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Who is Pearl

Who is Pearl Mackie?

“Introducing Pearl Mackie as Bill.” So read the on-screen caption at the end of a short, sparky clip which saw Peter Capaldi’s Doctor and his new time-travelling companion hiding from the Daleks in a space station corridor.

Announced live on BBC One during half-time of the FA Cup semi-final (wonder how much crossover there is between Whovians and football fans? Stereotype would suggest not much), the identity of the Time Lord’s next companion was revealed as newcomer Mackie. She becomes the Doctor’s 41st companion and the 10th since the 2005 reboot.

It was refreshing to see the new recruit revealed through filmed footage, a new clip entitled “Friend From the Future”, rather than the actress giving interview bland non-answers in a studio interview. The fact that Mackie happens to shares a hairstyle with Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini, the sole goalscorer in the match at half-time, was a slice of time-space-soccer serendipity.

“I’m incredibly excited to be joining the Doctor Who family,” says Mackie. “It’s such an extraordinary British institution, I couldn’t be prouder to call the TARDIS my home! Peter is such a brilliant actor, and his Doctor is such a wacky and wonderful character. I can’t wait to see what adventures are in store for him and Bill throughout time and space.”

What is she known for?

Londoner Mackie, who graduated from Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in 2010, is a relative newcomer with previous TV credits including Brit film Svengali and daytime Doctors. She also appeared in a music video for pop band Years & Years alongside Ben “Q from the Bond films” Whishaw and rising star Tuppence Middleton.

Mackie is currently starring in the National Theatre’s production of The Curious Dog in the Night-Time, which runs until June. Presumably when that wraps up, she’ll start filming at the time travel franchise’s Cardiff base.

What else do we know about her?

Not terribly much. A late flurry of bets had been placed on newcomer Mackie in the two days preceding the announcement, to such an extent that she became the 4/6 odds-on favourite for the job. Secrecy clearly wasn’t quite as tight as the BBC wanted.

As an acting tutor for children, she’s described as having “vibrant optimism” with her special skills listed as “mixing maturity and immaturity” – which sounds on-brand for Doctor Who. Peter Capaldi says he’s “very excited” about Mackie joining him in the TARDIS. “We’ve been doing a bit of work together already,” said the Twelfth Doctor. 

Mackie’s appointment makes good casting sense in response to recent suggestions that it’s time to see a non-white actor back in the TARDIS. The last companion of colour was Freema Agyeman eight years ago. As Capaldi says: “Doctor Who is at its best when it reflects contemporary culture. It’s time for us to be recognisably in the 21st century.” 

What will her character be like?

Unlike previous incumbent Clara Oswald, whose Impossible Girl status meant she had prior knowledge of the Time Lord, Capaldi says “now we have someone who knows very little about the Doctor”. That was reflected in the special preview clip, in which Bill was inquisitively lippy but ignorant of the Daleks

Capaldi had expressed a preference for a female companion, quipping: “With the best will in the world, I don’t want a bloke, because I’m frightened that they’ll give him all the action and I’ll be standing around spouting scientific gobbledygook. I just think that combo of the slightly strange, alien Time Lord with the intelligent, enthusiastic, inquisitive girl is a good combo. I don’t know why – but it just seems to work.” 

Mackie herself says: “Reading the script at the audition, I thought Bill was wicked. Fantastically written, cool, strong, sharp, a little bit vulnerable with a bit of geekiness thrown in – I can’t wait to bring her to life and to see how she develops through the series. I always loved stage combat at drama school, so I can’t wait to get on set and kick some evil monsters into the next dimension!”

All-new double act: Pearl and the Doctor
All-new double act: Pearl and the Doctor Credit: BBC/Ray Burmiston

Capaldi called her “a fine, fine actress with a wonderful zest and charm. She’s a refreshing addition to the TARDIS and will bring a universe of exciting new possibilities to The Doctor’s adventures”. Charlotte Moore, the BBC’s acting Director of Television added: “Pearl brings a wonderful energy and lights up the screen. She will captivate Doctor Who fans old and new across the globe.”

Bill looks like she’ll hold her own banter-wise, while sporting jeans-and-trainers in contrast to the Doctor’s tailoring and frock coats. As is traditional with the Doctor’s sidekicks, also expect her to marvel at the dimensions of the Tardis, followed by much dashing down corridors to flee from alien danger “When I say run, run!”

Where is she likely sit in the pantheon of Doctor Who companions?

Mackie replaces the popular Jenna Coleman, who played Clara for three years – making her the longest-serving companion since the reboot – and starred alongside two Doctors: Matt “bow ties are cool” Smith before Peter “eyebrows” Capaldi. 

The BBC will hope Bill goes on to win hearts and capture the public imagination, similar to Billie Piper a decade ago as Rose Tyler – or the likes of Elisabeth Sladen (as Sarah-Jane Smith), Sophie Aldred (as Ace) or Louise Jameson (as Leela) in the classic Doctor Who era.

Mackie will start filming this summer for the series to air in spring 2017 – the final run for head writer, executive producer and all-round “Whopremo” Steven Moffat, who will be succeeded by Broadchurch boss Chris Chibnall.

What the fans say

At first, it was mainly Doctor Who fans being bored by the football analysis and annoyed the announcement was running later than advertised. Once Mackie was confirmed, though, reaction centred mainly on “who?” and her hair. 

I can imagine the anxiety and stress. Who care about the football match, get to commercial (announcement). I bit like the Super Bowl. But I just watch the commercials online and skip the game entirely.

But the BBC had a spike in their ratings for a few minutes! 🙂

Then they were tossed to and FRO but Pearl Who? 🙂

Filming of series 10 is due to start in a few weeks but the next series is not due until 2017 – so it’ll be a while until we see Capaldi on screen with his new travelling companion. (UK Telegraph)

So we still have a year to wait folks. 😦



Trekking Along

Ok, I may get in dangerous territory today.

I love Star Trek. I’m American. It’s hard not to know about it. It’s the American equivalent of Doctor Who.

While it hasn’t been on TV as much as Who has, this year is the 50th Anniversary of the American institution.

I love imagination. That’s why I’m into Science Fiction in the first place.

So naturally I am into Trek.

What brought this up was a Concert here a couple of nights ago, call “Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage” which was a concert in celebration of those 50 years.

True, it was only estimated to be about a 30 pieces band helped by audio recordings and not The BBC Orchestra of Wales that I have seen also but it was a great concert nonetheless augmented by visuals.

It was afterwards that the discussion really got started, and this blog’s genesis (star trek pun).

It was pointed out that the concert itself was “inspiring” and that Star Trek, in general, is more “inspiring” than Who.

And that got me thinking.

Yes, I think Trek is more “inspiring”. This may also be an American point-of-view in someways as I didn’t grow up with Doctor Who as a kid. I was 21.

But I am big fan of both. But I am a bigger fan of WHO.

WHO is ALL OVER my house. Trek isn’t.

Trek inspired me as a kid for the imagination. Not the Science.

I am not the one who thought, I want to be a Planetary Geologist when I grow up. I know several who did.

I didn’t look at the communicator and go “oh look, a flip lid Cell phone, how 00’s of you.”

I gravitated to the imagination of it all. The going where no man has gone before. To go out there and see what and who is out there.

That was my thrill. Still is.

But Doctor Who has an even broader canvas. Arguably, the broadest possible one. Not just where Man hasn’t gone. He isn’t a Man. But Anywhere in Time & Space in the whole of creation and even beyond it.

Now that’s a imagination stage like no other.

And the lead character is the same one from 52 1/2 ago!

No “Next Generation”, you get Next Regeneration. 🙂

The Borg…HAH! Doctor Who had The Cybermen in 1966 when Star Trek had just premiered!

Doctor who has the Guinness Book of World Records for most Successful TV show.:)

Nov 25, 2013 – Guinness World Records can today confirm that the special 50 th Anniversary episode of Doctor Who which was broadcast globally on Saturday has set a new world for the largest ever simulcast of a TV drama after the episode was shown in 94 countries across six continents.

So, while Star Trek has inspired Science around the world. Doctor Who inspires even more Imagination.

And we need both.

So I am a fan of both. The Apple and the Custard. 🙂

Now that’s Scary

Over the years, David Tenant’s Doctor Who has fought numerous villains, from Cybermen to Daleks, but he never took on a threat quite like his next opponent: internet trolls.

In a new novel by Jenny T Colgan, the Tenth Doctor will be faced by hundreds of internet lurkers, the story revolving around aliens feeding off of their web-based hatred. 

Titled In The Blood, it will be the first novel to feature this iteration of the Doctor since 2009. He will, as you may have suspected, be accompanied by Donna Noble, played by Catherine Tate in the show.

“I wanted to write an exciting Earth-set adventure for the Tenth Doctor and Donna, and I thought, what would strike you, if you’d just arrived here, at this point in our history?” Colgan told Radio Times. “You’d probably be a bit amazed at how much pointless bile people send over the internet – this amazing tool we have, this amazing source of infinite knowledge and so on, getting used for so much abuse. It’s really mind-boggling.

“The thing is, I’m a Doctor Who fan, obviously, and 99.999% of fandom is absolutely lovely – I can’t stress that enough – but a tiny proportion are quite aggressive, and that’s puzzling to me, because it’s the antithesis of everything the Doctor stands for. So the book is looking at modern rage, how pent up people can get. It’s pent up anger that the virus feeds on, all that frustration with nowhere to go.

“When the trolls first start to die, people are not that concerned – people who’ve been bullied so much they’ve had to change schools aren’t that sympathetic. But of course the Doctor doesn’t see it like that at all. A life is a life to him.”

Sounds quite bizarre really. Still, not the weirdest Doctor Who story. In The Blood will be published by BBC books on the 12 May.

Synopsis: All over the world, people are ‘ghosting’ each other on social media. Dropping their friends, giving vent to their hatred, and everywhere behaving with incredible cruelty. Even Donna has found that her friend Hettie, with her seemingly perfect life and fancy house, has unfriended her. And now, all over the world, internet trolls are dying…

As more and more people give in to this wave of bitterness and aggression, it’s clear this is no simple case of modern living. This is unkindness as a plague.

From the streets of London to the web cafes of South Korea and the deepest darkest forests of Rio, can the Doctor and Donna find the cause of this unhappiness before it’s too late?

An original novel featuring the Tenth Doctor and Donna, as played by David Tennant and Catherine Tate.


The Best Month of My Life

How long does it take to watch every episode of Doctor Who?

How long does it take to watch every episode of Doctor Who?

By Radio Times staff

Are you a Doctor Who fan? We mean a real Doctor Who fan… a dyed-in-the-Tardis-seen-ever-episode-that’s-ever-been-made Doctor Who fan?

Yes? Well congratulations, it turns out you’ve essentially spent a full calendar month watching your favourite show from start to finish (and that’s if you only watch every episode once!)

Indeed, those of you who have watched all the episodes of Classic Who from Hartnell through to McGann, and then sat down to the nine series of new Who screened from 2005 to 2015 have enjoyed a whopping 28 days 7 hours and 50 minutes of Doctor Who, according to That’s like spending all of February awake with Doctor Who on the TV.

The 26 series (and specials) of classic Who are the biggest part of the viewathon, taking 21 days 22 hours and 30 minutes to get through.  But even those of you who are only fans of the modern show since Christopher Eccleston brought it back under Russell T Davies have still spent 6 days, 9 hours and 20 minutes (or just under a week without sleep) keeping up with adventures in space and time.

The ‘good news’ is that the total time won’t be going up for a while with no series of the show slated for 2016, so plenty of time to slip a quick month of Doctor Who in to remind yourself just what you’re missing.

Katy Part 2

  • Where


Doctor Who actress Katy Manning answers YOUR questions ahead of St George’s Hall show

And despite what you may have heard – she wasn’t Liza Minelli’s bridesmaid..!

Katy Manning as she appeared in The Sarah Jane Adventures on CBBC in 2010
Katy Manning as she appeared in The Sarah Jane Adventures on CBBC in 2010

AHEAD of Katy Manning’s appearance at St George’s Hall tomorrow evening, the former Doctor Who actress kindly agreed to answer questions from readers.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, due to the sci-fi series’ universal appeal, questions came in from around the world.

Katy, who played Jo Grant alongside Jon Pertwee’s Doctor from 1971 to 1973, will be sharing more stories from her life and career in the hall’s Concert Room tomorrow evening at 7.30pm. The recollections below are the perfect taster for what to expect. Thanks again to everyone who submitted a question – we’re just sorry we couldn’t include them all.

Kate Hughes from Birkenhead asks: “Liverpool is a very musical city. Have you ever sung professionally?

Katy says: “If I sang to you in my real voice I would sound like Janis Joplin on a bottle of Brasso but I do so many different voices that I have sung as little kids and little animals.

“I once sang for an animated series as a six-year-old child. My character was the grandson and my boyfriend was doing the voice of the grandfather!

“The thing is, I know so many great singers that I realise it’s important to stick to what I can do. I wrote a play called Not a Well Woman, it’s a one-woman show which involved me doing 26 different voices, there is some singing in that. They’re all talking to each other and I’m switching from a Greek accent to an African accent and every other accent you can think of.

“I had to write a rap for it so I wrote the filthiest one you could think of and performed it as a gangster rapper – but as I said, I know so many great singers, my partner is a very respected singer, so I choose to listen instead.”

Liam Leaves from Portmsouth asks: “Excluding Jon Pertwee, what is your favourite costume of any of the Doctors – and why?”

Katy says: “I very much like what Peter Capaldi wears. It has that very tiny tinge of what Jon wore.

“I had my picture taken with him and he was very keen to get the pose right, the pointing finger that Jon used to do and he asked me how he always got that hint of red lining to show so I did what I always used to do back in the day, I put my arm around him and pulled the jacket back slightly so it was always on show.

“Also if you watch The Green Death (Katy’s final story as a regular in the series, broadcast in 1973), you will see that Jo is wearing cricket trousers at one point – so I did that in Doctor Who before Peter Davison did!

“I would say though that all the costumes have been exactly right for each actor playing the part.”

Katy Manning as Jo Grant in Doctor Who in 1970
Katy Manning as Jo Grant in Doctor Who in 1970

Tyson Ferland from San Franciso asks: “It was fantastic to see you in the Sarah Jane Adventures (the CBBC Doctor Who spin-off starring the late Mossley Hill actress Elisabeth Sladen). Would you be interested in returning to the character of Jo Grant again in Doctor Who or another spinoff?”

Katy says: “Being on Sarah Jane was an extraordinary thing to do and I loved Elisabeth, she was absolutely extraordinary and we were very good friends.

“She was the quintessential Doctor Who girl and she lived it to the full and she always had the greatest love and respect for it. The way Russell T Davies (the man behind the revival of Doctor Who in 2005 and the creator of The Sarah Jane Adventures) brought me back, I was absolutely gobsmacked, I never thought that would happen.

“As for coming back now, I think Jo would be in the old person’s home today, so possibly not!”

Amanda Telfer from Glasgow asks: “If you had the chance to travel with any of the new series Doctors – who would you choose and why?”

Katy says: “Well, I travelled with Matt Smith in the Sarah Jane Adventures and that was really good so I will have to give Matt a mention but trulyl, the answer is that I have loved them all.

“They are all absolutely wonderful actors who have each given their own take on this absolutely wonderful character. And it is one character, it is all one person so I am not going to pick and choose. I’ve worked with William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton (in The Three Doctors, the show’s 10th anniversary story in 1973) and on audio (a series of CDs telling new Doctor Who adventures and featuring former actors from the series have been released regularly since 1999) I’ve worked with Colin Baker, Peter Davison, Sylvester McCoy – and today I was recording with Tom Baker, so I’m a bit of a Doctor groupie really!”

James Simmonds from Mossley Hill asks: “When you were living in Australia, were you ever tempted to appear in any of the Aussie shows that we get in the UK, such as Neighbours or Home and Away?”

Katy says: “I was asked to appear in one of them once, it was Home and Away – but I couldn’t do it as I was working on something else.

“But my partner in Australia, he was the very first person to sing the theme tune to Neighbours [Katy treats us to a quick, beautiful burst of the song at this point]. His name is Barry Crocker and he was the first man to sing it. That was my Bazza!

“I have to be honest, these aren’t shows that I’ve followed much myself as I have travelled around so often. My life is stored in plastic bags all over the place, I’m really a bag lady!”

Kerryn Smith from Wavertree asks: “I understand you were a bridesmaid at Liza Minelli’s wedding to David Gest. What are your memories of the day?”

Katy says: “I wasn’t! That’s wrong. I went to school with Liza and grew up with her and she is one of 12 godparents to my children. That meant I also grew up around Judy (Garland, Minelli’s mother) so I have always been surrounded by absolutely love music. It’s when you are around singers like that that you know to stick to what you do best.

“I couldn’t make it to the wedding as I was working so I sent her an email. I said. ‘I can’t make this one, see you at the next one!’ I don’t think it went down too well with David!

“But as I said, Liza was godmother at my children’s Christening and she ended up organising the whole thing. I thought you just took the kids down to the library and had them stamped but she said, ‘No, Manning, you have a party!’ and she arranged it all. All sorts of people were turning up, Lionel Blair was there, Derek Nimmo, they had to stop me answering the door in the end so I could enjoy my own party.”

The TV Movie Revisited

If you haven’t seen it, you should pick up the latest Doctor Who Magazine, which has some new articles on the 1996 TV Movie.

Yes, I have given it some grief in the past. Most fans have.

But the article by Jonathan Morris is particularly good.

It points out several very important points about the TV Movie that would eventually lead to another series 9 years later.

The most salient of the points is that the Movie itself is not the now fashionable “Reboot” or “re-imagining” where they throw out most of what you liked about the show just to borrow the name or the basic concept.

Xena reboot? Charmed Reboot? etc etc etc….

The TV Movie, is a CONTINUATION of the series. By having Sylvester McCoy in the first 20 minutes to pass the baton Paul McGann you have a continuation of the old show into the “new” show. Something that would happen, albeit more slowly when Russell T Davies continues the show FROM the the TV Movie in 2005. And then the TV Movie gets a roll in the 50th Anniversary, with Night of the Doctor!

So you have a nearly seamless transition from Classic Series (1963-1989) to TV Movie (1996) to NuWho (2005- ) and they are all THE SAME SERIES. So you can have a series that effectively has been on since 1963 with just some years when it wasn’t on.

In these days of Reboot Mania this is actually an extraordinary feat.

So one of the weaknesses of the TV Movie (not being very new viewer friendly because it picks up with the 7th Doctor for 20 minutes, then has the 8th Doctor come in and be all “Who am I?” for the next 20 minutes so that the movie is half over before it really gets going) and turns it into a significant historical precedent.

Classic Who is connected to the TV Movie and The TV Movie is Connected to NuWho.

There is a reboot in sight. They are not separate canon.

And should the show go off the air again for years and come back, the template has already been laid for it just to pick up where it left off.

I found this to be a revelation that I had not thought about beforea bout the TV Movie.

So it makes the TV Movie that much better overall. The plot still sucks. But for what he had to work with and the fact that it was Writer Matthew Jacobs idea that it should be a continuation makes it better in hindsight than it was in the moment.

Yes, I did say it was THE WRITER’s IDEA!  Not Fox. Not Universal. Not The BBC.

The Writer is the one you have to thank for the continuity between Classic Who and NuWho.

Not such a bad guy after all. 🙂


Will I Stay or Will I Go

This broke a couple of days ago, which in the internet age might as well have been Prehistoric times considering how fact things flame in and flame out.

But I would not be unhappy about it in the least.

Peter Capaldi: ‘I’ve been asked to stay on in Doctor Who after Steven Moffat leaves’

When Steven Moffat announced his departure as Doctor Who showrunner earlier this year, there was only one question on everyone’s minds – would current Doctor Peter Capaldi stay on with new boss Chris Chibnall, or hand over the Tardis keys like former Time Lord David Tennant did when Russell T Davies left the series?

Now, can reveal that the BBC has asked Capaldi to stay on as the Doctor after Moffat’s departure – but the actor himself isn’t sure whether he’ll take up their offer.

“I’ve been asked to stay on,” Capaldi told, “but it’s such a long time before I have to make that decision.

“Steven’s been absolutely wonderful, so I love working with him. Chris is fantastic, and I think he’s a hugely talented guy.

“I don’t know where the show’s gonna go then. I don’t know. I have to make up my mind, and I haven’t yet.”

He concluded: “As Steven will tell you, it’s very difficult to say goodbye.”

In summary, you shouldn’t be surprised to see a very familiar Time Lord at the Tardis controls for a few years yet…

Face The Bells, Clara

I vote for coincidence, or at most inspiration. But this is one of the things I most love about Doctor Who fans. We love to solve puzzles, even if one doesn’t exist. It’s fun. It’s intellectual. It’s imagination run amok! And who knows, we might just be right…

Was there a big clue about Clara Oswald’s fate hidden all the way back in Doctor Who series 7?

Was there a big clue about Clara Oswald's fate hidden all the way back in Doctor Who series 7?

By Sarah Doran

Sunday 6 March 2016 at 9:30PM

From the moment she took Rigsy’s countdown clock tattoo in Face The Raven we had a feeling Clara Oswald’s destiny was written in stone but could her fate have actually been decided while Matt Smith was still in the Tardis?

An eagle eyed fan – who goes by the name of commontao on Reddit – has spotted something rather interesting in The Bells of Saint John, arguably the first ‘regular’ episode Clara appeared in as The Doctor’s companion after The Snowmen.

Anyone trying to steal Clara’s style from the episode might have spotted that she’s wearing a pendant.

A bird pendant.

With outstretched wings.

A bit like this bird.

Which also had outstretched wings when it took Clara’s life.

Coincidence or conspiracy?

Would it really be so wild as to think that the powers that be could have planted a hint so early on?

Possibly, given that the pendant is more Aztec eagle than raven and, y’know, Coleman already one rescheduled exit storyline.

But then this is Doctor Who we’re talking about – Moffat Loop Doctor Who!

Nothing’s left to chance… or is it? We’ll let you be the judge of that one.

Revisting Torchwood

John Barrowman filmed himself re-watching Torchwood and says there should have been “a lot more” of it

John Barrowman filmed himself re-watching Torchwood and says there should have been "a lot more" of it

It’s been a long time since we’ve seen John Barrowman on our TV screens as Captain Jack Harkness and it seems it’s been a long time since John Barrowman has seen him too because he’s been re-watching Torchwood from the very beginning.

Barrowman shared a series of videos of himself re-watching the Doctor Who spin-off on his official Facebook page, revealing that he’s still a Torchwood fanboy.

Just like quote a few of us so.

But Barrowman also took the opportunity to express his thoughts on the show’s relatively short four series run too.

“I’m sorry, I have to say this, but Russell T was just awesome and, I’m going to speak freely here but there should have been more of this”, said Barrowman of the show, which ran for four series from 2006 to 2011.

“I’m sorry I didn’t revisit this sooner” the actor admitted, “but anyway, I’m going to watch it and continue on being nostalgic.”


Could that nostalgia – about necking pints with Eve Myles and traipsing around Cardiff with the team – spill over into a Torchwood reunion? Only space and time will tell.



A River Runs Through it

River Song will meet some other incarnations of the Doctor in a new Doctor Who spin off

Big Finish have announced the second audio series of The Diary Of River Song, set for release next year.

River Song met the Doctor in the middle of his pretty boy phase, but now here’s the real test: will she still love the Time Lord when he’s wearing THIS?

Big Finish have revealed that series two of their Diary of River Song audio adventures will feature Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy bouncing off Alex Kingston’s cosmic archaeologist.

(Picture: Big Finish)
Alex Kingston with Sylvester McCoy and Colin Baker (Picture: Big Finish)

Producer David Richardson said: ‘We’re thrilled to have both Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy appearing alongside Alex in this box set. I can promise that River and the Doctor might not necessarily be working to the same agenda. In fact, the two Doctors might not be working to the same agenda either…’

Yup, the faces may change, but that sounds like River and the Doctor all right.

The four hour-long episodes are called The Unknown, Five Twenty Nine, World Enough and Time and Eye Of The Storm.

(Picture: BBC)
River will be meeting the sixth and seventh Doctors (Picture: BBC)

Guest starts include Anna Maxwell Martin, Jessie Buckly, Robert Pugh and Dan Starkey.

Alex is also back as River Song for Doctor Who: Doom Coalition 2 on March 3, alongside another former Doctor, Paul, McGann.