Tag Archives: The Doctor

Doctor Who – Matt Smith Teams Up With Two Former Companions*


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[*Or three if you count K9.]

Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith will cross over for a guest appearance in the forthcoming fourth season of Doctor Who spin-off show The Sarah Jane Adventures.

And in the latest crowd-pleasing blast from the past, actress Katy Manning will reprise her role as former companion Jo Grant in the show, alongside Smith and Elisabeth Sladen’s Sarah Jane.

Manning accompanied Third Doctor Jon Pertwee between 1971 and 1973.

She and Smith will appear in a two-episode run of the spin-off, which is aimed at a younger audience than the parent show.

Full BBC press release here.

Sarah Jane Smith (travelled in the TARDIS between 1973 and 1976, taking over as The Doctor’s companion after Manning left. She appeared alongside both Pertwee and fourth Doctor Tom Baker.

She was reunited with The Doctor (in the guise of David Tennant) during the second series of the revived Doctor Who in 2006. The character, arguably the show’s all-time favourite companion, was then given her own spin-off show, The Sarah Jane Adventures, which also included occasional appearances by the Doctor’s robot dog K-9 (who was reintroduced full-time in season three).

The Brigadier (Nicholas Courtney), another long-time Doctor Who mainstay who first appeared in the 1970s, has also appeared in The Sarah Jane Adventures.

Incidentally, Katy Manning famously caused a bit of a stir when, shortly after leaving Doctor Who, she posed naked with a Dalek for a saucy nude magazine photoshoot.

The photos are pretty tame by modern standards but possibly still NSFW, so click here, here, here, here, here and here to see them.

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Finally! First Official Photos Of Doctor Who’s New Season 5 TARDIS Interior


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At last, with less than a week to go before season five of Doctor Who launches (season five in post-revival terms, that is – season 31 overall) and Matt Smith‘s reign as the eleventh Doctor begins (the first episode airs in the UK on Easter Saturday, April 3, on April 17 in the US and Canada and on April 18 in Australia), we finally have our first proper look at the new TARDIS interior.

We already knew that the console room would be split over two levels and have been promised a look at some other rooms in the TARDIS but for now, all the shots are of the main level of the console room.

If, like me, you were a bit confused that the Doctor and Amy (played by Scots actress Karen Gillan) appear to be standing in front of two different versions of the Tardis console, in fact they are standing on the perspex platform in the top picture and down on the “Swiss-cheese”-style main floor in the others.

So, what do you think? Comments welcome.

More pics over at Radio Times.

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The Monday Movie: The Sword In The Stone


When I was wee, you never saw any of Disney’s classic animated films on TV.

There were only three TV channels in the UK until I was 13. And the home video boom didn’t really take off until I was in my mid-teens.

This meant that when I was a kid, there were only two way to see a film – go to the cinema when it first came out, or wait three or four years for it to premier on one of those three channels - usually at Christmas.

However, Disney’s feature-length cartoons NEVER aired on TV. Back then, they were re-released into cinemas every decade or so, so I guess the Disney bosses did not want to devalue them by making them available on TV.

The best we got was on bank holidays and at Christmas and Easter, when there was always a special edition of Disney Time on BBC1 in the afternoon, presented by whatever celebrities were trendy at the time – including, in one memorable case, Doctor Who star Tom Baker in character as The Doctor.

Disney Time included brief clips from a selection of Disney’s animated classics, padded out with clips from some of their lesser animated and live-action efforts.

All of which is by way of a preamble to explain why the following scene still means a lot to me, even though The Sword In The Stone isn’t really considered one of Disney’s greats.

This clip – the wizards’ duel between Merlin and Madam Mim - ALWAYS seemed to appear in every single one of these bank holiday Disney Time shows and so helps evoke some happy childhood memories for me.

Although, in saying that the memories were happy, at the time it was exceptionally frustrating to only ever see clips and never the full film!

What brought it back to mind now was last week’s A Word From Our Sponsors, in which I featured a classic Lego advert that seemed to be inspired by the scene.

Enjoy!

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Tuesday Is Theme Tunes Day – The Doctor Who Megamix


Something a little different for this week’s classic theme tune.

Usually I like to present the best possible version I can find of the official opening and, if possible, closing credits, along with any multiple versions that were aired during a show’s run.

However, to mark David Tennant‘s last Doctor Who outing (the first part of his two-part farewell airs on Christmas Day and the second on New Year’s Day on BBC1 in the UK) here’s a rather nifty mash-up megamix of the various mixes of the show’s classic theme tune and opening titles from all 10 incarnations of the Doctor so far, from the very first, William Hartnell, right through to Tennant.

For the most part, it sticks to the official BBC versions of the music opening titles as aired, though the creator has taken a few liberties here and there.

Most notably this means tweaks to the title sequence from the 1996 TV movie (Paul McGann‘s only TV outing as the Eighth Doctor) and to the opening credits used for the ninth (Christopher Ecclestone) and 10th (Tennant) Doctors, in all three cases to add images of the Doctor, a la the classic Who opening title sequences.

When Matt Smith takes over the role next year we will have a new TARDIS, new logo, new credit sequence and almost certainly a new remix version of the theme tune.

Personally, I’m hoping for a return to the earlier style of opening credits and also a mix of the theme tune that restores the spooky, haunting, atmospheric, “squelchy” sound of the 60s and early 70s theme, which was composed by Ron Grainer and recorded by Delia Derbyshire at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

Given new producer Steven Moffat appears to have returned the TARDIS exterior to something more closely resembling the William Hartnell-era original than more recent incarnations – and if we forget about the odd TARDIS-shaped DW abbreviation, the new logo, left, is also reminiscent of the original 1963 version - maybe he’ll go for a similar retro feel to the theme and credits. We’ll find out in a few months!

In the meantime, enjoy the megamix:

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Doctor Who Versus Robert Mugabe


Robert Mugabe is in trouble now. Sure, Zimbabwe’s president has never been very popular among the international community – and no wonder, given his despicable human rights violations and a leadership that has brought his country to its knees, wrecking its economy.

Inflation is currently estimated by some experts to be running at an astonishing 10 sextillion per cent (the Choob studied maths at university and still had to look that one up – it’s a 1 followed by 22 zeroes, apparently).

Mugabe has proved to be exceptionally resilient since taking control of the country following the fall of the then Rhodesia’s minority white-ruled government in 1980, despite repeated attempts in his own country and internationally to remove him from power.

But he may finally have met his match.

Because now the 85-year-old is facing the wrath of a fanatical and highly-organised group of people who believe Zimbabwe holds the key to realising one of their long-held goals and will stop at nothing to achieve it – Doctor Who fans.

And I’m talking about the hardcore, old-school fans of the show’s original run, not the lightweight, johnny-come-lately, casual fans of the new version.

How did Mugabe provoke Whovians‘ ire? Well, it turns out that Zimbabwe may be in possession of some of the episodes of Doctor Who missing from the BBC’s archives. As most people know, thousands of episodes of old TV shows were dumped by Beeb in the 60s and 70s to make room on the shelves for more recent shows, as they did not consider at that time there was any value in hanging on to them.

Since they realised the error of their ways, they have managed to recover some of the missing episodes, some from fans and former BBC employees who had acquired copies, and some from overseas TV broadcasters who had screened the show.

Which is where Zimbabwe comes in to the story. There are still 108 of the 253 episodes missing from Doctor Who’s first six seasons (the William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton eras). British tabloid newspaper The Sun reports that the then Rhodesia bought and screened the shows early episodes and may still hold copies in their archives.

Unfortunately, relations between Zimbabwe and Britain are strained, to put it mildly, and one of the results is that Mugabe has  banned the BBC from entering the country. So there is currently no way to check for any missing Who episodes.

Mugabe may be about to find out that hell hath no fury like a Doctor Who fan who thinks he (and the fanatical ones are all hes) is being deprived of his holy grail. He should expect an invasion by men wearing really long scarfs, sticks of celery on their lapels or silver jumpsuits any day now.

Wouldn’t it be funny if, after all the sanctions and international condemnation and pressure, Mugabe is finally toppled by a Time Lord?

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Doctor Who: Another New Companion Revealed


As the Choob reported a few weeks ago, David Tennant will be joined in the Easter Special episode of Doctor Who, Planet Of The Dead, by former EastEnders actress Michelle Ryan and comedian Lee Evans.

Now the BBC have revealed who will play The Doctor’s companion in the second of the four specials due to air this year – and it marks a departure from the younger women that have typified the Time Lord’s sidekicks since the show’s return, in favour of a more mature, experienced helper.

Veteran actress Lindsay Duncan, 58, will play a character called Adelaide, who producers describe as the Doctor’s cleverest and most strong-minded companion yet. I think Romana (both of them) might have something to say about that!

Duncan has appeared in TV shows such as GBH, Rome and the brilliant Shooting The Past. She will next be seen next Thursday (February 26) playing former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the BBC2 television film Margaret, which presents a dramatised account of the Tory leader’s final days in power.

Duncan said of her role in Doctor Who: “I’m thrilled to be involved in Doctor Who. I’ve never done anything like this before.”

Filming will start in the Spring, with the episode likely to air during the Summer. Four special Doctor Who episodes will air this year in the run-up to Tennant’s departure from the role and the arrival of his replacement Matt Smith, 26, who will take over when the show returns for a full season in 2010.

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TARDIS News Round-Up: Matt Smith Hates Doctor Who


Lots of activity in the Whoniverse in the last week or so.

First of all, Matt Smith has made the rookie mistake of being honest in an interview and admitting that he was not much of a fan of Doctor Who before landing the role.

That sound you can hear is the massed ranks of old-school Whovians, many of whom are already less than happy that someone young enough to be their son is going to be The Doctor, sharpening their knives, ready to thrust them through the new Doc’s two hearts.

He told Doctor Who Magazine: “I wasn’t a Who fan. I have to be honest – I can’t claim to have watched the show in its entirety or have been a follower as avidly as some people are. That’s what I’m realising – that people love this show, people are avid, avid fans of it, and know it, and know its history and are part of it.

“I can’t claim to know it as well as that, but I’m going to make it my business to do so, and fall into it in as much depth as I possibly can.”

Full marks for honesty there – but as he will not only be replacing a very popular actor (David Tennant) in a very popular role, but also one who from the off made no secret of who much the show and the character meant to him throughout his life and what an honour and a dream come true it was to land the role… well, Smith isn’t making it easy on himself to win over the doubters with unguarded comments such as this.

Also in the “not helping” column was the news, reported by The Daily Mirror and subsequently picked up by most other newspapers, that beloved British actor Martin Clunes (Men Behaving Badly, Doc Martin) had been the first choice to take over from Tennant, but had turned down the role after failing to agree a fee.

However, careful reading of the article shows that it is one of those spurious celebrity stories, beloved of understaffed, copy-hungry national newspapers, where the only source is a mysterious, unnamed “insider”.

Furthermore, even allowing for that, the only “fact” that appears to have any basis in reality is that Clunes was originally lined up to take the role of “The Next Doctor” in the most recent Christmas special, a role eventually played by David Morrissey and one which was deliberately meant to misdirect fans waiting to discover Tennant’s replacement and was never going to be played by an actor who had any chance of getting the permanent role. All of which was conveniently ignored by the Mirror and all the other papers who ran with the “story”.

Another story from the anonymous insider (this time in The Sun- he/she gets around) but one that has a certain logic to it so I wouldn’t dismiss it out of hand, is that Freema Agyeman will return as Martha Jones for one of this year’s remaining four special episodes.

Our insider friend said: “Freema’s on board. It’s early days so it’s unclear what exactly Martha will be up to in the new show. Whatever happens it’s good news for Freema and shows that whatever friction there was between her and Who bosses has gone.”

That “friction” refers to reports that producer Russell T Davies was unhappy when Agyeman joined the cast of Law & Order: UK, a forthcoming British spin off from a long-running US show, forcing him to scrap plans for her to join Who spin-off Torchwood.

There’s no official confirmation in the Sun article but, given that another return by Billie Piper as Rose seems highly unlikely, having Agyeman return to see off Tennant’s Doc would provide a sense of his reign as the Doctor coming full circle, rounding off her story and clearing the deck for Smith’s brand new era.

Definitely NOT coming back however, it seems, is Noel Clarke ‘s Mickey Smith. Clarke told thelondonpaper he is looking forward to seeing Matt Smith’s Doctor, adding:  “I can sit back and watch it as a fan, as I won’t be appearing in any more episodes.”

One beloved character definitely making a return is K-9, who is coming out of exile in a cupboard in Sarah Jane Smith’s attic, where he has been keeping a black hole closed (don’t ask). He’ll appear regularly in the third season Doctor Who kids’ show spin-off The Sarah Jane Adventures.

Producer Nikki Smith told Doctor Who Magazine: “K-9 won’t be in every single episode. Right now, we estimate he’ll appear in approximately six of the 12 episodes.”

Over at the more grown-up side of the Whoniverse, a trailer for season three of Torchwood has been released. The show has been promoted from BBC2 and the five-part single-story serial – titled Children Of Earth - will air on five consecutive nights on BBC1, probably in March or April.

Back in the main show, details have emerged about who the Doctor’s foes will be in the next special episode, The Planet Of The Dead, which is due to air at Easter on BBC1.

They are called the Tritovore and are described (guess who by? Yep, our mysterious insider!) as “half-human, half-fly”.

The insider said: “They are disgusting and will last long in the memory,”and added that producers hope that the Tritovore would become as iconic as the Daleks and the Cybermen.

“Everyone remembers the Daleks and the Cyberman, but not a lot else if they’re honest. The Tritovore will change that. Scriptwriters are confident they’ll make a huge impact.”

Not a lot else? How about The Master? The Sontarans? The Yeti? The Silurians, the Ice Warriors, The Autons, Omega, the Rani..?

In any case, the Choob will eat his blog if anyone even remembers these human flies 46 years from now, never mind them becoming as iconic as the Daleks and the Cybermen.

And finally, if you have a shiny new high-definition plasma-screen TV, you’ll be happy to know Planet Of The Dead is the first episode of Doctor Who to be filmed and broadcast in HD.

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