Visimag home page
About Us
Cult Times
Film Review
Movie Idols
TV Zone
Ultimate DVD
Shopping Info
Film Byte Archive
VI jobs - The UK's Biggest Video Store

for your own topics
Go to USA site Readers in USA click here

Go to UK/World siteElsewhere click here

Image copyright: see contents page of each issue. All other material © Visual Imagination Ltd 1998 - 2003
Welcome to
TV Zone Back to tvzone MainPage Contents Buy this issue from UK/World site Buy this issue from USA $ site
Contents Buy this issue from UK/World site Buy this issue from USA $ site

Feature: Doctor Who

The animated series on BBCi

Doctor Who on BBCi

As Doctor Who celebrates its 40th Anniversary, BBCi premières the weekly webcast Scream of the Shalka starring Richard E Grant as the animated Time Lord. We step into the TARDIS to take a glimpse and speaks to the stars...

Doctor Who is having a rather memorable 40th anniversary. Weeks after learning that the Doctor will finally return to BBC One in 2005, this month followers of the Doctor’s travels can view something completely different. Starting in mid-November, the series’ first fully-fledged animated story reaches a computer near you, as online division BBCi premières the weekly webcast Scream of the Shalka, written by Paul Cornell. Never mind the medium, though – this story has a brand-new Doctor, for in a high-profile casting coup, Richard E Grant is playing another incarnation of the time traveller.

Animation maestros Cosgrove-Hall, of Dangermouse and Count Duckula fame, have handled the animation duties, as they did for BBCi’s acclaimed non-Who webcast Ghosts of Albion last winter [see Amber Benson interview in TV Zone #161]. But the animators needed all the audio content to work with first – and pictures of the cast from which to create their likenesses.

So in June 2003, a new Doctor could be found in an industrial estate a mile from BBCtv Centre, at the Soundhouse recording studios. TV Zone met Richard E Grant in a break from a busy recording schedule, and asked him first what he was especially enjoying about being in Doctor Who. “That I don’t have to get into make-up or costume, or get up at five in the morning,” he said without hesitation. “The great luxury of this is that we record everything in four days, then it’s left to the animators to do the mammoth process of making it come alive visually.

“It’s a real get-out,” Grant explained. “I’ve known other actors who’ve done voices for animated projects, and your contribution seems such a small percentage compared to the amount of work it involves. So I’m feeling no pressure, really. Anyway, I’ve never seen Doctor Who…”

That’s right: the actor taking the reins here is doing so blissfully untroubled by preconceptions. Once Doctor Who had established that its title character could be re-cast, most British-based actors would probably have known what being up for the role entailed. Not so Grant, who grew up in the small African kingdom of Swaziland and paid no attention to the long-running series after relocating to the UK aged 25, in 1982. “I do know – just because I’ve seen a newspaper picture – that one figure associated with it is Tom Baker, with curly hair and a long scarf,” ventures Grant. “He’s the name that comes up time and again when I’ve asked people about the series. Was he the first one? No? Well, that’s the full extent of my knowledge. This project just came over to me rather as if it could be ‘Sherlock Holmes in Outer Space’.” That’s an interesting perspective, both the Doctor and the Great Detective being classically British eccentric figures: Grant himself appeared prominently in BBC One’s Hound of the Baskervilles last Christmas. But wait, attentive Doctor Who fans are saying – hasn’t Richard E Grant already played the Doctor? He was one of the starry cameos in Steven Moffat’s 1999 Comic Relief spoof The Curse of Fatal Death – the Doctor who declared himself “lick-the-mirror handsome”.

by Mark Wyman

Get the full feature when you buy
TV Zone #170

Layout © Visual Imagination Ltd. Doctor Who © BBC
Feature © Visual Imagination 2003. Not for reproduction

Taken from
TV Zone #170, see below for ordering options
TV Zone #170
December 2003
ships from Nov 13 2003
News-stand Price

UK £3.50 / US $6.99

VI Direct Click on one of the choices below to buy
Buy it now!

Stores Info

You can order any of
our magazines via this
secure service.
To buy this issue:

Jump to UK £ entry for this issue
UK/World order
Jump to US $ entry for this issue
USA $ order

TV ZONE, use these
links to our stores:

Jump to UK £ entry for this issue
UK/World subs
Jump to US $ entry for this issue
USA $ subs logo