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19 May 2011

The first episode of this year's Doctor Who, 6.1: The Impossible Astronaut, was the most recorded TV event of all time, according to Kantar Media.

An analysis of BARB data shows that record-breaking numbers of viewers recorded the programme. A total of 8.9 million viewers watched the programme, making it the sixth most viewed show of the week.

Within that figure, 4.1 million viewers chose to time-shift the show by watching a recording of the show either later that day or in the following week.

The figure easily beat the previous record holder, the 2010 Christmas day episode of Come Fly With Me.  Other shows likely to have viewers reaching for the record button to ensure they are not missed include reality TV shows like The X Factor and Britain's Got Talent, along with comedy favourites like The Royle Family, according to Kantar.

Dalia Gereis, commercial director at Kantar Media Audiences, said:  "With the continued growth of hard drive recording devices like Sky+, it's no surprise that all the episodes of these top 10 recorded shows come from the last three years.

"Increasingly viewers are using their own 'time travel' abilities to watch TV shows when they want them - this particularly applies to dramas and 'must see' reality shows. Given that these figures do not include data from online catch up services like BBC iPlayer and ITVplayer, it is clear that judging a show's performance just by looking at it's overnight viewing figures is unlikely to give the full picture."

[Source: MediaTel]

19 May 2011

DWO recently caught up with New Series Doctor Who Director, Richard Clark, who spared us some time for a quick interview:

When you found out you would be directing the hotly anticipated Neil Gaiman episode, what was your first reaction, and how much input did he have?

I was absolutely thrilled. The Sandman blew me away when I first came across it and I loved American Gods. Having said that I hadn't been aware of this episode or any of the feverish anticipation surrounding it. And frankly I'm glad. The first I knew of Neil's script when it landed on my desk with his name on it, so I just approach it as I would any other story.

As for Neil's input, well I guess the honest answer would be very little. Like all good writers he understands that once you pass a script to a director you're in some ways saying goodbye. A writer's responsibility ends at the words on the page. It's then the director's job to turn those words into a walking, talking visual exciting reality, on time and on budget. 

However what did inevitably happen is that, because of our practical restraints, we did go back to Neil on several occasions to see if he could write us out of a corner. Hence there are a number of scenes, characters, locations and dialogue that never made the final film.

3.3: Gridlock, 3.6: The Lazarus Experiment, 6.4: The Doctor's Wife - Which has been the most challenging of all the Doctor Who stories you have directed to date and why?

Tricky one. Either Gridlock or The Doctor's Wife. In both cases you've got to create an entire alien world which is always a challenge. Gridlock had some very elaborate CGI work - David Tennant jumping from car to car and the Macra snapping at Martha's vehicle. 

However there was a visual ambition to The Doctor's Wife that we all just really went for. Just take the lighting for example (Owen McPollin was my wonderful DP). We tried to use it to really tell the story which meant we had all sorts of complex lighting changes going on all the time (look at when the Tardis first lands on the planet). And then the production design was a massive undertaking. Infact I'm n ot sure Dr Who hasn't seen sets built on that scale before.

When it comes to directing actors, do you prefer minimal input so that they bring more to the table or a more hands-on approach to get more out of them?

For me directing actors is about instinct. You have to get a feel for who they are and how they work. They all have different approaches and need supporting, encouraging or guiding in different ways. Matt for example knows his character, but I wanted this to be a really emotional episode for him (as did he) and so it was about teasing that out of him. However Suranne, as a guest on the show, had to create a character from scratch. In that case I had a clear idea of what that should be so it was very much about giving her the confidence to go for it. It was very ballsy of her to trust me because, had I got it wrong, she would have been the focus of fans anger! 

The other thing I should add is that actor's spark off each other and affect each other's performance. They create possibilities that you as a director couldn't have imagined.

Bearing in mind DWO is a non-spoiler site, what can you tell us about your upcoming episode written by Mark Gatiss?

Almost nothing I guess! Except to say that I absolutely love it. It's very creepy (young viewers might well need a cushion to hide behind). Oh and Danny Mays is brilliant. Great chemistry with Matt.

Finally, if you could have one round trip in the TARDIS, anywhere in time and space, where would you go and why?

Now that's tricky. 

Either I'd take a trip into the future, say 2000 years after mankind first inhabits another planet, and go to the planet with the most established human civilization but furthest from earth, just to see where we're all heading. OR. I'd go to the most advanced alien civilization that exists right now and see if they know about us.

[We also asked Richard another question in case he couldn't answer Question 4. The reply was so good, we have included it below]

Owing to the huge success of The Doctor's Wife, and your clearly successful partnership with Neil Gaiman, is there any possibility of a future collaboration in Doctor Who between the pair of you?

Neil and I would love to collaborate on something together. And we'd love to collaborate on another Dr Who. (a feature?) But the t ruth is it's not up to us. With Steven Moffat, Beth Willis and Piers Wenger in charge the show is in very capable hands and they will make the right choices about how to keep it moving forwards.

But I have to say I'd love to direct a Dr Who episode for each new Doctor across my lifetime!

+  Post a Question to Richard Clark in the DWO Forums Ask & Answer section.

+  To read more DWO Interviews, check out the DWO Features section.

[Source: Doctor Who Online]

<mce:script

19 May 2011

Forbidden Planet have teamed up with Character Options for another Exclusive Doctor Who Toy.

The Time Warrior Set recreates a scene from the Classic Series 3rd Doctor adventure, The Time Warrior.

Journalist Sarah Jane Smith covertly gains access to a research centre where top scientists are being held in protective custody whilst UNIT investigates the disappearance of a number of their colleagues. The missing scientists have been kidnapped by a Sontaran, Linx, and taken back to medieval England, where they are working under hypnosis to repair his crashed spaceship.

The Third Doctor follows in the TARDIS, and Sarah Jane stows away. In return for shelter, Linx has provided a robber baron called Irongron with anachronistically advanced weapons to use in attacks on neighbouring castles.

The Doctor helps Sir Edward of Wessex to repel one such attack, then he and Sarah Jane conspire to drug the food in Irongron's kitchens so that the weapons can be removed while the men are unconscious. Aided by one of the kidnapped scientists, Rubeish, he then sends the others back to the 20th Century using Linx's primitive time travel equipment.

Linx shoots Irongron down and gets ready to leave in his repaired ship. Hal, one of Sir Edward's archers, fires an arrow into the vulnerable probic vent at the back of his neck, killing him. The Doctor, Sarah Jane and Hal escape just before the ship explodes, destroying the castle.

In this exclusive set, Forbidden Planet present the Classic Sontaran: Commander Linx and his iconic Sontaran space ship along with the Third Doctor in Green Jacket and Sonic Screwdriver.

Contents:

1 x Third Doctor in Green Jacket action figure

1 x Sontaran Commander Linx action figure with helmet and gun

1 x Sontaran Ship

+  The Time Warrior Set is released on 1st June 2011, priced £34.99.

+  Preorder this product from Forbidden Planet!

[Source: Forbidden Planet]

<mce:script

18 May 2011

This year's TV Choice Awards are upon us, and Doctor Who is nominated in 3 categories.

First up is the show proper, where Doctor Who is nominated in the Best Drama Series category, along with The Sarah Jane Adventures.

Matt Smith is nominated in the Best Actor category for Doctor Who, along with David Tennant (Single Father) and Christopher Eccleston (The Shadow Line), as well as numerous other actors that have appeared in the show.

Karen Gillan is nominated in the Best Actress category for Doctor Who, as well as Elisabeth Sladen (The Sarah Jane Adventures) and numerous other actors that have appeared in the show.

Also worthy of a vote in the Best New Drama Series category is Steven Moffat's Sherlock.

Finally, just as we were about to press publish on this news item, Steven Moffat tweeted that Sherlock needs your votes for the BAFTA YouTube Audience Award.

+  Click Here to vote in the 2010 TV Choice Awards.

[Sources: TV Choice; Steven Moffat]

18 May 2011

Manufacturer: Character Building

RRP: £9.99

Release Date: 13th May 2011

Reviewed by: Doctor Who Online

Review Posted: 18th May 2011

The third and final of the currently available Doctor Who Mini-Sets from Character Building that DWO is reviewing, is The TARDIS Mini-Set.

This is very different to the previous 2 Mini-Sets. For starters there is no base, which is a shame as it would be nice to add around the TARDIS with your own custom builds / snap in characters.

Unlike the Dalek Progenitor Room and The Time of Angels Mini-Sets, this isn't a set in the scenic representation sense of the word, but a 'what you see is what you get' construction.

Build time is between 10-15 minutes (depending on how good you are at applying stickers), and with just 53 pieces, is the smallest of the Mini-Sets - both in number and in physical size.

Whilst not as enjoyable to build as the other two sets, it's great to have your own representation of the TARDIS in this construction range - even if it is only three inches high.

The set is priced at just £9.99 and includes two Micro-Figures of The Doctor and Amy Pond, which are also available in the blind bags currently available in the shops for £1.99.

+  Compare Prices for this product on CompareTheDalek.com!

17 May 2011

DWO have seen 6.5: The Rebel Flesh and have put our spoiler-free preview together:

If you thought following Episode Two was difficult, put yourself in Matthew Graham's shoes as The Rebel Flesh has to carry the baton that the unbelievably popular The Doctor's Wife left behind.

Fortunately, you have no time to reminisce and compare, as you are immediately drawn into the adventure, which pulls you in from the opening shot. In fact, so different is this story in contrast to its precursor, that it's literally impossible to compare.

It's no secret that the story is centred around clones - a subject matter that Doctor Who history knows only too well, but this time around there is so much more to the concept that plunders emotional and moral depths in such a way that will have you questioning who you feel for most.

Perhaps most of all, this is a story about consequences and trust - something that not only echoes the plot, but the entire Steven Moffat era of Doctor Who to date.

Matthew Graham has carved his name into addictive and gripping drama; two elements that sum up this adventure perfectly. Those of you who have seen Life on Mars or Ashes to Ashes, will also know just how much life he can breathe into characters in just a few lines of dialogue. And its no different here.

Rory has so much more to do in this adventure, and it's rewarding to see so many more facets of his character that enable Arthur Darvill to really sink his teeth into the role. In fact, in this first portion of the two-part adventure, Amy very much seems to take a bit of a backseat, which leads to a refreshing change of dynamic.

As with all the episode previews for Series 6 thus far, don't expect us to cater you with plot details, as even the tiniest morsel might give away too much. What we can tell you is that there are lots of corridors, a little bit of running and several cases of mistaken identity, that will leave you wondering who's who. There's also a cliffhanger that will have you on the edge of your seat, and devoid of fingernails.

Graham's rather understated previous Doctor Who outing, Fear Her, may not have hit the right notes with certain circles of Doctor Who Fandom, but The Rebel Flesh, is set to secure his place in Doctor Who lore as a master storyteller who bridges the classic series with the new, seamlessly.

Something is building here, you really feel it, and as we make our way to the centre point of the series, you cant help feeling if we are halfway out of the dark, or halfway out of the light.

5 things to look out for…

-  The unforgettable sound of Dusty Springfield.

-  "Behold! A Cockerel! I love a Cockerel!"

-  The TARDIS gets that sinking feeling.

-  A lot can go wrong in an hour.

-  We find out The Doctor's shoe size!

[Source: Doctor Who Online]

17 May 2011

Half Moon Bay and PulpShop have released their tie-in merchandise for 6.4: The Doctor's Wife.

The merchandise range includes T-Shirts, Folder Bags and Mugs which you can view / purchase below:

Enlarge Image Enlarge Image Enlarge Image
Enlarge Image Enlarge Image Enlarge Image
Enlarge Image Enlarge Image Enlarge Image

+  T-Shirts: £16.99 each. Folder Bags: £24.99 each. Mugs: £5.99 each.

+  Order Now from PulpShop.

[Source: PulpShop]

16 May 2011

Forbidden Planet have teamed up with Character Options for another Exclusive Doctor Who Toy.

The Time Monster Set recreates a scene from the Classic Series 3rd Doctor adventure, The Time Monster.

The Master, back on Earth has constructed a device to gain control over Kronos, a creature from outside of the time vortex. He uses the device but it proves dangerously unstable. The Third Doctor arrives and shuts down experiment but the Master reactivates it, using it to ensnare a High Priest of the lost city of Atlantis, and then to attack UNIT forces.

The Master takes travels back to Atlantis in his TARDIS, now in the guise of an advanced computer bank, to steal the sacred Crystal of Kronos with which he hopes to dominate Kronos. The Doctor follows in his TARDIS with Jo Grant but can’t prevent his enemy destroying Atlantis.

Escaping in their TARDIS’s the Doctor and the Master confront each other within the time vortex where the Doctor threatens to 'time ram' the Master’s TARDIS, a huge explosion caused by two or more TARDISes trying to materialise in the same place in Space and Time. The Doctor cannot bring himself do it, but Jo operates the controls and the two TARDIS’s collide.

Instead of the expected explosion both TARDISes reappear in a strange void. The ‘time ram’ energy has released Kronos, who agrees to return the Doctor and Jo to Earth but, plans to destroy the Master. The Doctor intervenes and pleads for mercy on the Master’s behalf ensuring he too goes free.

Contents:

1 x The Master action figure

1 x Crystal of Kronos fragment accessory

1 x The Doctor's time sensor device accessory

1 x Master's TARDIS as a computer bank 

1 x Master's TCE accessory

+  The Time Monster Set is released on 19th June 2011, priced £19.99.

+  Preorder this product from Forbidden Planet!

[Source: Forbidden Planet]

<mce:script

16 May 2011

Character Options have sent DWO details for Wave 1 of the 2011 5" Doctor Who Action Figures.

Re create scenes from Doctor Who with these incredibly detailed fully articulated 5-inch action figures. Characters include the Eleventh Doctor and key villains from the hit TV show. Styles may vary. One supplied. For ages 5 years and over.

Wave 1 includes the following figures:

- Nephew Ood

- The Doctor in Stetson

- Amelia Pond

- Silent (Mouth Open)

- Silent (Mouth Closed)

+  The 2011 Doctor Who Action Figures - Wave 1 range is released on 16th June 2011, priced £9.99 each.

+  Preorder now from Forbidden Planet for just £8.99 each (Save 10%).

[Source: Character Options]

<mce:script

16 May 2011

Manufacturer: Character Building

RRP: £9.99

Release Date: 13th May 2011

Reviewed by: Doctor Who Online

Review Posted: 16th May 2011

The second of three currently available Doctor Who Mini-Sets from Character Building that DWO are reviewing, is The Time of Angels Mini-Set.

Comprising of just 68 pieces (compared to the Dalek Progenitor Room set which has 118 pieces), and with a build time of around 10 minutes, it's significantly easier to put together, with the larger rocky pieces ready to snap in as one-unit standalone blocks.

Although not as enjoyable to build as the Dalek Progenitor Room, The Time of Angels Mini-Set makes up in scale, with five levels of different heights to re-enact scenes with the chilling Weeping Angels.

There is a slight variance with the box image (pictured), that represents a platform on one of the centre rocks that you can perch the angel on. On the actual finished product, there is no such ledge - of course, there are plenty of other areas on the Mini-Set for the stone menace to spy its potential victims from.

The set includes one pre-assembled Weeping Angel Micro-Figure to play with, which is also available in the blind bags currently available in the shops for £1.99.

At just £9.99, it's definitely worth the money, and a lot cheaper than a similar set in size would cost if it had the Lego branding on it.

+  Compare Prices for this product on CompareTheDalek.com!

16 May 2011

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Written By: Peter Anghelides

RRP: £8.99

Release Date: 31st May 2011

Reviewed by: Matthew Davis for Doctor Who Online

Review Posted: 16th May 2011

What if the search for the Key to Time wasn’t as easy as we once thought? What if the Fourth Doctor and Romana took a few detours along the way? This intriguing idea is a highly appealing factor about this latest Companion Chronicle

Set between The Stones of Blood and The Androids of Tara, The Doctor and Romana arrive in a small quiet village in Norfolk, following a strong signal that will lead them to the next segment of the Key.

In their search they stumble into the observatory of former US astronaut and recently widowed Lady Millcent Ferril. Lady Ferr il is a woman with her eyes fixed firmly on the stars, who has created rather grotesque metal sculptures in the gardens of her estate and that is not the only thing that is made of metal. The Lady has plans of a maliciously cosmic kind and she quickly realizes that the Doctor and Romana are the only ones who can help put those plans into action, whether they like it or not.

As a two hander between Romana and Lady Ferril, the play’s greatest strength is the point of views given between our heroic protagonist and antagonist. To hear events unfold through the villain of the piece is a lovely idea and Lady Ferril is deliciously evil creation played fantastically by Madeline Potter. To have her as an American character helps with the transition between Romana and Ferril’s grasps of events which can happen quite suddenly and unexpectedly throughout. The Doctor spends some good portions of the story out of sight and the bulk of the narrative falls between the leading ladies. Mary Tamm shines as Romana and her tired slightly annoyed tone at the high jinks of the Doctor are one of the play’s highlights.

As a story, it is quite a strange tale but feels genuinely like it could have slotted itself easily into the Key to Time sequence as writer Peter Anghelides captures the feel and tone of that season very well.

Lady Millcent’s ability to control metal makes for some rather gruesome moments but the main criticism that I have about this release is the rather confusing and disappointing ending. To reveal the nature of my disappointment would spoil play but let us just say that to have the majority of your play told by two people in hindsight and have one remaining after dispatching the other with no clear resolution is very confusing and a real let down. I kept waiting after the closing music to hear if there would be an epilogue but sadly not and I felt that it might mar a listener’s overall enjoyment of the story as a whole.

All in all Ferril’s Folly is a very enjoyable tale, with two excellent performances but it loses marks for its baffling and disappointing ending.

16 May 2011

A Doctor Who fan is seeking approval for a full-size replica of the tardis to be installed on a Kent seafront.

Local prop-maker Jason Onion said it had been his vision for Herne Bay for 32 years, since he was aged three. He said it would be in recognition of BBC scriptwriter Anthony Coburn, who lived in the resort and conceived the idea of a police box as a time machine.

Mr Onion said a 9ft (2.7m) blue box would be a good excuse to get "coach-loads of people down to Herne Bay". "I feel that there's a lot going for Herne Bay - there's a lot of rich heritage for this town," he said.

Mr Onion said he was planning other things for the town over the next couple of years in the lead-up to the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. "I'm donating a full size replica of the 1963 version of the tardis to Children in Need and also to Herne Bay library, so it's all going to be linked up together. "When fans think of Doctor Who, they are going to think of Herne Bay too. "It's the best programme in the world ever. It encompasses everything, and it draws everybody in," he said.

Mr Onion said he would be talking to council officials about his plans over the next couple of weeks.

[Source: BBC News]

16 May 2011

The final BARB viewing figures are in for 6.3: The Curse of the Black Spot.

The episode achieved a final figure of 7.85m viewers, with an audience share of 35.5% (comparing to the 6.2m 30.9% Overnights). This is a time shift of +1.6m.

6.3: The Curse of the Black Spot also achieved an Appreciation Index rating of 86.

What did you think of the episode? - Rate / Discuss in the DWO Forums!

[Source: Andy Parish]

15 May 2011

The overnight viewing figures are in for 6.4: The Doctor's Wife.

The episode achieved a figure of 5.9m viewers, with an audience share of 28.6%.

Doctor Who was the third most-watched programme for Saturday, with the Eurovision Song Contest taking the top slot with 9.4m viewers, and Britain's Got Talent taking second place with 8.4m viewers.

Final BARB ratings will be available within the next 10 days.

+  What did you think of the episode? Rate / Discuss in the DWO Forums!

[Source: Andy Parish]

15 May 2011

The BBC Doctor Who website have uploaded two new clips for 6.5: The Rebel Flesh:

[Source: BBC Doctor Who website]

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