Sunday, 29 December 2013

Radio Times TV Review of 2013

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 forty shows of the year has placed the programme at a respectable number twenty-two (down from number fifteen last year, and probably due to a reduced run of episodes). Mark Gatiss' one-off anniversary drama, An Adventure in Space and Time - his "love letter" to Doctor Who - also polled in thirteenth position.
  Rwriter and resident Whovian Patrick Mulkern comments:

22) Doctor Who BBC1 
Despite peripheral distractions (stamps, books, docs, a Prom), fans could be forgiven for thinking the golden anniversary was lean in terms of transmitted episodes. The concluding chunk of series 7 was a stew of corkers and stinkers, with Mark Gatiss’ juicy pastiche The Crimson Horror (with Diana Rigg) eclipsing Neil Gaiman’s Cyber-tripe Nightmare in Silver. Steven Moffat’s big celebration special, simulcast in 94 countries, ticked fan boxes by deftly weaving old Who with new. Yet at a time when ever-younger Time Lords seemed in vogue, he and Gatiss boldly volleyed Peter Capaldi (55), David Bradley (71), John Hurt (73) and even the majestic Tom Baker (79) into primetime TV as viable Doctors. 

13)  An Adventure In Space and Time BBC2 
Taking its title from a tagline printed on every 1960s RT billing for Doctor Who, Mark Gatiss’ account of the show’s origins was meticulously and lovingly mounted, celebrating the team of outsiders who, 50 years ago, shook up the fusty Corporation and gave birth to a TV phenomenon. Doubly poignant, An Adventure was the last drama made at BBC TV Centre and showed how Doctor Who captivated, then cast aside, its original star William Hartnell. So much more than a startling looky-likey, David Bradley brought a terrier’s bite, a twinkle and immense pathos to Hartnell and the character he created. He deserves a Bafta.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Doctor Who Vs. Marple, Series 3

The third run of Agatha Christie's Marple featured guest roles for three former Doctor actors, Tom Baker (as Frederick Treves in part 3), Peter Davison (Hubert Curtain in part 1), and Richard E Grant (Raymond West in Nemesis). The four-part series is currently being repeated on ITV3, and featured twenty-nine other Doctor Who cast and crew connections:

At Bertram's Hotel (Published 1965 - TX: September 23 2007)
  • directed by Dan Zeff helmed Love & Monsters too
  • writer Tom MacRae also scripted the Cybermen two-parter for Series 2, The Girl Who Waited, and the unmade Century House
  • series production designer Michael Pickwoad has set-designed sixteen adventures since A Christmas Carol
  • Charles Kay (Pennyfather) voiced the Curator for Excelis Rising (Big Finish, 2002)
  • Danny Webb (Mutti) was Mr Jefferson in The Satan Pit two-parter
  • Tom Lucy was also the stunt co-ordinator on sixteen episodes, from Smith and Jones to The Next Doctor
  • Jo McLaren was a stunt performer on Day of the Moon and Let's Kill Hitler too
  • regular Jason Gill was also costume assistant on Space and Time, and fourteen stories, from the 2010 Christmas special to The Wedding of River Song
Ordeal By Innocence (Published 1958 - TX: September 30 2007)
  • Camile Coduri (Mrs Lindsay) played Jackie Tyler, mother of Rose, appearing in thirteen episodes of the 2005 and 2006 seasons, and returned for Journey's End and The End of Time
  • Tom Riley (Argyle) has been cast in Series 8
  • Gugu Mbatha Raw (Tina) was Martha Jones' sister, Tish in four adventures for the 2007 series
  • Reece Shearsmith (Huish) was Patrick Troughton in An Adventure in Space and Time
  • Julian Rhind Tutt (Dr Calgary) voiced Lexhan for The Paradise of Death 
  • Greg Bennett (Constable) was both a Sycorax Warrior and a UNIT Soldier in The Christmas Invasion, and an uncredited Guest in The Lazarus Experiment
  • Burn Gorman (Jacko) was Torchwood series regular, Owen Harper
  • Ben Ashmore was also the SFX co-ordinator on thirty-six installments of the revived series (from The Girl in the Fireplace to The Next Doctor), The Sarah Jane Adventures and Torchwood
Towards Zero (Published 1944 - TX: July 15 2008)
  • Julie Graham (Mrs Aldin) was Ruby White in The Sarah Jane Adventures: Goodbye, Sarah Jane Smith
  • Amelda Brown (Barrett) voiced Margaret for The Gunpowder Plot
  • Jo Woodcock (Alice) voiced Ziv for Starlight Robbery (BF, 2013)
  • Zoe Tapper (Kay) voiced Collis for The War Doctor 2 (BF, new for 2016)
  • Peter Symonds (Hurstall) was a Soldier in Terror of the Zygons
  • Nigel Squibbs was dubbing mixer on An Adventure in Space and Time too
    Nemesis (Published 1971 - TX: New Year' Day 2009)
    • screenplay writer and actor, Stephen Churchett was Billy in Attack of the Cybermen
    • Dan Stevens (Faber) voiced Rick AusGarten for The Cradle of the Snake (BF, 2010)
    • Anne Reid (Sister Agnes) was Nurse Crane in The Curse of Fenric, and Florence the Plasmavore in Smith and Jones
    • Lee Ingleby (DC Hards) voiced Samson Griffin for Terror Firma (BF, 2005)
    • Dr. Graeme Garden (Broadribb) voiced Professor Ivor Fassbinder for Bang-Bang-A-Boom! (BF, 2002), Geoffrey Vantage for Max Warp (2008), and Abbot Thelonious - the new alias of the 'Meddling' Monk - for both The Book of Kells (2010) and To The Death (2011)
    • Adrian Rawlins (Turnbull) was Ryder in Planet of the Ood
    • Matthew Newman was the film editor on The Pandorica Opens and The Big Bang too

    Thursday, 12 December 2013

    Doctor Who @ 50: Decline

    Author Brian J Robb insists that the 'classic' series declined in the 1980's because the programme makers failed to engage with the (ever dwindling) audience, and that 'the fan's' producer John Nathan Turner in particular pandered to (an ever influencial) fandom.

    In the introduction of Timeless Adventures: How Doctor Who Conquered TV (Kamera, 2009), Robb establishes the crux of the whole book, that this unique series "earned it's place in the affections of British TV audiences because underneath it's fantastical adventures was a critique of contemporary social, political and cultural issues".
    Indeed, the success of today's revived incarnation of the show owes much to a thorough engagement with modern culture, initiated by it's first showrunner, Russell T Davies.

    Each successive production team positively engaged with those ideas and events happening around them, until the reign of Graham Williams when the show began it's retreat from any popular engagement. Instead, Nathan Turner continued to "exploit the growing cultural and interlectual phenomenon of postmodernism" by attracting audiences with nostalgia, but becoming bogged-down with continuity.

    I wholly concur with Robb that despite the seismic political and social upheaval of the 1980's, it seems astounding that Doctor Who- previously such an aware series - should abdicate virtually all knowledge of Thatcher's Britain (even by 1988 the imagery of The Happiness Patrol appears past it's sell-by date).

    Tuesday, 10 December 2013

    Doctor Who Vs. Silent Witness, Series 5

    The fifth season of Silent Witness was first broadcast in the winter of 2000/2001 on BBC1, and again starred Amanda Burton as Home Office pathologist, Professor Sam Ryan.
    The three two-part stories began a repeat run on the Drama channel tonight, and featured these twenty-seven Doctor Who cast and crew connections:

    The World Cruise 
    (TX: December 11 & 12 2000)
    • Richard Todd (Newman) played Sanders in Kinda
    • Andrew Sachs (Horowitz) voiced Skagra for Shada (BBCi/Big Finish, 2003), the Scorpion King for The Boy That Time Forgot (BF, 2008), Crassostrea for Orbis (BF, 2009), and the Scarf for Serpent Crest: Aladdin Time (AudioGo, 2011) - he auditioned for the role of the Doctor following Colin Baker's departure from the show
    • Ace Bhatti (DCI Naval) was Rani's dad, Haresh Chandra, in The Sarah Jane Adventures
    • Michael Elwyn (Lake) was Lieutenant Algernon Ffinch in The Highlanders
    • for Cheryl Hall (Sheryl) see the previous season's story, A Good Body
    • David Simeon (Priestley) was Private Latimer in Inferno, and Alastair Fergus in The Daemons
    • Trevor Thomas (Bill) made his TV debut as an uncredited Child in the episode, The Cave of Skulls
    • series associate producer Monica Rodger was director's assistant on Nightmare of Eden
    • for regular film editor Philip Kloss, see Series 4
    • for regular stunt arranger Rod Woodruff, see Series 2
    • series script supervisor Juley Harding was production assistant on Black Orchid and The Caves of Androzani
    Two Below Zero (TX: February 12 & 13 2001)
    • Stephen Moore (Major Hutton) was Silurian leader, Eldane in Cold Blood, and voiced Clark Goodman for The Eight Truths and Worldwide Web (BF, both 2009)
    • Anthony Head (Hutton) was Krillitane, Brother Lassar in School Reunion; and voiced the Time Lord, Valentine for Death Comes to Time (BBCi, 2002), Grayvorn for the four-part Excelis Saga (BF, 2002), and Baltazar for The Infinite Quest (CBBC, 2007) - he also auditioned for the role of the Doctor in 1995
    • Angela Bruce (Michaels) was Brigadier Winifred Bambera (pictured) in Battlefield - a role she reprised for Animal (BF, 2011)
    • Sean Chapman (DCI Norton) was Peter Tracey in K9 and Company
    • cinematographer Ian Punter was film cameraman on Resurrection of the Daleks
    • Tony Harding was also visual effects designer on The Invisible Enemy, The Power of Kroll, State of Decay, The King's Demons and The Awakening
    • William Webb was film editor on Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures too
    • first assisant director here, Debbi Slater was an associate producer on Planet of the Dead and The Waters of Mars after serving as production manager on severn other stories, from Blink to Forest of the Dead
    Faith (TX: March 19 & 20 2001)
    • Poirot actor Philip Jackson (DI Toner) voiced Laxton for Valhalla (BF, 2007)
    • Sean Murray (Dwyer here; Moss in Series 8: Body 21) voiced Captain Darvor for The Time War 1 (BF, 2017)
    • Tony Bluto (Rutman) was Driver Joe in Midnight
    • David Quilter (Lewis) was Greeves in The Unicorn and the Wasp
    • Karen Seacombe (Nurse) was Sandra in The Lodger
    • series special make-up effects artist Paul McGuinness was Drathro in The Mysterious Planet
    • Paul Smith was also the series prop master on fifteen recent installments, from Asylum of the Daleks to The Day of the Doctor
    • Jan Nethercot was make-up designer on The Caves of Androzani too

    Sunday, 24 November 2013

    Doctor Who @ 50: Great Doctor Who Quotes #3

    "..I left my car outside a junkyard in the fog, and ended up catapulted through time and space. Me and.. Barbara.. we'd been intrigued by one of our pupils.. named Susan, and we'd followed her home. Well, turned out her home was just a box.. bigger on the inside.. some kind of science of the Doctor's. He was Susan's grandfather.. It was a ship really, on the outside it looked like a police telephone box.. but.. it could travel through time. Anyway, the Doctor whisked us off in this ship, TARDIS he called it.."

    - Ian Chesteron, The Companion Chronicles: The Revenants
    (Published by Big Finish, 2012)
    Written by Ian Potter

    Tuesday, 19 November 2013

    Doctor Who Vs. Silent Witness, Series 4

    The fourth season of Silent Witness was first broadcast on BBC1 in 1999, and again starred Amanda Burton as Home Office pathologist, Professor Sam Ryan. The three two-part stories began a repeat run on the Drama channel tonight and featured another sixteen Doctor Who cast and crew connections:

    Gone Tomorrow (TX: May 30 & 31)
    • John Flanagan (Kittrick) wrote Meglos with Andrew McCulloch
    • Nigel Terry (Thorn) played General Cobb in The Doctor's Daughter
    • Robert Pugh (Peterson) was Tony Mack in the 2010 Silurian two-parter
    • Rod Arthur (Controller) was Mr Parsons in School Reunion
    • Howard Lee (Davies) was Dr Gachet in The Pandorica Opens
    • SFX artist Paul McGuinness was Drathro in The Mysterious Planet 
    • regular series stunt arranger Rod Woodruff  was a stunt co-ordinator on Rose and World War Three
    • stunt performer Abbi Collins was later the stunt co-ordinator on eleven Tennant era stories, from Rise of the Cybermen toThe Waters of Mars, and The Sarah Jane Adventures
    • cinematographer John McGlashan was film cameraman on Pyramids of Mars and The Face of Evil
    • Jan Nethercot was make-up designer on The Caves of Androzani too
    A Kind of Justice (TX: June 8 & 9)
    • Tom Georgeson (McNally) was Kavell in Genesis of the Daleks, and the Inspector in Logopolis
    • George Russo (Danny) was Cleric Philip in 2010's two-part Weeping Angels adventure
    • associate producer Michael Darbon was production manager on Warriors of the Deep
    A Good Body (TX: June 15 & 16)
    • Cheryl Hall (Sheryl) was Shirna in Carnival of Monsters
    • Alec Linstead (Cross) starred in the first Silent Witness serial, Buried Lies (1996) - he was Sergeant Osgood in The Daemons, Arnold Jellicoe in Robot, and Arthur Stengos (pictured) in Revelation of the Daleks
    • film editor Philip Kloss also edited The Doctor's DaughterMidnight, and The End of TimeTorchwood: Children of Earth, and the forthcoming An Adventure in Space and Time

    Thursday, 7 November 2013

    Great Doctor Who Quotes #2

    "In all my travelling throughout the universe I have battled against evil, against power mad conspirators. I should have stayed here! The oldest civilisation: decadent, degenerate, and rotten to the core... Daleks, Sontarans, Cybermen? They're still in the nursery compared to us! Ten million years of absolute power. That's what it takes to be really corrupt."

    - The Doctor, The Trial of a Time Lord, Part 13
    (November 29th 1986)
    Written by Robert Holmes

    Thursday, 31 October 2013

    Doctor Who Vs. The House That Dripped Blood

    Shown on the Horror channel today, the British anthology feature, The House That Dripped Blood, starred the newly cast Third Doctor actor, Jon Pertwee (as Paul Henderson, seen here in a similar costume), cinema Doctor Peter Cushing (as Philip Grayson), and future 'Unbound' Time Lord, Geoffrey Bayldon (as Von Hartmann).
    Released in 1971, the film consisted of four linked short stories, all scripted by Robert Bloch - the famous writer of Psycho (1960). Here, a Scotland Yard detective investigated four mysteries, all centred on the eponymous building.
    Distributed by Amicus, the movie was produced by Max Rosenberg and Milton Subotsky - the co-producers of the two Dalek films of the 1960's - and also featured these eight 'classic' era Doctor Who actors:
    • John Bennett (DI Holloway) played General Finch in Invasion of the Dinosaurs, and Li H'sen Chang n The Talons of Weng-Chiang
    • John Bryans (Stoker) played Torvin in The Creature from the Pit (opposite Bayldon as Organon)
    • Ingrid Pitt (Carla, pictured) and Tom Adams (Dominick and Richard) both appeared in Warriors of the Deep, as Dr Solow and Commander Vorshak respectivley, and Pitt was also Queen Galleia in The Time Monster
    • Richard Coe (Talmadge) was the TV Announcer in The Chase: The Executioners
    • Wolfe Morris (Proprietor) was Padmasambhava in The Abominable Snowmen
    • Roy Evans (Hunchback) was Trantis in The Daleks' Master Plan, Bert in The Green Death, and a Miner in The Monster of Peladon
    • for Joanna Lumley (Crew girl) see my first blog for The New Avengers

    Tuesday, 22 October 2013

    Doctor Who Vs. Silent Witness, Series 3

    The third season of Silent Witness was first broadcast on BBC1 in the spring of 1998, and again starred Amanda Burton as Home Office pathologist, Professor Sam Ryan.
    The show's distinctive theme music earned a RTS award for composer John Harle later that year.
    The four, two-part stories - which began a repeat run on the Drama channel tonight - featured another twelve Doctor Who cast and crew connections:

    An Academic Exercise
    (UK TX: March 19 & 20 1998)
    • Adam James (Blackman) played DI McMillan in Planet of the Dead, and is the godson of Jon Pertwee
    • Alec Newman (Arnold) voiced Ed Driscoll for Blue Forgotten Planet (Big Finish, 2009)
    • Katherine Schlesinger (Dr Evans) was Gwendoline (pictured) in Ghost Light
    • regular series stunt arranger Rod Woodruff was a stunt co-ordinator on Rose and World War Three
    Fallen Idol (UK TX: April 2 & 3)
    • Rachel Davies (Eileen) was Camilla in State of Decay
    Divided Loyalties (UK TX: April 16 & 17)
    • Neil Stuke (Fox) has been cast in the titular role for the upcoming Fourth Doctor audio adventure, The Crooked Man
    • Andree Bernard (Assistant) was Dolly Bailey in The Shakespeare Code; and voiced Ellen Green (also for Blue Forgotten Planet), Joanna Slade for The Feast of Axos (BF, 2011), Erisi for The Entropy Composition, and Lorelei for Paradise 5 (BF, both 2010)
    • Tim Faraday (PC Davis) was Tom's Dad in Fear Her
    • director Bill Anderson has been assigned to block 2 of Series 10
    Brothers In Arms (UK TX: April 23 & 24)
    • Elizabeth Berrington (Jane) was Auntie in The Doctor's Wife
    • Stephen Churchett (Alexander) was Bill in Attack of the Cybermen
    • Alec Sabin (Newsreader) was Ringway in Earthshock

    Tuesday, 15 October 2013

    Doctor Who Vs. Silent Witness, Series 2

    This drama's second season was first broadcast on BBC1 in 1997, and again
    starred Amanda Burton as Home Office pathologist, Professor Sam Ryan.
    The opening serial, penned by John Milne, won an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America.
    The four, two-part stories - recently repeated on the Drama channel - featured
    Geoffrey Beevers (as Rev. Duffy in the second serial) and these fifteen Doctor Who cast and crew connections:

    Blood, Sweat and Tears (UK TX: February 14 & 15 1997)
    • Frederick Treves (Reeve) played Lieutenant Brotadac in Meglos
    • Barry Jackson (Cross) and Ian Liston (MC) both appeared in The Armageddon Factor, as Drax and the Hero respectively - the former was also Ascaris in The Romans and Jeff Garvey in Mission to the Unknown
    • John Cater (Captain) was Professor Krimpton in The War Machines
    • Tom Lucy (Referee) was a stunt co-ordinator on the revived series and Torchwood
    Cease Upon the Midnight (UK TX: February 28 & March 1)
    • director Catherine Morshead later helmed Amy's Choice and The Lodger
    • Roberta Taylor (Dr de Groot) voiced Berengaria for The Holy Terror (BF, 2000), and Angela Wisher in Cuudlesome (BF, 2008)
    • Linda Marlowe (Isobel) voiced May for Forty Five: Casualties of War (BF, 2008), Osloo for The Macros, and Commander Claire Spencer for The Word Lord (BF, both 2010)
    • series regular stunt arranger Rod Woodruff was a stunt co-ordinator on Rose and World War Three
    Only the Lonely (UK TX: March 21 & 22)
    • Lloyd McGuire (Matthews) was Lugo in The Face of Evil
    • director Nicholas Laughland was an AFM on Earthshock
    Friends Like These (UKTX: April 4 & 5)
    • Christopher Fairbank (Palmer) voiced Doc Baroque for The Scapegoat (BF, 2009), and the Professor for The Wreck of the Titan (BF, 2010)
    • Michael Attwell (Quayle) was Isbur in The Ice Warriors, and Bates in Attack of the Cybermen
    • Stewart Bevan (Wyn's Man) played Clifford Jones (pictured above with Katy Manning) in The Green Death
    • Greg Donaldson (PC) voiced Coach Bela Destry for The Game (BF, 2005)

    Friday, 11 October 2013

    Missing Doctor Who Episodes Revealed

    Many months of internet speculation, and newspaper reports last weekend, culminated on Tuesday with official confirmation from the BBC of the existence of an unspecified number of 'lost' Doctor Who episodes.
    The Radio Times website even reported that some recovered material would be released this week for sale online.
    Finally, at a press conference in London yesterday, the Corporation revealed that nine installments from the Patrick Troughton era had been discovered in Nigeria by Phillip Morris, and restored by BBC Worldwide. The haul comprised of the five missing parts of The Enemy of the World, and four episodes from The Web of Fear. Frazer Hines, Deborah Watling and Mark Gatiss joined other guests and journalists to view two returned episodes.
    The two complete adventures are now available to purchase from iTunes, and DVD releases are due next month and in the New Year.

    Wednesday, 11 September 2013

    Doctor Who Anniversary Schedule Unveiled

    The BBC have announced details of their new celebratory TV and radio commissions for the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who which will culminate in the special 75-minute story, The Day of the Doctor to be broadcast on Saturday November 23rd.
    • BBC Two will screen the 90-minute biopic, An Adventure in Space and Time which stars David Bradley as William Hartnell
    • Matthew Sweet explores the cultural impact of Doctor Who in a hour-long special of The Culture Show, whilst Professor Brian Cox will present his own Royal Lecture before an audience of fans
    • BBC Four will repeat a newly restored version of the four-part adventure, An Unearthly Child
    • CBBC will feature two live Doctor Who themed episodes of Blue Peter, and a one-off 'vox-pops' show called 12 Again
    • The Ultimate Guide will air on BBC Three, and viewers will get to vote for the programme's greatest baddie in their Monsters and Villains Weekend
    • Radio 2 will broadcast two new documentaries, The Blagger's Guide and Who is the Doctor? and Graham Norton will host his weekly show live from the Doctor Who Celebration in London
    • an hour-long documentary looking at Time Lord Rock (TROCK) will air on Radio 1
    • Radio 4 Extra, the home of Doctor Who audio stories, is to broadcast a three-hour programme, Who Made Who?

    Sunday, 8 September 2013

    Doctor Who Vs. The Blood Beast Terror

    Short-lived British film company Tigon Films was founded to compete with the Hammer and Amicus features of the Sixties. Their low-budget production, The Blood Beast Terror was released in 1968, and starred horror film legend and cinema's 'Dr. Who' Peter Cushing as Scotland Yard inspector, Quennell (pictured). Here, a scientist has created a creature (masquerading as his daughter) that is capable of transforming into a giant moth and feasting on human blood!
    Shown today on the Horror channel, this B-movie featured thirteen other Doctor Who cast links:
    • Wanda Ventham (Clare) played Jean Rook in The Faceless Ones, Thea Ransome in Image of the Fendahl, and Faroon in Time and the Rani
    • David Griffin (Warrender) was Commander Mitchell in The Sea Devils
    • William Wilde (Britewell) was the Draconian Captain in Frontier in Space
    • Kevin Stoney (Granger) was Mavic Chen in The Daleks' Master Plan, Tobias Vaughn in The Invasion, and Tyrum in Revenge of the Cybermen
    • Roy Hudd (Smiler) voiced Max Miller for Pier Pressure (Big Finish, 2006)
    • Simon Cain (Withers) was Curly in The Enemy of the World, and a titular reptilian in The Silurians
    • Robert Cawdron (Chief Constable) was Taltalian in The Ambassadors of Death
    • Kenneth Colley (James) voiced Cristophe Zarodnix for both Sisters of the Flame and Vengeance of Morbius (BF, both 2008)
    • Roy Evans (Porter) was Trantis in The Daleks' Master Plan, Bert in The Green Death, and a Miner in The Monster of Peladon
    • John Scott Martin (Snaflebum) was a stalwart of 'classic' Who, with appearances in a staggering seventy-six episodes - usually as a Dalek operator - from The Web Planet: The Zarbi (1965) to Remembrance of the Daleks (1988), and a complete list of Martin's roles is available at IMDB
    • Michael Mundell (Student) was Jasko in The Invasion of Time
    • Malcolm Rogers (Elliott) was both Count Dracula and a Policeman in The Daleks' Master Plan episodes Journey into Terror and The Feast of Steven
    • Robin Wentworth (Starkadder) was Professor Horner in The Daemons

    Tuesday, 3 September 2013

    Doctor Who Vs. Silent Witness, Series 1

    BBC One's long-running crime drama series Silent Witness began in 1996, and focused on a team of forensic experts and their criminal investigations.
     The programme was created by Nigel McCrery, a former murder squad detective based in Nottingham.
     The original series followed the cases of Cambridge-based Professor Sam Ryan, played by Amanda Burton, who was based on real-life pathologist, Helen Witwell, a colleague of McCrery's from Sheffield. 
    Burton was succeeded in the eighth season (2004) by current series regulars, William Gaminara (as Professor Leo Dalton), Tom Ward (as Dr Harry Cunningham), and Emilia Fox (as Dr Nikki Alexander).
    The first, eight-part season began a repeat run on the Drama channel tonight, and featured these twenty-two Doctor Who cast and crew connections:

    Buried Lies (TX: February 21 & 22 1996)
    • series regular Milo Twomey (PC North) voiced Jorvik for Big Finish's Theatre of War (2015)
    • Lesley Dunlop (Marion) played Norna in Frontios, and Susan Q in The Happiness Patrol
    • Kelly Hunter (Ronnie) was the Shadow Architect in The Stolen Earth
    • Tom Chadbon (Coleman) was Duggan in City of Death, Merdeen in The Trial of a Time Lord: The Mysterious Planet, and voiced Gordon for No More Lies (BF, 2007)
    • Alec Linstead (Jenkins) was Sergeant Osgood in The Daemons, Arnold Jellicoe in Robot, and Arthur Stengos in Revelation of the Daleks
    • Trevor Bannister (Solicitor) voiced Korbin Thessinger for Nocturne (BF, 2007)
    • series composer Geoffrey Burgon provided the incidental music for Terror of the Zygons and The Seeds of Doom.
    • focus puller Bob Shipsey was a camera operator on The Doctor's Wife and Night Terrors
    Long Days, Short Nights (TX: February 28 & 29)
    • Colin Salmon (Bird) was Dr Moon in the Vashta Nerada two-parter (2008), and voiced Trooper Salway for Wirrn Dawn (BF, 2009)
    • Ronald Pickup (Dr Owen) was the Physician in The Reign of Terror, and voiced Kestorian for Time Works (BF, 2006)
    • James Bree (Brewer) was the Security Chief in The War Games, Nefred in Full Circle, and the Keeper of the Matrix inThe Ultimate Foe
    • Sean Gallagher (Finn) was Chip in New Earth
    • James D'Arcy (Student) voiced Michael for Paradise 5 (BF, 2010)
    • Philip Anthony (Vicar) was Roald in The Daleks' Master Plan: The Nightmare Begins 
    • Dominic Mafham (Mark) voiced Moran for The Jigsaw War (BF, 2012)
    • Timothy Block (Prison Officer) was Tanner in Black Orchid
    • Dione Inman (Nurse) was Elena in The Twin Dilemma
    • first assistant director Pennie Bloomfield was the AFM on Attack of the Cybermen
    Darkness Visible (TX: March 13 & 14)
    • Caroline John (Mrs Claire) portrayed companion, Dr Liz Shaw (pictured in Spearhead from Space)
    • Adrian Schiller (Trafford) was Uncle in The Doctor's Wife, and voiced Zanith, also for Time Works
    • Patrick Troughton's youngest son, Michael Troughton (Symonds) voiced Quendril for the forthcoming audio play, Lords of the Red Planet
    Sins of the Fathers (TX: April 2 & 3)   
    • Tam Williams (Harry) was a Schoolboy in Remembrance of the Daleks, and voiced Cedric for the first adventure in the Destiny of the Doctors audio series, Hunters of Earth (AudioGo, 2013)

    Monday, 19 August 2013

    Great Doctor Who Quotes #1

    “…but think about it. There’s a murder, and Agatha Christie… isn’t that a bit weird? Agatha Christie didn’t walk around surrounded by murders… that’s like meeting Charles Dickens and he’s surrounded by ghosts, at Christmas… come on! It’s not like we could drive across country and find Enid Blyton having tea with Noddy. Could we? Noddy’s not real, is he? Tell me there’s no Noddy… you’ll be telling me it’s like Murder on the Orient Express, and they all did it!”

    - the plucky Miss Donna Noble, The Unicorn and the Wasp
    (May 17th 2008)
    Written by Gareth Roberts

    Sunday, 4 August 2013


    After two months of intense speculation, the Twelfth Doctor was unveiled tonight at Elstree Studios, live on BBC One.
    Scottish-actor Peter Capaldi was revealed as Matt Smith's successor on Doctor Who Live: The New Doctor, which was simulcast in the UK, North America and Australia.

    Capaldi was presented before a studio audience of Whovians, and special guests Peter Davison, Bernard Cribbins, and celebrity fans Liza Tarbuck, and Rufus Hound. Filmed contributions also came from Matt Smith, Steven MoffatColin BakerAnneke Wills, Katy Manning, Janet Fielding, Bonnie Langford, Jenna Coleman, and even Professors Stephen Hawking, Robert Winston and Brian Cox.
    Moffat previewed the announcement by commenting "The decision is made and the time has come to reveal who's taking over the TARDIS. For the last of the Time Lords, the clock is striking twelve" then stated tonight that "It's an incendiary combination, one of the most talented actors of his generation is about to play the best part on television."
    Capaldi is best known as the foul-mouthed spin-doctor, Malcolm Tucker in BBC comedy series, The Thick of It. The Glasgow-born BAFTA-winning actor, aged 55, also appeared in Doctor Who: The Fires of Pompeii, and Torchwood: Children of Earth. On his new role, he said "Being asked to play the Doctor is an amazing privilege. Like the Doctor himself I find myself in a state of utter terror and delight. I can't wait to get started."

    Friday, 26 July 2013

    Doctor Who Vs. Dr. Who and the Daleks

    AARU productions was formed by another film-maker, Amicus, to create a cinematic version of the BBC's Doctor Who - this feature 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 the 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 parent TV series 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, and her father, George Tovey, was 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 (a Dalek in eight TV serials, a Clown in The Feast of Steven, a Zarbi in The Web Planet, and a Macra operator); Bruce Castagnoli (an Egyptian Warrior in The Daleks' Master Plan: Golden Death); Gerald Taylor (also a Dalek in seven 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) and Kevin Manser (also a Dalek in six adventures, and a Zarbi)
    • Dalek voices were provided by - David Graham (who also voiced Skaro's finest in five TV serials, was Charlie in The Gunfighters, and Kerensky in City of Death) and Peter Hawkins (also voiced the Daleks in seven stories, and voiced the Cybermen in four others)

    Saturday, 20 July 2013

    Doctor Who Vs. The Quatermass Experiment (1953)

    The television adventures of Professor Bernard Quatermass celebrate their diamond anniversary this month.
    The first entry in this seminal series began in the summer of 1953 with the broadcast of The Quatermass Experiment
    Sixty years on, this science-fiction classic is seen as the precursor to much of the BBC's adult drama output as well as greatly influencing a fledgling TV genre that would introduce Doctor Who a decade later.

    Set in the near future, the serial tells the story of the first manned flight into space. Supervised by Quatermass, the British Experimental Rocket Group (BERG) attempt to return it's three-man crew safely to Earth, but their ship crash lands in Wimbledon. Two astronauts are missing, and the sole survivor, Victor Caroon behaves erratically - he has been infected by an alien presence. The Professor must prevent the entity from destroying the world, resulting in a climatic showdown at Westminster Abbey (scene of the Queen's recent Coronation).

    The Quatermass Experiment was penned by Corporation writer, Nigel Kneale (1922-2006), and directed by Austrian Rudolph Cartier (1904-1994) - they next collaborated on George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty Four the following year. Kneale's hero - portrayed here by Reginald Tate (1896-1955) - was named in honour of astronomer Bernard Lovell (1913-2012) and his surname came from a London phone directory.

    The thriller was transmitted live from Alexandra Palace over six consecutive Saturday nights, from July 18 to August 22 1953, and only the first two episodes now exist in the archives. Two sequels - Quatermass II and Quatermass and the Pit - followed in 1955 and 1958/59, whilst all three stories were later adapted for the cinema by Hammer. Kneale finally wrote the conclusion to his saga for Thames TV in 1979, and BBC Four re-staged the original drama - again live - in 2005.

    The Quatermass Experiment  featured twelve Doctor Who cast and crew connections:
    • Paul Whitsun Jones (Fullalove) played Squire Edwards in The Smugglers, and the Marshal in The Mutants
    • Duncan Lamont (Victor Caroon) was Dan Galloway in Death to the Daleks
    • Moray Watson (Marsh) was Sir Robert Muir in Black Orchid
    • Peter Bathurst (Greene) was Hensell in Power of the Daleks, and Chinn in The Claws of Axos
    • Neil Wilson (Constable) was Seeley in Spearhead from Space
    • Keith Pyott (Minister) was Autloc in The Aztecs
    • Alan Casley (Crowd) was Miro in Planet of the Daleks
    • Paddy Russell (Passenger/On-looker) was a stage manager for Cartier, before becoming a director in 1962 -  she later helmed The Massacre, Invasion of the Dinosaurs, Pyramids of Mars, and Horror of Fang Rock
    • Malcolm Watson (the only actor to appear in all three Quatermass serials of the 1950's) and Aubrey Danvers Walker (both Photographers here) were Council Members in The Dominators 
    • Jack Kine (1921-2005) co-founded the BBC Visual Effects Department in 1954 with Bernard Wilkie (1920-2002) - together they provided special effects on The Mind Robber, Kine even featured as the 'Big Brother' type leader (albeit on posters) of the parallel Earth in Inferno, whilst Wilkie worked on An Unearthly Child, The Ice Warriors, Colony in Space, The Curse of Peladon, Frontier in Space, and Planet of the Spiders
    • lighting engineer Michael Leeston Smith also became a director and later helmed The Myth Makers

    Sunday, 14 July 2013

    Doctor Who Vs. Oliver Twist (2005)

    By 2005, the French-born film-maker, Roman Polanski was keen to produce a child-friendly cinematic version of Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist - actually the first adaptation since the Oscar-winning musical, Oliver! in 1968. This new rendition, shown on Film4 today, was shot entirely in the Czech Republic.
    Literary classic Oliver Twist (also known as The Parish Boy's Progress, and originally published monthly in Bentley's Miscellany from 1837-39) was only Dickens' second novel.
    The cast here was headed by Sir Ben Kingsley as Fagin, with the famous orphan now portrayed by Barney Clark (picutred left), and also featured these nine Doctor Who cast connections:
    • Ian McNeice (Limbkins) played Winston Churchill in Victory of the DaleksThe Pandorica Opens, and The Wedding of River Song, and also voiced Zeus in Immortal Beloved (2007) and Reginald Harcourt for The Renaissance Man (2012) both from Big Finish
    • Jamie Foreman (Bill Sykes, pictured right) was Eddie Connolly in The Idiot's Lantern
    • Timothy Bateson (Parson) was Binro in The Ribos Operation
    • Joseph Tremain (Hungry Boy) was Jim in The Empty Child and The Doctor Dances
    • Peter Copley (Master) was Dr Warlock in Pyramids of Mars
    • Gerald Horan (Farmer) was Clark in Human Nature and The Family of Blood
    • Patrick Godfrey (Bookseller) was Tor in The Savages, and Major Cosworth in The Mind of Evil
    • Frank Mills (Officer) was the Radio Telescope Director in Terror of the Autons
    • Paul Brooke (Grimwig) voiced Paolo for The Ghosts of N-Space (Radio 5, 1996), and Toby the Sapient Pig for Year of the Pig (BF, 2006)

    Saturday, 13 July 2013

    New Doctor Who Companion Poll

    Candy Jar Books, the Welsh publishers of Companions: Fifty Years of Doctor Who Assistants, have revealed the results of their poll to find the Doctor's best friend.
    Tegan Jovanka was voted the programme's most popular travelling companion after receiving almost a quarter of all votes.
    Janet Fielding - who played Tegan on TV from Logopolis (1981) to Resurrection of the Daleks (1984) and more recently for Big Finish - said it was "fantastic.. and unexpected" that "the Mouth-on-legs" had topped the survey.
    The book's author, Andy Frankham-Allen commented: "I would have expected either Sarah Jane or Rose to win, but it's pleasing to see a companion who's only been obliquely referenced [just] twice since 2005 win. Seems there's still a lot of love for the [classic era of the 19]80's  and Fielding's" portrayal.
    The complete list is here:

    1) Tegan Jovanka
    2) Sarah Jane Smith
    3) Donna Noble
    4) Rose Tyler
    5) Ace [McShane]
    6) Romana/Jamie McCrimmon
    7) Nyssa
    8) River Song
    9) Amy Pond
    10) Leela

    Thursday, 4 July 2013

    Doctor Who Vs. Blackout

    This dark and gritty BBC One thriller first aired a year ago. The three-part series featured Christopher Eccleston in another trademark performance as the flawed and angst-ridden politician, Daniel Demoys. Formerly known as The Fuse, the programme was created by Bill Gallagher, and the Red Production Company - makers of Russell T Davies' Queer as Folk, The Second Coming (also starring Eccleston), and Single Father (starring David Tennant).
    Blackout featured ten other Doctor Who cast and crew connections:
    • co-executive producer Piers Wenger held the same post on the twenty-first century series (from The End of Time, Part 2 to The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe), DreamlandThe Sarah Jane Adventures, and Doctor Who Confidential
    • Danny Sapanni (Griffin) played Colonel Manton in A Good Man Goes to War
    • for Myanna Buring (as Sylvie, pictured) see this other blog
    • Dervla Kirwan (Alex) and Karl Collins (Bo) both starred in 55 Degrees North (see my blog)
    • Rebecca Callard (Ruth) voiced Connie for Time Reef: A Perfect World (Big Finish, 2008)
    • stunt co-ordinator Gordon Seed worked in that capacity on eighteen episodes of the revived series
    • stunt performer Dean Foster also worked on seven stories
    • stuntman Andy J Smart appeared in Evolution of the Daleks, and Let's Kill Hitler
    • SFX supervisor Ben Ashmore was SFX co-ordinator on thirty-six installments of the revived series, from The Girl in the Fireplace to The Next Doctor

    Sunday, 2 June 2013

    Matt Smith To Leave Doctor Who

    Following intense online speculation last night, the BBC officially confirmed that Matt Smith will relinquish the role of the Eleventh Doctor after four years in this year's Christmas special.
    The Northampton-born actor said that Doctor Who had been "the most brilliant experience.. and that is down to the cast, crew and fans of the show. I'm incredibly grateful to all the cast and crew who work tirelessly every day to realise all the elements and deliver Doctor Who to the audience.. I'm proud of what we have achieved over the last four years."
    Smith praised Steven Moffat's "mind-bending and brilliant scripts" as "the greatest and most rewarding challenges" of his career. "It's been a privilege and a treat to work with Steven" who "will continue to shape" the programme.
    Of the committed Whovians, Smith said: "the fans.. are unlike any other, they dress up, know more about the history of the show and speculate" constantly. Their "dedication is truly remarkable. Thank you so very much for supporting my incarnation.. It's been an honour to play the part, to follow the legacy of brilliant actors, and helm the TARDIS with the ginger, the nose and the impossible one. But when ya gotta go, ya gotta go and Trenzalore calls."

    Matthew Robert Smith - relatively unknown - was unveiled as the Doctor in a special edition of Doctor Who Confidential in January 2009, and was just 26 years old when cast, making him the youngest ever actor to take the part.
    Smith debuted as the new Doctor on New Year's Day 2010, in The End of Time, then embarked on three full seasons as the iconic Time Lord.
    The forthcoming 50th anniversary special completed production last month, so Moffat's next script- the Christmas adventure - will be Smith's final story which begins filming in the summer.

    Saturday, 1 June 2013

    Doctor Who Vs. Cracker Specials

    After three full seasons, Cracker returned to ITV in 1996 for a feature-length special written by Paul Abbot. Robbie Coltrane again played the titular criminal psychologist, Fitz (here on a lecture tour of Hong Kong), and was joined by Ricky Tomlinson (as DCI Wise). Coltrane reprised his most famous TV role ten years later in a final special, now set in Manchester again, and scripted by series creator, Jimmy McGovern.
    The serials featured ten Doctor Who cast and crew connections:

    White Ghost (TX: October 28 1996)
    • David Bradley (Carter) provided the voice of Shansheeth Blue in The Sarah Jane Adventures: Death of the Doctor, played Solomon in Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, and led the cast of An Adventure in Space and Time as William Hartnell
    • Barnaby Kay (Philby) voiced Martin Donaldson for the forthcoming Big Finish release, Dark Eyes 4
    • Pik Sen Lim (Wei Wei) was Captain Chin Lee in The Mind of Evil, scripted by her husband Don Houghton
    Nine Eleven (TX: October 1 2006)
    • Barbara Flynn (Judith) voiced Sister Chalice for The Skull of Sobek (Big Finish, 2008)
    • Anthony Flanagan (Archer) was Orin Scannell in 42
    • Nisha Nayar (DS Saleh) made her TV debut as an uncredited Red Kang in Paradise Towers, and was a Programmer in Bad Wolf and The Parting of the Ways
    • effects editor Peter Baldock was an Acolyte in The Face of Evil
    • Steve Griffin and Kai Martin were both NuWho stunt performers - on The Idiot's Lantern and Tooth and Claw respectively
    • Andy Brierley was also casting associate on fifty-eight installments of the revived series, from The Christmas Invasion to The Big BangTorchwoodThe Sarah Jane Adventures, and Music of the Spheres

    Wednesday, 29 May 2013

    Doctor Who Vs. Cracker, Series 3

    Series regulars Robbie Coltrane (playing criminal psychologist 'Fitz'), Geraldine Somerville (as DS Penhaligon), Lorcan Cranitch (DS Beck) and Ricky Tomlinson (DCI Wise) all returned for three new thrillers, first broadcast on ITV in the autumn of 1995.
    The third, seven-part season of Cracker featured John Simm (as Bill Preece in the second serial) - the most recent actor to play the Master (pictured) - and fourteen other Doctor Who cast and crew connections:

    Brotherly Love (TX: October 22 to 29 1995)
    • Brid Brennan (Maggie) was the Visionary in The End of Time
    • Ron Donachie (Barney) was the Steward in Tooth and Claw
    • Paul Copley (Pathologist), Edward Peel (Chief Superintendent), Barbara Flynn (Judith), Des Hughes (production manager), and Andy Pryor (casting) see my blog for the first series of Cracker
    • Andrew Knott (Harvey) voiced James O'Meara for 1963: Fanfare for the Common Men (Big Finish, 2013), and Sean Casey for Dark Eyes 2: The White Room
    Best Boys (TX: November 6 & 13)
    • Liam Cunningham (Grady) was Captain Zhukov in The Cold War
    • stunt arranger Terry Forrestal was a Driver in K9 and Company
    • Vince McGahon was the Steadicam operator on The Vampires of Venice and Vincent and the Doctor too
    True Romance (TX: November 20 & 27)
    • Kenneth Gilbert (Father) was Richard Dunbar in The Seeds of Doom
    • Emily Joyce (Janice) provided an Alien voice for The Girl in the Fireplace
    • Biddy Hodson (Carol) was Captain Price in the two-part Sontaran adventure for Series 4