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Monday, 25 October 2021

Doctor Who Series 13 - Interview with John Bishop and Jacob Anderson

John Bishop (Dan Lewis)

What did it mean when you got the call to be a part of Doctor Who?

It meant I could get out of the house and not be stuck in with COVID (laughs)! I'll be honest I don't know how big an impact this will have on my life or anything like that as it's not come out yet, but as a life experience it's one of the best things that I've done since I've managed to get into this world of showbusiness. I genuinely feel I've learned a lot and I genuinely feel I've made good friends, and I didn't think that I'd come away with that.

What are the main differences between being in Doctor Who and your role as a stand-up?

The longevity, the fact you spend so much time with them, you genuinely create bonds with people. And the fact you're part of a team.

Most of what I do is me, or 'The John Bishop Show' - me on the stage on my own or leading something on my own. For this I was part of something and I wasn't the most important part which was good! In many respects the actors themselves are not the most important thing, there are so many other things that happen before that camera gets turned on and I came away with that appreciation for the skill of so many others.

How has the response been from fans so far?

So far it's been positive but they haven't met him (Dan) yet! I think, for me, I have been given a glimpse that once you're in Doctor Who, you're fixed in time in the eyes of a lot of people because they'll come to it at different times in their lives and at different ages. And so of all the things I've ever done, it might be the thing that lasts the longest.

Can you tell us a bit about Dan and what you liked most about him?

I liked his humility, his willingness to help people, when we first start off he is working in a food bank. I liked his vulnerability, he's not really lucky in love, I liked his caring nature because he cares deeply for the Doctor and Yaz and wants them to be happy. I liked his sense of what's right and what's wrong. He's really prepared to stand up to those who are doing something wrong.

How did you enjoy working with this year's guest actors?

I loved spending time with Jacob Anderson, Kevin McNally was great - it's like a masterclass all the time with Kevin. Paul (Broughton) and Sue (Jenkins), I had a few scenes with them and it was absolutely brilliant watching them work. During one scene, I had to remind myself they were acting!

Why should audiences tune into series thirteen and can you sum it up in three words?

Fast, energetic and heartfelt.

Jacob Anderson (Vinder)

Can you tell us about what it meant to get the call to say you'd be in Doctor Who? What was your reaction?

It was a complete surprise, it felt like it was completely out of the blue. But it was one of those things that I always wanted to do. There are certain goals or dreams you might have in your life and the minute you stop obsessing over them, that's when they happen! I had no expectation at all of being asked to be part of it, and Chris swooped in and asked if I'd like to be part of this iconic show that means a lot to me.

What's the difference between Doctor Who and other sets you've been on?

It actually feels like walking into somebody's family home. Everybody knows and cares about each other and you can tell that this is a group of people who have spent a lot of time with each other and would choose to continue to. There are some people who have been working on the show for fifteen years and you feel that, but you can also feel Jodie and Chris' influence on the environment. It's just a really welcoming, comfortable, warm place to work.

Are there any big moments in Doctor Who history that stood out to you? Who was the Doctor that got you into the series?

My first Doctor was Sylvester McCoy, he was great and kind of kooky and a bit curmudgeonly as well - I'll always have a special place in my heart for him. But David Tennant is just charisma to eleven, I think he's fantastic and really defined a modern day depiction of the Doctor, so he's probably my favourite before seeing Jodie.

I think Jodie does such a wonderful job; she does things with the character that are subtler than she gets credit for sometimes. She puts so much pathos into this alien. The Doctor can sometimes be quite clownish, skittish and jumpy and that's really a part of the charm that she can do that, but she also has the tragedy of their life and it is all contained in it. She plays it in a really beautiful subtle performance, I really enjoy her Doctor. She makes it look effortless!

Can you tell us about who you enjoyed working with?

I really enjoyed working with Craig Parkinson, I knew him a bit before but this is the first time we've worked together. Thaddea is amazing, she's an incredible actor, Mandip is one of my favourite human beings ever. Her and Jodie are like the same person but also the inverse of each other, they're so similar but then also completely opposite. Being around them as a team is a joy, a proper joy.

How has the reaction been from fans?

I tend to hide a bit whenever there's any type of announcement but in the immediate announcement, I saw some really nice 'welcome to the family' type tweets from Whovians: 'Welcome to our crazy family, it's going to be an adventure!' I really appreciated that and thought it was really nice. It was really nice to be welcomed, so I zoned into that and I really appreciate it.

Can you tell us a bit about Vinder?

I really hope people like Vinder, as a fan of the show and as a fan of those characters that come in and recur and are part of the story beyond their singular story, there are some really iconic characters. Like River Song, and Osgood and all these people you really remember and I hope Vinder can be a part of that, I really hope people like him.

Doctor Who Series 13 - Interview with Mandip Gill

Mandip Gill (Yasmin Khan)

Can you tell us a bit about the journey Yaz goes on this series and the challenges she faces?

Yaz continues to go from strength to strength in terms of independence in space during this series. She can be seen to be taking charge in adventures without the Doctor but, naturally, at times is out of her depth and asks herself 'what would the Doctor do?'. I very much enjoy these struggles as it naturally shows that no matter how many adventures she goes on, she will always need the Doctor.

Can you talk to us a bit about how it was filming one serialised story this time around and how that changed things for you?

Filming one serialised story for me personally has been great. I did love the stand-alone episodes but this way feels like I have longer to explore relationships with other characters such as Vinder played by Jacob Anderson and Jericho played by Kevin McNally. Both characters are seen in several episodes and so Yaz is able to develop a much deeper relationship with them that doesn't end at the end of an episode. On a personal level I have really enjoyed having such amazing guest leads around for a longer period of time and sharing this experience with them.

How was it introducing John Bishop into the Doctor Who family, and what kind of relationship does Dan form with Yaz?

John was so brilliant from the beginning. He was eager and excited and I loved that about him because I am still so excited by costumes and sets and the amazing crew in Cardiff myself. Yaz and Dan have a really wholesome relationship, they have quickly managed to find a place in which they can tease one another confidentially. They really create a special bond on some of the adventures, they are able to get to know one another and can connect on a human level.

Can you tell us a bit about working with Jacob Anderson?

Meeting and working with Jacob Anderson has been one of the highlights of the series for me. He is incredibly talented and such a joy to get to know.

We hear monsters and prosthetics will be on another level this year - what can you tell us? Did you feel spooked by any?

You have heard correctly; the monsters and prosthetics are on another level this year. I was so intrigued by the detail and intricacy of some of the prosthetics. We have Karvanista an alien dog and as much as I am scared of dogs in real life, he was so fascinating to look at. Craige Els playing Karvanista is over six foot tall, imagine that!

Did you do any exciting stunts this series?

We have a really exciting stunt scene over an acid ocean. Jodie and I spent the day on wires being hung upside down, spun around and winched up like small animals. Yaz also has a quick sword fight. It was a short rehearsal before the shoot, but I really enjoyed it and am excited to see how it looks.

There are some amazing guest actors this series, who have you enjoyed working with?

I have enjoyed working with all of the guest leads this year. It has been an absolute honour to work during COVID and to be able to meet new people. I have previously worked with Rochenda Sandall so it was a delight to see her again. Kevin McNally is one of the most talented actors I have had the pleasure of working with. He unknowingly taught me so much on and off screen. John (Bishop) and I joked about going to the 'McNally school of Acting'. It was really refreshing to see how much he enjoys being on set.

What has been the highlight of your third series?

The highlight of the series for me was genuinely being able to work during COVID with the same crew as the previous series in Cardiff. They are the kindest, most funny and genuine cast and crew I have ever met.

How would you describe Series 13 in three words?

An emotional rollercoaster.

Why should people tune in to this series?

Tune into this series to see an emotional rollercoaster heavily sprinkled with old and new enemies.

Doctor Who Series 13 - Interview with Jodie Whittaker

Packed with action, humour, terrifying new villains and iconic returning monsters such as the Sontarans and the Weeping Angels, the new series of Doctor Who tells one story across a vast canvas.

It features a host of acclaimed British acting talent including Rochenda Sandall, Annabel Scholey, Craig Parkinson, Kevin McNally, Sam Spruell, Robert Bathurst, Steve Oram and Thaddea Graham.

From Liverpool to the depths of space, via the Crimean war and a planet named Atropos, which shouldn't even exist, fighting old foes and new creatures from beyond our dimension, the Doctor and company face a race against (and through!) time to uncover a universe-spanning mystery: what is the Flux?

Jodie Whittaker (The Doctor)

How did it feel filming your last series, during COVID?

We started filming late because of COVID so starting was a tentative time because none of us had shot during the pandemic. So knowing it was my last, I knew it would be very different because we weren't able to travel, we couldn't be tactile in that way we were. But what was immediately reassuring is as soon as you got on set, no matter if the logistics or the face of the show seemed different because of masks and all of that, all of the heart and all the love was still there and it was still great fun.

We were able to be safe as we could be and as caring as we could be and not lose the atmosphere on the set. It was such a pleasure to be around people, so I was delighted! It was emotional to start with because you hadn't seen anyone and everyone has gone through so much to get to the first day, and you want to make sure you're not the person to make a mistake as the domino effect can be so catastrophic on the set. Also, it was the longest time I hadn't seen Mandip!

Did you approach anything differently coming to a serialised story?

I don't think so. As an actor you're so used to things changing so the change between serialisation and episode arcs doesn't change your approach in any way - I could not quote what happened in what episode as I can see the whole story in its entirety. I just know we all start on a journey, where we go and how it pans out. The thing that's most different is that it's been almost twelve months (of filming) and it requires a different type of stamina than I've ever had to find before.

Are you excited for how it will be for audiences to see the story portrayed that way?

Definitely. Obviously for Whovians (the story) has played out in many different ways over the years, and I think it for us it was great to have had the experience of both. It was definitely the right decision for us to start series eleven, my first series, in a way that was a jumping off point for anyone that hadn't watched it before.

And this series certainly doesn't exclude people that haven't seen it but it gives reason to go back and rediscover, it also has those brilliant cliffhanger moments and that, as actors and for the characters, it gives lots of different layers you can bring to it. You don't want to play the end note in the first episode because you know you've got this journey to go with a particular beat or particular emotion. Even with the serialisation it's still very episodic and each episode has its world that is different from the rest. There may be characters you see again but you certainly feel like you are taken through many different worlds and times like you would in our previous seasons.

Were there any special moments that stood out for you filming series thirteen?

For us, getting to know John (Bishop) has been wonderful. He came in at one hundred and ten (percent) with his energy and enthusiasm. He's been so much fun to be around he's been a massive team player. For us, we were still grieving Brad (Walsh) and Tosin (Cole) and for him to come in and not to fill anybody's shoes and be his own person... we found a new dynamic which felt brilliant and it felt so comfortable. I think the way you meet Dan and that whole introduction; those are really fun scenes. I think all the early scenes with him and Karvanista has been really fun to shoot.

I've been lucky to enough to work with new people but I've been lucky enough to work with people I've worked with before. This is the third time I've worked with Jacob, I've worked with Annabel, we've played sisters before, and this was so lovely just to spend time with her. Thaddea Graham, I've never worked with Thaddea and she blew me away from the read through - just from Zoom I was like 'that girl is phenomenal'.

And that's the thing, it can be your first interaction with people or it can be and old friend stepping on set but what you always get at the end is that it's like you've all known each other for years. Like I was in Kevin McNally's company for about ten minutes and I felt like I'd known him for twenty years. We've had to put certain safety precautions in place, but it hasn't in any way dampened that kind of camaraderie.

Other highlights are we've so many ensemble scenes, we've had some brilliant scenes with the likes of Craige Els, Craig Parkinson - we can feel so many people in a scene and it can feel really epic, it's been great.

Have you gotten used to being spotted everywhere by the fans, three series on?

I'm really lucky, as whenever I have a reaction it's always really joyous and everyone is really warm and welcoming. The fans are the show - there's no way a show can last this many years without a loyalty and a fan base and you don't have the show without them. To have those interactions when you have them is wonderful.

What journey does the Doctor have this series?

From where we've left her, I think self-discovery is the biggest journey the Doctor goes on this series.

Can you tell us about any stunts you have this series?

We've done a lot of wires this year, particularly for certain scenes in episode one, it was mine and Mandip's first few days (on set). We started at energy of a hundred and then after two days I was bruised and hurt and realised that this is why there are stunt doubles, as I am pathetic!

You do a lot of flips as if you're falling through space and have to spin yourself backwards in a rotation and make sure you don't get tangled. It's all wonderful as you don't think at the time that you'll be able to do it. I also do sword fighting in this, or maybe it is best described as avoiding being got by a sword - I really loved that. Stunts wise there is lots of action, but rather than jumping through cranes it feels like a lot of falling through space!

There are lots of exciting monsters this series - can you tell us about any that stand out for you?

The thing that's fun about working with monsters that have been in it before but are new for me is that it makes you feel like you are getting your moment of history... like Sontarans, for me it's my first (as The Doctor) so that was great.

The prosthetics are amazing – do you get used to working with actors that you can't recognise?

You forget that the make-up is on them after ten minutes as you're so used to seeing them having a cup of tea and talking to people.

Why should people tune into series thirteen?

It's bigger and better than ever, it's my final (full) series, there'll be questions asked, there'll be answers, there'll be exclamation marks, and huge exclamation marks and I think that in itself will pique your interest and pique your curiosity.

How would you describe the series in three words?

A self-discovery rollercoaster!

Sir Trevor McDonald OBE will be the face of GamesMaster in series reboot on E4

It has been announced that the new face of the GamesMaster in the new rebooted series, will be the legendary Sir Trevor McDonald OBE.

Originally filled by another legend in Sir Patrick Moore Sir Trevor takes over when GamesMaster returns later this year, Sir Trevor McDonald will assume the vital duties of setting up gaming's most amazing challenges to the contenders and as the all-knowing GamesMaster, he'll watch over competitors as they compete in virtual battles across a range of games, trying everything in their power to claim a legendary Golden Joystick Trophy.

Sir Trevor McDonald said: "I am delighted to be taking on this iconic role for a new generation of viewers."

Last month, E4 also confirmed that the all-new presenting line-up for the series would be led by Robert Florence, who will also serve as creative consultant on the show with esports and gaming host, Frankie Ward and newcomer Ty Logan joining as co-hosts.

Florence is a writer, actor and presenter who has written and starred in a range of BBC comedies, including Burnistoun and The Scotts, as well as computer games show, VideoGaiden.  He is also one half of the UK's longest running online videogame review show, Consolevania.

Co- host, Frankie Ward is an established face in esports, known for desk and stage hosting, as well as interviewing players across numerous game titles. This is Ty Logan's first broadcast presenting credit, after being named earlier this year as one of E4's faces of the future. Ty is passionate about gaming, representing the casual gamers out there and ready to thrash anyone at FIFA.

Friday, 22 October 2021

Sky and NOW launch trailer for A Discovery of Witches Series 3

Ahead of its much-anticipated return to TV screens, the official trailer for A Discovery of Witches Series 3 has launched today. The Sky Original drama is coming to Sky Max and NOW in January 2022.

Catch up on Series 1 & 2 at https://amzn.to/3m3kn0s

In the final series of A Discovery of Witches, Matthew (Matthew Goode) and Diana (Teresa Palmer) return from their trip to 1590 to find tragedy at Sept-Tours. They must find the missing pages from the Book of Life and the Book itself before it’s too late. Their enemies are gearing up against them, and a monster from Matthew’s past who has been lying in wait will return for revenge.

The series features a strong ensemble cast including Matthew Goode, Teresa Palmer, Owen Teale, Malin Buska, Alex Kingston, Aiysha Hart, Edward Bluemel, Lindsay Duncan, Peter McDonald, Trevor Eve, Gregg Chillin, Adelle Leonce, Tanya Moodie, Daniel Ezra, Toby Regbo, Steven Cree, Jacob Ifan, Ivanno Jeremiah, Greg McHugh, Olivier Huband, Paul Rhys and Parker Sawyers. A Discovery of Witches Season 3 is based on the ‘The Book of Life’ novel from Deborah Harkness’s bestselling All Souls trilogy and is the third and final instalment.

I’m A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here!​ brand-new promo

Ant & Dec star in a brand-new trailer for the upcoming series of I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! This year's series returns to stunning Gwrych Castle in North Wales.

Celebrating the splendour and beauty of Wales, the launch of the promos sees Ant & Dec dressed as two knights as they go about preparing for the new series.

I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! will start on ITV and ITV Hub in November.

United Kingdom's Eurovision 2022 plans outlined

As exclusively revealed on BBC Radio 1, for the 2022 Contest the BBC and BBC Studios will be collaborating with TaP Music, the global music publishing and management company behind some of the world's most successful pop artists, such as Dua Lipa, Lana del Rey and Ellie Goulding, in order to choose a song and act that will represent the United Kingdom in the biggest and most watched music contest on the planet.

Kate Phillips, Controller Entertainment Commissioning for the BBC says: "In the UK our love for Eurovision is as big as ever and we have grand ambitions for the 2022 Contest, so we're really excited to announce this collaboration that will enable us to tap into some great music talent."

Suzy Lamb, Managing Director for BBC Studios says: "BBC Studios are proud to once again be producing the coverage of the biggest music competition in world. We're excited to be collaborating with TaP Music. Their expertise in managing world class artists and finding huge international hit records speaks for itself and we look forward to working with them on the UK act and song for the 2022 contest."

Ben Mawson, TaP Music says: "We're really excited to be teaming up with the BBC for this event and will use Eurovision to authentically reflect and celebrate the rich, diverse and world-class musical talent the UK is globally renowned for."

The broadcast of the Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final on BBC One continues to be one of the most popular Entertainment programmes on the BBC, with the most recent broadcast reaching an average audience of 7.8 million (BBC 30 Day All Screens) in the UK, making it the most watched Grand Final in the UK since 2014. It is also one of the most popular Entertainment programmes for younger audiences on the BBC with 1.5 million 16-34 year olds tuning in.

The 66th Eurovision Song Contest will take place in May 2022, with the Grand Final confirmed for Saturday 14th May 2022. Further details will be announced in due course.