jointly won (with Sarah Solemani) the Best Comedy Performance prize for the BBC Three anti-romantic comedy Him And Her. Full details of the awards ceremony - which, as with the TRIC Awards, was held at the Grosvenor House in London - are online here.

Michael E Briant
is to publish his memoirs about his time on Doctor Who. The director's connection with the show stretches back to the 1965 story The Crusade, for which he was assistant floor manager. He was subsequently production assistant on a number of stories before notching up his first directorial credit on Colony In Space in 1971. Briant directed five more stories, finishing with The Robots of Death in 1977. Who Is Michael E Briant?, to be published by Classic TV Press, comes in at 216 pages and is due out on 4th May 2012. It can be pre-ordered here.

Talking of memoirs, a heartfelt and public thank-you has been said via one to Janet Fielding by writer Grant Gordon. In a piece taken from his forthcoming memoir Cobras In The Rough, Gordon recalls being a 12-year-old desperate to see the actress at the 1983 Longleat convention and how ensuring that he got his wish proved to be his father's salvation, following financial and personal problems. [Independent, 17 Mar 2012]
(With thanks to Gary Reed)

New co-star to be announced tomorrowBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 20 March 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Matt Smith as The DoctorThe BBC are to announce the new co-star to join Matt Smith headlining Doctor Who tomorrow at a press conference.

Lead writer Steven Moffat first indicated that a new companion / assistant / sidekick / talking cabbage (delete as applicable) would feature in the new series back at the Q&A session for the BFI preview of The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe, when he said:
The final days of the Ponds are coming. It's during the next series – I'm not telling you when and I'm certainly not telling you how - but that story is going to come to a heartbreaking end. We have only so many more adventures with the lovely Amy and the lovely Rory. So that story, next series, during the series, will be over.

And then, the Doctor is going to meet a new friend. And I'm not going to tell you anything about he, she or it.

This evening Steven Moffat has told reporters he got who he "wanted" to play Doctor's new companion but stayed tight-lipped about their identity. Speaking backstage at the Royal Television Society Awards in central London, he said
You're going to get the new companion tomorrow so you've got that. I'm not going to blow the gaff on that the night before.
The announcement will also be made online via the BBC's official Doctor Who Twitter feed.

(with thanks to Edward Russell)

BBC Books: Classic Target Novelisations (Wave 2)Bookmark and Share

Monday, 19 March 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Following on from their successful re-launch last year, BBC Books are to release a further six reprints of the classic series Target novelisations in May, based upon a reader poll via Doctor Who on Facebook. The novelisations will once again feature their original cover artwork, plus a new introduction from 'modern' day authors.

Doctor Who and The Day Of The Daleks (available for pre-order)
by Terrance Dicks
introduced by Gary Russell

UNIT is called in when an important diplomat is attacked in his own home - by a man who vanishes into thin air! The Doctor and Jo spend a night in the 'haunted' house and meet the attackers, who have 'time-jumped' back from the 22nd century in the hope of changing history. Travelling forward in time, the Doctor and Jo find themselves trapped in a future world where humans are slaves and the Daleks have already invaded. Using their ape-like servants, the Ogrons, to maintain order, the Daleks are now the masters of Earth. As the Doctor desperately works to discover what has happened to put history off-track, the Daleks plan a time-jump attack on the 20th century.

Featuring the Third Doctor as played by Jon Pertwee, with his companion Jo Grant and the UNIT organization commanded by Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, this novel is based on a Doctor Who story which was originally broadcast from 1-22 January, 1972.

Originally released in April 1974
Doctor Who and The Ark In Space (available for pre-order)
by Ian Marter
introduced by Steven Moffat

The survivors of a devastated future Earth lie in suspended animation on a great satellite. When Earth is safe again, they will awaken. But when the Doctor, Sarah, and Harry arrive on the Terra Nova, they find the systems have failed and the humans never woke. The Wirrrn Queen has infiltrated the satellite, and laid her eggs inside one of the sleepers. As the first of the humans wake, they face an attack by the emerging Wirrrn. But not everyone is what they seem, and the only way the Doctor can discover the truth is by joining with the dead mind of the Wirrrn Queen. The price of failure is the Doctor's death, and the end of humanity!

Featuring the Fourth Doctor as played by Tom Baker, and his companions Sarah Jane Smith and Harry Sullivan, this novel is based on a Doctor Who story which was originally broadcast from 25 January - 15 February, 1975.

Originally released on 10th May 1977
Doctor Who and The Loch Ness Monster (available for pre-order)
by Terrance Dicks
introduction by Michael Moorcock

Centuries ago, a Zygon spaceship crash landed in Loch Ness. Now, with their home planet destroyed, the alien creatures plan to take over Earth. Their most powerful weapon is a huge, armored, dinosaur-like creature of terrifying power that they brought to earth as an embryo - the Loch Ness Monster! The Doctor, Sarah, and Harry soon discover that the Zygons have another weapon. They can assume the identity of any human they capture. Who knows which of their friends might really be a Zygon? UNIT faces one of its toughest battles as Broton, Warlord of the Zygons, puts his plan into action and the Loch Ness Monster attacks!

Featuring the Fourth Doctor as played by Tom Baker, with his companions Sarah Jane Smith and Harry Sullivan and the UNIT organization commanded by Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, this novel is based on a Doctor Who story which was originally broadcast from 30 August - 20 September, 1975.

Originally published on 15th January 1976, the novelisation retitled the story Terror of the Zygons.
Doctor Who and The Tenth Planet (available for pre-order)
by Gerry Davis
introduced by Tom MacRae

The TARDIS brings the Doctor and his friends to a space tracking base in the Antarctic - and straight into trouble! A space mission is going badly wrong, and a new planet has appeared in the sky. Mondas, ancient fabled twin planet of Earth, has returned! But, once the inhabitants used to be just like the humans of Earth, they're very different now. Devoid of emotions, their bodies replaced with plastic and steel, the Cybermen are here! Humanity needs all the help it can get, but the one man who seems to know what's going on is terminally ill. As the Cybermen take over, the Doctor is dying...

Featuring the First Doctor in his very last adventure as played by William Hartnell, and his companions Ben and Polly, this novel is based on a Doctor Who story which was originally broadcast from 8-29 October, 1966.

Originally published on 19th February 1976
Doctor Who and The Ice Warriors (available for pre-order)
by Brian Hayles
introduction by Mark Gatiss

The world is in the grip of a second Ice Age. Despite a coordinated global effort, the glaciers still advance. But they are not the only threat to the planet. Buried deep in the ice, scientists at Britannicus Base have discovered an ancient warrior. But this is no simple archaeological find. What they have found is the commander of a spaceship that crashed into the glacier thousands of years ago. Thawed from the ice, and knowing their home planet Mars is now a dead world, the Ice Warriors decide to make Earth their own. Can the Doctor and his friends overcome the warlike Martians and halt the advance of the glaciers?

Featuring the Second Doctor as played by Patrick Troughton, and his companions Jamie and Victoria, this novel is based on a Doctor Who story which was originally broadcast from 11 November - 16 December, 1967.

Originally published on 18th March 1976, the novelisation has also been released on audio read by Frazer Hines.
Doctor Who and The Three Doctors (available for pre-order)
by Terrance Dicks
introduction by Alastair Reynolds

A mysterious black hole is draining away power from the Universe. Even the Time Lords are threatened! The Doctor is also in trouble! Creatures from the black hole besiege UNIT Headquarters. The only person who can help the Doctor is... himself. The Time Lords bring together the first three incarnations of the Doctor to discover the truth about the black hole and stop the energy drain. The Doctors and their companions travel through the black hole itself, into a universe of anti-matter. Here they meet one of the very first Time Lords - Omega - who gave his race the power to travel through time. Trapped for aeons in the black hole, he now plans to escape - whatever the cost!

Featuring the first three Doctors as played by William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, and Jon Pertwee, together with Jo Grant and the UNIT organization commanded by Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, this novel is based on a Doctor Who story which was originally broadcast from December 30, 1972 - January 20, 1973.

Originally published on 20th November 1975, the novelisation has also been released on audio read by Katy Manning.

The books are due to be published on 10th May.

TARDIS materialises at the SeneddBookmark and Share

Sunday, 18 March 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster
The TARDIS has once again been spotted out and about, this time materialising at the Welsh National Assembly! The police box prop has been in residence in the Senedd building at Cardiff Bay over the last week.

Photo: Ceri-Anne, 13th March 2012

Photo: Jess Blair, 13th March 2012

Photo: Lee Tucker, 18th March 2012

The nearby Wales Millennium Centre plays host next weekend to the official Doctor Who Convention.

Pigs In The WingsBookmark and Share

Sunday, 18 March 2012 - Reported by John Bowman
PigsTom Baker's novel The Boy Who Kicked Pigs is being adapted for the stage.

The book, first published in 1999 and subtitled "A grotesque masterpiece", will be presented by theatre company Kill The Beast, receiving its world premiere at The Lowry arts and entertainment complex at Salford Quays, Greater Manchester, this June.

Directed by Clem Garritty, the cast will comprise Natasha Hodgson, Oliver Jones, and Zoe Bob Roberts. It is being adapted by the four of them as a development project with The Lowry and in conjunction with Arts Collective.

The black farce centres on 13-year-old Robert Caligari and features - among other things - talking piggybanks, shark mutilation, and weedkiller-cornflakes.

Porl Cooper, theatres programmer at The Lowry, said:
The company delivering the work are a very young, dynamic and vibrant company yet still have an impressive pedigree of work behind them, so I'm looking forward to working closely with them as they create the piece.
He added that the production also had Baker's full backing.

Suitable for people aged 12 upwards, it will be at the Lowry Studio from Thursday 21st June to Saturday 23rd June. It is hoped that the production will also go on tour this year and in 2013.

Production RoundupBookmark and Share

Friday, 16 March 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster


Filming has now completed in Spain, with the cast and crew having returned to the UK on Thursday; cast-member Rob Cavazos commented: "Back in London. Muchas gracias, Almería. We had fun.«". The BBC have released an official photo of Karen Gillan on location at Fort Bravo Studios via Facebook, noting:"Olé! It’s a wrap as cast and crew prepare to depart sunny Spain. Back to Cardiff on Monday morning for more filming of Series 7."

Filming attracted media attention, though this was more focussed on the social activities of the cast during their free time, with coverage of shopping etc. by The Sun and Daily Mail on the 13th, and on socialising by The Sun and Daily Mail again a day later.

A number of Spanish blogs also picked up on filming, including a set report from Dos de Adobe, and the shoot was also reported by local newspapers El Almeria and The Olive Press (in English).


Actor Andrew Brooke is to appear in Doctor Who playing a character known as The Reckoner, according to his online CV. The actor was also spotted socially in Spain with Karen, which was again reported via The Sun and Daily Mail.

Brooke has appeared in a number of television shows, including The I.T. Crowd, The Inbetweeners, and My Family, with more substantial roles as Oleg in Pulling, Alan Clacy in Collision, and more recently as Ashley in Phoneshop.

Members of the background cast have provided an album of themselves dressed in their western attire on Facebook, with the photos providing a glimpse into how the Wild West will look, Doctor Who style!

The Rumour Zone:

Back in January, Steven Moffat had made an enigmatic comment about following Sophia Myles on Twitter, saying "I'll explain later. Or not.«". That statement led to widespread speculation as to whether the actress would be returning to Doctor Who, and whilst the lead writer has yet to say anything else to confirm or deny this, the actress herself mentioned being in Spain on Monday at the same time as production was taking place in Almeria: "My bag has just been located at Malaga airport. Hope it gets to me tomorrow.«" Further fuel for the fire appeared on Friday with Arthur Darvill saying to her: "great to meet you. I think I ran off at the end. Good times.«".

It remains to be seen whether the actress really will re-appear in Doctor Who or if these are just coincidences!

Doctor Who Experience Sponsorship SoughtBookmark and Share

Friday, 16 March 2012 - Reported by John Bowman

Sponsorship is being sought for the new home of the Doctor Who Experience.

As reported earlier this week, the attraction will be a permanent fixture in Cardiff Bay for five years when it opens this summer. More than 1.25 million visitors are expected through its doors over that time and brands are now being offered a potentially lucrative tie-in opportunity by communications specialist Orchard Media and Events Group.

Orchard director Jim Carpenter said:
This is a fantastic opportunity for a brand to not just own the title rights to a high-profile visitor attraction in Cardiff for five years but also to be associated with one of the most well-known TV brands in the world.

The sponsoring brand will have its name integrated into a logo lock-up with the Doctor Who Experience logo, resulting in long-term exposure via a comprehensive multimedia and online campaign. High-profile on-site branding will provide additional exposure to the 18 million people who visit Cardiff every year.
The sponsorship deal is being offered via online media ideas database, which says the anticipated investment for the five-year association is £200,000 plus VAT per year. managing director Pete Davis said:
This is a powerful sponsorship package Orchard is offering. For any brand to have the opportunity to secure naming rights to this unique venue for the next five years, to build its brand and deliver a unique portfolio of benefits to its staff, customers and stakeholders is a strong proposition, and one certain to generate a very positive return on investment.
(newslink: The Drum)

Regional Roundup (Moths update)Bookmark and Share

Thursday, 15 March 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster

United Kingdom:

Toby Hadoke's stage show Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf arrives in Neston on 30th March, and students from the local high school helped promote the event by dressing up as the Doctor and a Weeping Angel to 'frighten' shoppers at Sainsburys! [AboutMyArea, 9 Mar 2012]

You can find a list of Toby's performances around the country in our earlier news item. Toby has notified us of an error that crept in:
Sorry, the incorrect information was sent out about Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf. The gig on 31st March is not in Bradwell, Milton Keynes, but Bradwall, Cheshire! Sorry for the mistake - I'd blame entropy, or the knowledge being sucked through a charged vacuum emboitment, or a catharsis of spurious morality but ... it was actually just a muck up on my part. I shall endeavour to be mildly amusing in recompense.

Sunday 11th March
would have seen writer and script editor Douglas Adams turn 60, and tribute has been paid in a lengthy feature that takes a look at his close links to Cambridge. Adams was born there, read English at St John's College (which became the inspiration for St Cedd's in his Doctor Who story Shada), and was a member of the Footlights. A tour of Adams-related Cambridge locations was taking place on Saturday. [Cambridge News, 9 Mar 2012]

Swindon's Central Library is to see a Dalek invasion on Saturday 17th March as part of a fund-raising event for charity. The day also sees sci-fi author David Johnson holding writing workshops and signing copies of his books. [Swindon Advertiser, 15 Mar 2012]

AudioGo: April releasesBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 14 March 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster
AudioGo have released details on audio titles in their spoken word range due to be released in April. The Doctor and Mel go in search of a pool but are instead appalled when they arrive at Paradise Towers. Meanwhile, Sgt. Andy Davidson has to deal with an alien virus without the aid of Torchwood in Fallout.

Both are released on 5th April on CD, or by download from AudioGo from the 1st April.

Paradise Towers
Written by Stephen Wyatt
Read by Bonnie Langford
Released 5th April 2012 (CD) (pre-order)

Much in need of a holiday, Mel and the Doctor head for Paradise Towers: a luxury man-made planet with sparkling fountains, sunny streets, exotic flowers and a shimmering blue swimming pool.

But when the TARDIS materialises in a dark, rubbish-filled, rat-infested alley it seems that this particular Paradise has turned into Hell!

Pursued by rogue cleaning machines, authoritarian caretakers and old ladies with strange eating habits, the Doctor and Mel track down the source of the chaos to one mysterious character – the designer of Paradise Towers, the Great Architect himself...
Written by David Llewellyn
Read by Tom Price
Released 5th April 2012 (CD) (pre-order)

When Yasmin finds a jewelled egg in her grandfather’s shed, her first thought is to sell it. Unfortunately, the object is no valuable Fabergé antique, but a dangerous weapon from another planet. Worse still, the buyer she finds online is a Russian secret agent working for the Committee for Extraterrestrial Research, who promptly swipes it, kills her brother Sayed and lands her in hospital.

When Sgt Andy Davidson realises that he’s not dealing with an ordinary double shooting, he calls Gwen Cooper, who breaks the bad news about the egg and its deadly contents. With no Torchwood to help,and Gwen in America, it’s up to Andy and Yasmin to follow the trail of the ‘Shiva virus’ – all the way from Cardiff to the British Museum...

Doctor Who Experience: five years at Cardiff BayBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 14 March 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster
The BBC have confirmed previous indications that the Doctor Who Experience - which closed last month in London - will be based at its new Cardiff Bay home for at least five years.

The commitment was disclosed within a BBC Careers advert for a new Commercial Manager, whose main responsibilities will be for the Cardiff incarnation when it opens in the summer.

BBC Worldwide is looking for a Commercial Manager to be employed on a fixed term contract basis, focusing on the commercial and operational aspects of the Doctor Who Experience, a permanent visitor attraction to be located in Cardiff until 2017. It is envisaged that you may be required to work for up to 4 weeks in the London office prior to the Doctor Who Experience opening in Summer 2012.

As Commercial Manager you’ll maximise the commercial return derived from all aspects of the Doctor Who Experience, including retail, catering, photographs, up sale on site, corporate events and innovating new event revenue streams associated with the DWE. In addition you’ll assume operational responsibility for the DWE, managing the on site team and developing strong relationships with the brand and other major stakeholders.
The closing date for the role is 19th March.

Russell T Davies To Co-Judge New Drama AwardBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 13 March 2012 - Reported by John Bowman
WalesDramaAwardRussell T Davies is to be one of the inaugural judges in a new £10,000 initiative for writers living in Wales.

The Wales Drama Award, which will be given every two years, was launched at yesterday's official opening of the BBC's Roath Lock drama studios in Cardiff - the new home of Doctor Who.

For this year's award, writers must submit a full-length, unperformed, or unproduced script in any medium and in English, with a minimum running length of 30 minutes, by July 16th. Six writers who are shortlisted will then be asked to submit a one-page outline of an original idea for development before meeting the judges in September to discuss their script as well as the idea.

The winner, who will be announced in September or October this year, will receive £10,000 and the chance to develop their script and idea with BBC Cymru Wales or National Theatre Wales. Two runners-up will each receive £1,000.

The BBC said:
The competition is open to any writer residing in Wales. We want to encourage writers who feel passionate about the stories they want to tell, and who have something to offer audiences across the length and breadth of Wales and the wider UK.

The judging panel will also comprise BBC creative director of new writing Kate Rowland, BBC Cymru Wales head of drama Faith Penhale, National Theatre Wales artistic director John McGrath, and writer Abi Morgan (Sex Traffic, The Iron Lady, The Hour).

Wales's First Minister, Carwyn Jones, performed the opening ceremony at the Roath Lock production centre by unveiling a plaque on the TARDIS prop. The drama village, which took just 14 months to build, is part of the Porth Teigr renovation projection on Cardiff waterfront. Speaking ahead of the ceremony, Mr Jones said:
This studio complex is a major step forward for the creative industries in Wales and will be home to famous drama productions that are viewed across the world.

The creative industries from TV, film and theatre are of major importance to our economy, supporting jobs and investment, and the Welsh government is determined for this to continue.

BBC Cymru Wales' Roath Lock is a symbol of what Wales can achieve and the bright future we have ahead of us.

Open days over the weekend of 10th and 11th March gave members of the public the chance to see props from Doctor Who and Upstairs, Downstairs, as well as a look round the sets of Casualty and Pobol y Cwm, which have also shifted production to the 170,000 sq ft drama village - the BBC's largest drama production centre in the UK. An exhibition included costumes from Sherlock, which was co-created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, and a Dalek.

Doctor Who production has moved to Roath Lock from Upper Boat. A video report on the opening, in which BBC director-general Mark Thompson mentions the beneficial effect locally of Doctor Who being made there, is available here.