February 20, 2005

DVD Octoberfest?

There is talk that the DVD release for the new series will be out by October, according to a report in DVD Times. The site is a UK site, so there’s no actual suggestion of releases for the other regions such as Region 1.  However, the release is likely to be in a box-set, and there is a now a precedent for Region 1 seeing releases of Doctor Who DVD Box Sets’s at the same time as Region 2, with last November’s simultaneous release of the Lost in Time Collection, so its possible that we may see it in North America at the same time that the UK does.

What will be interesting to see is whether the release will be available with the option of either purchasing individual stories or the entire set, as both the Key to Time and Lost in Time releases provide.  That will probably depend on how many discs the new series set is released on. It seems likely that they would fit 2 of the new 45-minute episodes on at least one disc, with extras, but with the odd two-part story during the 13 episode season, there will have to be some discs with either just one 45 minute episode or some containing three episodes.

Above all I hope that the advent of the new series increases the output of the original series DVD releases, which, while largely excellent, come out too slowly with just 6 to 8 releases per year.  I’d like to see that increase to at least ten per year, with an emphasis on getting the Hartnell and Troughton stories that need to be VIDFired and Tom Baker and Jon Pertwee stories that have not been commercially released on VHS in episodic format (ie. The Time Warrior, Death to the Daleks, Day of the Daleks, Revenge of the Cybermen and The Deadly Assassin)

(1) Comments

February 19, 2005

Russell Plays the Game

An original cast member of Doctor Who makes his return this month as Ian Chesterton himself, William Russell, guest stars alongside Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton in The Game, the latest 5th Doctor Audio released later this month by Big Finish.

Only Russell is not playing Ian, because another Russell, Big Finish producer Gary, doesn’t believe in bringing old companions back to meet the Doctor (unless its someone who lives on Gallifrey). Gary Russell is of the view that the Doctor meeting up with an old friend is too implausible, which suggests that he is painfully unaware that all four of his audio Doctors are able to pilot the TARDIS to where and whenever they’d like, making any such meeting perfectly plausible if he so wished.  Personally I don’t find the idea that the Doctor would drop in on an old friend to see how they are doing to be that odd - actually, the idea that once he had control of the TARDIS, that he wouldn’t ever go back at least once to see old friends of his, is what I find to be a bit odd.

Nevertheless, while the fans are denied a chance to hear the Doctor and Ian team up 42 years after they first met, cheers to Big Finish for bringing back William Russell at a time when Doctor Who is beginning once again.  Hearing William Russell act alongside Peter Davison will no doubt be a joy, and perhaps it is fitting that William Russell finally gets to equal what his co-star Jacqueline Hill got to do 25 years ago - return to Doctor Who in a different role to act alongside a different Doctor. 

And after 42 years after his first appearance in Doctor Who, it seems not a moment too soon!

(1) Comments

February 18, 2005

Wildthyme on top

As part of Big Finish’s New Worlds range of books, they are publishing an Iris Wildthyme short story collection. It is edited by Paul Magrs and features stories by Kate Orman, Lance Parkin, and Stuart Sheargold among others.

Too bad it will be a mail order-only hardcover.

In the meantime there are four Iris Wildthyme short stories available on Iris’s own site. They are well worth reading, particularly In the Sixties. “I wanted the party to go on till I got time to catch up and join it.”

(1) Comments

Hey look it’s another comparison!

These ninth Doctor book covers look quite surprising at first, since we’ve had no other covers like them. Lots of fans hate them. I’m not sure why, because no way are they the worst covers we’ve had.

books.jpg

To put these covers in perspective, look at one next to a Buffy book. They look quite similar. And that’s good because they are aimed at the audience that reads TV tie-in novels that look like this.

Lets hope they will be distributed properly in North America, and put on the shelves right next to the Buffy and Stargate books. Purely for marketing purposes - they will of course be much better than those other books.

(10) Comments

February 17, 2005

The Twin Dilemma

I’m not sure about how many of you people watch Survivor.  But this season there’s a man by the name of James Miller playing the game…and BY MERCY does he ever look like Christopher Who, Doctor Eccleston, you know…that guy.  He sounds like he’s from the deep south (US)... but he looks like he’s actually from the north (UK).  Makes the series all that more interesting to watch… can a Time Lord lose a reality show?  And if he wins…is it cheating because he can travel in time?  I’m sure CBS knows what they are doing.  Hey…*maybe* CBS *IS* the US broadcaster!!!

TWINS.jpg

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The Foamasi Terror

Once upon a time, DVD covers in the UK really sucked. I mean who can forget the stunning image of, er, a Dalek on Remembrance of the Daleks or, um, a blindfolded Doctor on The Caves of Androzani. Back in those halcyon days, it was okay that the North American DVDs sucked because they actually sucked less than the UK DVD covers.

But the times have changed. The BBC hired Clayton Hickman to do the cover artwork because he apparently owns his own licensed version of photoshop and does design work for everyone else. And lo and behold, the covers to their DVD range went from suckage to awesome. Hickman’s covers have a gorgeous use of colour and, although photoshop composites, evoke the best of the Target Novel covers.

All of a sudden, it’s the North American DVD covers that blow.

leisurehive.jpgCase in point is The Leisure Hive. On the left hand side of the image you can see the UK cover, which has gone to the trouble of sourcing an image of Tom Baker not unlike the one used in the era-redefining title sequence,  even using lens flares like the one in the opening titles for good measure. The foamasi and the hive itself are well balanced in the composition. There’s a good use of colour.

The North American version, on the right hand side….yech. The composition is stacked higher and higher such that the foamasi looks ridiculous, rather than menacing, behind the logo. Pangol and two Argolins with their backs to the viewer is an idiotic image to use. And there’s a waxy yellow sheen to the colour that makes me think the designer was using a filter called “nicotine”. It gets points for using Lalla Ward on the cover, but that’s about it.

I know that the UK covers use only half of the space, but really, couldn’t we start using Clayton Hickman’s images on the North American releases instead of these ugly…things. Please? I’d rather suffer the hideous TARDIS wall backdrop than another of these graphical frankensteins.

(7) Comments

February 16, 2005

D.W.N.I.C.

bettman_gary250 copy.jpgHockey is Dead.
Long Live Doctor Who on the CBC.

Although it’s shame that the hockey season had to come to such a terrible demise, at least we will now see New Doctor Who on the CBC as early as the first week of April.

As they say out west…. Yeeeee-Haaaa!

I wonder what the theme song for Doctor Who Night In Canada will sound like?

(5) Comments

February 15, 2005

3/26/05 (26/3/05 in the UK…)

Outpost Gallifrey now confirms that the new series will premiere on March 26, 2005. Well it doesn’t so much confirm as has decided, based on an overwhelming number of sources, that it’s time to bring out the countdown clock.

Someone on the OG forum has had access to a BBC Marketing memo to booksellers outlining the marketing ramp-up to the new series which will include:


  • Outdoor posters, beginning either the 5th or 12th March
  • TV teaser trails for the series
  • A press launch is taking place on 8th March in Cardiff
  • Radio Times will be publishing an 18-page supplement to celebrate the
    return of the series
  • A variety of photo shoots with Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper, the latter having a photo shoot in Arena magazine. (Luca DiRocco has already pre-ordered his)
  • A relaunch of the BBC Official Doctor Who website

We here at the Doctor Who Blog don’t have our own countdown clock, but if we did, it would be a countdown of the hours til NHL hockey finally admits they’re ending the season and thus allow the CBC announce a start date for Canadian airings of Who. Sheesh. (This would be followed by a countdown clock leading up to the announcement of a Sci-Fi Channel airing as rumoured on Outpost Gallifrey)

(1) Comments

February 14, 2005

KENT Can Do

nebulous.jpgWhile you’re all waiting for the new series to debut, you might want to listen to the last episode of Nebulous Radio 4’s fab and silly parody of 70s UK genre television. The series has a great modern Who-related pedigree: League of Gentlemen member Mark Gatiss (Nightshade and the new series’ third episode, The Unquiet Dead)  stars as the titular Professor Nebulous, Graham Duff (Faith Stealer), also stars and wrote the series and it’s directed by Nick Briggs (Dalek Empire).  There’s even a classic Who connection with Graham Crowden playing a recurring role.

The whole series has been delightfully fluffy and inconsequential but great fun, and there’s usually a few great Who in-jokes, including (this week) “Strangmoor Prism” and David Warner playing the incompetent pseudo-Master to Mark Gatiss’s incompetent pseudo-Doctor, a fitting reversal to Unbound: Sympathy For The Devil.

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February 13, 2005

Count Down (Up?)

I figure today is the day to listen to Moonbase, or alternatively watch episode 3 clock_small.jpg
of The Sensorites.  I’m not sure how either of these particular adventures actually apply to my life, days past, or what lies ahead…or if that even matters. Dammit all I’m going to take the time to watch an episode of my favourite television show…and I’ll choose one that is relative to me this day.  Perhaps I should listen to Neverland, or read Parasite.  That would work as well, I guess.  But nah…. right now I want the original (soon to be “classic”) series.  Whether I spend 24 minutes in the Sense-Sphere or help the citizens of 2070 defend the Gravitron against villains that are not microwave safe , I’ll be thinking of days past when every episode of Doctor Who was new, fresh and exciting.  When I was younger I was giddy at the possibility of seeing an episode I had not seen before.  It was a treat, a trick, Christmas and ground hog day all rolled into one.  I’ll try and enjoy these stories I’ve chosen as I did the first time.  For today is my 33rd birthday, and my gift is coming via Wales in a month or two’s time.  That’s ok.  I can wait.  After all even though I’m a little bit older today….new Doctor Who will remind me of what it was like to be a kid again.  Soon…. so very soon.

(3) Comments

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