Tributes Paid to Deborah Watling

Tributes have been paid to actress Deborah Watling, who died yesterday after a short illness.

Watling played Victoria in the 1960's, alongside Patrick Troughton and Frazer Hines, who was one of the first to comment. Deborah Watling (Credit: Big Finish)Watling was an active member of the convention circuit and much loved by many other stars of Doctor Who. Nicola Bryant tweeted "I am so sad to hear of the passing of the lovely Deborah Watling.We had so many laughs & heart to heart", while Katy Manning added "So deeply saddened to hear that the wonderful funny talented #DeborahWatling has gone on her awfully big adventure ,oneofthe absolute best"

Deborah Watling's sister is the actress Dilys Watling and her brother the former actor, and current Member of Parliament for Clacton, Gyles Watling, who told PA
She was bubbly, vivacious, with a great sense of humour. We grew up together – she was ahead of me in the acting game. She had a great career. We toured together all over the country and shared digs – we had a wonderful life. She passed away peacefully.
In recent years Watling had returned to the character of Victoria for Big Finish audio productions. Senior Producer David Richardson said
Victoria was one of the Doctor’s loveliest companions from one of the show’s greatest seasons, and Debbie was always a joy to work with at Big Finish and so committed to the work. The Doctor Who universe has lost another of its shining stars.
Deborah Watling is survived by her husband Steve.

Deborah Watling 1948-2017

It is with deep sadness we report the death of Deborah Watling, forever known as the Second Doctor's companion Victoria.

Deborah Watling joined Doctor Who in 1967, just over 50 years ago. She remained with the series for just under a year, playing the Victorian orphan taken into the care of the Doctor.

Alongside Patrick Troughton and Frazer Hines, Watling would occupy the Tardis throughout what is now viewed as the classic monster era of the show, featuring Cybermen, Daleks, Ice Warriors and, of course, The Yeti.

Deborah Watling was born on 2nd January 1948. She was born into a theatrical family, her father the actor Jack Watling and her mother the actress Patricia Hicks. It was inevitable that she and her siblings would end up on the stage and by the age of ten, she was appearing in the ITV series The Invisible Man, playing the niece of Peter Brady.

In 1965 she played Alice Liddell in the BBC Wednesday play written by Dennis Potter and based on the life of Lewis Carroll. It was this appearance which led her to be cast as Victoria Waterfield in the final story of Season four, The Evil of the Daleks.

It wasn't initially to be a companion role. The producers were hoping to persuade Pauline Collins, who had appeared in the previous story, to stay on. When Collins declined, the role of ongoing companion was offered to Watling and Victoria joined the TARDIS crew.

It is well known that the team of Troughton, Watling, and Hines got on extremely well with Watling often the butt of the boys jokes. Many of her stories have been wiped since transmission, and the return of two to the archive a few years ago, The Enemy of the World and most of The Web of Fear brought her considerable delight.

She left Doctor Who in April 1968, at the end of Fury from the Deep. Small roles in the films That'll Be the Day and Take Me High followed. On TV she appeared in Rising Damp and The Newcomers and in 1979 she played Norma Baker in the ITV series Danger UXB.

She briefly returned to the character of Victoria in 1993, for the Children In Need skit, Dimensions in Time before recreating Victoria in a number of audio plays for Big Finish.

Deborah Watling was diagnosed with lung cancer six weeks ago and died earlier today.

BBC Responds to Complaints About Casting

The BBC has issued a formal response to complaints about the casting of Jodie Whittaker as the thirteenth Doctor.

Since the news was released on Sunday, the Corporation has received a number of complaints about the casting decision.

As part of its complaints procedure it has now responded.

Since the first Doctor regenerated back in 1966, the concept of the Doctor as a constantly evolving being has been central to the programme. The continual input of fresh ideas and new voices across the cast and the writing and production teams has been key to the longevity of the series.

The Doctor is an alien from the planet Gallifrey and it has been established in the show that Time Lords can switch gender.

As the Controller of BBC Drama has said, Jodie is not just a talented actor but she has a bold and brilliant vision for her Doctor. She aced it in her audition both technically and with the powerful female life force she brings to the role. She is destined to be an utterly iconic Doctor.

We hope viewers will enjoy what we have in store for the continuation of the story.

Peter Capaldi’s Salary Revealed

Peter Capaldi was paid between £200,000 and £250,000 for his work on Doctor Who in the previous financial year, according to figures published by the BBC today.

The BBC has been instructed by government to publish the salaries of all on screen staff members who earn more than £150,000 each year, as part of the 2016 charter renewal.

The BBC has 96 staff members who fit into this category with Radio 2 and Top Gear presenter Chris Evans topping the chart with a salary of over 2 million pounds.

The highest paid actors are Amanda Mealing and Derek Thompson from Casualty who earned between £250,000 and £300,000 in the year.

The figure just reflects the amount of licence fee money paid to the actor and does not include any money paid by the commercial company BBC Worldwide for any other work undertaken.

Doctor Who Reveal Has Record Downloads

Jodie Whittaker (Credit: BBC)The BBC have revealed that the video announcing Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor received over sixteen million views online

The minute-long specially shot scene debuted on BBC One after the Men’s Wimbledon final on Sunday, where just over 5 million viewers saw it. It was also released on BBC social media channels around the world.

The reveal has been watched 9.8 million times on the BBC One Facebook channel so far, with over 2.5 million views on the Doctor Who Twitter account - making it the most successful tweet of all time for Doctor Who.

Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, says:
To see the overwhelmingly positive response to the news that Jodie Whittaker will star as the Thirteenth Doctor, and know that the reveal has had over sixteen million views online so far, is just phenomenal. It’s exhilarating to see Doctor Who engaging with people on so many different levels and I cannot wait for the audience to see her in action on BBC ONE this Christmas.
The teaser trailer, which debuted on Friday evening before the BBC One 6 O’Clock News, has been watched a further 4.8 million times online.

Jodie Whittaker will make her debut as the Doctor in this year’s Doctor Who Christmas special, when the current Doctor – played by Peter Capaldi - will regenerate.

Reaction to a New Doctor

Jodie WhittakerNow the dust has settled on the announcement of the casting of Jodie Whittaker as the thirteenth Doctor, we can access reaction from around the world which has been pouring in.

Sixth Doctor Colin Baker was one of the first to express his delight, tweeting "Well I never the BBC really did do the right thing and let the Doctor be in touch with her feminine side. As a father of daughters - result!".

Seventh Doctor Sylvester McCoy also congratulated the actress "Congratulations Jodie Whittaker!!!!! One small step for Women, one Giant leap for Womenkind!!"

However the fifth Doctor Peter Davison called for an understanding of those resistant to change. "It might be more helpful to be encouraging, and not simply scornful, of fans who are uncertain about change.!!"

Past companions welcomed the change. Janet Fielding, who played Tegan in the 1980's, tweeting "I was zooming round in the #Tardis the yr #jodiewhittaker was born. Never thought then I'd ever see a female #Dr. V excited. Yipppeeeee" while Louise Jameson who played Leela in .the 1970's added "Congratulations to the brilliantly talented #jodiewhittaker Fabulous that we have a female doctor. Squeeeeeeee"

Alex Kingston, who plays River Song in the series, was being interviewed at a convention when the news was announced, and gave her reaction to the crowd. "Jodie Whittaker? Oh my goodness!. God, I’m always the damn cradlesnatcher!"

Press reaction is also overwhelmingly positive with the Telegraph saying the casting could be a boast for the show which has seen its audience decline in recent years. "Forget naysayers insisting that the 54-year-old show’s hero must be a man. Wave away cynics whining that this is “political correctness gone mad”. The casting of a woman will breathe new life into the sci-fi franchise, which has recently struggled in the ratings. Making Who history is a headline-grabbing way to begin arresting that decline. "

Variety also thinks it's about time a woman took on .the role. "Coming from one of the biggest media franchises on the planet, the news that the new “Doctor Who” is female is huge — and almost completely delightful. the fact that Jodie Whittaker has been named the Thirteenth Doctor is cause for celebration. Not only is Whittaker a fine actor — she was fantastic in “Broadchurch” and “Attack the Block” — her casting sends a message."

Time magazine thought it was about timey wimey we had a female Doctor "For many fans, it’s an exciting change that will make the show even more relatable. However, there will undoubtedly be some complaints from fans who can only envision the Doctor as a white male with a British accent. Just call it a miracle that the Doctor can still regenerate at all. In other words, as the Doctor said way back in the beginning, This is who I am, right here, right now, all right? All that counts is here and now, and this is me!”

Opinion is more split amongst fans with many taking to social media to express their disappointment with what they feel is an overly PC decision. However the reaction of one young fan to the news, reported here on the Huffington Post, summed up the importance of the casting to many.

Finally, The British Prime Minister Theresa May, the second woman to hold that position, is said to be "pleased" that the next Doctor will be a woman, according to her official spokesman.

Jodie Whittaker talks Doctor Who

Introducing Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor (Credit: BBC/Colin Hutton)Following the news that she had been cast as the thirteenth, and first female Doctor, Jodie Whittaker has been taking about the role and her feelings on becoming the number one Time Lord


1. What does it feel like to be the Thirteenth Doctor?


It’s very nerve-racking, as it’s been so secret!
2. Why did you want the role?


To be asked to play the ultimate character, to get to play pretend in the truest form: this is why I wanted to be an actor in the first place. To be able to play someone who is literally reinvented on screen, with all the freedoms that brings - what an unbelievable opportunity. And added to that, to be the first woman in that role.
3. Has it been hard to keep the secret?


Yes. Very hard! I’ve told a lot of lies! I’ve embroiled myself in a whole world of lies which is going to come back at me when this is announced!
4. Who was the first person you told when you got the role?


My husband. Because I was allowed to!
5. Did you have a codename and if so what was it?


In my home, and with my agent, it was The Clooney. Because to me and my husband, George is an iconic guy. And we thought, what’s a really famous iconic name? It was just fitting.
6. What does it feel like to be the first woman Doctor?


It feels completely overwhelming; as a feminist, as a woman, as an actor, as a human, as someone who wants to continually push themselves and challenge themselves, and not be boxed in by what you’re told you can and can’t be. It feels incredible.
7. What do you want to tell the fans?


I want to tell the fans not to be scared by my gender. Because this is a really exciting time, and Doctor Who represents everything that’s exciting about change. The fans have lived through so many changes, and this is only a new, different one, not a fearful one.
8. What are you most excited about?


I’m most excited about becoming part of a family I didn’t even know existed. I was born in 1982 - it’s been around longer than me, and it’s a family I couldn’t ever have dreamed I’d be part of.
9. How did Chris sell you the part?


We had a strange chat earlier this year where he tricked me into thinking we were talking about Broadchurch. And I started to quiz him about his new job in Wales, and asked him if I could be a baddie! And he quickly diverted the conversation to suggest I should consider auditioning to be the 13th Clooney. It was the most incredible chat because I asked every question under the sun, and I said I’d take a few weeks to decide whether I was going to audition. He got a phone call within 24 hours. He would’ve got a phone call sooner, but my husband was away and there was a time difference!
10. Did he persuade you?


No. There was no persuasion needed. If you need to be persuaded to do this part, you’re not right for this part, and the part isn’t right for you. I also think, for anyone taking this on, you have to want to fight for it, which I certainly had to do. I know there will have been some phenomenal actors who threw their hats in the ring.
11. What are you going to wear?


I don’t know yet.
12. Is that your costume in the filmed sequence which introduced you as the new Doctor?


No.
13. Have any of the other Doctors given you advice?


Well they can’t because they haven’t known until now, but I’m certainly expecting a couple of calls - I’ve got a couple of mates in there. I’m mates with a companion [Arthur Darvill], I’m mates with a trio of Doctors. I know Matt Smith, Chris Eccleston and obviously David Tennant. Oh! And let’s throw in David Bradley! Four Doctors! So I’m hoping I get some calls of advice.

New Editor for Doctor Who Magazine

Marcus HearnTom Spilsbury Tom Spilsbury, the long-standing editor of Doctor Who Magazine, is to leave the magazine after ten years at the helm to be replaced by current contributor to the magazine Marcus Hearn

Spilsbury has been editor of the magazine since August 2007, taking over with Issue 387. He will leave the magazine after the publication of the next issue, number 515. He is the longest serving editor of the Magazine, launched in October 1979 as Doctor Who Weekly.

Under Spilsbury's editorship, the Magazine reached a peak of over 35,000 copies, selling more copies than at any time since the mid-eighties. In May 2012, he accepted the Eagle Award for Favourite British Comicbook for the Magazine and in May 2016, he accepted the certificate from the Guinness Book of Records for the longest-running magazine based on a TV series.

Tom Spilsbury talked about his departure.
After 10 years as editor of Doctor Who Magazine, it’s time for a change – both for me, and for the magazine. As the newly regenerated Second Doctor said in The Power of the Daleks, way back in 1966, ‘Life depends on change and renewal’, and I’ve made it a policy to always pay attention to my Doctor. Of course, it’s been a very difficult decision for me, to give up a job that I love so much. DWM has always been a part of my life – virtually my earliest memory of life on this planet was of my Dad buying a copy of issue 1 for me, way back in 1979, when I was just three years old. It was 2003 when I got the job of a lifetime as DWM’s assistant editor, and four years later, I finally got the top job. It’s been simply amazing to have had the honour to be producing the magazine over such a successful and eventful decade in Doctor Who’s history. However, having taken charge of 129 editions, including the 400th and 500th issues, it’s time for someone else to have a go in the driver’s seat. Marcus Hearn is a brilliant editor, and DWM is the greatest magazine in the galaxy. I’m so looking forward to being able to read it each month without already knowing what’s going to be in it! And I truly hope that I’ll still be around in the year 2054 to enjoy issue 1000, even if it’s beamed directly into our heads by then...
The editorship will be taken by Marcus Hearn, a long term contributer, who previously co-edited the title in the 1990s. He has recently been the editor of the DWM Special Editions and the spin-off title The Essential Doctor Who.

Hearn has been writing about popular culture since the early 1990s. He wrote the book celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of Doctor Who, The Vault. He is co-author of The Hammer Story, the company's official history and wrote the Sunday Times bestseller Star Wars: Attack of the Clones ­- The Illustrated Companion,

Marcus Hearn said:
This magazine is unique, and it’s a unique honour to be entrusted with it. We’re all grateful to Tom for his unparalleled dedication. I’d like to build on his achievements, and I can’t wait to start working with my colleagues at Panini. A new chapter is about to begin for the television series, and this will be a new chapter for DWM too
Mike Riddell, Managing Director of Panini UK added:
Tom’s contribution to the magazine over the past 14 years has been immense and we will miss his passion and knowledge of the brand which is second to none. Marcus brings a fresh approach to the magazine as well as a wealth of experience in magazine publishing