Doctor Who returns to Australian screens with the new series premiere on Monday 1 November. While timed to coincide with All Hallows Eve in the UK, the time difference means it won’t screen here for Halloween. Instead, it will be available to stream from 6.20 am (AEDT) on ABC iview and will screen at 7.30 pm on ABC TV Plus. This whole series will comprise of one epic six-part adventure taking the Doctor and her friends to the edge of the universe and beyond, in a battle for survival. Make sure you tune in to discover what the Flux is and what it all means for the Doctor (plus, the Sontarans and Weeping Angels return)!
Due to COVID-19 and lockdown restrictions, this year’s DWCA Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held online. The date for the AGM is 4 pm AEST on Sunday 21 November 2021. It will be available for all club members to attend via the freely available online conferencing software BigBlueButton, https://demo.bigbluebutton.org/, which has a built-in poll function for taking votes. The same conferencing software was successfully used for the 2020 AGM. The agenda for the AGM will include the President’s Report, the Treasurer’s Report and the Election of Office Bearers. With an online format you can log in no matter where you are geographically, so we would encourage all club members to attend.
Nominations for office bearers must be received by 22 October and the list of Nomineees will be published by 7 November, ahead of the AGM. The relevant form to nominate can be found here. Completed nomination forms should be mailed to the Returning Officer via this address:
PO Box 870
Epping NSW 1710
An email with the invite code will be sent out to members the day before (Saturday 20 November).
The milestone celebration for Data Extract 250 will now be even bigger, consisting of a double issue, combined with 251, due to go out to members as soon as lockdown restrictions are eased in NSW, Australia. This bumper issue will be jam packed with a unique swag of exciting content, including:
News – a look at recent announcements and events relating to the Whoniverse
Regional Transmissions – checking in to see what local groups have been up to during lockdown
Timeline – a decade by decade look at Doctor Who in Australia from the 1960s to the 2010s
Katy Manning interview – an exclusive interview with club patron Katy Manning on her long connection to Australia
Remembering Louise Pajo – the actress who portrayed Gia Kelly in Seeds of Death reflects on her life in her final days; a tribute to a great actress and wonderful person, provided in her own words
In Memoriam – paying tribute to those recently lost to the Doctor Who community
Extracting Data Part Two – Dallas Jones concludes his reflections on the history of firsts seen in Data Extract
The Future Library – an exclusive interview with Scottish artist Katie Paterson and her Future Library project, making science fiction real
Becoming a fan – DE founder Dallas Jones reflects on how he first became a Doctor Who fan
The League of Extraordinary Companions – Craig Land’s epic comic script is brought to life by artists Steve Panozzo, Manuel Bouw, David Blewer, Jason Towers, Tessa Corrigan and River Tran
Old Sixie and the Bridge of Doom – the true story of how Colin Baker climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge is brought to life with stunning art by Jason Towers
Lethbridge-Stewart and the War of Time – a new story exploring the Brigadier’s exploits during the Time War
A Fracture in Time – behind the scenes of the Doctor Who experience Time Fracture with UK correspondent Bel Bailey-Melouney
God is a Woman – a new article from Dom Kelly on the legacy of Jodie Whittaker
Junkyard – a look at recent fan opinions on the ever expanding Whoniverse
Countdown – Tim Darby counts down the top five Gallifrey stories
Remember that Data Extract is for DWCA members only, so please ensure your membership is up to date so you don’t miss out on this very special publication.
On 29 July 2021, the BBC announced that Chris Chibnall would be stepping down from his role as showrunner for Doctor Who and Jodie Whittaker would also be leaving her role as the Thirteenth Doctor. For the remainder of 2021 fans can look forward to a six part event serial. In 2022 this will be followed by three specials, the third and final special being a feature length adventure to farewell Jodie Whittaker, leading into the Doctor’s regeneration. With 2023 being the 60th anniversary of Doctor Who, many fans were speculating as to what the future was likely to hold… that is until the BBC announced that Russell T Davies would once again be taking the helm, both for the show’s 60th Anniversary and onto further series beyond.
Current showrunner Chris Chibnall stated: “It’s monumentally exciting and fitting that Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary will see one of Britain’s screenwriting diamonds return home. Russell built the baton that is about to be handed back to him – Doctor Who, the BBC, the screen industry in Wales, and let’s be honest everyone in the whole world, have so many reasons to be Very Excited indeed about what lies ahead.”
Russell T Davies was of course the showrunner who oversaw the successful return of Doctor Who in 2005. He worked with two Doctors, Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant, during his tenure. During that time he also launched successful spin-off shows The Sarah Jane Adventures and Torchwood. Needless to say, he is certainly a safe pair of hands to oversee the anniversary milestone. More than that, his approach to Doctor Who in the past has always been about pushing it forward, as exemplified by his decision not to start the relaunch in 2005 with a regeneration scene. All of which suggests that he will be looking toward new horizons for the show when he comes back to it in 2023.
“I’m beyond excited to be back on my favourite show,” Davies himself stated. “But we’re time-travelling too fast, there’s a whole series of Jodie Whittaker’s brilliant Doctor for me to enjoy, with my friend and hero Chris Chibnall at the helm – I’m still a viewer for now.”
On this day exactly 45 years ago, on 21 September 1976, the Sydney University Science Fiction Association (SUSFA) screened the Peter Cushing movie Doctor Who and the Daleks at the uni. At the event Antony Howe launched the first issue of Zerinza, being the first dedicated Doctor Who fanzine published in Australia. The event also saw the formation of the Australasian Doctor Who Fan Club (ADWFC), now known as the Doctor Who Club of Australia (DWCA). Which of course means – Happy 45th Birthday DWCA!!
To celebrate the writing of Terrance Dicks, a two volume set was released on the anniversary of the author’s death. Featuring a collection of his best known Doctor Who novels, as chosen by fans who voted on their favourite works, this two volume set is a fitting celebration of a writer who inspired so many people over the course of his career, including Neil Gaiman, Mark Gatiss, Russell T Davies and Steven Moffat! Volume one contains The Dalek Invasion of Earth, The Abominable Snowmen, The Wheel in Space, The Auton Invasion and The Day of the Daleks. Volume two collects Genesis of the Daleks, Pyramids of Mars, The Talons of Weng-Chiang, The Horror of Fang Rock and The Five Doctors. Both volumes have special introductions written by Frank Cottrell-Boyce and Robert Webb.
With the legacy of Terrance Dicks being explored and his classic work being collected for a new generation to enjoy, there is perhaps some hope that his lost and unpublished novelisation of State of Decay might finally see print at some stage in the future. The lost version is not, of course, the Target novelisation that Dicks wrote, released in 1982 and since read for audio by Geoffrey Beevers and John Leeson. Instead, the alternate version is one that Dicks wrote back in 1981, specially commissioned by Pickwick Talking Books. It was read by Tom Baker and released on cassette in 1981, predating the Target novelisation. Interestingly, it is not an abridged version of the novel Dicks later wrote for the Target release, but instead a completely different alternate version, rewritten so that all scenes are told from the Doctor and Romana’s points of view. This allowed Tom Baker to provide an in-character reading of the text for the audio cassette release. This limited perspective approach to the story also shortened the overall story, making it suitable for a 60 minute audio release. While the cassette release was reissued in 1985, it has since fallen into obscurity and been forgotten, meaning that this alternate version has never actually seen print. We can only hope that as the life and work of Terrance Dicks continues to be celebrated, this forgotten gem might also see the light of day alongside the Target version sometime in the future!
Big Finish have opened the annual Paul Spragg Memorial Short Trips writing competition. Now in its sixth year, the competition honours the memory of Paul Spragg, a much-loved member of the Big Finish production office who passed away suddenly on 8 May 2014. Past winners include Forever Fallen by Joshua Wanisko, Landbound by Selim Ulug, The Last Day at Work by Harry Draper, The Best Laid Plans by Ben Tedds, and Free Speech by Eugenie Pusenjak. The competition is seeking new writers to create a Doctor Who short story to be released as an audiobook for Christmas 2021. Entries close at the end of June 2021, with details on how to enter available on the Big Finish website.
The May 2021 Torchwood release from Big Finish was all set to reunite John Barrowman’s Captain Jack Harkness with David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor in a story many fans have been eagerly anticipating – Torchwood: Absent Friends. Instead, a statement was released in the news update from the company stating: “Big Finish has taken the decision to remove Torchwood: Absent Friends from the Monthly Range release schedule and has no plans to publish this title at this time.” An alternative title was offered in its place and refunds were provided for those who had purchased the item on pre-order.
No explanation was provided by Big Finish in its statement, but the decision seems to have been motivated by recent allegations that Barrowman exposed himself to colleagues on the Doctor Who set prior to 2008. John Barrowman spoke to The Guardian about the allegations, stating that his behaviour was “only ever intended in good humour to entertain colleagues on set and backstage” and that “with the benefit of hindsight, I understand that upset may have been caused by my exuberant behaviour and I have apologised for this previously. Since my apology in November 2008, my understanding and behaviour have also changed.” John Barrowman has also thanked the fan community for sending him messages of support during the recent media attention, stating that “it has meant such a great deal to me and has really touched me to know that people are supporting me and standing by me and sending their love and all of their appreciation and kind words”.
Further to discussion on Barrowman’s past behaviour, the BBC have launched an investigation into misconduct allegations made against actor and director Noel Clarke, who played character Mickey Smith in Doctor Who. He has been accused of verbal abuse, bullying and sexual harassment, something that Clarke and his lawyers have vehemently denied.
Since his passing 20 years ago on 11 May 2001, Doctor Who writer and script-editor Douglas Adams has lived on through various publications, including the novelisations of his Doctor Who stories City of Death and Pirate Planet and even his lost story Doctor Who and the Krikkitmen. While these novelisations have been co-credited to writers working from the original scripts, a new book promises to contain all new material direct from the brain of Adams himself.
42: the wildly improbable ideas of Douglas Adams is to be a full colour, large format hardcover book, featuring never-seen-before extracts drawn from Douglas Adams’s papers, which were loaned to his old Cambridge college, St John’s, after his death. In excess of 60 boxes full of notebooks, research, letters, scripts, jokes, speeches, to-do lists, hard drives and poems are being edited by Kevin Jon Davies for the publication. The book will also include letters to Douglas written for this occasion, including from fellow Doctor Who alumni Neil Gaiman, collaborators John Lloyd and Dirk Maggs, and science fiction actors Simon Jones and Stephen Fry.
The book will be published in 2022, the year that Douglas Adams would have celebrated his 70th birthday.
This week issue 249 of Data Extract hit the post, featuring a range of articles and features. The Valeyard Time War story concludes, the Boffin expounds on the Third Doctor’s tattoo, we go behind the scenes for the Newcastle Local Group meeting with Bonnie Langford, find out how Fury from the Deep was reconstructed in an interview with animator Luke Marcatili, talk to BritBox about their long-term plans for streaming Doctor Who, catch up with the students of Neutral Bay Public School as they recall the day Tom Baker came to visit and reflect on 40 years of DE publication history. Remember, Data Extract is a subscription magazine for members of the Doctor Who Club of Australia, so if you want a copy make sure your subscription is up to date. Next up – the milestone issue 250 – don’t miss out!