Club Statement on Doctor Who’s move from the ABC

The Doctor Club of Australia would like to thank the ABC for their six-decade commitment to bringing Doctor Who to the people of Australia.
It has been an enduring relationship which has enabled fans across the country and across generations to enjoy this iconic show.
The Club was shocked and saddened to hear that moving forward our beloved show will no longer be screened by the ABC, moving from Free to Air to a paid service.
Despite this we are optimistic for the future – with the resources of new broadcaster Disney Plus behind it, there is likely to be longevity and expansion for the program.
But even as it moves forward we will never forget the legacy of the show with the ABC, which has been so integral in the growth of Dr Who in this country and our enjoyment as fans.

The end of Chris Chibnall’s run

The BBC chatted to Chris Chibnall in the lead up to his final episode as showrunner -here’s what he had to say.

Can you tell us what audiences can expect from this special?
You can expect a massive all action thrill ride from start to finish. There will be laughter, there will be huge jeopardy, and there will be tears at the departure of the Thirteenth Doctor. It’s the biggest threat the Doctor has ever faced – and that any Doctor has ever faced – to their life or lives.
Can you talk a bit about the process in putting this feature length episode together? What did you finally set out to achieve?
It’s a particularly unique brief and a particularly unique episode because it’s a regeneration episode, but it’s also a celebratory episode for the BBC centenary and Doctor Who’s place within the BBC. So I really wanted to ensure that it had sufficient scale, but also that it was connected into the past, present, and future of Doctor Who.
We’re bringing back characters like Tegan and Ace, also there are lots and lots of easter eggs. Some are visual, some are verbal, some are so deeply buried that only few people will recognise them! But there are so many references to the past of Doctor Who in there that it’s got its own crazy movie length identity for the BBC centenary ,whilst also saying goodbye to a very beloved Doctor.
We’ve got some exciting returnees such as Sacha Dhawan, Sophie Aldred and Janet Fielding. How was it having those conversations?
One of the great joys are always the phone calls to people who’ve been in the show, or who might want to be in the show, and telling them what you think the story is how it’s going to play out and asking them back. So the calls to Janet and Sophie were wonderful and were incredibly emotional.
They were amazing and thrilled and throughout the whole process have just been extraordinary.
It’s important to take a moment to praise their sheer bravery and guts to come back to something you have not done in twenty or thirty years is incredible. To step onto a set where you don’t know anybody but to be going back to a world you thought you left behind is really extraordinary. And they are so amazing in the episode. It’s a delight to see them amidst modern Doctor Who. So that was fantastic.
We talked about where we collectively thought their characters would be now. I really wanted them to feel comfortable with what had happened in the gap between when we’d last seen those characters on screen and where we meet them here. It’s lightly sketched in, but it’s really important for them as performers and for those characters.
Did you always want to bring back companions from the past?
It was more to do with being asked to do a centenary special, that I thought there had to be something from the past that felt strong, unique and different to what else we’d done during Jodie’s time as the Doctor. So it was just a brilliant opportunity, and as soon as we knew we were doing that, that was one of the things I wanted to do.
Those characters and those actors came to mind as I think they’re representative of certain times in the show’s history and they are both incredibly strong and vibrant characters. There are so many to choose from and in a way you want to do all of them but actually, I had to just pick two! And what both of them said separately was ‘Oh I think, Tegan would get on well with Ace’ and then ‘Oh I think
Ace would get on really well with Tegan’.
With Sacha, it was a long term plan that we had spoken about when he was last on the show. At the end of season 12 I had the conversation with him, knowing that we would be doing Jodie’s final episode at the end of the following season. The big conversation was about coming back for her finale, because it had always felt like his Master and Jodie’s Doctor instantly had that chemistry, and that it would be a really fitting last battle. It took a lot of planning and obviously then that was
disrupted by the pandemic so we held on to it through everything, through all the storms. Obviously he’s incredibly in demand and he was also filming The Great but we made it work in the end. He made it happen and were just thrilled because that was the plan all along. He has rewarded everyone with the most incredible performance in this episode.
We have a focus on villains in this episode, was it hard to keep that balance of good evil? Will it be dark episode?
I would say it’s a fast, lively and exciting episode. What you have with the three villains is separate plans and multiple threats for the Doctor. So the Doctor is really having to contain separate attacks on multiple fronts and it’s incredibly overwhelming. She’s running from pillar to post to try and sort
all of these things out. And again, it was something I had in my mind for a long time, that it’d be lovely to do the axis of evil, the triumvirate of evil in Jodie’s final episode. We hadn’t done those, and I really wanted to hold that back for her finale.
The scale of this episode is huge, apart from the obvious COVID challenges, what were the other challenges faced during this process?
Every sequence is massive. So even the pre-credits – which is the longest pre-credits we’ve ever done – is like a mini movie in itself. And this episode has more visual effects shots than any episode in Doctor Who history. It was a huge demand on the visual effects team. There is a lot of action, there are a lot of locations, there are a lot of monsters, there’s a lot of things exploding! Really from the
get go it had to feel constantly on the move, constantly exciting and I think it does. It was a lot of work and a lot of brilliant directing by Jamie Magnus Stone, who really is such an incredible talent and has such an ability to corral both of the emotions and the action and the scares and the humour.
I think he’s done an extraordinary job.
How was it writing the Doctor’s final scenes, and did you see them being filmed?
Writing it, I always knew where we were going so I knew what I was writing towards. I knew what the final words were going to be, and where everything was going to happen and finish. So I wrote those quite early on and sort of just put them to one side.
I was on set for the final day shoot, there were a lot of people on set and there was an outpouring of love. It was a very special and very fun-filled day, there was a lot of music being played, Jodie put on playlists. There was a real sort of party atmosphere on the final day, and then we ended with these incredibly emotional final scenes. It was just a great way to finish, I have to say the last few days we
had a shooting were just delightful and particularly after coming through quite a challenging year of filming, it felt like everything landed in the right place. The production team had done a great job in scheduling the final scenes of that Doctor as the final scenes we were going to film which isn’t always the case and it felt very appropriate, very right, very lovely. It didn’t feel like a sad day, it felt
like a very happy day, a sense of job well done and there was so much love for Jodie and Mandip.
What do you think Jodie’s impact has been during her time as the Doctor?
She changed the game. She changed history in terms of Doctor Who. I think what she’s brought is a Doctor who is full of hope, and positivity and generosity and I think that these times really needed that. I think she’s shown off her incredible sort of clowning side, the humour that she can do, which maybe some people didn’t know her for beforehand. I think she’s enriched the character of the Doctor, as all actors who play the Doctor do, but it’s an incredibly bold and brave performance.
And she took responsibility for the Doctor being a woman, she took it on her shoulders and represented and that was not a given, that was her strength and decision and power. I think she has been utterly magnificent, she exceeded all of our expectations. She’s given a whole generation of young girls and women a chance to feel that they are the Doctor also and that was always the
purpose from the start of this era, was to really widen that net.
If you could pick your top two or three favourite episodes, what would they be?
I’d have to have a really long think about it but it’s definitely more than two or three! The ones that I really loved looking back were things like Spyfall, Rosa, Demons of the Punjab, Kerblam!, Fugitive of the Judoon, Ascension Of The Cybermen, War of the Sontarans, Village of the Angels, Eve of the
Daleks. But actually, there’s loads of them that I really love and that I’m really proud of. I think it’s impossible to choose because on different days, you’ll feel different things! There’s quite a range in there, from out and out comedy to really serious drama and action in between. I feel like we really tried to make the most of the range of the stories. The whole experience is very hard to break down
into components once you’re at the end!
What are you most proud of during your time on the show and what will you miss the most about Doctor Who?
It’s really hard to talk about what you’re proud of. I like the range of stories and the variety of stories. There’s a lot (to be proud of) – the first woman Doctor, a lot more women writing and directing the show, and a more diverse range of directors and writers on the show. That was the mission statement at the start for me, that’s what I wanted to do when we came in. And as I look at it now, in terms of the run we’ve had we absolutely delivered on that. That was really, really
important. I’m really proud of that, but then there’s just certain stories that you think ‘We really landed that one!’
I think the thing I will miss the most is the madness of making the show. Because you can be shown the design for a monster one minute, then you’re in 1950s America, the next moment you’re getting the rushes in – you get to do things on Doctor Who you don’t do anywhere else. And the visual effects teams are amazing.
Did you take any mementos from set?
Yes I have a roundel of the TARDIS, quite a few of us do! I have a few little gifts that I was given, a front plate of the TARDIS – the plaque on the front. I didn’t take a lot, because I have a lot from the past couple of years! Weirdly the thing you take most are the memories and you kind of can’t explain those. That sounds really sentimental but it’s really true, it’s not the objects, it’s the experiences and the people.
This is also the end of Yaz’s journey, what can we expect?
It’s a big episode for Yaz and it’s the last chapter in her story, and there is a lot of things that she has to deal with do in this story. I really wanted it to feel big for Yaz as an episode, and I really think it does.
Mandip, there are not enough words in any language to describe how extraordinary Mandip is, and how brilliant she has been for the show. She is such an amazing actor. She is one of the greatest human beings, she is so smart, so funny, so kind and everyone in the television industry should be queuing up to have her as the lead in their next series because she is such a huge talent and such an amazing person. I cannot speak highly enough of her.
We really lucked out when we cast her because you never know, and to have her along for the whole of the Jodie’s era – she is as defining of it as Jodie is. The journey that her character has gone on, it’s so broad. My admiration for Mandip is unlimited.
Are you excited about the next era and being a viewer again?
I’m really looking forward to not knowing anything, I’m already enjoying it. And in fact, I had to say to Russell on a couple of occasions, ‘Please don’t tell me!’ I’m lucky enough to have seen the full ending of The Power of the Doctor and even the tiny bit of the end just made me thrilled about and excited and desperate to see more about what comes next. It’s a delightful prospect!
Can you tease what’s coming next for you?
That’s the great thing now is I don’t have to tease anything. *laughs* I’m doing lots of different projects, I’m doing stage projects, quite a lot of TV activity and we’ll see where it goes. But I’m having a lot of fun doing very different things!

Sixtieth Anniversary News

The year 2023 will mark sixty years since the first episode of Doctor Who was broadcast, and it looks like returning showrunner Russell T Davies is making sure there are plenty of treats ahead for fans. The focus for now is firmly on the farewell of Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor this October in an epic story set to feature the Master, the Daleks and the Cybermen, along with classic companions Tegan and Ace. Some news has already been released though, regarding what lies beyond that, with confirmation that David Tennant and Catherine Tate are currently filming material that will be shown as part of the show’s sixtieth anniversary celebrations. Also, the incoming Doctor has been revealed to be Ncuti Gatwa, an acting graduate of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, born in Nyarugenge, Kigali, Rwanda, growing up in Scotland and best known for his role as Eric Effiong in the Netflix comedy-drama series Sex Education. And he is set to meet up with Rose! Not Billy Piper though, this new Rose will be played by Yasmin Finney, a Trans woman, best known for her role in the Netflix series Heartstoppers. There will no doubt be more news about the future of Doctor Who, most likely to be released following the final appearance of Jodie Whittaker later this year, coinciding with celebrations for 100 years of the BBC.

Data Extract 250/251 out now!!

At long last, the much delayed Data Extract 250/251 double issue has been released! DWCA committee members have packaged it all up for the post and it will arrive in the letterboxes of club members this week. Make sure your membership is up to date so you don’t miss out! The double issue includes an exclusive interview with Katy Manning on her long connection to Australia, Pete McTighe takes us behind the scenes on the short films made for the Blu-ray collection releases, it has a tribute to Louise Pajo (Gia Kelly from The Seeds of Death), written by her in her final days, a look at the real world Future Library with artist Katie Paterson, DE founder Dallas Jones looking at DE history and his own fandom origins, Craig Land’s epic comic as past companions team up to take on the Master, the Jason Towers comic telling the true story of Colin Baker climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge, UK correspondent Bel Bailey-Melouney takes us behind the scenes on Time Fracture and tours the filming locations of Flux, Dom Kelly looks back over series 11 and 12 to bring us a timely exploration of the Thirteenth Doctor, Tim Darby counts down tales of Gallifrey, Roger Reynolds introduces us to the Doctor’s neighbor at 78 Totters Lane and Lethbridge-Stewart joins the Time War.

Comic artist Jason Towers has some behind the scenes illustrations for his contributions to the League of Extraordinary Companions and Old Sixie comics on his website here: http://jasontowers.com/drwho/

DWCA Day Event at Burwood Sunday 27 March

After all the lockdowns, after all the delays – we’re finally back in action! Returning for 2022, the DWCA will be hosting a Day Event on Sunday 27 March at Club Burwood, 97 Burwood Road, Burwood. Come along to catch up with friends, watch some eps, visit the club shop and celebrate all things Doctor Who! We hope to see you there!

Data Extract double issue ships in March

Due to COVID related issues, 2021 was a lean year for DWCA Publications output. Our apologies to all club members for the delays and thank you for your patience! Thankfully we are back on track for 2022 with a whole swag of exciting releases coming your way this year, starting with the long-delayed Data Extract 250-251 double issue.

Shipping to all club members in March, it features an exclusive interview with Katy Manning on her long connection to Australia, Pete McTighe takes us behind the scenes on the short films made for the Blu-ray collection releases, a tribute to Louise Pajo (Gia Kelly from Seeds of Death), written by her in her final days, a look at the real world Future Library, DE founder Dallas Jones looking at DE history and his own fandom origins, Craig Land’s epic comic as past companions team up to take on the Master, the Jason Towers comic telling the true story of Colin Baker climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge, UK correspondent Bel Bailey-Melouney takes us behind the scenes on Time Fracture and tours the filming locations of Flux, Dom Kelly looks back over series 11 and 12 to bring us a timely exploration of the Thirteenth Doctor, Tim Darby counts down tales of Gallifrey, Roger Reynolds introduces us to the Doctor’s neighbor at 78 Totters Lane and Lethbridge-Stewart joins the Time War.

Further releases throughout 2022 will include DE 252 (June), DE 253 (September), DE 254 (December), Zerinza Volume 6 (December) as well as the novel Trash Island by Dom Kelly (the first release in our new ongoing Eleanor series).

 

DWCA Day Events Return!

The Doctor Who Club of Australia has been quiet for some time due to a number of challenges related to COVID-19, but as the world begins to re-emerge so are we, with exciting plans ahead for 2022. DWCA Day Events for Sydney are back for 2022, with the following dates booked and more details to be announced soon regarding the programs (and special guests!) for these. In the meantime you can add 27 March, 8 May, 21 August, 9 October and 20 November 2022 to your calendar and plan to catch up once again with your fellow Whovians!

DWCA Sydney Online Tavern is on 26 November

The DWCA Sydney Online Tavern is on 26 November, starting at 7 pm and running through to 9 pm.
If you’d like to take part, just before 7 pm please go to the DWCA Sydney Local Group on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/153888718054009

There you will see that I will have posted a link to the video room for Tavern that night. The video room will be called Dallas Room as this is the only way to get to the room. There will be lots to talk about with four chapters into the epic FLUX. Plus, don’t forget, if you can please, bring along 5 questions for the pub quiz part of the evening! Hope to see you there!

Dating Data Extract

Happy 58th Anniversary everyone! And talking of anniversaries – own very own Dallas Jones has been working hard to figure out just what the exact anniversary date should be for the DWCA publication Data Extract…

Dating Data Extract – by Dallas Jones

The anniversary date of the beginning of Data Extract (DE) (or as it was known at its inception – Australasian Doctor Who Newsletter) is currently lost in the mists of time unless I can borrow a TARDIS. The only three people at its birth were me, Tony Howe and his mother, Rosemary. Unfortunately, Rosemary has passed away and it is down to my and Tony’s memory of those 41 years ago.

There is no documentation of the printing of the first DE as Tony printed it in his garage on a printer that the Sydney University Science Fiction Association (SUSFA) owned, he did have a diary of what he printed but did not start that until a few years later. As I was working for Telecom Australia at the time in a 9-to-5 job I could not do the newsletter during the week, other than gathering news and typing info up on my poor manual ribbon typewriter, which I had bought as a student in high school 10 years before. I needed access to Tony’s Remington golf-ball typewriter to type the issue up as it used a different process that produced clear crisp type. The only other documentation that would have provided dates would have been the receipts that would have been given to Tony for payment of the first posting of DE which went out with issue 17 of Zerinza. Unfortunately, such documentation is either lost or is somewhere buried in either Tony’s or my home.

Last year for the fortieth anniversary of DE it was published that November 24th was the anniversary date. This was based on the information, that appeared in the first issue, advising of Tom and Lalla’s upcoming marriage. So for the fortieth, I checked online and found that this event was reported in the UK newspapers on November 19th. I assumed that DE was posted with Zerinza the following Monday and thus the date of November 24th was arrived at. Since then I have checked with Tony and he is not sure on which day he posted Zerinza (which included the first issue of DE for free as a promotional offer launching the club’s newsletter with a subscription form) after DE was printed, so I assume the posting day as the 24th is incorrect and what day it was posted is currently not specifically known. So the best date to celebrate DE beginning would have been on the date on which it was probably printed Sunday, November 23rd.

Originally many years ago, without doing much checking, I thought that and printed that DE went out in October, I at that time forgot to look at the issue to see that it clearly had November on the front page. The October date had been mixed up in my mind as this was the time when I decided I wanted to help the club and do a newsletter and I spoke to Tony to get his approval to class any newsletter as a CLUB one and if it was OK if he could help me with printing it and promoting it. So DE came into fruition as an idea in October and into reality in November.

In the last few weeks with the 41st anniversary of DE coming up, I decided to see if I could further confirm this date and I spoke to Tony and he did some checking and advised me that he had found that on page 18 of Zerinza 17 it stated: “Since the newsletter was printed more news – another companion Nyssa…”. I looked at my copy to confirm this and I then followed up on the internet and found that the report of Nyssa as a companion was announced in the UK on Saturday, November 22nd. Thus the preparation of DE, ready to be printed, had to have been finished by the latest on Sunday 23rd during the day for me to have seen the completed printed issue on Sunday, otherwise the info about Nyssa would have been included. This means that the information about Nyssa came in after DE had been printed on November 23rd and before the last page of Zerinza was printed, sometime in the next couple of days, and Zerinza was posted, with DE included, later that week.

So Happy Anniversary Doctor Who and Happy Anniversary to Data Extract as well!