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Official Doctor Who New Series Discussion (spoilers)

The Shadow

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So... the Beeb has started showing the trailer on the air. Apparently the show has a March debut date.


I really hope we can get some discussion going here at Nightly. I semi-often post at Outpost Gallifrey, but the people over there, geesh. They LIVE for taking a stand on some arcane and academic piece of trivia, such as the size of the TARDIS windows, and then dragging out a thread about it to at least 80 posts. And I am not kidding!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Yeah, BBCWW isn't renewing the rights for PBS stations to air the original series. At the moment it's unknown what this means exactly. Maybe BBCWW is intending to offer the original series along side the new series to the networks [with new/restored/better prints than what the PBS stations have been airing for the last couple decades].


When the news about this first appeared someone emailed Maryland Public Television, who're probably the nexus for Doctor Who on the east coast for the last 15 years [and from which most of my off-air recordings came from], to find out what was happening. According to MPT, BBCWW wasn't renewing any of the PBS station rights so they could shop the original series out to various US networks. All the potential US networks folks have contacted have claimed they know nothing about the BBC looking offering the original series, BBCWW won't comment either way so no one has been able to find anything definite.



Hopefully we'll find out more soon - especially who's going to be airing the show in the US.

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This just in... DISASTER:




Jan 12 2005


Dr Who return hit by shortage of dwarf actors


Exclusive By Cameron Robertson


FILMING of the new Doctor Who series has been hit by a shortage of midget actors.


Bosses wanted them to play tiny blue aliens - but most have been snapped up for the new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie and to play Gringotts Bank staff in the new Harry Potter film.


Dr Who executive producer Russell T Davies said: "It's very difficult to employ persons of restricted growth when, as our producer Phil Collinson says, `Bloody Gringotts and the Chocolate Factory are filming at the same time'."


Insiders on the BBC1 sci-fi drama admit it has proved a headache during shooting of the 13-part series, due to be wrapped up next month.


One said: "The two big movies have snapped up the talent. It's been hard to find who we want."


Peter Burroughs - whose Peterborough-based Willow Personal Management is one of just two UK agencies for dwarf actors - admitted he had been unable to supply Dr Who with a 3ft 8in star.


He said: "That was very difficult to find, especially with the other productions going on."


The new series, with Christopher Eccleston as Dr Who and Billie Piper as sidekick Rose Tyler, is due to start in March.

Gallifrey help us! We're doomed!
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  • 3 weeks later...

Ohh boy - I've got a news update and a nice rumor for anyone waiting to watch the new Doctor Who series in the US.


First off the news.


The BBC has the theme for the new series. The original theme is great - it's hands down the most distinctive piece of music ever created. Further, I think it's safe to say, no series before or since has ever had theme music that so perfectly fit.





SFX has confirmed that Gold, famous for his work on such dramas as The Second Coming and Shameless, has produced a new arrangement that updates Delia Derbyshire and Ron Grainer's original.


"It's brilliant, absolutely brilliant," Russell Davies told SFX. "I would say that, but I loved it! It was hard, because to be honest, I'd not liked any version of the theme tune since the Ron Grainer original and so we'd been waiting for Murray to do it.


"He'd been so busy scoring a million things and he'd been researching Delia Derbyshire and Ron Grainer and he went off into a little world of his own, sampling stuff and things like that. The thinking was, if we don't like what he does, we'll just put the original on."


"I thought the original theme would be perfect though, but the version Murray's done is so faithful."


Davies also confirmed that the classic Jon Pertwee/Tom Baker "cliffhanger screech" will return:


"It's a bit deeper because Murray's added things in, but it's exactly the same noise because you can't fake that."

Now, if you're not familiar with the original Doctor Who theme I'd think the following is a worthwhile read in just how Delia Derbyshire Ron Grainer put it together. I'm amazed at what they did, and I'm guessing that [unlike me] if you know something about the work it's even more impressive.


A history of the Doctor Who theme


Mark Ayres wrote the article, please follow the above link if you'd like to read the whole thing [it's very interesting]. I'll only quote the portion relevant to the theme's creation.



Doctor Who - The Original Theme



Delia Derbyshire, with assistant Dick Mills, created the original version of the theme in August 1963 using techniques, described here, that applied for years, whether the sound sources were electronic or concrete.


In 1963, when the job of producing the Doctor Who theme landed at Delia's feet, there were no synthesisers. The sound for electronic music came either from pure electronic sources, or from recordings of actual live sounds - the precursor of what we now term "sampling". But sampling now is easy: capture a sound, assign it to a range of notes on a keyboard, and play. But musique concrete was not so easy forty years ago.


There being no "synthesisers", the Workshop needed a source of electronic sound. They found this in a bank of twelve high-quality test tone generators, the usual function of which was to output various tones (square waves, sine waves) for passing through electronic circuits for testing gain, distortion and so on. They also had a couple of high-quality equalisers (again, test equipment - equalisers, or "tone controls", were not that easy to come by at the time) and a few other gadgets including a "wobbulator" (a low frequency oscillator) and a white noise generator.


Each sound in the Doctor Who theme was individually created using these instruments, and recorded to magnetic tape. By "each individual sound" I mean just that - each note was individually hand-crafted. The swooping sounds were created by manually adjusting the pitch of the oscillator to a carefully-timed pattern. The rhythmic hissing sounds were created by filtering white noise to "colour" it, as were the "bubbles" and "clouds". Examination of the original makeup tapes suggests that one of the two bass lines alone is a "concrete" sound, a plucked string sample.


Once each sound had been created, it was modified. Some sounds were created at all the required pitches direct from the oscillators, others had to be repitched later. This was done by taking the piece of tape with the sound on and looping it. The loop was placed on a tape machine and its playback speed varied until the pitch was correct, then the sound was rerecorded onto another machine. This process continued until every sound was available at all the required pitches. To create dynamics, the notes were rerecorded at slightly different levels.


Now the fun really started. They had all the sounds, all the notes, and now had to create the music. So each individual note was trimmed to length by cutting the tape, and stuck together in the right order. This was done for each "line" in the music - the main plucked bass, the bass slides (an organ-like tone emphasising the grace notes), the hisses, the swoops, the melody, a second melody line (a high organ-like tone used for emphasis), and the bubbles and clouds. This done, they ended up with a number of lengths of cut tape with the individual parts on. Most of these individual bits of tape, complete with edits every inch, still survive.


This done, the music had to be "mixed". There were no multitrack tape machines, so rudimentary multitrack techniques were invented: each length of tape was placed on a separate tape machine and all the machines were started simultaneously and the outputs mixed together. If the machines didn't stay in sync, they started again, maybe cutting tapes slightly here and there to help. In fact, a number of "submixes" were made to ease the process - a combined bass track, combined melody track, bubble track, and hisses. Eventually, the piece was finished.


The result is an astonishing piece of work with a magically organic quality to it that belies the many hours of patient work it took to create. As I said at the start, it is a "pure" electronic work - there is no element of "performance" at all, yet it still sounds alive. Even more extraordinary is that you can listen to the Doctor Who theme now, nearly 40 years later, and still not work out exactly how it was done. It must be one of the most timeless recordings ever - still fresh and modern when later versions sound dated and stale.


Delia Derbyshire recalls that Ron Grainer was delighted with the result and, realising that the music worked perfectly well as it stood, abandoned his original plan of overdubbing a small instrumental ensemble (as in Giants of Steam). Recognising Delia's immense contribution, he also suggested splitting his performance royalty income with her, but BBC bureaucracy meant that this was not possible.


And finally a link to the original theme



And now for that nice bit of 'solid' rumor/news about who's picked up the show for US broadcast.


In my perusal of the Outpost Gallifrey forums, someone provided a link to this thread...




...on the Doctor Who Restoration Team's website - the RT are the amazing folks who have been painstakingly restoring the various seriels for the DVD releases [except for the "key to time" set].


The relevant bits from the thread- a Mr. Anthony Clark [who says he's a journalist] tipped the RT Forum readers off that one of his fellow journalists at the Washington Post media desk picked up on a news leak for the new series.


The Sci-Fi purchased US broadcast rights for the new series and the original series. USA [another NBC-Universal network] is supposed to be airing the repeat/syndication airings of the new series after Sci-Fi premiers it. The report also notes that Sci-Fi intends to air the original series Mon-Fri [this likely means episodes in proper seriel format versus 'movie'].



Before we get to excited Mr. Clark has chosen not to reveal his source by name nor has the Washington Post or any other media outlet made any report on the matter. If the whole thing is true I expect we'll get an official announcement fairly soon.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Big new, big news... the long awaited information we've been waiting for out.


While not officially announced March 26 looks to be the big day for all our UK friends.


Folks who have access to the BBC's publicity picture site have confirmed that an image of the Doctor and Rose is featured on the publicity images folder for the week of March 26. [the same image can currently be seen on the login page as well]


The big BBC publicity push looks to be starting next Tuesday - so we should get a concrete date then [as well as some other goodies like a real trailer]


And for our Canadian neighbors [as well as members in the border states] CBC Television has the new series of Doctor Who listed on their website's program guide as scheduled for 8pm [Eastern] on April 5th.


I expect you all to mark your calenders and watch.



Sadly, no news for on an networks picking up the new series here in the US yet. But none of the potential channels have given a yea or nay yet - so no news is good news I guess. Unfortunately, Australia is currently in the same boat - no news on which network or when.

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www.bbc.co.uk/cult/doctorwho has been updated with a renewed focus on the new series.


A new trailer isn't up yet - but old fans [and folks looking to see a little be of the old series] can follow the Trailer link on the main page, from there you can hit another link with 50 clips from the classic series. [all in Realplayer though :( ]



Good news for everyone in the UK has just been announced over at Outpost Gallifrey.


The first trailer airs tonight at 7:29 [GMT I think] on BBC1 - just before EastEnders.

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There were 2 six second trailers on. One shows the close up of the Doctor, and then the Doctor and Rose in the TARDIS console room, the other shows a close up of Rose and then then both in the console room. Both are up in Realplayer format on the official site.


I believe there'll be longer trailers starting sometime next week.

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The Beeb's even done some news interviews both TV and on BBC Radio 1 and Radio 2. Someone over at OG just put up a thread saying they saw their first Doctor Who poster/billboard. I guess you'll start seeing more prominent adverts fairly soon.


If you want to see a couple of the news items that folks have put online...


marillionkb5 from the Outpost Gallifrey forums put up these links on the 8th to stuff he/she had recorded off the TV.


This rapid share site is some sort of metered download repository - if you hit a certain limit with in an hour it'll make you wait until you can download some more. [head to bottom of the page, select "free" it'll take you to another page. Scroll down and you'll see a countdown timer, wait for it to run out and then select the link that appears].



Better quality versions of the 6 second trailer


6 second trailer ver 1 http://rapidshare.de/files/806288/bbc1-tra...railer.avi.html


6 second trailer ver 2 http://rapidshare.de/files/807599/bbc-trai...iler-2.avi.html


6 O'clock news item http://rapidshare.de/files/806372/test.avi.html


BBC Wales feature part 1 http://rapidshare.de/files/807309/who-wale...es-pt1.avi.html


BBC Wales feature part 2 http://rapidshare.de/files/807502/who-wale...-part2.avi.html


I was able to get the 2 trailers and the 6pm news bit all at once and had to wait for the BBC Wales feature part 1 and wait again for part 2.

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I just finished watching the first episode "Rose" and I really loved it. The new Doctor is great and his companion Rose really grows on you very quickly also.


I am a big fan of the classic series and have been going crazy watching all the old ones on VHS and DVD. The visual quality of the new show is what I wish the old series had been able to produce.


I was disappointed in the opening the title sequence though. Instead of having the Doctor's face morph out of nowhere, it simply has the words "Chritopher Eccleston" and "Billie Piper" run across the screen. I'm sure this will make some fans unhappy.


All in all, I give it a A-.


Welcome back Doctor, it's been a while, but time is relative isn't it?

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SOme folks have kindly put the latest trailer online.


An 11MB MPEG 1





And a 30MB MPEG 2 [RAR compressed, so you might need to get an appropriate de-compressor]. This is also on that Rapidshare site, so follow the directions I posted earlier



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