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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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14 April 2013

The overnight viewing figures are in for 7.8: Cold War.

The episode achieved a figure of 5.7m viewers, with an audience share of 26.4%, and Doctor Who was the third most-watched programme for Saturday, winning its time-slot for the evening.

Top Overnights - Saturday 13th April:

1 - 10.5m - Britain's Got Talent - ITV1
2 - 6.7m - The Voice - BBC One 
3 - 5.7m - Doctor Who - BBC One

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]

13 April 2013

DWO’s spoiler-free preview of episode 7.9 Hide:

Legends exist throughout time about the ‘Ghast of Caliburn House’ - a spectral figure caught in a moment of abject fear and terror stalking the halls of the house. The house has stood for 400 years, but the ghost is far older than that. She’s held many names over the centuries, and now the Doctor has arrived to solve her mystery. 

For the first half of its running time, Hide is part Ghost Stories for Christmas and part Most Haunted, as the Doctor and Clara team up with Professor Alec Palmer (Dougray Scott) and Empathic Psychic Emma Grayling (Jessica Raine) for a night in the house in November 1974. Palmer and Grayling, along with the Doctor and Clara, carry the weight of much of the episode, while the four of them hunt the ghost through the halls of the house. 

It’s in this part of the story that the episode really sings, building up a nice amount of traditional ghost story terror, and providing plenty of opportunities to make you jump. It also gives us another great chance to see Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman sharing the screen. The pair of them continue to work well together - it’s telling that while this was the first episode shot with the current version of Clara, the two feel like they’ve been travelling for a while. 

Clara’s continuing to find her feet throughout this episode: she’s not as sure about time travel as some of the Doctor’s other companions have been. Hide plays with the slightly interesting idea that the Doctor and Clara don’t really trust each other, but that they just get on with the adventure - having an empath around certainly allows each of them to be given a few clues about the other. 

Once the story has moved on from the early ghost story feeling and starts to reach outside the confines of the house it somewhat loses its atmosphere, and risks becoming A. N. Other Doctor Who adventure. Though the series has often gone out of its way to find a more scientific explanation for supernatural phenomena, the interesting idea behind this ghost seems to get a bit lost during translation to the screen, leaving the latter half of the episode less interesting than the set-up.

There’s plenty to love throughout the tale, though, including some fantastic direction from series newcomer Jamie Payne throughout, whose style is a perfect fit for a ghost story. This, coupled with the iconic ‘haunted house’ look of Hide really is one of the highlights.

Five things to look out for...

1) “It’s 1974 - you’re the assistant

2) Ignorance is Carlisle.

3) A blue crystal from Metebilis III plays a vital role.

4) Whiskey is the 11th most disgusting thing ever invented. 

5) “Birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it!”

[Sources: DWOWill Brooks]

9 April 2013

The BBC have put together an official location report video from the recent filming in London for the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special.

Watch the Doctor Who location report video with Jenna-Louise Coleman, Jemma Redgrave and Ingrid Oliver, below:

The video confirms the as-yet unannounced casting of Ingrid Oliver.

UPDATE - Tuesday 9th April @ 1:00PM

Londoners were treated to the sight of a flying TARDIS swooping over Trafalgar Square this morning as Matt Smith and the team were in town shooting more scenes for the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special.

It was an early start for Matt Smith (The Doctor), Jenna-Louise Coleman (Clara), director Nick Hurran and the rest of the cast and crew but judging by the smiles it was worth it. At one point the famous blue box was suspended over Trafalgar Square with Jenna-Louise Coleman inside, peering out across the capital whilst the next moment saw another figure – looking like The Doctor – dangling from the TARDIS as it was suspended way above ground level!

The BBC have included a promotional image from today's shoot (pictured-right), and a promotional video below:

+  The 50th Anniversary Special is due to air on 23rd November 2013.

[Source: BBC Doctor Who website]

9 April 2013

The BBC have released a series of Doctor Who promo images from 7.8: Cold War.

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Check Out DWO's Guide to Series 7 Part 2, below:

 W = Written By / D = Directed By:

7.6: The Bells Of Saint John - [W: Steven Moffat / D: Colm McCarthy]
7.7: The Rings of Akhaten - [W: Neil Cross / D: Farren Blackburn]
7.8: Cold War - [W: Mark Gatiss / D: Douglas Mackinnon]
7.9: Hide - [W: Neil Cross / D: Jamie Payne]
7.10: Journey To The Centre Of The TARDIS - [W: Stephen Thompson / D: Mat King]
7.11: The Crimson Horror - [W: Mark Gatiss / D: Saul Metzstein]
7.12: Nightmare In Silver - [W: Neil Gaiman / D: Stephen Wolfenden]
7.13: The Name Of The Doctor - [W: Steven Moffat / D: Saul Metzstein] - Rumoured Title

+  7.8: Cold War airs on Saturday 13th April on BBC One at 6:00pm.

[Source: BBC]

8 April 2013

The BBC Doctor Who website have confirmed that Jemma Redgrave, who previously appeared in Doctor Who as Kate Stewart (Daughter of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart), will be reprising her role for the 50th Anniversary Special.

The BBC said:

"Jemma is part of a brilliant cast that is already known to include Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman who are joined by the returning David Tennant and Billie Piper plus screen legend John Hurt and Joanna Page. Filming is underway on the special which will be a 3D spectacular shown later this year."

In previous news, the BBC also confirmed Classic Series villains, The Zygons, would return for the anniversary special.

More casting announcements are expected shortly...

[Source: BBC Doctor Who website]

7 April 2013

DWO's spoiler-free preview of episode 7.8 Cold War:

The Ice Warriors haven’t had the most lucky experience with Doctor Who over the years. After appearing in two 1960s stories, and two 1970s stories, they somewhat disappeared from the show. In the 1980s, two planned returns for the creatures were both scuppered when the series was cancelled. They’ve shown up plenty of times in comics and novels since then, but this is their first appearance in televised Who for 39 years. That’s one hell of a nap.

The Doctor and Clara - headed for Vegas, but getting the direction a little wrong - arrive on a Soviet submarine in the mid-1980s. Following an expedition to the North Pole, the sub is carrying a very precious cargo: a creature found perfectly preserved in the ice. As curiosity gets the better of the crew, disastrous consequences await them...

Coming after two adventures set in big, open places - filled with panoramic views of modern London, or overlooking an alien vista with a parasitic sun - the most striking thing about Cold War is the claustrophobia of the episode. The feeling of being trapped on an submarine, with a vengeful alien bearing down on you really comes across, and director Douglass Mackinnon really sells the feeling of entrapment, and ramps up the tension as time runs out for the Doctor and the crew. 

Praise also needs to be given for just how... wet the set is throughout. Almost every scene features the sub leaking from somewhere, with water streaming down the walls. Visually, it’s quite unlike anything we’ve seen in the programme before - and it’s gorgeous.

Of course, the thing that everyone is waiting on this episode for is the reappearance of an Ice Warrior to the series. It’s pleasing that the design of the creature remains true to what we’ve seen in the series before now, and proof that some Doctor Who monsters are so fantastic that they don’t need a big overhaul to make them acceptable to twenty-first century viewers. We see the advancement of the Ice Warrior, though, and it performs a trick that even the Doctor hasn’t seen one do before.

Ice Warrior aside, this is another important step for Clara as a companion - her first trip back into history. Following on from last week’s episode, it helps to establish the rules of the programme again for a new companion, and an audience that might have joined since Amy Pond ventured into World War Two in 2010 (in another script by Mark Gatiss, who pens this week’s instalment). There’s plenty of opportunity for Clara to learn about life in the TARDIS: it can get very real sometimes. 

Elsewhere, David Warner as Grisenko steals the show, puncturing all the end-of-the-world macho-ness with a wonderfully fun performance, roaming the corridors of the submarine singing the hits of the day. Warner’s character is fairly representative of the story as a whole. For all the danger of the Ice Warrior and the threat to the world, Cold War is a very funny episode, filled with great dialogue that really gives the cast - and especially Matt Smith - a chance to shine. 

Five things to look out for...

1) It’s probably a mammoth.

2) An Ice Warrior isn’t the only Second Doctor-era invention to appear in this episode.

3) The Doctor is always serious. With days off. 

4) Polar Bears are cuddlier than Ice Warriors.

5) It’s not a mammoth. 

[Sources: DWO, Will Brooks]

7 April 2013

The overnight viewing figures are in for 7.7: The Rings Of Akhaten.

The episode achieved a figure of 5.5m viewers, with an audience share of 29%, and Doctor Who was the third most-watched programme for Saturday, winning its time-slot for the evening.

Top Overnights - Saturday 6th April:

1 - 7.3m - Saturday Night Takeaway - ITV1
2 - 6.4m - The Voice - BBC One 
3 - 5.5m - Doctor Who - BBC One

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]

5 April 2013

Some conflicting reports have appeared online and in printed newspapers that Christopher Eccleston (The 9th Doctor) agreed to appear in the 50th Anniversary Special, and then pulled out.

The rumours, which were unsurprisingly started by The Daily Star newspaper, claimed Eccleston was all set to star in the special but as filming started, he apparently pulled out.

An official BBC source (speaking to Digital Spy) has reportedly claimed that: "Eccleston was never attached to the 50th and the decision has had no impact on production." The source was further quoted as saying the following:

"Chris met with Steven Moffat a couple of times to talk about Steven's plans for the Doctor Who 50th anniversary episode. After careful thought, Chris decided not to be in the episode. He wishes the team all the best."

Further rumours claim that Paul McGann has stepped in and the storyline originally intended for The 9th Doctor has simply been swapped for The 8th Doctor.

According to The Independent newspaper, The 9th Doctor may still have an appearance in the special:

"Fans might still get the chance to see Eccleston's portrayal of The Doctor as show bosses are rumoured to be planning to use old footage of previous doctors for the special show."

At this stage we would suggest taking all rumours with a pinch of salt until confirmed by the BBC.

[Sources: The Daily StarDigital Spy; The Independent; DWO]

4 April 2013

The BBC have advertised the role of Executive Producer for Doctor Who on their BBC Careers website.

The position which became available when Caroline Skinner stepped down earlier last month, has been temporarily occupied by Faith Penhale, while the replacement is found.

The role will be for a 20-Month contract, which confirms (in case anyone doubted) that Doctor Who will be in production in 2014, and the closing date for applications is 14th April at 11:59pm (to be precise).

Below are details of the role and its requirements, as per the posting:

The Role

"We are looking for someone with extensive experience in producing complex action packed drama which appeals to the broad BBC One audience, who will help develop, communicate and implement the creative vision for our show. 

As Executive Producer you will be responsible to the Head of Drama, Wales, for the editorial, production and financial management of Doctor Who. The successful candidate will therefore have extensive production experience in popular and complex primetime television series and be confident in leading and inspiring a team to create their best work.

Working closely with our Lead Writer you will consistently deliver fresh, original, high quality and high profile episodes of Doctor Who to BBC One."

Requirements

"If you are strong editorially, driven, self-motivated, approachable and passionate about making popular, ground-breaking television drama, we’d love to hear from you.

Experience of producing complex period dramas including effects is essential. You must have original and creative ideas for storylines and characters as well as the skills and abilities to communicate these to the team.  You need experience of leading a production team; an eye for detail and be used to working with internal and external stakeholders such as co-producers.  You’ll be privy to confidential and commercially sensitive information so it’s important you understand how to handle this. In addition you’ll have an awareness of our audiences and the knowledge of professionals within the industry including writers, directors, production teams and actors. This is not your normal 9-5 job, so you will need to be flexible with your time and duties and demonstrate resilience."

It is worth noting that advertising a vacant job role is a legal requirement and the role may very well be filled or partie(s) approached already.

[Source: BBC Careers website]

3 April 2013

BBC South Africa have unveiled brief, official synopsis' for the rest of Doctor Who Series 7 Part 2.

7.10: Journey To The Centre Of The TARDIS

The TARDIS has crashed, Clara is lost inside, and the Doctor has 30 minutes before his ship explodes!

7.11: The Crimson Horror

Something ghastly is afoot in Victorian Yorkshire, as bodies are found with their skin a waxy, glowing red.

7.12: Nightmare In Silver

Hedgewick's World of Wonders: the perfect theme park day out - and ground zero for a deadly silver resurrection.

7.13: The Name Of The Doctor (rumoured title)

Someone is kidnapping the Doctor's friends, leading him towards the one place in all of time and space that he should never go.

Check Out DWO's Guide to Series 7 Part 2, below:

 W = Written By / D = Directed By:

7.6: The Bells Of Saint John - [W: Steven Moffat / D: Colm McCarthy]
7.7: The Rings of Akhaten - [W: Neil Cross / D: Farren Blackburn]
7.8: Cold War - [W: Mark Gatiss / D: Douglas Mackinnon]
7.9: Hide - [W: Neil Cross / D: Jamie Payne]
7.10: Journey To The Centre Of The TARDIS - [W: Stephen Thompson / D: Mat King]
7.11: The Crimson Horror - [W: Mark Gatiss / D: Saul Metzstein]
7.12: Nightmare In Silver - [W: Neil Gaiman / D: Stephen Wolfenden]
7.13: The Name Of The Doctor - [W: Steven Moffat / D: Saul Metzstein] - Rumoured Title

[Source: BBC South Africa]

2 April 2013

The BBC have confirmed that Classic Series villain, The Zygons, are returning to Doctor Who for the show’s 50th Anniversary Special.

Aside from flashbacks these malevolent shape-shifters have only appeared once before, threatening Earth in the Fourth Doctor adventure, Terror of the Zygons.

Despite the fact that their solitary outing was over thirty years ago they remain a popular old enemy and in the 2010 episode, The Pandorica Opens, they were amongst the massed aliens said to be gathering above Stonehenge.

Later, in The Power of Three, we learnt that Zygons had one of their ships under the Savoy Hotel in 1890 and apparently replaced half the staff with imposters! But this time they really are back…

A promotional image (pictured-right) has been released showing the updated Zygon on set.

More 50th Anniversary related announcements will be made shortly...

[Source: BBC]

1 April 2013

The read through for the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special took place earlier this evening, (Monday 1st April), the BBC Doctor Who site confirmed.

Current Doctor Matt Smith was joined by David Tennant (pictured-right) and many more familiar faces including Jenna-Louise Coleman (Clara) and Doctor Who’s head writer and executive producer, Steven Moffat.

Over the weekend it was confirmed that David Tennant and Billie Piper would both be returning to the show for the eagerly anticipated 50th Anniversary Special. It was also revealed that screen legend John Hurt would also feature in the adventure.

The episode’s production continues all this week and the special is expected to air on the show's anniversary on 23rd November 2013.

UPDATE - Tuesday 2nd April @ 00:01am
A second image (also pictured-right) taken at the read through has now been released, simultaneously confirming the casting of Joanna Page (The SyndicateGavin And Stacey, Love Actually), for the 50th Anniversary Special. 

[Source: BBC]

1 April 2013
 DWO reports from The Rings Of Akhaten, with a spoiler-free preview of episode 7.7:

DWO's spoiler-free preview for 7.7: The Rings Of Akhaten.

Having finally caught up with the impossible Clara Oswald, the Doctor is determined to solve her mystery. First, though, he has a date to keep, and offers to take Clara anywhere in time and space. Armed with her trusty guide of 101 Places to See, she only has one stipulation: somewhere ‘awesome’. 

Last year, much was made about Season 7 being comprised of stand-alone episodes. Big, individual, filmic ideas that can really take in the full scope of what Doctor Who can deliver. Taking us from a Dalek Asylum, to a spaceship filled with dinosaurs and back to the old west in the space of three weeks. 

The New Series, while having more of an on-going narrative than the final days of the Ponds, still retains this style. The Bells of Saint John was typified by being set against a backdrop of twenty-first-century London icons, while this episode takes us through to another end of the spectrum, with a rich and textured alien society, where they barter with memories rather than money, and live in a world ruled in part by songs and stories. 

It’s in the design that The Rings of Akhaten really excels, with the TARDIS landing on the inhabited rings of the title, an alien civilisation with an arabic vibe. The heart of the society is the bustling marketplace - crowded streets filled with a whole host of brand new aliens. While it’s perhaps a shame not to not see any familiar faces buried within the crowds, it’s hard not to find yourself drawn in by the sheer... alienness of these new creatures. 

There’s something of a vibe of the Russell T. Davies era present here, with our brand new companion out on her first adventure. The story serves the same purpose as The End of the World or The Fires of Pompeii, and there are elements of both those stories echoed here, opening Clara’s eyes to the wonder of the TARDIS. 

We’re also given the perfect opportunity for Jenna-Louise Coleman to shine on her own terms, removing The Doctor from the equation so we can can witness her first exposure to the universe though Clara’s eyes. Matt Smith continues to - impossibly - keep getting better at simply being the Doctor, and is given plenty of time to shine in this episode, too. 

As this version of Clara first steps out into the stars, The Rings of Akhaten doesn’t disappoint. If the rest of the series continues on in the same quality displayed here, then we’re certainly fulfilling Clara’s desire - we’re headed somewhere really, really, awesome... 

Five things to look out for...

1) The Doctor is a fan of The Beano.

2) Time isn’t made of strawberries.

3) Clara’s leaf is the ‘most important leaf in human history’.

4) The Doctor gets to imitate a certain famous archaeologist.

5) Reference is made to the Doctor’s first incarnation.

[Sources: DWO, Will Brooks]

31 March 2013

The overnight viewing figures are in for 7.6: The Bells Of Saint John.

The episode achieved a figure of 6.2m viewers, with an audience share of 30%, and Doctor Who was the third most-watched programme for Saturday, winning its time-slot for the evening.

Top Overnights - Saturday 15th September:

1 - 7.2m - Saturday Night Takeaway - ITV1
2 - 6.24m - The Voice - BBC One 
3 - 6.2m - Doctor Who - BBC One

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]

30 March 2013

The BBC has officially confirmed that David Tennant and Billie Piper will return for the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special.

Filming on the show, which will also star John Hurt (Labyrinth, Merlin, 1984), will start next week.

Tennant's successor, Matt Smith - also in the special with his new assistant played by Jenna-Louise Coleman - says fans "will not be disappointed" by the 3D show, due to air on 23rd November.

Tennant and Piper have long been rumoured to be making a return for the special, which is being written by the show's executive producer and lead writer Steven Moffat.

In January, Billie Piper, appearing on the Graham Norton Show, denied she would be appearing.

"I wasn't asked, no, I think Matt Smith may have said, in passing or in jest, it would be nice. I think maybe he said that and then it became something quite different, but no."

Matt Smith has said the show "manages to pay homage to everything - and look forward. I read it and I clapped at the end. I think it's hilarious, it's epic and it's vast."

Steven Moffat, meanwhile, has said he took special care to protect the secrets of the story.

"One length I've gone to which is a really good security measure - I make sure I don't get a script, because I will lose it, I forbid people to hand me one. It's on my computer under lock and key."

Other casting confirmations this week include Ken Bones as The General, Orlando James as Lord Bentham and Marshall Griffin in an, as yet, untitled role.

[Sources: BBC]

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