Michelle Ma Belle (A Doctor Who Update)

zoeappeal.jpgLong term readers of this web log might remember way back in 2006, when I was  interviewed about Billie Piper leaving Doctor Who, by Rin Simpson from The Western Mail.  In the resultant article it was stated that Michelle Ryan was one of the actresses who might be taking over from Billie.  Anyway, that was a wrong guess, as Freema Agyeman was cast as Martha Jones, who seamlessly replaced the character of Rose Tyler.  However, there has been a clamour from some fans for Michelle Ryan to be cast as the companion ever since.  So it now appears that the lovely Ms Ryan,who in the meantime stared in the ill-fated remake of The Bionic Woman, has been cast as Lady Christine da Souza, the main guest character in the upcoming Easter Special The Planet of the Dead. This has resulted in in a lot of hooting from certain elements on the Doctor Who Forum who do not want to see a former soap-opera actress in the series, as for some reason they don’t think she is a very good actress.  Well, just watch the famous clip below and say that Ms Ryan is not a good actress.

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It remains to be seen whether Michelle Ryan’s character, Lady Christine da Souza, is just a one-off for this special or if she will return at the start of Series Five [31] when Matt Smith takes over as the Doctor.  There are those who vehemently believe that Mr. Moffat would not want to use a character created by Russell T. Davies after he takes over as head writer.   That “M” wants a complete clean sweep and will be creating his own character tobe Doctor#11’s new companion, and have her introduced in episode 5.01.  I don’t really see this argument holding any water.  Doctor Who is now a highly successful ongoing television drama series that uses the talents of some of Britain’s top script-writing talent.  There will be a massive amount of continuity before, during and after the switch-over from RTD to “M”.  If that means that the two men are working together, so that The Doctor has already met his future companion before he regenerates, then so be it.

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Given the vile winter weather that has plunged much of the country into Siberian conditions, I am bet the team at Upper Boat are glad that they have all the UK location work for Planet of the Dead safely in the can.  The crew took advantage of the fact that the Bute Tunnel on the A4232 in Cardiff Bay was closed for maintainance to film the shennanigans involving The Doctor, Catherine da Souza, UNIT and a red double decker bus on what would normally be a very busy busy stretch of road.

toasted busThe crew were hoping to keep the identity of their foriegn filming location a secret.  And then news started to leak out about an old Bristols VR double decker bus that got badly damaged whilst being shipped out to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates for filming.  Pictures appeared in various national and international newspapers, and it was revealed that it was indeed the vehicle that the Doctor Who production team were using for the foreign part of their filming.  So the team are faced with either getting Russell T. Davies to do a major rewrite to his script to accomodate this accident,or ship a third Bristol VR Double Decker out to the UAE pretty sharpish.  I suspect that they will have to ship another bus out, as footage of an undamaged bus returning to Londiff has been filmed, even the imagination of RTD could cover up so much damage. It is interesting to note that whilst the top deck has been completely mangled,  the bottom deck got off reasonably lightly, except for the window by the seats that matched the ones that Michelle Ryan and David Tennant sat in were sat on in the Cardiff Bus.  Spooky that.

The new Doctor Who Magazine reports that the upcoming specials will be filmed and broadcast in High Definition.  This could well be a sign that the whole series is now moving onto the new recording technology, joining the spin-off series Torchwood in the twenty-first century.  Off course, this transition is not without problems.   Everything that appears on screen, such as props, sets, costumes and make-up will have to be upgraded.  Minor details that would not have shown up on a standard 625 line interlaced PAL screen will show up as clear as day on a 1250 line interlaced PAL-HD screen. One of the things preventing the move to HD was said to be the difficulty of rendering all the computer generated special effects.  Obviously the good people at The Mill had new faster computers for Christmas that have solved all the prior production worries. As I have yet to purchase an HDTV, then this does not really affect me yet, but for those who have inveted in new technology, it can only be a step in the right direction.

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