Saturday, January 08, 2011

Tennant and Tate in MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING! Finally!

David Tennant and Catherine Tate are to appear together on stage in a new West End production of William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing.
The stars will portray reluctant lovers and constant sparring partners Beatrice and Benedick in the Bard's comedy.
It will be Tate and Tennant's first appearance together since starring in BBC One's Doctor Who.
The play, directed by Josie Rourke, will open at Wyndham's Theatre on 1 June and run until 3 September.
Producers said further casting would be announced shortly.
Tennant is no stranger to the Bard's works, having worked extensively for the Royal Shakespeare Company with appearances in As You Like It, Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night's Dream.
He most recently appeared in Love Labour's Lost and Hamlet in 2008.
His portrayal of the tragic character saw him win the Critics' Circle Award for Best Shakespearean Performance.
But he is best known for playing the 10th incarnation of the Doctor in Doctor Who.
Tate also starred as his companion in the fourth series of the show.
She is currently appearing in Alan Ayckbourn's Season's Greetings at the National Theatre and was last in the West End in David Eldridge's Under the Blue Sky.
She is also currently seen on the big screen in Jack Black film Gulliver's Travels.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

What the Dickens? It's Doctor Who!!

You’ve opened your presents, you’ve had your turkey and the Queen has said whatever it is she’s planning to say about the upcoming royal nuptials… now, for millions of Brits, it’s time for the most festive part of the day – the Doctor Who Christmas special. More than one in five of us sat down (with our tissues at the ready) to watch David Tennant’s swansong last year. This year, brand new show supremo Steven Moffat has promised to deliver the most tinsel-laden episode ever. “It’s all your favourite Christmas movies at once,” he vowed. “In an hour. With monsters.”

The responsibility for this Yuletide cornerstone falls on the shoulders of the 11th Doctor, the Gallifreyan’s latest incarnation, 28-year-old Matt Smith. Catching up with The Big Issue while on his way from Cardiff to London, from where he will head over to America to film the Doctor’s first ever scenes on US soil – to screen next year – Smith quickly gets in a very Doctor-ish sort of flap about the fact that for a fair number of people he IS Christmas this year.

“Oh gosh,” he exclaims, the words tumbling out in a desperate dash. “I don’t know about that. Father Christmas is Christmas, and reindeers and turkey. To have an event like Doctor Who is of course a nice thing to celebrate and share but I think Christmas relies on a lot more. If we can add to the spirit and the anticipation of Christmas Day, that’d be a nice thing.”

Mastering Christmas is the last hurdle for Smith before he can properly be the Doctor. It’s a chance to step out of the shadows of his predecessor, David Tennant, whose humour and heart made him the most popular Doctor ever and allowed the show to grow into perhaps the BBC’s most profitable brand.

Smith joins Moffat in promising they have made something very special indeed. “I think it’s bloody brilliant, I have to say. It’s as Christmassy a Doctor Who as we’ve had. I think the spirit of Christmas and the spirit of the Doctor go hand in hand in many ways.”

The trailers reveal a slant on A Christmas Carol, with legendary heavyweight thesp Michael Gambon as the Scrooge figure and also starring angelic Welsh singer, Katherine Jenkins, in her acting debut. Moffat has revealed the plot follows the Doctor’s fiery sidekick Amy and her husband Rory who are trapped on a crashing space liner. The only way the Doctor can rescue them is to save the soul of a lonely old miser.

“Steven again has just tipped a notion on its head with time travel and he’s done it with great inventiveness and craft, as always. I’m personally really proud of it,” says Smith.

Matt Smith was far from universally welcomed when he was revealed as the replacement to Tennant (above) in January 2009. Could this odd-looking gangly youth (he was just 26 at the time) really make us believe he was a 900-year-old Time Lord?

Yet, at the end of series five, as the Doctor saw off almost every enemy he’d ever faced in one massive, mind-melting conclusion that played with the concept of time travel in a whole new way, the doubts were all but quelled.

Smith may not quite have the acting chops of Tennant, but he is a sparkling and witty Doctor. When it comes down to it, it’s just an awful lot of fun to hop aboard the TARDIS with him. The success of the new look was evident at the recent Doctor Who Live extravaganza, which travelled across the country playing to massive crowds, featuring a stupendous number of little boys (and the odd dad) in bow ties and tweed.

“It’s very exciting isn’t it?” says Smith, adding that he’s heard sales of both bow ties and tweed are on the up. “That’s always wonderful to see people dressed up. I love that. I think it’s cool.”

Even still, at the live show, the biggest cheer of the evening came when David Tennant was shown on the big screen. It was a deft bit of emotional theatre but you can’t help but wonder whether after seeing that, Smith feared that he may never escape the last Doctor’s shadow. “I’ve never felt his shadow because it’s such a wonderful role and his version is just the latest,” he insists. “I think if I had ever felt like that it would have been a problem.

“David is just a lovely, lovely man. I’m very fond of him, so I would never really think about him in those terms anyway.”

If Smith was sanguine before he began the role, he will allow that he has lately begun to comprehend just how big the challenge was.

“Of course, I suppose, with hindsight, one can look back on my first couple on months on the show and appreciate the magnitude of taking over from David, who was just brilliant and hugely successful,” he admits, thoughtfully. “But, actually, as soon as you put the bow tie on and the rest of it, the fun takes over and you can only enjoy it. So there is no sense of history.

“Also, it’s not just David – there’s Christopher [Eccleston] and Jon Pertwee and Patrick Troughton. There are 10 other men who are always going to go behind you. The past is always the past and will always be there. I don’t really contemplate it. I think you have to live presently.” Which is a difficult concept for a Time Lord. “Yes, indeed! You’re right!”

Of course, Smith was never alone in his mission to convert the sci-fi fans of Britain. At his side he has been lucky to have fantastic, leggy Scots redhead Karen Gillan, playing the Doctor’s equally amazing companion Amy Pond.

An instant star, she has redefined the role of the companion once again and has set the heather ablaze – whether she’s attempting to have a prenuptial fling with the Doctor or standing alone and terrified in a space-age forest while the petrifying Weeping Angels descend upon her.

Smith says Gillan has been a huge support, on and off the show. Both their lives have changed beyond recognition this year, as they’ve gone from virtual unknowns to two of the most recognisable faces on TV, for whose autographs children and their parents will camp out overnight in the rain.

It’s been an upheaval for Smith, not least because he’s had to move away from London (and his It-girl, model girlfriend Daisy Lowe) to live mostly in Cardiff.

“It would be different being up in Cardiff were Karen not around,” he says. “Karen is a constant source of laughter and bemusement to me. I’m very, very fond of her.”

So does that mean there’s no prick of jealousy when Gillan steals the limelight?

“God no, I’m proud of her,” he says, cheerfully adding he’s sure people tune into the show for her as much as him. “Why would you not?

“She’s drop-dead gorgeous, turning in brilliant performances every week – witty, funny, gangly. She looks like a preying mantis. She’s got all the right things going on.”

Since the viewing public have whole-heartedly agreed with this assessment – well, perhaps not the preying mantis bit – it came as a shock when The Sun (usually a reliable source of Doctor Who leaks) suggested Amy was going to be killed off part-way through 2011. Surely not! Challenged on the point, and with the BBC monitoring our interview, Smith comes over all defensive. “If I told you, I’d have to come and kill you and I don’t want to kill you,” he says, hardly dispelling our fears for Amy’s safety.

In fact, now I think about it, only a couple of minutes ago he was telling me she’d do brilliantly after Doctor Who. “I think she’s going to go on to do great things, not only in this show but I think subsequently she’ll go on and have a very interesting career because I think she’s brilliant, I really do.”

Oh dear. Watch your back Miss Pond.

Like the rest of us, Smith will be sat down around the telly come Christmas afternoon with his family, trying not to ruin the ending for his mum, dad, grandfather and sister, a professional dancer who recently went on tour with Take That. The work doesn’t stop for Smith when he goes home, though.

Since his career started, his loyal mum has been in charge of his fan mail and it’s a role she hasn’t given up, even after the trickle of letters became a flood this year. “She’s always pestering me that I don’t sign enough cards,” says Smith. “God love her, every time I go home she’ll sit me down and say I’ve got to sign all these things. She rules it with an iron fist.”

Winding down from saving the universe means two things to Smith – playing his guitar and football. From his earliest years he was always meant to be a footballer, only turning to acting after a serious back injury. You just need to mention his beloved Blackburn Rovers to waylay him entirely from any train of thought. However, with the clock ticking – Time Lords ironically have very tight diaries – I’ve got to bring him back to the biggest Doctor Who fan controversy he’s yet faced. We’ve all known for ages that Doctor Who was facing a time bomb in terms of the number of times he was allowed to regenerate.

The limit has long been set at 13 incarnations of the Doctor, or 12 regenerations – a number that must have seemed suitably remote when the show started in 1963 – but with the 11th Doctor currently in place, a way out of the accepted rule has become of pressing concern. Whovians waited with bated breath for how they would explain the transition. Would it be something to do with the Time Wars? Or the demise of the High Council of Time Lords?

The possibilities were endless. Then they slipped in a throwaway line in teatime spin-off show Sarah Jane Adventures – flatly stating that the Doctor now had 507 regenerations, with nary a sniff of a faux science justification, and the message boards went wild. How dare they cheat us of an explanation?
“That’s a Russell question…” prevaricates Smith, alluding to the fact it was previous boss Russell T Davies who wrote the offending line.

“You’d have to ask him because he’s better equipped to deal with that. I have no idea. I merely concentrate on number 11. The rest, once they get to 13, that’s their problem to worry about.” Smith hopes they’ll get some sort of explanation to stick, thus allowing Doctor Who to go on far into the future. “I certainly want Doctor Who to go on forever, it’s just wonderful. Why not?

“It’s lasted this long. The format of it allows the storytelling to be limitless and boundless and totally creative from one week to the next and without restraint, so why not? Why shouldn’t it go on?”

He is quite right, of course. Doctor Who to go on forever – given current form, who could argue with that?

A post about the most recent news about David Tennant

People have been asking me whether this is true or not. The answer is... I have no idea, nor will I discuss his private life in here. I wish them both all the best and I hope their relationship gets even better.

As mentioned before, I won't be discussing his private life in here, but you can certainly post your thoughts about it in the comments area below.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

The Tenth Doctor (1st January 2011) [one year]

I miss him so much...

'A Christmas Carol' Review [Den of Geek]

Now how about that for packing plenty into one 60 minute episode? Taking the basics of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol as its basis, Steven Moffat skilfully wove the well-known and well-filmed tale into a intriguing and layered Doctor Who story. For a Christmas episode, too, it was relatively light on action, as instead, Moffat pooled together the ingredients for a real cracker of a story.

Firing out of the gates with a Star Trek homage, a crashing spaceliner, the continuation of the Rory/Amy relationship and plenty of jokes particularly at the former’s expense, you could have been forgiven at first for thinking that this was going to be a loud, comedic, action adventure.

Yet it wasn’t long before Moffat slowed the pace right down, aided by some terrific, atmospheric direction from Toby Haynes (backed by strong production design). Seemingly effortlessly transporting us into a Dickensian world, we were then soon introduced to the Scrooge of the piece, played by Michael Gambon. Only here, Scrooge goes by the name of Kazran Sardick. And he's more complicated than the average miser.

The central narrative around which the story was built is that Kazran has in his power the ability to save the thousands of people stuck in a cloud of his making, and yet he refuses to do. From there, much of the episode is spent subtlety breaking down the veneer of the character, by, amongst other tools, clever use of time travel.

Moffat’s brilliant at this, pulling little surprises such as the moment when Sardick Junior sees his father, Elliot, in full rant. And that turns into a lovely moment that matters, simply because time has been taken to set the characters up properly. Michael Gambon’s terrific performance shouldn’t be sneezed at, either, evoking real sympathy for Sardick's story. Heck, just look at how still he is as the Doctor first travels back to see the younger version of Sardick for the first time, while the older one watches. It’s terrifically written, well shot, and excellently played.

Katherine Jenkins is no slouch, either. She plays a pivotal role here, and avoids the fear of stunt casting in the process. Thinking back, she doesn’t actually get a great deal of screen time, yet her slow demise, and Sardick’s torment over which day should be her last, is wonderfully done.

The closest comparison we can pull to the casting on Jenkins is the appearance of Kylie Minogue in the fun, bombastic Voyage Of The Damned. Minogue, playing Astrid, was also doomed to not reach the end credits, and yet the emotional resonance of the character of Abigail Pettirgrew seemed much more important. Heck, I was even impressed at how well Jenkins’ singing was weaved into the story.

Jenkins and Gambon did have to do quite a bit of heavy lifting here, though, as A Christmas Carol relegated Amy and Rory to the bench for most of the episode. What time we did get with them firmly established the status quo between the pair, with a lovely, comedic sequence at the start offering ample demonstration of just how Amy views and treats Rory. We can surely expect that strand to be explored a lot further in the upcoming series of the show. That's apparently going to be appearing on the soundtrack CD this coming February, too.

Then there were the fish. These were, I thought, a lovely idea, far different from your average monsters, and very well realised too, allowing the episode its big jump moment, as the Doctor went fishing in Kazran’s closet. It was nicely done, and the fish were generally in keeping with the quite calm tone of much of the episode. They made for decent monsters, too, and as with every foe in the Moffat world, they had their reasons for being as they are.

I suppose if the episode had a weakness (and this is being really picky), it comes with the demands of doing a Christmas special. For I loved the middle of the story, where the story pieces were being gently moved around the board into place, moreso than I did the more action-packed top and tail. That’s not to say the action and the effects were shabby, rather they were the least interesting moments in a strong episode. As I noted in the spoiler-free review, too, given the generally louder and more straightforward Yuletide stories we’ve had in the past, I do wonder if, particularly much younger viewers (even accepting that they have more open minds than most), would have enjoyed A Christmas Carol quite as much.

I certainly did, though, and even now, there are still things that we’ve not talked about that I absolutely loved. The comedy, for starters, was pin-sharp, particularly when the Doctor starts dishing out relationship advice. Matt Smith, and we didn’t talk about this enough last series, is a genuinely impressive comedy actor, and his delivery here was very strong (it was an excellent performance all-round to be fair, too). Moffat’s writing, too, harked back to Coupling at its very best, and half had me thinking that we’d sort of got the Coupling Christmas special that we never had.

I also enjoyed the fun the episode had with the likes of the psychic paper, the sonic screwdriver, the Doctor getting married, and the random introduction of Frank Sinatra. It was gloriously bonkers, and all the better for it. And when you consider just how much got crammed into the hour, you have to conclude it’s some achievement.

A Christmas Carol is, ultimately, a fitting end to one of Doctor Who’s very strongest years. It kicked off with The End Of Time Part 2 on New Year’s Day (and that feels longer than a year ago), and has taken us through a compelling 13-part series five, and now iced the proverbial cake with a rounded, self-contained, extremely-Christmassy yet quietly ambitious Yuletide extravaganza. A terrific one at that, too.

Furthermore, on the basis of the teaser trailer for next year, there are more treats lying ahead. And so you can happily add me to the list of people counting down the days to Doctor Who’s return. For as the Christmas special proves, as if further proof was needed, the show is in exceptionally safe hands.

Doctor Who vs. Sherlock [NTA's]

Doctor Who star Matt Smith will go head-to-head with his terrestrial rival, Sherlock's Benedict Cumberbatch, at the National Television Awards.

Both stars, who were thrust into the limelight last year as the 11th incarnation of the Doctor and the quirky detective Sherlock Holmes, have been nominated for best Drama Performance.
Philip Glenister also competes for the title, for his role in Ashes to Ashes, as does five times National Television Awards winner David Jason for A Touch of Frost.

Matt, 28, and 34-year-old Benedict's BBC1 dramas, Doctor Who and Sherlock, have also been shortlisted for best Drama, against rivals Shameless (Channel 4) and BBC1 school series Waterloo Road.
X Factor host Dermot O'Leary will be up for his first National Television Award for best Entertainment Presenter at the ceremony, which takes place later this month.

He will compete against Britain's Got Talent stars Ant and Dec, who are aiming for their record-breaking 10th consecutive win in the category.

Davina McCall, who presented the final Big Brother last year, and Paul O'Grady, the host of Paul O'Grady Live, are also in the running.

Two of Simon Cowell's shows, the X Factor and Britain's Got Talent, are in the running for the Talent Show category against BBC rival Strictly Come Dancing and ITV's Dancing on Ice.
The shortlist and eventual winners of the National Television Awards are voted for by viewers.
The ceremony, hosted by O'Leary from the O2 Arena, will be broadcast live on ITV1 on Wednesday January 26.

Who do you think is gonna win?

Can Fran be back??

Maybe... hopefully.
As you all know, I'm in uni now, and I have been working a lot (I didn't have any Christmas holidays, boo), and I have three exams ahead of me, so... yeah. It's all very confusing, really. And tiring. Oh yes.
Anyway, I hope I can post some news every now and again, you know, post some amazing Tennant pictures and review a couple of episodes... Let's see how it all works out. I'm not promising anything, but I'll try.

Fran x

Friday, September 17, 2010

David Tennant treats onscreen 'family' to bowling trip in Glasgow

FORMER Doctor Who David Tennant has become a single dad in his latest role - and bonded with his onscreen offspring by taking them tenpin bowling.

David, 39, returned to his roots to star in the new BBC Scotland series Single Father, in which he plays a widowed dad-of-four.

And he decided that to make the onscreen family as real as possible, he needed to get close to the youngsters playing his kids.

So David, who was brought up in Renfrewshire, took them bowling in Glasgow, where the series was filmed.

He said: "We all had such a laugh and threw ourselves into it from the off.

"It was a funny one because we were trying to fashion a family bond to try to make the drama feel as real as possible.

"Instead of lengthy rehearsals on set, we just hung out and got to know each other bowling and playing football in the park."

David had to admit to some unfair tactics in dealing with his onscreen kids - played by Natasha Watson, Chris Hegarty, Robert Dickson and Millie Innes.

He said: "I told them I had been Scottish under-17 Tenpin Bowling Champion just to unnerve them - but it didn't seem to work.

"But, at the end of the day, they had bowling bumpers to help them. Not that I'm bitter, not that I'm being competitive against children."

Single Father is David's first starring role since quitting Doctor Who and making his final appearance as the Time Lord on New Year's day.

The four-part series, filmed earlier this year, is the first time in five years David has worked in Scotland. His last work here was starring in Look Back In Anger at Edinburgh's Royal Lyceum theatre.

His last TV acting job in his homeland was A Mug's Game - the story of life in a fishing village - back in 1996.
David added: "It's always great to be back in Glasgow. It's a lovely city - a great city.

"People are so friendly in Glasgow. So it was lovely to stay for an extended period during filming.
David stars with Coronation Street's Suranne Jones in Single Father.

Suranne plays his character Dave's late wife's best friend Sarah, whom Dave starts falling in love with.

The role was also a first for David because Dave is a grandfather through his teenage daughter from his first marriage.

"I've certainly not played a grandfather before, which was a bit of a shock to the system," David admitted.

"I played a dad in Recovery years ago but in Single Father, I have lots of kids. To work that closely for that length of time with so many kids was also new for me."

David is going further afield for his next role. He is in New Mexico filming his first big Hollywood movie - a remake of 1985 vampire movie Fright Night.

David revealed: "I'm playing a character called Peter Vincent, who's a Las Vegas illusionist who also happens to be an expert on vampires. And, as well as some acting, I've spent a lot of time being sewn into very tight costumes."

Monday, September 13, 2010

Jamie Oram, Daniel Mays and Emma Cunniffe to start in Doctor Who

Three actors have been confirmed for guest roles in the upcoming sixth series of Doctor Who.
The site for talent agency Alphabet Kidz reports that child actor Jamie Oram has been cast as Harry in the fourth episode. Oram has previously appeared in a number of commercials, but the part of Harry will be his first role in television drama.
Actor Daniel Mays will also appear in the episode as Harry's father. Mays is known for his role as Jim Keats on Ashes To Ashes and will appear in forthcoming BBC sci-fi drama Outcasts.
Harry's mother will be played by Emma Cunniffe, who has previously featured in episodes of The Bill and Casualty and appeared alongside former Who star Christopher Eccleston in the 2002 show Flesh and Blood.
A casting call on Spotlight describes the character of Harry as "a troubled young boy who has a nervous disposition".
Production on the episode - apparently titled 'What Are Little Boys Made Of?' - is currently ongoing in Cardiff.