Bernard Cribbins awarded J M Barrie AwardBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 18 November 2014 - Reported by Marcus
Veteran actor and presenter, and former Doctor Who Companion, Bernard Cribbins has been awarded the annual J M Barrie Award for a lifetime of unforgettable work for children on stage, film, television and record.

The Action for Children’s Arts J.M.Barrie Award is given annually to a children’s arts practitioner or organisation whose work, in the view of ACA, will stand the test of time. The J.M.Barrie Award was formerly the ACA Peter Pan Award, presented as part of the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity Awards.

Bernard Cribbins has featured in many iconic BBC Children’s programmes over the last 40 years, including Jackanory, The Wombles, and most recently Old Jack’s Boat on CBeebies. In 2007 he appeared in the Doctor Who Christmas special, Voyage of the Damned, playing Wilfred Mott. The character returned in Series 4 where it was revealed Wilfred was the grandfather of Donna Noble and he had regular appearances in the series, ultimately being the catalyst for the tenth Doctor's regeneration at the conclusion of The End of Time.

Cribbins first contact with Doctor Who came in the 1966 feature film Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150 A.D., where he played Tom Campbell alongside Peter Cushing's portrayal of 'Dr Who'

The award was presented at the BBC's Headquarters at Broadcasting House in central London at a ceremony attended by the BBC’s Director General Tony Hall and a range of Cribbins colleagues from across the decades, including Chris Jarvis, CBeebies presenter and writer on Old Jack’s Boat; actress Jan Francis; former Blue Peter Presenter Peter Duncan; and Kate Robertson, daughter of Elisabeth Beresford, creator of the Wombles. Messages were received from Sir George Martin, Russell T Davies and John Barrowman.

Also in attendance were Jenny Agutter and Gary Warren, who played The Railway Children in the 1970 film, which co-starred Cribbins as station master Albert Perks.

Speaking about the event Joe Godwin Director of BBC Children’s said
I’m so pleased that the BBC and ACA have joined forces to give this wonderful award to a real hero of children’s film and television. Bernard has been a big part of so many of our childhoods, and now as the star of Old Jack’s Boat, he’s a huge star for a new generation.
Russell T Davies who has worked with Bernard Cribbins on Doctor Who and most recently on the CBeebies series Old Jack Boat sent a message:
It is brilliant to see children’s arts being recognised in this way. The art, fiction and images we see as a child stay with us for the rest of our lives’




Pointless Celebrities Doctor Who Special time confirmedBookmark and Share

Monday, 11 March 2013 - Reported by Chuck Foster
The "Doctor Who" edition of Pointless Celebrities has now been confirmed for Saturday 23rd March at 7:00pm on BBC One.

The show will feature four pairs of well-known Doctor Who stars pitted against each other to win the Pointless Trophy: the seventh Doctor team of Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred; the companion team of Frazer Hines and Louise Jameson; the 'noble' team of Bernard Cribbins and Jacqueline King; and finally the "sixth Doctor" pairing of Nicola Bryant and Andrew Hayden-Smith (standing in for Colin Baker who was participating in I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here at the time of recording).

Pointless Celebrities. 23 March 2013 (Credit: BBC) Pointless Photo (Credit: Louise Jameson)

The episode was recorded at BBC Television Centre on 13th November 2012, hosted as always by Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman - who will receive some assistance from K-9 (aka John Leeson and Mat Irvine)! Both are Doctor Who fans, with Osman telling Doctor Who Magazine:
Doctor Who's got everything, hasn't it? It's got amazing stories. It's got a sort of soap opera behind the scenes of who's going to be the next Doctor. It's got great writers and an intelligence and a humanity behind it. Doctor Who has brought nothing but good things to the world.

Please note that the time of broadcast has been confirmed by the Radio Times as for 7:00pm, and not 6:00pm as previously reported.





People RoundupBookmark and Share

Friday, 18 January 2013 - Written by Chuck Foster and John Bowman
Matt Smith is to make his directorial debut on an episode of Playhouse Presents... on Sky Arts. The episode is entitled Cargese and is described as "a unique piece of poetic realism which mines the tragic seam of adolescent love and loss.". Talking about his new challenge, Smith said: "Sky Arts offers creative opportunities that many other channels don't. To collaborate with (writer) Simon Stephens in this capacity was a thrilling and rare opportunity and one we both were keen to embrace." The episode airs on Thursday 25th April. [Sky Arts]

Marc Warren has also written and directed for the series with Hey Diddly Dee, which will feature Kylie Minogue in a starring role. Warren said: "Writing and directing for Playhouse Presents... has been one of the most magical experiences of my career. To give myself the best chance I called in every favour to surround myself with a dream cast and an incredible crew. And then by some miracle, Kylie appeared, and the fate of our film was sealed." As for Minogue, she said: "When the script was sent to me, I read it and knew instinctively I wanted to be part of this project. In Hey Diddly Dee, Marc has created a beautiful and quirky story." The episode launches the season on Thursday 14th March.

Other names to feature in Playhouse Presents... this year include Frances Barber, David Harewood, Suranne Jones and Reggie Yates.

As reported last year, a new series starring Bernard Cribbins with Freema Agyeman is to feature on CBeebies. Old Jack's Boat starts its 25-episode daily weekday run on Monday 21st January at 5.40pm, and sees Cribbins as the retired, story-telling fisherman of the title, with Agyeman featuring as café-owning character Shelly Periwinkle. The story to be broadcast on Friday 25th January is written by Russell T Davies and involves the Moon. "Sitting watching Bernard Cribbins reading out some lines that you've written, I can't tell you how good it was, it was a joy," said Davies. [BBC News, 15 Jan 2013]

Agyeman also made her US debut in The Carrie Diaries this week. The Sex And The City prequel series is airing on Mondays on The CW Channel and she plays Larissa Loughlin, a style editor at Interview magazine who also acts as a mentor to the eponymous young Carrie Bradshaw.

David Morrissey isn't averse to a return to Doctor Who, should he be asked. "I would absolutely love to do it again. I had such a ball doing it," he said. "Mark Gatiss says, you know, there's nothing more blissful for him to write than 'Interior TARDIS: Day' or whatever on the top of one of his scripts, it's living the dream. And for me, when I went down and worked on it, I thought 'This is great', it's a really well-run show, people take it very seriously but you have fun on it. And l loved that character, I really loved Jackson Lake, I thought he was a really interesting man, he was in some sort of trauma himself and the Doctor liberates him from that..." [Den of Geek, 17 Jan 2013]

A play starring Billie Piper and Tom Goodman-Hill has won a gong in the Critics' Circle Theatre Awards. The Effect, by Lucy Prebble, was named Best Play. Billed as a clinical romance, it is at the National Theatre until Saturday 23rd February, although all performances are sold out except for day tickets and possible returns. [BBC News, 15 Jan 2013]

Mark Williams - currently starring as the eponymous crime-solving priest Father Brown in the BBC One daytime drama - has spoken of his fondness for GK Chesterton's clerical detective. "He has a huge appetite for the detail of life and for humanity, and he cares very much about people's souls. That's the most interesting thing about him as a sleuth: it's not him solving a conundrum or a crossword, he's dealing with what he sees as people's eternal damnation. And when he works it out, the sky turns black and is full of harpies; he's desperately committed to his morality." [Radio Times, 13 Jan 2013]

Olivia Colman joins Tim Pigott-Smith and Shaun Dingwall in the cast of the ITV drama The Suspicions of Mr Whicher II: The Murder In Angel Lane. She will play Susan Spencer, who employs Whicher as a private inquiry agent to investigate the murder of her niece. Pigott-Smith reprises his role as Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Richard Mayne, while Dingwall will play Inspector George Lock. The two-hour story is being filmed in Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire, and central London over the next four weeks. [ITV Press Centre, 11 Jan 2013]

James Moran talks about the temptations of writing darker stories: "It's when people decide to make something dark for the sake of it, and then work out the story and force it, that never ends well. Children of Earth was just a story idea that gradually turned dark all by itself, so I think it worked. But I've certainly seen it hurt other shows and movies, where they decide to make it grim just to be edgy, without it flowing naturally from the story. And sometimes, blimey, you just want to have a laugh when you sit down for a bit of telly in the evening" [Den of Geek, 10 Jan 2013]

Amy Manson has been short-listed for the title role in the new series of Wonder Woman that goes into production this year for the CW Network. [STV, 16 Jan 2013]

Mark Benton is to star in an advertising campaign for electronic cigarettes that could prove to be a landmark case, as there is currently a ban in the UK on promoting tobacco-related products. [Radio Times, 15 Jan 2013]

After the campaign last year, David Tennant, Sir Richard Branson and Usain Bolt are back to promote Virgin Media in a second series of adverts for the cable broadcaster's TiVo service.

Karen Gillan was a victim of hacking earlier in the week on Twitter when she apparently became a heavy promoter of weight-loss pills! The actress has since regained control of her account.

BBC Books authors Gary Russell, Jacqueline Rayner and Steve Cole are to be guests for Dr Who: Past, Present and Future, an event in Chelmsford on Sunday 24th March that forms part of the Essex Book Festival. [Essex Book Festival]

Eoin Colfer was revealed last week as the author of the first Puffin book for Doctor Who's 50th anniversary. The author said: "When I was asked to write one of the 11 e-shorts for the Doctor's 50th anniversary it was like being whisked away by my own Tardis back to the 1970s when Kevin, my brother Paul and I were three science-fictioneers immersing ourselves in the lore of Doctor Who in the sunny south-east of Ireland. I chose the First Doctor because I always imagined him to be a crank who was jaded by the Universe's cruelty rather than amazed by its wonders. There was no naivety about him whatsoever. He had seen far more in his life than he ever wanted to, and his fight against evil‑doers was dogged and not punctuated by repartee. The First Doctor's companion was his granddaughter Susan and her love for her granddad was perhaps the purest thing in his world, and something he was prepared to protect fiercely." [Guardian, 12 Jan 2013]

Colfer also discusses the e-book in a video released by BBC Worldwide as part of the promotion for A Big Hand For The Doctor.


Written by Chuck Foster and John Bowman




People RoundupBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 12 December 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Bernard Cribbins is a firm supporter of the Surviving Winter campaign, which aims to help reduce isolation and vulnerability for older people. The actor said: "I am 100 per cent behind the campaign and delighted to be supporting it. I am going to donate my winter fuel allowance to support others in Surrey that need additional help during the winter. I encourage others who don't need their allowance to do the same." [Camberley People, 4 Dec 2012]

Having hung up his Merlin breeches, Colin Morgan has no plans to return to Doctor Who: "Well, that box has already been ticked, but I feel very lucky to have been part of that. It was my first filming job really, so it was a great thing to be a part of, but in terms of the future? Probably not." And as the Doctor? "No, I don’t think so!" [Radio Times, 3 Dec 2012]

Matt Smith played host to a fund-raising dinner for the National Youth Theatre on Monday 3rd December; the event, A Shepherd's Delight, was held at The Shepherd's Restaurant in Belgravia. Smith became a patron of the NYT in July. [Daily Mail, 4 Dec 2012]

Karen Gillan, back home in Inverness for Christmas, was invited to present a UNICEF Baby Friendly Award to NHS Highland maternity staff at the city's Raigmore Hospital; the award was in recognition of the education and support they have given to breastfeeding mothers. The actress said: "I knew very little about the benefits of breastfeeding until now. But I am definitely a convert. I have no plans to start a family – I have to find a boyfriend first. It is too early for me to settle down but when I do get broody, I will be following the breast is best advice. I have learned so much here, it has been great research if I have to audition for a nursing or midwife role in the future." [Daily Record, 12 Dec 2012]

David Tennant is to perform festive duties on the Christian O'Connell Breakfast Show this Christmas, and also portray the Virgin Mary in the celebrity nativity play due to be broadcast on 21st December. The presenter said: "David Tennant fans are going to really enjoy seeing his masculine Scottish jaw-line peeking out from under a head-scarf with me on his arm. He’ll need to draw on all his luvvie training to avoid being out-acted by me and Wrighty on the day." The actor has had a long association with O'Connell: he performed in another panto alongside Brian Blessed back in 2006, and has co-hosted the show in the past, too (2009, 2011); O'Connell was also a guest at the actor's wedding last year. [Radio Today, 12 Dec 2012]

Big Finish producer Nicholas Briggs talks about working with the Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker: "Tom's an interesting one, really. All the stories you've heard about him being aggressive about scripts - he's mellowed a lot in his old age, but you do occasionally get a little flash of the old Tom Baker. He can be quite savage to a Director! ...He was suggesting something, you know, to the nth time, and it was quite a crazy suggestion. I said, 'OK Tom, I'm gonna go with that,' and he just said, 'Oh, Nick! I can't tell how happy it makes me when you accept one of my suggestions!" He sounded very moved... he said, 'I was rewriting my will this weekend, and I put something in it for you!' [Chicago Now, 3rd Dec 2012]

Sylvester McCoy talks about almost being Bilbo The Lord of the Rings, and how he came to play Radagast in The Hobbit: "It got down to two actors eventually from quite a few, and I was one of them. Of course the other was the great and glorious Ian Holm. I was a bit disappointed, but I was also quite pleased to be in such great company. So they knew me from that, and so as luck would have it, I was touring with Ian McKellen in King Lear, playing the fool to his king, and we went to New Zealand. And they knew me before, but they were reminded of me again, and they saw Ian and I working on the stage together. I think they must have quite liked that." [LA Times, 3 Dec 2012]

It has been announced that Russell T Davies married his long-term partner Andrew Smith during the course of last week. The couple moved back to the United Kingdom last year so that they could be closer to friends and family after Andrew was diagnosed with cancer. [Anglotopia, 7 Dec 2012]

Strictly Come Dancing judge Bruno Tonioli talks about his love of Doctor Who: "I am absolutely addicted - in fact I dedicated a chapter of my autobiography (to it). When I first came to the UK I didn't understand English at all, so the first show I watched on TV was Doctor Who because you could follow the story and understand it without understanding the language. And I've been addicted since, it gets better and better and better. Unmissable! I am desperate to be in it - I'd pay for it!" [The One Show, 11 Dec 2012]

Former MP Louise Mensch is one of the contributors to the new book, Behind The Sofa: "I always had a sneaking suspicion that everyone in the world loves Doctor Who - well, now I have concrete proof. If I could get all the famous names who contributed to this book into one room, I think it would be the maddest convention ever. Until then, their favourite memories of the programme are preserved for all to see. Plus, everyone who buys a copy will be helping to give hope to the 820,000 people in the UK living with dementia today." [Telegraph, 3 Dec 2012]




People RoundupBookmark and Share

Saturday, 4 August 2012 - Compiled by Chuck Foster, John Bowman and Harry Ward
Billie Piper is to make her National Theatre debut this autumn, starring in The Effect, by Lucy Prebble, at The Cottesloe. The play, described as "a clinical romance", deals with sanity, neurology, and medicine's limits. Tom Goodman-Hill will be among the co-stars. It runs from 6th November to 2nd March, and tickets go on sale to the public on 24th September. [BBC News, 3 Aug 2012]

Christopher Eccleston recently undertook a Q&A session at the National Theatre, where he is appearing as Creon in Antigone, during which he was asked about playing the Doctor: In response to a question about whether he felt he'd taken the character as far as he could he (very tellingly) said he felt that one series isn't enough to get under the skin of the character and that if he'd had two or three series he'd have developed the role considerably. He said that if you looked at the other Doctors (with the exception of Tom Baker) you can see them working out how to play the character through their first series because it's such a complex and challenging role. He said several times that there was more for him to do with the character... [BadGirlSeeksGoodMan@GallifreyBase, 19 Jul 2012]

Matt Smith commented on having Eccleston make a guest appearance: "Chris will be alright. Well, I mean, who knows? I'd love it. I'd love him to come back. I love his Doctor. I really do. He was from Manchester. Proper hard. Leather jacket. He'd give my Doctor a bit of a whopping, wouldn't he?" [Esquire via FemaleFirst, 3 Aug 2012]

Eccleston's name has also been associated with the film sequel Thor: The Dark World. If cast he would be playing the principal villain Malekith The Accursed. [Cinema Blend, 1 Aug 2012]

Bernard Cribbins is to return to television next year in his own series, Old Jack's Boat, playing a retired fisherman named Jack who tells stories to children. The actor said: "I am delighted to be back on CBeebies telling stories as I am storyteller. There are some marvellous writers, such as Russell T Davies, who I have been in touch with for a long time and who, of course, I worked with on Doctor Who. I am looking forward to sitting back and being able to tell some wonderful stories." As well as Doctor Who's former lead writer Davies, another familiar name in the show will be Freema Agyeman, who will play Shelley. [Mirror, 4 Aug 2012]

Karen Gillan met the actress to play her double in Not Another Happy Ending, the movie she is currently filming. Rebecca Davidson will double for Gillan in shots where her character Jane Lockhart meets her perfect double in a pub. [Huffington Post, 1 Aug 2012]

Neve McIntosh talks about meeting the new co-star, Jenna-Louise Coleman: "She's absolutely gorgeous as well, she's lovely. I've not had much work with her. I think she's got a lovely quality to her so I think is going to be really exciting. And obviously I don't know the rest of whatever's been going on, so it'll be interesting to start watching the new series and see how she's introduced." [Cultbox, 2 Aug 2012]

Alex Kingston is to feature in the next series of Who Do You Think You Are?, the BBC genealogy series that looks into the ancestry of celebrities. Now into its ninth series, it will also include celebrities like singer Annie Lennox and actor Patrick Stewart. Former Doctor David Tennant explored his family history in Series Four (2006).

Tennant came top in a poll of favourite Doctors recently undertaken by Entertainment Weekly.

Former costumer designer Leslie Rowland-Warne has been talking about his experience of working on Death To The Daleks, following his appearance in the extra features on the DVD, which was released in June. He said: "On the disc is a documentary asking all the stars and crew about their experiences working on it and I'm on it. I was the costume designer and mostly I talk about how I came up with the idea for the costume of the character Bellal. The script said he lived underground so I thought he should be small, and I told the director to hire a small actor to fit into it. Then I added some reflective strips to liven the suit up." [Leatherhead Advertiser, 4 Aug 2012]





People RoundupBookmark and Share

Friday, 4 May 2012 - By Chuck Foster and John Bowman
By Chuck Foster and John Bowman
Phil Davis talks about what roles interest him the most: "I like films and plays that are about real life, I'm not interested in superheroes or things going to the moon and all that. What I like is films about real people, dealing with real problems and what it's like to be alive in London in 2012 – well, not just in London, in this country. Those are the things that interest me, things that are genuine." [Independent, 29 Apr 2012]

Frances Barber found herself involved in a hostage situation in Tottenham Court Road, with the actress reporting: "am in middle of hostage sitch in Tott. ct. Road. Can't get out. We are all hostage inside.« Tott ct rd deserted. All shops, cafes, etc evacuated.police everywhere.we are not allowed out. «" Later, she said: "For what it's worth I think the Police were ace today in Tottenham Court Rd. They had it sorted they get a rough time. But I only saw good. «" (Footnote: A man has been charged with various offences and remanded in custody following the incident. [BBC News, 30 Apr 2012])

Georgia Moffett is listed as "one to watch" by The Independent. [Independent, 28 Apr 2012]

Former co-executive producer Piers Wenger has been made head of drama at Channel 4. He became a Film4 senior commissioning executive after leaving Doctor Who and said of his impending move to Channel 4: "It's a hugely exciting time to be taking on this role and I can't wait to start work . . . on developing a new generation of drama for Channel 4. I'm also greatly indebted to Tessa Ross and all at Film4 for the expertise they have shared in the last six months and it's a dream come true to be able to continue those relationships into my new role." [Radio Times, 1 May 2012]

Bernard Cribbins has given an interview to The Guardian in which he talks about his novelty records of the 1960s. [The Guardian, 2 May 2012]

Outgoing Doctor Who co-star Karen Gillan is Scotland's "sexiest woman" in a poll by FHM Magazine, which ranks her in 36th place overall (six places up from last year). Meanwhile, incoming co-star Jenna-Louise Coleman has entered the chart for the first time at number 91. [STV, Easier, 2 May 2012]

John Barrowman talks about his confidence: "I'm a good actor! [Laughs] No, I'm passionate about what I do, I'm very opinionated, I'm very driven, I have an ambition -- I have a healthy ambition. I'm not rude to people, I know what I want, I'm generous -- these are things I'm saying I feel I am that I've also been told I am. I don't want it to sound in any way egotistical. But there's a fine line between ego and confidence. When confidence becomes ego and egotistical, you can tell it right away. I've always said to people around me if ever that verge goes across, smack me." [Comic Book Resources, 3 May 2012]

Orbital's Paul Hartnoll has been talking about Matt Smith's guest appearance during their set at Glastonbury in 2010. It all started with a chance encounter at a party following the Coachella festival that year . . . "I was approaching the fridge to go and get a beer, and I thought 'That bloke in front of me looks like Doctor Who'. I tapped him, and I said, 'Excuse me, are you Doctor Who?'. He just turned round to me with the biggest grin and said, 'Well actually, yes I am'. We just had a beer together and a chat and he said 'Oh, I'd love to come on stage and introduce you one time'. Our lighting guy who was with us said, 'Why don't you come on at Glastonbury?' He sort of flipped out and said, 'Oh my god, I've never been to Glastonbury, that'd be brilliant'. So we just kept in touch. He said if you can get me and five friends into Glastonbury, I'll do it, so we did. He had a great time. That was brilliant. He was absolutely peaking." [Digital Spy, 30 Apr 2012]

James Bond director Sam Mendes likens the movie franchise's longevity with Doctor Who: "That's why I mentioned the word in the press conference, 'regeneration' rather than 'evolving', because I feel it is like, you know, we have Doctor Who ... there's a geek answer ... and I was brought up on the idea of Doctor Who, who at the end of his final episode, he dissolves and a new actor pops up and he regenerates and it's a whole other character: sometimes it's an old man, sometimes it's a young man, but he just changes. I've always loved that idea." [Collider, 1 May 2012]

David Tennant has been reported as being in talks with director Justin Lin over a role in Fast 6. [Latino Review, 3 May 2012]

In Memoriam:

The visual effects designer Peter Wragg has died following a short illness. His work on Doctor Who spanned from The Visitation to Mindwarp (the latter story being part of the Trial of a Time Lord season). As well as working on Doctor Who, he also lent his name to cult TV shows such as Red Dwarf, Thunderbirds, Joe 90, UFO, and Captain Scarlet, as well as the comedy series 'Allo, 'Allo and the harrowing documentary-style drama Threads. [reddwarf.co.uk, 20 Apr 2012]




People RoundupBookmark and Share

Friday, 18 November 2011 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill will be signing copies of The Complete Series Six Boxed Set at HMV at the Westfield Shopping Centre, Stratford, London on Monday 21st November; the signing takes place from 1:30pm and entry will be by wristband for the first 250 people applying from when the shop opens at 8:30am. The stars will also take part in a Q&A session with former Radio 1 presenter and fan Jo Whiley in the Gallery Area from 4:00pm. [BBC Worldwide/2Entertain]

David Tennant and Karen Gillan will be among those who will have their portraits displayed at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh when it re-opens to the public on 1st December. The "Hot Scots" collection will also feature other notable Scottish names including Sean Connery, James McAvoy, Gerard Butler and singer Paolo Nutini. [Herald Scotland, 17 Nov 2011]

Karen Gillan will also be presenting the award for Design at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards this coming Sunday. [Standard, 18 Nov 2011]

Eve Myles is interviewed in Saturday's Western Mail magazine, in which she also talks about why she left Hollywood to return to Wales: "I came back from LA specifically to do Baker Boys. I made a commitment when I did the first series and I followed it through. It’s got a cracking cast and superb director in Gareth Bryn. In the first series I was playing someone who had an easy time of it, but series two is about Sarah’s struggle and it’s been a joy to play" [Wales Online, 18 Nov 2011]

Bernard Cribbins has lent his support to a campaign to help residents in Surrey that are suffering from fuel 'poverty': "This is a simple but very effective idea and am delighted to be supporting it. With the help of the Community Foundation, the money raised will quickly find its way to those needing help with their winter bills this year." [Epsom Guardian, 15 Nov 2011]

Simon Pegg (The Editor, The Long Game) responded to comments about him possibly playing the Doctor in the proposed movie: "Why is everyone speculating about who should play the Doctor in the Doctor Who movie? Matt Smith is the Doctor, he should play him!! It's nice to be thought of but I do not want the part and would not accept if it were offered to me. I did my Who time and I died. The end." [Simon Pegg, via Twitter, 16 Nov 2011]

Mark Sheppard talks about the development of his character Canton: "I think I read an article where [Steven Moffat said] he was under some pressure to create a gay character who wasn't mincing around the screen. I mean, no disrespect to Captain Jack or anyone else at all, I'm being extreme in my stereotype, but I'm saying to have a character where being gay wasn't the singular identifier of the character, where the primary focus of the character is not what he's doing about being gay. ... A kid came up to me in a convention and said 'you know, Canton is the second-smartest man in the room', and I said 'really, why is that?' He said 'because he realises that the doctor is the smartest man in the room' - and I always thought was a very good way to put it." [Stuff, 15 Nov 2011]

Writer and long-term Doctor Who fan Naomi Alderman was interviewed about her novel, Borrowed Time, and when asked about the lack of Jewish and women writers for the series responded: "Hah! Actually, one of my favorite stories, The Masque of Mandragora, was written by a Jewish academic, Louis Marks. And Doctor Who was partly created by Verity Lambert, an inspirational feminist TV producer. I think you have to not choke yourself really, especially when creating. After five minutes of going, 'Hmm, not many people like me have done this,' you have to put it out of your mind and just do the best job you can." [Jewish Daily Forward, 16 Nov 2011]





People RoundupBookmark and Share

Monday, 7 November 2011 - Reported by Chuck Foster
John Barrowman is to present an edition of the BBC's comedy musical quiz show Never Mind The Buzzcocks, to be recorded on 30th November; though the brodcast date is unknown at present, it seems likely to be the tenth episode of the series due the following week on 5th December. [John Barrowman website]

Karen Gillan has been nominated as a Screen Nominee for the Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Awards; other nominees in this section include documentary filmmaker Mark Cousins, producer Christopher Young, and writer/director Lynne Ramsey. [Glenfiddich]

Alex Kingston attended the Pearson Teaching Awards that took place at Downing Street on 2nd November, where she presented the award for Outstanding New Teacher of the Year; photos from the event can be found on Flickr. [Number 10, 30 Oct 2011]

Bernard Cribbins has presented with his OBE by the Princess Royal at a Windsor Castle investiture ceremony. The 82-year-old actor indicated that retirement wasn't on his mind: I love it, I can't stop, why should I? I'm still able to read and write." [BBC News, 3 Nov 2011]

Speaking at a book signing, Steven Moffat talked about the success of Sherlock: "We didn’t know Sherlock would be such a hit. It felt like a vanity project. I always thought it would be good and get good reviews, I never thought it would be an instant monster. That never happens – having good reviews with a huge audience and all the awards – you couldn’t expect it to happen." [Express, 4 Nov 2011]


David Troughton will be performing a series of Christmas readings with his wife during the O Magnum Mysterium Christmas concert at St Mary's Church, Warwick on 21st December, appearing with the acclaimed Warwickshire choir, the Saint James’s Singers (the singers also have a Doctor Who connection, having contributed their vocals to the Big Finish story Her Final Flight).

Tickets can be booked via the Bridge House Theatre and full details are available from the Saint James's Singers website.

(with thanks to Julian Shortman)




People RoundupBookmark and Share

Sunday, 25 September 2011 - Reported by Chuck Foster
David Tennant is to star in a new 3D-CGI film version of children's television hero Postman Pat in Postman Pat: The Movie - You Know You're The One, celebrating the 30th anniversary of the show; the actor will lend his vocal talents to the film alongside Rupert Grint, Jim Broadbent, with the voice of Pat to be provided by Stephen Mangan. [Mirror, 16th Sep]

Meanwhile, a pair of pants signed by the actor and the rest of the West End cast of Much Ado About Nothing was able to raise £252 for the Make A Difference Foundation. [Daily Record, 25th Sep]

Arthur Darvill (Rory) will be performing as one of a multitude of cast for the Bush Theatre's production of Sixty Six Books: "Celebrating the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible, each book of this great English work is spoken to by a remarkable range of playwrights, poets, songwriters and novelists from all faiths and none, from over a dozen countries and across five continents." The performances run between 10th-29th October. [Bush Theatre]

Steven Moffat was nominated for Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special at this year's Emmy Awards; however, the Sherlock writer lost out on the night to Downton Abbey's Julian Fellowes. [Academy of Television Arts and Sciences]

Alex Kingston (River Song) will be joining the cast of BBC drama Upstairs, Downstairs; her character, Blanche Mottershead, is described as "a free-thinking and outspoken archaeologist who smokes cheroots and who is fond of a 'little light nudism'". The actress said of the role: "I simply couldn't resist the opportunity to get inside the iconic 165 Eaton Place. I can say the character is very complex, very intriguing and very straight-talking. She has some very dark secrets of her own." [BBC News, Mail on Sunday, 25th Sep]

Arlene Tur (Vera in Torchwood: Miracle Day) talks about her new production: "I started my producing career recently. I've been producing a show called Homeless Improvement, which is a show where we come alongside homeless people who want to become a part of society and get reunited with their family, so we work with them to do that. We've filmed it and now we're shopping it around for distribution and there are some networks that are interested so we're excited about that. I have a real heart for philanthropy, I think we're made to give back – we're not meant to just take while we're here. I do a lot of mission work abroad so it was wonderful to take on a project where I'm helping people in the States, because I tend to go away usually." [Stuff, 25th Sep]

Bernard Cribbins (Wilf) will be talking about his experiences in the angling world at The Lands End pub in Landsend Lane, Twyford on 19th November. A keen angler himself, the actor has also produced films for the angling world. [Get Wokingham, 21st Sep]





Desert Island WhoBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 31 August 2011 - Reported by Chuck Foster
First broadcast in 1942, the popular BBC Radio 4 show Desert Island Discs has presented the favourite musical choices of hundreds of famous celebrities should they have ended up cast away. The BBC have recently made the series available in the form of a searchable archive, detailing the choices made by guests and also the actual programme to listen to in a number of cases.

In such a lengthy series it is inevitable that a many of Doctor Who's cast have featured; for example, the first Doctor himself William Hartnell was a guest on 23rd August 1965, choosing Charlie Chaplin's Spring Song as his favourite amongst other tracks like Lawd, You Made The Night Too Long by Louis Armstrong and Politsvian Dances by Alexander Borodin.

A year earlier, the third Doctor Jon Pertwee made his choices on 12th October 1964; these included two pieces by Mozart, Love is Strange by Lonnie Donegan, and his favourite being Georgia On My Mind by Ray Charles.

More recently, the 27th December 2009 featured outgoing tenth Doctor David Tennant, who cited Tim Minchin's White Wine In The Sun as his favourite, amongst items like Deacon Blue's Dignity and his favourite band The Proclaimers performing Over And Done With; this episode of the series is one of those that is also available for download.

Other notable names include 'alternative' Doctors Peter Cushing (1959) and Rowan Atkinson (1988), short-lived Master Derek Jacobi (1978), and the tenth Doctor's last fellow TARDIS traveller Bernard Cribbins (1963); explore the index for the choices of many other Doctor Who guest stars!

(with thanks to Jamie Austin)





People RoundupBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 31 August 2011 - Reported by Chuck Foster
David Tennant has beaten Matt Smith in a recent poll by the SyFy Channel to find the sexiest sci-fi hunk. The tenth Doctor came in at second place (16.9%), beating spin-off show Torchwood lead John Barrowman who came in third (14.2%), with Smith in tenth place (8.7%). X-Men star Hugh Jackman topped the poll (20.3%). In the sci-fi babes poll Karen Gillan beat predecessor Billie Piper, taking fourth (10.6%) and fifth (7.7%) places respectively; the top spot was taken by Buffy The Vampire Slayer actress Sarah Michelle Gellar (12.7%).

Matt Smith talks about playing the role of the Doctor: "I can never relax because I'm always pushing myself to the highest level but it's nice to enjoy the fact people have accepted me as the Doctor and enjoy the things I do. I think he's grown. I hope people see growth.
I think he should always be evolving. I don't think good actors get typecast. In 10 years' time I'll be playing very different parts than I am playing now. So there is plenty of time for me to evolve as an actor."
Also: "It's so funny, I read other scripts and I just go, 'Not as good as Doctor Who!' For me, it's a privilege to play this man. These parts don't come along that often. There was never any hesitation on my part to stay for another year. Why would I quit? I've got Steven Moffat writing scripts, but not only that - Toby Whithouse, Richard Curtis... all these great writers. And then of course, the part. I just love playing the Doctor. I've grown terribly fond of him. It's something I really enjoy." [Daily Record, 27 Aug 2011; Press Association, 28 Aug 2011]

David Tennant talks about the various roles he's taken recently in film, television and theatre: "I'm quite greedy for the variety, I think. I love the fact that I'm doing Shakespeare in the West End at the moment and then talking about vampires at the day. That's sort of what I'd always hoped I'd manage to do, to mix things up like that, to have a wide variety of work. I think it just helps you to keep being hopefully creative and it keeps challenging you. It's ideal really, if I can do a film and then a play and then a bit of telly and then a radio play and then an audio book, I love the fact that I'm in a job where I get to do all those different types of things." [Huffington Post, 18 Aug 2011]

Both David Tennant and Billie Piper are to appear in a new BBC1 drama, Love Life, a series of plays that will be based on improvisation by writer/director Dominic Savage. BBC Controller of Drama Commissioning, Ben Stephenson said: "This is a complete first in TV drama on BBC One: a serial made through improvisation. It features some of our very best acting talent working in a way we've never seen on screen from them before, using improvisation to push the boundaries of each story, to get right to the heart of the truth." The two actors will feature in different episodes of the drama. [BBC Press, 26 Aug 2011]

Billie Piper is also to play the lead in a new BBC3 show written be Lee Hupfield, Tom and Jenny, described as "a high-octane comedy pilot about a feuding couple who, despite splitting up, refuse to leave the house they've bought together". [BBC Press, 26 Aug 2011]

Karen Gillan is supporting her hometown radio station, Monster FM, which will be returning to the Inverness airwaves for a limited period during September. Gillan and Inverness Caley Thistle manager Terry Butcher will be presenting special programmes of their own favourite music on the station, which will be operated by trainee DJs from the European Social Fund-backed Radioskills project at The Moray Firth Media Trust. [Highland News, 30 Aug 2011]

John Barrowman commented on how his life style has changed over the years: "I can’t handle clubs and wild nights out like I did in my 20s. I’m lively when I perform and I always put everything into a show but when I get home I love lying down in front of the TV and relaxing. I’m not quite the party animal people imagine. I’m certainly not a big fan of nightclubs. But that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy a vodka and tonic after a tough day." [Wales on Sunday, 21 Aug 2011]

Sophie Aldred appears in the new comedy-drama film Thriller Theater! from the independent Untitled Creative Group based in Chicago, Illinois, USA. The film is directed by Michael S. Olson, who for the past 11 years has been the technical director for the annual Chicago TARDIS convention. Aldred portrays television station manager Lynn Whitlam, who's not easily convinced to give up two hours of late night infomercial programming to take a chance on a new horror host show called 'Thriller Theater'. "The script was written with the Lynn Whitlam character never being seen - we only ever see the back of her head, or her hands; we only hear her voice. But when the opportunity arose to involve Sophie in the project, we jumped at it - who wouldn't - and we had the perfect role for her, all ready to go," says Olson. "We filmed her scenes in Madison, Wisconsin, during her appearance at the MadCon convention in September 2010. And of course, she was superb." Thriller Theater! (the movie) receives its premiere screening on 8 September 2011 at the Portage Theater in Chicago (funds for the screening are being raised via public contributions to Kickstarter.com). The movie is also being submitted to various film festivals throughout the country. For more information on the film, visit http://thriller-theater.com. [with thanks to Steven W. Hill]

Bernard Cribbins helped launch a new Wheelyboat that enables disabled visitors to access the waters of Farmoor Reservoir in Oxfordshire for fishing. A patron of the Wheelyboat Trust, he said: "It is of huge importance to give disabled anglers the same opportunities as able-bodied anglers." [BBC News, 19 Aug 2011]

Matt Smith was nearly cast in series The Inbetweeners, according to its creators Iain Morris and Damon Beasley: Matt Smith, the best Doctor Who of all time, was up for the role of Will. He was really, really brilliant and so funny, just a brilliant actor. And clever. He had all the comic timing you wanted, all the dramatic sense you might need. We spent a long time in development; I think if we had to make a decision very quickly and we were going off to shoot, we would definitely have gone with Matt at that point. But it just became a very long, drawn-out thing, and he had other projects on the go. Quite big projects, as it turned out, but we loved him." [Heatworld, 24 Aug 2011]





Doctor Who stars lend a hand to charityBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 23 February 2011 - Reported by Harry Ward
Stars from Doctor Who have designed candle holders to be auctioned for the ILLUMINATE Campaign, an offshoot of The Cure Parkinson's Trust. The auction on eBay began yesterday and will finish at 7.00 pm on Friday 4th March 2011.

Peter Davison (the fifth Doctor and Bernard Cribbins (Wilfred Mott) have both designed an image to be used on a candle holder. Also in the auction are hand signed photos by Davison and Katherine Jenkins (Abigail Pettigrew, A Christmas Carol).

Other celebrities who have appeared in Doctor Who and have designed a candle holder for the auction are Harry Lloyd (Jeremy Baines / Son of Mine, Human Nature / The Family of Blood), Roy Hudd (Max Miller, Pier Pressure, Big Finish Audio), Louise Minchin (Newsreader, Torchwood: Children of Earth), Julia Sawalha (Emma, The Curse of Fatal Death, Red Nose Day parody episode), who has signed a photo, and Ricky Gervais, who appeared as a slug-like monster alongside David Tennant as the tenth Doctor in a scene in Extras - The Special.


Britain’s favourite celebrities have personally designed these 34 candle holders, which will be auctioned on eBay for 10 days starting 7pm on 22nd FEBRUARY 2011. Only one candle holder of each design has been made … making each of them truly unique.

These top quality, bone china candle holders, are made in Stoke on Trent and filled with 100 hour white wax. They are approximately 75mm in diameter and 92mm tall and come in a specially made presentation box. The design has been kiln-fired onto the candle holder, during the manufacturing process, to make it permanent. Remember - the items for auction here are truly unique - only one of each design exists.

Additionally we are auctioning 10 hand signed photographs sent to us by celebrities in response to our appeal for support. Included with every item is a Certificate of Authenticity signed by The Cure Parkinson’s Trust’s Managing Director.

If you decide not to bid for a candle holder, perhaps you might donate to The Cure Parkinson’s Trust instead? By donating to the Cure Parkinson’s Trust you are investing in the hope of a future without Parkinson’s.




Mammoth news round-upBookmark and Share

Friday, 18 December 2009 - Reported by Josiah Rowe
The flurry of Doctor Who news stories in the run-up to The End of Time has begun. But first, North American viewers will be able to enjoy The Waters of Mars tomorrow on BBC America and Canada's Space channel. In North American media, Canadian entertainment website dose.ca has an interview with Russell T Davies, and The Philadelphia Daily News, The Vancouver Sun and McClatchy News all have interviews with David Tennant.

Tennant is busy in the US filming the pilot for Rex Is Not Your Lawyer, and the Los Angeles Times reports that NBC may pick the series up as early as this spring. For those of you who can't get enough pictures of David Tennant wearing puffy winter coats, there are plenty from Rex filming here. In other Tennant news, the Sunday Mercury has an article titled "7 Things You Didn't Know About Dr Who David Tennant" (though readers of this page probably know most of them). What's On TV has a lengthy interview with Tennant about The End of Time, and BBC Newsbeat interviews Tennant about his forthcoming role in "St. Trinian's 2: The Legend of Fritton's Gold". Down Under, The Age and The Daily Telegraph (both of Australia) have stories on Tennant's TARDIS exit.

SFX continues its month-long Doctor Who celebration, with more excerpts from their interview with Russell T Davies here (talking about classic Doctor Who and multi-Doctor stories), here (talking about American television) and here (talking about "the scene that gets everyone" in The End of Time). Also on SFX's blog, Phil Ford talks about writing for The Sarah Jane Adventures, Alexandra Moen (Lucy Saxon) answers questions from fans, and the blog's staff compile a list of all the times British tabloids have gotten a Doctor Who story spectacularly wrong. Alexandra Moen is also interviewed at Digital Spy.

Davies tells the Western Mail that his final two Doctor Who episodes will be "like all your Christmas presents rolled into one, right from your big present to the tiniest thing at the bottom of the stocking." The South Wales Echo also grabs a snippet from the Western Mail interview. Davies also talked to BBC News about handing over the Doctor Who reins to Steven Moffat.

Bernard Cribbins will be interviewed on stage at the BFI on January 16. The conversation will be followed by a special screening of the 1966 film Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150 AD, starring Cribbins and Peter Cushing. In the aftermath of Cribbins' recent special BAFTA award, he was profiled in The Independent and interviewed by Ken Russell in The Times.

Claire Bloom talks to The Times about her life and work, including a vague but possibly spoiler-ish mention of her role in The End of Time.

There have been a slew of stories lately about people who've made full-sized Daleks. One in Surrey is covered here, and another (from Birtley in Gateshead) is covered in tech blogs Übergizmo, Geeky Gadgets, Gizmodo and Electricpig. And an Atherton man who's built a full-size TARDIS replica is profiled in The Leigh Reporter (though it isn't clear whether he's built the interior or the exterior of the ship).

Even Christmas pageants can't escape Doctor Who connections this year; pupils in the tiny North Yorkshire village of Ruswarp are putting on a Christmas pageant with a Doctor Who theme, and Noel Clarke (Mickey Smith) is directing the Nativity play at his old primary school in London.

It's not all The End of Time, though; Digital Spy interviews Colin Baker about completing "The Missing Stories" on audio for Big Finish.

The Daily Mail has a general preview of The End of Time, and The Sun has a somewhat spoilery photo of John Simm from the story.

The Sun has an article on Catherine Tate's Christmas special, in which she says that she and David Tennant will be "like the Richard & Judy of Christmas", due to being on UK television so much over the holiday season. Of Tennant's appearances, Doctor Who and Hamlet are listed by The Independent as part of its "Twelve TV Treats of Christmas" list.

The Times includes Tennant's Hamlet in its round-up of the best theatre of the past decade, and the return of Doctor Who in its list of the decade's best television. BBC News has also commissioned a "portrait of the decade", which includes the return of Doctor Who as one of the key cultural events and David Tennant as one of the top 20 people of the decade.

Finally, Paul Cornell, writer of the Doctor Who episodes "Father's Day", "Human Nature" and "The Family of Blood" as well as several acclaimed novels, has published a new Doctor Who story on his blog for Christmas. Cornell says that the story is being presented "purely as fan fiction, with no money being made." It's lovely, and you should read it.





The End of Time press screeningBookmark and Share

Friday, 18 December 2009 - Reported by Marcus
The press screening for Part One of The End of Time took place in studio TC8 at BBC Television Centre on Thursday evening. This was an appropriate venue, as TC8 was used for many recordings of classic Doctor Who, including a previous regeneration story, Planet of the Spiders, the swansong of Jon Pertwee's Third Doctor.

The screening was attended by Russell T Davies, John Simm and Bernard Cribbins, who answered questions from the audience.

Others at the screening included Catherine Tate, who played Donna Noble in Series 4 and who returns for the special,  David Harewood, Claire Bloom and Alaxandra Moen, as well as Steven Moffat, who has now taken over from Davies as Executive Producer of Doctor Who. Also in attendance, and marking the importance the BBC places on Doctor Who, was the man in charge of the corporation, Director-General Mark Thompson.

Reviews of the evening with reasonably few spoliers can be read on BBC News, in SFX, on freelance journalist Ian Wylie's Blog and on Total Sci-Fi Online.