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!

Season 12: The Collection available now from the DWCA Shop

It’s been a long time coming, but Tom Baker’s first season of adventures as the Fourth Doctor is now available from the DWCA Shop on Blu-ray!

Season 12: The Collection sees the iconic team of the Fourth Doctor, Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen) and Harry Sullivan (Ian Marter) star in over 8 hours of classic adventures across 6 Blu-ray discs. They are joined by friend and foe alike, including the Brigadier and Benton (the Kate and Osgood of their day), the Sontarans, the Cybermen, the Daleks and – in his first ever appearance – Davros!

Featuring painstakingly remastered audio and upscaled video as well as a legion of new bonus features – including a one-hour interview with Tom Baker, optional revised special effects on Revenge of the Cybermen and the 1975 omnibus cut of Genesis of the Daleks 1975 – this set is essential for both newcomers and seasoned fans alike!

Season 12: The Collection is is available to order online now. You can even save on shipping by picking up a copy at the DWCA day event on 26 August in Burwood, Sydney – simply email us at shop@doctorwhoaustralia.org to secure your copy.

Don’t forget that there are plenty of DVD and Blu-ray releases from the classic and new series available from the DWCA Shop, including several featuring the one and only Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor. Click here to browse them all!

DWCA Book Club October – Frayed

Before we welcome the Thirteenth Doctor to our screens, the DWCA Book Club is going back to the beginning with one of the first chronological appearances of the First Doctor and his granddaughter Susan, in the 2003 novella ‘Frayed’ from Telos Publishing.

“I like to stare into the sun, eyes wide. It burns incredible colours into my head, great shifting continents of them that blot out all else. And I try to keep looking until I imagine all the pretty blue has boiled away from my eyes and they are left a bright, bloody red and quite sightless.”

On a blasted world, the Doctor and Susan find themselves in the middle of a war they cannot understand. With Susan missing and the Doctor captured, who will save the people from the enemies from both outside and within?

Frayed has been out of print for several years but is currently stocked in very limited quantities at the DWCA Shop, with the deluxe edition of the text now at the special price of $30 (other deluxe Telos novellas also available at the standard price of $60). Signed by author Tara Samms (a pseudonym for regular Who writer Stephen Cole), illustrator Chris Moore and editor Stephen Laws, it’s a true collector’s item!

Frayed will be discussed at the DWCA Book Club meeting on Friday 5 October. You can also comment on our Facebook page if you can’t make the event.

SEND US YOUR REVIEWS AND WIN A PRIZE!

Do you consider yourself something of an armchair critic? Send us a written review of the current Book Club text, and your words just may end up published in our club fanzine, Data Extract. What’s more, you will go into the running to win a $5 voucher to spend at the DWCA Shop!

Reviews should be sent to Dom Kelly at fsq@doctorwhoaustralia.org.

2018 DWCA office bearer nominations

The DWCA would like to thank those members who have nominated themselves for a position in the club committee, to be officially elected at our upcoming AGM on Sunday 26 August.

The Returning Officer has received the following nominations for Office Bearer positions:

  • President – Lauren Davis
  • Vice President – Jon Andersen
  • Secretary – Roger Reynolds
  • Treasurer – Brad Harrison

Each position received only one nomination, so the people listed above will be declared elected unopposed.

For more information on the AGM, please visit our event page here.

6 screenwriters we’d like to see in Series 11

With the recent announcement that Segun Akinola will take over as composer for Series 11 of Doctor Who, we’re getting a better idea of the production team that will be helping to bring Jodie Whittaker’s debut series to life. But despite the series having begun filming, there is still no word from the BBC on which writers, apart from showrunner Chris Chibnall, are penning the new season. So we thought we’d suggest our own.

Dominic Mitchell

Dominic Mitchell is the creator and writer of the supernatural drama In the Flesh, for which he was named Best Writer at the 2014 BAFTA TV Craft awards; the series went on to win Best Mini Series at the 2014 BAFTA awards. More recently he was lucky enough to work on HBO sci-fi show Westworld, serving as a supervising producer during the show’s first series as well as writing its fifth episode. If anything could keep Mitchell in the UK, we bet it would be Doctor Who!

Fintan Ryan

Fintan Ryan first rose to prominence as a writer on drama series Party Animals, whose ensemble cast featured none other than a young Matt Smith. He went on to write two episodes of In the Flesh and was more recently the creator of short-lived series The Aliens – a show that’s part social commentary, part comedy, part gangster drama. If only there was another programme that blended genres so flawlessly…

Debbie Moon

Welsh writer Debbie Moon is best known as the creator of British–German series Wolfblood, a fantasy teen drama series about werewolf-like creators known as wolfboods. The show ran for five series and won numerous awards, so clearly Moon knows how to keep her audience glued to the screen. Who knows what weird and wonderful creatures she could create for Doctor Who?

Emma Reeves

Emma Reeves has been making a bit of a name for herself writing fantasy shows for young people, including comedy-drama Dead Gorgeous (an Australian-British co-production), Young Dracula and the recent revival of The Worst Witch. She even won a Writers’ Guild of Britain Award in 2016 for sci-fi show Eve, which she co-created. She has already dipped her toe in the Whoniverse thanks to Big Finish Productions, writing audio adventures for both Torchwood and Bernice Summerfield. We think it’s about time she moved on to the parent programme!

Charlie Brooker

Charlie Brooker is of course best known for being the creator of twisted anthology series Black Mirror, one episode of which featured none other than the Thirteenth Doctor herself, Jodie Whittaker! Prior to that, he was the writer of miniseries Dead Set, about a group of Big Brother contestants who have no idea that a zombie outbreak is occurring right outside their house. Brooker revealed in 2016 that he had actually been asked to write for Doctor Who once before but his schedule got in the way – maybe it’s time for a second go…?

J.K. Rowling

Doctor Who fans have been hoping for Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling to be involved with the series for years. Former showrunner Russell T Davies entertained the idea of Rowling either writing for or appearing in the series, while his successor Steven Moffat hinted that a short story from the legendary writer may be on the cards. So what’s changed? For starters, Rowling has since had a chance to hone her screenwriting skills thanks to her work on the Fantastic Beasts films, so the transition to television would not be as much of a stretch as perhaps it might once have seemed. More significantly, Rowling has never shied away from the opportunity to speak in favour of gender equality – and the opportunity to write for a female Doctor may be too enticing to resist…

From the Archives: Katy Manning at Lords of Time 3

Issue #239 of Data Extract magazine, released last month by the Doctor Who Club of Australia, features a new interview with classic companion actor Katy Manning, conducted at the club’s Look Who’s Talking event earlier this year. DWCA members were absolutely thrilled with the visit from their patron, whose last appearance at an Australian sci-fi event was the Lords of Time 3 convention back in December 2014.

Here we present the interview that was conducted at that very convention, republished courtesy of Culture Shock Events.

Hi Katy, welcome back to Australia.

Australia is so much a part of my heart – thank you for the lovely welcome!

Since you’ve been back in England, have you been approached to come back to do any work here?

Yes! I must be honest with you – I’ve been very lucky. I’ve lived in three countries and managed to get work, and it’s even easier now because I can play old ladies! Once a year, I do a thing called ‘art’, which means I work for very little at places like the Edinburgh Festival. And last year, along with Susan Penhaligon, who was in The Time Monster, we played these dear old actresses who both had different stages of dementia. I’m not being disrespectful when I say this is not hard for me. People say, “What did you do yesterday?”, and I literally go, “I have no idea!” Life goes so fast, it’s wonderful.

Speaking of playing older ladies, you played that old icon Bette Davis in your one-woman show ‘Me and Jezebel’.

She’s been right across Australia, poor old bat. When I took Bette across Australia, we were right in the middle of the outback, and that’s where my heart is. You put a play on out there, and people get in a van, and they travel for three hours, and they bring their little kiddies with their little blankets, and they bring the picnic, and they’ve got everything there. One lady said, “We’ve never had a play here before! A lot of country and western music, and some very good Irish dancing.” So when I got up there and played nine people, including Bette Davis, they were all in gobsmacked amazement. It was the most exciting thing I’ve ever done – taking theatre to people who don’t get theatre. I mean, Sydney is beautiful, Melbourne’s beautiful, but it’s the outback of Australia that is the true Australia to me. It really is remarkable.

You seem to be very busy in England, no doubt due to your work with Big Finish Productions over the years – playing not only Jo Grant, but also Irish Wildthyme.

I used to go back and do Big Finish, and do the characters in Terrance Dicks’ books, which are all men. I’ve never played so many Welsh miners and army men in my life! I thought I was a girl until I came out of there! But I’d just arrived from Australia to do a Big Finish, and I said, “What am I doing?” Gary Russell said, “Oh, it’s a new character”. So, Iris Wildthyme. I said, “Who is she?”, and Gary said, “Oh, just do a voice”. So I thought: every part of Northern England, that’s the voice I’m going to give, and then they can choose.

Well, it stayed. Thirteen years I’ve been playing Iris. And of course I do Jo, and then I put Jo with Iris, and then I did a one-woman show that I wrote when I was living in LA called Not a Well Woman. It was Big Finish’s very first non-Doctor Who drama audio. I play 26 characters in it, which is no easy feat – from newborn babies crying, to old Australians, to Africans, to Greek men… so many characters in it.

The most amazing thing that I had to do in it, though, was… there’s a rap song in it. But we couldn’t afford to pay the rights for a rap song, and it had to be a real gangster-like rap song – the ruder the better for the joke. So I was sitting there, and I said, “It’s okay, I’ll write the rap song”. So I ended up sitting there writing this rap song, which of course I had to sing. I had to do gangster rap. I’m an old, pension-carrying woman, and I’m sitting there, and I’m writing, “ridin’ with ma homies”, and it felt so right!

I have to be honest with you – I was really proud of that. I did it all by myself, and we recorded it in a day. There were 26 voices, and I don’t do it like separate tracks, I do it all in one hit. When I do Iris, and Jo, and Jon Pertwee, they’re all done as it comes off the page – and that’s why I’m nuts!

You actually said many years ago that you didn’t really want to go back and do Jo Grant, yet now you’ve reprised her on audio and TV. What made you change your mind?

I didn’t want to do her on audio. I remember saying to David Richardson, “Why would I do Jo without Jon? It just doesn’t compute.” He said, “Well you play Jon.” And the rest is history.

Some time later, though, I was trotting along in the West End, trying to find this theatre. My phone rings, and it’s Russell T Davies. And he said, “We’d like you to come back as Jo Grant.” So I was sent the script, and I thought it was one of the most magnificent things I’ve ever read. I knew that Gary Russell would be script editing, I knew that Russell T is a genius and one of the loveliest men in the world, and of course on top of all that, beautiful Lis. So that was one of the greatest gifts you could give somebody – all of those things. And I got very nervous, but Lis was just wonderful, and to work with Matt Smith was such a treat. Lis said it was lovely, because having Jo gave her character an opportunity to lighten up, and I think the audience could see that.

 

Interviews with Katy’s fellow Lords of Time guests, including Matthew Waterhouse, Terrance Dicks and Geoffrey Beevers, can be found in Issue #226 of Data Extract magazine, available for purchase here. Katy’s most recent interview can be found in DE #239, currently available exclusively to DWCA members.

Visit the DWCA at Supanova Sydney

The DWCA is pleased to announce that we will be exhibiting at Supanova Comic Con & Gaming, being held at Sydney Showground from 15-17 June.

The DWCA booth (Stall #8005) will feature a variety of merchandise from across the Whoniverse, with DVDs and audio dramas featuring all your favourite characters – including Supanova guest Frazer Hines (aka Second Doctor companion Jamie McCrimmon). This is in addition to a huge range of graphic novels, sonic screwdrivers, action figures, Pop! Vinyls, mugs and other collectables. You can also sign up or renew your DWCA membership at the booth, as well as peruse back issues of the club magazine, Data Extract.

So drop by Stall #8005 and say hello – you’ll find us right by the wrestling arena. We can’t wait to see you!