March 11, 2005

Speaking of Kids and 10 Year-Olds…

stickerOutpost Gallifrey have news of what is probably the coolest pieces of new series tie in merchandising yet: The Doctor Who Sticker Book and the Doctor Who Intergalactic Activity Book. Both of these are pieces of tie-in marketing that take the series out of the aging over-25 ‘cult’ market and into the playgrounds and family rooms of children.

Back where it belongs, really

This is such a major shift. Back when the TV movie aired, the closest thing there was to any consideration of marketing to the little ‘uns was Gary Russell’s novelization, which was a pitch-perfect pastiche of Terrance Dicks. Now we have tie-in merchandise like we saw back in the 60s and 70s: stuff not intended for putting into mylar slipcases for collecting (although we know that will happen: David Howe is probably appraising the value of the Sticker Book even as we speak!) but for kids to read and play with. And that, to our minds, is really exciting.

Plus, The Doctor Who Blog freely admits they want a copy of Build Your Own Tardis, as they lost the version from the 1980s that they used to own.

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March 10, 2005

New Kid on the Blog

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The newest addition to the Doctor Who Blog team is feeling a little overwhelmed right now. I’ve just spent half the day avoiding work by trawling through countless press releases, reviews, articles, photographs, trailers and interviews for the new series. I won’t attempt to list any of them here as the indispensable Outpost Gallifrey is doing that job more than adequately.

I am blown away by the sheer amount of coverage in Britain right now. It almost makes me wish I was still living there; it would be great to be a part of it. I’ve no right to complain though. Thanks to the CBC, fans in Canada will get to see new Doctor Who on TV just as God intended, a little bit later than the UK debut but thankfully confirmed. It seems that every TV news programme, every newspaper, every radio station and every entertainment website is talking about it. Huge viewing figures for episode one are pretty much assured. Let’s hope they come back for more…

From a teaser trailer and a few news spots on BBC Wales, to a breathless, mass publicity campaign in the space of just a few days, it’s truly exhilerating to be a part of. One of the most exciting is the report of the SFX launch party, with some tantalising glimpses of what’s to come. But I have to say, the thing that warms my fanboy heart more than anything else is seeing Eccleston and Piper on the cover of the latest issue. I can’t wait to read it.

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March 09, 2005

I Want To Be 10 Years Old Again

Countless words have been written about the new Doctor Who series before it even airs. In my opinion the truest most important words were spoken by writer Steven Moffat (Press Gang, Coupling) in an interview with The Scotsman published in June 2004: “If 10-year-olds aren’t talking about the show in the playground on Monday morning then we’ll have failed.”

Above all else this new series must capture the imagination of children. I am sure that people of all ages will watch and enjoy the new series for different reasons but the final judges will be the children. They won’t be looking for a show that is ironic, or camp or even the most flashy show on television. If the children watch and enjoy then others are guaranteed to follow.

Doctor Who is about fantasy, adventure and most of all fun. Doctor Who is supposed to a bit silly and the Doctor himself is supposed to be a bit childish. As viewers get older they might identify with the companions but the children identify with the Doctor. They share his sense of wonder, his amazement and at times his inability to take in the worlds around him. The companions might be about asking questions but the Doctor is about exploring and having fun.

What do I want from the new series of Doctor Who? I want to be 10 years old again. The old episodes of Doctor Who are one of the few things from my childhood that has stood the test of time. I still enjoy the episodes I watched more than twenty years ago but I don’t always enjoy them for the same reasons. My remit for Russell T. Davies and the new series is a tough one; take me back to how I felt watching Doctor Who episodes for the first time.  It’s a really tough job and the right people have been hired to do it.

Russell, I want to be 10 years old again.

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March 08, 2005

Start the Presses

Hello readers! I though y’all would be interested in this CBC press release. 

The more I read, the more I hear, the more I’m thrilled about this whole New Doctor Who “thang”.  It’s quite a great time to be a fan. 

I was in London, England this past Thursday and I attended the London Tavern…and the buzz there was so thick you could scoop it up into a pint glass and down it in one gulp. 

Tasty!                I’ll have another please…

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EXCLUSIVE NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE OF DOCTOR WHO, A NEW 13-PART SERIES ON CBC TELEVISION, APRIL 5
     
Acclaimed British actor Christopher Eccleston stars as DOCTOR WHO in the new BBC series, making its North American debut on CBC Television, Tuesday, April 5 at 8 p.m. Billie Piper, who starred in the critically acclaimed Canterbury Tales: The Miller’s Tale, plays the Doctor’s companion, Rose Tyler.


DOCTOR WHO is a smartly written, contemporary, full-blooded drama that embraces the original series’ heritage and introduces the characters to a modern audience.


Travelling through time and space, the Doctor and Rose come face to face with a variety of new and menacing monsters, as well as battling with the Doctor’s arch-enemy, the Daleks. The series features a number of high-profile guest stars including Penelope Wilton, Simon Callow, Richard Wilson, John Barrowman, Noel Clarke, Annette Badland, Camille Coduri and Simon Pegg.


Russell T. Davies, executive producer of DOCTOR WHO, said, “Eccleston’s Doctor is wise, funny and brave; an adventurer who travels through time and space. His detached logic gives him a vital edge when the world is in danger, but when it comes to relationships, he can be found wanting. That’s why he needs Rose. As they travel through history and across the universe, the Doctor shows Rose things beyond her imagination. She starts out an innocent girl, fettered by earthly concerns. But she ends up an adventurer who, by the end of the series, can never go home again.”
     
Slawko Klymkiw, executive director programming, CBC Television said, “Bringing back the hugely popular DOCTOR WHO series to fans-new and old alike-was an exciting opportunity for CBC. We are pleased to be working closely with the BBC to bring Canadians this exceptional new series.”


DOCTOR WHO is a BBC Wales Production for BBC One and is written by Russell T Davies, Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss, Paul Cornell and Robert Shearman. The executive producers are Russell T. Davies, head of drama, BBC Wales, Julie Gardner and Mal Young.

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March 06, 2005

Anatomy of a Small Rumour

Back a couple of issues ago in DWM, Russell T Davies made an off-handed comment on how they can’t seem to cast enough little people for an upcoming story. “Bloody Gringot’s and Wonka’s got them all” is how producer Phil Collinson puts it, referring to the fact that those of diminuitive size are being used for Harry Potter and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

The DWM anecdote gets reported as a story in one of the British papers, some of them featuring a more detailed quote from the parties involved. The story is then carried on the wire service, where it even gets put into the Toronto Star.

Now this story of small desire denied has become filler in this week’s Canadian edition of TV Guide, only by now the story has become enhanced to say that filming “was shut down” while they looked for actors of short stature (it wasn’t all according to all other reports) and the little people would be used to play the Daleks (they aren’t).

While it’s nice to see some coverage of the new series in TV Guide, one starts wondering if all reportage on the new series will be done by a game of broken telephone…

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March 05, 2005

Rose Who?

One of the interesting things about the return of Doctor Who that we in North America might not appreciate is that going into the new series, the best known face to be associated isn’t the actor playing the Doctor this time, but the companion. At least in the UK, as in North American Christopher Eccleston is better known. In the UK, Billie Piper is a constant topic of British tabloids - the example shown here being a front page headline of the fact that she did a new photoshoot for a Men’s Magazine (which we mentioned in an earlier blog entry).

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That’s not to say that Christoper Eccleston isn’t also a well-known actor in the UK - he is. But its arguable that his profile in the UK is going to increase because of his involvement in the new series of Doctor Who, whereas Billie Piper’s profile is set to continue at the torrid pace it has been at since she first had a #1 single 7 years ago at the tender age of 15.

Indications are that Rose will be more of an equal to the Doctor than any other companion in the show’s history, and rumours have it that for the first time either the name or face of Billie Piper is even in the title sequence for the new series, which, if true would be a first for a companion.

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March 03, 2005

Can we have our cake & eat it too?

There is still no word about the US broadcaster for the new series of Doctor Who.  There had been some rumours that the Sci-Fi Network were looking to buy it, but they have apparently passed on the new series.  This has been the only bit of disappointing news thus far about the new series, and it potentially affects all North Americans. While the new series will be shown in Canada shortly after the UK gets it, it isn’t certain yet when it will be shown in the US (though a broadcast somewhere, if only on BBC America, is inevitable). An extended delay in a US broadcast is likley to cause a delay of a Region 1 DVD release of the new series (Region 1 being North America for those unfamiliar), as usually a DVD release is only made available after terrestial broadcast.  It would also be unusual for a DVD to be released in Canada, but not the US (and pointless since there would be nothing to stop fans in the US from ordering it from Canada).

So let’s hope there is some news soon about a US broadcaster, and of a US broadcast. Getting the new series right away is great, and not to be taken for granted by any means (after all, back in the glory days of the 1980’s, TV Ontario used to be 3 years behind the BBC with new episodes). Nevertheless I’ve decided to be greedy and wish for a new series DVD release right away. I want to have my cake and eat it too!

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March 02, 2005

Barnes Common Comes To Audio

Leaving aside that TV show thingie, the one Doctor Who release I’m looking forward to this year is the MP3-CD release of David Whitaker’s 1964 Classic Doctor Who In An Exciting Adventure With The Daleks read by William Russell. I loved Whitaker’s prose retelling of Serial B as a 14 year-old reading my first Doctor Who book, and I still think this is one of the all-time great Doctor Who novels. To actually hear Ian Chesterton narrating it will be an absolute delight. Plus the MP3 version will include Arnold Schwartzmann’s interior illustrations as well!

The Official BBC Website has just put up an extract. (Scroll to the bottom—noting the Alistair Pearson comment on the way—to hear it) It’s an older Ian Chesterton narrating than I envisaged as a fourteen year old, but it’s still very, very, exciting.

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March 01, 2005

I am the Mastermind and you will obey me

mastermind.jpgThe official BBC site reports today that there’s going to be a Doctor Who edition of Mastermind. Mastermind, for those who are unaware, is the coolest quiz show ever where a person sits in a chair for two minutes with a spotlight on them while being buffeted by questions (selected by experts) on a specialist subject of the contestant’s choosing. (This is followed by the ‘general knowledge’ section, which makes the upper level questions of Millionaire and Jeopardy seem like nursery school fare)

Usually, the specialist subjects are things like “The Reign of King George II” or “The indigenous birds of Wiltshire”, but Doctor Who has been a specialist subject on Mastermind, most recently in 2004. The official site had the questions (and answers) from last time, which frankly, wouldn’t have put DWIN’s resident trivia king Luca Di Rocco into a sweat. These were, in fact, considerably harder than the questions given to a contestant who used the series as his specialist subject in the 1990s. Then again, that particular time the questions were set by John Nathan-Turner.

The notion of a Doctor Who edition of Mastermind pleases those of us here at the Doctor Who Blog immensely. We can’t wait to find out what the specialist subjects are, though we’re hoping for “Season 18”, “The collected works of Terrance Dicks”, “Women in the Bryant/Sherwin era” and “The Peter Darvill Evans period of the New Adventures”

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February 28, 2005

The Times, they are a-changing!

CarolBillie.jpg Its fascinating to see how Doctor Who has reflected the changes that have occurred in society over the past 42 years of its existence.  Take for example the above two photos.  The first shows Carole Ann Ford posing for what would have been considered a “Gentlemen’s Magazine” a year or two before she appeared as the first “Doctor Who girl”. The photo on the bottom is of the latest “Doctor Who girl”, Billie Piper, a preview of a photoshoot she is doing in a “Men’s Magazine” called Arena (the “readers” of such would not be considered “gentlemen”, presumably).

The photos of Carole would have been considered quite revealing in their day, and it is doubtful she would have posed for them a year or two later when portraying a 15 year old girl in a children’s television programme. One could imagine quite the scandal erupting at the BBC if she wore something close to what Billie is wearing in her pic. Ford herself has indicated that she got into trouble with some parents when after leaving Doctor Who she portrayed a prostitute on television in a late-night time slot.

The difference to today is quite dramatic - Billie Piper is also playing a teenage girl in the series, which hopes to attract many kids, and yet it would be very surprising if the production team weren’t very pleased about the extra publicity such a photoshoot will bring to the show.  And it’s difficult to imagine that there will be too much controversy when the full photo shoot appears.  Especially when photoshoots like these nowadays are a dime a dozen.

Not that I’m complaining, mind you.

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