New trailer released, ABC start time confirmed

The BBC has released its most extensive trailer for Series 11 of Doctor Who yet, showcasing the Thirteenth Doctor in action in an array of sci-fi settings – with her new companions by her side.

The trailer comes just a couple of weeks after a specially shot “release date” trailer surfaced, which shows our hero standing in the middle of large dome while glass shatters around her – including the particularly high ceiling…

The ABC has meanwhile confirmed that the new series will air on its main channel from 5:45pm, starting on Monday 8 October, with Whovians to follow on ABC Comedy. Each episode will also be on iview immediately after it finishes airing in the UK.

Do you want to be part of Series 2 of Whovians?

Australia’s own Doctor Who panel show, Whovians, is back on 8 October, airing immediately after the first episode of Series 11. And you’re invited to be a part of the studio audience!

Free tickets are now available to the first three episodes of Whovians, filming at the ABC’s Sydney studio from 11am each Monday from 8 October. This is your chance to join Rove McManus and his team of superfans as they dissect, delve into and delight in the world of Doctor Who – you’ll even get a chance to watch the latest episode straight from the UK before the show begins!

Tickets are limited, so register now by clicking here.

But wait, there’s more! The Whovians team will also be appearing at Sydney’s Kings Comics on 24 September at 5pm, and they want to hear your thoughts on the new series! The team is keen to meet as many fans as possible, so don’t be shy – come along to Kings Comics at 403 George St, Sydney and have your say!

7 ways Chris Chibnall is reinventing Doctor Who

We’re now only one month away from the first episode of Doctor Who’s eleventh series, and it’s becoming ever clearer that showrunner Chris Chibnall has some big plans for his first series at the helm. With a new Doctor, new companions and a new vision, how does Chibnall plan on making this 55-year-old programme shiny and new again? Here are a few examples.

A New Logo

One of the the earliest indications of Chibnall’s vision for the series started with the release of a new logo back in February. A significant departure from the Moffat era’s big, blocky, blue logo, Chibnall’s opts for a warmer colour scheme and slimmer lettering – perhaps in an attempt to make the series come across as more friendly and inviting for new viewers. This new style has been extended to other aspects of the series publicity, with promotional images featuring bright, bold colours. Significantly, the new logo has been applied to all Doctor Who merchandise released since its reveal – whether classic series or new – thus uniting the entire history of the show under one banner and affirming that it is all part of the one universe.

A New Look

The logo is far from being the only visual change to the series – a brand new camera and lens combination is being introduced for Series 11, providing it with a whole new visual style. Since the return of the programme in 2005, Doctor Who’s look has become increasingly cinematic, with a least one of the series’ directors, Ben Wheatley, already having a list of film credits to their name. Even though the look of the show is already very cinematic, the new setup promises to take things even further, with post-production house Films at 59, who are supplying BBC Studios with the cameras and lenses, describing the new look as a “monumental leap”.

A New Night

The move to Sunday evenings in the UK (and Mondays in Australia) may seem like a bit of a strange move, given Doctor Who’s traditional “Saturday teatime” slot, but could well pay off for the BBC as a way of capturing a new audience. Don’t forget that the ABC broadcast Series 1-3 on Saturday nights then moved to Sundays from Series 4 – and got an instant increase in ratings, attracting viewers who were having quiet nights at home in the lead-up to school or work the next day. Let’s see if the BBC can replicate this success!

New Friends

For the first time since the early 1980s, the Doctor will have not one, not two, but three companions! It’s an approach that should provide a new kind of dynamic amongst the regular cast and give the show more of a family feel, with the TARDIS team of Ryan, Yaz and Graham likely to complement each other while also relating to the Doctor – and to each other – in their own particular way. Significantly, the new team are often referred to as the Doctor’s “friends” rather than “companions” in BBC marketing material – a much warmer descriptor which more or less puts them on equal footing with the Doctor.

A New Episode Length

One of the key descriptors of Doctor Who’s revived series would be “pacy”, with whole stories often told in the space of 45 minutes or less – with room for the occasional two-parter or special episode. By contrast, Series 11 will begin with a 60-minute opener followed by nine 50-minute episodes – and while an extension of 5 minutes per episode may not seem like much, it can actually be a long time in a television environment, where the editing process can be ruthless and key scenes are often cut due to time restrictions. The extension should thus allow for more plot, more character development and more room to breathe in each standalone episode. This may also mean that there will be fewer (if any) “filler” stories to stretch the series out to 12 or 13 episodes – by instead focusing on telling ten carefully crafted stories, we could end up with an entire series where every episode is just as significant as the next.

New Music

One of the biggest transitions of the new series will be a change of composer, with Murray Gold having stepped down from his position after an impressive 12 years and 125 episodes. Gold’s orchestral scores have been a mainstay of Doctor Who since its return in 2005, so it’s fair to say he has big shoes to fill. The composer selected for the task? Segun Akinola, a member of the BAFTA Breakthrough Brit program in 2017 and a rising star among British composers. Akinola has mainly composed for documentaries in recent years but has also covered short films and even the video game Godsweeper, so he clearly has the versatility to adapt his skills to different genres. We’re particularly keen to hear his unique take on the iconic Doctor Who theme!

New Voices

There will be even more big changes behind the scenes of the programme, with five new writers and four new directors contributing to Series 11. That’s right – apart from Chibnall himself, all nine are brand new to televised Doctor Who, though former Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman did write a Seventh Doctor short story for the programme’s 50th anniversary and director Jamie Childs was responsible for Jodie Whittaker’s reveal as the new Doctor. More importantly, all have very impressive CVs and are united by a love of Doctor Who, with Chibnall saying “they are awesome people as well as brilliant at their job… And they’ve all worked above and beyond the call of duty in an effort to bring audiences something special”.


Image credit: Gage Skidmore under CC BY-SA 2.0

It’s clear that Doctor Who truly has undergone something of a regeneration over the past year or so, with Chibnall and co. working hard behind the scenes to bring viewers old and new a programme that is fresh, exciting and relevant to 2018. So as the countdown continues towards the very first episode, we as fans are getting ready to fall in love with Doctor Who all over again. After all, it’s only because Doctor Who has continuously evolved and reinvented itself over so many decades that it has managed to survive for so long.

Series 11 in cinemas, Whovians returning

Less than 24 hours after the reveal that Doctor Who’s eleventh series will begin on 7 October – or 8 October for those of us in the land Down Under – Sharmill Films has confirmed there will be cinema screenings of the episode all over Australia.

According to the official cinema poster, the first episode of the series – titled The Woman Who Fell to Earth – will be in cinemas on 8 October, the day of its Australian television broadcast. Participating cinemas are listed on the Sharmill Films website, with tickets on sale now – simply check the list for your nearest cinema, go to that cinema’s website and search for “Doctor Who” to see what time the episode will be screening near you.

The DWCA will also be organising gatherings to attend screenings in the vicinity of our various local groups – including the chance to chat about the episode over dinner afterwards – so please check our event calendar in the lead-up to the screening day to see what’s happening near you.

In other news, Whovians host Rove McManus has announced that the beloved Doctor Who panel show will be back with a new series, to be broadcast on ABC Comedy on Monday nights beginning 8 October. McManus specifies that Doctor Who itself will be shown on ABC’s main channel, with Whovians to follow on ABC Comedy.

There is no word yet on how the new series will affect the ABC’s traditional Monday night line-up of news and current affairs programming, but as soon as we have a screening time we will let you know.

Series 11 to launch on 7 October with ‘The Woman Who Fell to Earth’

After months of fevered speculation, the BBC has finally confirmed the date that Doctor Who’s eleventh series will land in the UK – Sunday 7 October.

Announcing the news, the BBC noted that this year marks a brand new era with a new showrunner, a new Doctor, new friends and a whole host of new monsters – so it’s only fitting that the new Time Lord will land in a new time zone on BBC One.

“New Doctor, new home!” Chibnall said. “Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor is about to burst into Sunday nights – and make the end of the weekend so much more exciting. Get everybody’s homework done, sort out your Monday clothes, then grab some special Sunday night popcorn, and settle down with all of the family for Sunday night adventures across space and time. (Also, move the sofa away from the wall so parents can hide behind it during the scary bits). The Thirteenth Doctor is falling from the sky and it’s going to be a blast.”

Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content, added, “With Chris Chibnall at the helm and Jodie Whittaker’s arrival as the new Doctor we are heralding a brand new era for the show and so it feels only right to give it a new home on Sunday nights at the heart of BBC One’s Autumn schedule.”

The first episode of the new series, titled The Woman Who Fell to Earth, has been written by Chibnall himself and will presumably pick up where we last saw the Doctor, falling from the TARDIS at the end of Twice Upon a Time. Subsequent episodes will be written by a host of new writing talent for the show, including Malorie Blackman, Vinay Patel, Pete McTighe, Joy Wilkinson and Ed Hime.

At the time of writing, the ABC has indicated that the series will begin on 8 October (Australian time) on ABC and iview. Will this mean a primetime Monday night timeslot going forward? We’ll report further details as soon as we know!

Epic crossover event to celebrate 20 years of Doctor Who at Big Finish

In 2019, Big Finish Productions will celebrate 20 years of creating Doctor Who audio stories with The Legacy of Time – the biggest audio crossover event in the company’s existence!

Over six hour-long stories, characters from the entire history of Doctor Who with cross paths – some for the very first time. Professor River Song (Alex Kingston) will meet her archaeological predecessor, Professor Bernice Summerfield (Lisa Bowerman), while Kate Stewart (Jemma Redgrave) will travel back in time to classic UNIT and meet the Third Doctor (voiced by Tim Treloar) and Jo Grant (Katy Manning).

Meanwhile, the Counter-Measures team will be reunited with the Seventh Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) and Ace (Sophie Aldred), long after their first meeting in Remembrance of the Daleks; the Sixth Doctor (Colin Baker) and his companion Charlotte Pollard (India Fisher) will once again meet Detective Inspector Patricia Menzies (Anna Hope); plus we go to Gallifrey, and elsewhere we enter the Time War.

“The Legacy of Time will probably go down in Big Finish history as our biggest, most exciting production, ever!” said Executive Producer Nicholas Briggs, one of the founding members of Big Finish. “Celebrating 20 years of Doctor Who at Big Finish, it expertly pulls together all the strands from our many and varied Doctor Who ranges.

“Quite simply, this is going to blow people’s minds! It’s got everything!”

“[These] two decades have been so fulfilling for us at Big Finish – a chance to work with so many great and talented actors, writers, production crews and all of our friends at the BBC,” added Big Finish Chairman and Executive Producer Jason Haigh-Ellery. “This is a celebration of it all, with lots of surprise returns and references. Think of it as one massive Doctor Who party – and everyone is invited…”

Doctor Who: The Legacy of Time will be available from the DWCA Shop in September 2019. To browse the Shop’s full range of Big Finish audio, click here.

RIP Michael Pickwoad, Doctor Who production designer

The DWCA is sad to announce the passing of Michael Pickwoad, production designer on Doctor Who from 2010 to 2017.

Pickwoad oversaw the look of the series from Matt Smith’s first Christmas story, A Christmas Carol, until the end of the Peter Capaldi era in Twice Upon A Time. He worked on 71 episodes of the series, perhaps most significantly designing the TARDIS interior that debuted in The Snowmen and was later tweaked for the Twelfth Doctor. He also worked on several episodes of the spin-off series Class.

Born in 1945, Michael Pickwoad was the son of actor William Mervyn, who appeared in First Doctor story The War Machines, and theatre designer Anne Margaret Payne Cooke. He began his career as an art director in the early 1970s before becoming a production designer in the 1980s, with one of his first films being the cult classic Withnail and I – starring Paul McGann.

His work on TV included Rules of Engagement, Kavanagh QC and Murder Most Horrid, the last of which was co-written by Steven Moffat. He worked with Moffat on his series Coupling and again on his 2007 drama Jekyll.

In 2010 he took over as Doctor Who’s production designer, becoming the second person to hold the position since the series returned in 2005. His tenure saw him create sets that ranged from Victorian London to the Wild West, from the badlands of Skaro to the wilds of Sherwood Forest, from a Cold War Submarine to the Orient Express in space.

Moffat said, “The only downside of great men is that they make terrible losses, and we’ve lost Michael far too soon. He was a genius and a gentleman and we will all miss him.”

DWCA Publishing presents The Nethersphere collection

DWCA Publishing are proud to present a new publication in their Doctor Who Fanzine Collection series. Throughout 2015 and 2016 editors Dallas Jones and Roger Reynolds toiled ceaselessly, undertaking research, conducting interviews, compiling reviews, and seeking out news, fan art and fiction. Their efforts were all for The Nethersphere, the DWCA e-zine that was provided exclusively to club members. Now all seven issues have been collected in one volume, covering the full scope of Australian fandom throughout that time.

These pages contain a wealth of information and entertainment for fans everywhere, drawn together as a labour of love. This volume includes stories by David Harris, Daniel Worsley and Darran Jordan, behind the scenes at a Whovian wedding, behind the scenes on Robert Smith?’s celebration of ten years of modern Who – Outside In 2, survey results, Robert Lloyd’s meeting with Karen Gillan, a comprehensive alphabetical listing of Australians in Doctor Who, crossword puzzles, Paul Vanezis’s report on the Sydney Doctor Who Festival, a concordance of The Husbands of River Song, reporting on Comic Con, articles on the music of Doctor Who, the Forbidden Planet launch of the Target exhibition, behind the scenes at the 40th anniversary celebrations of the DWCA, an interview with Doctor Who comic artist Chris Wahl and much, much more!

The book is available in both black-and-white and full-colour versions. Both can be purchased now from the DWCA Publishing store: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/DoctorWhoClubOfAustralia.

Writers and directors announced for Series 11

With the Series 11 of Doctor Who confirmed to air “by October”, the BBC has finally announced the full list of writers and directors that will be contributing to the series. And although none of the DWCA’s own candidates were selected, overall we’re pretty excited about what’s to come!

Writers

Former Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman has written over 60 books for children and young adults including the Noughts and Crosses series of novels and her book Pig-Heart Boy, which was adapted into a six-part TV series. She also wrote the Puffin eshort The Ripple Effect, a Seventh Doctor short story to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, which was republished in the 11 Doctors, 11 Stories collection, and its sequel 12 Doctors, 12 Stories.

Playwright and screenwriter Vinay Patel’s television debut, Murdered By My Father, won the 2016 Royal Television Society Award for Best Single Drama and was nominated for three BAFTAs. He has also written an episode of The Good Karma Hospital, which featured new companion actor Mandip Gill for two episodes.

Pete McTighe has written over a hundred hours of TV drama, including long-running Australian soap opera Neighbours, and been nominated for five Writers Guild Awards. He is also the originating writer of Wentworth, the female prison drama that has sold to over 150 countries.

Joy Wilkinson has been selected as a Screen International Star of Tomorrow and has had two screenplays featured on the Brit List. Her TV scripts include the critically acclaimed BBC five-parter The Life and Adventures of Nick Nickleby, while her theatre work has won prizes including the Verity Bargate Award.

Ed Hime was nominated for a Craft BAFTA for his first episode of Skins, and won the Prix Italia for his radio play The Incomplete Recorded Works of a Dead Body.

They are of course joined by showrunner and head writer Chris Chibnall.

Directors

Jamie Childs, who directed Jodie Whittaker’s reveal as the new Doctor, returns for the opening episode of the new series. He is currently directing two episodes of His Dark Materials, a miniseries based on Philip Pullman’s trilogy of fantasy novels.

Australian director Jennifer Perrott wrote, directed, produced and executive produced 35mm short film The Ravens, and has directed programmes including Offspring and Home and Away. Since finishing Doctor Who she has been directing Gentleman Jack, a forthcoming BBC One/HBO historical drama series created by Sally Wainwright.

Mark Tonderai has been making quite a name for himself, having directed Jennifer Lawrence thriller House at the End of the Street. He also directed all 10 episodes of miniseries The Five, as well as various episodes of Impulse, Lucifer, Gotham, Black Lightning, 12 Monkeys, George RR Martin’s Nightflyers and more.

The team is capped off by Sallie Aprahamian, who has been directing television for over two decades with critically acclaimed shows including Extremely Dangerous, The Sins, Real Men, The Lakes, Teachers and This Life.

“We have a team of writers who’ve been working quietly and secretly for a long time now, crafting characters, worlds and stories to excite and move you. A set of directors who stood those scripts up on their feet, bringing those ideas, visuals and emotions into existence with bravura and fun,” said Chibnall.

“Hailing from a range of backgrounds, tastes and styles, here’s what unites them: they are awesome people as well as brilliant at their job. (It matters!) They love Doctor Who. And they’ve all worked above and beyond the call of duty in an effort to bring audiences something special, later this year.”

Series 11 to air “by October”, Christmas special confirmed

Although an exact airdate for Doctor Who’s eleventh series is yet to be announced, the BBC has confirmed in the latest issue of Radio Times that it will air “by October”. That means a start date sometime in September or October, which could result in the ten-episode series ending close to Christmas Day – just in time for a 2018 Christmas special.

Speculation has been rife for months as to whether the annual tradition will continue under new showrunner Chris Chibnall, with its existence first hinted at when the online CV of editor Edel McDonnell listed this year’s special as one of his most recent jobs. The CV also listed Wayne Yip as director of the special, whose previous work includes Series 10 episodes The Lie of the Land and Empress of Mars as well as two episodes of spin-off series Class.

The news was more or less confirmed by Chibnall at San Diego Comic-Con, when he teased, “We seem to be filming 11 episodes, and it’s only a series of 10.” And with Yip not listed as one of the directors working on the upcoming series, this would seem to indicate that the Christmas episode would count as its own special event.

Sharmill Films has meanwhile revealed that the first episode of Series 11 will be premiering in Australian cinemas, as was the debut episode of Series 10, The Pilot. The company has released its version of the official Series 11 trailer in the lead-up to the screening, promising more details soon!