TV science-fiction: The origin of ‘Doctor Who’

Tom Marcinko @ 19-11-2008

For those of us who like to know where things came from, the BBC Archive Project has posted some amazing memos and reports revealing the thought processes that led to Doctor Who. Typewritten pages with skeptical scrawls reveal conversations with Brian Aldiss and Kingsley Amis. (Imagine such a consultation today.) Wondering if sf could work on tv at all, the network looked at stories like Poul Anderson’s Guardians of Time and C.L. Moore’s “No Woman Born” as possible projects. They almost went with “The Troubleshooters,” about a consulting firm that dealt with otherworldly events. The archive also includes the initial proposal for the series, as well as the (mixed) audience reaction for the first episode of the series that (some of us) know and love.

[Story tip: SF Signal; William Hartnell as the first Doctor, BBC]


The secret life of shipping containers

Paul Raven @ 09-09-2008

shipping containers at VancouverNothing represents the ubiquity of global trade better than the humble metal shipping container, the industrial-scale use of which celebrates its fiftieth birthday this year.

The BBC, in one of their more adventurous and off-beat moments, have decided to crack the locks on containerised shipping with a year-long investigative project, prosaically entitled “The Box”. Basically, they’ve painted the BBC logo on a shipping container, fitted it with GPS, and set up an online map where you can follow its progress around the world over land and sea.

It’s not just a hollow gesture either – the container will actually be used for carrying real cargoes, so we’ll get to watch world trade in action. That said, it might be a bit more exciting to watch in high speed once the project is over…

All I want to know now is which bright spark at the Beeb has been reading Spook Country? [hat-tip to Asgrim; image by sporkist]