How one historical Doctor Who character ALMOST made it back for the new series

Doctor Who series 10 will have seen a lot of comebacks, from monsters like the Ice Warriors, the Daleks and the Mondasian Cybermen to John Simm’s returning Master, last seen in 2010 episode The End of Time part 2.

However, series writer Mark Gatiss has revealed one familiar face wasn’t able to come back for one last hurrah – despite the actor who played the character requesting that Gatiss and series showrunner Steven Moffat give him another shot at an adventure with the Time Lord.

“We were in Morocco writing Sherlock, and throwing ideas around over meals,” Gatiss told and other journalists. “And I got a text from Ian McNeice asking, ‘Is there any chance I could come back as Winston Churchill?’”

Now, fans may remember that McNeice has appeared as UK wartime Prime Minister Churchill for a number of years since Moffat took over Doctor Who, first starring in Gatiss-scripted episode Victory of the Daleks (after a brief cameo in previous episode The Beast Below) and returning for The Pandorica Opens and 2011 story The Wedding of River Song. The actor has also reprised the role for some Doctor Who audio dramas.

Paying tribute to this small legacy, then, didn’t seem like too much of a stretch – so Moffat and Gatiss tried to hammer out a way to include Churchill in the upcoming Victorian-set episode Empress of Mars, which airs on BBC1 this Saturday.

“I said, ‘Well I'm with Steven so I'll ask him!’” Gatiss recalled. “And we spent one lunch trying to work out whether they could dig down into the bowels of Mars and find Winston Churchill.”

Sadly, however, the idea eventually had to be left on the scrapheap, as the pair just couldn’t work out how the 20th century Churchill would fit into Gatiss’s 1881-set story.

“I said it's a great pre-titles, but what does it mean?” Gatiss laughed. “It's 1881!”

Still, McNeice didn’t leave the experience completely empty-handed – eagle-eyed fans may have noticed that in last week’s episode The Lie of the Land, the actor’s version of Churchill appeared in the Monks’ Pyramid stronghold among images of various important historical events. Looks like the great man managed to KBO one final time.

Via Radio Times by Huw Fullerton

Peter Capaldi’s Doctor Who is officially the darkest of the modern era

If you’ve ever thought that Doctor Who seemed like it was getting darker or more grown-up in recent years, then you may have a point – because according to official data researched by, more episodes during Peter Capaldi’s run as the Doctor have been rated unsuitable for very young viewers than any of his recent predecessors.

The majority of Doctor Who episodes in the modern series have been rated PG (Parental Guidance) by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), meaning that they should be fine for most kids but parents should consider whether it’s suitable if the child is under 8 or more sensitive.

However, a few Doctor Who episodes have been rated 12, meaning that children below that age are not always recommended to view them – and are banned from seeing them in cinemas or from buying or renting them. And Peter Capaldi’s time on the series has featured more episodes with that rating than any other Doctor Who since the show returned in 2005. Such episodes may have included mild threat or horror, violence or imitable behaviour (i.e. a character doing something dangerous that kids might copy), and you can find out more about what constitutes a 12 rating here.

Christopher Eccleston’s year as the Doctor included two 12-rated episodes (The Unquiet Dead and Dalek) while David Tennant’s longer stint in the Tardis saw four (Tooth and Claw, Planet of the Ood, The Doctor’s Daughter and The Waters of Mars) and Matt Smith’s Doctor only racked up two (The God Complex and The Angels Take Manhattan).

By contrast, Peter Capaldi’s tenure as the Doctor has seen, er, 12 12-rated episodes, a third more than the total that the series had been given in the nine years before that, with 2015’s series nine alone given seven 12 ratings, nearly doubling the number of higher-rated episodes that the series had received in the 10 years before. Now THAT’S a darker series.

In case you’re wondering, Peter Capaldi’s 12-rated episodes are as follows: Dark Water, Last Christmas, The Magician’s Apprentice, The Witch’s Familiar, Under the Lake, Before the Flood, The Zygon Inversion, Heaven Sent, The Return of Doctor Mysterio, Knock Knock, Oxygen, Extremis.

 Read the full story at the Radio Times site

Empress of Mars - Introductions

The BBC have released the following introductions to Empress of Mars - Doctor Who: Series 10 Episode 9

Mark Gatiss perfectly summed up the appeal of Doctor Who – twice!

Summing up the general aesthetic, central philosophy and appeal of an unusual and multifaceted TV series like Doctor Who would be a challenge for most – which is why it’s all the more impressive that regular series writer Mark Gatiss managed to do it twice in a single conversation.

Speaking to and other journalists in advance of his upcoming Victorians-vs-Ice Warriors story Empress of Mars this Saturday, Gatiss explained that he picked his setting because it seemed to match the quintessential appeal of Doctor Who – before rattling off a description that perfectly summed up the BBC sci-fi series.

“I had a bit of an epiphany when I was planning this story,” Gatiss said. “I suddenly realised that the thing that makes me happiest in the world is writing things that I would like to watch on bank holiday Monday. And essentially, Victorian soldiers on Mars is exactly what I would like someone else to do so I could happily watch it.

“It's in the engine room of my brain – it's what I've always loved. It's sort of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Jules Verne, HG Wells kind of stuff. And it's not only a very British sci-fi concept, it's very Doctor Who.

“I remember [head writer Steven Moffat] saying to me years ago, funnily enough when [Ninth Doctor] Chris Eccleston's costume was initially being discussed or revealed, that he thought the velvet coat against the spaceship backdrop was... that's what Doctor Who is. Do you see what I mean? And in a way this is a quintessential Doctor Who idea I think.”

But not stopping there, Gatiss went on to lay out his next description that rather adroitly put a bow on Who’s appeal. Suffice to say, it’s very sweet. Well, it involves sweets anyway.

“You know, [Fourth Doctor] Tom Baker used to talk about, his whole thing from the beginning was he would go up to this enormous creature and say ‘Would you like a jelly baby?’” Gatiss said. “And it would try and knock his head off and he'd say ‘we'll have to watch out for him!’

“But his assumption was never, ‘It's going to kill me.’ His assumption was 'Maybe he'll like a jelly baby'. And I think that sort of runs through Doctor Who like the letters through Blackpool rock. It's a lovely, it's a human thing, oddly enough, considering he isn’t.

“It's that embracing of the unusual and the different, and the Doctor will frequently see something that appears to be ghastly or horrifying and say it's beautiful,” Gatiss concluded.

“Because he sees it slightly differently.”

Via Radio Times

Steven Moffat reveals the real reason he's never cast a female Doctor

Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat is finally explaining his decision to shy away from a female Doctor in his era.

The likelihood of a female Time Lord seems to be a hot topic whenever a new Doctor is being cast. While Moffat has kept up the tradition of male Doctors, he did revamp The Master as Missy – as played by Michelle Gomez.

Moffat chatted about his philosophy towards casting while speaking with BBC Radio 4's Samira Ahmed at the Hay Festival recently.

"I didn't not cast a woman, I cast a man," the writer explained. "I didn't [cast a woman] because I wanted to cast Matt Smith and I wanted to cast Peter Capaldi.

"I didn't think it was a terrible idea, I just thought, 'I want to cast those people' – that was it."

Of course, the decision on whether the next Doctor is male or female isn't up to Moffat at all. He's leaving along with current star Peter Capaldi, and will entrust the all-important casting to new showrunner Chris Chibnall.

Along with legions of fans, Doctor Who legends Karen Gillan, Michelle Gomez and Billie Piper have all called on Chibnall to make the future female on the BBC One sci-fi series.

Even Capaldi is in favour of a progressive shift for the next iteration of Doctor Who, tipping: "I would like Frances de la Tour to be the first female doctor."

Via Digital Spy

Steven Moffat clears up character name theory

One of the little details that many people noticed about the series 10 opener, ‘The Pilot’ was that it had two characters with names that hinted at a Doctor Who homage. Now Steven Moffat has cleared up why…

Bill was one, as played by Pearl Mackie of course. But there was also Heather, who ended up following the Doctor and Bill to the end of the universe (and back). As many noticed, Bill and Heather relate back in a roundabout way to the first Doctor. William Hartnell was known to most as Bill, and his wife was called Heather.

Coincidence? Or was there something to it? In the new issue of Doctor Who magazine, Steven Moffat has cleared it up, insisting that the naming overlap was “not on purpose”.

“I toyed with lying, and pretending I’d done something clever, but no-one ever believes that, so I admitted it was a coincidence”.

“But was it really?”, he teased. “Had those names lodged somehow, mysteriously emerging as I typed my way into a whole new era of Doctor Who?”

“No, because it was just a coincidence”.

Via CultBox

Mark Gatiss has "no idea" who the new Doctor Who is, but says it's a "thrilling" time for the series

Time is running out for Peter Capaldi's Time Lord on Doctor Who – and while Mark Gatiss is "very sad" to see the actor go, he also "can't wait" to welcome Capaldi's successor.

Gatiss - who's written this Saturday's episode of the show, 'The Empress of Mars' - told Digital Spy that he has "a mixture" of feelings about the sweeping changes coming next year.

"Peter's been magnificent," he said. "I love him this year, particularly - I think he's just completely in his groove. I think the season is excellent - really refreshing and fun - and I think he's just on fire, really.

"So it's a great way to go, but obviously I'll be very sad to see him leave. I think he's been amazing... and I can't believe how quickly it's gone. It just seems like the blink of an eye since the last time.

"But the show depends on change and it's exciting as well – not just the new Doctor but a whole new approach and a new team [with Chris Chibnall replacing Steven Moffat as showrunner from 2018].

"It's always exciting and a little frightening, but also thrilling because there's all that to look forward to. So I can't wait to see who [the new Doctor] is - but I have no idea who it is!"

Gatiss wasn't sure if Capaldi would be leaving Doctor Who when he wrote 'Empress' – now his final script for the actor, and possibly his own final contribution to a series he's been working on for 12 years.

"I suspected that Peter would want to go with Steven because it just felt like time, and I think that does happen. Something that Doctor Who fans, I think, rarely take in as part of the equation is the human element - as the Daleks might say! The fact that there are lots of human emotions in the mix here.

"Part of you, of course, would love to see Peter under Chris Chibnall. Y'know, David [Tennant] nearly stayed, and David under Steven for a year would've been such a different beast, it's fascinating to think.

"But, those are the arguments that Doctor Who fans have in the pub, not the ones that actors have when they feel like it's time to go."

Via Digital Spy

Steven Moffat is working with new Doctor Who boss Chris Chibnall for a “new” and “different” regeneration

As rumours continue to circulate about how Peter Capaldi will leave Doctor Who this Christmas, series boss Steven Moffat has stoked the flames a little further.

Asked by Samira Ahmed at a special Hay Festival edition of BBC Radio 4’s Front Row for “clues” about the upcoming festive special (which will also be Moffat’s last as Head Writer before handing over to Broadchurch’s Chris Chibnall), Moffat hinted that Capaldi’s regeneration into a new incarnation of the Time Lord (played by an as-yet-unknown actor) would be “different” to anything we’d seen before.

“You haven’t got to the end of this series yet, which ends on – I hope – quite an unexpected note,” Moffat told Ahmed at the Welsh book festival. “You all know that the mighty Peter Capaldi will be bowing out. But we’re going to do it slightly differently this time.

“And I’ve been working with Chris [Chibnall] about how we do the changeover in a new way. So I’m not going to tell you what that is – I’m excited by it, I think it’s going to work well – but it’s not… well every regeneration is different, but we are playing it slightly differently this time.

“I think we’ve got a good idea – but I’m not telling you what it is,” he concluded.

Whether this means we could see a regeneration halfway through the Christmas Special, the new Doctor interact with his predecessor throughout the story or just that the VFX team are making the golden glow effect a bit different, one thing’s for sure – Steven Moffat and Peter Capaldi will not be going quietly.

Via the Radio Times by Huw Fullerton

Richard Dinnick and Brian Williamson signing at Forbidden Planet

RICHARD DINNICK and BRIAN WILLIAMSON will be signing DOCTOR WHO 12th YEAR THREE #5 at Forbidden Planet Liverpool on Saturday 8th July from 1 - 2pm.


Richard Dinnick is writer of TV, books and comics for the BBC, ITV and Disney writing on Thunderbirds Are Go, Tree Fu Tom and Go Jetters amongst others. He also has several TV dramas in development. He has written books and short stories for Doctor Who, Sherlock Holmes and Stargate. Richard is now writing on Titan’s Doctor Who comic range and Legendary Entertainment is developing his first graphic novel.

Brian Williamson is a London based comic book artist and illustrator. He specializes in comics, graphic novels, and licensed character design. He has worked for clients such as Marvel, DC Comics, Warner Bros, Dreamworks, Aardman and has completed many Doctor Who projects for the BBC and Titan Comics.

Get a signed copy on the day or order online

Exclusive: Mark Gatiss talks Peter Capaldi's Doctor Who exit – and whether 'Empress of Mars' is his own swansong

Mark Gatiss has written for Doctor Who ever since the show returned to our screens in 2005 – that's nine adventures in 12 years. And now, sadly, it might all be over.

Having worked alongside both Russell T Davies and Steven Moffat, the League of Gentlemen star and Sherlock writer has suggested that his time working on the good Doctor might have come to an end, with Torchwood and Broadchurch chief Chris Chibnall ushering in a whole new era as showrunner from 2018.

With what might be his final contribution – an Ice Warriors vs. Victorian-era soldiers romp called 'The Empress of Mars' – airing this Saturday night, Digital Spy grilled Gatiss on reinventing classic monsters, Peter Capaldi's impending exit and what the future holds.

You've already had one crack at the Ice Warriors in 2013 episode 'Cold War'. What did you want to do with them this time?

"Well, I just said to Steven, everything's coming to an end, can I do the story I've always wanted to do, which is the Ice Warriors on Mars? I didn't actually have a story at that point [laughs]. I just always wanted to explore more of their backstory.

"Considering they were always such a big presence in Doctor Who, we know an extraordinarily small amount about them. And I found that doing 'Cold War', that it was rather thrilling to be able to create new things, to give them some backstory and history, just with occasional little windows onto things.

"And I thought, 'Well, we can do Mars, it's practicable.' They're a very cool monster – or a very cold monster – and I just wanted to do something new with them, which was to introduce the Ice Queen into the mythology."

Yes, this is the episode's big twist – how much can you say about this new type of Ice Warrior?

"It's not a twist, really, there's just a female one – and about bloody time, I would say! I thought that it would be an interesting thing to do – rather than just some frozen Ice Warriors, the usual thing, that there was a queen involved, and just give it a different slant, really.

"I have to say, it suddenly occurred me to that the Ice Warriors have such a history of being frozen and woken up after their time, I think they must've got their hibernation equipment from the same people who sold them to the Silurians!

"It's always the same: 'How long have I been asleep?' 'A lot longer than you think!' 'Oh shit, again?' It happens all the time!"

It does seem like such a natural thing to do. Why do you think it has taken so long to set an Ice Warrior story on their home planet of Mars?

"It's taken more than 50 years, because [Ice Warriors creator] Brian Hayles's original second story, what became 'The Seeds of Death', was called 'Lords of the Red Planet' and it was precisely that.

"I'm sure it was to do with budget and scale. I mean, it took till [2009 episode] 'The Waters of Mars' to do an actual Doctor Who story on Mars, which is remarkable really when you think it's essentially a red desert, something that feels very achievable. Except my whole story's set underground, so we didn't even have to go up top.

"It's to do with scale – if you want to do Ice Warrior society, you have to do a fragment of it. We just don't have the budget to do a whole city on the surface, with thousands of Ice Warriors and different levels of society.

"So as is always the way with Doctor Who, and as it should be, it becomes a sort of 'bottle story' of what's happened to this particular group, in this particular part of Mars, without having to do the whole of Mars. Though that would be lovely, wouldn't it?"

Via Digital Spy

Doctor Who writer Mark Gatiss says he doesn’t “give a monkey's” when fans complain about changes to the series

When working on a series like Doctor Who where fans are both extremely passionate about the show and well-versed in its half-century of history, you might think that there would be a lot of pressure not to change the formula or contradict any part of the series canon lest you invoke the wrath of the Whovian masses.

However, according to frequent series writer Mark Gatiss (who has penned this Saturday’s episode Empress of Mars) that’s simply not the case – because he thinks such backlash is nearly always unfounded and has little effect on the actual viewership of the show.

“Having always been one of those viewers, and also having been in my time a militant fanboy, I don’t give a monkey’s,” Gatiss told and other journalists. “Because it's not about that.

“The people who complain if something contradicts The Wheel in Space are always going to watch the show in order to complain about it. You only have to worry about the people who didn't know that the show existed before 2010. Or even 2016, effectively. It's ancient history – 6 months is ancient history in television terms.”

“I mean there's no point in being perversely cruel and say I'm going to totally rewrite the history of the Daleks,” he added. “Unless you come up with an idea which is startlingly brilliant.

“It's all one big happy thing, surely. Should be. And you shouldn't fret about stuff like that. That's why we sit around tables in pubs arguing about things, and people always have! Is that it's quite fun. And you'll always find a way.”

And, as Gatiss went on to point out, it’s not like there haven’t always been contradictions and plot holes in Doctor Who over the years…

“It's always baffled me why some things are absolutely immutable and other things aren't,” he said, before giving examples from 1976 episode The Brain of Morbius (see video above) and the 1995 Doctor Who movie of parts of Doctor Who canon that most fans now ignore.

“Why is it immutable that the Doctor has 13 lives, and yet it's not immutable that CLEARLY the Doctor and Morbius are having a mental battle that shows previous Doctors?” he asked. “That's just not...people just go 'That didn't happen.’ The Doctor is half-human. That's canonical. ‘No it isn't.’”

“The Doctor has an entirely new set of lives post-Matt Smith. People just adjust. There was a missing Doctor we didn't know about – it didn't stop the programme. Did it?”

“I've never understood that, except that there is a desire to pick and choose,” he concluded. “So if you can pick and choose, what's the problem? We'll always find a way.”

Via the Radio Times

Images for Episode 9: The Empress of Mars

The BBC have released a batch of images for 'The Empress of Mars'