The Doctor On The Internet:
Doctor Who Site Of The Week:
New "Adventure Games" Episode Available:
Part four of the "Adventure Games" series entitled "TARDIS" is now available for download on the BBC website. I'm particularly looking forward to this one as it lets you explore the TARDIS in more detail. [Click Image For Link]
To celebrate the upcoming fourth series of SJA here's a link to the Doctor Who Wikia page on Katy Manning who played Jo Grant in the original series. Katy will appear alongside Elizabeth Sladen and Matt Smith in the new series. [Click Image For Link]
The Official Twitter Of Steven Moffat
As Tom Baker is prone to saying in interviews (repeatedly), nostalgia is a powerful thing. It got hordes of adults in line to see The Phantom Menace back in 1999, drew them out again in 2008 to watch Indiana Jones don his fedora one more time and this past summer it was the fuel that drove the year's most successful movie, Toy Story 3. Though not up to the standard of Pixar's most recent crowning achievement (what is?), Death Of The Doctor certainly paddles in the same waters in its attempts to use our own memories of the broader Who mythos to create a stirring and moving piece of drama in its own right.
Despite its undoubted success, SJA has always existed, unlike Torchwood, as more of an adjunct to the main series than a full-blown 'stand on its own two feet' spin-off. In part, that's down to the constant re-use of Who monsters on the show, but also it reflects Sarah Jane's rather more storied history as a part of the Doctor Who family.
However, with the Doctor's inevitable appearance in the CBBC show finally occurring in 2009, it seemed that perhaps the connections between The Sarah Jane Adventures and its parent show might loosen. After all, in terms of crossovers, once the Doctor himself has appeared, where else is there left to go?
Surprisingly, the answer is somewhere wonderful and it's a place that has its roots in that touching, fleeting and ambiguous final meeting between Sarah Jane and the Tenth Doctor during the closing minutes of The End Of Time.
We pick up the story with UNIT, led by the suspiciously glamorous Colonel Karim (Laila Rouass), turning up on Bannerman Road to inform Sarah Jane of the recent death of the Doctor. Refusing to believe them, Sarah Jane is shown a video clip of the Vulture-like Shansheeth, the universe's coffin bearers, who claim that the Doctor has been killed in space and that they're bringing his body 'home' to Earth for immediate burial. Even after seeing this transmission, Sarah Jane's sceptical. She claims that if the Doctor was dead she'd know and the last time she saw him, well, she was convinced he was about to regenerate.
Despite her misgivings, Sarah Jane knows that she has a duty to investigate and, along with Clyde and Rani, decamps to UNIT's base at the foot of Mount Snowdon, where the Doctor's body is said to be lying in state. It's while visiting the chapel of rest inside the base that Sarah Jane finally crosses paths with the woman who preceded her in the TARDIS, the eternally blonde, Jo Grant.
It's a great re-introduction scene for Jo who, though obviously much older than when we last saw her, is still the same bubbly and slightly scatty character we fell in love with back in the early 1970s. Of course, bringing two eras of a show together is always a risk, but thankfully, this is more than just an empty exercise in fan fiction and it's a real testament to Russell T Davies' skill as a writer that he uses Jo's reappearance, not just as a chance to catch up with the former Miss Grant, but as a counterpoint to Sarah Jane's own life.
Now, some fans argue that Davies has reshaped and remoulded the Classic Who canon to fit his own whims, but I'd disagree. One of the great successes of Davies time in charge of Who was the way he made explicit and literal many of the things that were implicit and underdeveloped in the old series. As with Sarah Jane before her, Davies applies this same principle to the revived life of Jo Grant (now Jo Jones and a grandmother of 13!) and it works a similar treat.
As you'd expect, the scenes with Jo and Sarah Jane are great fun and take centre stage in the story and the knock-on from that is the relegation of series regulars Clyde and Rani (along with Jo's grandson, Santiago) to the role of supporting players. Despite this, Rani manages to get one very good scene with her dad, while Clyde has a couple of sparky moments with everyone's favourite Time Lord, including a very revealing chat about the concept of regeneration!
Which brings us to the titular hero of the title. While Jo and Sarah Jane's meeting is enjoyable and quite moving in its own right, it's only when the Doctor appears, roughly halfway into the story, that the show is elevated into the realms of the really rather special.
Exploding onto our screen through the power of an Artron energy transfer (who knew!), Matt Smith gives possibly his best performance as the Doctor to date. There are obvious parallels to be drawn with David Tennant's performance in School Reunion, but Smith manages to avoid going over old ground, mainly because he and Tennant are such vastly different actors.
This is most apparent when Smith has his first proper conversation with Katy Manning's Jo in nearly 40 years. Unlike Tennant, whose Doctor was a fizzing bundle of angst and energy even when he was sitting still, Smith is almost serene as he sits on a rock and reassures his former companion that her life has been anything but wasted. It's a beautifully underplayed little scene, which seems a world away from the whirling dervish-style reunion between the Doctor and Sarah Jane back in 2006.
However, despite all the fan pleasing elements and some gorgeously judged character moments (Jo's observation that the TARDIS ‘smells the same' is a personal favourite) what we also get, as with all Russell T Davies' stories, is a rattling good adventure yarn.
This is helped no end by the fact that the Shansheeth are probably the best alien race Davies has created since the Ood. Brilliantly voiced and executed, there's something quite haunting and melancholic about the Shansheeth that belies their rather goofy appearance. They're the biggest surprise in the episode and are a monster that I hope makes a return to the show(s) in some shape or form further down the line.
Their plan is quite nifty too. Turns out they've engineered this whole charade to gain access to the TARDIS and, using a device called The Weave, they plan to literally weave a new TARDIS key out of Jo and Sarah Jane's memories of the Doctor.
Tired of delivering death to the universe, these vultures of the intergalactic battlefields, want to use the TARDIS to bring life instead. It's a familiar RTD theme, the desire to hold back the natural order of things, but it works far better here than it did with the criminally underwritten Naismith character in The End Of Time. As for the Shansheeth's inevitable downfall, well, let's just say that memories and nostalgia play their part and that a whole host of familiar faces make appearances and help save the day.
All in all, this is as ambitious a piece of storytelling as The Sarah Jane Adventures has delivered and this story comfortably sits alongside Whatever Happened To Sarah Jane? as the show's crowning achievement. More than anything else it acts as a perfect coda to Russell T Davies' time on Doctor Who and in many ways is a far more fitting note for him to end on than the somewhat excessive The End Of Time.
As always with Davies, the warmth and fun comes at a price, and when Sarah Jane recites the names and current occupations of a whole host of former companions at the end of the episode, you get the feeling that it's Davies tying up loose ends rather than planting seeds for anything new.
If that is the case, then it would be a shame, as Death Of The Doctor finds Davies far more engaged with the world of Who than at any point since 2008. On this evidence, I sincerely hope that, just like Jo Grant and Sarah Jane Smith, his goodbye is merely temporary.
Neil Gaiman has revealed more details about his forthcoming Doctor Who episode.
The writer confirmed to Doctor Who Magazine that the instalment will reference elements of the show's past.
"It all starts in void-space, with something or someone we have not seen since [1969 story] 'The War Games', and a knock on the Tardis door," he explained. "The guest star... is the brilliant Suranne Jones, playing someone who is beautiful... and who bites. [She] might just turn out to be an old acquaintance with a new face."
Gaiman's episode is expected to air third in the next run, but he explained that the story was originally intended to form part of Matt Smith's first series as the Doctor.
"Steven Moffat wrote me the letter telling me that they were out of money, and that because I'd written a very expensive episode they were bouncing me to episode three of the new season," he claimed.
He added that the move required rewrites to incorporate the character of Rory (Arthur Darvill).
"I wrote another version of it, with Rory in, because now he existed again," he quipped.
Series star Matt Smith recently told DS that Gaiman's episode is "brilliant" and "a real one for the ardent Who fans".
Doctor Who will return to BBC One for a full series in 2011, following a one-off special this Christmas.
Glasgow-born John, who shot to fame as Captain Jack in Dr Who, will cohost the show - called Children In Need Rocks Scotland - on Friday, November 19, with Jackie Bird.
Radio 1's Edith Bowman will join Radio Scotland backstage at the event for a special programme on the night.
Acts will include the cast of hit musical We Will Rock You, dance favourites The Box and Pearl and the Puppets as well as comics Des Clarke, Fred MacAulay, Daniel Sloss, Mark Nelson, Craig Hill, Janey Godley and Nina Conti. Other guests have still to be announced.
As well as hosting the event, John will be presenting live links to the rest of the UK and performing.
He said: "Working on Children In Need is always a highlight of my year. The cause is such a worthy one, and unfortunately right now the number of children in need in the UK is growing."
Reporting Scotland anchor Jackie said: "The show is always exciting, but this year we're really pushing the boat out for our fundraisers and viewers. I hope that in return people will give what they can."
Last year, the BBC's Children In Need appeal raised a record-breaking £39million, with £1.6million from Scotland on the night.
You can register now for free tickets at bbc.co.uk/tickets
(from Sky News)
One of the producers of Harris Tweed has teamed up with the chain to create a more youthful line amid renewed interest in the cloth, thanks in part to actor Matt Smith's wardrobe.
The material, which is exclusively woven in the Outer Hebrides, was once seen as a traditional premium brand and struggled to the point of extinction in 2006, when a mill on the Isle of Lewis closed. But it was reopened by Harris Tweed Hebrides a year later and the recent use of the cloth by designers such as Alexander McQueen, Yves St Laurent and Chanel has seen its popularity soar. It is now being sold in 50 countries worldwide.
However, it is Smith - who sports a tweed jacket and bow tie as the time-travelling character - who is credited with bringing tweed to an entirely new audience.
Mary McGowne, organiser of the Scottish Style Awards - which honoured Harris Tweed Hebrides last year - credited the company and the regulatory Harris Tweed Authority with transforming the cloth's image. "The work that has been done to promote its unique qualities, combined with key product placement, including Matt Smith and his geek-chic look, has bestowed real kudos on the fabric," she said.
The new collaboration will see Harris Tweed blazers, coats and accessories stocked at Topman - part of Sir Philip Green's empire - and priced to suit a mid-market shopper. The range will include blazers, coats and accessories
Jason Griffiths, Topman marketing director, told Sky News: "We are extremely excited about the launch of our collaboration with Harris Tweed. "As well as coinciding with their 100-year anniversary, we feel this partnership will bring Harris Tweed to a whole new audience." Harris Tweed Hebrides CEO Ian Mackenzie told Sky News the company was celebrating a 50% increase in output this year compared with the same time last year. But the surge in demand has pushed the price of wool up by 50%. "Quality wool products are in fashion at the moment," explained Sky News business contributor Russell Luckock. "Material prices are rising. By way of illustration, Lesley Prior, an Exmoor sheep farmer, producing high quality fleeces, is getting £10 per kilo for her product, as against the normal wool marketing price of £0.75 - £2.50 per kg."
The 27-year-old actor is relishing playing the Time Lord in the BBC One sci-fi series and has hinted he wants to stay in the role for years to come and make the show better with each new run. He told reporters: "I try not to rest on my laurels really, I'm trying to keep pushing the boundaries. It's kind of like Hamlet but for television because it's boundless and you can reinvent it every day. So I'm trying to push the boundaries and trying to evolve. My intention is that I've started and I want to get better, I don't know how long I'll do it for, but I want there to be a marked improvement every time."
Matt also revealed filming of the next series is well underway and is going well. He said: "We're shooting the new series. We've got another 30 weeks of filming left but it's going great. We're off and we're cooking."
The actor will be joined in the next season by Karen Gillan, who plays The Doctor's companion Amy Pond, and Arthur Darvill, who portrays Amy's husband Rory Williams.
So, my fellow Whovians, what's your opinion? Should Matt stay for years or, should he go before he becomes too stale? We all know people didn't want David to go but, at the end of the day (or time if you like!!), we all knew it was the right decision for him.
He told reporters: "I'd be thrilled if they ever did a film. I think there are infinite stories to tell because you're not bound by time or logic or any of those things so I think it could work. But, you know, there's something brilliant about the format of 'Doctor Who' how it's compact into around 40 minutes and that happens every week."
Rumours recently circulated that Johnny Depp was in line to play The Doctor in a movie version of the series.
And although Matt thinks the Hollywood superstar would be good in the part, he would fight him for the right to portray the time-travelling alien in cinemas.
He added: "I don't want to talk myself out a job but Johnny Depp would be a good Doctor, no doubt. But I would do it if they asked me, hell yeah!"
It wouldn’t be too rude to say that Gatiss is a little eccentric himself. Not that you would guess this to talk to him: he’s polite and affable, with a voice as soft as slippers. But in the London home he shares with his civil partner, Ian, he did once build a Victorian laboratory (another boyhood dream fulfilled, although in the end he never actually did any experiments in it – he just liked showing it off to visitors).
Born in Durham in 1966, he grew up opposite the place where both his parents worked: a psychiatric hospital. At school, he says, he was “desperately” geeky: “I’ve got some very, very awful photos of myself when I was eight with wildly tangled red hair and terrible NHS specs.”
At drama college (Bretton Hall in West Yorkshire) he met the other three members of The League of Gentlemen; in 1997, just two years after their stage debut, they won the Perrier Award at Edinburgh. (Although there hasn’t been any new League of Gentlemen material since the 2005 film, he says they’ve never split up, and may work together again in future.) In the Nineties he also published several Doctor Who novels, which ultimately helped bring him to the attention of Russell T Davies, the producer who relaunched the TV series in 2005.
Today the work just keeps coming. When I speak to him, by telephone, he’s in Crete, where he’s supposed to be enjoying a holiday but is in fact writing a script for the second series of Sherlock.
To announce the drama had been recommissioned, he and Moffat put together a press release including hints about the episodes to come. “We look forward to Sherlock encountering lots of new enemies – whether two or four-legged – and perhaps seeing the master of deduction and reason falling – but whether in love or over a precipice remains to be seen…” You don’t need to share Holmes’s powers in order to work out which stories they have in mind.
The young Gatiss, who so loved Holmes and Wells and the Doctor, would have been delighted to know this was how his life would turn out. But he wouldn’t necessarily have been surprised. “I had a strong sense as a kid, who was constantly belittled by vile PE teachers, that I would prove people wrong who said I spent all my time daydreaming,” says Gatiss. “When I’d walk around the perimeter of the football pitch in the p---ing rain and feel the terrible smack of the football against my cheek, I had an inner conviction that I could somehow make use of my geekiness. And I’m very pleased to say I have.”
The First Men in the Moon is on Tuesday on BBC Four at 9.00pm