Doctor Who Report Special Edition: Pilot Episode Leaked to Internet

BBC not thrilled; fan reactions mixed.


- Somebody just couldn't wait three more weeks for Doctor Who.  More precisely, someone out there couldn't wait three more weeks before sharing the new Doctor Who.

Over the weekend, a video file of the first episode of the new series found its way on to the Internet.  


While a number of BitTorrent sites were quick to take the file down, it did manage to find its way on to various systems.  The file premiere episode, titled Rose, appeared to be complete and ready for air, unlike many other advance television screeners that are usually missing some effects footage, incidental music or audio sweetening.






One fan rumor has a disgruntled member of a prominent Doctor Who fan organization leaking the serener copy to the Internet in an attempt to get the long time fans of the series to start a negative word of mouth campaign.  Another popular theory has the BBC "leaking" the video to the Internet in an attempt to generate more interest in the series, especially by fans in countries that have yet to purchase the new series for broadcast.


If this was released in an attempt to create some sort of fan backlash, then the person responsible has really missed their target.  While the reactions of fans that have seen the episode can hardly be called overwhelmingly positive, many fans seem to be taken by the updated direction and tone present in the premiere.




Daleks - exterminate

"It's everything I'd hoped for," one fan emailed The Doctor Who Report.  "Sure, it's different from the original series but we knew that going in.  There are too many things that the series seems to be getting right to at least give it a chance."


Fans will be happy to know that some core elements of the original series are present, from the classic Police Box to the theme music (which goes back to the style of the Pertwee / Tom Baker days) to that trusty gadget that must have been designed by the same person that put together the Swiss Army Knife, the Sonic Screwdriver.   One change the viewers will notice immediately is that the show's stars, Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper, have their names in the opening credits before the new Doctor Who logo (which, I'm sorry, still looks like Photoshop puked).  


This is a radical departure from the original series in that no one except the writer used to be in the opening titles and that credit ran dead last.  The major actors were usually given a prominent full screen credit at the end of every 25-minute episode.  As reported before, this new series runs around 45 minutes per episode with many of the episodes being written as stand alone stories.  Gone are the days for the four-, six- and eight-part episodes; new Producer Russell T. Davies is keeping even his longest stories to two episodes.  We'll have a full review of the episode, along with all of the other episodes, in the near future.


The launch date for Doctor Who on the BBC was March 26th.  The CBC in Canada has put the series on their schedule and is set to premiere the series on April 5th.  There is still no word on a US broadcaster as yet and with Sci Fi Channel passing on the series (as reported here last week), speculation is running rampant.  It is assumed that the series will run in the US, the where and the when are major questions that need answered.





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Daleks Shoot It Out in New Doctor Who  -  Aso: Daleks may learn to fly.


- The Western Mail (quoted on the always excellent Doctor Who site, Outpost Gallifrey) reported that police in Cardiff City in Whales were alerted to something that observers thought might be an armed robbery but turned out to be a minor Dalek invasion.  The Daleks are back and it seems they make quite a bang.


Meanwhile, photos that purport to be shots of a new Dalek from the series hit the Internet earlier this week. According to the aforementioned Outpost Gallifrey, these shots (seen below) may be something of a red herring and be the Dalek used for the Alien-like first appearance with a drastically re-designed Dalek appearing in the climactic two part story that will finish up the series.


One thing seems to be certain and that is that the Daleks will be able to fly in the new series.  The Daleks have had flying vehicles in comics based on the armored galactic despots since the '60s but had never flown on the television series until one levitated up a flight of stairs to chase a stunned Sylvester McCoy in Remembrance of the Daleks.  The new Daleks are said to be able to fly more convincingly due to the much larger effects budget for the upcoming series.  Looks like new Doctor, Christopher Eccleston, has his work cut out for him.


Speaking of former Doctors, Producer Russell T. Davies has decided against any cameo appearances from previous Doctor Who stars.  According to the Daily Mail, Davies had considered having Tom Baker or Colin Baker in small cameo parts but decided against it, afraid that they might take viewer attention away from the "freshness" of the new series.





Plot details continue to filter out about stories for the new series and, as always, take all plot details as rumors until they've been confirmed by an offical source.  Episode 2, aka The End of the World is set on a space station with all sorts of aliens running around.  This information was divulged by diminutive actor Jimmy Vee, who has been hired to play a number of aliens for the series.  Episodes 9 & 10, written by Steven Moffat, will take place during the London Blitz of WWII and is said to be "terrifying."  Another unconfirmed element of the new series concerns the TARDIS it will now spin during dematerializations and re-materializations.


The BBC has also had to increase security on the series to try and stop press leaks.  A laptop computer was recently stolen out of a production assistant's car and the network worked overtime to get it back so none of the story elements from the computer would be leaked to the press.  Scripts have been watermarked, individually printed (instead of being mass copied like most television scripts) and have to be signed out.


There have still been no announcements about a US outlet for the series but sources tell IGNFF that negotiations are continuing.  The series is scheduled to air on the CBC in Canada around the same time it premieres in the UK, which will be early 2005.













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