The BBC is today announcing that Matt Smith is to leave Doctor Who after four incredible years on the hit show. Matt first stepped into the TARDIS in 2010 and will leave the role at the end of this year after starring in the unmissable 50th Anniversary in November and regenerating in the Christmas special. During his time as the Doctor, Matt has reached over 30 million unique UK viewers and his incarnation has seen the show go truly global. He was also the first actor to be nominated for a BAFTA in the role. Doctor Who is BBC AMERICA’s highest-rated series and premieres as part of the channel’s Supernatural Saturday programming block.
Related: BBC Confirms ‘Doctor Who’ Season 8
Matt quickly won over fans to be voted Best Actor by Readers of Doctor Who Magazine for the 2010 season. He also received a nod for his first series at the National Television Awards, before winning the Most Popular Male Drama Performance award in 2012.Matt has played one of the biggest roles in TV with over 77 million fans in the UK, US and Australia alone!
Related: BBC Says ‘Doctor Who’ Isn’t Racist
Matt Smith says: “Doctor Who has been the most brilliant experience for me as an actor and a bloke, and that largely is down to the cast, crew and fans of the show. I’m incredibly grateful to all the cast and crew who work tirelessly every day, to realize all the elements of the show and deliver Doctor Who to the audience. Many of them have become good friends and I’m incredibly proud of what we have achieved over the last four years. READ MORE »
Global Showbiz Briefs: BFI; ‘Doctor Who’; Yahoo & Dailymotion; Ukraine Piracy; Cineworld-Picturehouse; Televix; Universal & Canada’s D Films
BFI Lays Out Development Funding Recipients
The British Film Institute has identified 20 UK production companies that will receive BFI Vision Awards 2013-15. The grants will provide up to £200K over two years to the companies for investment in slate development. The BFI said the successful companies each demonstrated “a clear strategic vision for their future growth as well as a commitment to nurturing a diverse range of new voices and fresh ideas from across the UK.” There were 170 applicants overall. The project is part of the BFI’s Film Forever plan to foster growth in the UK film biz and keep momentum going after a strong series of local films. Among the companies receiving £100K are 42 M&P (Welcome To The Punch), Cowboy Films (The Last King Of Scotland), Independent (We Need To Talk About Kevin); Warp Films (Submarine) and Wildgaze Films (Quartet). Among those receiving £50K are Inflammable Films (Tyrannosaur), JW Films (Attack The Block), Rook Films (Sightseers) and animation companies Blue-Zoo, Flickerpix. The full list is here.
‘Doctor Who’ Gets New Exec Producer; Opens Pop-Up Shop
Brian Minchin is joining Doctor Who as its new executive producer alongside showrunner Steven Moffat. Minchin is an exec producer in BBC Wales drama, currently working on The Game, a new Cold War spy thriller for BBC One. He had previously been a script editor on both Doctor Who and Torchwood. Separately, the BBC says the first ever Doctor Who pop-up store will open its doors in Sydney, Australia this fall. It will feature exclusive merchandise including the Doctor Who home range, apparel, toys, DVDs, books and replica props.
The fact that Sherlock is back in production and filming around the UK has drummed up a fan frenzy. Stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman recently shot in Bristol and Cheltenham with photos popping up across the Internet, leading to potential spoilers. Now, as the show heads to London, producer Sue Vertue has sent a plea to Sherlock lovers to let the team get on with its “punishing” schedule and ask that people avoid posting spoilers or daily locations. On the other hand, Sherlock network the BBC yesterday released official videos of the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special shooting in Trafalgar Square. I hear the reasoning for getting in front of Doctor Who was because the shoot was “bang in the center of London” so already very public. But even a well-placed BBC insider says the Sherlock locations are something of a mystery. Click over for Vertue’s note:
Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary celebrations have added David Tennant who will reprise his role as the tenth Doctor for the first time since 2010. Billie Piper and John Hurt are also coming on board. They will join current …
The long-running British sci-fi series is back next week with the episode “The Bells Of Saint John”, penned by Steven Moffat and broadcast on BBC One, BBC America, and Canada’s Space on March 30. Matt Smith stars in Doctor Who as the Eleventh Doctor with Jenna-Louise Coleman as …
News Corp. has been raising the profile of deputy COO James Murdoch of late with the exec making two appearances before investors last month. Is News Corp. also looking to rebuild his coterie of board seats? Germany’s Sky Deutschland plans to appoint Murdoch as a member of its supervisory board, according to Reuters. The pay-TV group, a source told the news agency, expects to benefit from Murdoch’s international market and new technology savvy. Amid the phone-hakcing and bribery scandals at News Corp.’s UK press division last year, Murdoch left chairmanships at News International and at pay-TV group BSkyB, which News Corp. controls via its 39% stake. He also ankled the boards of Sotheby’s, GlaxoSmithKline and News Corp.’s UK print operations. But, he retained his board seat at BSkyB. News Corp. owns 54.8% of Sky Deutschland and if Murdoch does join the company board, he would be surrounded by News Corp. execs. COO Chase Carey, 20th Century Fox Television Distribution president Mark Kaner, News International CEO Thomas Mockridge and Europe & Asia COO Jan Koeppen are all members.
Shine America’s Rich Ross to Keynote at Australian Conference
Rich Ross, recently installed CEO of Shine America, will give the keynote address at the Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association conference March 14 in Sydney. Also due to speak are Barney Francis of the UK’s Sky Sports, Discovery Networks Intl. CEO Mark Hollinger, Foxtel Richard Freudenstein, and Viacom Media EVP Colleen Fahey Rush. – Don Groves
Benjamin Millepied To Run Paris Opera Ballet
Black Swan choreographer Benjamin Millepied has been named the new director of dance at the Paris Opera Ballet. He will take up his post at the historic Palais Garnier in Paris’ 9th arrondissement beginning September 2014. Millepied, who also danced in Darren Aronofsky’s Oscar-nominated Black Swan and met his wife Natalie Portman on the film, has spent most of his career in the U.S. and founded the L.A. Dance Project last year. He told The New York Times he would continue to work with the experimental group until he and Portman move to Paris. A notoriously intense ballet company, Palais Garnier’s troupe was the focus of a 2001 documentary, Etoiles: Dancers Of The Paris Opera Ballet, directed by Nils Tavernier.
Australia’s Nine Entertainment Seeks $700 Million U.S. Debt Facility
Nine Entertainment Co. CEO David Gyngell and advisers UBS are approaching U.S. lenders this week to set up a $700 million debt facility as part of the company’s recapitalization. Standard & Poor’s has given the proposed raising a preliminary BB credit rating with a stable outlook. According to local media, the ratings agency has given Nine the same rating for a separate $700 million senior secured term loan it aims to arrange in Australia. Existing creditors are due to meet on January 21 to approve a $3.4 billion debt-for-equity swap that will result in U.S. hedge funds Apollo Global Management and Oaktree Capital emerge as the controlling shareholders, replacing previous owner CVC Asia Pacific. Nine posted a $972 million loss in 2011-12, mostly due to asset write-downs, but the network saw a ratings resurgence last year, finishing No. 1 in prime-time in the key demos 25-54, 18-49 and 16-39 in the five capital cities, driven by The Voice, The Block and Big Brother. The new owners reportedly are planning an IPO within 18 months, which S&P said could lead to an improvement in its rating. –Don Groves
Gérard Depardieu Embraces Russia Citizenship Offer
Actor Gérard Depardieu has hailed Russia’s decision to grant him citizenship following a tax spat with the government of his native France. In an open letter broadcast on Russian TV Depardieu said, “I filed a passport application and I am pleased that it was accepted. I love your country, Russia — its people, its history, its writers. I love your culture, your intelligence.” The actor said he had spoken to French President Francois Hollande and told him Russia was “a great democracy, and not a country where the prime minister calls one of its citizens shabby” — referring to how French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault described Depardieu’s decision to leave the country. Depardieu’s tax feud began last year after Hollande moved to raise taxes to 75% for those earning more than €1M ($1.6M). The actor accused the new socialist government of punishing “success, creation and talent” and announced in early December he would move to Belgium. Wonder how he feels about Wild Bunch film sales exec Vincent Maraval’s remarks accusing French actors of abusing the nation’s generous film subsidy system and getting “rich from public funds”.
Larrikin Entertainment Boards Australian Thriller ‘The Reckoning’
Greg Coote’s LA-based Larrikin Entertainment has boarded its first Australian film, The Reckoning. Callan McAuliffe, who plays the young Jay Gatsby in Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, is set to star. Writer-director John V. Soto’s thriller focuses on a detective racing to find two teenage runaways who have video of a murderer. Filmscope Entertainment’s Deidre Kitcher tells Deadline pre-production will start in Perth in February, and with the rest of the cast to be announced later this month. Lightning Entertainment has worldwide sales rights excluding Australia. Coote and Larrikin partner David Calvert-Jones and exec Robert Lundberg will serve as exec producers. Kitcher raised funds from Screen West, private investors, the 40% producer offset and Lightning. Soto’s most recent pic Needle was released in the U.S. by Lionsgate. – Don Groves
BBC Worldwide president and managing director of sales and distribution, Steve Macallister, will exit the commercial arm of the pubcaster on March 31. The move comes as BBCWW is shifting the management of sales and distribution to the …
BBC Diversity Report: Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals “Still Relatively Invisible” On UK TV; ‘Doctor Who’, ‘Downton Abbey’ Praised
A BBC review of the portrayal of lesbian, gay and bisexual people across UK programming says, “the vast majority of audiences are comfortable” with their depiction. But some participants called for the corporation to be “bolder and more creative.” There is “a sense” from experts that “LGB people are still relatively invisible, especially lesbian women and bisexual people,” the BBC said. The report (read it here) surveyed about 3,500 viewers along with members of organizations including actors’ union, Equity, and the Lesbian and Gay Foundation.
Still, shows including the BBC’s Doctor Who and ITV drama Downton Abbey, in which footman Thomas has struggled with his sexuality, were praised for their inclusion of gay characters. A member of the anti-LGBT hate crime charity Galop noted, “Doctor Who quite often has a gay character in it but it isn’t always an issue or the plotline – it’s just incidental which has been quite nice.” The area of programming that was most criticized was News and Current Affairs. The way that issues are discussed on news programs is felt to be “unnecessarily and deliberately confrontational, giving too much time to homophobic viewpoints.”
The BBC’s Doctor Who is a not-at-all-guilty pleasure for a lot of people, and they always do a fine Christmas special. A couple of years back featured a truly brilliant take on A Christmas Carol. This year Jenna-Louise Coleman joins as (a temporarily moody and Scrooge-like Doctor) Matt Smith’s new …