Run away with the Doctor

The BBC has finally released both a trailer and a synopsis for the brand-new VR Adventure Doctor Who: The Runaway.

Set in the TARDIS, the adventure stars Jodie Whittaker in animated form and features brand new music from Doctor Who composer Segun Akinola.

The new story is 12 minutes long and will see the viewer join the Thirteenth Doctor on the TARDIS in an animated interactive story from the BBC and Passion Animations.

Players will get the chance to be the Doctor’s champion and help her with her adventure as both viewer and doctor find themselves facing a deadly threat. It will be available on selected VR headsets later in the year.

According to the synopsis:

You’ve been in a collision. You wake inside the TARDIS. The Doctor introduces you to the person, or thing, you collided with. He’s a strange and magnificent ball of living energy called Volta. Part surly teenager, part bomb, Volta is very unstable. In fact, he’s primed to explode. Big time. Unless he can be returned to his home planet, sharpish. The problem is, a squad of galactic busybodies has other plans for Volta. Bad ones. Drawn into a frantic chase, you become The Doctor’s unlikely assistant as she races against time to get Volta home to his parents. Armed with a sonic screwdriver, it is down to you to help The Doctor as she faces the forces of evil, and teenage angst, in this animated 13-minute VR adventure from the team behind Doctor Who Series 11.

Doctor Who: The Runaway was written by Victoria Asare-Archer and directed by Mathias Chelebourg – the man behind Alice, the Virtual Reality Play and The Real Thing VR. It has been produced by the BBC’s digital drama team, BBC VR Hub and Passion Animation Studio and is coming soon to Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, with versions for other platforms including YouTube.

 

Aussie sci-fi comedy Night Terrace coming to BBC Radio

Award-winning sci-fi audio series Night Terrace, produced by Melbourne’s own Splendid Chaps Productions, is making its broadcast debut on BBC Radio 4 Extra – and Australian listeners will be able to tune in as well!

Created as a follow-up to the critically acclaimed Splendid Chaps Doctor Who podcast, Night Terrace is a half-hour narrative comedy series starring Jackie Woodburne (Susan Kennedy from Neighbours) as Anastasia Black – a government scientist who used to save the world but now wants a quiet retirement. So she’s understandably miffed when her house unexpectedly starts travelling through space and time.

Over two series and a total of sixteen episodes, taking place from the ancient past to the distant future and everywhere in between, Anastasia fights monsters and solves mysteries, all while trying to find a way home. And joining her on her interstellar trek are actor, comedian and series co-creator Ben McKenzie as hapless door-to-door salesman Eddie Jones, plus actor, singer and co-creator Petra Elliott as the myserious “Sue”.

The guest cast is meanwhile packed to the brim with Australian and New Zealand comedic talent – including Whovians regulars Cal Wilson and Adam Richard – as well as respected dramatic actors such as Colette Mann, Jane Badler, Virginia Gay and more. There are even cameos from Louise Jameson (Doctor Who’s Leela) and Nicholas Briggs (the voice of the Daleks), as well as Doctor Who writer and former Big Finish producer Gary Russell!

Originally crowdfunded for digital download, Night Terrace now comes to BBC Radio, premiering on Sunday 21 April on Radio 4 Extra at 6pm UK time (repeated at midnight) and continuing every Sunday for the duration of the first series – with each episode available internationally via BBC iPlayer (aka BBC Sounds) for 30 days afterwards. Series two will follow in the same timeslot from 25 August.

“I’m stunned we went from doing a podcast in Melbourne pubs to having our comedy series on BBC Radio,” said head writer John Richards. “It’s like we just won an Oscar for pole dancing. I’m a huge fan of radio drama and comedy – due to a long commute I currently listen to more drama than I watch. So it’s a thrill that Anastasia Black is heading to the home of The Goons, the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy and that show that used to look at famous pipe organs.

“We came into Night Terrace wanting certain things – we wanted a female lead, we wanted her to be a bit grumpy but also the smartest person in any room. And we wanted it to be distinctly Australian. We wanted it to be big and bold and thoughtful and silly and it’s been all of those things. Jackie Woodburne – or ‘Susan From Neighbours’ as we like to call her – was our only choice to play Anastasia Black and she’s been phenomenal. And we’ve been blessed with an amazing and diverse cast. It’s all been a dream. Oh, is this a dream? This is a dream, isn’t it?”

Episode one of series one, Moving House, can be streamed now on the Splendid Chaps Soundcloud page or via the YouTube link below. You can also read our exclusive interview with Ben McKenzie, conducted ahead of the release of series two, in Issue #229 of Data Extract magazine, available from the DWCA Shop.

Virtually in the TARDIS

BOUNDARIES are being pushed as the Doctor discovers the new world of virtual reality.

Fans will be able to step inside a VR version of the TARDIS in a new immersive adventure called Doctor Who: The Runaway, according to BBC VR Hub head Zillah Watson.

“Our team at the BBC VR Hub has been creating new experiences with the goal of helping to usher virtual reality into the mainstream, and Doctor Who is exactly the sort of series that can help more people to try this new technology,” Zillah said.

“The show has been pushing boundaries for over 55 years, and VR enables Doctor Who to explore a whole new dimension of storytelling.”

The new original story will see Jodie Whittaker voice an animated version of the Thirteenth Doctor and will also feature brand new music from Doctor Who composer Segun Akinola.

Viewers will join Thirteen on board the TARDIS for the 12-minute animated interactive story – written by Victoria Asare-Archer and created as a co-production between the BBC and Passion Animation studios. It will be available on selected VR headsets in coming months, according to BBC Digital Drama creative director Jo Pearce.

Jodie Whittaker becomes very animated in her next adventure as the Doctor.

Jo said viewers would get a chance to be in the TARDIS with the Doctor and help her on an exciting adventure – finding themselves at the centre of the action facing a deadly threat.

“Fans will experience the TARDIS like never before in this thrilling new interactive story,” she said.

“As ever, the Doctor is full of warmth, wit and charm – helped by a wonderful performance from Jodie – which puts fans at the heart of the story as they immerse themselves in this beautifully animated world.”

The Runaway is directed by Mathias Chelebourg, whose previous VR films include Alice, the Virtual Reality Play and The Real Thing VR. It has been produced by the BBC’s digital drama team, BBC VR Hub and Passion Animation Studios.

Mission to the Unknown remake underway

One of the 97 missing episodes of Classic Doctor Who, 1965’s Mission to the Unknown, is being brought back to life. But unlike recent recreations which have paired a lost story’s surviving audio with brand new animation, this is an entirely new remake – one that’s being helmed primarily by students.

Mission to the Unknown is unique in Doctor Who history as the only story not to feature the Doctor or, indeed, any of the regular cast. Rather, it follows Space Security Agent Marc Cory as he attempts to warn Earth of the Daleks’ latest plot – a plot that the Doctor and his companions would later be embroiled in as part of the 12-part epic ‘The Daleks’ Master Plan’.

This made Mission to the Unknown ideal fodder for the University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) ‘Sci-fi in a Week’ project, which saw students, graduates and staff remake the episode in just five days of rehearsals and filming, after being given special permission from the BBC and the Terry Nation Estates.

The episode was directed and produced by UCLan Pro Vice-Chancellor (Digital and Creative Industries) Dr Andrew Ireland with the help of UCLan students, graduates and staff, as well as Accrington and Rossendale College pupils who were in charge of make-up and prosthetics. It meant that students on courses including acting, fashion and TV and media production could gain hands-on experience of creating a drama from scratch and were able to compare techniques from more than 50 years ago with modern-day drama production.

“We kept it as close to the original as we possibly could, so everything from the props and costumes to the acting style, pace and camera techniques are designed to be very 1960s,” Dr Ireland said. “It was filmed to simulate the low-resolution, black-and-white look of the era and we’ve been able to use the audio from the original recording to inform stage directions and the mood of the episode.”


The voice of the Daleks was meanwhile provided by none other than new series Dalek voice actor Nicholas Briggs, and classic series actors Peter Purves (who played companion Steven Taylor in The Daleks’ Master Plan) and Edward de Souza (who played Cory) even visited the set to take part in a special Q&A panel. Purves was particularly enthusiastic about the project, teasing the news on Twitter and later sharing photos of some of the four sets.

“This is an absolutely wonderful project,” Purves said.

“I am intrigued to see what has been done and hope it could be a precursor to more reconstructions in the future.”

Once post-production on the episode is completed, the UCLan team plans to present a copy to the BBC, which they are treating as their client for the project. The hope is that one day it will be released in some form so that the public may view this long-lost story once more.

News of the episode remake was covered on BBC North West News.

The Daleks Are Coming

BBC Books will publish novelisations of two classic Doctor Who stories never released in book form before.

The Fifth Doctor’s Resurrection Of The Daleks and the Sixth Doctor’s Revelation of the Daleks are both set for release later in the year.

Both adventures will be novelised by original scriptwriter Eric Saward, one of the show’s longest-serving script editors. These stories are the only two classic-era Doctor Who adventures not in book form already and their publication more than three decades after their first transmission will fill a long-held gap in fans’ collections.

Saward, who has written for both radio and television, script edited Who for five years as well as writing four original stories. He is no stranger to novelisations of scripts, writing four during his time with the show as well as writing the first ever Doctor Who radio serial.

A jack of all trades, he has just finished a graphic novel based around the adventures of Lytton and has relished revisiting two of his best-known scripts.

“ ‘Resurrecting’ these tales may turn out to be a greater ‘Revelation’ than you’d expect!” he quipped in the announcement press release.

The books come in the wake of the success of the new-era Target novelisations last year.

BBC Books Publishing Director Albert DePetrillo acquired world rights from the author directly. Hardback editions will be published in the UK in July (Resurrection) and November (Revelation) this year, with paperback editions to follow as part of the Target range in 2020.

Resurrection of the Daleks

Synopsis: The Universe is at war. Action takes Courage.

The Doctor and companions Brisbane-girl Tegan and the mysterious Turlough, stumble on a warehouse harbouring fugitives from the future and they are soon all under attack from a Dalek assault force. It seems the Doctor’s oldest enemies have set in motion a plot to resurrect their race from the ashes of an interstellar war. However, for their plans to succeed they must set their creator Davros free from prison and force a reluctant Doctor to help them achieve total control over time and space. But Davros has plans of his own.

Doctor Who: Revelation of the Daleks

Synopsis: Beware the hands that heal…

The Doctor and Peri land on the planet Necros to visit the funerary home Tranquil Repose – where the dead are interred and the near-dead placed in suspended animation until such time as their conditions can be cured.

But the Great Healer of Tranquil Repose is far from benign and under his command, Daleks guard the catacombs where sickening experiments are conducted on human bodies. The new life he offers the dying comes at a terrible cost – and the Doctor and Peri are being lured into a trap that will change them forever.

 

Classic Who returns to Twitch

Less than six months after Twitch concluded its hugely popular marathon of Classic Doctor Who, the streaming service has announced it’ll be doing it all over again!

Starting on 6 January at 5am (AEDT), the platform will be airing over 500 episodes from the 26 seasons of classic Doctor Who. This means fans will be able to watch adventures featuring the first seven Doctors – from 1963’s An Unearthly Child to 1989’s Survival – while chatting live to thousands of other viewers around the world.

Episodes will be shown in blocks and repeated two times per day, with the marathon concluding on 26 January. The full list of stories can be found here, with provisional screening times from a Pacific US or UK perspective.

So tune in at https://www.twitch.tv/twitchpresents from 6 January to get your fix of Classic Who. And if you like what you see, make sure to head to the DVD section of the DWCA Shop, where a range of stories are available for you to own and watch any time you like – with special features and without ads!

Doctor Who animated short released for Christmas

The upcoming Doctor Who Special may be taking place on New Year’s Day, but that doesn’t mean the BBC has forgotten about Christmas altogether!

A new animated short, narrated by Bradley Walsh, sees the Thirteenth Doctor come to Santa’s rescue on Christmas Eve. Check it out below!

And don’t forget that the Doctor Who New Year’s Special will be broadcast on ABC on 2 January at 7:30pm, as well as on iview throughout the day. The trailer is available to view now.

Series 12 confirmed for 2020

The Thirteenth Doctor, Graham, Ryan and Yaz will be returning to our screens in the 2019 New Year’s Special, followed by a new series in early 2020.

Titled Resolution, the special promises to see our heroes encounter what the Thirteenth Doctor describes as “the most dangerous creature in the universe”. The ABC has confirmed that it will be screening the New Year’s Special on Wednesday 2 January at 7:30pm, with the episode also available on iview from the early hours of the morning, immediately after its broadcast in the UK.

And the Team TARDIS will be back again in 2020, with Series 12 of the programme set to air “early” in the year according to the BBC.

Showrunner Chris Chibnall said “We’re off again! Well we never actually stopped – as Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor and friends have been winning the hearts of families across the nation this autumn, we’ve been busy with a whole new set of action packed adventures for the Thirteenth Doctor. We adore making this show and have been blown away by the response from audiences, so we can’t wait to bring more scares, more monsters and more Bradley Walsh, Mandip Gill and Tosin Cole to BBC One. Brilliant!”

Charlotte Moore, Director of Content added, “We’re delighted that the Doctor and her friends will be returning to thrill audiences in 2020. I know Chris and the whole team are already working on a whole new set of exciting adventures. In the meantime we’ve got a very special episode on New Year’s Day for everyone to enjoy.”

The Macra DO exist… in animated form!

The BBC have announced that Second Doctor serial The Macra Terror, which has been completely missing from the archives since not long after its original broadcast back in 1967, has been animated for release on digital download, DVD and Blu-ray.

The four-part story sees the Doctor (Patrick Troughton), Ben (Michael Craze), Polly (Anneke Wills) and Jamie (Frazer Hines) unravel a mystery on a human colony world in the far future. But while the colony has the vibe of a giant holiday camp, one of their number swears the colony is being terrorised by giant clawed creatures that only come out at night…

While no full episodes of this serial are known to have survived on film, a complete audio recording of all four parts still exists. Now, the episodes have been brought back to life in both colour as well as the original black and white, with the DVD and Blu-ray release set to include special features including an animation gallery, behind-the-scenes film and audio commentary.

Check out the teaser trailer for the story below!

The Macra Terror will be available on digital download, DVD, Blu-ray and special edition Steelbook in the UK on 18 March 2019; an Australian release date is yet to be announced. A special screening will also be held at the BFI Southbank, London on 16 March.

The Macra Terror isn’t the first Second Doctor story to receive the animation treatment, with an animated version of The Power of Daleks released in late 2016. The debut story for Patrick Troughton’s Doctor, it is available on DVD and Blu-ray from the DWCA Shop.

ABC to screen New Year’s Special on 2 January

The ABC has confirmed that it will be screening the upcoming Doctor Who New Year’s Special on Wednesday 2 January at 7:30pm.

The episode will also be available on iview from the early hours of the morning, immediately after its broadcast in the UK.

It was announced last month that the special would take place over the New Year rather than the now-traditional Christmas period, ending a run of Christmas specials that had been unbroken since 2005 (with 2009/10 containing both Christmas and New Year’s specials with The End of Time Parts 1 and 2).

The new special has been written by Chris Chibnall and directed by Wayne Yip, with a synopsis as follows:

As the New Year begins, a terrifying evil is stirring from across the centuries of Earth’s history. As the Doctor, Ryan, Graham and Yaz return home, will they be able to overcome the threat to planet Earth?