Showing posts with label William Hartnell. Show all posts
Showing posts with label William Hartnell. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

BBC Points West archive footage

BBC regional channel news show Points West has published two videos featuring archive Doctor Who material, pertaining to filming in the area. The first clip shows behind~the~scenes filming on Planet of the Spiders (NOT The Sea Devils as the article states), Revenge of the Cybermen (including an interview with Tom Baker), The Snowmen and The Pandorica Opens. There's also footage of Jon Pertwee from 1996 talking about the "amateurish" feel of Doctor Who.

In this next player you can find a recently-discovered William Hartnell interview from BBC Points West at the Gaumont Theatre in Taunton, 1967, where he chats, somewhat grumpily, about Doctor Who, his career and the Daleks. This clip was released as part of The Tenth Planet DVD set.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Doctor Who 50th Anniversary promo pic

The BBC have released a new promotional picture celebrating the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary - click on the image for a bigger version. This is from archive material to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who, it is not from The Day of the Doctor. A trailer for the special will be available later tonight.



Sunday, October 13, 2013

DVD REVIEW: The Tenth Planet

Starring William Hartnell

2 Disc DVD - details HERE

UK - Oct 14
N. America - Nov 19
Aus & NZ - Nov 20

William Hartnell's time as The First Doctor (also sometimes known as "Dr. Who"), comes to a close with this eerie and, at times, exciting adventure with the first appearance of the Cybermen in The Tenth Planet. And although Billy H doesn't even appear in one of the episodes (due to illness), it's not a bad way to go for the original, and some would say, the best Doctor.

It's a cracking first episode (like so many in the Whoeuvre) with some beautiful shots of the South Pole whilst the Cybermen are an impressive and very otherly bunch; still human (note the eyes and the hands) but very much a "robot". They're shot and positioned extremely well here with a number of excellent close-ups shots (ending of Episode One, for example) and the brutality of their actions in the second installment is well-handled.

Best of all is their return in the third part where a great number of them are attacked. It's not often in Who when it actually looks like there's a great number but they do it well here and, again, the camera's framing is dynamic and certainly adds to their threat and the drama of the situation. It's a great opening for the Cybermen, sad they weren't always given this formidable treatment.

Plaudits should also go to the set designs, which work the claustrophobic feel of the story very nicely indeed. One appreciates the small touches such as the television screens in the background still relaying pictures from the pilots (even though they're not interacting at that point). Even better is the constant sound of the future in the background (set in 1986, fact fans), with computers beeping and various machines buzzing, thoroughly adding to the vibrancy of the proceedings. The rocket set, though obviously small, is neatly observed and the South Pole set is an absolute treat, evoking chills and more.

On the downside, there's the cast; who, very sadly, aren't the most compelling or engaging of bunches. David Dodimead (bearded bespectacled Barclay) and Earl Cameron (pilot Williams) fare the best but Robert Beatty plays General Cutler with no panache at all and has one default setting throughout - grumpy shoutist. Granted, he's not meant to be liked but his antics are tedious, much like companion Ben (played by Michael Craze) who becomes intensely irritating quite early on with his heightened and reactionary performance (and also the number of times he has a conversation with himself). Polly isn't treated much better with her infamous, "I can make some coffee or something?" making for a decidedly telling quote. Some may say, "Hey man, it was the Sixties!", but there are plenty of other Who stories from this time with excellent casts (and scripts).

The final moments, though, of The Tenth Planet are exquisite. There's quite an abruptness to the defeat of the Cybermen and immediately we know something is wrong with the Doctor's wish to get back to the TARDIS. It's an eerie return to the time machine with its console noises whirring away and Ben and Polly trying to get back in. The Doctor's desperateness really shines through, making for a remarkable ending to a stoutly-produced adventure - not to mention one of the best regeneration scenes in Doctor Who.

Episode Four of The Tenth Planet is currently "missing" so it's been reproduced through animation, and what a wonderful job they do too. Stylistically very different to the last animated DVD, The Ice Warriors (review HERE), this is a flashier job with more details on the characters and a much more dynamic and vibrant take on the visuals. The use of light and shade is very eye catching and adds greatly to the feel of the piece.

In particular, the Cybermen attack as they re-enter the base is very fluid and has a vitality to the proceedings (probably even more so than the original actual live-action version). I wouldn't normally quote someone else in my own review, but my flatmate (who pretty much loathes Doctor Who) was mightily impressed with the animation and was surprised at its high quality (so much so he watched it intently for a while). Great job.

Heading the special features here is a fascinating interview with The First Doctor himself, William Hartnell. And to call it nothing less than extraordinary is still selling it short. From 1966, this Points West interview finds Hartnell preparing backstage for pantomime and if you thought that his portrayal of the Doctor was "irascible" then get ready to recalibrate your grump-o-meter.

Billy reveals an utter disdain for pantomime, saying "I'm not a pantomimic artist in that respect. It's never appealed to me, I don't want it," and as if to remind his interviewer, and the audience, of his credentials he blasts, "I'm legitimate. I'm a legitimate character actor. Of the theatre and films."

Most people would realise they'd touched a nerve but our intrepid interview puts forward (somewhat hilariously), "You're rather a grumpy sort of person." It's eyebrow-raising in the extreme. Really because we've never seen Hartnell as himself. For some it will be shocking to see just how unpleasant he is, and will somewhat diminish their view of the man (a bit like finding out Santa isn't real). Like Terror of the Zygons and its deleted scene extra, this is is one of the most essential features ever included on a Doctor Who DVD.

Taking a back seat to this, is the superb making-of documentary, Frozen Out. But disabuse yourself of any notion that this is a celebratory look back at Hartnell's final outing. Good lord, no. Leading some very frank and open discussions on their leading actor is Anneke Wills (companion Polly) who reveals much about the ill actor's outlook on his fellow co-stars, especially those of a different ethnic background to his.

As a fan of Hartnell, it's deeply sad to hear these recounts but their honesty is to be applauded and congratulations to Chris Chapman for eliciting such a veracious response from the interviewees. It's not all doom and gloom, however, with some lovely recollections of the the regeneration itself and the various issues on set with the Cybermen. And kudos for the excellent and tasty-looking animation produced for the docco, very stylish indeed (pictured left).

Letting the side down, somewhat, is The Golden Age - a documentary which purports to be searching for the "golden age" of Doctor Who but is ramshackle and scattershot in direction. Curiously, it kicks off my referring to the current behind-the-scenes production problems (a story which will no doubt be told in about twenty years or so time) which was a brave move but the basic gist of the feature seems to be that we all like different things about Doctor Who. Quelle surprise.

It does, on the bright side, feature a young Chris Chibnall on BBC viewer feedback show Open Air but, if like me, and you're paying attention, you'll be slightly infuriated at Army of Ghosts being referred to onscreen (in text) as "Army od Ghosts" whilst they also manage to misspell Russell T Davies (some of us are paying attention to such things). The Golden Age veers in topic from ratings to the scare factor without, seemingly, any sense of argument being made (successfully). It's fun in tone and doesn't take itself seriously but parts of it are pretty patronising (specifically when talking about opinions).

Doctor Who Stories gets another installment, and this time it's the turn of Anneke Wills who makes for a wonderful guest with cracking lines like, "My eyelashes were longer than my skirt!" Though, after watching Frozen Out, some Hartnell fans may not want to see any more from her, just in case.

Boys! Boys! Boys! brings together Peter Purves (Steven Taylor), Frazer Hines (Jamie McCrimmon) and, through the power of technology, Mark Strickson (one of my favourites, Turlough). Whilst the former two are sitting together in a "studio", the latter is Hartnell-esque in the fact that he's on a screen and not physically interacting with his fellow chums. It's a lot of fun and all three have got great stories to tell though it's a real shame they couldn't have been brought together in the same space.

More companion fun is to be had in Companion Piece which asks various former companions (Louise Jameson, Arthur Darvill, Nicola Bryant to name but a few) about their roles and the place the "companion" has in Doctor Who. There's also some writers, lovely Joe Lidster (Torchwood, The Sarah Jane Adventures), for example, and pyschologist Dr Tomas Charmorro-Premuzic on board to guide us through the mental arena of those who travel with the Doctor (just in case you needed some academic opinion on the matter). It works, but it's doubtful you'll return for a repeat viewing.

There's a lovely Blue Peter feature celebrating ten years of Doctor Who (ah, the old times) and the Episode Four reconstruction (using telesnaps and clips), originally released on The Tenth Planet VHS back in 2000, which makes for quite a good watch (though the animation is a much better option). The commentary makes for a surprisingly lively affair with some excellent recollections from those behind and in front of the camera.

And, as always, there are the always fascinating Production Notes Subtitles, Photo Gallery and Radio Times feature and listings. These often overlooked extras are, for me, essential and really enhance the all round experience of getting to grips with a Doctor Who story.

Whilst I wouldn't want to bandy around the word "controversial" regarding this release, one feels compelled to do so. Though you will delight in seeing Billy H's last proper outing as Dr. Who, some may come away with a lesser opinion of the man who brought so much joy to millions of people's lives. Regardless, The Tenth Planet makes for a terrific DVD set and one every fan should have in their collection.

Thanks to BBC Worldwide

 Check out more Doctor Who DVD reviews HERE.

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Doctors - promo pics

The BBC have released promotional pictures of The Doctor, from the past! Check out the images below and click on them for bigger, Doctorier versions.

Thanks to BBC Pictures.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

An Adventure In Space & Time promo pic

The BBC have released a new promotional picture from An Adventure in Space & Time featuring David Bradley as William Hartnell - click on the image above for a bigger version. For more information on the Mark Gatiss genesis of Dr. Who drama, click HERE.

TARDIS console from  An Adventure in Space & Time revealed

Mark Gatiss talks to Blogtor about An Adventure in Space & Time

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Destiny of the Doctor audio series

To celebrate the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary, AudioGO are publishing a brand new series called Destiny of the Doctor. Between January and November, eleven brand new audio stories will be published, each one involving a different incarnation of the Doctor. More details below (click on the cover for a bigger versions):

Eleven Doctors, Eleven Months
The series will begin in January with the First Doctor – as played by William Hartnell in the original TV series – and progress through all his TV incarnations to date, culminating in the Eleventh Doctor – as played by Matt Smith – in the anniversary month, November. Performers for the stories will be announced in the coming months, with some very familiar Doctor Who names expected to be in the line-up. The series is produced for AudioGO by Big Finish Productions.

First story announced 
The first story is Hunters of Earth (Destiny of the Doctor 1) by Nigel Robinson. Set in Shoreditch, London in 1963, it features the First Doctor and his granddaughter Susan prior to their departure from Earth at the beginning of the first ever TV story. It’s performed by Carole Ann Ford and Tam Williams, with sound design by Simon Hunt.

Destiny of the Doctor 1: Hunters of Earth is released on 3/1/12

Caroline John documentary appeal
Doctor Who on Only Connect
Matt Smith "hopes" to be part of 2013 Christmas Special
Ian McKellen in The Snowmen!
Sneak Peak - NEW TARDIS!
The Snowmen - more promo pics 

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Sensorites DVD in North America

North America gets treated to the classic William Hartnell story The Sensorites on DVD this week - check out the special features and images from the episode below (click on them for bigger versions). Read Blogtor's review of the release HERE. 

The Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Susan land on a spaceship orbiting a distant and mysterious world, where a human crew lies frozen somewhere between life and death. The planet is the Sense-Sphere, home of the Sensorites, beings of immense intelligence and power. Unable to leave, the Doctor and his companions must deduce the Sensorites’ intentions: are they friendly, hostile, or frightened? And what is the deadly secret at the heart of the Sense-Sphere?


Audio commentary
With actors William Russell (Ian), Carole Ann Ford (Susan),
Joe Greig (Second Sensorite), Martyn Huntley (First Human), Giles Phipps (Second Human), director Frank Cox, designer Raymond Cusick and make-up designer Sonia Markham.

Looking for Peter
Profile of writer Peter R. Newman

Vision On
Featurette on vision mixing

Secret Voices of the Sense-Sphere
Featurette on the origin of the Sensorite voices

THE SENSORITES is released
FEB 14, SRP $24.98 ($30.98 in Canada)

North American DVD News
Catherine Tate in The Office
10 Cramaze~Balls Dr. Who Robots
AUDIO REVIEW: The Renaissance Man
Who Should Star In "The Genesis of Dr. Who"?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Lost Eps are Tracked Across the World in DWM 444

Here's all the info on the latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine, no. 444, check out the details and cover art below:
106 episodes from the black-and-white years of Doctor Who are missing from the BBC's Archives; the original tapes long since wiped. However, film copies were made and sold all over the world in the 1960s and 70s. Where did these episodes go – and, more importantly, could they still exist somewhere today? DWM 444 presents the ultimate guide to which episodes were sold, where and when – and the chances of their survival. The answers might surprise you... Also in this issue:

As work begins on the new series of Doctor Who, showrunner STEVEN MOFFAT takes DWM readers into his confidence, and looks ahead to the final fate of Amy and Rory – and just what might happen next...

At last, more than 30 years since the TV production was abandoned, SHADA has been completed – thanks to BBC Books! DWM talks to author GARETH ROBERTS about the challenges of writing a novel based on Douglas Adams' lost 'Fourth Doctor' story.

DWM goes back to the 1977 and celebrates the season which introduced K9 and attempted some of the most ambitious stories in Doctor Who's history, as COUNTDOWN TO 50! continues.

The Doctor and his new Greek philosopher chum Socrates meet the Gods of Olympus, while Amy and Rory face danger in ancient Athens! Don't miss the latest thrilling instalment of the brand new comic strip, THE CHAINS OF OLYMPUS by SCOTT GRAY, with art by MIKE COLLINS.

Go on an ANT hunt, explore the Ice Caves and feel the Dragon's fire! With fascinating new facts and photos, THE FACT OF FICTION guides you through the 1987 Seventh Doctor story that introduced Ace – DRAGONFIRE!

If the love of your life is a Doctor Who fan, should you share their enthusiasm or leave them to it? KATHERINE HADOKE (wife of Toby) and GIGI CANDON (wife of Johnny) discuss the pros and cons as the regular DWM debaters defer to their better halves in A BATTLE OF WIVES!

The Tenth Doctor and Rose team up with Queen Victoria to battle a savage werewolf in Scotland, 1879! With their mistletoe at the ready, what will THE TIME TEAM of Emma, Chris, Will and Michael make of TOOTH AND CLAW?

The mysterious Watcher remembers a landmark in Doctor Who publishing, champions another Supporting Artist of the Month and challenges readers with his Six Faces of Delusion. Don't miss the latest WOTCHA and all the latest official news, reviews of TV and merchandise reviews, previews, competitions, a prize-winning crossword – and much, much more!

is out now, priced £4.50

Moffat teases Series 7
John Barrowman on 5Live
Catherine Tate in The Office
REVIEW: The Decoy Bride

Sunday, January 29, 2012

PREVIEW: Revisitations 3 - The Three Doctors

As there is so much material on the Revisitations 3 box set (featuring three stories over five discs), I've split the review into their respective parts - with each focusing on the separate tales. You can read full details about the box set HERE but, first up it's the 10th Anniversary story, The Three Doctors.

As with my preview of The Robots of Death from the same set, it seems pointless to go over a story that has already been made available on DVD that many of you probably already own. But I will say that The Three Doctors is not, for me, vintage Who. Some of you will already know this, but The Third Doctor era doesn't do much for me; with few stories that I return to from Pertwee's time.

Likewise, I'm no Troughton aficionado either so a story featuring the pair of them never really appealed to me (having first watch it on a 1983 repeat). It is, however, a bit of a fun romp with the two Time Lords bouncing off with another very well with a massive dose of mythology thrown in for good measure. And Gel Guards. *shivers* Anyway, I'm sure you know all about it so I shan't bore you further with my thoughts and we'll forge into the extras.

I have to say that the original DVD release of The Three Doctors (some complete with a nifty toy car of Bessie) had a perfectly acceptable array of special features (and they are all included here except, for some reason, Jon Pertwee at Panopticon), so it's a bit odd that this particular story was chosen for the Revisitations treatment. Of course, the 1973 tale didn't receive the now traditional "making of" - so that's probably why the team felt the need to go back and revise.

And that making of, titled Happy Birthday To Who, is indeed a story worth telling and put together satisfactorily. William Hartnell's involvement in The Three Doctors, or lack of, is a deeply saddening tale and you'll certainly feel more than admiration for Billy and much respect for those who dealt with such a blow to the production so well. There's no real angle to the documentary, however, and it does have a slightly unfocused feel to it; the ending is most abrupt with no real engagement with the story post~broadcast.

Was Doctor Who Rubbish? is a little oddity (to put it mildly). As you can perhaps guess, this featurette examines that age~old question: was Doctor Who rubbish? (If you don't understand the query then perhaps this isn't the extra for you.) The interviewees aren't exactly an enigmatic bunch, coming off rather earnest and po~faced at times. It's nicely put together but it's completely ineffectual in addressing the topic with any credibility. A good idea that could have been executed far, far better.

Completing the new selection of VAM is Girls, Girls, Girls where we find the ladies of the 1970s: Katy Manning, Caroline John and Louise Jameson discussing their time in Doctor Who (and beyond). The gals are all in good form and, like their 80s counterparts (on the Paradise Towers DVD), make for a wonderfully amusing watch.

Sadly, there's only one commentary (from the original release) and I'm left wondering just how The Three Doctors (a four~parter) warrants two~discs. If you don't have the story already then this is a superb collection but if you do own it then I'm afraid the extras just don't justify a redux.

Thanks to 2|entertain
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Doctor Who at the NTAs
Doctor Who on The Big Bang Theory
"Drive" director "turned down" for Doctor Who
PREVIEW: Goodbye Bannerman Road

Monday, January 23, 2012

Revisitations 3 DVD boxset details

2|entertain have released released details about the third Revisitations boxset, due for release next month. See the individual artwork HERE and details of the 5 disc set and pack~shot art below:

For centuries, the disappearance of the Cybermen from the universe has been a mystery. The Doctor, Jamie and Victoria arrive on Telos – once the Cyber home world – just as an Earth expedition uncovers the entrance to a long-lost control centre filled with baffling technology.
· Morris Barry Introduction
The director’s introduction from the 1993 VHS release.
· Title Sequence
Tests and build-up elements for the Patrick Troughton title sequence.
· Late Night Line-Up
Behind~the~scenes at the BBC Visual Effects department to interview Jack Kine.
· The Final End
The Evil of the Daleks is mostly missing from the BBC archives. A small taste of the climactic battle…
· Abominable Snowmen Audio Trailer
· The Lost Giants
Cast and crew look back on the making of the story.
· The Curse of the Cybermen’s Tomb
Sir Christopher Frayling and Dr Debbie Challis examine the ancient Egyptian origins to the story.
· Cybermen – Extended Edition
A history of the Cybermen.
· The Magic of VidFIRE
A look at the technology behind the VidFIRE process.
· Sky Ray Advert
1960’s Doctor Who themed promo for Walls Sky Ray ice lolly.
· Photo Gallery
· Coming Soon Trailer
· Production Subtitles
· Radio Times Listings

The Time Lords are in crisis. A powerful force is draining their energy into a mysterious Black Hole - and they must recruit the Doctor to save them. But one Doctor isn’t enough for this mission...
• Commentary
• Happy Birthday To Who
A brand-new look at the making of this anniversary story.
• Was Doctor Who Rubbish?
Raising a defence against criticism of the classic series.
• Girls, Girls, Girls
The 1970s Katy Manning, Caroline John (Liz Shaw) and Louise Jameson (Leela) on being a 1970s Doctor Who girl.
• Pebble Mill At One
Archival interview with the second Doctor Patrick Troughton and visual effects wizard Bernard Wilkie.
• Blue Peter
Jon Pertwee introduces the Whomobile.
• BSB Highlights
Cast and crew discuss The Three Doctors
• The Five Faces Of Doctor Who
The full trailer for the 1981 repeat season which included The Three Doctors.
• BBC1 Trailer
• 40th Anniversary Trailer
• Radio Times listings
• Production Subtitles
• Photo Gallery
• Coming Soon Trailer
• Digitally remastered picture and sound

The TARDIS, carrying the Doctor and his new companion Leela, arrives aboard a huge sandminer on a deserted world. The small human crew rely almost entirely on robots to carry out their every task and whim while they mine the planet’s rich minerals.
• Commentary 1 - Original release commentary.
• Commentary 2 - New commentary with actors Tom Baker (the Doctor), Louise Jameson (Leela) and Pamela Salem (Toos), and director Michael E Briant.
• The Sandmine Murders
Cast and crew look back at the making of the story.
• Robophobia
Toby Hadoke takes a humorous look at the history of robots.
• Studio Sound
Example of a studio scene before the robot voice effects were added.
• Model Shots Black and white time-coded recording of the original model insert film.
• Studio Floor Plan
Interactive view of the studio layout via the original floor plan drawings.
• Continuity
Off-air continuity for the first episode’s original transmission plus mute continuity slide.
• Radio Times listings
• Programme subtitles
• Production information subtitles
• Photo gallery
• Coming soon trailer
• Digitally remastered picture and sound quality

is released Feb 13, priced £35.75