Black ArchiveBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 23 April 2019 - Reported by Marcus
The latest editions from Obverse Books Black Archive looks at two very different stories from the First and Fourth Doctor

Black Archive: Warrior's Gate (Credit: Obverse Books)Black Archive #30: The Dalek Invasion of Earth

Released 2 April 2019

Survivors of London, the Daleks are the masters of Earth. Surrender now and you will live.

The story of the Daleks’ return to Doctor Who in The Dalek Invasion of Earth (1964) has been told in multiple media, but for this Black Archive, Jonathan Morris has had unparalleled access to the many variants of the scripts.

After 55 years, learn the identity of ‘The Waking Ally’, discover Milton Subotsky’s working draft of the second feature film, and find out why the iconic shot of the Daleks crossing Westminster Bridge doesn’t appear in the televised story… Author Jonathan Morris is one of the most prolific and long-standing contributors to Doctor Who Magazine, as well as writing five novels for BBC Books and over fifty stories for Big Finish.

RRP: £7.99 (£5.99 direct from Obverse)

Black Archive: The Dalek Invasion of Earth (Credit: Obverse Books)Black Archive #31: Warriors Gate

Released 2 May 2019

The shadow of my past and of your future.

Representative of Doctor Who at its most experimental, narratively and visually, Warriors’ Gate (1981) was the rich by-product of a producer seeking to modernise the series for the 1980s, a radio writer and novelist who had never written for television, and a film director with one television drama to his credit.

Examining television authorship in the 1980s, and using archive research and new interviews, this Black Archive traces the development of writer Stephen Gallagher’s scripts and their onscreen realisation by producer John Nathan-Turner, script editor Christopher Bidmead, and director Paul Joyce.

Similarly, it explores the story’s complex blend of absurd tragicomedy, quantum theory, randomness and entropy, within the context of British New Wave SF, the philosophy of science, modernist theatre, film and television, German Romantic painting, pop video, and the development of electronic video effects. Many ‘authors’ contributed to the transmitted version of Warriors’ Gate and the book also considers whether it can be claimed as the work of a single author given the collaborative nature of its troubled production.

RRP: £7.99 (£5.99 direct from Obverse)




Katarina Returns for Big FinishBookmark and Share

Monday, 18 March 2019 - Reported by Marcus
Ajjaz Awad as Katarina (Credit: Big Finish)Big Finish Productions are bringing back the First Doctor's Companion Katarina for a new set of Audio adventures

As well as the return of the companion, originally played in 1965 by the late Adrienne Hill, the Early Adventures stories this year will see classic Doctors colliding, quite literally.

Doctor Who – The Early Adventures, Series Six, will help celebrate 20 years of Doctor Who on audio, in association with BBC Studios.

Daughter of the Gods by David K Barnes is the first adventure in Series Six of Doctor Who – The Early Adventures to be released this year. This adventure will see the First Doctor and Second Doctor meeting, on a mission to alter the course of time forever.
When Zoe reattaches an old piece of equipment to the TARDIS console, she, Jamie and the Doctor are very lucky to avoid a collision. But the place they find themselves in may be even more dangerous - because there they encounter another Doctor, a space pilot called Steven... and a young woman called Katarina who really shouldn’t be there.
In Daughter of the Gods, Frazer Hines as the Second Doctor and Jamie, and Wendy Padbury as Zoe are reunited, continuing to travel the cosmos. But then they bump into someone they should really avoid.

Cast and crew of Daughter of the Gods (Credit: Big Finish)Peter Purves returns as Steven Taylor and takes on the mantle of the First Doctor. Plus, joining him, in a Big Finish first, is Ajjaz Awad (Stones, Holby City), playing the lost companion Katarina.

Many may not recognise Katarina, as unfortunately, only one of the episodes which she starred in still exists, the rest having being lost to time over the last 50 years. However, the Trojan handmaiden Katarina makes a re-appearance, to celebrate Doctor Who on audio’s 20th anniversary.

David K Barnes tells us more about this unlikely resurrection, and how to write a story where Time Lords collide
From the beginning, I had so many exciting elements to play with. Contrasting the fun and frolics of the Troughton years with the darker days of the late Hartnell era was something I wanted to get my teeth into, with the Daleks providing their customary threat.

However, I always knew what the core of my story should be. What could possibly bring the two Doctors into conflict, on the opposite sides of a dilemma?

It could only be the fate of Katarina.
Big Finish Listeners may recognise David K Barnes from his other recent work in the Doctor Who Early Adventures range. Barnes wrote last year’s very popular story, The Dalek Occupation of Winter.

The Second Doctor crew and the Master (Credit: Big Finish)Also to be announced is the second story in Doctor Who - The Early Adventures Series Six. The Home Guard by Simon Guerrier features the Second Doctor and Jamie (both played by Frazer Hines) journeying together with Polly (Anneke Wills) and Ben Jackson (Elliott Chapman) – but things are not all as they seem
It’s the middle of the Second World War and Ben Jackson has returned to visit his married friends Polly and Jamie in their quiet English village. But they can’t quite shake the feeling that something’s not right.
For the first time in Big Finish and Doctor Who history, the Second Doctor and his companions will be encountering the Master… Reprising his role as the first incarnation of the Master is James Dreyfus, who listeners will recognise from the December 2017 release, The First Doctor Adventures Volume One. He’s back, and more malevolent than ever.

Simon Guerrier told us more about this story
I found out that when the first episode of Dad’s Army went out in 1968, James Beck (playing dodgy dealer Walker) invited a good friend round to watch it, and that good friend was Doctor Who story editor and writer David Whitaker. It was roughly around the time Whitaker was working on The Enemy of the World and The Wheel in Space, and so I started to think about how you’d do a Dad’s Army kind of Doctor Who story with that kind of baroque, complicated plotting.
These two adventures in the sixth series of Doctor Who – The Early Adventures will be released in November 2019, priced at £14.99 on CD or £10.99 on download individually. They are also available to purchase together in a bundle, priced at £26 on CD or £20 on download.




The Daleks’ Master Plan On VinylBookmark and Share

Monday, 14 January 2019 - Reported by Marcus
The Daleks' Master Plan (Credit: BBC Studios) The soundtrack to The Daleks’ Master Plan, first seen in 1965, is to be released on Vinyl for the first time.

The release, from Demon Music Group, follows the recent popularity of similar releases of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and League of Gentlemen

The Daleks’ Master Plan, is a narrated full-cast TV soundtrack adventure. Starring William Hartnell as the First Doctor, in a battle against his archenemies, the Daleks.

The vinyl will be released on 15th February 2019 and is now available for pre-order. RRP £99.99.

Ben Stanley, Head of Product & Marketing, Demon Music Group, said
We’re very excited about the first release in our ‘Vinyl Who’ collection - it’s a new way for fans to discover lost episodes of Classic Doctor Who.
The release comes in two editions.
  • Standard edition: 7LP x 12” Heavyweight Translucent Blue
  • Amazon exclusive edition (limited to 1000 units): 7LP x 12” Heavyweight Splatter Vinyl
In this classic 12 part ‘lost’ adventure, first shown on TV from October 1965 to January 1966, the Daleks threaten to destroy the fabric of time itself. In their quest to control the Solar System, they have taken possession of the devastating Time Destructor. Determined to stop them, the Doctor steals the core of the weapon before he and his friends are pursued across time and space by his ruthless, powerful nemeses.

From the eerie sonics of Ron Grainer & Delia Derbyshire’s original theme tune and the familiar ‘wheezing, groaning’ of the TARDIS, to soundscapes illustrating the jungles of Kembel and alien spacecraft, the story is brought to life by the unique sounds produced by the BBC’s Radiophonic Workshop .

Written by Terry Nation and Dennis Spooner, this is the longest single Doctor Who adventure ever made for television. Linking narration is provided by Peter Purves (Steven) and the cast includes Kevin Stoney as Mavic Chen, Nicholas Courtney as Bret Vyon, Jean Marsh as Sara Kingdom and Peter Butterworth as the Meddling Monk. The film recordings of all but three episodes of this story are lost from the BBC archives.

The prelude episode Mission to the Unknown is presented on its own single-sided disc with a unique Dalek (exclusive edition) or TARDIS (standard edition) etched reverse.

The Daleks Master Plan (Credit: BBC Studios)




Twice Upon A Time - PreviewBookmark and Share

Friday, 17 November 2017 - Reported by Marcus
The BBC has released a preview of this year's Christmas Special, Twice Upon A Time

The First Doctor Enters The Twelfth Doctor's TARDIS




Who Talk Release Two New Classic CommentariesBookmark and Share

Saturday, 16 September 2017 - Reported by Marcus
The Claws of Axos (Credit: Fantom)Adventures in Time (Credit: Fantom)Fantom have released two new commentaries in their Who Talk series, providing new insights into classic episodes of Doctor Who.

The first release is called Adventures in Time, and is a collection of Hartnell themed historical stories including episodes from The Aztecs, The Romans and The Crusade. It features Maureen O'Brien, who played Vicki alongside the First Doctor, who is joined by William Russell, Julian Glover, Petra Markham, George Little, Kay Patrick, Ian Cullen, Clive Doig, Brian Hodgson, all once again under the watchful eye of Toby Hadoke.

The second release is another classic from the Pertwee era, The Claws of Axos. Producer Paul W T Ballard explained why the story was chosen.
The Claws of Axos might not have been the most obvious of choices to go for, but there were quite a few voices missing from the original commentary, recorded over a decade ago!

It was great to get the serial's director Michael Ferguson, script editor Terrance Dicks, co-writer Bob Baker and Axos himself Bernard Holley to commentate on the serial for the first time. We were also thrilled to welcome back Katy Manning and Richard Franklin.
A special edition bundle featuring both The Claws of Axos and Adventures in Time is available. Each set will come with the cover signed by an actor from each release, and Adventures in Time contains a disc featuring exclusive additional commentaries on The Crusade and The Time Meddler.

These CDs are limited and exclusively available via whotalk.co.uk

Both sets are now available, you can purchase them directly from Who Talk at a discounted price of £10.99 each (RRP £12.99) or via download priced £9.99. The special edition bundle will be available exclusively via this website priced £39.99.

Please note: These commentaries contain no BBC copyrighted elements and do not feature any audio from the episodes themselves.




David Bradley to Play First Doctor for Big FinishBookmark and Share

Friday, 15 September 2017 - Reported by Marcus
The First Doctor Adventures (Credit: Big Finish)Big Finish have announced that David Bradley will be reprising the role of the First Doctor in a new series of Audio plays.

Bradley will star as the First Doctor in this year’s BBC One Doctor Who Christmas Special alongside Peter Capaldi. Now Big Finish Productions, in arrangement with BBC Worldwide, are giving this reimagined First Doctor another chance to explore the cosmos.

Joining David Bradley are his co-stars from the Mark Gatiss Docu-drama on the origins of Doctor Who, An Adventure in Space and Time. Jamie Glover (Elizabeth, Waterloo Road, Holby City) plays Ian Chesterton, Jemma Powell (Alice in Wonderland, Angel, Foyle’s War) plays Barbara Wright, and Claudia Grant (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) plays Susan – the Doctor’s granddaughter and the original ‘Unearthly Child’.

Script editor and writer Matt Fitton said
The adventures of the First Doctor are all about discovery, finding out what this infinite universe contains, and also who our fellow travelers are. As we journey with Ian, Barbara, Susan and the mysterious Doctor, we come to see what they are capable of when confronted with the strange, the unjust and the dangerous.
Executive producer Nicholas Briggs added
Having worked with David twice now on TV, it’s great to be working with him again. Matt and his team of writers have come up with such a beautifully authentic set of scripts. We forget how different Doctor Who was, back in those early days – and here it all is, painstakingly recreated. I find that rather thrilling.

What's fascinating about the cast and their performances is that they're not impersonating William Hartnell and his TARDIS crew. They're playing those parts as written in the scripts. No one can replace the brilliance of those original performances. What we're presenting here is a kind of reinvention of that era, completely in the spirit of the original. They are new but entirely faithful interpretations of these characters.
Executive producer Jason Haigh-Ellery said
I’ve always been a great admirer of David Bradley’s work and thought that he was an excellent choice to play William Hartnell in An Adventure in Space and Time. After his brilliant performance, we immediately thought about bringing David in to play the First Doctor for Big Finish – it took us a while – but we got there in the end! I’m so looking forward to seeing David in the Christmas Special and then listening to his further adventures with us.
This series of adventures pays homage to the beginning years of Doctor Who, and each of the four episodes in each story will be given an individual title. Two of the four stories are historical, focusing on tales from Earth’s history pre-1963. Back in its first few years, Doctor Who was intended to be an educational programme using time travel as a means to explore scientific ideas and famous moments in history, while still captivating the minds and imaginations of generations to come.

Not only will the Doctor be exploring our history, but he will also encounter strange new life forms – the Dalmari and the Ashtallans.

And in a Big Finish exclusive, the First Doctor will encounter his greatest foe, the first incarnation of fellow Time Lord, the Master, played by James Dreyfus.

Available in December, the stories in The First Doctor Adventures - Volume 1 consist of:
  • 1.1 The Destination Wars by Matt Fitton
  • 1.2 The Great White Hurricane by Guy Adams
And to follow in July 2018, Doctor Who: The First Doctor Adventures – Volume 2:
  • 2.1 The Invention of Death by John Dorney
  • 2.2 The Barbarians and the Samurai by Andrew Smith
Doctor Who: The First Doctor Adventures – Volume 1 is available for pre-order now at £23 on CD or £20 on download from Big Finish and will remain at this price until general release when it will be available for £35 on CD or £30 on download.




German DVD release of An Unearthly ChildBookmark and Share

Friday, 20 January 2017 - Reported by Pascal Salzmann
German release An Unearthly Child (Credit: WVG / Polyband) German company Polyband is going to release An Unearthly Child on DVD. It will be Volume 1 of a new range called The Classic Episodes and be released on 28th April 2017. 

The DVD will be identical to the UK version that was part of The Beginning boxed set, adding German subtitles to the features. Since the early serials have never been broadcast in Germany there is no German dubbing available for this story.

Polyband promotes the release with the following statement:



German: Ein nebeliger Abend, ein Polizist geht Streife in seinem Revier ... ein verlassener Schrottplatz ... und eine Polizei-Box, die geheimnisvoll surrt und brummt. Diese Bilder sind heute Kult. Sie sind die Anfänge einer Serie, die nun schon seit mehr als 50 Jahren produziert wird und Generationen von Zuschauern prägen sollte: DOCTOR WHO - AN UNEARTHLY CHILD ist der erste, aus 4 Teilen bestehende Handlungsbogen der Serie DOCTOR WHO und eröffnet die 1. Staffel. Die vier Folgen wurden erstmals zwischen dem 23. November und 14. Dezember 1963 ausgestrahlt. Mit brillantem Erzähltempo und erstaunlicher Überzeugungskraft lädt AN UNEARTHLY CHILD behutsam in die Welt von  DOCTOR WHO ein. Bereits wenige Minuten nachdem man die sichere Umgebung der Coal Hill Schule verlassen hat, befindet man sich mit dem ersten Doktor (William Hartnell) sowie seiner Enkelin Susan (Carole Ann Ford) inmitten der ersten Reise durch Zeit und Raum mithilfe einer blauen Polizei-Box, der legendären TARDIS.

English: A foggy evening, a poilce officer walks around in his area... a junkyard... and a Police Box that makes strange mysterious noises. These pictures are cult today. They are the beginning of a TV show which is in production for over 50 years now and has impressed many generations of viewers: DOCTOR WHO - AN UNEARTHLY CHILD is the first four part serial of DOCTOR WHO and is the opening to the very first season. These four episodes were first broadcast between 23rd November and 14th December 1963. Featuring a brilliant pace and impressive imagination AN UNEARTHLY CHILD introduces you well to the world of DOCTOR WHO. After only minutes of leaving the safe environment of Coal Hill School you find yourself with the first Doctor (William Hartnell) and his grandchild Susan (Carole Ann Ford) travelling through space and time with the blue Police Box, the famous TARDIS.





Fantom Publishing: Who Talk updateBookmark and Share

Saturday, 24 December 2016 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Who Talk: An Unearthly Child (Credit: Fantom Publishing)
Who Talk: Cyber60s (Credit: Fantom Publishing)
Fantom Publishing have released details on the next two releases in their Who Talk range of alternative audio commmentaries.

First up is the original television adventure, An Unearthly Child. Producer Paul W T Ballard explains:
"One of the first thoughts we had after the success of Web and Enemy, was to revisit the first Doctor Who story and complete the commentary for it. The original DVD release of An Unearthly Child covered only two out of four of the episodes, plus the pilot, whereas we have been able to introduce some new voices to the mix and complete all four instalments plus the pilot.

The commentary features William Russell (Ian Chesterton), Jeremy Young (Kal), Waris Hussein (Director), Brian Hodgson (Special Sound) and Clive Doig (Vision Mixer), and is moderated by the omnipresent Toby Hadoke.

The second release celebrates the Cyber 60s, with Paul saying:
Whilst we have an ongoing mission to cover episodes without any commentary at all, we are also having fun bringing new contributors to the fold to provide alternatives on some classic serials. I think Cyber60s is a fitting celebration of fifty years of one of Doctor Who's most popular monsters.

The set contains commentaries for the Patrick Troughton serials The Tomb of the Cybermen, The Wheel in Space and The Invasion. Moderated by both Paul and Toby, this release features Wendy Padbury (Zoe), Michael Kilgarriff (Cyber Controller), Sally Faulkner (Isobel), Sylvia James (Make-Up), Roger Bunce (Cameraman) and Marcia Wheeler (Assistant Floor Manager).


The company are also offering a special edition bundle featuring both commentaries: each set will be signed by an actor from each release as well as a both disc featuring additional commentaries on The Tenth Planet and The Moonbase. These CDs are very limited, and exclusively available via the Who Talk website.

Who Talk will return in 2017 with a full of schedule of alternative DVD Commentaries.




Regeneration - 50 Years OnBookmark and Share

Saturday, 29 October 2016 - Reported by Marcus
Moments in Time
It was fifty years ago today, on Saturday 29th October 1966, that we bid farewell to the First Doctor.

At exactly 50 minutes and 47 seconds past five, 7.5 million viewers tuned into BBC 1 to hear the theme music ring out and the last William Hartnell episode begin. 24 minutes later it was all over. We had a new Doctor.

William Hartnell had appeared in 127 episodes of Doctor Who, appearing in 29 stories. He would return to the series in 1972, in four episodes of The Three Doctors. To date only one actor, Tom Baker, has appeared in more Doctor Who episodes than Hartnell, whose episodes, if played sequentially, would last for 2 days. 8 hours and 1 minute.

Fifty years on, William Hartnell's influence is still felt in the series, and in the character he created. His final episode has been lost, but one sequence survives. It is perhaps the most important sequence in the series history. The regeneration. With that one scene, the programme's future was guaranteed. The series could outlive its creators. Its immortality was assured.





Original hardback novelisations to be re-publishedBookmark and Share

Thursday, 27 October 2016 - Reported by Chuck Foster
BBC Books are to re-publish the three original Doctor Who novelisations from the 1960s on 3rd November 2016, reproducing the hardback books with their original covers and content:

Doctor Who in an exciting adventure with the Daleks (Credit: BBC Books)Doctor Who in an exciting adventure with the Daleks
Written by David Whitaker, originally published in 1964
Published by BBC Books 3rd November 2016 [order from Amazon UK]
Based on the Doctor Who story The Daleks by Terry Nation


A thick fog and a girl in distress are just the things that Ian Chesterton needs to escape from a life of dull routine. He has no idea that this is merely a prelude to an adventure quite beyond any normal conception of the word. Or that Barnes Common on a foggy autumn night is the last view of Earth he may ever have.

Both he and the girl he tries to help, Barbara Wright, are transported to a distant planet named Skaro by a mysterious old man known to them as the Doctor. With his grand-daughter Susan, the Doctor sets them down in a world all but destroyed by atomic warfare, the only survivors being a peace-loving and cultured people called the Thals and their bitter enemies the Daleks, horribly mutated both in body and mind.

Thrust into constant danger, his courage and determination tested almost beyond endurance, Ian is forced to struggle against alien creatures and superior enemies with no other weapons than surprise and ingenuity.

The rewards of victory are life for Ian and his new friends...but life where? Can the Doctor return him and Barbara to Earth again?
Doctor Who and the Zarbi (Credit: BBC Books)Doctor Who and the Zarbi
Written by Bill Strutton, originally published in 1965
Published by BBC Books 3rd November 2016 [order from Amazon UK]
Based on the Doctor Who story The Web Planet


The Zarbi, huge ant-like creatures with metallic bodies and pincer claws, are waiting for Tardis when it’s police-box shape materialises on the cold and craggy planet Vortis. They capture Doctor Who, Ian and Vicki and take them to their weird headquarters, a city of web-like organic matter.

But the Zarbi are not the only being in Vortis. Barbara has fallen into the hands of the butterfly-creatures with soft voices and iridescent wings, whose civilisation has been destroyed by the Zarbi. She learns that her captors are only the advance party of Menoptera in exile who plan to win back their planet by and invasion form outerspace. For the Zarbi “have brought the dark age to Vortis”.

In the final thrilling chapters, Doctor Who and the crew of tardis encounter the power which controls both the Zarbi and the living Web City. How can they defeat this strange bladder of dazzling light which draws in and absorbs all who come into its presence?
Doctor Who and the Crusaders (Credit: BBC Books)Doctor Who and the Crusaders
Written by David Whitaker, originally published in 1965
Published by BBC Books 3rd November 2016 [order from Amazon UK]
Based on the Doctor Who story The Crusade


From unknown Space the Tardis returns to Earth, but not to the world Ian and Barbara know. The little blue telephone box has wheeled sharply in the cosmos and cut back through the pattern of history to the struggle between Richard the Lionheart and Saladin, Crusader v. Saracen.

When Barbara is captured by the Saracens and later kidnapped by the monstrous El Akir, Ian appeals to Richard for help, but despite having achieved a splendid victory over Saladin at Arsuf the English King has his own troubles and cannot assist him. So Ian sets out to rescue Barbara alone while the Doctor becomes involved in court intrigues. In a dramatic climax, Ian finds himself fighting for his life in the harsh, cruel world of the twelfth century, where only the cleverest and strongest survive.

Readers of Doctor Who’s adventure with the Daleks and Doctor Who and the Zarbi will find here all the excitement that made those books firm favourites with youngsters of all age groups.


Competition

To be in with a chance to win a set of the novelisations courtesy of BBC Books, simply answer the following question:
Susan is referred to by a different surname for the novelisation - what was that name?
Please send your answers along with your name, address and where you heard about the competition (news site, news app, other website, etc.) to comp-crusaders@doctorwhonews.net with the subject "The originals, you might say". The competition is open to UK readers only, closing date 13th November 2016. Only one entry per household will be accepted.




Arrival of the Cybermen - Departure of a DoctorBookmark and Share

Saturday, 8 October 2016 - Reported by Marcus
Credit: BBCMoments in TimeIt was fifty years ago today, on Saturday 8th October 1966, that we were introduced to one of the all-time classic monsters of Doctor Who. The Cybermen had arrived.

The Cybermen were the invention of Kit Pedler and the current story editor Gerry Davis. Pedler had been brought into the series to add a bit of scientific rigor to the scripts. A scientist from the University of London, he had already come up with the idea of the War Machines, the story which ended Doctor Who's third series.

Pedler's concept of the Cybermen came after a conversation with his Doctor wife, discussing what would happen if a person had so many prostheses that they could no longer distinguish themselves between man and machine. The story was developed with Davis, with the original Cybermen hailing from Earth's long lost sister planet, Mondas. The first Cyberman costumes were designed by Sandra Reid, who used cloth, rubber diving suits, tubing, golf balls, cricketers' gloves, and silver-painted Doc Martens boots to create the look.

Credit: BBC The Cybermen were an instant success and a sequel was commissioned for broadcast later in the season. They would return for three more stories during the second Doctor's era before taking a rest from the series. A one-off appearance with the Fourth Doctor was followed in 1982 by their return in the acclaimed story Earthshock. From that point on they would be a regular feature of the series with their most recent appearance being in the 2014 story Dark Water/Death in Heaven.

The costumes may have changed over the years, the voice refined and the back story enhanced, but the concept of the Cybermen remain unchanged. The ultimate evolution of the human form, where metal and steel replace flesh and blood and inconvenient emotions are consigned to history.

On that early October evening in 1966, as viewers around the UK were enjoying the arrival of the silver menace, in a small Television studio in west London another drama was playing out. The end of an era was occurring. A much-loved actor was recording his last scenes in a popular long-running television series. William Hartnell was leaving Doctor Who.

It had been debatable whether the actor would actually make it to his last contracted episode. In the summer, Hartnell had agreed he would leave the series in the autumn, his deteriorating health making the weekly pace of the series impossible to manage. He has spent much of August holidaying in Cornwall, fishing and relaxing. In September he would return to record just one more story.

Hartnell had maintained regular correspondence with the production team throughout his break. His last story would be directed by Derek Martinus, known to Hartnell from his previous work on the series, and he was keen to involve the actor as much as possible. He wrote to him in Cornwall with the latest news about The Tenth Planet, including changes in the production week, which would now run Tuesday to Saturday each week.
We've got a very good supporting cast for you, including Bob Beatty as General Cutler. It would be very useful indeed if we could have a read through of all four episodes on the first Tuesday morning.... If we do this, it shouldn't be necessary for you to come in until after lunch on succeeding Tuesdays.
Hartnell was delighted with the casting of Robert Beaty, an actor he knew from working on the TV series Dial 999. He was pleased with the late Tuesday start, as he needed to travel up from his home at Mayfield in Sussex. However, he was keen to show he was still very much in charge and, in a letter to the Director, he pointed out worries about the rehearsal rooms being used.
One important factor to me, at this boy's club, there are two Ping-Pong tables in the outer room where I like to sit and compose my thoughts, therefore, I would ask you to forbid the rest of the cast playing at these tables within our working hours
By the end of September, recording on the first two episodes of the story had been completed and the cast was assembling for the week-long rehearsal of episode three when it was clear someone was missing. William Hartnell was ill, too sick to attend. He had to be quickly written out of the episode, with story editor Gerry Davis rewriting the script to render the Doctor unconscious for the entire episode.

Derek Martinus wrote to reassure the actor
Please don't worry about the show. Gerry has been very clever and managed to write around you. Everybody sends their warmest regards and we all hope you will be fit to do battle one last time


Hartnell did return the following week and after the four-day rehearsal, the team assembled at Studio 1, Riverside studios on Saturday 8th October where he would record his final episode. By far the most complex challenge of the day was to record the transformation of the First Doctor into the Second, so this was taped first, and Doctor Who history was written between 6.30pm to 7.00pm when the first regeneration in the series history was recorded. Anneke Wills remembers the event
The meeting between Bill and Pat was quite extraordinary. It was like two gentlemen very politely meeting each other. Pat was suitably humble and it was very pointed moment. I think Bill's ego was quite tickled by the fact that he was being replaced by someone of the caliber of Pat Troughton
The woman charged with achieving the transformation was Vision Mixer Shirley Coward
The first I knew of the regeneration was when I arrived in the studio that day and they said we are going to change William Hartnell into Patrick Troughton. Nobody was exactly sure how they were going to do it, so it was a matter of the studio engineers and the cameramen just trying out things
After a supper break, the rest of the episode was recorded from 8.00pm to 10.15pm, incurring a slight overrun.

And with that, the Hartnell era was over. The last scenes had been recorded, a new Doctor was now installed. A small farewell party was held at producer Innes Lloyd's flat and then Lloyd drove him home to Sussex.

William Hartnell would live until 1975, but his progressive disease meant he would not work regularly again. He had a small run in a pantomime the following Christmas playing Buskin the Fairy Cobbler in Puss In Boots. He would briefly return to Doctor Who in the 1972 story The Three Doctors, but by then his health was so poor all his scenes were pre-filmed in one day.

Today the character he created is known and loved around the world. His legacy lives on.




Moments in Time - Farewell StevenBookmark and Share

Saturday, 18 June 2016 - Reported by Marcus
Steven says goodbye to the Doctor and Dodo (The Savages Episode 4) (Credit: BBC)Moments in TimeIt was on Saturday 18th June 1966, fifty years ago today, that we said goodbye to the Doctor's long-term companion, Steven Taylor.

Steven had been traveling with the Doctor since the departure of Ian and Barbara. He had traveled 3000 years into the past, and 100 million years into the future. He had battled The Monk and The Toymaker, met Doc Holiday and fought in the Trojan wars. He had become a steadfast companion to The Doctor, and together they had seen off The Dalek Masterplan. He had known tragedy, with the loss of two fellow companions. Now his skills were needed to rebuild a civilisation, and with much trepidation, he left the Doctor.


The actor Peter Purves had won the role of Steven following a small cameo role in The Chase, where he played the American tourist Morton Dill, encountering the Daleks at the top of the Empire State building.

The 26 year old actor's performance impressed the producers, and Verity Lambert invited him to join the regular cast just three weeks later. Purves had an instant bond with William Hartnell, who, with the departure of William Russell and Jacqueline Hill, found himself as the only remaining original member of the cast.
I got on with Hartnell extremely well. He was very generous to me, always gave me little acting tips. He’d been around a long time, had Bill, and he’d had some successes and some failures, He was just very friendly and nice with me, he confided in me, he told me the things he was happy with, the things he wasn’t happy with. I watched him being truly irascible with so many people, and think “Oh Bill, please no”. He didn’t suffer fools gladly, if he felt that people were not up to the level required, or not doing the job seriously or properly then he would get at them.
Hartnell was suffering from arteriosclerosis, a hardening of the arteries, which caused memory loss, and was finding the pace of the show difficult to manage. The weight of leading the series increasingly fell onto Purves's shoulders, with the production team relying on the actor to keep the episodes on track.

Former script editor Donald Tosh explains.
I had a huge respect for Peter as an actor, he was absolutely solid as a rock.  Bill would suddenly cut, something, and you'd think nobody is going to understand the episode at all unless this line goes in. So one would slide down onto the floor and very quietly slip a note to Peter, on which was written 'for goodness sake mention so and so.' And he would.


"Well, who knows, my dear. In this strange complex of time and space, anything can happen.
Come along, little one. We must go. We mustn't look back."

The Doctor, The Savages Episode 4


By the spring of 1966 changes were afoot as a new producer had new ideas for the direction of the series. Innes Lloyd had taken control in March and felt the series was becoming old fashioned, needing new, modern companions routed in the sixties. Both Purves and his colleague Jackie Lane were told their contracts would not be renewed, with auditions held for two new companions...

Following his departure from the series Purves found work difficult to come by. Being a leading figure in a highly visible drama had led to typecasting and acting jobs dried up. His high profile, however, led to him being considered for a presenting role with the children's magazine programme Blue Peter. He accepted a six-month contract on the show, to tide him over until the acting career picked up, and stayed for ten years. Purves, along with John Noakes and Valerie Singleton became the dream team, so much a part of so many childhoods.

Part of his duties on the series was to look after Petra, the Blue Peter dog, leading to a lifelong passion for the animals, presenting the Crufts Dog show for over 36 years. Other presenter roles included hosting Stopwatch and We're Going Places as well as Darts events and the long-running motorcycle series Kick Start.

He continues to act with many theatre appearances as well as roles in EastEnders and The Office. He has reprised the role of Steven for Big Finish Productions.

Steven's departure heralded a sea change for Doctor Who. Over the following 12 episodes, the entire TARDIS crew would change, the final links with the genesis of the programme would be broken. The changes could have marked the beginning of the end for the series. In hindsight, they only marked the end of the beginning.
Sources: Peter Purves Official Website; The End of the Line - documentary produced by Ed Stradling for the DVD release of The Gunfighters; The Handbook: The First Doctor – The William Hartnell Years: 1963-1966, David J Howe, Mark Stammers, Stephen James Walker (Doctor Who Books, 1994)




New commentaries for Hartnell orphan episodes and The DaemonsBookmark and Share

Friday, 20 May 2016 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Fantom Publishing have announced two new releases of Who Talk, a series of new independent commentaries for Doctor Who episodes.

Who Talk: Day Of Armageddon (Credit: Fantom Publishing)Day of Armageddon
Moderated by Toby Hadoke

Joining Peter Purves for this release is David Graham, Donald Tosh, Clive Doig and Brian Hodgson as they discuss all three remaining episodes of The Dalek's Master Plan, Galaxy Four - Air Lock and The Celestial Toymaker - The Final Test.

Also featured on the release is a bonus interview with Jeremy Young who started in the prequel to The Daleks' Master Plan, Mission To The Unknown.
Producer Paul W T Ballard says:
Thanks to the success of the last two commentaries for The Enemy of the World and The Web of Fear, we have been able to get back into studio to start plugging the gaps on other Doctor Who stories which do not have any form of commentary on them. It made perfect sense to get Peter Purves into studio to cover his ‘orphan’ episodes, and we were delighted to get some brilliant support from a number of other key personnel from the time too, all of whom have a lot to say about these stories. We can only hope one day to be able to expand and finish the stories in their entirety...!
Who Talk: The Daemons (Credit: Fantom Publishing)The Dæmons
Moderated by Toby Hadoke

The new commentary track for The Dæmons features actors Katy Manning, John Levene, Alec Linstead, David Simeon and John Owens together with script editor Terrance Dicks and director's assistant Sue Upton.
Paul explains:
We have also, rather excitingly, taken the move to ‘remake’ a commentary for the first time. Some of the original DVD releases, for one reason or another, didn’t explore all of the available names for the commentary track, and this was especially noticeable for The Dæmons. So we’ve assembled quite a variety of names from both sides of the camera to give their thoughts and memories, and have even given the option of an alternative version for episode two!”

The commentaries are available to pre-order individually and as a special combined offer, on CD or via download. Full details can be found at the Who Talk website.

Who Talk: Day Of Armageddon recording (Peter Purves, David Graham, Toby Hadoke) (Credit: Fantom Publishing) Who Talk: The Daemons recording (Sue Upton, Katy Manning, Toby Hadoke, Terrance Dicks) (Credit: Fantom Publishing)

Please note: these commentaries contain no BBC copyrighted elements and do not feature audio from the episodes themselves - these are designed to be played alongside the official DVD releases.





Target re-issues in 2016Bookmark and Share

Saturday, 13 February 2016 - Reported by Chuck Foster
BBC NovelisationsBBC NovelisationsBBC NovelisationsBBC NovelisationsBBC NovelisationsBBC NovelisationsBBC NovelisationsBBC Books have announced that seven of the original Doctor Who Target novelisations are to be re-issued on 28th April, reflecting each of the seven Doctors from the range:
  • Doctor Who and the Zarbi by Bill Strutton
  • Doctor Who and the Web of Fear by Terrance Dicks
  • Doctor Who and the Dinosaur Invasion by Malcolm Hulke
  • Doctor Who and the Genesis of the Daleks by Terrance Dicks
  • Doctor Who: The Visitation by Eric Saward
  • Doctor Who: Vengeance on Varos by Philip Martin
  • Doctor Who: Battlefield by Marc Platt
All of the books feature cover illustrations by Chris Achilleos, who was commissioned to create new covers for the latter books in the range. He said:
I am delighted to be back on board after so many years. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, illustrating the jackets in the original old style – it felt just the same, and I am looking forward to signing them for the fans. I'm so pleased that people still want to revisit these books.

Albert DePetrillo, senior editorial director at BBC Books, said
The Target novelisations hold a special place in the hearts of Doctor Who fans. When we published our first set of reissues in 2012, the response was overwhelming, and we’re delighted to continue bringing these classic books to a new generation of readers.


The three original novels that launched the range back in 1972, Doctor Who and The Daleks and Doctor Who and The Crusaders by David Whitaker, and Doctor Who and the Zarbi by Bill Strutton, are also set to be re-released as hardback facsimile editions on 3rd November.