Story Titles, Writing AssignmentsBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 31 March 2004 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
The new issue of Doctor Who Magazine, on sale tomorrow, features several pieces of information about the forthcoming first season of the new series, including the working titles of the first two stories and a breakdown of the writing assignments on the show. Since this is a spoiler subject, click on the spoiler button below to bring up the information (a brand new feature on our News pages!) (Thanks to DWM)




Electric EcclestonBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 31 March 2004 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
From a press release from the West Yorkshire Playhouse about the new drama "Electricity" starring new Doctor Christopher Eccleston: "The Tardis will have to wait! Last week was a busy one for Christopher Eccleston, as well as opening Electricity in the Courtyard and being announced as the Doctor Who to take the Tardis into the 21st century, he was also nominated for a Best Actor BAFTA award. The nomination was for his role in ITV's The Second Coming by Russell T Davies who will also be writing the new Doctor Who series. Despite all the excitement of the past week, Christopher only has one thing on his mind at the moment, 'IÆm very excited to be playing Doctor Who. However, at the moment the most important thing to me is Electricity the fantastic new play by Murray Gold that IÆm rehearsing at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, a place that I love and one that I hope to work at many times in the future. ItÆs an ensemble piece and a comedy and IÆm playing a role unlike anything IÆve ever done before.' Electricity with Christopher Eccleston, Sophie Ward, Andrew Scarborough, Patrick Brennan and Oliver Wood is one of seven world premieres to be staged at the Playhouse as part of the Spring/Summer season. To book your tickets call the Box Office on 0113 213 7700 or book online." A side note: an article in today's Mirror called "Sorry, Dr Who Did You Say?" by Fiona Cummins mentions Eccleston and the infamy of recent weeks, or lack thereof. "He may be the new Dr Who," says the article, "but Christopher Eccleston was Mr Nobody when he tried to waltz into a nightclub. The 40-year-old was stopped by bouncers who failed to recognise him as the star who's just landed a pounds 1million deal to play the ninth TV doctor. An onlooker at the Wardrobe club in Leeds said: 'He was with friends and tried to walk straight in but the bouncers weren't having any of it. They didn't have a clue who he was and stopped him straight away. He wasn't acting like a prima donna. He just seemed embarrassed.' Eccleston, who had been starring in a play in Leeds, was eventually let in after the club's management intervened." (Thanks to Ian Wheeler, Paul Engelberg)




Audio Release ConfirmationsBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 31 March 2004 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
BBC Worldwide sent us confirmation of our earlier reports about the releases of The Wheel in Space (narrated by Wendy Padbury, due out May 3), Death Comes to Time (MP3-CD version due out June 7), Tales from the TARDIS(both installments due out July 5) and the individual re-releases of Power of the Daleks and Evil of the Daleks (due out August 7). The news is that the "Death Comes to Time" MP3-CD release will contain not only the audio but the actual webcast itself. "This incredible and groundbreaking special edition combines MP3-CD and CD-ROM elements to present, for the first time, the original BBCi webcast animation of Death Comes to Time plus the award-winning remastered CD version," says the press release. "Also included are cast video interviews, outtakes, spoofs, online character biographies, full-colour illustrations, initial artwork æroughsÆ, a TARDIS-themed web viewer, and excerpts from other Doctor Who CDs." Screen shots from the release are seen below; click on each for a larger version. (Thanks to Laura Burch/BBC Worldwide)




BBC Chairman SoonBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 30 March 2004 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
According to a report at BBCi, a new chairman to replace outgoing BBC Chairman Gavyn Davies, who resigned in January, has been picked and will be announced in the next few weeks. Michael Grade, the former BBC controller who was responsible for canceling Doctor who in the mid-1980's, has been widely rumored as one of the contenders; however, as has been explained to us, the job of BBC Chairman has little to do with actual decisions on content on the channels themselves, and Grade, while possibly one of the leads, is not the only contender. (Thanks to Andrew Harvey)




Recent Press RoundupBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 30 March 2004 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
The Welsh newspaper Wales on Sunday is revelling in the fact that the news series of Doctor Who is being produced in the Principality, and appears to have started a weekly "Doctor Who" column. This week, with an article entitled "Exterminated?" it is reporting on-going legal tussles between the BBC and the estate of Terry Nation over the use of the Daleks in the new series. (The Wales on Sunday journalist Jon Harry claims this as an exclusive for the paper, but the report was actually rehasing what's been reported elsewhere). There is also a sub-article, which in 200 odd words sums up the career of Terry Nation, emphasizing the fact that he was born in the Welsh cathedral city of Llandaf. (Thanks to John Campbell Rees)

The new Radio Times, out today, also features an item about Piper, but this one has a direct quote from Piper's agent: "It may be that the idea has been mooted, but it's not a conversation I have had." They go on to quote a "BBC spokeswoman" who said "an announcement wasn't expected for another two months". The rest of the article catches up on the Eccleston casting, with Eccleston saying he's "delighted" and Tranter's quote about being a modern hero taken from the press release. Another report at the "This is Somerset" site of the Western Daily Press rehashes the same rumors that Billie Piper may play the role of Rose Tyler. "Billie, married to DJ and TV producer Chris Evans has told friends she would dearly love to work on the new series of the cult show watched by audiences across the globe," it says. "The BBC remained tight-lipped yesterday but told the Western Daily Press it is not ruling Billie out for the part of the Doctor's glamorous sidekick Rose Tyler despite her limited acting experience." (Thanks to Chuck Foster, Paul Hayes, Steve Tribe)

Today's Daily Star newspaper features an article, on page 3, entitled "Return of the Daleks." The paper says that the rights issues have been resolved and that they've been completely redesigned (the paper says "they'll look more like something out of the Terminator movies"). Quotes the Star from a BBC source: "We spared no expense to get the Daleks and we're going to drag them into the 21st Century". The Daily Mail on Monday also included a piece on this, entitled "Exterminate exterminate!", and suggested that the BBC came to an agreement last Friday in a deal that they paid "well over the odds" for, for a "ratings guarantee" that the Daleks will bring; it also suggests that the budget for the series is a million pounds per episode, apparently "the costliest drama" the BBC have ever done. Of course, at this point we've heard that the negotiations over the Daleks, and other rights issues with the Terry Nation estate, have not yet been resolved. A website called DeHavilland repeats the Dalek reports and the Billie Piper rumor. (Thanks to Phillip Madeley, Paul Mount, Mark Smith)

Other coverage of the series this week have been in TV Times and TV Quick; in the latter there is news about Tom Baker joining the cast of "Monarch of the Glen". In Canada a short article appeared in the newspaper the Globe and Mail on Monday. Titled "But will this doctor have a long scarf?" Meanwhile, a piece from the Australian newspaper The Advertiser on Billie Piper and some other reports on Christopher Eccleston and the new series; all of these will be up at the Cuttings Archive in the next day or two. (Thanks to Roger Anderson)




SFX TV InterviewsBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 30 March 2004 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
The next issue of SFX Magazine, due out April 14, will contain interviews about the new series with producers Russell T. Davies and Julie Gardner as well as writers Mark Gatiss, Rob Shearman, Steven Moffat and Paul Cornell. They'll be going into depth on the casting of the new Doctor, Christopher Eccleston. "When Mal Young, Julie Gardner and I first got into the same room together in September, he was the very first name mentioned," explained Davies. "And that's a fact. Of course, there were other names, there had to be, but he was first. Who'd have thought we'd actually get him?ö Said Julie Gardner: "Christopher is, first and foremost, a wonderful actor. He's energetic, passionate, professional and instinctive. And he's got a great sense of humour. He loved the first episode, did an amazing audition, and here we are. I couldnÆt be more delightedà" Gardner also gives SFX some details about productions. "We start filming in the Summer with principal locations and studio work being done in South Wales. Being based in Cardiff offers endless possibilities - urban landscapes, countryside, beaches, historical houses are all within easy reach. There are many decisions to be made before that first camera rolls. We are currently receiving pitches from SFX companies and CGI specialists and we're still in the early stages of meetings with heads of departments." (Thanks to Steve O'Brien)




Leisure Hive DVD confirmedBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 30 March 2004 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
The DVD release of The Leisure Hive has been confirmed by the Doctor Who Restoration Team for release in the UK on July 5. The single disc release will consist of all four episodes remastered with their original mono audio as well as an optional Dolby Digital 5.1 surround mix and an isolated music track (in mono) as well as several extras, including commentary by Lalla Ward, director Lovett Bickford and script editor Christopher H. Bidmead; A New Beginning(30'18") where production staff recall radical changes made by producer John Nathan-Turner, with particular emphasis on 'The Leisure Hive'; From Avalon to Argolis (14'19"), an interview with writer David Fisher and script editor Christopher H. Bidmead, examining the making of the story from the screenwriter's POV; Leisure Wear (6'49"), an interview with costume designer June Hudson; Synthesizing Starfields (9'14"), interviews with graphic designer Sid Sutton and composer Peter Howell about the new title sequence; Blue Peter (3'57"), a look around the Longleat Doctor Who exhibition as well as John Nathan-Turner's first-ever on screen appearance as the show's producer; plus a photo gallery, easter egg, program subtitles, commentary subtitles and production notes. (Thanks to the Restoration Team)




Latest Press RoundupBookmark and Share

Sunday, 28 March 2004 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
Although the papers have quieted down, there have been a few reports over the past couple of days:

In the Australian press, the Adelaide Sunday Mail has issued an apology, and something of an explanation for last week's erroneous story stating that Bill Nighy had been chosen to play the new Doctor. To paraphrase they 'blame' the UK's Daily Mail for originating the report which subsequently went into syndication and was then published in the Sunday Mail and "in other Australian Sunday newspapers"!

The UK's The Sun newspaper included an interview with Christopher Eccleston in it's Saturday edition, titled "I look like a gargoyle ... enough to scare any dalek." "My bony face is like a car crash," Eccleston told the Sun. "I haven't got good looks, just weird looks, enough to frighten the fiercest monster." While he is famous for serious, gritty roles, he says he doesn't have a snobbish attitude toward anything; he just wants a decent script. "I've played a lot of characters who are very troubled and dark but I can't wait to get into the Tardis - it's going to be brilliant." Eccleston goes into his personal life and history and his attitudes toward many things. You can read the interview on the Sun's website now.

The Manchester Online website says that the Doctor may never meet the Daleks in an article about the new series. "Doctor Who star Christopher Eccleston could be denied a showdown with the dreaded Daleks in his latest role - because of a legal row," says the article. "The corporation does not own the copyright to the metallic-voiced alien robots and producers have been forced to negotiate with representatives for the late sci-fi writer Terry Nation, who created the Daleks in the 1960s. So far, no agreement has been reached and Dr Who's Manchester-based writer, Russell T Davies, is battling against his script deadlines as negotiations continue. Mr Davies said: 'The estate is protecting an important property, after all, and I can appreciate why they are being so careful.'" The Nation estate is currently in negotiations, as has been previously reported, and at this point nothing has changed; this article likely is commenting on that but has no new information. (Thanks to Paul Engelberg, Chuck Foster)

An article in the Scotsman about this weekend's time change in the UK also mentions Doctor Who, albeit briefly: "but this weekend itÆs not only him who will be experiencing a little time travel."

The Cuttings Archive now has some articles from the past several weeks that haven't previously been seen including articles from Broadcast magazine, the Western Mail, BBC Ceefax Entertainment, TV Times UK (which discusses who might take the role of Rose, including mentioning Billie Piper, Helena Bonham Carter and Anna Friel). (Thanks to Roger Anderson)




Piper "in the running"?Bookmark and Share

Sunday, 28 March 2004 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
21-year-old actress / singer Billie Piper is being touted as "in the running" to play female companion Rose Tyler in the new series according to a news report on BBC News, but according to the BBC (and confirmed by our sources) the role is still quite a long away from being cast. The article (which misidentifies the role as "Rose Taylor") will be "feisty" rather than a traditional companion role. "A screaming girly-style companion is unacceptable nowadays," Davies told BBCi. At this point, the production team has only begun casting and previous reports elsewhere that an announcement was imminent are untrue; we don't expect the actress taking the role to be announced until at least May, and this is likely publicity from the actress' own press agent. (Thanks to Steve Tribe, Paul Engelberg)




Audio and DVD updateBookmark and Share

Friday, 26 March 2004 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
The online retailer Play.com is reporting that a Cyberman Tin collection of audio CD's will be released on November 1, 2004. This would tie in with previously published reports that the Patrick Troughton story "The Invasion" will be released on audio at that time by the BBC Radio Collection. Last year's "Dalek Tin" release featured the stories "The Evil of the Daleks" and "The Power of the Daleks" as well as the one-off CD "My Life as a Dalek," and was a successful item. Meanwhile, Outpost Gallifrey previously reported that a boxed DVD set entitled The Beginning was to be released this fall; however, we have learned that the plans for that have changed. (We actually altered the forthcoming release list on the news page some time ago but didn't note in the news column itself.) We'll keep you posted. (Thanks to Tim Parker, Gary Reed)




TV Zone #56Bookmark and Share

Friday, 26 March 2004 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
The new issue of TV Zone Magazine is due out on April 1 and features a look at Christopher Eccleston's career and the casting of the new Doctor; there's also a feature on Russell T Davies and the new series writers, examining what qualities they bring to the series; Colin Baker contributes an article with his thoughts on the casting and the new series; Terrance Dicks is interviewed, drawing on his considerable experience to offer some words of advice for the new production team; and there's a feature on the Telos novellas, and a run-through of "Doctor Who's 20 best cliffhangers." The cover of the new issue is at right. (Thanks to Stephen Graves)




Product EnterprisesBookmark and Share

Friday, 26 March 2004 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
Some changes at licensed merchandiser Product Enterprises have been announced. First, their planned Talking Davros action figure that was expected later this year has been cancelled, with the following explanation: "We have no plans for the Talking Davros action figure to go into production at the present time. The simple reason is economics. Based on experience of other products in our range, the quantities we would sell would not equal the investment made. As much as we would like to produce the figure, at the end of the day, if we can not make a profit, it does not make good business sense." They also announced that two lines, the Dalek Roll-a-Matics and the Talking Cybermen, have been discontinued. However, their range of Radio Control Daleks will be relaunched in September 2004, and in october, a new Gold Dalek will be added to the new range. For more details, visit productenterprise.com. (Thanks to Gallifrey 5)




Nighy on EcclestonBookmark and Share

Thursday, 25 March 2004 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
Bill Nighy, once considered the frontrunner to play the Doctor in the new series due to press comments from Russell Davies about him being his first choice, spoke to today's Daily Mail about the casting of Christopher Eccleston. "These things happen and sometimes the best man wins," Nighy told the Mail reporter. "He's taller, stronger and better looking - just. I think a great tradition is in great hands."




Leisure Hive DVD?Bookmark and Share

Thursday, 25 March 2004 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
According to Blackstar, the Tom Baker serial The Leisure Hive is the next UK DVD release and is due out on July 5. No confirmation has been received at this time from BBC Worldwide, but this has been listed as "tentative" on our release list for some time. (Thanks to Richard Mawson)

Update: A British DVD store called DVD Concept has posted a list of reported extras for this disc, which include the following: commentary with Lalla Ward and director Lovett Bickford; a separate commentary with script editor Christopher H Bidmead; "A New Beginning"; "From Avalon to Argolis"; "Leisure Weir"; "Synthesizing Starfields"; "Blue Peter"; plus photo gallery, easter eggs and production notes. (Thanks to Aidan Brack)