The Torchwood Institute - A Doctor Who and Torchwood Blog

Saturday, September 30, 2006

UK Torchwood Airdate Reports

According to the always-worthwhile Torchwood.TV , Torchwood will start airing in the UK on BBC3 on Sunday, October 22nd at 9:00 PM. Even if it's not exactly correct, all indications are that late October will certainly be when it starts airing.

Of course, we don't have any idea yet when or where Torchwood will cross over to a US or Canadaian broadcaster. My optimistic instincts say that it'll be closer to six months like this season of Doctor Who or Life on Mars.


Friday, September 29, 2006

Christmas Invasion and New Earth Comments

The track record for a new Doctor's first story is frequently mixed. There are some that are amongst the best in the series -- both Power of the Daleks and Spearhead from Space come to mind. But others, like The Twin Dilemma and Time and the Rani, are amongst the worst.

I've placed my full comments in the comment section of this post, so you can avoid for spoiler purposes.

Note that the commentaries for all of the series two episodes are available on the BBC site.


Thursday, September 28, 2006


The Masterpiece Theatre site has a page about Casanova. October 8th and 15th on PBS. See David Tennant in the role that led to him getting the part as the Tenth Doctor.



There's a really sad story about an Eccentric Doctor Who fan goaded to death.

Cross Functional

It perhaps should not have been surprising that when Mark Gatiss wasn't scheduled to write an episode for the third series, he would instead be appearing in it.

Of course, Mark is not the first writer to later return as an actor in the series -- Glyn Jones wrote The Space Museum and appeared ten years later in The Sontaran Experiment. Mark has done vocal work for several audios in the past, and we've also seen a fair amount of crossover in books and audios as well, of course, with at least Ian Marter, Nick Briggs, and David Banks writing some sort of book or audio as well as their TV work with the series.


Triumph of a Time Lord

I've written about Henry Jenkins before in my other blog, and I certainly first saw his name in connection with his work with John Tulloch on Science Fiction Audiences: Watching Doctor Who and Star Trek.

So I'm quite intrigued to see an interview that he had with Matt Hills concerning the new series and a book Matt Hills is writing called Triumph of a Time Lord. And the interview certainly brings out all of the various connections that led towards the new series being a success.

It is also one of the first times that I've seen some detailed analysis about how Doctor Who is marketed internationally. I suspect that Tennant's accent as the Doctor was certainly constructed as one that is more internationally friendly than Eccleston's was, for example.

There are a few spoilers for series two, which starts on Sci Fi tomorrow. It's an interview in two parts: part one, part two.

There's one other Triumph of a Time Lord to talk about today, and that's Doctor Who being recognized as the longest-running sci-fi tv show but Guiness World Records. I'm not much for inter-series rivalry; I like Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Farscape, and even if it's a show I don't watch regularly -- like Stargate -- I certainly don't have a probelm with other people being a fan of those series. But I think it was interesting how much controvery that they had made a significant reference to Stargate SG:1 as tbe longest running series in the most recent edition. I think there were a couple of different factors -- one, the long history of the series has been a matter of pride for Doctor Who fans for as long as I can remember, and I think there is a little bit of international rivalry going on, especially as the latest version of Doctor Who has proven to be far more internationally successful than many American genre shows like Stargate.

Don't forget -- there will be a Doctor Who marathon on Sci Fi tomorrow, and then in the evening we get both The Christmas Invasion and New Earth.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Stuck on Earth

I just received the most recent issue of Doctor Who Magazine, which contains the Russell T Davies interview that has gotten a lot of coverage in the UK press about the new series staying stuck on Earth for financial reasons and for the attempt to keep it suitable for a mainstream audience instead of the niche audiences of Stargate or Star Trek.

I think one of the things over here is that Doctor Who is a niche series in the United States by nature of its British origins. England is practically as foreign as the planet Vortis. And so perhaps our expectations are a little different than the UK audience.

At the same time, Doctor Who is going right before Battlestar Galactica on Sci Fi. And the new Galactica also has a constrained view of their world. It's not a series with massive alien life forms; and the Colonials are deliberately made as much like 21st century humans from Earth as reasonably possible. They're very different types of series -- Galactica aims as an adult drama where Doctor Who is aimed for a family audience. But they're both series that have mainstream aspirations (in their home countries, at least) instead of just being for a cult audience.

Doctor Who has been more successful in obtaining a Brtish mainstream audience than Battlestar Galactica has in obtaining an American mainstream audience.

At the end of the day, the series is unquestionably working in the UK. So the nitpicks are a matter of personal taste, as it would be difficult to have the series be more successful in the UK. With something as rich and as deep as Doctor Who, everyone's tastes are a little different. One of the great things about the spin-off media was that they were extremely varied. And the new series is varied as well -- just with a different set of guidelines than we might have seen in audios or books or comics. And all of those media continue to have more voyages to other planets, where the canvas isn't limited to what can be done in a television studio or the Welsh countryside.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Region 1 Doctor Who Season Two DVD - 1/16/2007

Sci Fi Wire has confirmed a DVD release date.

Unsurprisingly, it follows the pattern of series one, where it comes out on DVD very quickly after airing on Sci Fi. By their own statements, BBC Worldwide Americas was happy with the DVD sales for the Christopher Eccleston series, and the relationship between Sci Fi and the BBC was a successful combination.

The first two David Tennant episodes The Christmas Invasion and New Earth airs next Friday on Sci Fi.


Thursday, September 21, 2006

Julie Gardner Promotion

Just showing how the success of Doctor Who has helped the careers of the people involved with it, Executive Producer Julie Gardner has been appointed Head of Drama Commissioning at the BBC.

She's continuing her executive production role over Doctor Who, Torchwood, and The Sarah Jane Adventures -- and I suppose it makes sense since it seems every other Drama series commissioned by the BBC these days is connected to Doctor Who in some fashion.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Masterpiece Theater: Casanova

Russell T Davies version of Casanova will indeed be on Masterpiece Theater in October, as you can see on WGBH's schedule. The DVD is scheduled to be released on October 17th, immediately after it airs on PBS.

There is little doubtCasanova is basically David Tennant's screentest for Doctor Who, and it seems especially fitting that it will be on Masterpiece Theater at roughly the same time as his episodes of Doctor Who start on the Sci Fi Channel. It is delightfully anachronistic at times, and quite fun and I recommend it.

David Tennant was also on BBC America tonight as they aired Secret Smile.


Friday, September 15, 2006

TheUltimate Toy!

WhoNA has the TARDIS Playset. How very, very tempting...

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Sarah Jane Adventures

The BBC finally released a press release about the long-rumored The Sarah Jane Adventures. If Torchwood is the "adult" Doctor Who, Sarah Jane Adventures is going to be the "kids" Doctor Who spin-off.

This isn't a brand new concept -- Big Finish has done several series of audio adventures with Sarah Jane as the central character. But this will be a little different, as this will be primarily targeted towards an audience of children instead of nostalgic adults.

I'm curious about how this series might cross over to the US. Unlike Torchwood, I'm not sure I can picture a solidly children's series crossing over to the Sci Fi channel. And I'm not sure how it fits on BBC America either. I'm sure there are enough American Doctor Who fans that it'll find some way of making it over, but how.

In other exciting news, we're seeing a series of Doctor Who audios made by Big Finish go direct to BBC7 as audio dramas starring Paul McGann. And BBC7 is available online as well.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Doctor Who on BBC America

According to a commercial on the (awesome) Life on Mars BBC America will be airing the Christopher Eccleston series of Doctor Who starting on November 21st at 10 PM Eastern and Pacific (and 9 PM Central).

I think this is fantastic news -- first of all, I think this effectively confirms that we will get Torchwood at least on BBC America, and it also is a sign that the new series of Doctor Who has been an American success. It's not as much of a success as it's been in England -- but for an imported series that's a real sign of success.

The CBBC has a nice interview with Russell T. Davies. The Shakespeare episode, in particular, sounds quite promising -- Doctor Who in the Globe Theater! It's great that Doctor Who can still be educational as well as entertaining in its new incarnation, because I know some kids today that are hooked. (And if you haven't watched the new Doctor Who with a kid, you're missing out...)

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Starting Soon (in the UK)

I've seen on the Behind the Sofa blog that Torchwood is likely going to be starting on October 21st in the UK.

Of course, there is no word yet about when or where it will appear in the US. I've got little doubt that it will, but the question is does it make it with Doctor Who on the Sci Fi channel or does it go to BBC America. My hope is that they see it as something that will work well in the late spring on Sci Fi, in much the same slot as the first series of Doctor Who did this year, and then the third series appears of Doctor Who airs in the fall of 2007 on Sci Fi.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Sci Fi.Com Update

Sci Fi has updated their Doctor Who site with their second season information. Goodbye Christopher, hello David!

Doctor Who Unboxed: Video On Demand

Amazon's new Unbox Video On Demand service launched recently, and there was one perhaps surprising entry amongst their content -- Doctor Who.

So far they've launched with several classic Doctor Who stories. They're all already out on DVD, but they're priced at $1.95 an episode. Which makes a four episode story run for $8.00, which is cheaper than what you would find it on DVD. Of course, you've got some downsides -- they've got some DRM that will only let you view the file for 30 days, and right now it looks like it's only for Windows XP.

Perhaps unsurprsingly, they're all ones currently available on DVD. But amongst the stories they have include The Caves of Androzani, Spearhead from Space, The Ark in Space, The Aztecs, Pyramids of Mars, and The Curse of Fenric.

I haven't, as yet, bitten the bullet and tried it out. After all, I already own all of the DVDs. But presumably, this will work quite well for more casual and more recent fans, and it works especially well for a series like Doctor Who, which has hundreds of stories in the back catalog.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Doctor Who won a bunch of awards that I haven't heard of again. There's been some share of debate about whether the Hugo awards were important for Doctor Who.

I think it's unquestioned that Doctor Who is one of (if not the) most successful drama series in Britain -- but there are very few British dramas that crossover to the US, so really, when Doctor Who wins a British Drama award, it's winning an award in a small pond -- and not the pond that I'm really a part of. And you've got some criticism of British drama in general making big news stories.

However, when Doctor Who wins the Hugo, it's a pond that I'm at least more familiar with. It's still certianly a small pond -- the Hugos aren't the Emmys, and I think the criticisms of the nominees including two sketches from the previous award but not an epsiode of Lost are certainly valid.

Of course, being critical about Doctor Who winning awards is a bit silly. All of this proves that Doctor Who has won awards in a wide variety of contests. It's a success in the realms of British drama. It's a success in the realms of Sci Fi television drama. There's no down side. But it's nice to have some of the awards be ones that you've heard about before you've heard them -- and while for many people in the UK, that's the various television awards that it won there, if you're an American science fiction fan, that's the Hugo.

Unless it wins an Emmy. Which isn't terribly likely.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Doctor Who Movie Posters

I've found a cool collection of some fan-made Doctor Who Movie Posters earlier today. One of the things that I like about these is that they're not just photoshops of episode pictures, but each story's poster is different -- and frequently (and ideally) reflects the story in quesiton. It emphasizes one of the things that has long (and continues to be) the great virtue of Doctor Who, and that's the wide variety of stories that are possible within the format.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

The 25 questions thing

Over onTorchwood.TV we have 25 questions about Torchwood. I obviously don't have any special insight for many of the questions from my location. I really have no idea...

1: What time/date will Torchwood eventually air? My guess is the last Monday of October. (October 30th). 9:00 PM, I assume?

2: When will we first see a Torchwood trailer...?
First week of October.

3: So, will there be a "Torchwood Confidential" or not? Sounds like there will be an online version of sorts.

4: First episode: good or bad reviews? Some will be highly positive -- but others will be extremly negative. Especially due to it's realationship with Doctor Who

5: How many viewers will watch "Flotsam and Jetsam"? 2.5 million? No idea here.

6: What are Jack Harkness' first words to Gwen Cooper?
Something strange and flirty.

7: Will Jack have a smooch and/or sex in the first episode of the series? No.

8: How many men/women will Jack sleep with throughout season one? Less than you'd think, actually!

9: Will Jack and Gwen get together (and if so, in which episode) ? No.

10: What's Jack's secret revealled at the end of episode one? (This one I know, but I'm not telling! Ha!) How he got to that time period.

11: Will Torchwood transfer to BBC One? Yes.

12: Is Doctor Sato a lesbian? No.

13: Is Doctor Sato bi-sexual? Yes.

14: How many references to "the Doctor", "Rose Tyler" or "the TARDIS" in the first series? 3

15: How many references to other elements of "Doctor Who" (like the Empty Child incident) in the first year? 8

16: Who are the "old friends" posed to return in the middle of the series (Chula alerted us to this) ? A Cyberman

17: Will there be Torchwood Magazine? No.

18: When will the first Torchwood action figures hit the shelves? Captain Jack is supposed to be out soon! But otherwise, we won't see any others. We don't have a Mickey action figure, after all...

19: Will we see any Doctor Who monsters in series one?
Yes. (See #16)

20: Will there be any eventual "Doctor Who" / "Torchwood" crossover? Not directly.

21: Will the series feature a Russell T Davies style catchphrase (Think Eccleston's "fantastic" or Tennant's "brilliant") ? Not really. That's characteristic of the Doctor...

22: Will the series end of a cliffhanger? If so, what...? No.

23: Will Jack Harkness and all of his friends survive series one? If not, who will be Torchwood's first casualty? Burn Gorman's character.

24: Torchwood: recommissioned for a second season, or not? Yes

25: Finally, a fun one: who would you most like to spend a night with out of the Torchwood cast? Probably too early to say. Toshiko Sato based on her first series appearance in Doctor Who though...

And for my bonus questions!

26: What station in the US picks up Torchwood?
Actually, I'll be optomistic -- and say Sci Fi! Otherwise it's BBC America...

27: When does it air in the US? Late spring 2007 -- pretty much the same time period that the first series of Doctor Who aired in 2006.

And just to emphasize again... I really don't know the answers to any of those, and it's all just guesses on my part!

Series Three Casting

According to the Daily Mail there are a couple of new pieces of casting for the third series of Doctor Who. Since we had seen pictures of them shooting the Shakespeare episode, it was almost certain that they had cast that character, and it looks like Dean Lennox Kelly will be playing the role.

Also, assuming that the article is correct, we'll see the new companion's family just like we saw Rose's. Reggie Yates is set to play his brother. Trevor Laird will be her dad, Adjoa Andoh her mother, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw as her sister.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, these are all actors that aren't immediately known in America. I'm curious if we'll ever see a well-known American actor make an appearance, actually.

I think the big piece of this is yes, Martha will bring with her additional supporting characters just like Rose did -- that's one of the innovations of the new series that I think proved fairly successful, especially as the series continues.

Additional Note:The Official Site has more on all of this as well.