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Tuesday 02 Sep 2014

Press Release

BBC announces one-off mini-episode of Doctor Who

Doctor Who

A special, one-off mini-episode of Doctor Who starring Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith will be shown on BBC Three this Autumn.

The bonus episode, Death Is The Only Answer, has been confirmed as fans of the show eagerly await the start of the new Doctor Who series. The three-minute spin off has been specially written by children from a school in Basingstoke after they entered a BBC Learning and Doctor Who Confidential competition earlier this year.

The journey of how their mini-adventure goes from script to screen will be documented on Doctor Who Confidential, BBC Three, from Saturday 27 August at 8pm with the winning episode shown on Saturday 1 October. Details of the script, are a closely guarded secret but it includes a well known historical figure and a fez!

The pupils, from Oakley CE Junior School, travelled to the BBC Studios in Cardiff for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see their script brought to life by the Doctor Who team and cast. The ultimate prize was getting to meet the Doctor himself, Matt Smith.

After meeting the pupils and filming the episode Matt Smith said: "It was so clever, we were all just bowled over, it was a brilliant script."

Doctor Who Confidential was there to record the meeting and show how Oakley Junior School's script was developed from paper to television screen – from the first script meeting, a cast read-through, on-set filming all the way to the final edit.

They entered the BBC Learning and Doctor Who Confidential Script to Screen competition launched in April. It was aimed at Upper Primary school pupils (1) and involved them writing a three-minute script that takes the resident Time Lord on a new quest travelling through space and time inside the TARDIS.

The competition encouraged children to be as creative and imaginative as possible, to put together a story filled with all the excitement and adventure of the popular BBC One sci-fi drama. The action-packed script had to feature Matt Smith and could include one of four fearsome monsters from the show: Ood, Judoon, Cyberman or Weeping Angel, as well as a brand-new human character to test the wits of the Doctor.

Viewers will have to wait and see which monster and human the pupils chose to include.

Year Six teacher Kevin Downing, from Oakley Junior School, said the pupils involved in the project were over the moon at winning: "Getting the call to say the pupils were on the shortlist of ten was an unbelievable moment – the thought that Steven Moffat himself would be reading their script! As for winning, it was the experience of a lifetime and one we'll never forget."

BBC Learning and Doctor Who Confidential were overwhelmed by the response to the competition with 290,000 downloads of the online teaching resources. Teachers reported that the competition proved a very good tool for teaching literacy and writing skills.

Steven Moffat, Head Writer at Doctor Who, said: "I loved the shortlisted scripts, there was so much skill and enthusiasm on display that it was actually genuinely, very, very difficult to judge. There was some really, really skilled writing, it was very exciting how they caught the voice of the Doctor and how they used the always stringent limitations of Doctor Who to their advantage.

"I come from a family of teachers, I was a teacher, my father's a teacher, my sister's a teacher. We go back teacher generations so it's hard wired for me to want the approval of teachers, so I'm very, very thrilled that its gone down so well with the schools that took part."

The winning script was chosen by Steven Moffat; Controller of BBC Learning, Saul Nassé; and executive producers of Doctor Who, Piers Wenger and Beth Willis.

Controller of BBC Learning, Saul Nassé, said: "We've been delighted by the response from schools to the competition. We really wanted to motivate children to learn new writing skills and create the next generation of storytellers. Schools have really engaged in the competition and the standard of the writing has shown us that there is a wealth of talent out there which we have been able to tap into and hopefully encourage in the future. It's a great example of a really popular BBC show inspiring people do something truly educational."

Specially recorded video challenges from the main cast, lesson plans and sample scripts were just a few of the tailored primary resources available on the BBC Learning website to help guide teachers and pupils through the process.

Notes to editors

(1) The following primary school years could participate in the Script to Screen competition:
Years 5 and 6 in England and Wales
Years P5 and P6 in Northern Ireland
Primary years 6 and 7 in Scotland

KW/CR

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