Tuesday, 17 November 2009

The Awards of Doctor Who

Although Doctor Who was fondly regarded during its original 1963–1989 run, it received little critical recognition at the time. In 1975, Season 11 of the series won a Writers' Guild of Great Britain award for Best Writing in a Children's Serial. In 1996, BBC television held the "Auntie Awards" as the culmination of their "TV60" season, celebrating sixty years of BBC television broadcasting, where Doctor Who was voted as the "Best Popular Drama" the corporation had ever produced, ahead of such ratings heavyweights as EastEnders and Casualty.[96] In 2000, Doctor Who was ranked third in a list of the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes of the twentieth century, produced by the British Film Institute and voted on by industry professionals.[97] In 2005, the series came first in a survey by SFX magazine of "The Greatest UK Science Fiction and Fantasy Television Series Ever". Also, in the 100 Greatest Kids' TV shows (a Channel 4 countdown in 2001), the 1963–1989 run was placed at number eight.

The revived series has received particular recognition from critics and the public, across various different awards ceremonies. These include:


The British Academy Television Awards (BAFTA) nominations, released on 27 March 2006, revealed that Doctor Who had been short-listed in the "Drama Series" category. This is the highest-profile and most prestigious British television award for which the series has ever been nominated. Doctor Who was also nominated in several other categories in the BAFTA Craft Awards, including Writer (Russell T Davies), Director (Joe Ahearne), and Break-through Talent (production designer Edward Thomas). However, it did not eventually win any of its categories at the Craft Awards.

On 22 April 2006, the programme won five categories (out of fourteen nominations) at the lower-profile BAFTA Cymru awards, given to programmes made in Wales. It won Best Drama Series, Drama Director (James Hawes), Costume, Make-up and Photography Direction. Russell T Davies also won the Siân Phillips Award for Outstanding Contribution to Network Television.[98] The programme enjoyed further success at the BAFTA Cymru awards the following year, winning eight of the thirteen categories in which it was nominated, including Best Actor for David Tennant and Best Drama Director for Graeme Harper.[99]

On 7 May 2006, the winners of the British Academy Television Awards were announced, and Doctor Who won both of the categories it was nominated for, the Best Drama Series and audience-voted Pioneer Award. Russell T Davies also won the Dennis Potter Award for Outstanding Writing for Television.[100] Writer Steven Moffat won the Writer category at the 2008 BAFTA Craft Awards for his 2007 Doctor Who episode "Blink".[101]

The series also won awards at the BAFTA Cymru ceremony on 27 April 2008, including "Best Screenwriter" for Steven Moffat, "Best Director: Drama" for James Strong, "Best Director Of Photography: Drama" for Ernie Vincze, "Best Sound" for the BBC Wales Sound Team and "Best Make-Up" for Barbara Southcott and Neill Gorton (of Millennium FX).[102]

In March 2009, it was announced that Doctor Who had again been nominated in the "Drama Series" category for the British Academy Television Awards; however, it lost out to the BBC series Wallander at the Awards on Sunday 26 April.[103] The series picked up two BAFTAs at the British Academy Television Craft Awards on Sunday 17 May. Visual Effects company The Mill won the "Visual Effects" award for the episode "The Fires of Pompeii" and Philip Kloss won in the "Editing Fiction/Entertainment" category.[104]

Other British awards

In 2005, at the National Television Awards (voted on by members of the British public), Doctor Who won "Most Popular Drama", Christopher Eccleston won "Most Popular Actor" and Billie Piper won "Most Popular Actress". The series and Piper repeated their wins at the 2006 National Television Awards, and David Tennant won "Most Popular Actor" in 2006 and 2007, with the series again taking the Most Popular Drama award in 2007.[105] A scene from "The Doctor Dances" won "Golden Moment" in the BBC's "2005 TV Moments" awards,[106] and Doctor Who swept all the categories in BBC.co.uk's online "Best of Drama" poll in both 2005[107] and 2006.[108] The programme also won the Broadcast Magazine Award for Best Drama.[109] Eccleston was awarded the TV Quick and TV Choice award for Best Actor in 2005; in the same awards in 2006 Tennant won Best Actor, Piper won Best Actress and Doctor Who won Best-Loved Drama.[110][111]

Doctor Who was nominated in the Best Drama Series category at the 2006 Royal Television Society awards,[112] but lost to BBC Three's medical drama Bodies.[113]

Doctor Who also received several nominations for the 2006 Broadcasting Press Guild Awards: the programme for Best Drama, Eccleston for Best Actor (David Tennant was also nominated for Secret Smile), Piper for Best Actress and Davies for Best Writer. However, it did not win any of these categories.[114]

A panel of journalists and television executives for the annual awards given out at the Edinburgh Television Festival voted Doctor Who as the best programme of the year in 2007 and in 2008.[115][116]

Science-fiction awards

Several episodes of the 2005 series of Doctor Who were nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form: "Dalek", "Father's Day" and the double episode "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances". At a ceremony at the Worldcon (L.A. Con IV) in Los Angeles on 27 August 2006, the Hugo was awarded to "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances".[117] "Dalek" and "Father's Day" came in second and third places respectively.[118] The 2006 series episodes "School Reunion", "Army of Ghosts"/"Doomsday" and "The Girl in the Fireplace" were nominated for the same category of the 2007 Hugo Awards, with "The Girl in the Fireplace" winning.[119] The 2007 series episodes "Blink" and "Human Nature"/"The Family of Blood" also secured nominations in this category in the 2008 Hugo Awards,[120] with "Blink" winning the award.[121] The 2008 series episodes "Silence in the Library"/"Forest of the Dead" and "Turn Left" secured nominations in this category in the 2009 Hugo awards.[122]

On 7 July 2007, the series won three Constellation Awards: David Tennant won "Best Male Performance in a 2006 Science Fiction Television Episode" for the episode "The Girl in the Fireplace", and the series itself won "Best Science Fiction Television Series of 2006" and "Outstanding Canadian Contribution to Science Fiction Film or Television in 2006". It was eligible for the latter award due to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's involvement as co-producer of the series.[123]

On 12 July 2008, the series won three Constellation Awards: David Tennant won "Best Male Performance in a 2007 Science Fiction Television Episode" for the episodes "Human Nature/The Family Of Blood", Carey Mulligan won "Best Female Performance in a 2007 Science Fiction Television Episode" for the episode "Blink" and the series itself won "Best Science Fiction Television Series of 2007".[124]

On 19 September 2009, the series was the first winner of the British Fantasy Award for Best Television Programme.[125]

Overseas awards

On 8 November 2007, the series received its first mainstream American award nomination when it was nominated for the 34th Annual People's Choice Awards in the category of "Favorite Sci-Fi Show". The awards, broadcast on CBS on 8 January 2008 are voted on by the people via an Internet poll. Doctor Who faced competition from American-produced series Battlestar Galactica (itself a revival of an older series), and Stargate Atlantis.[126] It was defeated by Stargate Atlantis.[127] In June 2008, the series won the inaugural Best International Series category at the 34th Saturn Awards, defeating its spin-off, Torchwood, which was also nominated.[128] The Seoul International Drama Awards 2009 honoured it with an award as The Most Popular Foreign Drama of the Year.[129]

Adaptations and other appearances : Spoofs and cultural references

Doctor Who has been satirised and spoofed on many occasions by comedians including Spike Milligan and Lenny Henry. Doctor Who fandom has also been lampooned on programmes such as Saturday Night Live, The Chaser's War on Everything, Mystery Science Theater 3000, Family Guy, American Dad and The Simpsons.

The Doctor in his fourth incarnation has been represented on several episodes of The Simpsons, starting with the episode "Sideshow Bob's Last Gleaming".

Jon Culshaw frequently impersonates the Fourth Doctor in the BBC Dead Ringers series. Culshaw's "Doctor" has telephoned four of the "real" Doctors—Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy—in character as the Fourth Doctor. In the 2005 Dead Ringers Christmas special, broadcast shortly before "The Christmas Invasion", Culshaw impersonated both the Fourth and Tenth Doctors, while the Second, Seventh and Ninth Doctors were impersonated by Mark Perry, Kevin Connelly and Phil Cornwell, respectively.

Less a spoof and more of a pastiche is the character of Professor Justin Alphonse Gamble, a renegade from the Time Variance Authority, who appeared in Marvel Comics' Power Man and Iron Fist #79 and Avengers Annual #22. His enemies include the rogue robots known as the Dredlox.[84]

There have also been many references to Doctor Who in popular culture and other science fiction franchises, including Star Trek: The Next Generation ("The Neutral Zone", among others). In the Channel 4 series Queer As Folk (created by current Doctor Who executive producer Russell T Davies), the character of Vince was portrayed as an avid Doctor Who fan, with references appearing many times throughout in the form of clips from the programme. References to Doctor Who have also appeared in the young adult fantasy novels Brisingr [85][86] and High Wizardry,[87] the video game Rock Band,[88] the soap opera EastEnders[89], the Adult Swim comedy show Robot Chicken and the Family Guy episodes "Blue Harvest" and "420".

Doctor Who has long been a favourite referent for political cartoonists, from a 1964 cartoon in the Daily Mail depicting Charles de Gaulle as a Dalek,[90] to a 2008 edition of This Modern World by Tom Tomorrow in which the Tenth Doctor informs an incredulous character from 2003 that the Democratic Party will nominate an African-American (Barack Obama) as its presidential candidate.[91]

The word "TARDIS" is an entry in the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary.[92]

Adaptations and other appearances : Charity episodes

In 1983, coinciding with the series' 20th anniversary, a charity special entitled The Five Doctors was produced in aid of Children in Need, featuring three of the first five Doctors, a new actor to replace the deceased William Hartnell, and unused footage to represent Tom Baker. This was a full-length, 90-minute film, the longest single episode of Doctor Who produced to date (discounting the 1996 made-for-TV film, which ran a few minutes longer with commercial breaks not included).

In 1993, for the franchise's 30th anniversary, another charity special entitled "Dimensions in Time" was produced for Children in Need, featuring all of the surviving actors who played the Doctor and a number of previous companions. Not taken seriously by many, the story had the Rani opening a hole in time, cycling the Doctor and his companions through his previous incarnations and menacing them with monsters from the show's past. It also featured a crossover with the soap opera EastEnders, the action taking place in the latter's Albert Square location and around Greenwich, including the Cutty Sark. The special was one of several special 3D programmes the BBC produced at the time, using a 3D system that made use of the Pulfrich effect requiring glasses with one darkened lens; the picture would look perfectly normal to those viewers who watched without the glasses.

In 1999, another special, "Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death", was made for Comic Relief and later released on VHS. An affectionate parody of the television series, it was split into four segments, mimicking the traditional serial format, complete with cliffhangers, and running down the same corridor several times when being chased. (The version released on video was split into only two episodes.) In the story, the Doctor (Rowan Atkinson) encounters both the Master (Jonathan Pryce) and the Daleks. During the special the Doctor is forced to regenerate several times, with his subsequent incarnations played by, in order, Richard E. Grant, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Grant and Joanna Lumley. The script was written by Steven Moffat, later to be head writer and executive producer to the revived series.[20]

Since the return of Doctor Who in 2005, the franchise has produced two original "mini-episodes" to support Children in Need. The first was an untitled 7-minute scene (see Doctor Who: Children in Need) which served to introduce David Tennant as the new Doctor. which aired in November 2005. It was followed in November 2007 by Time Crash, a 7-minute scene which featured the Tenth Doctor meeting the Fifth Doctor (played once again by Peter Davison). In 2008 the Doctor Who production team did not produce a new Children in Need mini-episode; instead, the opening scene from the 2008 Christmas special, The Next Doctor was broadcast.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Adaptations and other appearances : Spin-offs

Doctor Who has appeared on stage numerous times. In the early 1970s, Trevor Martin played the role in Doctor Who and the Daleks in the Seven Keys to Doomsday which also featured former companion actress Wendy Padbury (Pertwee's Doctor made a cameo appearance via film). In the late 1980s, Jon Pertwee and Colin Baker both played the Doctor at different times during the run of a play titled Doctor Who - The Ultimate Adventure. For two performances while Pertwee was ill, David Banks (best known for playing various Cybermen) played the Doctor. Other original plays have been staged as amateur productions, with other actors playing the Doctor, while Terry Nation wrote The Curse of the Daleks, a stage play mounted in the late 1960s, but without the Doctor.

A pilot episode ("A Girl's Best Friend") for a potential spin-off series, K-9 and Company, was aired in 1981 with Elisabeth Sladen reprising her role as companion Sarah Jane Smith and John Leeson as the voice of K-9, but was not picked up as a regular series.

Concept art for an animated Doctor Who series was produced by animation company Nelvana in the 1980s, but the series was not produced.[77]

The Doctor has also appeared in webcasts and in audio plays; prominent among the latter were those produced by Big Finish Productions from 1999 onwards, who were responsible for a range of audio plays released on CD, as well as 2006's eight-part BBC 7 series starring Paul McGann.

Following the success of the 2005 series produced by Russell T Davies, the BBC commissioned Davies to produce a 13-part spin-off series titled Torchwood (an anagram of "Doctor Who"), set in modern-day Cardiff and investigating alien activities and crime. The series debuted on BBC Three on 22 October 2006.[78] John Barrowman reprised his role of Jack Harkness from the 2005 series of Doctor Who.[79] Two other actresses who appeared in Doctor Who also star in the series; Eve Myles as Gwen Cooper, who also played the similarly named servant girl Gwyneth in the 2005 Doctor Who episode "The Unquiet Dead",[80] and Naoko Mori who reprised her role as Toshiko Sato first seen in "Aliens of London". A second series of Torchwood aired in 2008; for three episodes, the cast was joined by Freema Agyeman reprising her Doctor Who role of Martha Jones. A third season was broadcast from 6 to 10 July 2009, and consisted of a single five-part story called Children of Earth.

The Sarah Jane Adventures, starring Elisabeth Sladen who reprises her role as Sarah Jane Smith, has been developed by CBBC; a special aired on New Year's Day 2007 and a full series began on Monday, 24 September 2007.[81] A second season followed in 2008, notable for (as noted above) featuring the return of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. In the autumn of 2008 the BBC announced it had commissioned a third season to air in the autumn of 2009.

An animated serial, The Infinite Quest, aired alongside the 2007 series of Doctor Who as part of the children's television series Totally Doctor Who. The serial featured the voices of series regulars David Tennant and Freema Agyeman but is not considered part of the 2007 season.[82]

A new K-9 children's series, K-9, is in development, but not by the BBC. It is currently scheduled to air beginning in 2010.[83]

Adaptations and other appearances : Dr. Who movies

There are two "Dr. Who" cinema films: Dr. Who and the Daleks, released in 1965 and Daleks' Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. in 1966. Both are retellings of existing TV stories (specifically, the first two Dalek serials) on the big screen, with a larger budget and alterations to the series concept.

In these films, Peter Cushing plays a human scientist named "Dr. Who", who travels with his two granddaughters and other companions in a time machine he has invented. The Cushing version of the character reappears in both comic strip and literary form, the latter attempting to reconcile the film continuity with that of the series.

In addition, a number of planned films were proposed including a sequel, The Chase, loosely based on the original series story (the third to feature the Daleks), for the Cushing Doctor, plus many attempted television movie and big screen productions to revive the original Doctor Who, after the original series was cancelled. (See List of proposed Doctor Who films)

As of May 2009[update], BBC Films has a script for a new Doctor Who film in development.

Special sound

Doctor Who's science-fiction themes and settings meant that many sound effects had to be specially created for the series, although some common sound effects (such as crowds, horses and jungle noises) were sourced from stock recordings. Because Doctor Who began several years before the advent of the first mass-produced synthesisers, much of the equipment used to create electronic sound effects in the early days was custom-built by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop and until the early 1970s audio effects were produced using a combination of electronic and radiophonic techniques.

Almost all of the original sound effects and audio backgrounds during the 1960s were overseen by the Radiophonic Workshop's Brian Hodgson, who worked on Doctor Who from its inception until the middle of Jon Pertwee's tenure in the early 1970s, when he was succeeded by Dick Mills. Hodgson created hundreds of pieces of "special sound" ranging from ray-gun blasts to dinosaurs, but without doubt his best known sound effects are the sound of the TARDIS as it de-materialises and re-appears, and the voices of the Daleks.

The basic audio source Hodgson used for the TARDIS effect was the sound of his house keys being scraped up and down along the strings of an old gutted piano, and played backwards. The famous Dalek voice effect was obtained by passing the actors' voices through a device called a ring modulator, and it was further enhanced by exploiting the distortion inherent in the microphones and amplifiers then in use. However, the precise sonic character of the Daleks' voices varied some what over time because the original frequency settings used on the ring modulator were never noted down.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Incidental music

Most of the innovative incidental music for Doctor Who has been specially commissioned from freelance composers, although in the early years some episodes also used stock music, as well as occasional excerpts from original recordings or cover versions of songs by popular music acts such as The Beatles and The Beach Boys. Since its 2005 return, the series has featured occasional use of excerpts of pop music from the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s.

The incidental music for the first Doctor Who adventure, An Unearthly Child, was written by Norman Kay. Many of the stories of the William Hartnell period were scored by electronic music pioneer Tristram Cary, whose Doctor Who credits include The Daleks, Marco Polo, The Daleks' Master Plan, The Gunfighters and The Mutants. Other composers in this early period included Richard Rodney Bennett, Carey Blyton and Geoffrey Burgon.

The most frequent musical contributor during the first fifteen years was Dudley Simpson, who is also well known for his theme and incidental music for Blake's 7, and for his haunting theme music and score for the original 1970s version of The Tomorrow People. Simpson's first Doctor Who score was Planet of Giants (1964) and he went on to write music for many adventures of the 1960s and 1970s, including most of the stories of the Jon Pertwee / Tom Baker periods, ending with The Horns of Nimon (1979). He also made a cameo appearance in The Talons of Weng-Chiang (as a Music hall conductor).

Beginning with The Leisure Hive (1980), the task of creating incidental music was assigned to the Radiophonic Workshop. Paddy Kingsland and Peter Howell contributed many scores in this period and other contributors included Roger Limb, Malcolm Clarke and Jonathan Gibbs.

The Radiophonic Workshop was dropped after the The Trial of a Time Lord season, and Keff McCulloch took over as the series' main composer, with Dominic Glynn and Mark Ayres also contributing scores.

All the incidental music for the 2005 revived series has been composed by Murray Gold and Ben Foster and has been performed by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales from the 2005 Christmas episode The Christmas Invasion onwards. A concert featuring the orchestra performing music from the first two series took place on 19 November 2006 to raise money for Children in Need. David Tennant hosted the event, introducing the different sections of the concert. Murray Gold and Russell T Davies answered questions during the interval and Daleks and Cybermen menaced the audience whilst music from their stories was played. The concert aired on BBCi on Christmas Day 2006. A Doctor Who Prom was celebrated on 27 July 2008 in the Royal Albert Hall as part of the annual BBC Proms. The BBC Philharmonic and the London Philharmonic Choir performed Murray Gold's compositions for the series, conducted by Ben Foster, as well as a selection of classics based around the theme of space and time. The event was presented by Freema Agyeman and guest-presented by various other stars of the show with numerous monsters participating in the proceedings. It also featured the specially filmed mini-episode Music of the Spheres, written by Russell T Davies and starring David Tennant.[60]

Three soundtrack releases since 2005 have been released - the first featured tracks from the first two series,[61] while the second and third featured music from the third and fourth series respectively. See List of Doctor Who music releases for other soundtrack releases.