Other TV news from last week

Other interesting nuggets of news that popped up last week that weren’t about Doctor Who.

  • Thanks to overwhelmingly fantastic critical reaction, The Wire‘s been picked up for a fifth season, despite getting less than 2 million viewers for its first episode. This final season will look at the mass media; given The Wire‘s co-creator used to be a journalist on the Baltimore Sun, it should at least be authentic.
  • Psych has been picked up for a second season and The Dead Zone‘s back for a sixth
  • Windfall has been cancelled
  • James Cromwell, the ‘dad’ of that adorable pig called Babe, is to be killing-machine Jack Bauer’s dad in 24. There’s versatility for you.
  • FX in the UK has picked up Showtime’s Brotherhood. To counteract people forward-winding through ads, the network plans to create commercials for the show that feature the same image for 30 seconds. Silly plan or not, I do recommend watching Brotherhood if you can. Despite my luke-warm first and third episode reviews, Brotherhood is now firmly on my weekly viewing schedule, thanks to a compelling cast and its look into the shady world of local politics.
  • Thank God CSI doesn’t feature on-screen episode titles, or there are going to be a few raised eyebrows in Britain when Fannysmackin’ airs
  • My prediction that alternative DVD commentaries were going to be a growing market appears to be bearing fruit, judging by the arrival of Quick Stop’s additions to the range.
  • Aaron Sorkin answers critics who suggest that Studio 60 is based on his life by saying they’re right – up to a point. Interestingly, he used to date Kristin Chenoweth, who played the squeaky deputy press secretary in The West Wing and is a devoted Christian.

And finally, just in case you wanted to know what The Hanso Foundation is and what all those numbers mean in Lost, someone’s assembled all the video clips from The Lost Experience (which, my street urchins tell me, is some kind of online game thing). Press the Play button to find out what’s up.


Things Doctor Who-y that happened while I was on holiday

This is all old news, but just in case you missed it, here’s a rundown on the top Who stories of last week:

Sarah Jane’s back… again, in another Doctor Who spin-off… again
Sarah Jane SmithThe Beeb has finally confirmed that The Sarah Jane Adventures will be happening. Lis Sladen’s back as (almost) everybody’s favourite old-school Who assistant, complete with helpful investigative teenage neighbour. K9 will appear in the first episode, a 60-minute special, but won’t be in the rest of the series. Has a hint of Dark Season to it, don’t you think?

It’s worth pointing out that that’s yet another series Russell T Davies is spreading himself thinly over. When’s he going to find time to sleep?

McGann’s the other official BBC Doctor

Paul McGann as the DoctorThe Eighth Doctor aka Paul McGann is to get his own original BBC7 series in the New Year. McGann’s Doctor is already a reasonably familiar presence on BBC7, thanks to airings of various of his Big Finish stories. This season of stories, however, will be originals and will feature Sheridan Smith from Two Pints of Lager… as his companion, rather than the delightful India Fisher as Edwardian adventuress Charley Pollard. They’ll still be produced by Big Finish, however, and enhanced versions will appear on CD later next year.

I’ll withhold judgement on the stories till I hear them (ooh, goodie, new things to review!) rather than “go knee jerk”, but having seen her filming Two Pints, I would say that Sheridan Smith is actually a pretty good actress (who doesn’t fluff her lines constantly like certain cast members) so could do well here. Why they’ve switched from India Fisher, though, I don’t know: pick your own conspiracy about Charley being too posh, etc for younger audiences to identify with or how it might annoy Conrad Westmaas if India Fisher got a solo companion role.

Most unlikeliest event in human history occurs

Janet FieldingJanet Fielding has agreed to narrate an audio book version of rubbish Peter Davison story Warriors of the Deep. Caroline John (Liz Shaw) and Katy Manning (Jo Grant) will be narrating Doctor Who and the Silurians and The Sea Devils as well, as part of the ‘Monsters on Earth’ limited edition CD.

I’ll tell you something: if you’ve never seen Janet Fielding go on at length about how Doctor Who is rubbish, anti-feminist, etc, in front of a mass of seething Whovians, you haven’t seen courage yet. Now she’s narrating one of the most awful stories she ever appeared in? Bizarre. Still, at least you won’t have to see the polystyrene sets and the Myrka in this version…


Last one: Sun says DT has committed to another series of Doctor Who

David Tennant in an interesting hatI know, I know, I’m supposed to be on holiday, but…

Today’s issue of The Sun says that David Tennant has signed up for a third series of Doctor Who, asking for and getting the princely sum of £1 million for the series. However, it continues, that he absolutely won’t commit to another series after that.

Now, The Sun has been good in the past for insider info, although I suspect its accuracy varies according to the journalist writing each story – they’re a territorial lot at The Sun. But, how can this be, given that

  1. £1 million is what Eccles-cake got for the first series (allegedly) and the ratings have been better under DT than they were under CE;
  2. The fourth series hasn’t even been commissioned yet?

Were the Beeb waiting to see whether DT would sign on the dotted line before committing to another series? Surely, given Who‘s unique “let’s dump the star” capabilities, they wouldn’t have been that fussed.

Alternatively, maybe they thought they could keep DT’s asking price down if they didn’t commit themselves to another series. Theories on a postcard or stuck-down envelope to…


Russell T Davies will be staying on for another series of Doctor Who

More larks from Doctor Who Magazine. This time, RTD confirms he – and everyone else on the production side – will be back for a fourth series, should it be commissioned. Oh, like there are going to be any problems getting that to happen:

“We’re planning for Series Four right now,” Executive Producer Russell T Davies tells Doctor Who Magazine, “as we’re waiting to be commissioned, and the signs are very good.”

“I will stay for Series Four,” he confirms. “I think we all will – Julie [Gardner, executive producer], Phil [Collinson, producer], and I would absolutely love to do it, so we’re waiting for the nod, and we’re fairly confident that it will come. The BBC is so supportive, and they’re delighted with the ratings – not just the ratings, cos they’re not that ratings-conscious, but also the profile, and the energy of the show. They love it.

”So yes, we’re making plans for Series Four. If we waited until they commissioned it, and I don’t know when that’ll be announced, we’d be behind already. Phil and I drove up to Manchester the other day, and we added together all of our ideas for Series Four in the space of that car journey… and we had nine episodes already! Of course, some of them will change, but it’s already gathering shape…!“

Apparently, there’s also going to be news about the eighth Doctor in the issue, on sale on Thursday. Ooh!


Five has the rights to Thomas and Friends

Thomas!You might not care about this, but I do. Five has acquired the rights to show new episodes of Thomas and Friends. According to the Media Guardian, “Producer HIT Entertainment also announced it is shooting a new series starring Reverend W Audry’s famous locomotive in high definition. The series, which will air in May 2007, will include 13 new stories and see Thomas cross the Island of Sodor to new locations. New characters will also be introduced: two brand new mainline engines and a big, black truck.”

Which is all very lovely. But I have a quick question: Why is it that they won’t reprint the original Thomas The Tank Engine books? I’ve still got mine, sitting in a box, waiting for the time we have kids. But what about parents who aren’t so lucky? No proper Thomas books. That’s sad.

Actually, there’s a growing trade in buying up then reprinting old kids book. Maybe something to be done there, publishers?