Friday, November 25, 2016

On Radio New Zealand

Last night, I was a guest on Nine to Noon with Kathryn Ryan for Radio New Zealand, talking about my books Whographica, The Scientific Secrets of Doctor Who and being a classically trained nerd.

You can listen to the full interview at Who's Who in the Whovian's Whoniverse?

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

A first for power

The super new issue of Doctor Who Magazine, out tomorrow, celebrates 50 years of the Second Doctor, as played by Patrick Troughton.

It includes my full feature on the making of the new animated version of his first story, The Power of the Daleks, for which I spoke to producer and director Charles Norton, artists Mike Collins, Martin Geraghty and Adrian Salmon, and Paul Hembury - director of entertainment talent at BBC Worldwide, who commissioned the animation. There's even a word or two from Troughton himself, thanks to a recording made on 21 March 1986 by Jeff Lyons.


Also in the issue is a preview of my forthcoming audio, The Sontarans, in which the Doctor meets the potato-headed horde for the very first time. And, completely unrelated to me, there's some extremely exciting news about who is writing for the TV series on next year - which I won't spoil here because the magazine isn't out yet. But eep!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Dr on Today yesterday

Yesterday, the Dr was up early to get to BBC Broadcasting House, where she was a guest on Today and talked to John Humphrys about Different Perspectives: Archaeology and the Middle East in WWI - a Heritage Lottery Fund project looking into the lives and stories of great archaeologists who became spies during the war.

The Dr was there representing the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, and was interviewed alongside Dr Roderick Bailey, a historian specialising in unconventional warfare in the world wars.

You can hear the segment 2:41:15 into the Today programme of 14 November 2016.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Siân Phillips and Annie Firbank

Annie Firbank and Dame Siân Phillips are the new Abby and Zara in the fourth series of my science-fiction series Graceless, due out from Big Finish in January.


This picture shows producer Mark Wright, and the cast of one of the four new episodes - Adam Newington, Siân Phillips, Annie Firbank, Hugh Ross - plus some grinning eejit. I did get to chat to Siân about I, Claudius; alas, I didn't get to enthuse about how much I'm still haunted by her burning Kyle MacLachlan's hand in Dune.

The cast of the new series also includes Petra Markham (Ace of Wands), Carolyn Pickles (Broadchurch, Harry Potter) and Nichola McCauliffe (Doctor Who, Victoria) and features the most amazing song. More details to follow in due course. But I am still that grinning eejit.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Invasions of Earth

The new issue of The Essential Doctor Who is out now, devoted to Invasions of Earth - Alien Threats from Beyond the Stars. It includes some of my typing.

"I think Anat was one of the first women in uniform to be seen leading a gang on television," Anna Barry told me about her part in Day of the Daleks (1972). She also explained how a nearly fatal car crash helped her to be cast.

"The Doctor knows what he's talking about, at least for 1974..." says paleontologist Dr Dave Hone who I made watch Invasion of the Dinosaurs with its famously realistic-looking model effects. Ahem. Dave is the author of the brilliant The Tyrannosaur Chronicles and I'm still haunted by the talk I saw him give in 2013 on the "Planet of the Dinosaurs", with its vivid imagery of chicken-sized, feathered dinsoaurs running through magnolia blossom and between rhododendons.

Pamela Salem, David Richardson and John Dorney told me about making spin-off series Counter-Measures as "audio in black and white".

And Toby Whithouse explained how he spent his childhood "hoping and praying" that his school would be invaded by monsters.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

A letter from David Whitaker

50 years ago today on 29 October 1966, Patrick Troughton made his debut as the Second Dr. Who in the closing moments of The Tenth Planet episode 4. His first full story, The Power of the Daleks, began the following week. It was written by David Whitaker.

Also on 29 October 1966, David Whitaker was at the annual general meeting of the Writers Guild of Great Britain, where among the topics under discussion were "fair reward[s] for writers of education programmes" and writers being "asked to bear in mind parts for women", plus the election of a new executive council. As the Stage reported on 3 November:
In the election of officers, David Whitaker was unanimously elected to the chair, with R Vernon Beste re-elected as deputy chairman. Councillors elected were Denis Norden, Wilfred Greatorex, Zita Dundas, Vince Powell, John Lucarotti, Lew Greiffer, John Boland and George Markstein.”
The Stage #4464 and Television Today #403, 3 November 1966, p. 9.
Also in November, guild members received Writers News with an introduction from the new chair - an editorial Whitaker wrote each issue for the next 18 months in his role.



Thanks to Bernie Corbett, Anne Hogben and Emma Reeves at the Writers Guild of Great Britain for permission to dig through the guild archives, and to share what I found. More of this to come...

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Flower power

Issue 505 of Doctor Who Magazine is out today, and includes my preview of the forthcoming animation of otherwise-missing 1966 story The Power of the Daleks.

I was lucky enough to speak to Anneke Wills, who played Dr. Who's companion Polly in the story, and Charles Norton, who produced and directed the new version. Next issue, there'll be a longer feature talking to more of the team. But the animation is all very exciting, and I can't wait to see the episodes at the BFI event in a couple of weeks.


The new issue of DWM also includes a review of Whographica, my book of Doctor Who inforgraphics,  co-written with Steve O'Brien and illustrated by Ben Morris. The three of us will be signing copies at ComicCon in London on Friday 27 October.

And I get a mention in Alan Barnes' typically incisive exploration of the 1966 story The Savages. I found that feature a bit distracting, but can't imagine why.

Flower (Kay Patrick)
in 1966 Doctor Who story
The Savages.