The New Series (2003)

Last Alteration: Tuesday 22 August 2017


In the early hours of Friday 26th September 2003, an announcement was released by Lorraine Heggessey, Controller of BBC1 ... an announcement that Doctor Who fans had been eagerly anticipating for some thirteen years ... the Doctor is finally returning to our screens in 2005!


 Kate Moss? (3rd December 2003)
The model Kate Moss has started to take acting lessons, and has commented that: 'I would like to appear in a costume drama or something fun like Dr Who.', according to today's Metro newspaper.



 Bill Nighy (19th November 2003)
Bill Nighy recently commented on being considered for the role of the Doctor: "I've no idea about that," he says. "No-one's actually asked me. I did hear a ru mour, but that's as far as it goes. I don't know if I'd be up for it or not; it would depend on so many things really. And I haven't got around to thinking what kind of a doctor I would be - except I probably wouldn't wear a scarf."

  • ICWales report



  •  More Doctors! (10th October 2003)
    This weekend saw an article from the Waveguide on the bid by Australian actor/writer Chris Thomas to be the next Doctor. Knowing that he would be a longshot hasn't deterred Thomas from submitting his details to the BBC for consideration: "I'm adamant anything is possible and I'm more than ready for the challenge."

    The Sun on Monday (6th) reckons that actor Andrew Lincoln is the one tipped to helm the TARDIS. However, they do state that a spokesman for Lincoln pointed out that he hadn't been approached as yet.

    On the 9th a Coventry City fan website threw up a slightly different list of names, wondering how the likes of Gordon Strachan, Doug Ellis or Arsene Wenger would be in the role!

    Meanwhile, writer Russell T. Davies's personal favourite for the role, Bill Nighy, took on more weight, at least as far as The Sunday Times on the 5th was concerned. Arts Editor Richard Brooks reported that the BBC were also interested in the actor for the role, and that friends of Nighy said that he was keen to play it.

    This was 'confirmed' in the Daily Telegraph on the 9th with television presenter Richard Bacon commenting that Nighy is a 'shoo-in' for the role. He also mentioned that Mark Gatiss would also be writing episodes alongside Davies.



     Eddie Izzard unlikely, he says (9th October 2003)
    Eddie Izzard was interviewed by Radio One, where he expressed delight at being associated with the role, but thought it unlikely he'd actually get the part when the time comes.

    Says Izzard: Tom Baker threw my name up which was fantastic, it's a wonderful honour. I hadn't considered it, I didn't even know it was happening, and I don't think the BBC would want me. They'd probably rather spit on me and slap me about with fish. I'm really into doing my films and so 26 weeks is a big commitment and there are other people that are up for it that everyone else wants and I'm slightly more on the edge. I think the BBC would say: 'Well we want someone simpler and safer'. I think my breasts are too dangerous.



     Radio Times (7th October 2003)
    The new Radio Times features further information on the new series developments. As well as reiterating the Saturday in 2005 scheduling, the article also suggests at least six episodes in the series.

    Russell T. Davies says that the script for the series will be written from January, and that the plot comes first: There really is no-one in mind yet. Let's create the story that we want, and then cast it. We want to approach brilliant people, and we want to approach them with a script.



     Eddie Izzard as the Doctor? (6th October 2003)
    Former Doctor Who actor Tom Baker has been causing quite a stir this week, with his observations on who would be playing the Doctor in the new series!

    It all started off with an interview appearing in TV Plus (Teletext web site), where Tom indicated that he would favour comic actor Eddie Izzard in the role: "I think Eddie would be good as he's so strange, he looks like he has secrets. There is a benevolent alien quality to him.". He then went on to specify a suitable companion in former Sun Page Three girl Melinda Messenger: "Melinda would be good as she can scream and has bosoms. It doesn't really matter if she can act.". Upon a potential return to the series himself, he indicated he'd prefer to be the Master: "I want to play the villain instead of the goodie. Then the Doctor could say lines to me like, 'You look very familiar'."

    Since then, Tom has appeared on a number of television news and magazine programmes, including the BBC's on London News on Wednesday evening, where he first said that he was sworn to secrecy as to who the Doctor would be, but on very minimal interogation announced that Eddie had been cast. A number of papers picked up on this, leading to the BBC to point out that this is only speculation on Tom's part, and no decisions have been made yet!

    Listen to Tom:
  • Danny Baker Show, BBC Radio London, 3rd October

    Further Reading: <.li>SlashDot, 6th Oct
  • Melbourne Age, Australia, 3rd Oct
  • BBCi, 2nd Oct
  • GM.TV, 3rd Oct
  • Western Daily Press, 3rd Oct
  • Daily Record, 3rd Oct
  • The Age, Australia, 3rd Oct
  • Daily Mirror, 3rd Oct
  • The Scotsman, 2nd Oct
  • Sky News, 2nd Oct
  • The Sun, 2nd Oct
  • This Is London, 2nd Oct
  • Funny.Co.Uk, 2nd Oct
  • Radio One News, 2nd Oct
  • TV Plus, 1st Oct
  • Waveguide
  • Ananova
  • Cake of Death's Groovy News



  •  The News Review (4th October 2003)
    Since the news first broke in the early hours of Friday morning, a very large number of news and entertainment websites have taken up the story. What follows below is a compilation of all the various sites that we currently know about.

    THE UNITED KINGDOM

    The first detailed information about the series came from the BBC Press Office, their official Doctor Who web site, and BBCi news. Media-wise the first paper to cover the news was the Daily Telegraph - including front page news in the broadsheet that morning! Other major UK newspaper sites picked up on the news in due course: The Guardian, The Mirror The Sun, and the the London Standard.

    Elsewhere in the UK: Newspapers - Manchester Evening News; Scotland's Evening Times; Edinburgh's Evening News; Irish Examiner; News Sites - Sky News; News Wales; The Scotsman; The Register; Ananova; icWales; icCoventry; Other Interested Parties - Sci-Fi Online; Yahoo! TV; Games2XS (Manchester Online Gaming Site); UK.Gay.Com (Gay Interest Site); Waveguide

    Follow-ups on the news continued then over the weekend with: the Guardian taking a look at websites on the Doctor; The Independent welcomes the series back; the Telegraph printed a letter from DWAS's Coordinator Ian Wheeler on Russell T. Davies; the Daily Record chatting about Who in the old days; ` the Sunday Telegraph interviewing Paul McGann on his thoughts on who should play the Doctor; another item from Manchester News; and an article from Scotland on Sunday;

    Week beginning 29th September: The Guardian speculated on how a new series can succeed. (29th Sep); The Times quoted Paul McGann's comment from the weekend 4NI, Northern Ireland online news site (29th Sep); item from the Bristol Evening Post; Tom Baker citing Eddie Izzard for the Doctor on TV Plus, followed up by Ananova.in (1st Oct); Sue Carroll's column in the Mirroe references Ian Wheeler's letter to the Telegraph last Saturday (only online for 1st Oct)

    And finally, odds on who would take on the role of the Doctor were announced by gambling company William Hill, and this was reported on by Ananova and Read-A-Bet.

    NEWS AGENCY DISTRIBUTIONS

    Apart from the BBC's own sources, a number of newspapers and other news channels get their information from news feeds. Two of the most popular feeds are covered below, along with online sites that have referenced them in reporting the new series.
    Associated Press:

    LONDON (AP) - The Time Lord and his Tardis are coming back. A new series of the cult sci-fi TV series "Doctor Who" is in the works and will be on the screen within two years, the British Broadcasting Corp. said Friday.

    Details of who will play Doctor Who, the dashing Time Lord who uses a blue phone box-style device called the Tardis to travel through time, are a secret.

    "Doctor Who is one of the BBC's most exciting and original characters. He's had a rest and now it's time to bring him back," said Russell T. Davies, writer of the new series who is also responsible for hit TV dramas such as Channel 4's "Queer as Folk."

    "I grew up watching Doctor Who and hiding behind the sofa like so many others. The new series will be fun, exciting, contemporary and scary.

    "Although only in the early stages of development I'm aiming to write a full-blooded drama which embraces the Doctor Who heritage at the same time as introducing the character to a modern audience."

    One of the world's longest running science-fiction series, "Doctor Who" was screened in Britain from 1963 to 1989 with several actors playing the role, including William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker. The series sold around the world.

    Utlised by: Tri-City Herald (Columbia, US, 3rd Oct); Houston Chronicle, US Newspaper (30th Sep, 1:56pm); USA Today, US Newspaper (29th Sep, 9:31am); St. Louis Post Dispatch (29th Sep); Sioux City Journal (28th Sep); The Bakersfield Californian, US Newspaper (registered users) (27th Sep, 11:42); Utasan Online (Malaysia, 27th Sep); Tacoma News Tribune (Washington, US, 27th Sep); The Beaufort Gazette, US Newspaper (27th Sep); Yahoo! News (27th Sep) Las Vegas Sun (27th Sep) Yahoo News (27th Sep); Miami Herald (27th Sep); Daytona Beach News, US Newspaper (28th Sep); Seattle PI, US Newspaper (27th Sep, 7:38am) The Washington Post, US Newspaper (27th Sep, 10:38am); Melbourne Herald, Australia (27th Sep) KREM TV, US (27th Sep, 10:39am); Canada.Com (26th Sep) The Toronto Star, Canadian Newspaper (26th Sep, 5:58pm); CJAD, Canadian Radio Station (26th Sep, 11:55am); myTelus, Canadian (26th Sep); 620 KTAR, US Radio Station, Phoenix Arizona; CANOE, Canadian Service (26th Sep)
    Reuters: (English) (Italian) :

    LONDON (Reuters) - Legendary science fiction hero Doctor Who is time jumping once more, set to return to British television more than a decade after he disappeared into space, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) said on Friday.

    The cult series that aired from 1963-1989 to become the world's longest-running science fiction program will return in 2005, but details about the new shows are being kept secret.

    "The new series will be fun, exciting, contemporary and scary," series writer Russell T Davies said.

    "Although I'm only in the early stages of development, I'm aiming to write a full-blooded drama which embraces the Doctor Who heritage," he said.

    The original programs chronicled the adventures of eight Doctors and their many companions who battled countless foes -- human, alien and most notoriously the "Daleks" -- as they traveled through time and space in a time machine disguised as a police phone box.

    Doctor Who has also thrived in print and on stage and has spawned countless devotional web sites.

    A Doctor Who television movie was broadcast in 1996 and it returned to the Internet for a 30-minute web broadcast in 2001.

    William Hartnell played the first Doctor Who. The actor who will star as his latest incarnation has not been named.

    Utilised by: Yahoo News (26th Sep, 10:15am); CNN, US News Channel (26th Sep 6:03am); Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (26th Sep) MSNBC, Microsoft
    ELSEWHERE IN THE WORLD

    Newspapers - New York Post (US, 29th Sep); St. Louis Post-Dispatch (US, 29th Sep) The Hollywood Reporter (US, 29th Sep); ABC Tasmania News (Austrlia, 30th Sep); Other Interested Parties - Sci-Fi Channel (29th Sep); Ain't It Cool (26th Sep); Disinformation (26th Sep); The MediaDrome (26th Sep); Cinescape Television (26th Sep); Morons.Org (26th Sep); Coming Soon (26th Sep); Filmforce (who also speculated the return on the 18th); The Advocate, US Gay Magazine (30th Sep); Rainbow Network (Gay Interest)

    DISCUSSION FORUMS:
  • BBC Talking Point
  • It's Coming Back, Official Doctor Who Site Message Board
  • The New Doctor Who Series, Outpost Gallifrey forum
  • SlashDot

  • For other compilation news on the new series, visit the Outpost Gallifrey news pages.



     A Return To Saturday? (4th October 2003)
    BBC1 Controller Lorraine Heggessey has mentioned before that she wishes to restore Saturday evening entertainment to its former glory; as part of the line-up, Doctor Who might well return to its traditional Saturday early evening slot, at least according to the TV Cream e-magazine! You can read more about this from the latest edition on Yahoo.



     Eddie Izzard as the Doctor? (3rd October 2003)
    Former Doctor Who actor Tom Baker has been causing quite a stir this week, with his observations on who would be playing the Doctor in the new series!

    It all started off with an interview appearing in TV Plus (Teletext web site), where Tom indicated that he would favour comic actor Eddie Izzard in the role: "I think Eddie would be good as he's so strange, he looks like he has secrets. There is a benevolent alien quality to him.". He then went on to specify a suitable companion in former Sun Page Three girl Melinda Messenger: "Melinda would be good as she can scream and has bosoms. It doesn't really matter if she can act.". Upon a potential return to the series himself, he indicated he'd prefer to be the Master: "I want to play the villain instead of the goodie. Then the Doctor could say lines to me like, 'You look very familiar'."

    Since then, Tom has appeared on a number of television news and magazine programmes, including the BBC's on London News on Wednesday evening, where he first said that he was sworn to secrecy as to who the Doctor would be, but on very minimal interogation announced that Eddie had been cast. A number of papers picked up on this, leading to the BBC to point out that this is only speculation on Tom's part, and no decisions have been made yet!

    See also:
  • BBCi, 2nd Oct
  • GM.TV, 3rd Oct
  • Western Daily Press, 3rd Oct
  • Daily Record, 3rd Oct
  • The Age, Australia, 3rd Oct
  • Daily Mirror, 3rd Oct
  • The Scotsman, 2nd Oct
  • Sky News, 2nd Oct
  • The Sun, 2nd Oct
  • This Is London, 2nd Oct
  • Funny.Co.Uk, 2nd Oct
  • Radio One News, 2nd Oct
  • TV Plus, 1st Oct
  • Waveguide
  • Ananova
  • Cake of Death's Groovy News



  •  Should Doctor Who be reincarnated as a Time Lady? (28th September 2003)
    Thus introduces an article in the Sunday Telegraph featuring the thoughts of the 'current' Doctor, Paul McGann.

    In the article, Paul continues the tradition of an actress taking up the role: "I think it's high time that Doctor Who was a woman. There is nothing in the stories to say that the Time Lord can't be female." Citing actresses like Dame Maggie Smith or Diana Rigg's daughter Rachel Stirling, he would like to: "see the Doctor as diva, rather than being played by some dippy, wide-eyed girl."

    He also goes on to mention James Nesbitt as someone he expected to be cast, due to him being a ratings winner from the series Cold Feet, though he would like to see a black actor such as Chjwetel Ejiofor in the role.

    You can find the full article from the Telegraph website.



     Who will be the Doctor? (27th September 2003)
    BBC Radio 4's Today programme featured Clayton Hickman (DWM) and John Little (The Standard) chatting to John Humphries and Sarah Montague; during the conversation Clayton mentioned that Russell T. Davies's favourite for the role would be actor Bill Nighy - most recently seen on television like State of Play and Auf Wiedersehn Pet. and currently in UK cinemas in the film Underworld.

    Meanwhile, speculation continues on who might take on the mantle of the role; the favourite coming out of BBC Breakfast television on Friday (26th) was Jonathan Creek star Alan Davies, who is also tipped at number one (8-1) by William Hill; second listed by them is the 'ninth Doctor' Richard E. Grant (14-1), followed by Sean Pertwee and Patrick Stewart (16-1).

    No doubt there'll be several more names appearing in the local press over the next few days/weeks/months until the series finally enters full production!



     BBC Press Release (26th September 2003)
    Doctor Who returns to BBC ONE

    Doctor Who, one of the BBC's best-loved and most enduring characters, is set to return to BBC ONE, it was confirmed last night by Lorraine Heggessey, Controller of BBC ONE.

    Heggessey said that all rights issues regarding Doctor Who have been resolved and that she has green-lit scripts from award-winning writer Russell T Davies.

    It is far too early in the day to discuss possible storylines, characters, villains or who might play the Time Lord - it is unlikely anything will be on screen for at least two years.

    Doctor Who will be produced by BBC Wales in conjunction with Mal Young, Controller of BBC Continuing Series.

    The executive producers will be Mal Young, Russell T Davies and Julie Gardner, Head of Doctorama BBC Wales.

    Russell T Davies's writing credits include Bob and Rose, Queer as Folk, The Second Coming, Touching Evil (with Paul Abbott) and The Grand.

    Mal Young says: "Doctor Who is a much-loved, truly iconic piece of television history. It's time to crank up the Tardis and find out what lies in store for The Doctor.

    "We're thrilled to have a writer of Russell's calibre to take us on this journey. However, we're at the very first stages of development and further details, including casting, will not be available for some time."

    Writer Russell T Davies, who grew up in Swansea and lives in Manchester, says: "I grew up watching Doctor Who, hiding behind the sofa like so many others. Doctor Who is one of the BBC's most exciting and original characters. He's had a good rest and now it's time to bring him back!

    "The new series will be fun, exciting, contemporary and scary. Although I'm only in the early stages of development, I'm aiming to write a full-blooded Doctorama which embraces the Doctor Who heritage, at the same time as introducing the character to a modern audience."

    No budget has been set for the new series; the number of episodes and their duration is under discussion. It will be a family show, but no details are available as to when it will be scheduled.



     BBC Wales Press Release (26th September 2003)
    BBC Wales to bring Dr Who back to TV

    BBC Wales is to produce the television comeback of Dr Who - the world famous science fiction series - for BBC One.

    A new series will be written by Swansea-born dramatist Russell T. Davies - the man behind hit dramas including Bob and Rose, Queer as Folk, The Second Coming, Touching Evil and The Grand.

    Julie Gardner, Head of Drama BBC Wales - who will act as executive producer alongside Russell T. Davies and Mal Young, Controller of BBC Continuing Series - said: "Russell is one of Wales's leading TV writers. It will be a thrill for BBC Wales to work with him on such a landmark TV series. This is very early days and it is unlikely anything will be on screen for at least two years but it is very exciting and I can't wait to get started."

    Russell T. Davies said: "I grew up watching Dr Who, hiding behind the sofa like so many others. Dr Who is one of the BBC's most exciting and original characters. He's had a good rest and now it's time to bring him back!

    "The new series will be fun, exciting, contemporary and scary. Although I'm only in the early stages of development, I'm aiming to write a full-blooded drama which embraces the Dr Who heritage, at the same time as introducing the character to a modern audience."

    Mal Young said: "Dr Who is a much-loved, truly iconic piece of television history. It's time to crank up the tardis and find out what lies in store for the Doctor. We're thrilled to have a writer of Russell's calibre to take us on this journey. However, we're at the very early stages of development and further details, including casting, will not be available for some time."

    The BBC says it is far too early in the day to discuss possible storylines, characters, villains or who might play Dr Who and no budget has yet been set. It will be a family show, but no details are available on when it will be scheduled or the number and length of episodes.



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