Sunday, August 30, 2009
With more time on his hands since leaving the BBC show, the 38-year-old actor has decided to turn his attention to cooking and gardening.
But while the Doctor can resolve apocalyptic intergalactic conflict with little more than a pithy one liner and a sonic screwdriver, it seems that his domestic capabilities still need a little honing.
“Those basic life skills seem to have escaped me and maybe now’s the time to make them my hobby,” he muses.
“Cooking is not something that comes naturally to me, so I’m working my way through a couple of cookbooks to teach myself.
“I don’t have any distinctive flair for it. So I’m trying to learn some techniques there.”
But cooking alone is not enough for David, who has thrown gardening into the mix. “I’m trying to teach myself how not to kill plants, which I do manage to have the skill for,” he explains. “I’d like to be a little more nurturing with my garden.”
Friday, August 28, 2009
The Doctor (Matt Smith): "I send you back into the void. I saved the whole of reality from you. I am the Doctor, and you are the DAaaaaa LEKS!"
Audio recording by Alun.Vega
Fans can collect wrist bands from the store on the day of the signing – these will be limited in number so it is advisable for customers to arrive early. The signing will begin at 1pm and you must have a wrist band before you can meet Tom Baker.
The Doctor Who: Hornets' Nest series is written by the acclaimed Paul Magrs and stars Tom alongside a cast including Richard Franklin as Mike Yates, Susan Jameson as Mrs Wibbsey and Rula Lenska as the Hornet Queen. The series is exclusive to BBC Audiobooks and is available on CD and for download, it will not be available in any other format.
The brand new series sees the Doctor on fighting form as he comes up against an enemy of unimaginable power and horrific intent. The first story, The Stuff of Nightmares, will be available to buy from 3rd September 2009 priced at £9.78, with the remaining four stories due for release on:
2. The Dead Shoes – 8th October
3. The Circus of Doom – 5th November
4. A Sting in the Tale – 3rd December
5. Hive of Horror – 3rd December
Doctor Who: Hornets' Nest – The Stuff of Nightmares
1 hour on 1 CD
Release Date: 3rd September 2009
Responding to an advert apparently worded for him alone, Captain Mike Yates (retired) is reunited with a ghost from the past. But why has the Doctor, that mysterious traveller in Time and Space, sent for his former UNIT acquaintance? Trapped by a horde of vicious creatures in an apparently innocuous English country cottage, the two old friends are on the brink of an enormous adventure. As the Doctor relates his recent escapades, it becomes clear to Mike that they – and the Earth at large – are facing an enemy of unimaginable power and horrific intent. The nightmare is only just beginning.
NOTES TO EDITORS
Interviews are available with Tom Baker, Richard Franklin and Paul Magrs
Doctor Who: Hornets' Nest will be available from all good bookshops, online at www.bbcshop.com or by BBC Audiobooks direct mail on 0800 136 919 and as a download from www.bbcaudiozone.com
Fans eager to engage with the series before the release date should check out www.bbcshop.com/hornetsnest, a landing page with exclusive content and material such as a Q&A with Tom Baker, photographs from the recordings, audio clips and a poll on Tom's best moments as the Doctor.
■Photographs from the recordings are available upon request
■Full cast – Tom Baker, Richard Franklin, Susan Jameson, Daniel Hill, Michael Maloney, Rula Lenska, Clare Corbett, Christian Rodska, Susie Riddell, Jilly Bond and Stephen Thorne
■Other credits – Producer and Director: Kate Thomas; Script Editor and Executive Producer: Michael Stevens
■Paul Magrs is the acclaimed writer of the Brenda and Effie novels (Never the Bride; Conjugal Rites) numerous Doctor Who books (Sick Building; Verdigris etc) and several books for younger readers (Strange Boy; Exchange)
■The covers of the series are spectacularly illustrated by Ben Willsher, with design concepts and the Hornets' Nest logo by Anthony Dry
Thursday, August 27, 2009
PICS ARE HERE
Monday, August 24, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
'Prisoner of the Judoon'
Adopting a similar policy to last season's opening Sontaran tale, the first story features the return of some aesthetically displeasing aliens from Doctor Who. The rhino-like intergalactic law enforcers from 'Smith and Jones' are back, with Nick Briggs once again on vocal duties.
Producer Nikki Wilson told SFX magazine: "The Judoon are joining us in our series opener, alongside a brand new monster, a reptilian character called Androvax, a Veil. He's under arrest when one of the Judoon's life carriers crashes on Earth, so a Judoon's hunting down his prisoner who's escaped."
'The Mad Woman in the Attic'
Sadly not a remake of a legendary Cracker episode of the same name, unless butchering innocent women on trains is suitable CBBC material these days. The contents of the story are shrouded in secrecy, but the cast includes Eleanor Tomlinson, Toby Parkes, Souad Faress, Gregg Sulkin and Kate Fleetwood.
'The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith'
Whenever the chiming of wedding bells can be heard in the Whoniverse, it's a sign that something strange is happening. Just look at Gwen Cooper's shapeshifter-dominated wedding in Torchwood. Just what lies in store for Sarah Jane as she prepares to walk down the aisle? She'd better have a sonic wedding ring to accessorise with her lip gloss.
The big news is that David Tennant will be featuring prominently as The Doctor in this story. "Viewers thought they may have to wait until November for the next full episode of Doctor Who," stated showrunner Russell T Davies, "but this is an extra special treat. It's not just a cameo from David - this is a full-on appearance for The Doctor as he and Sarah Jane face their biggest threat ever."
Sarah Jane herself, actress Elisabeth Sladen, added: "When I heard the news that David was going to be joining us, I was absolutely over the moon. Not only has it made my day but it will also make the viewers' day. It's fantastic news that Sarah Jane is going to spend some time working with The Doctor again and is testament to just how successful this CBBC series is."
But what is this big threat that awaits us? Could it lie in the form of the debonair Nigel Havers, who has personified suave in a glittering acting career?
Sladen's real-life husband Brian Miller shows up in front of the camera, too. Nikki Wilson told Doctor Who Magazine: "He was simply ideal casting for this pivotal role, which sees him in conflict with Sarah Jane and the gang. Although there's a lot more going on with Brian's character than might first appear." In addition, the ever-sinister Trickster is lurking around the church. The prospect of him and The Doctor locking horns is mouthwatering...
'The Eternity Trap'
This tale is reportedly a ghost story which features an extraterrestrial that can make people play games against their will. Floella Benjamin reprises her role as Professor Celeste Rivers from the Pharos Institute, who previously appeared in the stories 'The Lost Boy' and 'The Day Of The Clown' as an ally of Sarah Jane. The main villain is called Erasmus Darkening, played by veteran actor Donald Sumpter.
'Mona Lisa's Revenge'
Has someone been watching Ghostbusters II? This brilliantly titled two-parter involves a painting that appears to come alive, although it's not the first time that Mona Lisa has featured in the Whoniverse. For the superb 1979 story 'The City Of Death' is partially set in the Parisian art gallery Le Louvre, which houses Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece.
Former Corrie star Suranne Jones guests in this episode, but has she swapped Moaner Karen for Mona Lisa? Possibly, but this has yet to be confirmed. Nikki Wilson certainly has high hopes for her role, as she stated: "We conceived the character in a story meeting about 18 months ago and immediately named Suranne as perfect to play her - never imagining we'd actually get someone who's in so much demand."
Drop The Dead Donkey legend Jeff Rawle appears too, 25 years after starring in the Doctor Who story 'Frontios'. Newsround presenter, BBC Entertainment Correspondent (and more importantly Whovian) Lizo Mzimba is also part of this story, presumably playing himself.
Very little is known about the season finale, but it will surely please fans of all things Raxacoricofallapatorian. That's about as much fun to type as it is to say. It looks like the Slitheen mob are in conflict with cousins from their home world - the Blathereens. Whatever its merits, the final two episodes look like they'll be a real gas!
Saturday, August 22, 2009
IT IS ALWAYS IMMENSELY gratifying to be reminded that Tom Baker is, in real life, precisely as you'd expect him to be. A disarmingly charismatic raconteur, the 75-year-old actor remains one of Britain's most beloved eccentrics.
From his early as a monk (he subsequently renounced his faith), to international stardom as one of the most popular Doctor Whos (1974 to 1981), to his present status as a national institution, Baker has lived a life as rich as his instantly recognisable voice. I ca
PW: Aside from a brief cameo in a 1993 Children in Need special, this is the first time you've played the Doctor since leaving the series. What was so special about this project?
TB: They just called me at a good moment. People are always asking me to do things about Doctor Who, and most of the time I can't be bothered. Then I read the scripts – well, I read my bits, I don't read scripts. I really think that reading a whole script is kind of prying and neurotic, don't you?
PW: Doesn't that make them hard to understand?
TB: Well that's life, isn't it? Just imagine if you knew everything about me. We wouldn't discover anything, we wouldn't be surprised. It's none of my business where characters have been – I want to be surprised by what they do. I've never ever read a script. I really must read Macbeth, because I was in it once. I got a lot of laughs in that, I can tell you.
PW: So what's Hornet's Nest about?
TB: It seemed to me to be really very clever writing, because the hornet's nest is obviously a metaphor for the BBC. I think so anyway, although I didn't mention it to anyone there, because you don't want to be talking to directors, otherwise they get the idea that they're important. But it all made sense to me, these abused worker hornets, and queens and kings and ambitious ones who want to take over the world. I thought, yes, that's the BBC! Anyway, they didn't know my thinking, but they seemed to like what I did, and apparently they're very pleased with it. It's been well received in the religious press.
PW: Really? I didn't realise the religious press were interested in Doctor Who audio plays.
TB: Yes, there's a very good plug for it in The Tablet, whatever that is. I thought it was a kind of doctor's weekly, but apparently it's a Roman Catholic paper. It goes on about God. They're always giving God a plug, aren't they?
PW: Well, He needs all the press He can get. I haven't heard from him in years.
TB: Well, it depends what sort of company you keep! I quite often meet people who say they believe in God, and I go along with them. And I think, My God, I am actually having a conversation here with someone who's completely mad! I often say kind of cod-spiritual things about the democracy of growing old and the humiliation of dying being shared by us all, and that it's a great comfort to know that finally when we shed off this mortal coil we'll all be happy together. But the people who swallow that kind of guff are boneheads, aren't they? What I can't understand is why they don't understand the word "incorporeal". It's rather like the Muslims with their 75 virgins. I mean, what are you going to do with 75 virgins if you're incorporeal?
PW: Quite. So, did you find it easy, slipping back into the role of the Doctor?
TB: Well, you can tell by talking to me that I never slipped out of it! I'm really not an actor of any kind. I've always seen myself as an entertainer, someone who makes people laugh. That's all I've ever wanted to do. Doctor Who has always just been me, really. So when I picked up this script and read it, I just started as I would normally. There was no difficulty about it.
PW: You loved playing the Doctor, didn't you?
TB: It sounds so gooey, but it was a stupendous privilege, an amazing gift, like something out of a fairy tale. Everywhere I went I was actually loved and adored by children. And now those children have all got children of their own, and they still come and see me. I was at a sci-fi do at Earl's Court the other day, there were several thousand people there, and scores of them showed me pictures of themselves, these middle-aged men losing their hair, sitting on my knee in 1976 or something. It's all very sweet, that.
PW: You enjoy the attention?
TB: Well, I think if more people had more applause, it would make them feel better. I often give my wife a round of applause. If the meal is very good I give her a standing ovation. It's like when you fire off a sharp remark and get a big round of applause in the pub, which is enough to make you briefly immortal in Ireland. It's true, though, isn't it? People need attention, and when you're playing a children's hero you get lots and lots of attention. Doors are opened and people want to floss your teeth for you, it's incredible.
PW: You were very conscientious during your time in the role, making sure that you were never caught drinking, smoking or swearing in the presence of children.
TB: Yes, I took it very seriously because it was such a privilege. It was an absolutely amazing time, and although people asked how I'd feel when I left it, I never did leave it because I remain entirely myself. And here I am, 30 years after I left it, being invited all over the place. I recently travelled across the world on a luxury liner which had been commissioned by Doctor Who fans. They wanted me to go first class as their guest of honour, so how could I say no? These were obviously devoted fans who had made enormous sacrifices to raise money for a tour like that. You see, sci-fi fans remind me of pilgrims, really. I think all fans are pilgrims, like Liverpool fans who walk all the way to London to watch their team play Arsenal. Sometimes I do signing sessions for the BBC, signing new books or CDVs (sic], and some people haven't eaten for two days in order to be able to buy them. People are on the point of fainting.
PW: Isn't that taking things too far?
TB: When people love something absolutely they will make lots of sacrifices. The test of love is the capacity to make sacrifices for it. When you love something you become a victim of what you love. I'm a complete victim of my little dog, and I take her out in the woods at six o'clock in the morning because I love her. And so it is with the people who love football and rugby and cricket and Doctor Who, they become pilgrims. And pilgrims, of course, always had to make sacrifices. In Ireland they turned up on their hands and knees.
PW: You've said that you are now exclusively employed by people who grew up watching you in Doctor Who.
TB: Yes, that's true. Of course, the latest big one was Matt Lucas and David Walliams in Little Britain (Baker voices the narrator]. I was working with Matt the other day, actually, on something for the radio. I don't know if it has a title yet, but it was a comedy in which they set us six things to discuss, and whoever got the biggest laughs won the quiz.
PW: Did you win?
TB: Yes! (laughs uproariously] But I wouldn't mind if I hadn't, because I was brought up a Christian, so there's always a streak of the martyr in me. So one can, actually, after a while as one gets closer to death, enjoy even rejection! As you get old you have to come to terms, to absolutely gurgle with laughter, at the ridiculousness of your knees beginning to creak, and things like that. Sometimes I have to stop in the woods, there are certain logs I can sit on, and I have a walking stick because it's a bit slippery and uneven. I find that funny.
PW: So is life good for Tom Baker?
TB: I think life is good, yes. Waking up in the morning still excites me. I can still laugh, which is the important thing. When I go down to the local supermarket, where I get a lot of attention still, I feel like one of the privileged old men. Quite a lot of them who are my age, and sometimes younger, often haven't had good fortune. They're limping around or groaning, talking about statins and being dizzy, and sometimes I've seen people, when it's a bit quiet in Waitrose … to pass the time on the vegetable stall, someone will drop a five pound note and see which of the old boys can pick it up without blacking out. They get up to all sort of tricks like that. And you see old men watching the girls go by, with that mistiness in their eyes, as they remember long-gone days. But I have a wonderful wife who's good to me, and we have a lovely house in the country with a lovely garden and woodland. Life is good, yes.
PW: I'm glad to hear it. Well, thank you very much for your time, Tom.
TB: My pleasure, and if you need anything else, just make it up. Goodbye!
• The first episode of Hornet's Nest will be on shelves from 3 September at www.bbcshop.com/page/hornetsnest
Friday, August 21, 2009
According to Doctor Who Magazine, the stories in the third series are as follows:
S03E01/E02: 'Prisoner of the Judoon'
S03E03/E04: 'The Mad Woman in the Attic'
S03E05/E06: 'The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith'
S03E07/E08: 'The Eternity Trap'
S03E09/E10: 'Mona Lisa's Revenge'
S03E11/E12: 'The Gift'
The first story will guest star Nicholas Briggs, voice of the Daleks and the Cybermen in parent series Doctor Who.
The third two-parter will mark David Tennant's special guest appearance as The Doctor, as well as featuring a guest spot from veteran actor Nigel Havers.
'The Eternity Trap' will guest star Floella Benjamin and Callum Blue, while Suranne Jones and Newsround presenter Lizo Mzimba will appear in 'Mona Lisa's Revenge'.
The third series of The Sarah Jane Adventures is expected to air on BBC One and the CBBC Channel from the Autumn.
Roswell, Nevada. The dusty strip of desert where nothing ever grows except alien legends and strange stories about flying saucers... The TARDIS touches down in 1958 and another legend is about to be born!
More specifically... 'During a visit to a local diner he (the Doctor) stumbles upon a mysterious alien artefact that leads him on a mission to rescue Rivesh Mantilax from the threat of the Viperox and the clutches of the American military.'
So, we have the name of the (apparent) enemy - the Viperox! Now, that's a great name for an alien menace and when we heard screen legend David Warner was going to voice the Viperox we were confident a memorable villain was about to be born! The Viperox! You can already hear the Doctor spitting out the name.
Little wonder Executive Producer Russell T Davies has said, 'Dreamland is a remarkable project and I'm thrilled with it. Phil Ford is a wonderful writer and promises to send the Doctor into a whole new visual dimension.'
And the Doctor gets two - count 'em - two new companions in this adventure! Over the months ahead we'll meet them. Find out how they came to life - how they were written, drawn, animated, voiced... and received!
Right now we can reveal one of them is voiced by Georgia Moffett who played Jenny in the Doctor's Daughter. Cards on table, we lurve Georgia and were delighted she was onboard because apart from anything else, it meant we could grab her for an interview - an interview you'll see on these very pages.
But in the meantime, take a look at the Doctor Who press release.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Prisoner of The Judoon
The Mad Woman in The Attic
The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith
The Eternity Trap
Mona Lisa's Revenge
All are two parters.
"He's a rather strange individual. He wants to do something remarkable and he seeks the help of probably the most evil person in the universe. And by seeking his help, he sets in motion a series of events that could possibly bring about the end of the world."
Did you have any scenes with John Simm?
"I did, yes!"
How did the part come about?
"Well, apparently Russell T had been trying to get me on to the series for a long time but I'd just been very busy. Finally, I was available, and he basically said, 'Do you wanna come in and do this job?' I wanted to get involved, so we kind of just made it happen."
They were David Tennant's final episodes. What was the atmosphere like on set?
"I'd say it was very charged - people were in tears. It was the end of a very successful partnership. It was obviously David's last outing, and it was also Russell's last outing and Julie Gardner's last outing. So everyone was saying goodbye to what had been a very successful partnership."
How secretive was the plot kept? Were you privvy to the part of the script with his final scene?
"No - we only got four pages, so most of us didn't get to see. I think we'll all be checking in on Christmas Day!"
Did everyone want to find out while you were there?
"Not really, because we all understand what it is and everyone was playing their part and they're keen to keep it under wraps!"
Monday, August 17, 2009
CORONATION Street star Suranne Jones will appear in the new series of Doctor Who spin-off The Sarah Jane Adventures this autumn.
The actress, 30, who played Karen McDonald, will be a guest star when the children's show returns with a third series on BBC1 and CBBC.
Her character is being kept under wraps, but producer Nikki Wilson reckons that signing up Suranne is an ideal piece of casting.
She said: "We conceived the character in a story meeting about 18 months ago and immediately named Suranne as perfect to play her - never imagining we'd actually get someone who's in so much demand.
"But as soon as she saw the script she said yes."
The story will also feature former Drop The Dead Donkey star Jeff Rawle.
Elisabeth Sladen, who plays Sarah Jane, will also be joined by Nigel Havers in series three.
A fourth series is being made.
CANADIAN actress Sarah Chalke, 32, who plays Dr Elliott Reid in US medical comedy Scrubs, and her lawyer fiancé Jamie Afifi are expecting their first child this winter.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
"There was no last time," he points out. "I am the Doctor."
The 75-year-old may have become a household name to a different generation as the narrator of Little Britain, but to anyone growing up in the Seventies and Eighties, he is to Doctor Who what Sean Connery is to James Bond.
And although it's been almost 30 years since he battled Daleks, Tom is still the most popular Time Lord. Now, the fourth Doctor is back in a series of new audiobooks which will be released next month.
And while Matt Smith, 26, prepares to take on the UK's best sci-fi role when David Tennant relinquishes the keys to the Tardis at Christmas, Tom isn't about to give him any advice.
"Idon't give advice to the young," he revealed."I have often noticed that the young shudder at the sight of the old, so I keep silent."
Although Tom has enjoyed success on Little Britain and as the wonderful Donald Ulysses MacDonald on Monarch of the Glen, it's still as DoctorWho that most remember him.
He was the Doctor between 1974-1981 and is the longest-living incarnation in the show's on-screen history.
Most recently, however, Paisley boy David Tennant has snapped at his heels. But rather than put him down, the veteran is hugely generous in his praise for the Scottish actor.
"David Tennant is a wonderful actor, a huge star," he admitted. "He is young and handsome. I never saw him in that role, but then, I never saw myself as the Doctor either."
Tom took over from Jon Pertwee in 1974 and was working on a construction site at the time.
He was dubbed "Boiler Suit Tom" by the media at the time, as he had been supplied for a press conference with some old studio set clothes to replace his modest garments.
However, Tom soon found an image - with his iconic long scarf, the hat and of course, his curly hair.
While the curly hair is a little flatter and whiter these days, Tom didn't need the rest of his costume to reprise his popular role.
Tom stars in a series of five audio adventures from BBC Audiobooks titled DoctorWho: Hornet's Nest, which also features Rula Lenska as the Hornet Queen, former Coronation Street actress Susan Jameson, and another old DoctorWho face, Richard Franklin, who reprises his role as Captain MikeYates for the series.
It was written by Paul Magrs and is the first full adventure with Tom since Logopolis - a four-parter which ran from February to March 1981 and saw the first appearance by fifth Doctor, Peter Davison.
Tom has been seen as the Doctor twice since then since. He appeared in the 20th Anniversary special The Five Doctors, but only in the form of footage from the uncompleted DoctorWho series Shada, which was never completed due to a BBC strike. Tom also reprised the role for a brief cameo for Children in Need in 1993.
Paul Magrs said: "It feels fantastic to write for Tom again. He's quite unlike any other Doctor.
"He's witty, dangerous, courageous and erudite. He's also the most facetious, but also the most serious when his dander's up.
"Tom is very passionate about his Doctor and rightfully protective. I was honoured he wanted to do this series of stories.
"He was engaged in the scripts - he made suggestions and changed things here and there to make it as good as possible."
Of course Tom only has to speak and he's the Doctor and admitted it was "very easy" to get back into playing the character for the first time in 28 years.
"I never went away. I have been standing in the shadows waiting," he pointed out, adding "The hat and scarf are in the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art.
"I didn't really have to do anything to the script to make it more like the fourth Doctor."
The new series, which will be available to buy from September 3, sees the Doctor in fighting form.
The action doesn't start in the Seventies when Tom was the Doctor and instead - in typical Time Lord tradition - flicks back and forward through time.
Tom said: "The story starts now, shifts to 1930 then to 1840. It then moves to an eleventh century convent, where my sonic screwdriver caused a sensation."
While there are now three working Doctors, the older actor refuses to be drawn on rumours that all the surviving Doctors will be brought back for a Children in Need special.
If so, Tom would be joined by Scots David Tennant and Sylvester McCoy, 65, who was the seventh Doctor. And, as new Doctor Matt Smith's companion Karen Gillan is also a Scot, does Tom reckon there's something tartan about the Tardis? "The character has lots of links with many places in many time zones." he said.
"Perhaps he could switch accents from time to time.
"But Scotland is a mysterious and strange place, but that's not the only reason we admire the Scots."
Tom has many links with Scotland. He was born in Scotland Road in Liverpool, toured the country with The National Theatre and The Royal Shakespeare Company and also performed at the Edinburgh Festival a handful of times.
And of course, he played that wonderful colourful character in Monarch of the Glen, which was perhaps the one show that helped to dispel those sci-fi tags. He may have played over the top characters such as Captain Redbeard Rum in Blackadder or Wyvern in Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) but admits he has never been able to shake his most famous role.
"It was impossible, I am the character," he said.
Tom revealed it's not just viewers who have taken a shine to him.
While filming Monarch near Newtonmore, in the central Highlands of Scotland, the actor - who has been married three times and has two sons - was plagued by the midges.
Tom said: "The midges adored me. They just couldn't get enough of me. They just ate me up.
"It took me back to my youth," he added with a twinkle.
He is, of course, also known as the voice of Little Britain.
Tom started on the comedy when it was on BBC Radio Four in 2001 and carried on when it made the leap to television.
Thus his unmistakable, booming theatrical voice will always be linked to the David Walliams and Matt Lucas comedy.
Of course, witty quotes such as: "In Paris, Anne is paying a visit to the Louvre. At my age I'm up all night visiting the Louvre" took many by surprise.
He also quoted rap lyrics such as Salt n' Pepa's Push It and House of Pain's Jump Around, while Tom even got to read the continuity announcements on BBC One as part of the launch of the third series of Little Britain in 2005 with lines such as: "In half an hour, Jenny Dickens's classic serial Bleak House. But first, let's see what the poor people are up to in the first of two visits this evening to EastEnders."
Tom said: "It was fun. A new generation of young fans found a chauvinistic old fool funny."
"The lines were all created by Matt Lucas and DavidWalliams. I just said them and the youngsters howled."
The Doctor Who star told BBC Wales that he was "nervous" because he had not had to audition for a part since Casanova in 2004.
Tennant said: "I had my first ever Hollywood audition yesterday. The terrible thing is I've been very spoilt in Britain for the last few years - I haven't done an audition.
"I went to this room and I found the place and I had to get past the security guard who wanted to see some ID, and I said, 'I've not brought any ID!' I didn't realise that was something you needed to do to come for an audition."
He added that he had some difficulty when the casting director asked him to "just go off script" because of the limited knowledge he had about the role.
"You have a few sides, you're having to intuit from a few lines what this character may be or what his story may be," Tennant continued.
"So you end up having to improvise around this character's life about which you know nothing and about which you're invited to know nothing. It was sort of alright."
He added: "It was for quite a big Hollywood film, I won't get it!"
The 75-year-old, who played the Time Lord's fourth incarnation from 1974 to 1981, revealed that he would prefer to leave Smith alone as he discovers his own approach to the role.
Speaking to the Daily Record, he explained: "I don't give advice to the young. I have often noticed that the young shudder at the sight of the old, so I keep silent."
Smith started filming for the iconic sci-fi show in Cardiff last month alongside his new co-star Karen Gillan (Amy Pond).
The 26-year-old will make his debut on the programme when David Tennant bows out as the Tenth Doctor at the end of three specials in early 2010.
Baker added: "David Tennant is a wonderful actor, a huge star. He is young and handsome. I never saw him in that role, but then, I never saw myself as The Doctor either."
The veteran actor recently announced that he is to return as the Fourth Doctor in a new audio series.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
A: Yes, yes! Oh yes.
Q: The excitement amongst fans is building by the day in the run up to the release. What can they look forward to in the Hornets’ Nest first instalment ‘The Stuff of Nightmares’?
A: These Hornets are not just any old Hornets; oh no! They are PRIME BBC Hornets, the likes of which have never been seen or heard of before. And of course BBC Hornets are the stuff of nightmares! And as lovers of nightmares, the fans will not be disappointed.
Q: Doctor Who has a tremendously loyal fan base, what do you think sets fans of the show apart?
A: Their unswerving loyalty. Their good taste. Their BLIND LOVE.
Q: You’ve often described yourself as a performer rather than an actor, where do you think the difference lies and how has this affected your choice of roles?
A: Is that a quote? What’s the difference? I think of myself as an entertainer.
Q: The Brits hold a particular affection for Doctor Who, what do you think is the key to the show’s appeal?
A: The formula is so good. Benevolent alien, a being with secrets. A sonic screwdriver, but I’m sworn to secrecy by the BBC. They pay me 30 pieces of silver every month to be discreet.
Q: What was the appeal of recording a new series of audio dramas?
A: The scripts arrived at a good moment. I’m a bit capricious about what I accept. I asked some hard questions and made some impossible demands. The BBC agreed to everything I asked on condition the details would be locked in a strongbox in the Bank of England. They will be revealed on the BBC website on January 20th 2034 at 6.12 AM – the hundredth anniversary of my birth.
Q: Are you a fan of audio books? Which titles have you enjoyed?
A: I’m a great fan of anything that Michael Jayston records. He’s a magnificent teller of the tale. What a guy! What an actor, and a very tricky bowler at cricket.
He's rich and famous and jet-sets back and forth across the Atlantic the way us mere mortals go between home and work. And he can probably bed any girl he wants.
However, the most annoying thing about the 38-year-old from Ralston, Paisley, is this - it's practically impossible to dislike him.
He's cheerful and friendly, annoyingly modest and self-deprecating and laughs off the whole stardom thing like it's the most ridiculous idea he's ever heard.
He's massively, childishly enthusiastic about his work - especially when it comes to all things Tardis - and he even admits he gets starstruck when he meets famous people, chickening out of talking to them just like you or me.
The annoyingly likeable David said: "I still get that thing where I think, 'Oh,I'd love to say hello to him,' but then think, 'Oh, leave him alone.' I sawMorrissey once having a pizza in a restaurant in London.Meat-free, not aMeat Feast - that would have been a coup.
"I've not even ever been that big a Smiths fan - I've always liked them and I like his solo stuff - but there's something about Morrissey. He's a 'thing' isn't he? A creation. He just comes with aura.
"He was looking remarkably normal. He was just sitting there with a mate, laughing and joking.
"So I still do have that fan worship a little bit. You meet someone... but I stop myself now. I suppose when you've been on the other side of it a little bit, you kind of know what it is.
"The other day I was in Cardiff Bay - as Doctor Who is filmed in Cardiff - buying a coffee and there was the little fella fromManic Street Preachers. James Dean Bradfield.
"But I thought, 'Leave him alone. Let the man have his coffee.' But I couldn't remember his name. Which was probably the other reason I thought, 'Don't go up to him.'"
When it comes to his own fame, David seems to find the notion that people flock to see him - thousands were turned away from his appearance at Comic-Con in the States - utterly ludicrous.
The prospect of stardom going to his head is one he simply can't get his head around.
David said: "Well all that's just silly isn't it? I don't really know how to answer that.Maybe if I had been 21 when it all happened, maybe not. It's difficult to say. I was very well brought up, that's what it is."
He now faces the difficult task of following his dream job after quitting as the Time Lord in Russell T Davies's hit reimagining of Doctor Who.
While rumours swirl around linking him with just about every major film franchise in Hollywood and beyond - notably The Lord Of The Rings' prequel The Hobbit - he reckons it's all nonsense. In fact he's worried people will be disappointed when they find out he's up to.
David said: "We're slightly worried.We're doing a bit of expectation management because there are so many rumours. Whatever is bouncing round the web isn't true. We just need to manage expectation.
"There's a new rumour about me every day. I'm playing The Hobbit, apparently. No phone calls about that yet but I don't know, no idea.
"I don't think I'm in Harry Potter. There is a film at the moment - I'mplaying the villain in St Trinians 2 - but beyond that, who knows?
"We've done Hamlet. It's a TV version. It's a record of the stage play, so it's not a full-scale stage drama but it's the production that we did on stage last year and that'll certainly be on the BBC at Christmas."
With a Tardis-free future ahead and no notable roles to announce at the moment, many actors would wonder if they had done the right thing.
No such doubts for David - and despite his decision to quit after three seasons, his unmistakable love for the character shines through.
He said: "It's a Saturday night TV event. And it was when we were kids as well. I grew up obsessed with it really, so it's strange to be sitting here at 38 and be in it.
"It's still the same show, the story continues. I'm the same man asWilliam Hartnell, I'mjust wearing a different wig.
"There are bits of all those old Doctors in there somewhere, yet you make the role new and of yourself because that's how it works.
"It's not like James Bond or Sherlock Holmes or other characters reborn in the same mould.We want to break the mould a bit, make him a new man, which is why I went with a different wig than William."
David's input into the look of his Doctor didn't stop with the hair - he insisted on wearing his own shoes in his first episode as the wardrobe department wouldn't give him a pair he felt looked ruined enough.
He said: "The very first pair of shoes that I wore were my own shoes because I wanted them to be old and battered and hanging off my feet. And one thing that costume designers hate is things being really knackered.
"I really wanted them to be scruffy and knackered so I got my own shoes and said, 'I'mjust going to wear these.' The soles were flapping. "They were very old. But they really did fall apart,
"We sold them for Children In Need. So somebody's got an old pair of shoes rotting in the corner of their bedroom somewhere. Cherishing them. As they rot."
With Matt Smith stepping in to fill David's stinky shoes, it has hit home that he really has walked away from the Tardis for the last time.
But David is happy to have handed over the controls of the famous police box - and insists he was careful not to have any input whatsoever into the new boy's interpretation of the role.
He said: "We've met. I've chatted to him several times. He was down in Cardiff doing a recce.
"It's weird because I'mvery excited for him and at the same time I don't want to get in his way.
"We talked a bit and then he said, 'Well, what advice have you got?' and I said, 'I don't have any advice really.'
"He's a great actor - he's got no worries from that point of view - he knows what he's doing.
"He'll bring his own energy and enthusiasms with him, and that's how it should be really. And he doesn't need my advice - it's the same character but a different man every time.
"Doctor Who is a big thing and you get attention, some of which is nice and some that's intrusive. But he'll cope. He's bright, normal, and down to earth."
We haven't seen the last of David as the Doctor yet -he will be on screen in three more specials as well as popping up in spin-off The Sarah Jane Adventures.
But the massively hyped talk that he could return for the 50th anniversary appear to be just that - hype. He is most insistent that there are no actual plans whatsoever in place.
David said: "Who knows what will happen? But, you know, 50th anniversary, 2013. We did talk about it ... so never say never but I have no plans.
"For now, I've just done an audiobook, which is due out soon. They might be the last words I utter as the Doctor.
"And I crop up in Sarah Jane. That was my last proper acting in the suit. It's a great show and I'm afraid I just greedily wanted a part, so I just demanded that I be included."
So for now, David will sit back, enjoy his vast array of rich-bloke pursuits like yachting and peasant-hunting, and relax.Well, no.
He said: "I don't have hobbies. I don't have 'pursuits'. I did play squash three times. I was quite good.
"I should get some pursuits. I've started cooking. I've got a Jamie Oliver book that I'm slowly working through. What he says you can rustle up in half an hour will take me three hours. But oh, it works. And you get great satisfaction.
"Tv, I love a good box-set. I've got TheWire ready to go - the first couple of episodes are quite tough but you have to persevere.
"And music, I'ma big Proclaimers fan. I make no secret of that." When David does decide to tell us what he will be up to next, don't expect to hear from him on Twitter - he thinks it's a colossal waste of time. Another good reason to like the man.
He said: "Twitter? Noooo. 'I'mhaving a cup of tea' Who cares? There's plenty of people pretending to be me on Twitter.
"They can tell you that they're having a cup of tea. It'll just be the same. It'll be a different cup of tea but the information's the same."
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Speaking on an audio postcard recorded for the BBC, the actor said that the streets were lined with people dressed as Stormtroopers from Star Wars and Scooby Doo.
Tennant said: "It was slightly mental. I've never been to San Diego before, so I don't know what it's like normally, but it was just crawling with hundreds of thousands of fans."
Outgoing head writer Russell T. Davies said: "You often get told over there that Doctor Who's not well known and Torchwood's not well known, and I'm beginning to deny that! David, you're far too modest. You were welcomed like a rockstar."
Tennant admitted: "It was a bit like being Robbie Williams for a minute there. I mean they did go crazy, didn't they?"
Davies added: "I was reading all our press clippings last night. I have to say I thought they did that for everyone - no they don't! Yours was really rare and noted by the press and phenomenal.
"I'm really pleased. A lot of press clippings were saying that was an extraordinary welcome for you and how deserved and marvellous it was."
“We’re thrilled that the license has been renewed,” says executive producer Jason Haigh-Ellery. “and we’ve got some fantastic stories lined up for the rest of 2009, and through 2010 and beyond. Not only from the Doctor Who main range, but also the New Eighth Doctor Adventures and the Companion Chronicles, plus additional ranges like The Lost Stories.
“All of us at Big Finish love making Doctor Who on audio, and we feel privileged that the BBC has entrusted us to continue.”
Monday, August 10, 2009
The new run, which sees Matt Smith take over from David Tennant in the lead role, is currently being filmed in Cardiff, Wales.
The thirteen-episode fifth season will air on BBC America and BBC America HD in Q2 2010 shortly after its UK premiere.
The network also confirmed that its recent screening of Torchwood: Children Of Earth reached a cumulative 3.3 million viewers (live + SD) over its broadcast week at the end of July, making it BBC America's most successful ever series. The subsequent broadcast of Doctor Who: Planet Of The Dead brought in 657,000 viewers.
Rona Munro told The Guardian that it was lazy to suggest the possibility of romance between the show's lead character and those that join him in the TARDIS.
Munro said: "This is my chance to say it. I don't think The Doctor should have fallen in love with anybody.
"I think that's wrong. I don't think there should be any snogging or any sexual tension because he's a Time Lord, and his companion is but a mortal."
Munro penned 1989's three-part Season 26 finale Survival, the last episodes of Doctor Who before its return in 1996's one-off TV movie and the full revival of the series in 2005.
Saturday, August 08, 2009
THE girlfriend of Doctor Who star David Tennant is becoming a doctor herself - in BBC1 hit Casualty.
The beauty met David, 38, while guest-starring as his daughter in Doctor Who.
Georgia is one of four new stars joining the 24th series of Casualty. The others are Personal Affairs beauty Laura Aikman and newcomers Steve Miller and Will Sharpe.
Last week Wales on Sunday revealed some fans had left online messages saying they would ‘murder’ the scriptwriters responsible for killing off the show’s Ianto Jones, played by Newport actor Gareth David Lloyd in the Children of Earth mini-series.
But in scores of responses left at Wales on Sunday’s website, WalesOnline, admirers of the Cardiff-set BBC hit distanced themselves from ‘extremists.’
One, writing as Iam, insisted the article highlighted only a tiny proportion of fans.
Iam said: “I am sure that 99% of these comments were simply ill-conceived knee-jerk reactions to the strong emotions elicited by the death of Ianto.
“I want to stress that THOUSANDS of fans are protesting politely and peacefully. Over £4,000 has been raised for the charity Children in Need as part of this protest.”
And ‘Kendra’ said: “There are thousands of fans out there, who are raising money for charity, sending polite and reasonable letters, and doing what we can to be supportive of the character and actor.
“But it’s always the crazies that get highlighted and from then on, any time anybody tries to make a reasonable argument, we’ll get dismissed as being one of the death threat/ wacko/ axe-wielding nutcases.”
KB13 admitted fans were angry at ‘RTD’ – Torchwood creator and Dr Who writer Russell T Davies – but said: “Those comments are over the top and upsetting, they came from personal journals and fans gathering places where people are blowing off steam.
“Please don’t condemn us based on things written in private and shared with other fans.”
But Jimmy 900 said: “This is what happens when socially inept people are asked to handle emotional content.”
Behellmorph added: “This is getting out of hand, sending death threats to writers? That’s just wrong.
“Granted, the passing of Ianto’s death is very sad but that doesn’t mean you should go threatening people like that.”
Meanwhile ‘Cuisle’ urged fans to accept Gareth David-Lloyd had left the show.
Jovialien insisted making threats of violence was not typical fan behaviour.
And Tardigger said: “Only the most miniscule portion of fans saddened by the demise of Ianto Jones and concerned about the fate of Torchwood have posted comments similar to those cited in (last week’s) article.
“The many thousands of other Torchwood fans, however, reflecting myriad opinions both pro and con towards Children of Earth and Mr Davies, remain united by one common element – respectful disagreement through open discourse.”
Rusty added: “GROW UP! It’s a TV character!
“Granted, I was never that fond of Ianto to begin with – he was a blank as far as I’m concerned, but death threats?
“Come on, people!”
Friday, August 07, 2009
"Billie asked me to speak as a Dalek down the phone to some of her friends," he explains.
When Nick repeated the story to journalists, a tabloid reporter asked: "Did she get you to phone Chris Evans?"
"No," Nick said.
The next day, the headline was: Billie Tells Chris He's Exterminated.
"On the plus side, they put my age as 35," says Nick, 47.
Nick, from London, was asked to be a Dalek during the Doctor Who re-launch in 2005 and has been an irate-voiced fixture ever since. Prior to the TV series, he was executive producer on the Big Finish Doctor Who audio productions for the BBC.
He worked first with Christopher Eccleston. When he heard that the Doc from the North would be leaving after one series, he felt duty-bound to mention the rumour to his old friend David Tennant, who had worked with him on the audio productions and was a massive Doctor fan.
"I met him and told him he should go for the role. He said, 'Oh, that's an interesting idea'," recalls Nick. "In fact, he already had the part but he wasn't allowed to tell anyone."
He records his Dalek drone on set, as the action is being filmed. "It's better than just recording it in post-production. It creates a bit of special atmosphere on set," he says.
"Plus, there's the fact that my voice activates the flashing lights on the Dalek."
He admits he hasn't met young Doctor Matt Smith yet, so can't really comment on how the new incarnation is shaping up.
Will there be Daleks in the new series?
"You get shot at dawn if you reveal secrets," he says. "But could you have a series of Doctor Who without the Daleks?"
Nick voices all the Daleks, which can be tricky if there's a crowd of them declaring war. He admits he may be in danger of suffering "Dalek schizophrenia".
So how does he produce that special vocal blend of ear-jangling irascibleness and war-mongering villainy?
"You have to do some serious hectoring," he admits. "You have to get REALLY cross! It's like playing a very weird musical instrument."
Electronic sound mixing on a ring modulator gives Nick's vocals a fractious, tinny edge but the basic ingredients are all him.
"It makes me a much calmer person. Being a Dalek is a very good way of getting rid of all your aggression!" he laughs.
One place Nick won't be doing his Dalek monotone, though, is at the Theatre Royal, Nottingham. For this summer, he will be moving from Doctor Who to Whodunnits in the 2009 Classic Thriller Season. Nick has almost a decade-worth of classic thrillers with Colin McIntyre under his belt. But this season will be special. Not only has he adapted Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's book The Hound of the Baskervilles; he's also starring as Sherlock Holmes.
"I would go almost anywhere to play Sherlock!" he said.
It turns out Sherlock, like the Doctor, is a hero.
"Anything a little bit out of the ordinary has always interested me," explains Nick.
His passion for his subject matter means he feels bound to stay faithful to the original. "In all the adaptations on film or TV, they seem to have changed things for no good reason. There's so much that's exciting and interesting in the original," he enthuses.
Nick has decided to reinvent the play using the framing device of Watson adapting a play about Holmes' most famous case.
"He's invited Holmes along to the Theatre Royal to get him involved," explains Nick.
As the case is recreated for audiences, the major conundrum is how the actors will manage to produce "the hound".
"Colin suggested not having the hound but you can't have the Hound of the Baskervilles without the hound!" laments Nick. So he's found a way around it but he's not saying what.
Audiences are staunchly loyal to the Royal's thriller season but Nick's hoping some new crowds may venture through the doors as well. When it comes to attracting new audiences, Doctor Who is, of course, the classic example.
"It's become cool and acceptable," marvels Nick. "Kids have gone bonkers about it in a way I never thought they would."
Mike Skinner, of the popular beat combo The Streets, has revealed via a social networking site that he has landed a part in the new series of Doctor Who. A post on Twitter read: "You wouldn't believe the week I've had. I can't talk about it but let's just say I got a part in 'Doctor Who'."
Conspiracists may note that the Tweet has since been withdrawn with the comment: "and just like that. the tweet is deleted." Skinner has 'fronted' The Streets since 2000 scoring a number of hits and awards though the 31 year old has yet to be seen acting.
This would not be the first time The Streets have appeared in the world's longest running science-fiction television show. During 2005's Father's Day, Rose could hear their song "Don't Mug Yourself" on a car radio.
At the moment filming continues on the next series of the show starring Matt Smith and Karen Gillan; the first to be overseen by Steven Moffat.
Well, no more.
Garth Ancier, president of BBC America, announced Wednesday that BBC America will air unedited versions of Doctor Who and other series. The shows will still have commercials: They'll just exceed an hour all told. That's only for the premiere airing, of course.
"In order to keep the storylines intact on most of these shows now, on the premiere airing we don't do any cutting at all," Ancier said in a press conference in Pasadena, Calif., as part of the Television Critics Association's summer press tour. "We just take the entire show, and we run over off the clock. That's what we've been doing, and that's what we're going to do for Doctor Who going forward. The audience seems to be following it, and that way we're not screwing up someone's vision, what they're trying to do, or screwing up story points."
Doctor Who producer Russell T Davies thanked Ancier for respecting the BBC run times, adding that David Tennant's final episode, "The End of Time," will push the schedule even further. "Actually, our very last episode, coming at Christmas, David's very last episode, is one hour and 15 minutes long," Davies revealed in the press conference.
That means with commercials, "Time" will require at least a 90-minute block. "At least an hour and a half, maybe [two]," Ancier replied. "It's great. We run off the clock. It's what the audience wants to see. We actually get complaints if we don't. They know the U.K. episodes somehow, and they don't like it when we take any of it out." (What, is Ancier suggesting that avid U.S. fans aren't waiting for the BBC America to air the show, but rather are bittorrenting the British episodes right off the Internet immediately after they air in the U.K.? Who would do such a thing?)
Expect BBC America airings to debut closer to BBC U.K. airings, too. Contractually, BBC America has to run after the U.K., but with schedules locked in in advance, they are able to schedule close enough to get the Christmas special around Christmas or New Year's Day.
"Doctor Who Christmas and New Year specials are such iconic things, they're locked on the schedule very early," Ancier said. "That allows us to put it on pretty quickly."
When award-winning writer Russell T. Davies, the man behind Torchwood and the original Queer as Folk, took over the series, his slick re-imagination put a fresh spin on the adventures of the popular Time Lord and his feisty companions, who travel across the universe to protect Earth from dangerous aliens and terrifying monsters.
Both Davies and the 10th Time Lord, David Tennant, who is one of the UK's best known actors, have decided to end their involvement with Doctor Who with a series of four specials in 2009 and early 2010. At the Television Critics Association Press Tour, the two men talked about what fans can expect from their final specials, along with why working on Doctor Who was such a memorable experience for both of them.
Q: Russell, it's so interesting how different one Doctor is from the next. The 9th Doctor was a very serious fellow, and the 10th Doctor seems to have a bit more of a light touch with it. How did you make the decisions to go with two such very different portrayals of a character that you love?
Russell: It really comes from choosing two different actors. And, hand on heart, I can't say I ever sat there thinking about massive differences between the two Doctors. I always think there's very essential Doctor-ness behind whatever he's saying and doing. I think you can get hung up on adjectives and descriptions, and one-line hooks for characters, then that's all you write. So, I just tend to write in terms of flow. I surf it and see wherever he's going, and just follow the story. I think, if the 9th Doctor did seem harder in places, that's because he was recovering from a war. And, if the 10th Doctor seems lighter, that's because he's getting better in that recovery, and his human companions are making his life different. I tend to think of it in story terms. I don't sit there, thinking of characteristics for the Doctor. You can just depend on character hooks too much, so I just tend to write whatever happens on the spot, really.
Q: When you are transitioning from one Doctor to another, how do you balance the opportunities of changing aspects of the show to reflect the new Doctor?
David: Well, that's not on our watch now, in terms of how they do it after us.
Russell: Yeah. You've just got a different lead actor, but we did not have great big meetings about that. We just carried on. It's such an unusual show because it's different, every week. If it was a very regular precinct show, always in the same place, then the change of lead actor would have enormous repercussions on everyone around it. With Doctor Who, you can do a comedy episode with Agatha Christie. You can do a dark, psychological episode, like that midnight episode. You can have romps. You can have love stories. You can have adventures. Because it's always changing, you don't need to worry too much about the change. We all just hang on for the ride, really.
Q: When it was time to replace Chris Eccleston and find a 10th Doctor, what made David the right guy? And, how did you and he shape the character to be different than his predecessor?
Russell: Well, we were lucky, in that David and I had already worked together. I first met David when we did Casanova for the BBC, and I remember doing rehearsals and making Doctor Who jokes, which amused us. And so, he was already there, in a way. It was just the best possible time. It wasn't set up in advance, like that. But, when you work with or find a great actor, you just cling to them. They're just so limitless and inspiring. And so, when it came to putting it together and writing it, we talked surprisingly little about it, really.
David: He just wrote it. That was it, really. And, I just got the script and did it.
Russell: And, we sort of continued like that. We should have had those meetings where we discussed things, but we didn't, really. I would watch the rushes every day and watch what David was doing.
Q: What was he was doing that you liked?
Russell: With the Casanova audition, I thought, "Oh, my lord, that's someone I want to spend many years working with." Practically every male actor in the land had auditioned for Casanova, to play the world's greatest lover. Everyone came in and gave us very heavy, very serious, would-be romantic portrayals. And, David could just dance over dialogue. He's one of the few actors who understands that dialogue is sort of irrelevant. You throw it away and you rattle across it with real speed because it's about what's going on underneath. He gets the humor and the comedy, and there are not many actors who do that. They take it very seriously. And, I like stuff on the lighter end, no matter how dark the actual stuff is. It has that throw-away quality to it, and I love that.
Q: David, when you signed on to do Doctor Who, did you know how many years you'd be doing it? And, because you were such a fan, did you know what you were going to do with the role?
David: I responded to what was in the script. I tried not to sit down and work out a list of self-conscious quirks because I think it can become cloyingly quirky, in the wrong way. I think idiosyncrasies are better born than imposed, so I just responded to what Russell had written. And then, working with directors like Euros Lyn, we just bumbled through it, really.
Q: Doctor Who has been a staple in the U.K. forever, but the U.S. explosion has been largely due to you guys. What was it like to see that fan reaction at Comic-Con?
David: I wanted to crowd dive, but they were all sitting down. It was a bit disappointing, for me. I figured that was probably the only opportunity in my life that I was going to get to do that. I should have done it.
Russell: It was amazing. That's obviously a very specific crowd, but we do keep getting told back home that it's completely unknown in America. So, we were slightly amazed, in a good way, that we had that response.
David: It was great fun. It was such an extraordinary experience.
Q: The Doctor's assistants have added so much to the show, Billie Piper in particular. Can you talk about picking Billie Piper, and the ones that followed, and how important that is, each time?
Russell: That's just been a vital part of the format, in that you've got a man who's 906 years old, and he's an alien, and he's a Time Lord. He's wonderfully human, but he has that huge other dimension of being practically immortal and hugely wise, which is dangerous. The human person just brings him down to Earth, literally. It's the yin and the yang, the human and the alien, the man and the woman, the boy and the girl. It's just oddly inventive. That's a great classic patent for a series. It just happens that this has got the human and the alien added to it, but so many series have the two male and female leads, for which you explore every story. Maybe it's true to say, in the old days of the series, the companion wasn't quite so well-developed, but that wasn't the purpose then.
Now, in bringing it back to have the female lead to attract people, not just Billie Piper, but of Catherine Tate status, to the series, you've got to write it well, otherwise you're not going to get them. One of the joys of the whole show was to work with people like that. It was just brilliant.
Q: What will the tone of the specials be like?
Russell: Well, The Waters of Mars is one of those claustrophobic, submarine-type dramas, with them all trapped in an enclosed space with increasing darkness and intensity.
David: Planet of the Dead was the last hurrah for the 10th Doctor. He was in mortal danger, but he was loving it. Really, from The Waters of Mars and heading into that final story, the sword of Damocles is dangling, and that informs everything that goes on.
Russell: The finale is a personal epic. The Waters of Mars all takes place in a very small location. And then, that final story becomes epic, almost like a fairytale. But, it's really intimate, at the same time. It's got funny little aliens with green spikey faces, running around.
Q: The Doctor has had pretty steady companions for a few series, and then for the specials the Doctor has been solo with new companions. How was it to shoot those specials? How did that change the dynamic on the set for you?
David: It's been slightly different in each one. In the first one, we had Michelle Ryan who, for all intents and purposes, was the companion, and she was fantastic. Although she was a very distinct character, she was in the mold of the traditional young, beautiful woman, who is also feisty. Bu, in the next special, the closest thing we have to a companion is Lindsey Duncan, who is an older woman, which is not something the show has done before. And, she probably thinks she's more in charge than the Doctor is. In many ways, she is, actually. So, that's a different dynamic. And then, coming into that final two-part story, although Catherine Tate is back and Donna is a big part of that story, the companion really is Bernard Cribbins, and that is the first time the Doctor has had an 80-year-old man as his sidekick.
So, it's been great to get to play these different facets of the character. The Doctor himself is also slightly on the run from himself, and on the run from the inevitable, so he's trying not to get too close to anyone. So, it's important that there is a revolving door of confidence for him. But, getting to see Bernard Cribbins in that final story is so brilliant and moving. He's just such a great actor, and that was a great finish to the story, for me. You get these wonderful scenes of these two old men. The Doctor is a lot older than Wilf, and yet the two of them get to sit down and discuss life in a way that we've never seen the Doctor be able to do before. It's just a way of reinventing the wheel with this character, who has been around since 1963, and yet we are still managing to find a new aspect of him.
Q: After Planet of the Dead, will the remaining episodes all be ramping into the next regeneration? How do you dramatically play a progress towards a death where the character knows not really a death, having been through multiple regenerations?
Russell: Yes, the Doctor is heading for his next adventure, called The Waters of Mars, in November in Britain. It should be shown soon after on BBC America. I think this Doctor likes being this Doctor. He's raging against the dying of the light. And, that's the beat that we play. That's the story. He knows that the sands of time are running out. He's been told. And, the bell is tolling for him, and he doesn't want to go quietly. That's how we play that.
Q: David, why leave now, when it's so big?
David: Sometimes, you have to take a deep breath and make a difficult decision, and I like the fact that I stand a chance of leaving an audience and myself wanting more, rather than people asking when I'm leaving. I never had a definite stepping-off point, but when Russell and Julie were moving on, it seemed like the obvious time. It seemed like a natural end for all of us, really.
Q: Knowing that this is basically the end for you, is it bittersweet?
David: It's so many things, actually. It's very exciting, but it's also very sad. It's thrilling to be handing over the show in such good health, actually. We've all come on this journey together and we're all leaving together. It feels like we're coming to the end of something very special. It's a whole mixture of emotions that probably won't actually transmit for awhile. I don't quite know how it feels. I don't think any of us really do because we're still clinging on, until the shows go out.
Russell: We're happy with a job well done.
Q: Since it is sci-fi and we have seen previous regenerations come back, would you ever come back, even just for a cameo?
David: I'll wait for the correct opportunity, but I've got the costume hanging up in my wardrobe. As long as I can keep my waistline and still fit into the trousers, I'll never say never.
Q: As a fan, who was your favorite Doctor Who star, while you were growing up?
Russell: I was a Tom Baker man, really. I was just the right age. I was 11, going into comprehensive school, and that's when I really, really fell in love with the show. That was the most extraordinary combination of an actor and a part coming together, in just absolute television magic. I loved that very much.
David: Tom Baker and Peter Davison were the two that I grew up with. I think there is something about it, like a chick hatching from an egg. Who you first see is who you imprint on it. But, I've liked them all.
Q: Russell, when you were bringing Doctor Who back, in the very beginning, you brought back some continuity, but decided to get rid of something things, like the Time Lords, so that the Doctor is now the last of his kind. How did you decide what to keep, what to bring back and what to get rid of?
Russell: It's funny because, as a long-term fan of the show, it was like the show had 40 years of market testing. I was a 40-year-old focus group, working on what worked and what didn't, and I never liked the Time Lords. I always thought they were slightly boring and bumped the program down, apart from the one Time Lord, obviously. So, the decision to get rid of the Time Lords was just immediate. It didn't take me a long time to reach that decision. It was on the very first document, and I knew immediately.
Q: David, what are you doing next?
David: Long term, I don't really know. In the immediate future, I've just done a television version of Hamlet, which is broadcasting soon. And, I'm doing a film called 1St. Trinian's 2: The Legend of Fritton's Gold, at the moment. But I don't know, after that.
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
The "Doctor Who" star will reprise his stage role as "Hamlet" for PBS' "Great Performances" in 2010. Tennant won critical acclaim for playing the troubled Danish prince in a 2008 production of the Royal Shakespeare Company play. Patrick Stewart also will reprise his role as Claudius/Ghost.
Tennant first will appear on PBS on Oct. 25, when he debuts as host of "Masterpiece Contemporary" when the anthology series returns with "Endgame," a political thriller about the final days of apartheid in South Africa. It stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, William Hurt and Jonny Lee Miller.
The "Contemporary" season continues Nov. 1 and 8 with "Place of Execution," a drama starring Juliet Stevenson as a TV reporter who investigates the 40-year-old disappearance of a 13-year-old girl. Tennant also will introduce "Collision," a drama about a major road accident that connects 10 strangers. It airs Nov. 15 and 22.
Tennant's "Doctor Who" will be back for two more specials this fall and winter on BBC America, "The Waters of Mars" and "The End of Time."
Monday, August 03, 2009
THERE has been an overwhelming reaction from fans to the death of Torchwood character Ianto Jones, played by Gareth David-Lloyd, in the miniseries Children of Earth.
Ianto's tragic demise in the arms of Captain Jack from a deadly airborne virus has had a massive impact, both here in the UK and also in the USA, where the Doctor Who spin-off is incredibly popular.
Here, Gareth talks exclusively to the Coventry Telegraph about his departure from Torchwood and his reaction to the intense outpouring of emotion from fans.
He also addresses the many questions online about whether his character will be back and if there will be a fourth season of Torchwood.
After Ianto's poignant passing, followers of the show were shocked, saddened and even griefstricken. Some were so upset that they lashed out angrily, making threats against the show's writers.
As I reported the other day, there are several campaigns to show the strength of feeling out there and to call for Ianto's return if there is another season of Torchwood.
Gareth, 28, spoke to me to clear up all the gossip and unanswered questions and address the fans who are so passionate about the programme. Here's what he had to say:
Firstly, Gareth, what did you think about the amazing reaction we have seen from fans?
"It's really flattering. It's really nice if the the show affected people emotionally. That's what any drama is aiming to do and what any actor hopes their performance will achieve, and it shows both the support for my character and for the show in general."
How did the death scene come about? Was it your choice? And what did you think about Ianto's demise?
"When I was approached about the third series, my agent said I was needed for only four of the five episodes, so obviously I twigged that it might be the end for Ianto.
"At the back of my mind I had been thinking I do not want to be playing Ianto for the bulk of my career, I don't want to become typecast, even though I was disappointed and I was expecting to do at least another full series. I would definitely have liked to have done more episodes.
"But I was really happy with what happened, how it was done. It was an exit I can proud of."
But is that really the end? Could Ianto come back, do you think they would bring him back and would you consider it?
"I would say anything could happen, especially in sci-fi. But I would not want him (Ianto) to come back too quickly, it would cheapen the scenes and take away the impact.
"But it's not to say I would say no. It's a huge part of my life and I would love any excuse to work with the crew or the other actors again.
"The bottom line is that anything could happen. I am resolved that my character is dead but I am not closed to the idea of working with the producers again."
Will there be a Season Four of Torchwood?
"I really hope there is another series, it really lent itself to the new structure of five episodes over five nights and I really liked that format. I know discussions are being had over another series of the show, it's a big possibility. They are definitely in talks.
"I would like to see the same structure but maybe one set of episodes at the start of the year and one at the end, so it is then as much as a full series."
I know you went to Comic-Con last year and are doing Dragon*Con and other US events this year. Are you hoping for offers of work in the US as a result of Torchwood?
"There has been some interest from networks in America, for sure. Torchwood has a huge following in the USA and it's definitely a springboard to other things, so we'll see what happens."
And your final thoughts to the fans out there?
"I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has made a positive response to Ianto, including donating to charity, which has been brilliant, a great way to express support and show their feelings.
"To the fans who are still absolutely devastated, I would say it is just a TV show and I am still here and still doing things even if Ianto is gone."
And Gareth is definitely not going anywhere, with a full calendar for the rest of the year. He has a whole host of appearances coming up, connected with Torchwood and also with his band, Blue Gillespie.
He and the band have a gig in Newport on August 14, in London on August 21 and at Cardiff Mardi Gras on August 29. He is presenting the Sex, Wales and Anarchy 2 arts event in Cardiff on August 30 and he will be at Dragon*Con in Atlanta from September 4 to 7 and Wales Comic-Con on September 27.
He joins John Barrowman, James Marsters and other Torchwood cast at The Hub 3 convention in Birmingham, UK, from October 23 to 25, then he is at the Hurricane Who event in Orlando from October 30 to November 1 and New England Fan Experience in Boston from November 13 to 15. He ends the year by starring in panto, playing Prince Charming in Cinderella at Preston, UK, from December 18 to January 3.
BBC America, Russell T. Davies and David Tennant changed all that over the past few years — Tennant, especially. For three seasons the gregarious actor portrayed The Doctor with a combination of goofiness and gravitas, making him charismatic, sexy and at times even sinister. We believed it when centuries-old Doctor’s companions fell for him because, after all, we had too. Tennant and Davies’ recent Comic-Con appearance drove the fans into a frenzy.
That’s why the news that Tennant’s run on “Doctor Who” would be coming to an end made our hearts ache a little. The journey for his incarnation of The Doctor is already in the process of ending. “Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead” had its BBC America premiere last Sunday. The next special, “The Waters of Mars,” arrives in the fall and enlists a new companion named Adelaide (Lindsay Duncan, familiar to “Rome” fans as Servilia of the Junii). Tennant’s final special arrives at what would otherwise be the most wonderful time of the year, Christmas. Davies confirmed that it’s called “The End of Time,” and it will be at least an hour and a half, maybe more, with commercials.
The decision to leave wasn’t easy for Tennant but, as he explained to critics on Wednesday, “I like the fact that I stand a chance of leaving an audience and myself wanting more rather than people asking when I’ve leaving.”
For the record, Davies announced he’d be handing the reins off to Steven Moffat in May 2008, before Tennant decided it was time for him to go — he hit us with that news last October.
The actor described the feeling of abandoning the role that brought him such love and acclaim in both the U.K. and the states as both very exciting, and very sad. “It’s thrilling to be handing over the show in such good health, actually…we’ve all come on this journey together, and it feels like we’re coming to the end of something very special.”
As do we.
Davies explains the arc for Tennant’s final four specials in a note on BBC America’s site: “The mysterious Ood have told him that his song is ending soon; something deadly is waiting on Mars; Donna’s grandfather, Wilf, is experiencing strange visions; and a powerful psychic warns the Doctor that “He will knock four times…” The end is coming. But will the Doctor, and the human race, survive?”
Understandably, this Doctor isn’t ready for his number to be up. “I think this Doctor likes being this Doctor,” Tennant explained. “And I think he’s raging against the dying of the light…He knows the sands of time are running out. He’s been told. And the bell is tolling for him, and he doesn’t want to go quietly.”
Up next for Tennant is a television version of “Hamlet.” He’s also in the midst of shooting a film called “St. Trinians 2.”
The next Doctor, 26-year-old Matt Smith, is a relative newcomer and the youngest of all the actors to play the last Time Lord. Karen Gillan was recently unveiled as his new companion. The first of their adventures will premiere in spring 2010.
Saturday, August 01, 2009
There have been rumours that show bosses are planning a special edition reuniting all the surviving actors who have played the Time Lord, but the 75-year-old said he had not yet been approached about the idea.
Baked said: "They should actually try and do something like that and they should get a nice jolly script with them."
He added: "I don't know what it will be like and they haven't approached me yet and I'd want to have some say about the script."
Baker, who appeared in nearly 200 episodes of the show in the 1970s and 80s, said he was "amazed" at all the kissing done by the last Doctor, David Tennant, and thought the special effects were losing some of their impact.
He said: "I think it is quite difficult now to surprise an audience with special effects, you may please an audience, but visually you can't actually amaze an audience can you?
"In a sense you just watch them trying, but if people can appear and disappear and walk through walls and disappear and then carry on fencing or kissing girls, that amazes me.
"Of course they didn't do that in my days, and I don't want to be a reactionary old fart about that but in my days, it never occurred to me to try and kiss a girl."