Eccleston talks About Doctor WhoBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 20 March 2018 - Reported by Marcus
Christopher Eccleston (Credit: Getty Images)Christopher Eccleston has been talking to the media about his time on Doctor Who, explaining some of the circumstances of his departure.

The actor has told Radio Times how difficult he found making the series, revealing that there was a breakdown of trust between the show's producers, including Russell T Davies, and himself as early as the first period of filming.
My relationship with my three immediate superiors, the showrunner, the producer, and co-producer, broke down irreparably during the first block of filming and it never recovered. They lost trust in me and I lost faith trust and belief in them.
Eccleston left the series at the end of the first year, with his departure announced shortly after the first episode aired, but the circumstances of his departure have always been a subject of much speculation. Until now neither the actor or the production team have given their take on the issues involved.

Eccleston admitted some of the problems may have been caused by his taking on a role very different to any he hat attempted before.
Some of my anger about the situation came from my own insecurity. They employed somebody who was not a natural light comedian.

I think that if you're setting up a huge series like that the director has to be impeccable in setting the tone. Billie [Piper], who we know was and is brilliant, was very, very nervous and very, very inexperienced. So, you had that, and then you had me. Very, very experienced, possibly the most experienced on it, but out of my comfort zone.
When Eccleston left the series the BBC put out a statement saying the actor had left after fearing becoming typecast, a statement later retracted with an apology from the Corporation to the actor for not consulting him prior to issuing the statement.

Eccleston himself has never talked about his departure until now, saying he wanted to concentrate on the fact he had played the part rather than on his reasons for leaving.
When I left, I gave my word to [then-showrunner] Russell T Davies that I wouldn’t do anything to damage the show. But they did things to damage me. I didn’t criticise anybody. I didn't issue a statement.
He told the Guardian last week that the BBC had tried to damage his career.
I gave them a hit show and I left with dignity and then they put me on a blacklist. I was carrying my own insecurities as it was something I had never done before and then I was abandoned, vilified in the tabloid press and blacklisted. I was told by my agent at the time: ‘The BBC regime is against you. You’re going to have to get out of the country and wait for regime change. So I went away to America and I kept on working because that’s what my parents instilled in me. My dad always said to me: ‘I don’t care what you do – sweeping the floor or whatever you’re doing – just do the best job you can.’ I know it’s cliched and northern and all that bollocks, but it applies
Eccleston said that his relationship with Russell T Davies, who he previously worked with on the 2003 series The Second Coming, had been destroyed by the experiences on Doctor Who saying that he “never will have” a working relationship with the screenwriter again.

Eccleston was speaking ahead of the release of his new series, the BBC One drama Come Home.




50th Anniversary Script Starring Eccleston to be publishedBookmark and Share

Saturday, 10 February 2018 - Reported by Marcus
A Second Target for Tommy (Credit: Nigel Parkinson / Obverse Books)
One of the most intreguing 'what-ifs' of the modern era of Doctor Who, could be solved with the publication of a new book from Obverse Books.

Doctor Who's 50th Anniversary was marked by the television story The Day of The Doctor, which starred David Tennant and Matt Smith and the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors, but also featured John Hurt as the War Doctor, the missing incarnation of the Doctor.

What is not so well known is that the original hope of the producers was to reunite the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors with their Ninth incarnation played by Christopher Eccleston

Eccleston declined to feature in the story, but not before scripts were written by showrunner Steven Moffat. Excerpts from these scripts are now to be released as part of a new charity book.

The Second Target for Tommy is a charity book designed to raise money for Tommy Donbavand, a writer who having overcome throat cancer, developed a tumor in his lung. As a result, he continues to be unable to do the school visits which previously generated much of the income needed to support his family.

As well as including the draft script for the Christopher Eccleston scene in Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary Special, Day of the Doctor, the book will feature stories from over two dozen writers.

Every penny of profit raised will go to support Donbavand while he works on making a full recovery.

The book is a sequel to A Target for Tommy, released in August 2016

More about Donbavand's battle with Cancer can be found on his blogTommy vs Cancer

The new book can be ordered from Obverse Books.




Christopher Eccleston to play MacbethBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 12 September 2017 - Reported by Marcus
Ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston is to play Macbeth in the 2018 summer season for the Royal Shakespeare Company.

The actor is to make his RSC debut playing the Scottish King at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-Upon-Avon, in the season which runs from 13 March until 18 September 2018.

In joining the RSC the actor follows in the footsteps of Tenth Doctor David Tennant, who played Hamlet in 2008 season at Stratford. Eccleston himself played Hanlet in the 2004 West Yorkshire Playouse production of the play.

The contemporary production of what is described as Shakespeare’s darkest psychological thriller, will be directed by Polly Findlay and will also star Niamh Cusack as Lady Macbeth.

The actor actively sought the role according to RSC artistic director Gregory Doran
Christopher Eccleston rang and said 'I know you're going through all the plays in the canon, when you get to Macbeth can I play him please?
The production will be broadcast live to cinemas on April 11th, 2018

Priority Booking opens from 25 September. Public booking opens on 23 October on the RSC website.




Jodie Whittaker tells of the Excitement of being cast as The DoctorBookmark and Share

Monday, 7 August 2017 - Reported by Marcus
Jodie Whittaker has talked about her reaction to being cast as the thirteenth Doctor.

It was incredibly emotional... I'm about to play an alien, a time-Lord, as a girl.... The fans are the most creative and enthusiastic people and it's so exciting to be part of that.
The actress was talking to BBC 6 Music in her first broadcast interview since her casting was revealed. She described her excitment for the new series led by Chris Chibnall, who worked with Whittaker on Broadchurch.

The best thing about this part is that every script will be brand new and something that I can genuinely say I've never done this before.
Whittaker said she had not seen a lot of the reaction to her casting as she is not on any kind of social media, so she has only seen what friends had sent her. One clip she has seen is the reaction to her casting by a young girl in a clip which went viral.
Seeing things like that are really exciting.... If you grow up watching adventures films and TV Shows, that belief that anything is possible, this is the job to do. And I get to do it. And that was not in the realm of possibility ever growing up.
Whittaker said she had spoken to a few of the other actors who have played the role and the overwhelming advice was to enjoy the exciting adventure she was embarking on. No person plays the part the same.

The interview was to promote the new BBC One series Trust Me, which starts on 8 August. where she stars as Cath Hardacre, a nurse who loses her job after she turns whistle-blower - and then steals her friend's identity as a senior doctor in an Edinburgh hospital.

Jodie Whittaker has also been talking to BBC News about the new role.





Chris Chibnall Becomes A DoctorBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 19 July 2017 - Reported by Marcus
Incoming Doctor Who Showrunner Chris Chibnall has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Edge Hill University.

The award for, services to Literature, was made on Monday 17th July. In a video released by the University, Chibnall talked about how it felt to receive the award and his aspirations for Doctor Who.





Timeline to Series ElevenBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 1 February 2017 - Reported by Marcus
Chris ChibnallBBC Sources have indicated that next year's series of Doctor Who, the first with the thirteenth Doctor, will be broadcast in the Autumn of 2018.

New showrunner Chris Chibnall is currently still working on season three of his ITV crime drama Broadchurch , which is currently being edited and will premiere in the UK on 27 February.

Chibnall told RadioTimes.com that he has not yet been able to fully dedicate himself to Doctor Who. After finishing work on Broadchurch he intends to take a holiday before launching into Doctor Who.

Chibnall will lead the team searching for the new Doctor, although the choice will need to be agreed by the BBC director of content Charlotte Moore and head of drama and former Doctor Who Executive Producer Piers Wenger. It is expected that a new Doctor will not be announced before the Autumn, with the new Doctor making their debut at the end of the 2017 Christmas Special.

Sources told RadioTimes that the first Chibnall series will begin filming at the start of 2018 for transmission in the Autumn.

Series 10 of Doctor Who, the last full series starring Peter Capaldi. is currently in production and will begin transmission on 15th April.




Current CompetitionsBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 31 January 2017 - Reported by Marcus
A roundup of competitions that readers may enter over the next couple of weeks:

BBC Audio: The Pirate Planet

Jon Culshaw reads the brand new novelisation of a classic Doctor Who adventure by Douglas Adams. The hugely powerful Key to Time has been split into six segments, all of which have been disguised and hidden throughout time and space. Now the even more powerful White Guardian wants the Doctor to find the pieces. With the first segment successfully retrieved, the Doctor, Romana and K9 trace the second segment of the Key to the planet Calufrax. But when they arrive at exactly the right point in space, they find themselves on exactly the wrong planet – Zanak. Ruled by the mysterious ‘Captain’, Zanak is a happy and prosperous planet. Mostly. If the mines run out of valuable minerals and gems then the Captain merely announces a New Golden Age and they fill up again. It’s an economic miracle – so obviously something’s very wrong...
The Pirate Planet (audiobook) (Credit: BBC Audio)To be in with a chance to win the audiobook courtesy of BBC Audio, simply answer the following question:
Name another pirate captain encountered by the Doctor in the television series.
Please send your answers along with your name, address and where you heard about the competition (news site, news app, other website, etc.) to comp-pirateplanet@doctorwhonews.net with the subject "Howdy!". The competition is open worldwide, closing date 12th February 2017. Only one entry per household will be accepted.

BBC Audio: The Lost Angel

Kerry Shale reads an exciting original story featuring the 12th Doctor, as played on TV by Peter Capaldi, in an adventure with the Weeping Angels. All Alex Yow wants is to become a photo-journalist and break her first story. All Brandon Yow wants is for his sister to keep out of trouble and come home. But that’s not going to happen, because Alex has taken a picture of a statue. A statue that can move. A statue that makes people disappear. A statue that is hunting them down. In upstate New York, the Doctor is chasing weird energies that should not exist. Teaming up with Alex and Brandon, he discovers a powerful force enslaved to another’s will. Who controls the lonely assassin that prowls the streets? What secrets are the residence of Rickman hiding? And will Alex and Brandon survive the night of the Weeping Angels?
The Lost Angel (Credit: BBC Audio)To be in with a chance to win the audiobook courtesy of BBC Audio, simply answer the following question:
What was an older name for the Weeping Angels?
Please send your answers along with your name, address and where you heard about the competition (news site, news app, other website, etc.) to comp-lostangel@doctorwhonews.net with the subject "This is still our planet". The competition is open worldwide, closing date 12th February 2017. Only one entry per household will be accepted.

Audio Download: The Fourth Doctor Adventures: The Beast of Kravenos

A stunning new star act is wowing the audiences of the New Regency Theatre. The modern mechanical marvel of canny canine charisma - the automated dog that can answer any question - the incomparable - the unbeatable - K9! The Doctor and Romana have returned to Victorian London and been reunited with their old friends Professor George Litefoot and Henry Gordon Jago. However this is not merely a social visit. A terrifying crime spree is sweeping the capital, and the burglaries of 'The Knave' defy all logic. Something impossibly dangerous is taking place amid the fog. Only the time travellers and their friends can stop it... but can they be sure they're all on the same side?
The Fourth Doctor Adventures: The Beast f Kravenos (Credit: Big Finish)To be in with a chance to win a digital download of the audio adventure courtesy of Big Finish, simply answer the following question:
What was the name of the theatre Jago owned when he first met the Doctor?
Please send your answer along with your name and the email address you have registered with Big Finish, plus where you heard about the competition (news site, news app, other website, etc.) to comp-bf4d1@doctorwhonews.net with the subject "Dash me optics!". The competition is open worldwide, closing date 12th February 2017. Note: entrants must have an active registration with Big Finish in order to be eligible to receive the prize - new registrations can be easily created on the website for free and with no financial obligation.

Blu-ray: The Power of the Daleks

The Power of The Daleks (blu-ray steelbook) (Credit: BBC Worldwide)
Animated restoration of all six episodes from the 1966 serial of the BBC sci-fi show starring Patrick Troughton as the Second Doctor. The Doctor has regenerated into a new, younger self and while his companions come to terms with this sudden change, they make a terrible discovery at the human colony on the planet Vulcan. What the colonists had thought mere machines reveal their sinister intentions.
To be in with a chance to win the blu-ray, simply answer the following question:
Name the first story to be released that had its missing episodes replaced by animation.
Please send your answers along with your name, address and where you heard about the competition (news site, news app, other website, etc.) to comp-powerbluray@doctorwhonews.net with the subject "Absolute Power!". The competition is open to UK readers only, closing date 12th February 2017. Only one entry per household will be accepted.

Blu-ray: Class

Class (blu-ray) (Credit: BBC Worldwide)
"Time has looked at your faces now. And time never forgets..." It's a new term at Coal Hill Academy, and students are preparing for their Autumn Prom. But when the school comes under attack from deadly monsters, four alienated students must form an unlikely alliance to defeat them. Like all teenagers, these four students have hidden secrets and desires. They are facing their own worst fears, navigating a life of friends, parents, school work, sex, sorrow - and possibly the end of existence. And this incursion is only the beginning... Charlie, April, Ram and Tanya, under the watchful eye of Physics teacher Miss Quill, are now charged with a great responsibility by the mysterious alien known as The Doctor: protect Coal Hill and guard against the creatures of nightmare that want nothing more than to find a way through to Earth and take it for their own.
To be in with a chance to win the blu-ray (or DVD if preferred), simply answer the following question:
Where is the location of another well-known "rift" in the United Kingdom?
Please send your answers along with your name, address and where you heard about the competition (news site, news app, other website, etc.) to comp-classbluray@doctorwhonews.net with the subject "Here, miss!". The competition is open to UK readers only, closing date 12th February 2017. Only one entry per household will be accepted.




Share The OrangeBookmark and Share

Sunday, 7 February 2016 - Reported by Marcus
Ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston fronts the latest campaign from Alzheimer’s Research UK #sharetheorange.

The project features stop motion animation from award winning studio Aardman, to demonstrate how the diseases that cause dementia, most commonly Alzheimer’s, physically attack the brain. Through damage caused by the disease, the brain of a person with Alzheimer’s can weigh around 140 grams less than a healthy brain – about the weight of an orange.

Eccleston, whose father Ronnie died with vascular dementia following a 14-year battle with the disease, said
We have to think differently about dementia. We have to stop believing dementia is an inevitability; something that simply happens to us all as we grow older. If we don’t, we’re never going to truly fight it.

Dementia is caused by diseases and diseases can be beaten. We’ve tamed diseases like cancer and heart disease and a diagnosis of either is no longer a certain death sentence. People with dementia deserve this same hope. This film aims to show that dementia is caused by physical processes that scientists can put a stop to.

While scientists fight dementia in the lab, by sharing the film anyone can fight the misunderstanding and fatalism that surrounds dementia in our society.




Doctor Who - The Ten Christmas SpecialsBookmark and Share

Thursday, 1 October 2015 - Reported by Chuck Foster
BBC Worldwide have announced a new boxed set of Doctor Who adventures, this time featuring the Christmas Specials that have aired so far...

Doctor Who: The Ten Christmas Specials (Credit: BBC Worldwide)Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without Doctor Who! Doctor Who - The Ten Christmas Specials marks the tenth anniversary of the Timelord’s return and this special limited edition boxset contains all ten Christmas Specials, plus a set of five graphically illustrated Christmas Cards, an exclusive bonus feature fronted by Rufus Hound which features personal reflections from Peter Capaldi and Steven Moffat and a souvenir booklet.

In this action-packed box-set, featuring Christmas specials starring Tenth Doctor David Tennant, Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith and Twelfth Doctor Peter Capaldi, the Doctor must save the world from an array of monsters including Killer Santas, The Sycorax, Rachnoss, The Wooden King & Queen and The Dream Crabs.

The set is out in the United Kingdom on DVD and Blu-Ray from 19th October.




Eccleston talks WhoBookmark and Share

Saturday, 18 April 2015 - Reported by Marcus
Christopher Eccleston has been talking about his time on Doctor Who in a rare interview on BBC Radio 4.

Eccleston was appearing on the Saturday evening discussion programme Loose Ends, primarily to promote his role in Safe House, a four-part drama on ITV from 20 April.

Eccleston was interviewed by Emma Freud in a wide ranging talk about his career. When asked about Doctor Who, he told Freud how he had put himself forward for the role.
I approached Russell T Davies and said I know you are going to do this and I think you should think about me.... I wanted to do something for children, I wanted to learn a lighter way of being.
Freud asked him if he felt he had succeeded.
I think I over pitched the comedy. If I had my time again I would do the comedy very differently. But I think, where I possibly succeeded was in the tortured stuff.
So why did he leave?
What's interesting in this country is that wherever a story like this emerges they concentrate on the negative. I dont think it's important why I left, I think it's important that I did it in the first place.
Freud pushed the point saying it was a big shock to fans when he left, and he had been so successful in the role he could still be playing it now.
Well I'm still there in spirit....... Myself and three individuals at the very top of the pyramid clashed, so off I went. But they are are not here to say their side of it, so I'm not going to go into details.
The full programme can be heard worldwide on the BBC iPlayer for the next four weeks.




Doctor UpdateBookmark and Share

Monday, 13 April 2015 - Reported by Marcus
Gypsy Recording
Peter Davison, who celebrates his 64th birthday today, is currently appearing in London's West End in the revival of the Musical Gypsy.

Davison plays Herbie in the show, which is based upon the memoirs of the stripper Gypsy Rose Lee, and which is currently previewing at London's Savoy Theatre. The cast is led by BAFTA award winning actress Imelda Staunton who was asked to take on the role of Rose by the play's lyricist Stephen Sondheim, after he saw Staunton's performance as Mrs Lovett in the 2012 production of Sweeney Todd.

The show's cast album, featuring Davison, is released on 27th April.

Davison will take time off from the show to host Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular’s UK tour this May.

NB The first London production of Gypsy in 1973, starring Angela Lansbury, featured a 9 year old Bonnie Langford in the role of Baby June.

Fortitude, the psychological thriller television series starring Christopher Eccleston, has been renewed for a second 10-part series.

The series, which also stars Michael Gambon airs in the UK on Sky Atlantic, where the first episode was watched by more than 2.5m people and is the channels most successful original commission.




Ten Years on - The Trip of a LifetimeBookmark and Share

Thursday, 26 March 2015 - Reported by Marcus
It was ten years ago today, on the 26th March 2005, that Doctor Who was reborn, in a new century, with a new Doctor, for a new generation.

In 2005 the series had been absent from British television screens for most of the previous fifteen years. "Rested" in 1989, the series was a nostalgic memory to a generation who grew up in the 60's, 70's and 80's. To some it was remembered with derision, talk of shaky sets and implausible monsters was apparent when the series was mentioned. But to others it was remembered with great affection, engendering warm feelings of affection with memories of winter evenings spent in the company of childhood friends.

When the series was dropped from the schedules it had very few friends at the top of the BBC. The series was considered past it, had run its course, and was yesterday's news. Very few thought it would ever return. In 1996 an attempt was made to relaunch the series in America. The 90 minute TV movie made by Fox was reasonably well received, but not successful enough for the producers to commission further episodes. To many this was the final nail in the coffin. The series was dead, it would not return.

But things change and the TV landscape in 2003 was now a very different beast. The team at the top had changed and a new generation had taken over. TV was now being run by the people who had grown up with the first few Doctors. Those who remembered how exciting Saturday evening could be, when the good Doctor would battle enemies on a weekly basis, sandwiched between episodes of Basil Brush and The Generation Game. BBC One was now being run by Lorraine Heggessey, a self confessed fan of the series who had stated publically that she wanted the show back on her network. Many doubted it would happen, but on Friday 26th September 2003 it was confirmed. Doctor Who would return.

The man entrusted with the regeneration was Russell T Davies, whose was previously best known for the seminal Channel 4 series Queer as Folk, about gay life in Manchester. He was joined as Executive producer by Julie Gardner, who had just returned to the BBC to produce the David Tennant series Casanova, following a spell working with Davies at London Weekend Television. Also on the team was Mal Young, who was best known for producing the Channel 4 soap opera Brookside. Meanwhile Linda Green producer Phil Collinson was recruited to produce the series.

Once it was known the series was returning, speculation began on just who would play the enigmatic Time Lord. Paul McGann was a tipped contender, having played the Doctor in the 1996 TV Movie, while William Hill made Alan Davies the 8-to-1 favourite to win the role. Richard E. Grant was an option as was Sean Pertwee, son of the late third Doctor. The Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker announced to BBC London News that Eddie Izzard had won the role. According to the Telegraph Bill Nighy was the choice of Davies and had been offered the role, while the Daily Mirror said it was EastEnders actor Shane Richie. Colin Baker weighed in to recommend a female Doctor in the form of Dawn French.

On Friday 19 March 2004 it was announced that acclaimed actor Christopher Eccleston would take on the role, with Davies telling the press:
We considered many great actors for this wonderful part, but Christopher was our first choice. This man can give the Doctor a wisdom, wit and emotional range as far-reaching as the Doctor's travels in time and space. His casting raises the bar for all of us. It's going to be a magnificent, epic, entertaining journey, and I can't wait to start.
Two months later Eccleston was joined by Billie Piper who was cast as Rose Tyler. Piper was best known as the youngest artist ever to debut at number one in the UK singles chart. Over the next few months more respected actors joined the cast, Noel Clark would play Micky, Camille Coduri would play Rose's mother while even song and dance man John Barrowman was rumoured to have signed up.

Old monsters would also be returning, with a very public battle taking place over the use of the Daleks in the new series. An agreement was finally reached in August with the Terry Nation estate to allow the infamous pepper pots to meet the new Doctor.

The series launched on BBC One, in ablaze of publicity, on Saturday 26th March. Viewers were warmed up with a preview at 5.25pm when Doctor Who: A New Dimension gave a taste of the series. After Strictly Dance Fever with Graham Norton, the British public finally got to meet the new Doctor at 7pm, when Doctor Who: Rose was screened. A technical error a few minutes into the programme caused audio of Norton to be overlaid on the episode, much to the distress of the production team.

No one knew if it would succeed. There were many who thought it would fail. But succeed it did. Rose achieved 10.81 million viewers, the seventh most watched programme of the week. A new generation took the Doctor to their hearts and in the intervening years the series has grown into one of the BBC's most valuable assets.

Over the past ten years we have travelled with five new Doctors and enjoyed 97 stories across 117 episodes. The series is now made in specially built studios on Cardiff Bay. We have been to concerts, read books, enjoyed quiz shows and visited exhibitions based on the series. The reborn series celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2013, with a massive convention in London, and a record breaking simultaneous transmission of the special anniversary episode was watched by millions around the world.

Series 9 is currently being filmed in Cardiff, the 35th since the series began.

The trip is not over, the adventure goes on...





Moments in Time: meet the (mini) Doctor!Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, 25 March 2015 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Ten years ago tonight, Christopher Eccleston undertook his only major inteview to promote the forthcoming new series of Doctor Who on The Jonathan Ross Show. The programme saw him reflect on being a fan of the original run, and how he came to be involved in this new, fresh production under the helm of Russell T Davies, and included an extensive trailer highlighting what was to come over the next few weeks.

However, our Moment in Time recalls Eccleston's surprise as, when discussing forthcoming merchandise to tie in with the show, Ross produces the prototype of a toy expected out for Christmas, and he comes comes face-to-face with a 10" version of himself as the Doctor ...

Christopher Eccleston on the Jonathan Ross Show, 25th March 2005 (Credit: BBC) Christopher Eccleston on the Jonathan Ross Show, 25th March 2005 (Credit: BBC) Christopher Eccleston on the Jonathan Ross Show, 25th March 2005 (Credit: BBC)





Moments in Time: The Trip of a LifetimeBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 26 March 2014 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Moments in TimeAs one of the highest rated shows on television today, and with four (or five!) new Doctors under its belt, it's perhaps hard to imagine a time when Doctor Who was simply one of the thousands of series that had once flourished but ultimately been consigned to the great script book in the sky. But in the mid 2000s this was how the series was regarded by many, and the brave effort by the BBC to bring it back exactly nine years ago was very much a gamble - how would the 'old-school' fans receive it, and what would a 'modern' audience make of a time-traveller in a police box?

Of course, Doctor Who did have an advantage in that it was a show that was still remembered outside of its core fan base, the general public at large were aware of "Dr Who", his iconic TARDIS, and the Daleks. This helped to lend a sense of curiosity at what the new face behind the show, celebrated writer Russell T Davies, would do with the Doctor, who would be played by an established television and film actor in the form of Christopher Eccleston, not to mention the inclusion of the press-attraction of former teenage pop-star turned actress Billie Piper.

Doctor Who teaser, 1st January 2005. Image: BBCA teaser trailer on New Year's Day 2005 formally introduced the return to the general public, but it wasn't until March when the promotional gears were turned up to maximum with a host of trailers ("Do you want to come with me?") and programmes to build up interest in a way not witnessed again until the 50th Anniversary last year.

The three principal names appeared on a variety of news and magazine programmes in the lead-up to the premiere: Christopher Eccleston was a guest on the ever Who-friendly Blue Peter on the 21st March, and then came face-to-face with 'himself' on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross on the 25th; Billie Piper appeared on Parkinson on the 19th; and Russell "TV" Davies appeared on the Breakfast couch on the 11th, on BBC2 Wales's On Show on the 17th, and with Phil and Fern on This Morning on the 23rd. The press preview on the 8th March was covered widely in the media, and led to recorded interviews with the stars popping up on Breakfast and GMTV during that week. Special programmes during the period included: Matthew Sweet looking forward with a little trepidation on how the show's return would fit in culturally on The Culture Show on the 17th; Ian Rankin, Bonnie Greer and Professor John Carey discussing the series' merits on Newsnight Review on the 18th; and BBC Radio 2 presenting Project: Who? on the 22nd. Doctor Who wasn't the only programme on the way - Doctor Who Confidential was also to premiere at the weekend on BBC Three, and executive producer Mark Cossey chatted to Rufus Hound on the channel's Destination Three about what to expect from the behind-the-scenes series.

BBC Wales Today coverage of Doctor Who Preview, 8 Mar 2005. Image: BBCBillie Piper interview on BBC Breakfast, 9 Mar 2005. Image: BBCChristopher Eccleston interview on BBC Breakfast, 9 Mar 2005. Image: BBCDoctor Who coverage on Newsnight, 9th March 2005. Image: BBCRussell T Davies on BBC Breakfast, 11th March 2005. Image: BBCChristopher Eccleston on GMTV, 11th March 2005. Image: BBCMatthew Sweet on The Culture Show, 17th March 2005. Image: BBCRussell T Davies on On Show, 17th March 2005. Image: BBCNewsnight Review, 18th March 2005. Image: BBCBillie Piper on Parkinson, 19th March 2005. Image: BBCChristopher Eccleston on Blue Peter, 21st March 2005. Image: BBCProject: Who?, 22nd March 2005. Image: BBCPhilip Schofield and Fern Britton on This Morning, 23rd March 2005. Image: ITVRussell T Davies on This Morning, 23rd March 2005. Image: ITVChristopher Eccleston on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, 25th Match 2005. Image: BBCMark Cossey on Destination Three, 26th March 2005. Image: BBCThe Trip of a Lifetime Trailer, 26th March 2005. Image: BBCDoctor Who ident, 26th March 2005. Image: BBCThe Trip of a Lifetime Trailer, 26th March 2005. Image: BBCDoctor Who ident, 26th March 2005. Image: BBC

Then, suddenly, it's the 26th March. As the early evening inexorably approaches, appetites are whetted with a special preview (and countdown) in A New Dimension, an excruciating wait through Graham Norton's Strictly Dance Fever ... and then, at 7:00pm, the BBC One "Tap Dogs" ident commences, with the announcement fans have been waiting over fifteen years for:
"Tap Dogs" ident, introducing a new series of Doctor Who! (Credit: BBC)Well now, BBC One hurtles through space and time.
Come with us for the trip of a lifetime!
Aliens, you have been warned ...
Christopher Eccleston is the new ... Doctor Who!


45 minutes later and an unprecedented ten million viewers - and 43.2% of the audience - have watched Rose run to the TARDIS and off into adventures with the Doctor; the final figure rose to 10.81m (44.8%) and achieved seventh place in the TV charts, only beaten by the soap juggernauts Coronation Street and EastEnders. A week later, a further series has been commissioned (not to mention a new Doctor on the cards!), and the longevity of a modern Doctor Who is assured ...