Torchwood UpdateBookmark and Share

Friday, 30 March 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Chris Albrecht, CEO of Starz, has re-iterated to Multichannel News that the potential future of Torchwood on the channel rests with its creator, Russell T Davies:
You know, Russell is so busy. Obviously, we're in touch with the BBC all the time. They are our partners on DaVinci's Demons and the Harem project. We told them, we stand by ready for any news, but I think it would be a while before Russell came back to Torchwood.
In terms of the show's principal players, Russell T Davies himself is currently writing new CBBC series Wizards vs Aliens, John Barrowman has a leading role in the pilot for a potential new series Gilded Lilys, Eve Myles is currently appearing in the stage play All New People, Kai Owen has just finished performing in As You Like It, and Mekhi Phifer had also recently finished a stsge stint in Stick Fly.

Wizards vs Aliens:

As mentioned above, Russell T Davies's new series is Wizards vs Aliens, which is about to go into production. The name has recently changed, as Davies explained to Roy Noble on BBC Radio Wales:
Coming up now we’ve got a children’s drama that we’re making out these new Roath Lock Studios called Wizards vs. Aliens. it was called Aliens vs. Wizards until a lawyer stepped in, but there we go. By Easter it will probably be called Chickens vs. Rabbits or something! It’s a great big, fun series for Children’s BBC that will be out in the Autumn.
Speaking to Cultbox, script editor Derek Ritchie described the style of the show:
It's going to be similar to The Sarah Jane Adventures only in the respect of being an adventure show with strong character-driven narratives, and big moral themes. But this is a new universe, and the conflict between science and magic, ray guns and spell books, is already inspiring very different stories from SJA, and giving us a lot of scope in a very, very rich new fictional universe!
The full interview can be read on the Cultbox website.





Movie UpdateBookmark and Share

Friday, 30 March 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster
David YatesDavid Yates has been in the UK as part of the Warner Bros promotion for their new Harry Potter studio tour; during interviews afterwards, he was asked about the status of the proposed Doctor Who film by Bleeding Cool's Hannah Shaw-Williams, to which he clarified that the production was still very much in the early stages:
Yes, I'm definitely doing a Doctor Who movie, but I think where everyone got confused was that we're not making it for five years, or six years – it's a very slow development. I've got projects backed up between now and about 2015, and it's something I'm very passionate and excited about.
Speaking about the existing series under Steven Moffat, he said:
Steven’s a genius. I love his work, I think he’s incredibly clever. I love what he's done with Doctor Who, love his Sherlock Holmes. He's such a gifted man. But this is something that's a very slow burn and I'm hoping to sit down with him at some point and have a chat. It's just something that we’ve been talking about for a little while. (and on the continuity issues raised) That's all to be discussed. Because it's five or six years from now. It's weird because … what will the series be like in five or six years? But I'm very excited about it, very excited about that world.
The full interview can be read at Bleeding Cool, or video versions can be watched via YouTube from SnitchSeeker and LeakyNews.





Production RoundupBookmark and Share

Friday, 30 March 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster

Jenna-Louise Coleman:

Jenna-Louise Coleman. Photo: Radio TimesMatt Smith discussed the casting of Jenna-Louise Coleman during an interview on the Roy Noble show, BBC Radio Wales, on 22nd March:
I was part of the audition process where we met a number of wonderful actresses, but I think that Jenna responded to Steven's writing in the most interesting way. We're very excited to welcome her to the Doctor Who family - the Doctor needs a companion, he can't travel alone!

When speaking to Digital Spy about his new film The Pirates!, David Tennant also offered some advice to the new companion:
She'll have a brilliant time, I'm very jealous of her starting out on that extraordinary journey but, you know, keep your nose clean and watch your back. You're suddenly rocketed into a world of attention - certainly unlike anything I'd known before - you just need to watch your back a little bit, but it's wonderful, it's such an exciting thing to be starting out on.

The actress herself appeared on This Morning on 27th March to promote Titanic, but briefly said of the announcement of her new role:
I'm so excited that the news is out. I think I've known about six weeks, two months, something like that. I saw Perdita (Weeks, co-star in the ITV drama Titanic) the night before and I said that I'm going to have to go home early because I have a meeting, and she said like what for, and I said "television"! I'm a really bad liar!

Talking to Radio Times about the secrecy surrounding her casting, Jenna said:
I wasn't allowed to say that it was Doctor Who at any point - not talking to my agent, not when I arrived at the audition, and I certainly couldn't tell anyone at all what I was up to next. When you keep a secret this big, the temptation to tell is all the more irresistible, especially as I live with three schoolfriends. With girl politics the way they are, I couldn't tell just one friend. I had to phone one of them on the way to the press conference to tell her that I'd borrowed her shoes, in case she saw them in photos!
The full interview is in the new edition of Radio Times (31 Mar-6 Apr 2012), where the actress also explains how she had to describe her audition as being for Men On Waves (an anagram of Woman Seven).

Radio Times have also published a number of exclusive publicity photos of the actress, which can be found via their website here.

Casting::


Joanne McQuinn

Joanne McQuinn is listed by Spotlight as playing Sadie (episode three).

McQuinn is primarily known as Sally Moore in the BBC series Mistresses. She also appeared in Little Miss Jocelyn, The Bill, and Our Friends in the North, and played Zoë Lessard in the documentary Space Odyssey - Voyage of the Planets. In addition, she appeared in the film Fierce Creatures

David Gyasi

David Gyasi has been reported by the Standard as appearing in the series in an interview with the actor.

Gyasi can currently be seen as Victor in BBC2's White Heat. Other shows have included Apparitions, Demons, Waking the Dead, Murderland, and he played Jeremy Hands in Mike Bassett: Manager. He also appeared in the first series of Torchwood, playing hospital patient Will Harris in Combat.

Filming:

After all the Spanish excitement, filming continued in studio in the week leading up to the official convention, with Arthur Darvill providing Twitter followers with a little levity over lunch. Then, at the convention itself, executive producer Caroline Skinner presented followers with a "dimensionally transcendental" Steven Moffat!


"Snack time at work"
Arthur Darvill on Twitter


"No. It is my apple."
Arthur Darvill on Twitter


"Moffat's brain is BIGGER ON THE INSIDE!"
Caroline Skinner on Twitter

A tweet from last Friday indicated some upside down antics on set, with DrakeAV reporting: "So excited! I got to pop into the Tardis and saw Karen Gillan hanging by a thread upside down screaming. Doctor...«. This was later confirmed by Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill themselves at the official convention, with Karen saying that the length of time suspended led to some blood vessels bursting! Steven Moffat was alleged to be present during the shoot laughing at their predicament ...

Friday evening then saw a read-through for the current filming block, covering episodes one and five.

As previously reported, the production team are to take their second international trip next month when they film in New York as part of the production for episode five, Amy and Rory's final story which features the return of the Weeping Angels.

Meanwhile, production has continued in studio for episode one, the series opener that will feature the return of the Daleks. The teaser trailer this week included a brief glimpse of the Doctor's old adversary in the snow (believed to have been filmed in Spain as part of the shoot there earlier in the month), and the BBC have now released some teaser images of the Daleks in studio:



Filming is expected to continue in Cardiff next week at the university's School of Physics and Astronomy.

Unconfirmed Updates:

The Daily Star has reported that an online version of Doctor Who Confidential is to be made to accompany the next series. However, there has been no other confirmation of this elsewhere at present.

During the convention, attendees were able to take a tour of the existing TARDIS sets at the BBC's Upper Boat Studios. Speculation as to why the console room hadn't been transferred to the new Roath Lock Studios in Cardiff Bay seem to have been clarified now, with fan Robert Davis reporting: "At today's TARDIS tour crew let slip that this Console room is not moving to new studios - NEW redesigned TARDIS being built there!!!«"

Production Crew: Related Vacancy:

BBC Careers have listed a role within the BBC Wales Production Unit which, though not specifically advertised for Doctor Who, will encompass the show amongst others:
Post Production Coordinator

BBC Wales Production Unit aims to be the best value and most creative producer of programmes in the UK, fostering a dynamic, flexible culture which supports high quality and innovative production. There are currently over 400 staff in the Unit. The main focus of your role will be in post production and graphic design.

The Post Production and graphic design department is the largest of its type outside of London and is responsible for the post production of a wide range of the BBC programmes including; Doctor Who, Human Planet, Egypt, Crimewatch, Upstairs Downstairs and The Sarah Jane Adventures.

Requirements: BBC Wales post production and graphic design is looking for an enthusiastic and well organised person to help get the best from our talented craft staff and facilities. You will work closely with production teams and be responsible for organising and supervising the post production of a wide range of projects within BBC Wales.
The role, based in Cardiff, is for internal applicants only, with a closing date of 12th April.

with thanks to Ruther, Steve the Poncho Boy, DrakeAV, Robert Davis




An evening with Waris Hussein in New YorkBookmark and Share

Thursday, 29 March 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Waris HusseinThe Paley Center in New York is to host a special event next month: How It All Began - An Evening with Waris Hussein. As the title suggests the event will see Doctor Who's first director, Waris Hussein appearing to chat about the origins of the series.

Climb into your TARDIS and travel back in time with us to November 23, 1963, to hear all about the making of An Unearthly Child, the very first Doctor Who episode ever aired, from the man who brought it to life, director Waris Hussein, who will recall what it was like being part of the creation of television’s longest-running science fiction series. In addition to a discussion and Q&A, the evening will include the screening of the episode, with live commentary provided by Hussein. After the event, the director will participate in an autograph session with attendees.

The event is co-presented with Who York and the New York Comic Con, and takes place at the Paley Center on Tuesday 10th April, from 7:00pm. For booking details and other costs visit the event website.




Regional RoundupBookmark and Share

Thursday, 29 March 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster

United Kingdom:

The Queen visited Manchester as part of her Diamond Jubilee tour, during which she officially opened the new BBC MediaCentreUK in Salford - and was 'confronted' by a Dalek whilst being taken around the facilities. [BBC News, 23 Mar 2012]

The National Library of Scotland is presenting a selection of science fiction treasures as part of the Edinburgh Science Festival, entitled It's Life, Jimmy but not as we know it. The collection includes Steven Moffat’s first Doctor Who short story from 1996, Continuity Errors. The exhibition is open until 30th June, admission free. [Deadline, 28 Mar 2012]

David Boyle, the co-founder of Dapol (who made Doctor Who figures through the 1980s/90s and was home to the 'original' Doctor Who Experience), is to make and present a new television series of his interpretation on the evolution of mankind and the universe. Boyle said: "I had many experiences that didn't fit with the stories that everyone was telling us. I thought it was time to investigate these experiences and explain them, before we start telling everyone a particular story. Somebody has got to tell people the truth and tell people what is going on." [Northwich Guardian, 20 Mar 2012]

Ten-year-old Haydon Gill from Collier Row tempted chef Heston Blumenthal - with whom he co-stars with in a new advert for Waitrose - with a treat favoured by the Doctor: "My favourite food is fish fingers and custard. Dr Who eats it and it's delicious. I told Heston to try it while we were on the set together and he said he would!" [London 24, 20 Mar 2012]

Pupils from St. Mary's Primary School in Chipping Norton have made the final of the Script to Screen writing competition with their script, The Ultimate Athlete, featuring the Cybermen up to nefarious activities at the Olympics. George Tuckwell, Joe Frater, Oscar Miller and Rowan Woodell are all excited with the possibility of seeing their script turned into a mini-episode, with George saying: "I am very, very, very nervous about the competition. I do not want to get my hopes up, but if we won I would probably shout and scream. It was meant to be based on the Olympics, so we thought the Greeks made the Olympics and decided to do a story with that. It has been really fun." The winning script for the competition is announced tomorrow. [Witney Gazette, 29 Mar 2012]

The Radlett Centre played host to two Doctor Who celebrities last weekend, with both a Dalek and Derek Martin appearing at the event, which brings together children from local schools to perform together. Organiser and Dalek owner Julie Banes said: "It's a huge morale boost for the students who take part and it's quite tear-jerking to watch. They all did a marvellous job and gave it 100 per cent." [Herts Advertiser, 24 Mar 2012]

A man with a saucepan on his head imitating a Dalek was one of a number of hopefuls auditioning for the next series of Britain's Got Talent. [Daily Mail, 20 Mar 2012]

United States:

Two-year-old Valentine Dewait has become a hit thanks to her appearances on Twitter dressed as every (current) incarnation as the Doctor. Her father, Ryan, said: "She enjoys dressing up. Costumes, tutus, you name it. She'll go to her costumes and pull out outfits to put on." [Digital Spy, 16 Mar 2012]

Tashi King has made an appeal on behalf of her husband Kevin Pratt for when he loses his fight with an inoperable brain tumour. Writing to Regretsy, she said: I am writing to you to try and fulfill a wish of his; after he passes my husband wants to have a portion of his cremains kept in a TARDIS urn. (The rest will be shot off in rockets he has built over the years with his friends.)" The request has led to a fund-raising page being set up for the couple. You can follow their story via Tashi's blog. [Regretsy, 13 Mar 2012]

Online:

Doctor Who has been named a National Treasure, according to a survey undertaken by network operator O2. Over 14,000 people contributed to the list, which was compiled through the company's Facebook page. Other treasures include singers Bob Marley and Cheryl Cole, 'presenter' Dame Edna Everage, and Tower Bridge. [The Drum, 28 Mar 2012]




People RoundupBookmark and Share

Thursday, 29 March 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Murray Gold will be one of the speakers at a series of events being organised by BAFTA and the Royal Albert Hall, entitled Conversations with Screen Composers. The Doctor Who composer will be appearing at the Hall's Elgar Room on Wednesday 11th July to discuss the development of creative ideas for his music. Other speakers in the series are Rachel Portman and James Hannigan. [Royal Albert Hall, 21 Mar 2012]

John Barrowman will be appearing as a Spotlight Guest at the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2), which takes place at McCormick Place, Chicago, from 13th-15th April. Organiser Lance Fensterman said: "We're very excited to welcome John Barrowman this year to C2E2. Doctor Who has grown into a global phenomenon, and John Barrowman is an actor with a following on both sides of the Atlantic. There's tremendous excitement from the fanboys and fangirls within C2E2's own office, and we know our audience in Chicago will be overjoyed to meet him." [Comic Book Resources, 21 Mar 2012]

Barrowman has also donated some of his clothes to the Dogs Trust: "It's no secret to anyone who knows me that two of my favourite things are shopping and supporting Dogs Trust. After a recent spring-cleaning, I donated lots of stuff to the new Cowbridge shop, including posters, watches and boxes of clothing. I hope you'll pay a visit and share in my favourite things." [Ecorazzi, 26 Mar 2012]

Billie Piper visited a family in Norfolk as part of the BBC's Sport Relief in order to speak to a mother and three daughters who had just lost their father. Her Doctor Who co-star David Tennant also contributed to the cause, being one of the celebrity faces to run the Sport Relief Mile on Sunday. You can still donate to the causes through the Sport Relief website.

Tennant has also revealed that he has adopted wife Georgia Moffett's first child, Tyler: "My baby is almost a year old now and I adopted my wife's boy last year as well so I became a father twice within six months - that's got to be something of a record hasn't it?" [Absolute Radio, 21 Mar 2012]

Tennant and John Simm are among the famous names and faces contributing to the Sky Arts 2 documentary Discovering Hamlet, which is scheduled to be broadcast on Sunday 15th April at 9.40pm. Tennant will also be seen on Sky Arts 1 three days earlier - Thursday 12th April - playing an artist called Will in the drama The Minor Character, which airs at 9pm. Meanwhile, Tennant is back doing the voiceover for the spoof documentary Twenty Twelve, the second series of which starts on BBC Two tomorrow at 10pm and co-stars Hugh Bonneville, Jessica Hynes, and Olivia Colman.

Mark Gatiss can be seen in conversation with Mark Lawson on BBC Four on Tuesday 3rd April at 10.50pm. The hour-long interview will be available via the BBC iPlayer for seven days afterwards.

Louise Jameson appears in an episode of daytime drama Doctors on BBC One on Wednesday 4th April at 1.45pm. She plays "other woman" Shirley Carter who schemes with her lover's wife to take revenge on the man in their lives when they discover that he has been cheating on both of them. It will be available via the BBC iPlayer for seven days afterwards.

Richard Curtis
is returning to the theme of time travel for one of his latest film scripts, which he will also direct. About Time is billed as a low-budget dramedy. Zooey Deschanel, who played Trillian in the 2005 film version of Douglas Adams's Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, is reportedly in talks to star in the Working Title production. [Variety, 27 Mar 2012]

Radio Times has published an online interview with Anneke Wills in which the actress who played companion Polly tells of a spooky coincidence involving companion actress-in-waiting Jenna-Louise Coleman. As well as reminiscing about life aboard the TARDIS and meeting Tom Baker, Sylvester McCoy and David Tennant, Wills also talks candidly about her marriage to Michael Gough. [Radio Times, 22 Mar 2012]

Back in November we reported on the advertisement for a new BBC Worldwide Marketing Director for Consumer Products; the person hired for the position has now been revealed to be Rob Lowe, currently marketer for games company Nintendo. His responsibilities will include developing the commercial potential of Doctor Who among other series. [Marketing Week, 26 Mar 2012]




Doctor Who Convention - Press ConferenceBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 28 March 2012 - Reported by Marcus
The stars of Doctor Who took time out of their busy schedule to talk to a number of Doctor Who news sites, including Doctor Who News, at the Official Doctor Who Convention which took place in Cardiff last weekend.

Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill joined Executive Producers Steven Moffat and Caroline Skinner to answer questions on the future of Doctor Who and the departure of Amy and Rory, as well as their thoughts on the convention and the fans' reaction to the series.






Navy Larks With The DaleksBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 28 March 2012 - Reported by John Bowman
fleetairarmdalekinvasionDaleks will be invading navy-related museums in England over the next few months.

The Dalek Invasion of Portsmouth on Sunday 6th May will see an army of Daleks built by enthusiasts descend on the Royal Marines Museum in Portsmouth. Museum spokeswoman Clare Chapman told Doctor Who News that the idea for it came following the success of similar events held in previous years at partner establishment the Fleet Air Arm Museum in Yeovilton (pictured right).

Special guest appearances - yet to be confirmed - will also be made at the Portsmouth event, and there will be photo opportunities with the Daleks. In addition, traders will be in attendance and a Dalek hunt will be held around the museum, while a fancy-dress competition will see prizes given to children who have the best sci-fi outfits.

The Fleet Air Arm Museum will be hosting its own Dalek Invasion over the weekend of 18th and 19th August. As well as a host of Daleks, visitors will also get to see Davros, Miss Hartigan, Cybermen, Ice Warriors, a Pig Slave, and a Screaming Angel among the attractions. In addition, a short play called The Master Strikes Back will be staged and a "Doctors versus Daleks" quiz will be held. Traders and celebrities are also promised.

A "March of the Daleks" will take place at the end of each day, with the Dalek army and "friends" parading through the Fleet Air Arm Museum and assembling under its Concorde for a huge photo opportunity.




An Unearthly Series - The Origins of a TV LegendBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 27 March 2012 - By John Bowman, Chuck Foster, and Marcus
MARCH 1962: Is there merit in science-fiction on TV?
By John Bowman, Chuck Foster, and Marcus

Every fan knows that Doctor Who began on 23rd November 1963, but the first tentative steps that led to the launch of what would become the world's longest-running and most successful science-fiction series in television history took place 20 months earlier, in March 1962 - exactly 50 years ago this month.

As we head towards the 50th anniversary of the first broadcast of the show's first episode, An Unearthly Child, Doctor Who News is proud to present this occasional series that will go back in time to celebrate and mark the golden milestones in the creation of a true TV legend.


The BBC of the early Sixties was a very different organisation to the global multi-media corporation that exists today. The British Broadcasting Company was founded in 1922 by a group of six electronics companies that needed to make radio programmes to provide content for the sets they were trying to sell. By 1927, a Royal Charter was granted, the Company had become a Corporation, and had developed into the world's largest public-service broadcaster. By 1962, radio was still considered to be a more important service than television, with the BBC broadcasting three national networks: the Home Service, the Light Programme, and the Third Programme.

Television tests had begun as early as 1929, with the world's first regular high-definition service launching on 2nd November 1936. After a break because of World War II, transmissions resumed in 1946. The BBC had exclusive use of the airwaves until 1955, when competition arrived with the formation of the commercial channel ITV, and the BBC faced a rival for the first time in its history. Struggling to compete, the BBC appointed a dynamic new Director-General, Hugh Carleton Greene, in 1960. He took an organisation seen by many as a stuffy, stagnating branch of the Establishment and turned it into a radical, risk-taking, innovative broadcaster, producing programmes as diverse as Steptoe and Son, Cathy Come Home, and That Was The Week That Was.

By 1962, TV sets were a feature in nearly 13 million of the UK's 17 million homes. The BBC radio licence fee stood at £1 per year, but to watch television you would need to fork out £3 plus £1 excise duty, making £4 each year, roughly equal to £64 today. For that you could watch the single BBC channel, which broadcast for around eight hours each day, closing down at 11pm until around lunchtime the next day.

From its inception, BBC Television had been an eclectic mix of genres, with drama featuring from the very start. The Man With the Flower in His Mouth, an adaptation of the short play by Luigi Pirandello, was the first drama transmitted, being broadcast live on 14th July 1930. By 1938, the first science-fiction programme had been commissioned. R.U.R. (aka Rossum's Universal Robots) was a 35-minute adaptation of a section of Karel Čapek's 1920 play broadcast on 11th February 1938. The play in full was broadcast live a decade later, with future Doctor Patrick Troughton in the role of Radius.

By the Sixties, the BBC had a well-established Drama Unit. Split into two separate groups, the Script Department was responsible for commissioning and developing scripts, and the Drama Department would then be tasked with making the shows. At the time, the Script Department was headed by Donald Wilson, a veteran of the film industry who had joined the Corporation in 1955. Wilson had a team of eight script editors working for him, each with a brief to develop a strand of programming, as well as writers, adapters, readers and researchers.

The appetite for ideas for new material to be developed by the department was huge and it was Wilson who had set up a small group called the Monitoring Group, later known as the Survey Group, whose task was to keep a watching brief on other media and to look for ideas that could be used by the Script Department in developing ideas for television.

The impetus of the report that would eventually lead to the creation of Doctor Who came from former screenwriter and lyricist Eric Maschwitz. Maschwitz had, until recently, been the Head of Light Entertainment at BBC Television, so was not known for his drama connections, but by early 1962 he was working as Assistant and Adviser to the Controller of Programmes.

It was in this capacity that Maschwitz, in March 1962, suggested to Wilson that the Survey Group investigate the literary genre of science-fiction to see if such material was suitable for a series of short, single adaptations. Wilson set two of his staff, script editor for drama Donald Bull and his colleague Alice Frick, the task of producing a report to be presented to an upcoming script meeting.

It was with the commissioning of this report that wheels began turning and events were put in motion that would lead to the first episode of Doctor Who being screened on 23rd November 1963.

Next Episode: The Survey Group's Report on Science Fiction

PREVIOUS BRITISH TV SF & TELEFANTASY (including Doctor Who connections):

  • R.U.R. (aka Rossum's Universal Robots) - A 35-minute adaptation of a section of Karel Čapek's 1920 play, broadcast on BBC TV on 11th February 1938. It is the first piece of TV SF ever to be broadcast. An adaptation of the entire play, running to 90 minutes, is broadcast live by the BBC on 4th and 5th March 1948, with Patrick Troughton in the role of Radius. (The character name of Taren Capel, in The Robots of Death, is a nod to Čapek.)
  • The Time Machine - Adaptation of the HG Wells novella, broadcast live by BBC TV on 25th January 1949.
  • Stranger From Space - Children's series, part of the magazine programme Whirligig. Series one (11 episodes) started 20th October 1951. Series two (six episodes) started 11th October 1952. Starred Valentine Dyall and Peter Hawkins.
  • Number Three – First telefantasy script by BBC TV drama writer Nigel Kneale, jointly adapting with George F Kerr the novel by Charles Irving and centring on a mad scientist at an atomic research station. Jack Watling and Terence Alexander were in it, as was Peter Cushing (later to play Dr Who in the two Dalek films made by Amicus) in a minor role. Aired 1st February 1953.
  • The Quatermass Experiment - Written by Nigel Kneale. Six episodes, broadcast live (with pre-filmed inserts) weekly from 18th July 1953.
  • Time Slip - Half-hour BBC TV play about a man in the future - 4.7 seconds in the future, to be precise! Aired 25th November 1953.
  • The Lost Planet - BBC TV children's series (adapted from radio). Six episodes from 16th January 1954 (last episode on 27th March) with Wolfe Morris in the cast.
  • Nineteen Eighty-Four - Adaptation by Nigel Kneale of George Orwell's novel, broadcast live (with pre-filmed inserts) on BBC TV on 12th and 16th December 1954, starring Peter Cushing as Winston Smith and André Morell as O'Brien.
  • Return to the Lost Planet - BBC TV sequel to The Lost Planet and also adapted from radio. Children’s series. Six episodes from 8th January 1955, again featuring Wolfe Morris in the cast.
  • The Voices – BBC TV play for adults, adapted from the Robert Crane novel Hero's Walk. Starred Kevin Stoney, Barry Letts, and Terence Alexander. Aired 16th January 1955.
  • The Creature – Shown on BBC TV on 30th January 1955. Quest to find the Yeti in the Himalayas. A remote monastery is involved as part of the action! Written by Nigel Kneale and starring Peter Cushing. A film version, The Abominable Snowman, with Cushing reprising his role, is made by Hammer in 1957.
  • Quatermass II - Written by Nigel Kneale. Six episodes, broadcast live (with pre-filmed inserts) weekly from 22nd October 1955 (exactly a month after ITV started). Cast included Roger Delgado. It is the earliest surviving complete British SF TV production.
  • Space School - BBC TV children's series. Four episodes, aired from 8th January 1956. Cast included Edmund Warwick.
  • OneNineteen Eighty-Four-type ITV drama. Aired 16th April 1956.
  • The Strange World of Planet X – Seven episodes (or maybe six). Adaptation of Rene Ray novel for ITV. SF-horror tale, starring David Garth and William Lucas. Started 15th September 1956.
  • Man In A Moon – ITV Armchair Theatre play about a murderer chosen to be the first astronaut, as the technology for his return doesn't exist. Written by Michael Pertwee. Cast included Damaris Hayman. Aired 11th or 17th November 1957 (exact date unknown). (Armchair Theatre was an anthology series that Verity Lambert worked on as a production assistant.)
  • The Critical Point – BBC TV drama about "hibernation anaesthesia". Aired 5th December 1957. (cf Adam Adamant Lives!, which was co-created by Donald Cotton, co-developed by Sydney Newman, produced by Verity Lambert, and ran from 23rd June 1966 to 25th March 1967.)
  • Time Is The Enemy – ITV time-travel serial made for children. Started 18th March 1958. Seven episodes. Cast included Anne Reid and Derek Waring.
  • 2000 Minus 60 – ITV Television Playhouse presentation about an eve-of-millennium doomsday scenario! Aired 4th April 1958.
  • The Invisible Man – ITV reworking of HG Wells' story, Two series, each of 13 episodes, from 14th September 1958 and 12th April 1959. Starred Deborah Watling. Series one episode 13 saw Patrick Troughton in the cast. Series two episode 1 saw Barry Letts in the cast, while Derrick Sherwin was in episode 13. Writers included Ian Stuart Black and Michael Pertwee.
  • I Can Destroy The Sun – ITV Armchair Theatre production about a mad scientist. Cast included Maurice Denham. Aired 12th October 1958.
  • The Greatest Man In The WorldArmchair Theatre play (adapted from a story by James Thurber) about the first astronaut, with Patrick McGoohan as aforementioned astronaut. Aired 9th November 1958.
  • Quatermass And The Pit - Written by Nigel Kneale (as a freelancer). Six episodes, broadcast live (with pre-filmed inserts) weekly from 22nd December 1958.
  • Torchy The Battery Boy - Roberta Leigh puppet series made for ITV. 52 episodes over two series (first series made by Gerry Anderson's AP Films). Broadcast 1958-59 (exact dates unknown).
  • Target Luna - ITV series made by ABC for children, co-written by Malcolm Hulke and starring Michael Craze. Six episodes broadcast weekly from 24th April 1960.
  • Night of the Big Heat – ITV Play of the Week, adapted from the SF novel by John Lymington, about an alien invasion centring on Salisbury Plain. Aired 14th June 1960.
  • Pathfinders In Space - ITV series made by ABC, co-written by Malcolm Hulke, produced by Sydney Newman, and billed as a sequel to Target Luna. Seven episodes, broadcast from 11th September 1960. Starred Gerald Flood.
  • Pathfinders To Mars - Sequel to Pathfinders In Space, co-written by Malcolm Hulke and produced by Sydney Newman. Six episodes, broadcast from 11th December 1960. Starred Gerald Flood and George Coulouris.
  • The Avengers – Long-running ITV telefantasy series, produced by ABC, started on 7th January 1961. Created by Sydney Newman.
  • Supercar - Gerry Anderson Supermarionation series made for ITV. 39 episodes. Started broadcasting on 28th January 1961.
  • Pathfinders To Venus - Sequel to Pathfinders To Mars. Co-written by Malcolm Hulke and produced by Sydney Newman. Starred Gerald Flood. Eight episodes from 5th March 1961.
  • The Man Out There – Patrick McGoohan is back in space for ABC's Armchair Theatre, this time playing a cosmonaut who is trapped while in orbit. Aired 12th March 1961.
  • Countdown At Woomera – ITV Play of the Week set in 1968 and centring on the launch of the first British astronaut. Aired 13th June 1961.
  • A For Andromeda - BBC TV SF drama serial. Seven episodes, broadcast from 3rd October 1961. Starred Peter Halliday, Esmond Knight, Noel Johnson, John Hollis, and Mary Morris. Co-produced by Michael Hayes.
  • The Escape of R.D.7 – BBC TV five-part drama about an anti-rat virus experiment that goes horribly wrong (cf Survivors and Doomwatch). Started 21st November 1961 (the week after A For Andromeda finished) and starred Barbara Murray. The cast also included Derek Waring, John Dearth, and Alec Ross.
  • Murder Club – ITV Armchair Theatre play, adapted by Robert Sheckley from his story The Seventh Victim. Set in the 22nd century and centring on legalised murder. Aired 3rd December 1961. Saw the TV debut of Richard Briers and featured Barbara Murray as well as Steve Plytas.
  • The Big Pull - SF serial written for BBC TV and produced by Terence Dudley. Six 30-minute episodes, broadcast weekly from 9th June 1962.
  • Dumb Martian - Hour-long SF play on ITV station ABC, broadcast on 24th June 1962. Adapted from a John Wyndham story and broadcast in the Armchair Theatre slot.
  • The Andromeda Breakthrough - Sequel to A For Andromeda. Six weekly episodes broadcast on BBC TV from 28th June 1962 and again starring Peter Halliday, John Hollis, and Mary Morris.
  • Out of this World - First sci-fi anthology series on British TV. Greenlit by ABC drama supervisor Sydney Newman. Thirteen weekly episodes broadcast from 30th June 1962.
  • Fireball XL5 - Gerry & Sylvia Anderson Supermarionation series made for ITV. 39 episodes. Started broadcasting on 28th October 1962.
  • The Monsters - BBC TV sci-fi serial. Four x 45-to-50-minute weekly episodes, directed by Mervyn Pinfield. Started broadcasting on 8th November 1962. Cast included Philip Madoc, Clifford Cox, George Pravda, Clive Morton, Clifford Earl, and Norman Mitchell. The music was by Humphrey Searle, and Bernard Wilkie was one half of the team behind the special effects.
  • Dimension of Fear – ITV four-part SF series. A space research centre near a sleepy English village is threatened by an other-worldly force. Started 5th January 1963. Cast included Michael Robbins, Peter Copley, and Mark Eden. Written by John Lucarotti.
  • Space Patrol - Roberta Leigh puppet series made for ITV. 39 episodes. Started broadcasting on 7th April 1963.
  • The Freewheelers – A drama set in the near-future and focusing on youngsters stealing cars for kicks. Cast included Peter Birrel. Aired on ITV on 5th May 1963. (Not to be confused with the later ITV series Freewheelers that starred Wendy Padbury among other Doctor Who luminaries.)
  • Loop – SF play for ITV company ATV by Giles Cooper (who would be referenced by Alice Frick and Donald Bull in their report of 25th April 1962) in which TV becomes a weapon thanks to people from the future. Aired 20th October 1963 and starred Rodney Bewes and Geoffrey Bayldon.

1962 TOP BBC PERSONNEL:

  • Hugh Carleton Greene – Director-General, 1960-69
    Editor-in-Chief of the BBC and the person ultimately responsible for everything broadcast
  • Kenneth Adam – Director of Television, 1961-68
    Responsible for everything on BBC Television
  • Stuart Hood - Controller of Programmes at BBC TV, 1961-63
  • Donald Baverstock – Assistant Controller of Programmes for BBC TV, 1961-63
  • Norman Rutherford – Acting Head of Drama (having taken over from Michael Barry in September 1961) until December 1962 and the arrival of Sydney Newman from ABC
  • Donald Wilson – Head of Script Department
  • Eric Maschwitz – Assistant and Adviser to the Controller of Programmes
SOURCES: The Handbook (Howe, Walker, Stammers; 2005); Doctor Who Magazine: The Complete First Doctor; Times Digital Archive; BBC Archive; The British Telefantasy Timeline; British Telefantasy Began In 1963?; Pathfinders On Television; Wikipedia; IMDb; Encyclopedia of TV Science Fiction (Fulton; 2000)




Series Seven ImagesBookmark and Share

Monday, 26 March 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster
The BBC have made ten images depicting moments from the Series Seven Teaser Trailer available as wallpaper, which can be downloaded from the BBC Doctor Who website in either 4:3 (1152x792px) or 16:9 (1920x1080px) formats.




Series Seven Teaser Trailer releasedBookmark and Share

Monday, 26 March 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Premiered at the official convention this weekend, the BBC have now released a Series Seven teaser trailer, featuring clips from the first couple of stories to be recorded for the Autumn season. Versions have been made available via both the BBC iPlayer and YouTube.

 




Convention RoundupBookmark and Share

Monday, 26 March 2012 - Reported by Marcus
The first Official Doctor Who Convention since the return of the series closed its doors in Cardiff yesterday evening at the end of a weekend which saw 3,000 fans descend on the Welsh capital to meet some of the stars and see just how their favourite series is put together.

Several sites have reported on the event, with BBC America blogging to fans back in the States.

BBC News had several reports from the Millennium Centre, with live links throughout the day on the BBC News Channel, including interviews with Steven Moffat, while The Metro talked about the thousands of fans the event brought to Cardiff. Wales Online has reviewed the event and The Guardian talked to some of the fans who had made the journey to Cardiff.

Our own review of the Convention can be found on our Reviews page.




Production: Convention NewsBookmark and Share

Saturday, 24 March 2012 - Reported by Marcus
Doctor Who will return to America to shoot the final story featuring Amy and Rory, as they depart the series in an epic battle with the Weeping Angels to be shot in New York.

Executive Producer Caroline Skinner confirmed the news at the Doctor Who Convention taking place in Cardiff this weekend, were fans were given an exclusive premiere of Series Seven, with a showing of the first trailer featuring footage from the upcoming series. The trailer will be availble on the BBC Website from 9am Monday.

Asked how they felt about leaving the series Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill said they felt the time was right and that Amy and Rory's story had run its course. Darvill said: "we've had the most incredible time and it will be really sad when we leave. We had the read through for our final episode last night and it is going to be an amazing piece of Television.". Gillan said she was so pleased with the way she was leaving: "I just hope I can deliver it well."

Matt Smith said he would miss two of his closest friends, and that they had developed an incredible creative relationship. But all good things come to an end: "The thing about Doctor Who is that it is in constant change so we embrace the future and look forward to Jenna."

Asked how they felt about attending the convention, all the stars agreed said it was amazing to meet the fans and to see the reaction: "When making the series you forget how much people love it. We just try to make it the best it can be and its brilliant to see the reactions."

The production team were tight lipped about plans for Series Seven and the show's 50th Anniversary next year. Steven Moffat gave the headlines already known: "Amy and Rory leaving, tragedy, heartbreak and a Western, what more do you want out of Television. Come on Downton take that on!"

The Doctor Who Convention continues on Sunday although all tickets are sold out. A full Convention Report will follow later.




Official Convention Sold OutBookmark and Share

Friday, 23 March 2012 - Reported by Marcus
This weekend Cardiff plays host to thousands of Doctor Who fans as BBC Worldwide host the first official convention since the return of the series in 2005.

The event has now completely sold out for both days so fans should not travel to Cardiff unless they already have a ticket as no tickets will be available at the door.

A number of extra events have now been added to the schedule including talks from the Doctor Who Restoration team on their work on the DVD releases and the processes undergone to restore old and damaged episodes of Doctor Who to their former glory. There will be a chance to see exclusive trailers for previously lost episodes – Air Lock and The Underwater Menace.

Fans will also get a chance to try out the new Doctor Who Game The Eternity Clock in its first public appearance.