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The Times coverage of series 1 date
For 25 years, Doctor Who's creaky charm captivated a nation 2005-03-06
The thrill of the chaise 2005-03-06
Elevate, exterminate: Daleks conquer stairs in new Doctor Who 2005-03-06
The Doctor faces his newest adversary ... the Canadians 2005-03-09
Doctor Who puts accent on a new look to old show 2005-03-10
Forgotten timelord 2005-03-11
The Return of the Time Lord 2005-03-18
Billie the kid 2005-03-19
Piper at the gates of dim 2005-03-21
The Whys and Whats of Who 2005-03-26
Doctor faces a high-tech challenge 2005-03-26
Blonde Bombshell 2005-03-26
Oh Lord, he's still stuck in the past 2005-03-27
Who's the daddy as 10m find time to see the Doctor 2005-03-28
Just what the Doctor ordered 2005-03-28
The Right Medicine? 2005-03-30
He saves the world and BBC, then Dr Who quits 2005-03-31
Casanova actor seduces the Doctor Who casting agent 2005-04-01
Dr Who too scary for young children 2005-04-14
BBC climbs down over Doctor Who fear factor 2005-04-15
Casanova regenerates into the new Doctor Who 2005-04-16
Who's Afraid? 2005-04-19
Nigel Andrew's View 2005-04-23
Rovers' returns 2005-04-29
Back behind the sofa — it's a Dalek 2005-05-02
Wanted: One Time Lord, Tardis optional 2005-05-06
Let's not be beastly to Daleks 2005-05-16
An absurd ruling takes the fun out of Doctor Who 2005-05-16
The censors ... will ... exterminate 2005-05-17
Unsuitable for children 2005-05-17
Doctor treated 2005-05-19
Legislate! Legislate! 2005-05-19
BBC advises Doctor Who fans to stay offline until the bitter end 2005-06-14
Sought, located 2005-06-15
The Doctor's fate is sealed with a first kiss — or two 2005-06-16
I'm prepared for my role as BBC Man, but how to fit Big Specs into the new Dr Who? 2005-06-25

The Whys and Whats of Who (2005)

[edit]

Doctor Who? Nigel Kendall reveals all you need to know about the Timelord

If you haven't heard by now that Doctor Who Is returning to British TV screens today (Saturday), in the first serialisation since 1989, then I assume that you're as familiar with space travel as the Doctor himself. For weeks now, the nation's newspapers, magazines, TV news programmes and illegal download sites have been so full of it that if I read the words "Behind the Sofa" one more I time, I'll hide behind the sofa.

All of this excitement has been generated by people of a certain age, nostalgic for the Saturday tea-times of their youth. For those of you who don't view the past through rose-tinted spectacles, though, or are young enough to wonder what the fuss is about, THE EYE presents all you need to know about the new Who.

WHY WHO NOW?

Keen to revive the old tradition of the family watching TV together, Lorraine Heggessey, the outgoing BBC One controller, decided to bring back the 900-year-old Timelord, whose last series was axed in 1989. Ironically, Doctor Who owes its very existence to similar thinking back in 1963. when the BBC head of drama, Sydney Newman, was looking to fill the slot between the end of sport at 5.15pm on a Saturday and the beginning of Juke Box Jury at 5.45pm. The first episode, starring William Hartnell, was broadcast 12 hours after President Kennedy was assassinated, a fact obliquely referred to in the first episode of the new series.

WHO DO YOU DO?

Christopher Eccleston is the ninth TV incarnation of the Doctor. An actor associated with brooding, intense roles, Eccleston surprised the new Who writer Russell T. Davies by sending him an e-mail begging to be considered for the part. "I think Chris wanted to break out of the way he felt he was being typecast" says Davies, who previously worked with Eccleston on the acclaimed drama The Second Coming. Eccleston's Doctor is a pleasing hybrid of those who have gone before, a quick-witted sharp-tongued cosmic prankster prone to endearing bouts of utter dimwittedness. "It's the closest I've been to playing myself, in a way," says Eccleston of his interpretation of the role. "It's a version of myself as a child. And I based it a lot on Russell. I borrowed some of his speed of thought, and pace."

Surprisingly, the 41-year-old Eccleston was not a fan of the original series. "I felt the Doctor was a bit too authoritarian," he says. "I finally got round to watching Tom Baker recently, after I had had two bottles of wine. Now I know what the role entails — the ability to deliver jargon with charisma and wit — I thought he was fantastic"

WHO'S THAT GIRL?

"When I was asked by the BBC to bring it back, I froze for three days," says Davies. "I thought 'Do you really want to work on something that you love so much?' It's a rolling stone that's gathered a lot of moss. A history surrounded by frock coats and anoraks. I knew we had to keep certain things: the music, the Tardis, the Daleks, and the assistant"

The Doctor needs his assistant like Holmes needs his Watson. Without someone to share his travels and explain all the science to, he'd be a mad old interplanetary windbag. The former pop star Billie Piper is the Doctor's fifteenth humanoid assistant Rose, a smart-mouthed girl from a London council estate whose mother obviously never warned her about travelling through time and space with strange men. Not for our Billie the leather bikini of Tom Baker's Leela or the baseball bat of Sylvester McCoy's Ace; she can handle herself in a scrap without any help from Eccleston. whose Doctor is himself surprisingly useful with his fists.

WHODUNNIT?

What would Doctor Who be without its baddies? The new series features a mix of old favourites and newcomers. and episode two will introduce a whole gallery of exotic extraterrestrials. The villains of the first show are the Au-tons, an army of shop-window mannequins brought to life. Old-timers will have to wait for episode six to be reintroduced to the Daleks, whose I6-year absence from TV screens seems to have made them more bitter than ever. "Doctor Who's universe is surrounded by death," says the writer Steven Moffat (Coupling), whose spectacular contribution to the new series involves a flying saucer crash-landing in the Thames. "It's child-friendly horror. But you have to make it enjoyable. The Doctor must look as if he's enjoying himself, otherwise it's like Timothy Dalton as James Bond."

HOW MUCH WHO?

There are 13 45-minute episodes in the new series, comprising two two-part stories and nine self-contained adventures. Work is already under way on a second series, for transmission next year. If your abiding memory of Doctor Who is of men in rubber suits, giant slugs made of bubble wrap and cardboard walls that wobbled whenever a door was closed, prepare to be pleasantly surprised. This is the most expensive drama commission yet undertaken by BBC Wales. The new-look interior of the Tardis cost £100,000 to build and the special digital effects have been created by The Mill, the company that won an Oscar for its work on Gladiator. "That film had 100 effects," says The Mill's Will Cohen. "The new Doctor Who has 100 effects per episode." Traditionalists. despair not. There are still a lot of men in rubber suits. ^ Doctor Who, Saturday, BBC One, 7pm

DR. WHO v THE CYBERKIDS

WILL EPISODE ONE GET TODAY'S TECH-MINDED PRE-TEENS BEHIND THE SOFA? DOMINIC WELLS TESTS IT ON SOME CYNICAL SOUTH LONDONERS

4.19 mins Rose is locked in a deserted department store. 9s that someone mucking about?" A mannequin turns its head! Beth, 8, shrinks into the sofa.

6.59 "Nice to meet you, Rose,' smiles the Doctor. 'Run for your life: Tom, 11, laughs.

11.20 'There's a strange man In my bedroom; says Rose's Mum, coyly. "So there is," replies the Doctor. 9'm In my dressing gown ..: she continues. "lies you are' says the Doctor. "Anything could happen," she breathes. "Er — no," says the Doctor firmly. Everyone laughs, the biggest laugh of the night.

12.14 A severed dummy's arm springs out from behind the sofa! Who's that yelping like a girl? It's Dad, 42. Ahem.

21.44 A plastic rubbish bin comes to life. It attacks Rose's boyfriend. Phoebe, 7, looks round, making sure there's a grown-up in the room. The bin swallows him whole! And burps. Saul, 11, guffaws, but Elliott. 9, is too shocked: "Ooooh! He got eaten!' Ben, 9, moves from the floor to sit on the arm of the sofa; not quite behind it, but close.

27.07 Rose enters the new-look Tardis. No reaction. No reaction! Don't they realise that this one set cost 1,000 licence fees?

31.14 "Everything plastic In the world is waiting to come alive," cautions the Doctor. The shop dummies, the phones, the cables ..."Breast implants; adds Rose. Theo, 11. laughs.

37.04 The killer mannequins writhe like drunken mime artists and expire. Sam, 9, cheers. The world Is saved. Until the next episode ...

THE VERDICT Only the youngest, Phoebe, admits she was scared, but the Others did a good Impression at times. There are some top lines, some real laughs, and even the very blasé Theo volunteered that the special effects were "wicked. nearly as good as In a movie". He'd give it four and half stars. A hit!

Caption: Eccleston and Piper (below left) with a weird and wonderful collection of Intergalactic ambassadors, Including Moxx of Balhoon (centre)

Disclaimer: These citations are created on-the-fly using primitive parsing techniques. You should double-check all citations. Send feedback to whovian@cuttingsarchive.org

  • APA 6th ed.: Kendall, Nigel (2005-03-26). The Whys and Whats of Who. The Times p. 11.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Kendall, Nigel. "The Whys and Whats of Who." The Times [add city] 2005-03-26, 11. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Kendall, Nigel. "The Whys and Whats of Who." The Times, edition, sec., 2005-03-26
  • Turabian: Kendall, Nigel. "The Whys and Whats of Who." The Times, 2005-03-26, section, 11 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=The Whys and Whats of Who | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/The_Whys_and_Whats_of_Who | work=The Times | pages=11 | date=2005-03-26 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=23 November 2017 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=The Whys and Whats of Who | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/The_Whys_and_Whats_of_Who | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=23 November 2017}}</ref>