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Roderick Donald

Welcome to the News & Reviews section here at Doctor Who Online! This is where you will find all the latest Doctor Who related news and reviews split up into easy to use sections - each section is colour coded for your convenience. The latest items can be found at the top, and older items follow down the page.

Archived news and reviews can be accessed by clicking on the relevant area on the News / Reviews Key panels to the right.

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22 May 2011

Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss' Sherlock won in two categories at this year's BAFTAs.

Sherlock won the best Drama Series award, beating Being Human, Downton Abbey and Misfits. Martin Freeman also won under the Sherlock banner for best Supporting Actor.

Matt Smith sadly missed out on winning the Leading Actor award for his role as The Doctor in Doctor Who. Smith lost out to Daniel Rigby for his role in Eric and Ernie. Smith, however, is commended for being the first Doctor Who actor to be nominated for a BAFTA.

[Source: BAFTA]

22 May 2011

If you're a member of the many social networks available online, then you will be pleased to know that you can follow Doctor Who Online on two of the largest - Twitter and Facebook.

Our Twitter account was launched back in January 2009, and as of today, we are proud to have one of the largest Doctor Who followings with a whopping 21,000+ followers! Follow the DWO Twitter account for Spoiler-Free News and Reviews as they happen, as well as exclusive Doctor Who competitions, discussion, opinion and more.

+  Follow DWO on Twiiter at: twitter.com/DrWhoOnline.

Our Facebook account was launched earlier this year, and currently has over 3,000+ Likes. As with the Twitter account, followers will be updated with the latest Spoiler-Free Doctor Who News and Reviews, as well as exclusive polls, competitions, discussion, opinion and more.

+  Like DWO on Facebook at: facebook.com/DoctorWhoOnline.

[Source: Doctor Who Online]

22 May 2011

The overnight viewing figures are in for 6.5: The Rebel Flesh.

The episode achieved a figure of 5.7m viewers, with an audience share of 29.3%.

Doctor Who was the second most-watched programme for Saturday, being beaten only by Britain's Got Talent with 10.0m 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]

22 May 2011

Half Moon Bay and PulpShop have released their tie-in merchandise for 6.5: The Rebel Flesh.

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

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

+  Order Now from PulpShop.

[Source: PulpShop]

22 May 2011

The BBC Doctor Who website have uploaded two new clips for 6.6: The Almost People:

[Source: BBC Doctor Who website]

21 May 2011

Tonight sees the airing of 6.5: The Rebel Flesh, part one of a two-part adventure directed by Julian Simpson. DWO recently caught up with the new series director who spared us some time for a quick interview:

The Rebel Flesh / The Almost People is your Doctor Who directional debut, were you a fan of the show before, and owing to the huge fan base, did you approach the job with any nerves or anxiety?

I was a huge fan when I was a kid, back in the Tom Baker days, but I have to confess to not being particularly taken with much of the "new" Who (despite my wife featuring as DiMaggio in "Dalek"!). The episodes that did really grab me, though, were those written by Steven Moffat (I know that sounds horribly crawly but it's true!) When Steven took over the show and Matt, Karen and Arthur were cast, DW suddenly became everything I'd hoped it could be and I was glued every Saturday night for the first season. 

I don't recall being particularly nervous about directing DW but I was acutely aware that, if I did a good job, there was a chance that this storyline could stay with some members of the audience for years, just as "City of Death" has always stayed with me. 

On the flipside of that, of course, was the constant nagging fear that I might screw it all up and be responsible for the most hated episodes in the show's history...

You've worked on other high profile shows such as Spooks, Hustle, Hotel Babylon and New Tricks. How does Doctor Who compare, and how do you find adapting to directing for the Science Fiction genre?

I wasn't conscious of having to adapt to Doctor Who, perhaps because I've always been such a huge sci-fi fan. If anything, I've had to adapt more to some of the shows you mention above. But directing is about telling a story clearly and with the right tone and style, really you should be able to turn your hand to any genre.

The art department on this season of Who, under designer Michael Pickwoad, is the best I've ever worked with and the sets and props they built for me were a constant source of inspiration. I'd like to steal the lot of them and force them to work with me forever.

Marcus Wilson was one of the great producers. He was incredibly supportive and, once we'd established that we liked the same movies and TV shows and had almost identical comic book collections, he gave me as much freedom as I've ever had to tell the story my way and in the style I thought was appropriate. Matthew Graham, the writer, gave us a great script full of brilliant ideas and scary moments and he and I also shared many of the same references, so it was a very happy collaboration.

There's no internal politics on Doctor Who, at least none that I was aware of. Steven, Piers, Beth and Marcus all just wanted to help Matthew and I do the best job we could. They're all incredibly ambitious for this show and want it to be the best it can possibly be and that creates a fantastically challenging and creative environment in which to work.

There's no getting away from it, this is a dark, creepy two-parter, with bags of atmosphere. Your use of shadows are particularly effective in achieving the mood of the stories. How difficult is it to get the desired effect and what are the pro's and con's of working with light in this kind of setting?

That's more a question for my brilliant Director of Photography, Balazs Bolygo, who is ultimately responsible for the lighting (and lack thereof) in these episodes. The look comes from the story; there's no way you could make this work if it looked like THX 1138.

We referenced the James Whale "Frankenstein" along with Alien3, Shutter Island, The Thing and a whole host of others.

It helped that most of this story was filmed on location in various castles in and around Cardiff. These places have a creepy atmosphere of their own and lend something to the atmosphere  that would have been very hard to fake. 

Much credit for the creepiness must also go to my editor, Jamie Pearson, who has the most uncanny talent for constructing sequences that just drip with atmosphere.

The stories rely on some pretty impressive make-up – both real and CGI. How challenging is it working with make-up in these mediums, and as the director, which do you think gives the overall greatest result?

I'd hate to have to choose; each is good for certain things. Once prosthetic make-up is applied, it's easy to shoot on over and over again and it bears greater close-up scrutiny than a lot of CGI work but if you look at a movie like Benjamin Button, there's no way Brad Pitt could have been aged so convincingly with physical make-up.

Within these two episodes, we've used a mix of make-up and CGI. Sometimes you'll be able to tell which is which but there are times where an actor might be wearing a prosthetic but we've used CGI to alter their eyes. The result is pretty seamless and we couldn't have done what we did without using both tools.

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

I'm currently nursing an obsession with Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace, the Victorian inventors who NEARLY built the first computer in the mid-nineteenth century. The world would be a very different place now if they had succeeded. My fascination grew from reading Sydney Padua's awesome webcomic detailing their adventures, which I heartily recommend to everyone. Anyway I'd love to visit them, show them an iPad, and tell them they're on the right track.

+  Post a Question to Julian Simpson in the DWO Forums Ask & Answer section.

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

[Source: Doctor Who Online]


21 May 2011

BBC America has decided to delay the transmission of Episodes 6 & 7 of Series 6, due to expectations of low viewership over the Memorial Day weekend.

Instead, 6.6: The Almost People will air on 4th June and 6.7: A Good Man Goes To War will air on 11th June.

BBC America are planning to air a marathon of the Series 6 episodes so far on 28th May in place of the previously scheduled episode.

Despite the fact that DWO is 100% spoiler-free, we advise American fans to stay away from all online forums (including our own) to avoid plot details which will be available owing to the BBC airing of the episodes.

The Doctor Who Online website and forums have a zero tolerance to spoilers, but once episodes have transmitted in the UK, we open up full discussion in the forums. Speculation is of course welcomed, as we see it as healthy discussion of the show.

[Source: BBC America]

20 May 2011

There's a new chap in charge of SciFiNow Magazine, and guess what...he's a Doctor Who fan!

New Editor of SciFiNow Magazine, James Hoare, has been in touch with details on the latest issue of the magazine, but in a rather new and technological twist, we're going to be promoting the magazine in a slightly different way.

James has very kindly agreed to a blog swap, which will see members of the SciFiNow team guest blogging on the DWO Blog, and vice versa.

It's a fun exchange that will no doubt introduce new readers to both camps, as well as providing some interesting and (hopefully) amusing stories along the way.

+ Check Out SciFiNow's May 2011 Guest Blog on DWO.

[Source: Doctor Who Online]

19 May 2011

AudioGO have sent DWO the cover and details for the forthcoming CD release of The Eye of the Jungle.

The 11th Doctor, Amy and Rory find themselves embroiled in an adventure in the Amazon Rainforest, in this exciting original story.

It’s the early 1800s, and a pioneering naturalist is keen to capture a jaguar for London’s new zoological gardens. But soon the hunter has become the hunted, and a far higher grade of species has plans to prey on the human race...

+  The Eye Of The Jungle is released on 7th July 2011, priced £9.25.

+  Compare Prices for this product on CompareTheDalek.com!

[Source: AudioGO]

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]


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.


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]


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]

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