AMC BBC

US TV network AMC, which aired Mad Men and The Walking Dead, is to take over the running of BBC America after a $200m (£125m) deal with the BBC.

BBC America is available in almost 80 million homes in the US via cable and satellite.

AMC has bought a 49.9% stake in the channel, while the corporation’s commercial arm BBC Worldwide will retain 50.1%.

BBC Worldwide chief executive Tim Davie said AMC was the “ideal partner”.

“They are committed to the kind of high-quality, unmissable content that has already gained BBC America one of the most educated, affluent and tech savvy audiences in all of US television,” he said.

BBC director general Tony Hall said the deal would “help us reach new audiences in the US, strengthen BBC America’s position for the long term and create opportunities for the UK creative community”.

Quality drama

The broadcasters have already co-produced dramas including The Honourable Woman. “This partnership means we can produce even more top quality drama together,” Mr Hall said.

BBC America will be managed as a standalone channel within the AMC Networks portfolio, which also includes Sundance TV and more than 60 international channels.

But the channel will be run in line with BBC’s editorial standards and policies.

Ed Carroll from AMC Networks said: “Orphan Black and Doctor Who are just two examples of bold and original BBC America content that creates passionate viewers and fits well alongside AMC Networks shows such as Mad Men, Portlandia and Rectify.” (BBC News)

It’s that Time Again

When the TV season is almost over :( and we talk about…

The DVD and Blu-ray release of The Complete Eighth Series sees the Doctor and Clara encounter previously unimaginable wonders and horrors… The time travellers meet a fleet of Daleks as they attempt to rescue a stranded ship of human survivors, face ranks of Cybermen stalking Earth, go back in time and join Robin Hood in a fight with killer robots in Sherwood Forest, become outlaws when they break into the deadliest bank in the cosmos, face a Mummy on the Orient Express, discover a deadly horror dwelling on the Moon and meet the last man standing at the end of the universe.

The box set contains every explosive episode from Peter Capaldi’s debut series in the role and is also packed full of extras including:

  • DVD Exclusive: Doctor Who – Deep Breath Cinema panel session (1x 30’ feature)
  • DVD Exclusive: Audio Commentaries x 4 (episodes and participants TBC)
  • Doctor Who: The Ultimate Time Lord (1×45’ feature with Fifth Doctor Peter Davison)
  • Doctor Who: The Ultimate Companion (1×45’ feature with Fifth Doctor Peter Davison)
  • Doctor Who: Earth Conquest (1×45’ World Tour Documentary)
  • Doctor Who Exclusive (4×2’ cast interviews)
  • Doctor Who Extra (12×10’ behind the scenes)
  • FOXES – Don’t Stop Me Now (Music video from Mummy on the Orient Express).
  • This title will be released on November 17, 2014.
    Pre-order now.
  • Here’s the U.S. cover art for the DVD/Blu-Ray set:

  • This title will be released on December 9, 2014. First Details About The Doctor Who Season 8 DVD Set!

  • The US version:

  • And here’s your first listing of all the special features that come with it:

    • EXCLUSIVE footage from London Post-Premiere Q&A with Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman and Steven Moffat
    • EXCLUSIVE Doctor Who episode commentaries for Into the Dalek,Robot of Sherwood, The Caretaker, and Kill the Moon
    • Behind-the-Scenes featurettes (12 total)
    • Doctor Who Exclusive (4 total)

    Doctor Who: The Ultimate Time Lord (special with Fifth Doctor Peter Davison)

    Doctor Who: The Ultimate Companion (special with Fifth Doctor Peter Davison)

    Doctor Who: Earth Conquest (World Tour Documentary)

    • Tour of the TARDIS
    • Doctor Who: Deep Breath Live Pre-Show & After Who Live (hosted by comedian and Doctor Who superfan Chris Hardwick)
    • FOXES – “Don’t Stop Me Now” (Music video from Mummy on the Orient Express)

Doctor Sherlock

Frank Cottrell-Boyce is used to bringing national institutions into the modern era. The opening ceremony he wrote for the London Olympics featured everything from Maypole dancing to the Queen skydiving. But this weekend’s Doctor Who episode, In the Forest of the Night, presented a unique problem to the celebrated children’s author.

By now we’re all used to Peter Capaldi’s cantankerous and cutting version of the Doctor (even if Clara hasn’t quite adjusted) but when Cottrell-Boyce was writing his script he was still an unknown quantity.

“Obviously we wrote all of our scripts before we saw him,” he told RadioTimes.com. “We knew the story and this guy was going to be older, a bit grumpier, a bit sharper. The minute they had any footage of him they showed, but there’s an interplay between the writing and what he’s trying to bring to it.”

With that in mind, what tips and directions did Steven Moffat give about writing for Capaldi? “Well, I’ve had his voice in my head since Local Hero came out in 1980-whatever-it-was. I think the key note Steven gave was that whereas the other Doctors tell you what they’re doing, he’ll keep things to himself for a while. Matt would tell you everything, but [Capaldi’s Doctor] keeps the process to himself until he acts on it.”

It’s an approach that Boyce believes echoes another of Moffat’s hyperintelligent leading men. “I guess that’s more like Sherlock Holmes,” Cottrell-Boyce notes, “you know the wheels are turning in his head, but he’s not really letting you in on the process.” (Radio Times)

 

 

12 Doctors

12 Doctors, 12 stories, 12 jackets – a Doctor Who style celebration!

Authors including Neil Gaiman, Malorie Blackman, Charlie Higson and now Holly Black have written stories to celebrate each Doctor in Doctor Who in 12 Doctors 12 stories which is being published tomorrow. This gallery celebrates the each Doctor’s actual jacket (and in most cases tie) with this set of iconic book jackets – plus quotes from all the authors involved on ‘their Doctor’.

You can win a gift version of all the the stories in 12 mini-paper backs plus 12 postcards in a TARDIS slipcase by emailing childrens.books@theguardian.com telling us why you should be the one to win it with “12 Doctors” as your heading by 29 October 2014

Plus read an interview with Holly Black on writing the 12th Doctor story starring Peter Capaldi

Into The Forest Preview

Entitled In The Forest Of The Night, the latest outing for the Doctor sees him venturing into a dangerous forest with Danny Pink and a group of schoolchildren.

Penned by Frank Cottrell Boyce, who makes his Doctor Who writing debut, the official episode synopsis reads: ‘One morning in every city and town in the world, the human race wakes up to face the most surprising invasion yet. Everywhere, in every land, a forest has grown overnight and taken back the Earth.

‘It doesn’t take the Doctor long to discover that the final days of humanity have arrived.’

Frank had previously told the ECHO: “It’s like joining a family. It’s a great thing to be involved with. I grew up loving Doctor Who, and my teenage son was a big fan of it, too.

“It’s a pleasure to write it and I’m looking forward to seeing Peter Capaldi as the new Doctor. I’m hoping there’s a bit of Malcolm Tucker in there, too.”

He added: “Of all the thrills that pen and paper have brought into my life, there’s nothing that quite compares to the buzz of unlimited possibility that rushes through your fingers and into your brain when you write the words: ‘Interior . . .  TARDIS.'”

Current producer and head writer Steven Moffat called Cottrell Boyce a “genius”, adding: “Frank’s script is pure magic – and everything I could have hoped for from the genius behind the Olympics Opening Ceremony!”

Another vine mess you’ve gotten me into!

Doctor Who, 'In The Forest of the Night'
Doctor Who, 'In The Forest of the Night'

Educational Who

The Doctor and the Dalek wants to help children learn programming skills.
The Doctor and the Dalek wants to help children learn programming skills. Image: BBC Photograph: BBC

UK Guardian: Doctor Who’s latest adventure sees him teaming up with a Dalek and trying to save the universe, but also teaching children some early computer programming skills.

This isn’t a TV show, however: it’s a game due to launch on Wednesday 22 October on the broadcaster’s CBBC website. The Doctor and the Dalek includes voice narration from current Doctor Peter Capaldi, and a new story by Phil Ford, who has written for the TV show.

The free web game is aimed at 6-12 year-olds, and involves freeing a battered Dalek from a ship of Cybermen, then building it back up to full strength through puzzles based on the programming elements of the new English computing curriculum.

Children will be combining instructions to accomplish a given goal, using variables to alter behaviour, exploring repetition and loops, and using their logical reasoning skills in order to rebuild the Dalek.

Ford’s story is set on the Sontar homeworld, which the BBC says has never been shown on-screen before, although many Doctor Who fans will be familiar with its aggressive inhabitants, the Sontarans. The action will also take players to the Cyber-tombs of Telos, last seen in a 1985 episode of the drama.

Jo Pearce, creative director of BBC Doctor Who Interactive, told The Guardian that Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat and executive producer Bryan Minchin were both involved in the approval process for the game. “It is part of the Doctor Who world: we don’t differentiate it,” she said.

The BBC has also created material for parents and teachers to accompany the game, which also tie in to the new computing curriculum in England.

“This touches predominantly on key stage two, but then goes in to key stage three. We wanted the game to be something that could help teachers in the classroom as well,” said Pearce. “Teachers are getting their heads around this new curriculum, so it was a big aim for us to do these teaching packs.”

The project was the work of BBC Wales and creative agency Somethin’ Else, working with BBC Future Media to a commission from the broadcaster’s BBC Learning division.

“Getting children inspired is the big thing for us around this game. When you say ‘coding and programming’ straight away it feels like a very dry topic, but our aim was to show children you can have fun,” said Pearce, ahead of the game’s launch.

“When we put the game out to tender, we wanted it to be the best Dalek game there can be. It has to be addictive and fun, and the learning elements are core to that.”

The Doctor and the Dalek's puzzles are based on the new computing curriculum in England.
The Doctor and the Dalek’s puzzles are based on the new computing curriculum in England. Image: BBC Photograph: BBC

The game also aims to be a spur for children to investigate the kind of programming tools they might be using at school, rather than competing with them.

“Because there are excellent platforms like Scratch and Blockly out there, we didn’t want to do any duplication,” said Rich Jenkins, development producer at Doctor Who Interactive. “We talked to teachers and kids, and they were looking for that first step to demystify programming and not make it feel difficult.”

The project included input from Dr Tom Crick, senior lecturer in computing science at Cardiff University and chair of the Computing At Schools body in Wales, and Rik Cross, head of education for Code Club.

“We have taken the learning element very seriously so were really keen to get the right people involved who had that level of authority,” said Pearce. “We want this to be the first step to inspire children into coding, and to gradually take them on to more academic tools like Scratch.”

“This stuff is quite new to the curriculum: some schools have only just started, while others have been doing it for a while. So you get some 10 year-olds who know how to code their own games, and others who don’t know anything,” added Jenkins.

“The game starts at that [latter] level of ability and gradually increases the coding learning. Kids start off on simple sequencing, but by the final chapter they’ll get into things like Boolean logic and quite complex procedures.”

For now, the game is only playable on computers, but the development team is working on future updates that will make it work on tablets too, likely by early 2015.

Children power up the Dalek to help it survive in the main platform game.
Children power up the Dalek to help it survive in the main platform game. Screenshot: BBC Photograph: BBC

The Doctor and the Dalek is part of a wider project at the BBC called Make it Digital, which will be the broadcaster’s big educational initiative in 2015, following on from its focus on the first world war in 2014.

Besides the new Doctor Who game, the corporation has already launched a series of “Bitesize” guides tied to the new computing curriculum, and revealed plans for new shows Appsolute Genius, Technobabble and Nina and the Neurons: Go Digital on its CBBC and CBeebies children’s TV channels.

“Tony Hall, the Director-General, said that in 2015 he wanted to get a new generation to get creative with coding,” Jessica Cecil, the BBC’s controller for Make it Digital, told The Guardian.

“We’ve gone away and thought ‘what can the BBC do in an area where there are some incredible initiatives already?’ The first is to inspire, because what we do best is tell stories. Secondly, we can attempt to shine a spotlight on the wonderful world of what people are doing with technology.”

Cecil’s colleague, head of strategic delivery Kerensa Jennings, stressed that the BBC’s efforts will not just focus on programming skills.

“This is about have-a-go digital literacy: making, creating. It’s not all just about programming: it might be having a go at a robotics challenge, or 3D printing, or experimenting with digital design or animation,” she said.

“We’ll also be taking an unplugged approach in the real world, helping people to feel inspired around computational thinking even when they’re nowhere near a computer.”

Review: Flatline

AS Always…SPOILERS!

flatline posterThis episode left me a little Flat! :)

IT’S BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE TARDIS!!

Actually, the idea of a two dimensional monster is actually all that bad, but I just couldn’t get worked up about the menace. Maybe it was just that I was tired. It was cool, but literally, the episode was flat for me.

But I did like the playing with dimension, especially the TARDIS.

But this also felt like a bit of a Doctor-Lite Episode, though traditionally that’s Episode 10. But Peter Capaldi was very good in this episode also.

His Doctor as Pragmatically, dogmatically so sometimes, as ever.

But this one fell to Doctor Clara, and her companion Rigsy.

Jenna Coleman’s Clara acquitted herself quite nicely being Doctor-ish, at least 12th Doctor-ish.

They fun with the Psychic Paper not working quite as well for her as it would for The Doctor, but she blusters her authority all the way through and even saves her companion from a noble self-sacrifice. :)

But in the end, she had to be clever.

And this Doctor got to give his version of the 10th Doctor “It is defended” moment.

So does this make a turning point for our taciturn Doctor?

We shall have to see.

I am not going to bother with trying to analyze or guess what dear old Missy is up to, it’s a Moffat thing so it literally could be anything so I’ll wait until the end to find out what the heck this was all about.

But I still think it results in some way the doom for Clara Oswald.

And was it just me or did that “siege mode” TARDIS look like a toy version of The Pandorica?

The Mirror:

She is told that she excelled as the Doctor, but that none of it was ‘good’, and indeed the Doctor seems more remorseful than Clara over the lives that were lost in order to save the world.

Though Capaldi’s Doctor has struggled to understand humans, and hasn’t shown an outstanding amount of outward compassion towards the inhabitants of this tiny blue planet, he has often tried to understand monsters and aliens.

Perhaps the fact he waited until the final possible moment to take the nuclear option on the 2D invaders shows he isn’t so heartless after all.

And with Clara going from being disgusted by the Doctor’s lying on the Orient Express, to being forced into lying in Flatline, the companion has a new understanding of this difficult to understand Doctor.

Maybe their strained roller-coaster friendship can be stabilised and saved… but probably not.

Moffat doesn’t do THAT kind of fairy tale ending.

The 2014 ratings so far:

  1. Deep Breath 6.8m (overnight) 9.17m (final) 10.76m (L+7) AI 82
  2. Into the Dalek 5.2m (overnight) 7.29m (final) AI 84
  3. Robot of Sherwood 5.2m (overnight) 7.28m (final) AI 82
  4. Listen 4.8m (overnight) 7.01m (final) AI 82
  5. Time Heist 4.93m (overnight) 6.99m (final) AI 84
  6. The Caretaker 4.89m (overnight) 6.82m (final) AI 83
  7. Kill the Moon 4.81m (overnight) 6.91m (final) AI 82
  8. Mummy on the Orient Express 5.08m (overnight) 7.11m (final) AI 85
  9. Flatline 4.55m (overnight) TBCm (final) AI TBC

(iPlayer figures are not included in the ‘final’ figure)
(Live Plus 7 (L+7) counts those who watched live and all repeats, including iPlayer, within seven days following broadcast.)
(The Audience Appreciation Index (AI) is a score out of 100 which is used as an indicator of the public’s appreciation for a show.)

 

 

All GUS-yed UP…

Doctor Who: Who is Gus?

By Huw Fullerton (Radio Times)

We should have known from the start that Gus, the Siri-from-hell villain in tonight’s Doctor Who was evil. He may have had no physical form, but still managed to sport a dashing monocle – a clear sign of a baddie.

The drawling posh voice of actor John Sessions presided over a trainful of mayhem tonight as he forced experts to discover the secrets of invisible mummy The Foretold – and turn its secrets into weapons.

The Doctor and Clara narrowly managed to save the day, leading to the apparent destruction of Gus himself – but was he part of a wider conspiracy?

It might sound unlikely, but here are three reasons to suspect that Gus was more than The Evil Train That Could.

He has the Doctor’s phone number

That’s arguably not much of an achievement these days – everyone from a random banker he met once to Winston Churchill seem to have the Time Lord on speed dial – but mysterious figures ringing the Tardis seems to be a theme recently, with the Doctor keen to find out who’s giving out his details.

A strange woman in a shop gave Clara the Doctor’s number back in The Bells of St John (evil wifi episode, remember – no?), with many assuming that said shopkeeper is probably Michelle Gomez’s Missy, the Gatekeeper of the Nethersphere (and frequenter of cryptic scenes at the ends of episodes in this series). If this is true, then could Gus be an acolyte of Missy, and thus part of the series arc? (For more theories on the identity of Missy, see here).

We’ve heard from him before

The Doctor and Clara’s jaunt on the train wasn’t completely ad hoc – in fact, the Doctor mentions in tonight’s episode that he’s been summoned to this train a few times, even being called at the Tardis:

“He has tried to entice me here before. Free tickets… mysterious summons… he even phoned the Tardis once. Do you know how difficult a number…”

Sadly we can’t vouch for the free tickets (the scenes where The Doctor idly flicks through his junk mail are usually in the DVD extras), but one of the moments he mentioned actually happened onscreen, way back in 2010’s series finale The Big Bang (when the Doctor was played by Matt Smith).

To save you scouring the internet for it, here’s a brief reminder:

“Hello? Oh, Hello.

“I’m sorry, this is a very bad line.”

“No, no, no but that’s not possible – she was sealed into the seventh obelisk, I was at the prayer meeting.

“Well no, I get that it’s important, an Egyptian goddess loose on the Orient Express… .in space. Give us a mo…”

“Don’t worry about a thing Your Majesty…we’re on our way.”

Those were the days.

Anyway, clearly Gus has been playing the long game here – tempting an earlier incarnation of the Doctor by impersonating royalty (probably some form of intergalactic treason), and promising him a wild adventure.

And in a very hiding-in-plain-sight style of deceit, the fake summons was actually pretty close to what actually awaited the Doctor and co. Audacious, really.

It’s clear the monocled monitor of doom has been gunning for the Doctor for a while – might we assume that there’s more to this than a bit of Mummy research?

And finally… his name could be short for sarcophaGUS…

Like the one that a mummy would live in, right? Right…? There’s even a sarcophagus in the episode. Also, you know, a Mummy. To make it even spookier, he was a bit sarcastic… sarcastic-Gus? Get it? It totally scans.

I don’t know about you, but that last bit really nails it for me. Big conspiracy.

The End is Coming…

Official Synopsis released, so hopefully not Spoilers to you.
Flatline: Premieres Tomorrow

Synopsis:

On the streets of an ordinary council estate, the Doctor and Clara face an alien threat they can barely understand. As the creatures close in, Clara has to take charge of the spiraling situation – while the Doctor struggles with some dimensions that have become a little too relative for comfort.

Next Week: In The Forest of the Night

Synopsis:

One morning, in every city and town in the world, the human race wakes up to face the most surprising invasion yet.

Everywhere, in every land, a forest has grown overnight and taken back the Earth. It doesn’t take the Doctor long to discover that the final days of humanity have arrived…

Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?
And what shoulder and what art
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand and what dread feet?

The Tyger by William Blake: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/172943

Welcome to the Tree Age.

 Then it Begins…The End of Season 34/Series 8

dark-water-death-in-heaven-cybermen

The BBC have released the official story synopsis for Dark Water, the eleventh episode and first part of the Series 8 finale, written by Steven Moffat.

In the mysterious world of the Nethersphere, plans have been drawn up.

Missy is about to come face to face with the Doctor, and an impossible choice is looming.

“Death is not an end” promises the sinister organisation known only as 3W – but, as the Doctor and Clara discover, you might wish it was.

It premieres Saturday 1 November with the time to be confirmed on BBC1.

The November 8th, ‘Death’ comes to TV Time…DEATH IN HEAVEN

Moffat wanted to kick people out of their comfort zone – “You think you know how Doctor Who is going to work. The bets are now off”

Winter Approaches

Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat reveals his motives behind bringing the Cybermen back for series 8…

Series 8 of Doctor Who is flying by, and will be all wrapped up next month. General consensus? It’s been a successful series, with our fag packet assessment being that more people seem to be keen on it than not.

For the two-part finale Dark Water/ Death In Heaven, Mr Steven Moffat has brought back the Cybermen. Chatting to Doctor Who Magazine, he explained why.

“I really wanted to do a Cyberman story, because they were always my favourites when I was a kid, and I was quite surprised that one way or another I’d never used them in any of my own scripts, except as supporting characters.”

Ever the tease, Moffat added that “I wanted to do a proper scary one.”

With Missy and Seb expected to feature heavily too, with appearances from Jemma Redgrave and Kate Stewart’s returning UNIT characters, we’re expecting the finale to be huge. (Den of Geek)

A month actually…WAH! :(

Then we’ll all have to wait 6 weeks or so for the Christmas Episode, then winter will settle in for 8 months and it will be colder than Mondas on a good day until Season 35/Series 9.

doctor clara heaven or hell

 

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