Sunday, 30 December 2012

Great Doctor Who Quotes #43

"This is one corner of one country, in one continent, on one planet that's a corner of a galaxy that's a corner of a universe that is forever growing and shrinking and creating and destroying, and never remaining the same for a single millisecond. And there is so much.. to see, because it goes so fast. I'm not running away from things, I'm running to them. Before they flare and fade forever."

- The Doctor, The Power of Three (September 22 2012)
Written by Chris Chibnall

Friday, 28 December 2012

Radio Times TV Review of 2012

That venerable publishing colossus, Christmas perennial, and loyal Doctor Who advocate, the Radio Times, has revealed the results of their annual survey. Their website's 'Top 40 shows' of the year has placed the show at a respectable number fifteen (down from eigth position last year, and probably due to a reduced run of episodes).
Steven Moffat's other BBC One drama, Sherlock tops the list, voted for by the magazine's critics. You can read the complete list hereRT writer and resident Whovian Patrick Mulkern comments:

15. Doctor Who BBC1
"It was a lean year for [the programme], and the promise of “five blockbuster episodes” may have been puff, but there were classics in the mix. The (kind of) new companion debuted by surprise, unaware she was the maddest Dalek in the asylum with her obsession for soufflĂ©: “Eggs-ter-min-ate!” Who could resist dinosaurs and Nefertiti running riot on a spaceship, or the mystery of the black cubes and Jemma Redgrave as the new Brigadier? She must return! Then the Angels in Manhattan robbed us of the Ponds. Their timey-wimey dispersal left a hole in the Doctor’s hearts. And ours. "

Thursday, 27 December 2012

The Best (and Worst) Doctor Who of 2012

The io9 science blog published it's annual TV review of the year last week. The Best and Worst Television Moments of 2011, again from Meredith Woerner, features two recent Doctor Who stories. 
The season opener, Asylum of the Daleks is actually named as both one of the 'Best' and 'Worst' shows. The story is praised for the shock introduction of Jenna Louise Coleman as "the dazzling Oswin Oswald" then criticised for the Ponds' divorce storyline: "Amy and Rory pretend to fight for almost 25 seconds. This whole divorce.. was a sham.. [it] came from nowhere and went right back there.. [they] deserved better than this.. Amy sure as hell wouldn't "give up" Rory. If Amy has proven one thing, it's that she will fight to the bitter end for her centurion. Same goes for Rory. Boo to this facade of emotion."
Thankfully, the list of top sci-fi and fantasy programmes redeems the show, and includes Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, described as a "bit of fun before we had to say goodbye to the Ponds forever. This episode.. was a nice return to the "fun" Doctor, if only for a while."

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Doctor Who Gets the Stamp of Approval

All eleven actors to have portrayed the Doctor on television since 1963 are featured on First Class stamps next year. The Royal Mail today unveiled their Doctor Who 50th Anniversary collections, which presents every incarnation of the Time Lord, whilst the Second Class set showcases the programme's greatest monsters and the iconic TARDIS (pictured below).
Andrew Hammond of the Royal Mail said that the commemorative stamps paid "tribute to the brilliant actors that have played the Doctor over the years, as well as the adversaries that helped make the show so popular".
Meanwhile, current Doctor Who show-runner Steven Moffat has promised "tremendous surprises" for the golden anniversary year.
Both William Hartnell (pictured above) and David Tennant have already appeared on a postage stamp - when celebrating the Carry On films (Carry On Sergeant, 2008), and the RSC (Hamlet, 2011) respectively. The Daleks were first honoured with a celebratory Millennium stamp in 1999.
The new stamp sets are available in March.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Ripper Street Preview

I first wrote about this forthcoming BBC thriller way back in January (read here), which is now scheduled to begin transmission on Sunday, December 30th.

BBC One commissioned the new, eight-part period drama, Ripper Street in September 2011. Created by Richard Warlow, the series "is set in the East End of London in 1889, during the aftermath of the" Whitechapel Murders.
The original press release states that "the action centres around the notorious H Division - the police precinct from hell - which is charged with keeping order in the chaotic streets."
Produced by Tiger Aspect, the series "explores the lives of characters trying to recover from the Ripper's legacy, from crimes that have not only irretrievably altered their lives, but the very fabric of their city. At the drama's heart our detectives try to bring a little light into the dark world they inhabit." The programme's cast is led by Matthew Macfadyen (pictured) as real-life Inspector Edmund Reid, Jerome Flynn as Sergeant Bennett Drake, and Adam Rothenberg as Captain Homer Jackson. 

From it's inception in 1829, the Metropolitan Police was divided into seventeen districts for administrative purposes, and each was identified by a letter. 
 In 1888, H Division covered Whitechapel, and it's jurisdiction included three Ripper murder sites: Hanbury Street (Annie Chapman), Berner Street (Elizabeth Stride), and Miller's Court (Mary Kelly). The four police stations within the district where at Leman Street (the divisional HQ), Commercial Street (the area CID office), Arbour Square, and King David Lane. At the time, the Division was responsible for policing just 1 and a quarter square miles, but which housed some 67,000 poverty-stricken souls.
The officer in charge of detectives on the ground during the Whitechapel Murders, was Inspector Frederick Abberline (1843-1929) - he had worked in H Division from 1873-1887. 
Ripper Street features the actual Head of CID, Inspector Reid (1846-1917), who had led enquiries into the (non-canonical) murders of Emma Smith (in April 1888) and Martha Tabram (the following August). He retired in 1896, and later claimed that Frances Coles (killed in February 1891) had been Jack the Ripper's ninth, and final victim. 
Since 1965, H Division has covered Tower Hamlets.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Doctor Who Vs. The Quatermass Experiment (2005) [Revised]

The contemporary remake of Nigel Kneale's seminal series of 1953 was transmitted live (like the original) on BBC4, in April 2005. Jason Flemyng (the son of Gordon Flemyng, director of both Dalek films) became the seventh actor to portray Professor Bernard Quatermass. It was during rehearsals that David Tennant (pictured, here playing Dr. Briscoe) was offered the role of the Tenth Doctor, but his casting was only announced two weeks after transmission. In the live broadcast, Flemyng even changed Quatermass' first line to Briscoe to "Good to have you back Doctor" from the scripted "Gordon"!
Six other Doctor Who cast connections here are:
  • Mark Gatiss (Paterson) - scripted for television were three Doctor Who Night sketches (BBC2, 1999), The Unquiet Dead, The Idiot's Lantern, The Lazarus Experiment (in which he starred as Richard Lazarus), Victory of the Daleks (with an uncredited role as 'Danny Boy'), Night Terrors, and forthcoming episodes, The Crimson Horror and The Cold War, with a further appearance in The Wedding of River Song as Gantok (and reprising 'Danny Boy') - written for Big Finish were Phantasmagoria (also voicing the part of Jasper Jeake) and Invaders from Mars (which he also directed), whilst playing Walter Schwieger for The Sirens of Time (1999), Karl Hendryk for The Mutant Phase (2000), Thinnes for Sword of Orion, Vincenzo for The Stones of Venice (both 2001), and the Master for Unbound: Sympathy for the Devil (2003) - penned for Virgin's New Adventures were Nightshade (1992) and St. Anthony's Fire (1994), and The Roundheads (1997) and Last of the Gaderene (2000 and 2013) were later published by BBC Books
  • Adrian Dunbar (Lomax) voiced McCarthy for Brave New Town (BF, 2008)
  • Indira Varma (Judith) was Suzi Costello in the first series of Torchwood
  • Andrew Tiernan (Caroon, pictured left) was Jim Purcell in Night Terrors
  • Isla Blair (Blaker) was Lady Isabella Fitzwilliam in The King's Demons, and voiced Paula for Exotron (BF, 2007)
  • Greg Bennett (Journalist) was both a Sycorax Warrior and a UNIT Soldier in The Christmas Invasion, and a Guest in The Lazarus Experiment

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Doctor Who Vs. A Very British Coup [Revised]

Channel 4's new drama serial, Secret State - starring Gabriel Byrne as the newly elected PM - was inspired by the 1982 novel, A Very British Coup, from Labour MP Chris Mullin.
Dramatist Alan Plater adapted 4's original three-part version of this landmark political drama, which was first broadcast in 1988. Here, Ray McAnally played the beleaguered working-class Prime Minister, Harry Perkins.
This seldom repeated programme (but still available to watch on 4oD here) won four BAFTA awards and an International Emmy, and was finally released on DVD in 2011. 
This series featured Caroline John (as Annette), Geoffrey Beevers (Waiwright) and seventeen Doctor Who cast connections:

  • Bernard Kay (Page) had four roles in just seven years - he played Carl Tyler in The Dalek Invasion of Earth, Saladin in The Crusade, Inspector Crossland in The Faceless Ones, and Caldwell in Colony in Space, then voiced Major Dickens for Big Finish's Night Thoughts (2006)
  • Hugh Martin (Sampson) was Munro in Terror of the Zygons, and the Priest in Vengeance on Varos
  • Tim McInnerny (Fiennes) was Halpen in Planet of the Ood
  • Christine Kavanagh (Liz) was Aram in Timelash
  • David McKail (Robertson) was Sergeant Kyle in The Talons of Weng-Chiang, a role he reprised for Big Finish's Jago & Litefoot spin-off audio range
  • Shane Rimmer (US Secretary of State) was Seth Harper in The Gunfighters
  • Clive Merrison (Interviewer) was Jim Callum in The Tomb of the Cybermen, and the Deputy Chief Caretaker in Paradise Towers
  • veteran actor Philip Madoc (Fison) played Eelek in The Krotons, the War Lord in The War Games, Dr Mehendri Solon in The Brain of Morbius, Fenner in The Power of Kroll, Brockley in the second Dalek film, and provided the voices of Rag Cobden in Return of the Krotons (BF, 2009), and Victor Schaeffer also for Master
  • Jeremy Young (Alford) was Kal in 100,000 BC, and Gordon Lowery in Mission to the Unknown - he was once married to Kate O'Mara (the Rani) 
  • Stephanie Fayerman (Editor) was McLuhan in Dragonfire
  • Jim Carter (Newsome) voiced Brother Bernard for The Book of Kells (BF, 2010)
  • Roger Brierley (Andrews) was Trevor in Volcano, and voiced Drathro in The Mysterious Planet
  • Preston Lockwood (Fain) was Dojjen in Snakedance
  • Barbara Ward (Reporter) was Ruth Baxter in Terror of the Vervoids
  • Jessica Carney (Maureen) is the grand-daughter of William Hartnell and the author of his biography Who's There? (1996)
  • Julian Fox (Porter) was Peter Hamilton in Death to the Daleks
  • Zulema Dene (Vision Mixer) voiced Danna for Gallifrey: Time War (BF, 2018)
  • Ernest Vincze was also the cinematographer on thirty-eight adventures (from Rose to The Waters of Mars)

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Doctor Who Vs. 55 Degrees North [Revised]

I love this little cop show! Here, London detective Nicky Cole is transfered to the fictional Tyneside police force in Newcastle after exposing police corruption. The first, six-part series aired on BBC1 during July and August 2004, and season two (eight episodes) was broadcast from May to July 2005. The programme was also shown on BBC America, under it's working title, The Night Detective. Both series were released on DVD in 2006, and 55 Degrees North has since been repeated on cable channels.
Series regulars with Doctor Who links are:
  • Don Gilet (DS Cole, pictured left) played Donna Noble's fiance, Lance Bennett in The Runaway Bride
  • Dervla Kirwan (Claire Maxwell, pictured right) was Mercy Hartigan in The Next Doctor
  • Andrew Dunn (Sgt. Astell) voiced Max for Scream of the Shalka
  • Darren Morfitt (DS Yates) was Brother Marco in 2010's Weeping Angels two-part adventure
  • Jacqueline King (Georgia) was Donna's mum, Sylvia Noble, until The End of Time
  • Christian Rodska (DI Carter, S1) voiced both the Reverand Small for Hornets Nest: The Dead Shoes (AudioGo, 2011), and Laan Carder in Faith Stealer (Big Finish, 2004)
  • Claire Calbraith (Beth, S2) voiced Maria for Son of the Dragon, and a Trooper for Exotron: Urban Myths (BF, both 2007)
  • Brian Protheroe (Wren, S2) voiced Bob Gell for the forthcoming Eldrad Must Die! (BF, 2013)
  • series one producer Jo Wright was the BBC executive producer on the 1996 Doctor Who TV movie
Twenty-five further cast and crew connections are:
  • Paul Anthony-Barber (Pathologist, 1.3) played Dr. Kendrick in Rise of the Cybermen, and voiced Ludovic Comfort in The Magic Mousetrap (BF, 2009)
  • Peter Symonds (Judge, 1.3) was a Soldier in Terror of the Zygons
  • Paul Clayton (Bellows, 2.4) was Mr Bartle in Planet of the Ood, and was the voice of Ulysees Meregrass forThe Infinite Quest
  • Phil Cornwell (DI Simpkins, 2.5) was a Stallholder in The Fires of Pompeii
  • Rod Arthur (Frater, 2.6) was Mr Parsons in School Reunion
  • Karl Collins (Adam, 2.7/8) was Donna's next fiance, Shaun Temple also in The End of Time
  • Yasmin Bannerman (Jade, 2.7/8) was Jabe in The End of the World, and voiced Pandora in The Bride of Peladon (BF, 2008)
  • Holly De Jong (Helen, 1.3) voiced Amelia Doory in Project Twilight (BF, 2001)
  • Rita Davies (Harriet, 1.5) voiced Janneus for Primeval (BF, 2001), and Tashek for the I, Davros series (BF, 2006)
  • Levan Doran was also a stunt performer on Tooth and Claw
  • both Valentino Musetti (a Saracen Warrior in The Crusade, and eight other uncredited roles on the 'classic' series) and Trevor Steedman (a Seabase Guard in Warriors of the Deep) were stuntmen here
  • Glenna Morrison (Tiffany, 1.2) voiced Mary Patterson for Medicinal Purposes (BF, 2004)
  • Kim McGarrity was also a stunt performer on The Empty Child two-parter, Boom Town, The Christmas Invasion, and New Earth 
  • Paul Kulik was a stuntman on Rose too
  • stuntman Bill Davey was a stunt co-ordinator on The Satan Pit two-parter, Love & Monsters, and Turn Left
  • Glenn Marks was also a stunt co-ordinator on The Family of Blood two-parter, and Blink
  • both Neil Finninghan and Derek Lea were stunt performers on Dalek - Lea also worked on the Series 1 finale of NuWho, The Age of Steel, and Partners in Crime
  • stuntman Tom Lucy was the stunt co-ordinator on 16 Doctor Who episodes from Smith and Jones to The Next Doctor
  • James O'Donnell was stunt performer (James O'Dee) on all four Cybermen episodes of 2006
  • Steve Whyment (an extra in The Keeper of Traken and Snakedance), and Paul Herbert (a stuntman on The End of Time), were both stunt co-ordinators here
  • Rod Woodruff was also a stunt co-ordinator on Rose and World War Three 
  • Michael Cuckson (John, 1.1) voiced Captain Callany for Cryptobiosis (BF, 2006) and Cord for Singularity (BF, 2005)

Monday, 22 October 2012

Doctor Who Vs. The Shadow Line [Revised]

This dark and gritty seven-part crime drama (written and directed by Hugo Blick) was first shown on BBC2, from May 5th to June 16th 2011.
Ninth Doctor actor, Christopher Eccleston (pictured here as Joseph Bede) was joined by fifteen other Doctor Who guest actors:
  • for Lesley Sharp (Julie), Ace Bhatti (Khokar), and stunt co-ordinator Gareth Milne see my blog for The Second Coming
  • Robert Pugh (Harris) played Tony Mack in series five's Silurian two-parter
  • Sean Gilder (Beatty) was the Sycorax leader in The Christmas Invasion
  • Claire Calbraith (Laura) voiced Maria for Son of the Dragon, and a Trooper for Exotron: Urban Myths (BF, both 2007)
  • Tony Osoba (Solicitor) was Lan in Destiny of the Daleks, and Kracauer in Dragonfire
  • Martha Cope (Reporter) was the Controller in Bad Wolf, and voiced Captain Tanya Oswin in The Nowhere Place (BF, 2006), then Talia in 100: Bedtime Story (BF, 2007) - her father, Kenneth Cope, co-starred in Warriors' Gate as Packard
  • Sasha Behar (Laing) and Lorraine Burroughs (WPC) both appeared in The Fires of Pompeii - as Spurrina and Thalina, respectively
  • Lloyd McGuire (Clerk) was Lugo in The Face of Evil, and voiced Tendexter for The Architects of History (BF, 2010)
  • Charles Kay (Halton) voiced the Curator in Excelis Rising (BF, 2002)
  • Nadine Marshall (Officer) voiced Shepstay for Earth Aid (BF, 2011)
  • David Schofield (Foley) voiced Nostradamus for The Doomsday Quatrain (BF, 2011), and Billy for Death in Blackpool (BF, 2009)
  • Nigel Hastings (Spokesman) voiced Quain for Creatures of Beauty (BF, 2003)

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Great Doctor Who Quotes #41

"This was exactly you. All this, all of it. You make them so afraid. When you began all those years ago, sailing off to see the universe, did you ever think you'd become this? The man who can turn an army around at the mention of his name, Doctor. The word for 'healer' and 'wise man', throughout the universe. We get that word from you, you know. But if you carry on the way you are, what might that word come to mean?
To the people of the Gamma Forests, the word 'doctor' means 'mighty warrior'. How far you've come. And now they've taken a child, the child of your best friends - and they're going to turn her into a weapon, just to bring you down.
And all this, my love, in fear of you."

- River Song, A Good Man Goes to War (June 4th 2011)
Written by Steven Moffat

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Great Doctor Who Quotes #40

"This is Emergency Programme One. Rose, now listen, this is important. If this message is activated, then it can only mean one thing - we must in danger, and I mean fatal. I'm dead, or about to die any second with no chance of escape... And that's okay. I hope it's a good death. But I promised to look after you, and that's what I'm doing. The TARDIS is taking you home... And I bet you're fussing and moaning now, typical. But hold on, and just listen a bit more. The TARDIS can never return for me. Emergency Programme One means I'm facing an enemy that should never get their hands on this machine. So this is what you should do - let the TARDIS die. Just let this old box gather dust. No one can open it, no one will even notice it. Let it become a strange little thing standing on a street corner. And over the years, the world will move on, and the box will be buried. And if you wanna remember me, then you can do one thing. That's all, one thing. Have a good life. Do that for me, Rose. Have a fantastic life."

- The Doctor, The Parting of the Ways (June 18th 2005)
Written by Russell T Davies 

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Doctor Who Vs. The Second Coming [Revised]

This Northern morality tale was written by future Doctor Who supremo Russell T Davies, who cast Salford-born actor Christopher Eccleston in the lead role of Steven Baxter (pictured). Long-serving Doctor Who composer Murray Gold provided the music here too. Both he and Davies were nominated for Royal Television Society awards, whilst Eccleston earned a BAFTA Best Actor nomination.
Originally commissioned by Channel 4 in 1999, and later turned down by the BBC, The Second Coming was eventually made by ITV over the summer of 2002. Screened over two nights, Sunday 9th and Monday 10th February 2003, parts 1 and 2 gained audiences of 6.3M and 5.4M.
Following a drunken night-out in Manchester, Steve disappears for 40 days and nights. He is found wandering Saddleworth Moor, and claims to be the 'second coming' of Jesus, the Son of God. After performing a modern-day miracle at Maine Road football stadium (turning night into day), he proclaims to the world's media that he has just 5 days to find the human race's Third Testament, and avert the Apocalypse.
Granada's Liverpool-based drama Springhill (1996/7)also penned by Davies, ended it's run with a recital of The Second Coming by WB Yeats, and was essentially a story of good-versus-evil too.
The drama also featured ten more Doctor Who guest actors:
  • Lesley Sharp (Judith) played Sky Silvestry in Midnight
  • Mark Benton (Tyler) was Clive Finch in Rose; and voiced Ellis for Invaders from Mars (Big Finish, 2002), and Jack Coulson for the recent Energy of the Daleks
  • Ace Bhatti (Gupta) was Rani's dad, Haresh Chandra, in The Sarah Jane Adventures
  • Jennifer Hennessey (Reporter) was Valerie in Gridlock
  • Angel Coulby (PC Fraser) was Katherine in The Girl in the Fireplace
  • Rory Kinnear (Dillane) voiced Samuel Belfrage for Industrial Evolution (BF, 2011)
  • Ray Emmet Brown (Nurse) voiced 'No. 16' for House of Blue Fire (BF, 2011)
  • Denise Black (Rachel) voiced Eva Jericho for the forthcoming Big Finish release, Damaged Goods
  • stunt co-ordinator Gareth Milne was George Cranleigh in Black Orchid, an Attendant in Vengeance on Varos, and doubled for Peter Davison on Warriors of the Deep
  • Rick English was also a stuntman on Tooth and Claw

Friday, 5 October 2012

Doctor Who Vs. Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased): Season 2 [Revised]

Vic Reeves, Bob Mortimer, Emilia Fox, and Tom Baker (pictured as Wyvern) all returned for the second - and final - series of Charlie Higson's reimagined Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased), which aired on BBC1 in 2001. Future NuWho composer, Murray Gold again provided the show's incidental music.
The seven-part season featured these other twenty-six Doctor Who cast and crew connections:

Episode 2.1/Whatever Possessed You? (TX: September 29th)
  • Co-written by Gareth Roberts - author of many Doctor Who adventures for TV, books, audio, and magazines
  • Hywel Bennett (Roger Whale) played Rynian, an Aridian in The Chase
  • Nichola McAuliffe (Virginia) was Vivien Rock in The Sound of Drums
  • David Walliams (Browning) was Gibbis in The God Complex
  • Janet Henfrey (Hettie) was Miss Hardaker in Curse of Fenric
  • Mona Hammond (Margaret) was Rita Anne in Rise of the Cybermen
  • Lizzie Hopley (Ruth) was the Mantasphid Queen in The Infinite Quest

2.2/Revenge of the Bog People (TX: October 6th)
  • Mark Williams (Doleman) voiced Max Edison for The Eternal Summer (Big Finish, 2009), and played Rory's dad, Brian Williams, in the current series adventures, Dinosaurs on a Spaceship and The Power of Three
  • Matt Lucas (Nesbit) and Adam Buxton (Barry) both voiced characters for The One Doctor (BF, 2001) - the Cylinder/Jelloid and Assembler 1, respectively
  • Celia Imrie (McKern) has been cast in part 2 of Series 7

2.3/O Happy Isle (TX: October 13th)
  • George Baker (Pomeroy) played Decider Login in Full Circle
  • John Sessions (Fishacre) voiced General Tannis in Death Comes to Time (BBCi, 2002), Mozart in 100: My Own Private Wolfgang (BF, 2007), and Roland in Castle of Fear (BF, 2009)
  • Rupert Vansittart (Babbacombe) was General Asquith in Aliens of London and World War Three, and voiced Sepulchre for Dead London (BF, 2008)
  • Eiji Kusuhara (Goto) was a Chinese Man in Four to Doomsday

2.4/Painkillers (TX: October 20th)
  • Screenplay by Gareth Roberts
  • Sir Derek Jacobi (Col. Anger) was Professor Yana in Utopia, and also voiced the Master for Scream of the Shalka
  • Dervla Kirwan (Petra Winters) was Mercy Hartigan in The Next Doctor
  • Tim Wallers (Lacey) was Childers in Victory of the Daleks
  • Alibe Parsons (Receptionist) was Matroni Kani in Mindwarp

2.5/Marshall and Snellgrove (TX: October 27th)
  • Shaun Parkes (Marshall) starred opposite David Tennant in both Casanova and later in the Satan Pit two-parter, as Zachary Cross Flane, then played the titular role of Moses Jones opposite future Doctor, Matt Smith
  • Colin McFarlane (Snellgrove) was General Pierce in Torchwood: Children of Earth, and provided the Alien voices for Voyage of the Damned
  • Keith Bisset (Bates) was Captain Zebb in The Greatest Show in the Galaxy

2.6/The Glorious Butranekh (TX: November 3rd)
  • Joe Montana (Butranekh) was a Worker in Daleks in Manhattan
2.7/Two Can Play at That Game (TX: November 10th)
  • Co-written by Mark Gatiss, Doctor Who writer and actor
  • Eleanor Bron (Mrs Applegarth) was an Art Lover in City of Death, and Kara in Revelation of the Daleks, and she voiced Ileana De Santos for Loups-Garoux (BF, 2001)
  • Roy Hudd (Dickie Klein) voiced Max Miller for Pier Pressure (BF, 2006)

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Doctor Who Vs. Miss Marple (1987)

The last, full series of the BBC's definitive Miss Marple was again produced by George Gallaccio, a production manager on thirty-one Doctor Who episodes during the 1970's.
The title role was portrayed by Joan Hickson in adaptations of Agatha Christie's original twelve Marple mysteries, from 1984 to 1992.
The four serials that aired in 1987 featured these other thirty-one Doctor Who cast and crew connections:

Sleeping Murder (Published 1976 - TX: January 11 & 18)
  • Directed by John Davies - he helmed The Macra Terror
  • Geraldine Alexander (Gwenda) played Areta in Vengeance in Varos
  • Frederick Treves (Dr Kennedy) was Brotadac in Meglos
  • Terence Hardiman (Fane) was Hawthorne in The Beast Below, and voiced both King Sitirc for The Book of Kells (Big Finish, 2010), and Reverand Dobbs in Serpent Crest: The Broken Crown (AudioGo, 2011)
  • John Bennett (Erskine) was General Finch in Invasion of the Dinosaurs, and Li H'sen Chang in The Talons of Weng-Chiang
  • David McAlister (West) voiced a Megara for The Stones of Blood
  • Esmond Knight (Galbraith) was Dom Issigri in The Space Pirates
  • John Ringham (Dr Penrose) was Tlotoxl in The Aztecs, Josiah Blake in The Smugglers, and Robert Ashe in Colony in Space
  • Kenneth Cope (Afflick) was Packard in Warriors' Gate
  • Struan Rodger (voice of Ferdinand) provided the voice of the Face of Boe in New Earth and Gridlock
  • Georgina Anderson (Mrs Hengrove) was May, also in Gridlock
  • Gary Watson (Halliday) played Arthur Terrall in The Evil of the Daleks
At Bertram's Hotel (Pub. 1965 - TX: January 25 & February 1)
  • George Baker (Inspector Davy) was Decider Login in Full Circle
  • Preston Lockwood (Pennyfather) was Dojjen in Snakedance
  • Philip Bretherton (Campbell) voiced Plenipotentiary Suskind for Arrangements for War (2004), Scrivener for Recorded Time, and Darcy/D'Urberville/Heathcliff for A Most Excellent Match (both 2011) - all for Big Finish
  • Edward Burnham (Whittaker) was Professors, Watkins in The Invasion, and Kettlewell, in Robot
  • Rashid Karapiet (Waiter) was Rita's Father in The God Complex
Nemesis (Pub. 1971 - TX: February 8 & 15)
  • Frank Gatliff (Rafiel) was Ortron in The Monster of Peladon
  • Roger Hammond (Broadribb) was Francis Bacon in the 1965 episode, The Executioners, and Dr Runciman in Mawdryn Undead, and voiced Harold Withers for The Eternal Summer (BF, 2009)
  • Patrick Godfrey (Schuster) was Tor in The Savages, and Major Cosworth in The Mind of Evil
  • Peter Copley (Brabazon) was Dr Warlock in Pyramids of Mars
  • Alison Skilbeck (Miss Barrow) was the Deputy in Frontios
  • David Blake Kelly (Tramp) was Captain Briggs in Flight Through Eternity (also an episode of The Chase), and Jacob Kewper in The Smugglers
  • Cy Town (Passenger) appeared in 35 installments for the 'classic' series - from an uncredited role in The Silurians, to a Haemovore in The Curse of Fenric, and was also a Dalek operator in every Dalek story from Frontier in Space onwards
4.50 From Paddington (Pub. 1957 - TX: Christmas Day)
  • Designed by Raymond Cusick - the production designer on 41 Hartnell installments, and creator of the first Dalek props
  • Rhoda Lewis (Mrs Brogan) was Marta in State of Decay
  • Joanna David (Emma) voiced Mrs Audley, also for Serpent Crest: The Broken Crown
  • Maurice Denham (Luther) was Azmael in The Twin Dilemma, and voiced the President for The Paradise of Death (Radio 5, 1993)
  • Andrew Burt (Dr Quimper) was Valgard in Terminus
  • John Hallam (Cedric) was Light in Ghost Light
  • Richard Ashley (Sergeant) was an Orderly, also Frontios

Friday, 31 August 2012

Date With History: 1997

Diana, Princess of Wales died, aged 36, at 4 am on Sunday August 31st, as a result of injuries sustained in a car crash in the Pont de l'Alma road tunnel in Paris. Her partner, Dodi Fayed, and the driver, Henri Paul, also perished. Bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones was the only survivor.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

The Genesis of Doctor Who: An Adventure In Space And Time

Back in February, rumours began that writer and actor, Mark Gatiss, was to pen a TV biopic that examined the genesis of Doctor Who (see here). Well, today a press release announced that a BBC Two drama has been commissioned to mark the programme's fiftieth anniversary. 
Indeed scripted by Gatiss, An Adventure in Space and Time will chronicle the origins of the show, akin to The Road to Coronation Street which aired on BBC Four for the soap opera's own 50th birthday in 2010.  The writer said "This is the story of how an unlikely set of brilliant people created a true television original. And how an actor - William Hartnell - stereotyped in hard-man roles became a hero to millions of children. I've wanted to tell this story for more years than I can remember! To make it happen.. is quite simple a dream come true."
The single 90-minute drama is co-produced by Caroline Skinner and current showrunner Steven Moffat, who said: "The story of Doctor Who is the story of television - so it's fitting in the anniversary year that we make our most important journey back in time to see how the TARDIS was launched."
The production and transmission schedule will be confirmed next year, and much speculation already surrounds the casting process.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Pet Shop Boys: 'Elysium'

The Pet Shop Boys website this week officially confirmed the release of the band's new studio album, Elysium. Both CD and vinyl formats are issued by Parlophone/EMI on September 7th in the UK, and the iTunes version contains extra features. Produced in Los Angeles by Andrew Dawson, Elysium features cover artwork from Farrow, and the tracks are listed thus:

1. Leaving
2. Invisible
3. Winner
4. Your early stuff
5. A face like that
6. Breathing space
7. Ego music
8. Hold on
9. Give it a go
10. Memory of the future
11. Everything means something
12. Requiem in denim and leopardskin

Brian Bress' video for the song, Invisible was released online in June (view here via Vevo). The new single, Winner is issued on August 6th, and includes a cover version of the Bee Gees' I Started a Joke.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Review of 'The Candle Man' by Alex Scarrow

I first encountered Alex Scarrow's excellent body of work two years ago. His titles are highly recommended (read my review of October Skies here), and I was pleased to discover his latest thriller, The Candle Man (Orion).
 I really tried to enjoy this book because I loved the writer's previous work and the novel offers so much to the Ripperologist in me.
The narrative begins promisingly on RMS Titanic, just after her rendezvous with the iceberg, then transports us to London's 'Autumn of Terror' in 1888.
And I really wanted Scarrow to proffer his own, original approach - unfortunately we are presented with yet another re-hash of the 'Royal conspiracy'.
This criticism is not detrimental to the novel however, which is as evocative as any worthy piece of Victoriana, and one of the author's many strengths lies in his (almost Holmesian) attention to period detail. I suspect that Scarrow - like many other writers since the 1970's - relishes in an admittedly compulsive and entertaining theory. Also akin to other proponents of this particular 'final solution', this novelist allows the final canonical victim, Mary Kelly, to escape her true destiny too.
Granted, this is a fictional account of the Whitechapel Murders and the historical minutiae is as accurate as you'd expect from Scarrow, but it's hard to forgive his most glaring error - the 'Double Event' occurs here two days later than documented (and I'm sure that the cover artwork depicts the Lusitania, not Titanic).
The story ends back onboard the sinking liner, and the mystery of Jack the Ripper is solved. Despite my negative opinions, The Candle Man remains a good read, and I look forward to Alex Scarrow's next title.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Doctor Who Vs. Dr. Who and the Daleks

The first Dalek movie of 1965 was shown on Channel 5 today. AARU productions was formed by another film-maker, Amicus, to create a cinematic version of the BBC's Doctor Who Dr. Who and the Daleks was the result.
Based on the seven-part TV serial The Daleks (aka. The Mutants), this rendition was the programme's first ever spin-off. The film was also the first Doctor Who adventure made in colour (only used on the TV series from 1970) and widescreen (introduced with the 2005 revival).
Dr Who and the Daleks was scripted by (TV writers) Terry Nation, David Whitaker, (the producers) Max Rosenborg, and Milton Subotsky, and directed by Gordon Flemyng.
The cast was headed by horror film legend, Peter Cushing, as human inventor 'Dr. Who'. Jennie Linden and Roberta Tovey played his granddaughters, Barbara and Susan, whilst Carry On star, Roy Castle, was the hapless Ian Chesterton. Further connections to the TV show are as follows:
  • Cushing starred opposite three future Doctors: with Patrick Troughton in Hamlet (1948), The Black Knight (1954), The Gorgon (1964)and Frankenstein (1974), then with Jon Pertwee in The House that Dripped Blood, and Richard Hurndall, in I, Monster (both 1971)
  • Tovey had an uncredited role in The Blood on Satan's Claw (1971) which also featured Wendy Padbury and Anthony Ainley - In Runaway Railway (1965) she starred opposite Pertwee - Her father, George Tovey, played the Poacher in Pyramids of Mars
  • Geoffrey Toone (Temmosus here), was Hepesh in The Curse of Peladon
  • Bruce Wells (Thal) was a Cyberman in The Tenth Planet, an uncredited Alien in The War Games, and an Ogron in both Day of the Daleks and Frontier in Space
  • Gary Wyler (Thal) was a Soldier in The Aztecs
  • The four Dalek operators were: Robert Jewell, who was also a Dalek in 8 TV serials, a Clown in The Feast of Steven, a Zarbi in The Web Planet, and a Macra operator
  • Bruce Castagnoli was an Egyptian Warrior in Golden Death
  • Gerald Taylor, also a Dalek in 7 stories, Damon's Assistant in The Underwater Menace, Baker's Man in The Daemons, Vega Nexos in The Monster of Peladon, as well as a Zarbi, and a War Machine operator
  • Kevin Manser, also a Dalek in 6 stories, and a Zarbi
  • Dalek voices were provided by: David Graham, who also voiced Skaro's finest in 5 TV serials, and was Charlie in The Gunfighters, and Kerensky in City of Death
  • Peter Hawkins also voiced the Daleks in 7 stories, and voiced the Cybermen in 4 adventures

Thursday, 26 July 2012

A Tribute to Mary Tamm (1950-2012)

It was reported this morning by her agent, that Mary Tamm had died after a long battle with cancer. The actress best known for her portrayal as the first incarnation of Romana in season sixteen of Doctor Who, was 62. Tributes have been led by Fourth Doctor actor Tom Baker, who said: "She was a darling companion and wonderfully witty and kind" whilst a "shell-shocked" Colin Baker wrote on twitter that she was "a funny, caring, talented, lovely and down-to-earth lady." Steven Moffat said that Tamm was "the ice queen on the TARDIS.. who thought the Doctor was her companion" and she has been remembered by other former time travellers Anneke Wills, Frazer Hines, Nichola Bryant, and Lousie Jameson.
Tamm was born in Bradford in 1950 to Estonian immigrant parents, and after graduating at RADA, she began her career at the Birmingham Repetory Theatre with Derek Jacobi, Joan Sims, and Ronnie Barker. She moved to London in 1972, and made her television debut in ATV's Hunter's Walk. Further TV roles in Coronation Street, and Return of the Saint followed. Then after film roles in The Odessa File, and The Likely Lads, Tamm was cast as the Time Lady, Romana - short for Romanadvoratrelundar. 
Tamm was not initially interested in playing a Doctor Who companion, but producer Graham Williams assured her that Romana was not intended as another "damsel in distress" - she was a 'Time Lady' who was as capable as the Doctor. However, Tamm left the programme after only one season because she felt that her character had in fact reverted to the traditional assistant function, and a proper transition to her successor, Lalla Ward was never planned.
Tamm later made guest appearances in The Bill, Jonathan Creek, Doctors, EastEnders, and had a regular role as Penny Crosbie in Brookside.
Romana featured in all six stories of the 'Key to Time' season, broadcast from September 1978 to February 1979, but Tamm returned to the role for Big Finish's Gallifrey audio drama series in 2005. Her latest recording as the Time Lady, was in Tales from the Vault, released last July, and a new, 7-part season of Fouth Doctor adventures featuring Tamm's Romana will be issued next year.
Mary Tamm is survived by her husband Marcus Ringrose, her daughter Lauren, and grandson Max.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Great Doctor Who Quotes #39

"When you run with the Doctor, it feels like it'll never end. But however hard you try, you can't run forever. Everybody knows that everybody dies and nobody knows it like the Doctor. But I do think that all the skies of all the worlds might just turn dark if he ever, for one moment, accepts it. Everybody knows that everybody dies. But not every day. Not today. Some days are special. Some days are so, so blessed. Some days, nobody dies at all. Now and then, every once in a very long while, every day in a million days, when the wind stands fair, and the Doctor comes to call...everybody lives."

- River Song, The Forest of the Dead (June 7th 2008)
Written by Steven Moffat

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Great Doctor Who Quotes #38

"Amy, listen to me. I can't save you. I can't do anything to stop this... I stole your childhood and now I've led you by the hand to your death. But the worst thing is, I knew this would happen. This is what always happens... I took you with me because I was vain, because I wanted to be adored... Look at you. Glorious Pond. The girl who waited for me... But I'm not a hero. I really am just a mad man with a box. And it's time we saw each other as we really are... Amy Williams, it's time to stop waiting."

- The Doctor, The God Complex (September 17th 2011)
Written by Toby Whithouse

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Doctor Who: Even More Series 7 News

Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, Arthur Darvill, Steven Moffat, and Caroline Skinner will all attend the Doctor Who panel at Comic Con later this month, where the forthcoming Series Seven will be previewed.
So how much do we actually know about the new season? Radio Times reported that the series - again split in half, either side of the Christmas special - will consist of "at least" fourteen episodes. Moffat stated in DWM that there will be no two-parters, and fellow producer Marcus Wilson said that two 'classic' era monsters will make a return appearance - the Ice Warriors are likely candidates.

The title of episode 1 is confirmed as Asylum of the Daleks, and will feature the Special Weapons Dalek, last seen in 1988. Written by Moffat, and directed by Nick Hurran, the season opener will launch at the BFI, then be screened later in Edinburgh, before a probable TV premiere in late August, or early September. Nick Briggs again provides the (many) Dalek voices. 
Episode 2 - Dinosaurs on a Spaceship? - is penned by Chris Chibnall, and helmed by Saul Metzstein. The cast includes Harry Potter film actors Mark Williams and David Bradley, Rupert Graves (Lestrade in Sherlock), and Riann Steele as Queen Nefertiti.
Written by Toby Whithouse and directed by Metzstein, part 3 stars Dominic Kemp, Adrian Scarborough, Ben Browder, Andrew Brooke, Garrick Hagon (Ky in The Mutants), Rob Cavazos, and Joanne McQuinn. Provisionally titled The Gunslinger or A Town Called Mercy, and set in the American Wild West, the story was filmed in  Spain.
The next installment - thought to be called Cubed - is also scripted by Chibnall, directed by Douglas Mackinnon, and sees the return of Williams as Rory's dad, Brian. Other guest stars are Jemma Redgrave (as Kate Stewart), Steven Berkoff, and Ruthie Henshall.
The Ponds leave the programme in the fifth adventure, which is set in New York - location filming took in Central Park - and features the Weeping Angels. Alex Kingston reprises her role as River Song here, opposite co-stars Mike McShane, Rob David, and Bentley Kalu.
New companion Jenna Louise Coleman, rumoured to be named Clara, debuts in this year's Christmas special, which is again written by Moffat.
The eight unplaced episodes for 2013 include Phantoms of the Hex (working title), from Luther creator and Spooks writer, Neil Cross. Dougray Scott (Matt Busby in David Tennant's United), and Jessica Raine head the cast, directed by another newcomer, Jamie Payne (Primeval, and Survivors).
NuWho veteran Mark Gatiss has contributed two scripts for next year. The first is helmed by Mackinnon, and stars David Warner (see my Titanic blog), Liam Cunningham (Game of Thrones), Josh O'Connor, and James Norton. His second serial, rumoured to be called The Crimson Horror, features Dame Diana Rigg (Emma Peel in The Avengers), and her daughter Rachael Stirling. Catrin Stewart returns here as Jenny (from last year's A Good Man Goes to War), so her partner Madame Vastra (played by Neve McIntosh) can't be far away.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Great Doctor Who Quotes #37

He never raised his voice. That was the worst thing… the fury of the Time Lord… and then we discovered why. Why this Doctor, who had fought with gods and demons, why he had run away from us and hidden. He was being kind… He wrapped my father in unbreakable chains forged in the heart of a dwarf star. He tricked my mother into the event horizon of a collapsing galaxy to be imprisoned there… forever. He still visits my sister, once a year, every year. I wonder if one day he might forgive her… but there she is. Can you see? He trapped her inside a mirror. Every mirror. If ever you look at your reflection and see something move behind you just for a second, that’s her. That’s always her. As for me, I was suspended in time and the Doctor put me to work standing over the fields of England as their protector. We wanted to live forever. So the Doctor made sure we did."
- Son of Mine, The Family of Blood (June 2nd 2007)
Written by Paul Cornell

Thursday, 21 June 2012

A Tribute to Caroline John (1940-2012)

It was announced today that the actress Caroline John had died of cancer, on June 5th, aged 71. She was best known for her role as Liz Shaw in the ground-breaking seventh season of Doctor Who (January to June 1970). Tributes have been led by current show-runner, Steven Moffat.
John was born in York in 1940, and after training at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London, she worked in theatre. She toured with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre, before landing the part of Cambridge scientist, Dr Elizabeth Shaw.
Liz was recruited to the newly created UNIT team as their scientific advisor, and John joined the programme   along with a brand new leading actor - Jon Pertwee as the Doctor. John was cast by outgoing producer, Peter Bryant, and  Liz was conceived as a an interlectual equal to the Time Lord. Ironically, it soon became apparent to the show's new production team, helmed by Barry Letts, that this type of companion was actually unsuitable, and  Liz Shaw was written out after just one series. 
John starred in the first four, Third Doctor stories: Spearhead from Space, The Silurians, The Ambassadors of Death, and Inferno. She reprised the character on TV in The Five Doctors (1983), and Dimensions in Time (1993), then later for Big Finish's audio adventures (from 2007). Liz Shaw also featured in the Mark Gatiss scripted P.R.O.B.E. video spin-off series (1994-96).
John was married to Doctor Who co-star, Geoffrey Beevers, who first played the Master in The Keeper of Traken. They starred together in A Very British Coup (1988), and Poirot (1989). They had three children. John's funeral was held in London this week.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Great Doctor Who Quotes #36

"Hello, Stonehenge! Who takes the Pandorica takes the Universe! But bad news everyone, 'cause guess who? Ha! Except you lot, you're whizzing about, it's really very distracting. Could you all just stay still a minute because I am talking! Now, the question of the hour is: Who's got the Pandorica? Answer: I do. Next question: Who's coming to take it from me? Come on, look at me! No plan, no back up, no weapons worth a damn, oh, and something else I don't have - anything to lose! So, if you're sitting up there, in your silly little spaceships with all your silly little guns, and you've got any plans on taking the Pandorica tonight, just remember who's standing in your way! Remember every black day I ever stopped you, and then... do the smart thing. Let somebody else try first!"

- The Doctor, The Pandorica Opens (June 19th 2010)
Written by Steven Moffat

Thursday, 12 April 2012

The Titanic Centenary

RMS Titanic began her fateful maiden voyage a century ago this week, when she sailed from Southampton. Five days later, the luxury liner lay broken in two at the bottom of the North Atlantic. Now the world is in the grip of Titanic fever yet again. The 100th anniversary of the sinking of the most famous ship in history is being marked by events across the globe, and in all media. 

A memorial cruise aboard the MS Balmoral is following Titanic's original itinerary, and will join many othersships that will converge at the site of the disaster. 
Walter Lord's definitve account of the wreck, A Night to Remember - first issued in 1955 - has been republished, and the classic British film (to be shown on BBC2) based on the book has also been given a new release.
The highest-grossing movie of all time, James Cameron's Titanic (1997) has been re-released in 3D, to positive reviews. Here in the UK, the TV and radio schedules are packed with a plethora of new documentaries and dramas to remember the tragedy:
  • the National Geographic channel presents Titanic: Case Closed, Titanic: The Final Secret, Titanic: The Final Word (also from Cameron), and Save the Titanic (with the discoverer of the wreck, Bob Ballard)
  • Titanic: The Band Played On was shown on Yesterday, and Channel 4 will screen Saving the Titanic
  • the Discovery channel broadcast Titanic Conspiracies (with Bernard Hill), Titanic: Birth of a Legend, and Titanic: The Aftermath
  • Heroes of the Titanic, Nazi TitanicTitanic: A Tale of Two Journeys, Ghosts of the Abyss (again with film director Cameron), and Titanic: Mystery Solved all feature on the History channel's Titanic 100 weekend
  • the BBC's Titanic 100 season includes SOS-The Titanic Inquiry (starring Paul McGann), a repeat of Timewatch: Myths of the Titanic (2002), a Newsline Special: Ryan Vs. the White Star LineTitanic: A Commemoration in Music and Film live from Belfast, and A History of the Titanic in 30 Pieces
  • the 12-part costume drama, Titanic: Blood and Steel, is also due to air on the BBC
  • the 1996 Titanic TV movie is screened by Channel Five
  • Titanic: The Myths and Legends was transmitted on Radio 2, followed on Saturday by a 'live' news programme from the stricken ship, Titanic: Minute by Minute - the BBC World Service series, Discovery, aired Titanic: In Her Own Words
  • Titanic Letters - a series of 44 shorts - and Titanic Town are both for Radio Ulster
  • this Sunday, 100 years to the day, the sinking is re-enacted in the final part of ITV1's lavish Titanic mini-series - and will be shown in 80 other countries - followed by Words of the Titanic
  • the BBC History website features an animated timeline of The Titanic