Doctor Who? BBC Reveals New Time Lord On Sunday

Catherine Lawson
Catherine Lawson

“The decision is made and the time has come to reveal who’s taking over the TARDIS. For the last of the Time Lords, the clock is striking twelve.”

Thus did Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat announce that the new Doctor will be unveiled to the world live on-air, Sunday 4 August.

It will be simulcast on BBC One in the UK, BBC America in the US and ABC in Australia.

According to a BBC press release, “The half-hour show will include live special guests, Doctors old and new, as well as companions and celebrity fans.”

By the end of the half hour white smoke will be billowing from the chimney of New Broadcasting House and Moffat will step out onto the balcony to declare, “HABEMUS MEDICUS!”

So, the all-important question is, who will play the Twelfth Doctor? Peter Capaldi may be the bookies’ favourite, but I’m not buying it.

Right now, in the absence of any hard evidence whatsoever, I’m going to speculate wildly and say: Tom Ellis.

No, the Miranda star didn’t make it onto the TVClaw Casting Wishlist, but his spooky drama pilot Gothica was passed over by ABC at the May upfronts and he seems to have cleared his other television commitments lately (something ex-EastEnders moppet Sean Maguire is rather grateful for).

Why Tom Ellis? He’s known (but not too well-known) to US audiences from his guest spots on Once Upon A Time, and his stint in short-lived BBC supernatural drama The Fades showed that he’s adept at playing roles other than eye candy. Diving into US pilot territory showed that he’s ambitious and keen to move out of Miranda‘s shadow. Plus, he’s Welsh so will obviously love filming back in Cardiff!

If not Ellis, then I’ll hedge my bets, go with the bookies’ picks and predict it will be one of: Daniel Rigby, Ben Daniels or Andrew Scott.

Am I right? Add your picks in Comments.

Stay tuned for updates!

Doctor Who Live: The Next Doctor will air on BBC One, BBC America, ABC (Australia) on Sunday 4 August, 7pm BST

Check out the teaser trailer here.



Doctor Who Returns: Bells of St John Premiere Date, Steven Moffat Talks Spoonheads


Hey, Whovians, have you heard? Just when you’ll be at the end of your giving-stuff-up-for-Lent tether, a tasty treat: Doctor Who is back on Saturday 30 March.

As if that wasn’t enough excitement, showrunner Steven Moffat promises that in the Series/Season Finale, “the Doctor’s greatest secret will at last be revealed! If this wasn’t already our most exciting year it would be anyway!”

Series/Season 7 picks up again with “The Bells of St John,” a modern-day thriller set in London. Penned by Moffat it features such landmarks as The Eye of Sauron Shard, The Gherkin and Westminster Bridge.

And intriguing new villains, The Spoonheads,  will make their debut battling the Doctor (Matt Smith) as he discovers that something sinister is lurking in the Wi-Fi.

The episode also officially marks the debut of the Doctor’s newest companion, Clara Oswald (Jenna-Louise Coleman). Yes, yes, she’s already popped up twice now, but this time Moffat’s promised that this time she’s here to stay. (Or, at least, here for the next eight episodes.)

The rest of Doctor Who Series/Season 7 will bring some familiar (evil) faces with a new twist, and boasts an impressive line-up of guest stars including Richard E. Grant, Warwick Davies, Celia Imrie and Dougray Scott. Plus, the first-ever on-screen pairing of Diana Rigg and her daughter Rachael Stirling.

Here’s the gossip straight from The Moff himself: “It’s the 50th year of Doctor Who and look what’s going on! We’re up in the sky and under the sea! We’re running round the rings of an alien world and then a haunted house. There’s new Cybermen, new Ice Warriors and a never before attempted journey to the centre of the TARDIS. And in the finale, the Doctor’s greatest secret will at last be revealed! If this wasn’t already our most exciting year it would be anyway!”

Excited, much?

In the UK: Doctor Who premieres Saturday, March 30, on BBC One

In the US: Doctor Who  premieres Saturday, March 30, 8pm ET on BBC America

Ripper Street Gets a Second Series

Get your tweed on: Ripper Street will be back for more in 2014!


The BBC has commissioned an eight-episode Series/Season 2 of the bawdy, violent drama, due to air on BBC 1 and BBC America in 2014.

Starring Matthew Macfadyen (Spooks/MI-5) as technology-loving, forward-thinking Inspector Albert Reid, steampunky Ripper Street is not your grandma’s period piece.

Created by writer Richard Warlow (Mistresses, Waking The Dead), Ripper Street is set in the East End of London in 1889, just after Jack the Ripper’s infamous unsolved murder spree. It follows the fortunes of Reid and his motley band of policemen and hangers-on at 72 Leman Street, E1. (My first ever job was in Leman Street. I wasn’t a copper though.)

Never seen it? In brief, think: Deadwood with cockneys. But it’s more than that. Ripper Street has been building momentum over the first series with its grim, warts and all depiction of life in Victorian London.

The drama boasts a great ensemble cast — special mention has to be made to Jerome Flynn — ably abetted by an excellent roster of guest stars such as Iain Glen (Ripper Street is “what I did on my summer holidays” for Game of Thrones stars), Lucy Cohu, Patrick Baladi and Hugh O’Connor.

Announcing Series/Season 2, BBC drama commissioning controller Ben Stephenson said: “Quality and ambition run through Ripper Street, from Richard Warlow’s original scripts, the incredible cast and the captivating direction. … All combine to create a period series with a modern and gripping edge.”

For his part, Warlow said: “I am enormously grateful to have been given the opportunity to return to ‘H’ Division once more and will be working tirelessly to ensure that those who have joined us each week will find ever more compelling crime-fighting thrills down on Ripper Street the second time around. The series will move forward into the 1890s: the death rattle of a century coming to a close, the labour pains of a modern world on the rise. It is this sense of climax and calamity that, week by week, our heroes will confront with conviction and heroism.”

In the UK: Ripper Street airs on Sundays, 9pm on BBC1

In the US: Ripper Street airs on Saturdays, 9pm ET on BBC America

Doctor Who Recap: Asylum of the Daleks

Doctor Who S07/E01 — Got Milk?

Doctor Who Season 7 got off to an explosive start with “Asylum of the Daleks”. As showrunner Steven Moffat had tweeted earlier on in the day, the premiere episode was a case of: “Doctor!! Daleks!! Divorce!! Soufflé Surprise!!”

First, viewers with long memories were required to suspend their disbelief as the irrepressible Daleks had survived annihilation yet again. This time they wanted to ask the Doctor (Matt Smith) a big favour. Could he go down to their secret prison planet and blow it up? Please?

Of course, these were not your dad’s Daleks. These ones were bigger and more eloquent, and they even had their own parliament complete with a non-armoured Borg Queen Dalek President in a perspex case. They also had some next-gen leather-clad skin jobs who didn’t know they were Cylons Daleks until something (a sighting of the Doctor, for example) triggered their latent programming.

And, in a continuation of the Russell T. Davies reboot, stairs and ladders hold no fears for these super-villains, even though some of them were clearly older models of the type that had me diving behind the sofa in the ’70s. I loved the way their signature threat began haltingly at first: “Eggs …”, “Eggs-stir …” and so on until it became the full-on Dalek war cry of “Exterminate!” (Top marks to Moffat for the “eggs-stir”–souffle concoction.)

So, Rory (Arthur Darvill) and Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) were on the brink of divorce and she seemed to have a burgeoning modelling career. We didn’t really get much in the way of explanation of why they were on the brink of divorce until Amy revealed that she’s incapable of having children and so had nobly decided to sacrifice her marriage and set Rory free to meet someone else and procreate.

To be honest, that scene felt a little clunky to me. Yes, it was a surprise to see that maybe Amy does actually love her husband rather than just enjoy pushing him around, but of course perennial doormat Rory is going to take her back. I mean, come on… Much as I love Rory (and the vastly underrated Darvill), he’s been punching above his weight for years. There’s no way he’d let Amy get away.

I’m perfectly willing to concede that I may have missed something in the morass of intricate storylines and plot devices in the last season, so Amy’s barrenness may already have been explained away as a consequence of giving birth to River Song (Alex Kingston). But although it felt out of place and awkward, at least she didn’t pull a Martha Jones and declare that she was dumping Rory in favour of trying to get some hot Time Lord action instead.

There were special effects galore and only a wisp of Cardiff in this episode, which also managed to cram in an Empire Strikes Back homage in the Imperial probe/Dalek eye peeking up through the snow. No Tauntauns, though there were some scary renanimated skeletons/zombie Daleks hiding in a crashed ship.

Attentive viewers will have noticed that Jenna-Louise Coleman, the actress playing the next companion was unexpectedly front and centre in this episode. While it’s not unknown for actors to pop up in Doctor Who in more than one role (hello, Eve Myles), it is unusual for a highly publicised addition to the cast to feature so prominently and so unheralded. (The famously spoiler-averse Moffat later thanked the advance screening audience for keeping schtum.)

Coleman was great, and I’m looking forward to seeing her join the series later on in the year.

Lots of critics have offered their theories as to why she was there and what’s her connection to the Doctor. Here’s my tuppence ha’penny-worth: Oswin the souffle-making Dalek-in-denial is the descendant of the next companion, Clara, who is played by the same actress (again: hello, Eve Myles). And the S&M skin job at the beginning was Oswin’s mother, which is why she was able to call the Doctor for help, and why he answered the call.

As for Oswin not knowing she was a Dalek, that’s a device Moffat used before to great effect in the “Forest of the Dead” episodes in Season 4. Remember Charlotte/CAL and Doctor Moon?

So, what’s next for the Doctor? Next week we get Dinosaurs! On a spaceship! Plus a fantastic guest roster boasting the likes of Rupert Graves and Mark Williams. I can’t wait.

Follow me on Twitter: @TVClaw

Doctor Who, Asylum Of The Daleks: New Trailer

As the Doctor Who Season 7 premiere fast approaches, the BBC has released another tantalising trailer.

This one’s for the opening episode, “Asylum of the Daleks.”

It looks like it pays more than a stylistic nod to Star Wars, particularly with the Dalek eye popping up through the snow just like an imperial probe on Hoth.


Doctor Who Season 7 premieres in the UK on Saturday 1 September, 7:35pm on BBC1.

Doctor Who Season 7 premieres in the US on Saturday 1 September, 9pm ET on BBC America.

Follow me on Twitter: @TVClaw

Doctor Who: Five Essential Episodes

New to Doctor Who? Not a sci fi fan? Don’t let that put you off. Doctor Who has all the components of a truly classic TV drama series: Compelling storylines, outstanding performances from some of the best actors around, great scripts, a wry sense of humor, and moments that will make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck.

Here’s my Who retrospective ahead of the upcoming Season 7 Premiere. This comes courtesy of the vastly talented crew at AOL TV.

We started a “5 Essential Episodes” section to help viewers who were ready to take the plunge into an existing show but didn’t have time to catch up on multiple previous seasons.

"Doctor Who", BBC
“Doctor Who”, BBC

We trained our spotlight onto five episodes from some of the best scripted comedies and dramas on TV that you need to see, including Fringe, The Good Wife and Doctor Who.

NB: I wrote “Doctor Who: 5 Essential Episodes” in August 2011 as an introduction to the series ahead of Season 6, so it doesn’t include any episodes from that season.

Looking back, I’d now add at least an honourable mention to Season 6, Episode 5, “The Doctor’s Wife.” Penned by the always terrific Neil Gaiman it explores the Doctor’s relationship with the enigmatic TARDIS, and hints at the complex personality and emotions concealed within the blue box.

Doctor Who Season 7 premieres in the UK on Saturday 1 September, 7:20pm on BBC1.

UPDATE: Doctor Who Season 7 premieres in the US on Saturday 1 September, 9pm ET on BBC America.

BBC America is launching Doctor Who Season 7 with “The Destinations of Doctor Who” special on Saturday, 25 August 2012 at 9pm ET. “Leave the beach towel at home and take a trip to the end of the earth this Saturday!”

Catch Up With Doctor Who: 5 Essential Episodes