Tuesday, April 19, 2016

George Watson's People of 2016

Me, by George Watson
Yesterday, I became #109 in George Watson's "People of 2016", a daily photographic blog. That's me in Soho after not enough sleep.

I've known George since we started comparing notes on short films and documentatries we were both busy making. Thrillingly, he's also the author of one of the children's fan letters to Doctor Who companion Sophie Aldred included in her book, Ace! The Inside Story of the End of an Era (1996, written with special effects high brain Mike Tucker).

Friday, April 15, 2016

Doctor Who special effects

The latest Doctor Who Magazine Special Edition is devoted to six decades of effects in the series. As well as the astounding revelation that the heat barrier in The Daemons (1971) was a physical effect made from tinsel, there's a couple of things by me.

To understand how last year's episode Heaven Sent was realised, I spoke to Will Cohen, Louise Hastings and Salvador Zalvidea at Milk VFX, Kate Walshe at Millennium FX and Samantha Price at BBC Wales.

(The feature also owes a lot to Warren Frey's amazing hour-long interview with director Rachel Talalay, for the Radio Free Skaro podcast. Following that, Talalay posted a video of her demo for the SFX team, demonstrating how they could make a dissolving hand for the episode using a bath bomb kit.)

I also spoke to Academy Award-winning Paul Franklin from Double Negative, who hasn't worked on Doctor Who but explained to me its influence on his own work - including what bits of the series were used as placeholder footage during the making of the movie Interstellar.

(I met Paul when he and I were panelists on The Infinite Monkey Cage last year.)

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Making Doctor Who Adventures 97% weirder

To mark 10 glorious years of kids' magazine Doctor Who Adventures, my former boss Paul Lang has written a magnificent celebration of its daftness and delight. He describes this especial foolishness as my masterpiece:

I've already posted all the episodes of daft comic-strip AAAGH! I wrote, and other bits and pieces I did. But there was the time we got "Koquillion" into the wordsearch. Or got the Daleks to write the horoscope (every star sign had "You will be exterminated!"). Or wrote comic strips in which the Doctor battled bogeys, bananas and space owls... Such happy times and places.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

The daughter of Sarah Jane Smith

The new issue of Doctor Who Magazine, issue 498, includes my interview with Sadie Miller, discussing her new book Moon Blink and her mum, the late Elisabeth Sladen.

Oh, and there's some stuff about something Big Finish has got coming out which is quite exciting.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Essential Time Lords

Out in shops now is the Essential Doctor Who: The Time Lords, a comprehensive 116-page feast of everything you ever wanted to know about the Doctor's home planet and people.

Among the highlights are Andrew Smith's interview with Lalla Ward (Romana) and Robert Fairclough's feature on Timothy Dalton (Rassilon). Rob also speaks to T'Nia Miller about playing a Time Lord general who's "got big balls" (her words).

I've written a piece about the writers and designers who've shaped the culture and appearance of Gallifrey over the years. I also interviewed Stephen Thorne, who played the stellar-engineer Omega in The Three Doctors (1972-3).

And there's my efforts to identify who drew the sketches of potential Doctors seen at the end of The War Games (1969) and who those sketches are really of...

“Oh, he's too old!”

“Well he's too fat, isn't he?”

“No, he's too thin.”

“Oh no, that won't do at all. It's ridiculous...

Monday, March 07, 2016

BBC Radio 4 Extra: Floating in Space

This Saturday, I'll be a guest on Floating in Space on Radio 4 Extra, helping Samira Ahmed link a three-hour collection of archive programmes and clips relating to space travel.