Actress Kate O’Mara (b.1939) died on March 30. O’Mara is best known to science fiction fans for her portrayal of The Rani, a Time Lord, in two Doctor Who serials. Other genre roles included Adam Adamant Lives!, The Avengers, The Vampire Lovers, and The Horror of Frankenstein. O’Mara was best known outside the genre for her role on Dynasty.
Director Derek Martinus (b.1931) died on March 27. Martinus directed numerous episodes of Doctor Who, beginning with Galaxy 4, the first serial of the third season, and ending with Spearhead from Space, the first serial of the seventh season. He went on to direct episodes of Z Cars and Blake’s 7.
Director Christopher Barry (b.1925) died on February 7. Barry directed more than 40 episodes of Doctor Who, beginning with the first two episodes that introduced the Daleks in the first season through the 1979 serial “The Creature from the Pit.” Other genre work included The Tripods, The Man in the White Suit, Moonbase 3, and Out of the Unknown.
Following months of speculation, the BBC has announced the discovery of eleven episodes of Doctor Who in Nigeria dating to the Patrick Troughton years. Of the eleven episodes, 9 were previously believed lost, which brings the total number of lost episodes down to 97. Five episodes of “The Enemy of the World” were found, which, taken with the single episode already in the BBC’s possession, means the serial, in which the Doctor faces an assassination attempt because of his resemblance to a local dictator named Salamander, is now complete. The discovery of four episodes of “The Web of Fear” means that only a single episode of that serial, which involves the Yeti, is still missing. The BBC has made the episodes available for downloading from iTunes with animation filling the the missing episode.
Actor Peter Capaldi was named as Matt Smith’s successor for the title role on Doctor Who. Capaldi will enter the TARDIS during the Christmas episode this winter, following the show’s fiftieth anniversary special. Capaldi has previously appeared on Doctor Who in the episode “The Fires of Pompeii” in 2008 as well as in Torchwood: Children of Earth. Capaldi has a long career in British film and television. Coincidentally, his most recently released role, in World War Z lists him as played “W.H.O. Doctor.” At 55, Capaldi is the same age Willian Hartnell was when the show premiered in 1963.
The BBC has announced that it will televise a live interview on Sunday August 4 in which the identity of the actor who will be taking over the role of the Doctor from Matt Smith will be announced. Zoe Ball will present the show, with guests Stephen Moffat, Smith, and the new Doctor. The show will air at 7:00 pm GT on BBC one and be broadcast in BBC America at 2:00 pm ET.
The BBC has announced that Matt Smith will be leaving Doctor Who during this year’s Christmas Special, shortly after appearing in the 50th anniversary episode in November. Rumors over a possible Smith departure have been rife for some time. Smith took over the role from David Tenant in 2010 and has appeared alongside companions played by Karen Gillan (Amy Pond), Arthur Darvill (Rory Williams), Alex Kingston (River Song), James Corden (Craig), and Jenna-Louise Coleman (Clara Oswin Oswald). Smith’s replacement has not yet been announced.
Doctor Who won a George Foster Peabody Award, one of the highest awards given for American television. The award, which was accepted by Steven Moffat, Matt Smith, and Jenna-Louise Coleman, was presented for “evolving with technology and the times like nothing else in the known television universe.”
A live production based on Doctor Who, called Don’t Blink, will be performed in Chicago through March. The show is being performed by the Gorilla Tango Burlesque troupe and notes that no body under 18 will be admitted. The troupe will also be performing Holy Bouncing Boobies!: A Batman Burlesque from March through May.
Ray Cusick (b.1928) died on February 21. Cusick designed the original Daleks for Doctor Who in 1963. Cusick was also responsible for set design, designing not just futuristic settings but also historical sets and dioramas. He went on to be the designer for James Burke’s series Connections.