November 29, 2005

Baby We’ve Hit The Big Time, part 748: Holy Crap, We’re on the RT Christmas Cover!

Anyone who has ever lived in Britain can tell you that the most indispensible bit of reading at Christmas time is the Christmas edition of the Radio Times. During the holidays, RT publishes a bumper edition that covers the two weeks leading up to Christmas and New Years. Given how British television spend those two weeks showing a mammoth number of classic and current films and Christmas special episodes of favourite programs (of which The Christmas Invasion is the latest example), it’s no wonder that this is usually their bestselling issue.

RT Christmas 2005 issueTraditionally, the Christmas RT has a generic cover. It has only deviated from this twice in recent times: a Harry Potter cover a few years ago, and…this.

Behold, DOCTOR WHO IS ON THE CHRISTMAS COVER OF THE RADIO TIMES!!!

This is the third Doctor Who Radio Times cover this year, in case you were keeping score.

It’s official: 2005 is the best year, ever.

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November 23, 2005

42

It has been said that 42 is a great age. A point where you’re still vital and have the benefit of all the wisdom and experience you’ve accrued. A time to be at the peak of one’s powers (True fact: Tom Baker was 42 during Season 14!)

As Doctor Who reaches its 42nd Anniversary, we find this truer than ever. The first season of a hugely successful new series, with another on the way, that is just as vital as ever and yet takes benefits from the wisdom accrued from its longstanding history.

The world has changed so much since that cold and dark Saturday evening in 1963, but Doctor Who is still the greatest, most entertaining, TV program around. Happy 42nd Anniversary, Doctor Who!

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November 21, 2005

Children in Need episode

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The 10th Doctor, David Tennant, made a debut of sorts with a new 7 minute episode (including re-caps & credits) that was broadcast on Friday night on BBC1 and is available for on-line viewing at the BBC Children in Need website (it’s for Charity, so don’t forget to donate).

For those that have seen it - what did you think?

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November 15, 2005

WHORA!

New Cybermen.  Excellent.  New Banner. Excellent.
New Doctor Who in just over a month from now?  Ex…. you get the point. 

The return of the cybermen and seeing the first image of them online really struck home to me that Doctor Who is returning very very soon.  Sure there’s the Christmas Special just around the corner, the new season, Torchwood discussions, and all that but actually seeing what the new incarnations of my favourite Doctor Who monsters actually look like truely said to me that “DOCTOR WHO IS BACK…AGAIN”.  RTD is doing a fine job of balancing old with new, and I have no fear that things are going just swimmingly in Cardiff.  And so I got off my duff and made a new banner for Blog central.

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Now what will RTD do about “gold”, “Mondas”, “the Cyberleader”, “cybermats”, “Excellent”, and “Toberman”? 

I guess time will tell…and I can’t wait.

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November 10, 2005

Cybermen are Onboard

The official site has a picture of the new Cybermen!

One word sums it up for us here: Excellent!

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November 02, 2005

What the Shakespeare, Rose?

Our beloved Billie Piper is on the cover of this week’s Radio Times, not for playing Rose but Hero in next Monday’s BBC TV adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing. Actually, it’s not really the Bard, it’s a modern-day updating of Will’s original storyline, in the same way the BBC re-did The Canterbury Tales (also starring the sensational Ms. Piper) a couple of years ago.

This is not the first time that an actress has crossed over from Doctor Who companion to Shakespeare lead. The incomparable Lalla Ward played Ophelia in an excellent BBC production of Hamlet in between her two seasons as Romana. It must have been quite a shift to go from working with Graham Crowden in The Horns of Nimon to Derek Jacobi, Patrick Stewart and Claire Bloom in the Bard’s Danish tragedy and then back to talking about tachyonics with Tom Baker, but our beloved Lalla was a trouper.

I’m actually looking forward to seeing this. True, I would have loved Billie speaking in iambic pentameter, but I’ll be interested in seeing in what they can do. Hero is an interesting character choice for Billie, because in the Shakespearean version she can be played incredibly passively—so much so, that she often fades into the background in favour of the vastly more fun Beatrice (who is played here by Blackpool‘s Sarah Parish, which gives me all the more reason to want to see this). It’s obvious the producers want to try and do something different with the female roles in some of the Bard’s plays. They certainly got the right actress for the part, here, if that’s the case.

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some sort of Halloween costumes

Yes, that appears to be a horse dressed as K9.

The BBC site has some other scary costumes, including the Sutekh pumpkin!

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October 29, 2005

Ode to Howlaround

Today’s Toronto Star has an article on the 100 Things That Make Us Scream (registration required to view). Coming in at Number 14 is “The opening title sequence of the original Dr. Who” which the writers claim “we blacked out at that point.”

As I said on dwin’s mailing list, it’s about time someone in the media acknowledged what must be one of the most widely known truths about Doctor Who, at least in Canada anyway. Over the years I have met many, many people who have all said to me the same thing: Doctor Who was scary and they never watched it. Not because of the monsters. Not because of the Daleks. No—they were terrified by the opening titles.

I have to admit to some sympathy to these people. I remember watching the opening titles to The Three Doctors on TVO as a six year-old in 1976 and finding them kind of scary too (I even held my hand over my eyes at least once while watching them) though I did watch the succeeding story.

I’m frankly not all that surprised. When you think about the titles for the series back in the 1970s, they really were like nothing else seen or heard on television at that time. Weird misty shapes forming a face and then dissolving it into a spinning swirl, and all the while the strangest music ever is being played over it. Fans of Doctor Who get inurred to that from repeated viewings and knowing it was video howlaround (playing the camera back on itself) that created those images etc., that we lose sight of the incredible effect those titles achieved. It didn’t look like it was from earth. It didn’t sound like it was from earth.

I love the main titles of the new series (though I would have liked to have seen the Doctor’s face). And while I think Murray Gold’s embellishment of the theme is superb, I have to admit that when I saw those titles done with a stereophonic mix of the original Delia Derbyshire version of the theme last March, I got a little tingle down my spine, like I did when I was six.

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October 27, 2005

Mainstream Success!

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In a demonstration of the mainstream success of the latest Doctor Who series the show has won big at the National Television Awards. The show was up for three different awards and won all three. Doctor Who won Most Popular Drama Series, Christopher Eccleston won Most Popular Actor and Billie Piper won Most Popular Actress. Piper and Eccleston beat out competition from stars from a number of series but from Eastenders and Coronation Street in particular.

Winning against such heavyweight competition from top rated shows is further evidence of the total and mainstream success of the new Doctor Who series.

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The Nominees were:

Most Popular Drama:  Bad Girls, Desperate Housewives, Doctor Who, The Bill

Most Popular Actor: Bradley Walsh, Christopher Eccleston, Martin Clunes, Nigel Harman, Shane Richie

Most Popular Actress: Billie Piper, Caroline Quentin, Jessie Wallace, June Brown, Sally Lindsay


Top: Billie Piper with award presenters and Conservative Party leadership candidates David Davis and David Cameron.

Bottom: Noel Clarke, Billie Piper & Camille Coduri

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October 25, 2005

Doctor Who is back for the Children

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The BBC announced today that a new mini-episode of Doctor Who will be shown Friday November 18th as part of the annual Children in Need charity broadcast day. The special will feature David Tennant and Billie Piper and is written by Russell T. Davies. At present nothing is known about the plot.

This isn’t the first time there has been a special Doctor Who mini-story for the Children in Need charity special - back in 1993 a 14 minute story called Dimensions in Time was broadcast, featuring Doctors number 3 to 7, plus a whole host of companions, and cast members from the British soap Eastenders.  No word on whether any cross-overs are happening this time as yet.

Let the “is this canon?” debates commence…..

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