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Week of December 3, 2001

George Harrison, 1943-2001. The "Quiet Beatle," George Harrison, succumbed after a long battle with cancer on Thursday, November 29th. Renowned for writing numerous Beatles hits including Something and Here Comes The Sun, Harrison was also the first to launch a solo career by releasing the triple album All Things Must Pass within a year of the group's split, consisting of numerous songs that hadn't made the cut with the rest of the Fab Four for whatever reason - and All Things immediately became a best seller. Harrison's solo career continued, reaching its peak in 1987 with the Jeff Lynne-produced hit album Cloud Nine. Harrison and Lynne later formed the Traveling Wilburys with Tom Petty, Bob Dylan and Roy Orbison. Harrison also founded Handmade Films to help his friends in the Monty Python troupe complete production of the controversial Biblical spoof Monty Python's Life Of Brian (which had met with major studio opposition due to its subject matter); Handmade Films later turned out Time Bandits and other cult classics under Harrison's guidance. At the time of his death, Harrison was said to be working on a new solo album - his first since Cloud Nine - and had also completed a new single with Jules Shear which, ominously, was credited to "R.I.P. Ltd. 2001" for copyright and publishing purposes.

Mary Whitehouse, 1910-2001. A woman who has been known for many years for her insistent outcries against sex and violence on British television - including a years-long war of words with various producers of BBC-TV's Doctor Who - died at the age of 91 on Friday, November 23rd (coincidentally, the 38th anniversary of Doctor Who's first broadcast). Many a Who producer has quietly echoed the thoughts of John Nathan-Turner, who has been known to say that he'd pray at night that Ms. Whitehouse would protest loudly about a recent episode of the show because it would draw public attention (and maybe ratings). Ms. Whitehouse is survived by three sons. Source:

Man overboard from Andromeda. Talk about gratitude. Robert Hewitt Wolfe, former producer (and writer of many memorable episodes) of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, has been thrown overboard from Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda by none other than the star of the show himself, Kevin Sorbo. (Sorbo is also an executive producer on the show.) A statement from Sorbo calls Wolfe "a genius," but then stops just short of blaming some of the show's ratings struggles on Wolfe's intricate, long-term story arcs, preferring a formula with more stand-alone episodes, more focus on Sorbo's character (now there's a shocker), less angst, and more action. There's no word on where Wolfe will land next.

Who's in print? And will he stay that way? Recent developments have some Doctor Who fans doubting the future of their favorite Time Lord - and his companions - in printed form. Big Finish Productions, which has been alternating Bernice Summerfield audio adventures and novels, has announced that the novels will be vanishing entirely in 2002, leaving only bi-monthly audio CDs. (A hardcover compilation of Bernice short stories, edited by creator Paul Cornell, is still in the works for summer 2002.) Even more troubling is SFX Magazine's recent report that the BBC Books is conducting a review of its Doctor Who novel range due to falling sales figures, though such high-profile writers as Justin Richards and David McIntee have denied the accuracy of that report. Source: Outpost Gallifrey

Time runs out on free Star Wars fan sites. The popular hosting service has fallen to the dark side of the economy. The service, sponsored by Homestead and Lucasfilm, will be dropping all of its' members sites as of December 20th. Lucasfilm has encouraged fans to relocate their sites to other services - provided, of course, that they still meet the copyright-oriented guidelines that all sites had to meet to qualify for free hosting. Source: Official Star Wars web site

Great power, great responsibility, Great War? Maybe not. J. Michael Straczynski isn't working any Babylon 5 references into his new gig as the head writer on Marvel Comics' Amazing Spider-Man comic, but he has already made his mark. In fact, Marvel's releasing a collected edition of his first few issues (mere months after their original publication). seems to be a little confused on the title; originally announced as Transformations, the book has more recently been given the title of Coming Home.

The Amazing Spider-Man: Coming Home
by J. Michael Straczynski

When last week's DVD of the Week, Doctor Who And The Daleks, premiered in British theaters, kids were underwhelmed. They wanted the Daleks to be more vicious! They wanted more killing! And Amicus Films heard the audience's pain, delivering a sequel - still starring Peter Cushing and Roberta Tovey - with more Dalek-induced devastation than anything that had ever been allowed on television up to that point. Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. has been remastered and is now available in a crisp anamorphic widescreen transfer on DVD, complete with a commentary and behind-the-scenes documentary. It may not necessarily be "official" Doctor Who, but it sure can exterminate a couple of hours from your life and entertain you at the same time.

Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150 A.D.

Doctor Who six-parters to make a one-off return? We all remember six-part Doctor Who stories, right? A lot of running around, getting captured, escaping, running around some more, and generally padding things out to make sure the show's budget was amortized over six half-hour episodes instead of the more traditional four. Producer John Nathan-Turner dropped six-parters from the Doctor Who format in the 1980s, but now it looks like Big Finish might bring the format time only (whew). For the 40th anniversary of the series premiere in 2003, Big Finish may issue a three-CD adventure (presumably in the anniversary month of November), which may also be the first multi-Doctor outing to feature Paul McGann. Source: Outpost Gallifrey

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