Season 31 - Series 5 (2010)
|↑03 Sep 2007|
Doctor Who: Series five
After months of media speculation, BBC One can confirm that the Bafta-award winning Doctor Who will return for a fifth series in spring 2010.
Viewers are in for a treat this Christmas, as a special episode starring David Tennant and Kylie Minogue will be broadcast on BBC One in December 2007.
Series four, which went into production in July 2007, will hit UK screens in spring 2008 with a special episode for Christmas 2008.
In 2009, Doctor Who will return with three specials starring David Tennant, with Head Writer, Russell T Davies.
The full length fifth series will transmit in 2010.
Jane Tranter, Controller, BBC Fiction, says: "Doctor Who is one of the BBC's best loved and most successful dramas. Its journey over the past three series has been one of the most ambitious and exciting that we have had, and I'm delighted to be able to confirm not only three exciting specials for 2009, but a fifth series in 2010."
Menna Richards, Controller, BBC Wales, says: "The success of Doctor Who is a fantastic tribute to the dedication and expertise of the production team at BBC Wales who have worked on the project from the outset. This announcement is marvellous news for all involved and, more importantly, for the programme's amazing fan base and audience. BBC Wales is looking forward to producing the fifth series."
Following the critically acclaimed season three finale, the BBC has announced that Catherine Tate is set to return to the Tardis for the complete 13-week run of series four of Doctor Who, reprising her role as Donna from the 2006 Christmas special.
Freema Agyeman, who won praise for her portrayal of Martha Jones in series three, is also set to return mid-series four.
|Credit: BBC Press Office|
|↑11 Dec 2007|
BBC Wales announces new Executive Producer of Doctor Who and Head of Drama
BBC Wales has announced that Piers Wenger is to take over the reins as Executive Producer for Doctor Who's fifth series and will become the new Head of Drama, BBC Wales when Julie Gardner leaves that role in January 2009.
Piers was the producer of the multi-award winning Housewife, 49 with Victoria Wood and has just finished work on Ballet Shoes, Heidi Thomas' adaptation of Noel Streatfeild's classic novel to be shown on Boxing Day on BBC One.
He left his role as Head of Development at Granada Drama earlier in the year to help set up independent drama producer Mammoth Screen.
"I'm incredibly excited to be joining BBC Wales," said Piers.
"The success of the drama team there has been extraordinary and I look forward to taking the team to even greater heights. Working with Julie Gardner on Doctor Who over the next year will provide an invaluable insight into the secrets and success of the series. I couldn't have a more inspiring leader."
Julie Gardner will continue as Executive Producer of the fourth Doctor Who series and the Doctor Who specials to be broadcast during 2009.
She will continue to executive produce Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures for BBC Wales.
In addition, Julie continues work on an impressive slate of independent dramas and will run the strategy and development of BBC Wales Drama with her handover to Piers.
BBC Wales Controller Menna Richards said: "I'm delighted Piers is joining the BBC Wales team, and I'm confident he can build on Julie's huge successes. Julie has helped transform drama production – not only at BBC Wales but across the BBC.
"She is an extraordinarily creative and dynamic leader. I am full of gratitude and admiration for her achievements at BBC Wales which will of course continue over the coming months. We owe her a huge debt."
In addition to her work with BBC Wales, Julie will continue to take the responsibility for the development and commissioning of new Saturday evening drama for BBC One, as well as working with Controller of BBC Fiction, Jane Tranter, on a wide and diverse range of special projects.
Jane Tranter comments: "Julie Gardner is one of the most impressive television executives in the UK.
"Her success over the past four years in BBC Wales drama has been unparalleled; her work on Doctor Who has earned her a place in TV history; and I'm delighted that she is committed to working across such a broad range of drama at the BBC for the next few years.
"She will provide a guiding light for Piers for the next 12 months and this creative collaboration will be an exciting time for BBC Wales drama."
Julie Gardner comments: "I know that when I hand over my sonic screwdriver to Piers for season five of Doctor Who, it'll be to someone who loves and understands the show.
"Doctor Who is the most precious TV drama in the galaxy and I'm leaving it in safe and brilliant hands.
"I've been on the trip of a lifetime in the last five years with the finest writers, actors and crew, and I've got another 18 months of time travel to enjoy.
"Just wait until you see what's coming up on Christmas day and series four!"
Doctor Who – Voyage Of The Damned will transmit on Christmas Day on BBC One. Series four of Doctor Who will transmit in spring 2008.
|Credit: BBC Press Office|
|↑20 May 2008|
Steven Moffat to be Doctor Who Lead Writer and Executive Producer
BBC Wales and BBC Drama has announced that BAFTA and Hugo Award-winning writer Steven Moffat will succeed Russell T Davies as Lead Writer and Executive Producer of the fifth series of Doctor Who, which will broadcast on BBC One in 2010.
Moffat has penned some of the series' most unforgettable and acclaimed episodes, including Blink, with its terrifying weeping angels, for which he was awarded the BAFTA Writer Award 2008 on Sunday 11 May.
His previous work on Doctor Who includes The Girl In The Fireplace for series two, which earned him his second Hugo Award.
His first was for the series one two-parter The Empty Child, which became famous for its terrifying refrain "Are you my mummy?"
For the current series, Moffat has written Silence In The Library, a two-parter starring Alex Kingston which transmits on 31 May and 7 June 2008 on BBC One.
Steven's career began with the landmark ITV children's drama Press Gang in 1989, for which he won his first Bafta.
Coupling, the hugely popular and award-winning sitcom he created and wrote for BBC Two, began in 2000 and ran for four seasons.
Jekyll, his six-part thriller starring James Nesbitt and Michelle Ryan, transmitted on BBC One last year.
Steven will continue as one of the directors on the board of Hartswood Films which produced Coupling and Jekyll, where he is also working on his new comedy Adam & Eve with wife Sue Vertue.
He has just delivered the screenplay for Tintin – the first instalment of the trilogy of films featuring the iconic Belgian comic-strip hero – to Steven Spielberg who will direct it for DreamWorks. Thomas Sangster and Andy Serkis will star.
Steven Moffat says: "My entire career has been a Secret Plan to get this job. I applied before but I got knocked back 'cos the BBC wanted someone else. Also I was seven.
"Anyway, I'm glad the BBC has finally seen the light, and it's a huge honour to be following Russell into the best - and the toughest - job in television. I say toughest 'cos Russell's at my window right now, pointing and laughing."
Lead Writer and Executive Producer Russell T Davies says: "It's been a delight and an honour working with Steven, and I can't wait to see where his extraordinary imagination takes the Doctor. Best of all, I get to be a viewer again, watching on a Saturday night!"
Jane Tranter, Controller, BBC Fiction, says: "Scripts and writers are at the heart of what BBC Drama is all about, and especially at the heart of Doctor Who. The past four series have been brilliantly helmed by the spectacularly talented Russell T Davies.
"As Lead Writer and Executive Producer, he has overseen the creative direction and detail of the 21st century relaunch of Doctor Who and we are delighted to have his continued presence on the specials over the next 18 months.
"But the challenge and excitement of the fifth series is now being handed to Steven Moffat. The Tardis couldn't be in safer hands. Steven's talents on both Doctor Who and beyond are well known. He is a writer of glittering brilliance, comedy and depth, with an extraordinary imagination and a unique voice.
"Steven has a wonderful mix of being a committed Doctor Who fan and a true artist, and his plans for the next series are totally thrilling."
The announcement follows the news that Piers Wenger will take over the role of Executive Producer from Julie Gardner on series five of Doctor Who.
Piers Wenger says: "The challenge of taking Doctor Who to a new future is a huge and thrilling one and BBC Wales is blessed to have someone with Steven's extraordinary talent in charge.
"His imagination and creativity have already given birth to some of the series' most unforgettable monsters though in this instance no-one need fear; time, space and the future of The Doctor are safe with him."
Wenger and Moffat are already working closely together on the planning of the series.
Menna Richards, Controller, BBC Wales, says: "BBC Wales is very proud of Doctor Who's phenomenal success. Steven Moffat is an extraordinary talent and we are very much looking forward to him joining the Doctor Who team."
Series four has achieved some of the show's highest audience figures to date and forthcoming episodes feature a stellar line-up of guests including Lesley Sharp, Lindsey Coulson, Alex Kingston, Colin Salmon and Michael Brandon.
Freema Agyeman and Billie Piper – The Doctor's two former companions – have also returned to assist The Doctor in series four.
Doctor Who will return in 2009 with four specials, and the full-length fifth series is currently scheduled to be broadcast on BBC One in Spring 2010.
|Credit: BBC Press Office|
|↑02 Jan 2009|
New Doctor to be revealed on BBC One
The BBC confirmed today that it will reveal the identity of the 11th Doctor as part of a special edition of Doctor Who Confidential to be aired on BBC One tomorrow, Saturday 3 January 2009, at 5.35pm (UK time).
Following the announcement in October 2008 that David Tennant would be stepping down from his role as the Doctor at the end of 2009, speculation has been mounting as to who would take over from him for the fifth series of this iconic BBC drama that will air in 2010.
With a new creative team in place for the new series led by Executive Producers Steven Moffat and Piers Wenger, the casting of the new Doctor was job number one to be completed before scripts could be finalised and shooting could begin in summer 2009.
In the Doctor Who special, to be aired tomorrow at 5.35pm, the actor playing the new Doctor will be giving his or her initial reaction to being the new, 11th incarnation of one of television's most loved characters.
Head Of Drama BBC Wales, Piers Wenger, said: "We are so pleased to have been able to cast this person as the new Doctor. We believe the actor is going to bring something very special to the role and will make it absolutely their own – I just can't wait to tell everyone who it is – it has been a nail-biting Christmas trying to keep this under wraps!"
|Credit: BBC Press Office|
|↑03 Jan 2009|
Matt Smith is the new Doctor
The BBC today announced that Matt Smith has been cast in the role of the Doctor in the iconic BBC series Doctor Who.
Smith will be the 11th Time Lord and will take over from David Tennant who leaves the show at the end of 2009. He will be seen in the forthcoming fifth series that will be broadcast in 2010.
The fifth series will also have a new lead writer and Executive Producer in the form of the BAFTA award-winning writer Steven Moffat, who is taking over from Russell T Davies.
Moffat will be joined by Piers Wenger, who will be the new Executive Producer for BBC Wales making the show.
Following David Tennant's decision to step down at the end of 2009, the team behind the new series set about casting the new Doctor so that new adventures could be created and scripts written with Matt in mind.
The identity of the new Doctor was revealed on a special edition of Doctor Who Confidential that was broadcast on BBC One today (3 January) at 5.35pm (17.35 GMT).
In it Smith revealed his initial reaction at taking on such a legendary role and his thoughts on what direction the Doctor might now be going with him playing the part.
Matt Smith said of his new role: "I'm just so excited about the journey that is in front of me. It's a wonderful privilege and challenge that I hope I will thrive on.
"I feel proud and honoured to have been given this opportunity to join a team of people that has worked so tirelessly to make the show so thrilling.
"David Tennant has made the role his own, brilliantly, with grace, talent and persistent dedication. I hope to learn from the standards set by him.
"The challenge for me is to do justice to the show's illustrious past, my predecessors, and most importantly, to those who watch it. I really cannot wait."
Lead writer and Executive Producer Steven Moffat said: "The Doctor is a very special part, and it takes a very special actor to play him. You need to be old and young at the same time, a boffin and an action hero, a cheeky schoolboy and the wise old man of the universe.
"As soon as Matt walked through the door, and blew us away with a bold and brand new take on the Time Lord, we knew we had our man.
"2010 is a long time away but rest assured the 11th Doctor is coming – and the universe has never been so safe."
Piers Wenger, Head Of Drama, BBC Wales, added: "With two hearts, a ferocious mind and over 900 years of experience behind him, it's not every 26 year old actor who can take on a role like the Doctor but within moments of meeting Matt he showed the skill and imagination needed to create a Doctor all of his own.
"It's just the beginning of the journey for Matt but with Steven Moffat's scripts and the expertise of the production team in Cardiff behind him, there is no one more perfect than him to be taking the TARDIS to exciting new futures when the series returns in 2010."
Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama, added: "I am delighted to see Matt take on this iconic role. It will see him continuing his relationship with the BBC following his performances in Ruby In The Smoke and Party Animals, and his upcoming role in Moses Jones.
"The combination of Matt, Steven and Piers will, I know, take Doctor Who onto new and even dizzier heights."
Jay Hunt, Controller, BBC One, said: "Matt Smith will be a mesmerising 11th Time Lord, true to the spirit of the show.
"He is a worthy successor to David Tennant who has been utterly remarkable in the role and promises to continue to be in next year's four special episodes."
Doctor Who Confidential – The Eleventh Doctor can be seen on BBC iPlayer until 10 January 2009.
There will be four Doctor Who specials featuring David Tennant that will run in 2009 into New Year 2010 (dates to be confirmed).
Matt Smith, 26, grew up with his family including one sister in Northampton. He was head boy at Northampton School For Boys where he excelled at sports, music and drama.
Initially, Matt wanted to be a professional footballer and played for Northampton Town Under-11 & 12s, Nottingham Forest Under 12, 13 & 14s and Leicester City Under 15 & 16s before a back injury forced him out of the game.
Following his injury, and with the encouragement of one of his teachers, Jerry Hardingham, Matt decided to join the National Youth Theatre.
It was during this time that Matt first gained attention at the Royal Court Theatre when he was cast in the play Fresh Kills, directed by Wilson Milam, whilst still at the University Of East Anglia where he was studying Drama and Creative Writing.
Already a stalwart of the National Youth Theatre, his performance at the Court led to a variety of theatrical experiences at the National Theatre: in the award-winning History Boys (directed by Nick Hytner), On The Shore Of The Wide World (directed by Sarah Frankcom) and also in the acclaimed trio of plays Burn / Citizenship / Chatroom (directed by Anna Mackmin).
These roles led to Matt's first outings on the small screen, alongside Billie Piper in Phillip Pullman's period detective stories, The Ruby In The Smoke and The Shadow In The North (both BBC One), where he played Jim, right-hand man to Billie's detective heroine Sally Lockhart.
These pieces were followed by the lead role of Danny in the BBC Two series Party Animals, the brilliantly observed drama set in the world of young politicians.
In a dazzling return to the Royal Court in 2007, Matt played Henry in Polly Stenham's award-winning first play That Face, opposite Lindsay Duncan. His performance gained Matt an Evening Standard Best Newcomer nomination and a year later the play had a second life in the West End at the Duke of York's Theatre.
In between the two runs, Matt played Guy opposite Christian Slater's Buddy in Swimming With Sharks, Mike Leslie's searing West End adaptation of the 1994 Hollywood film.
In this time he also played a lead role in the BAFTA winning BBC One series The Street, opposite Gina McKee and Lorraine Ashbourne.
Matt has recently completed work on Moses Jones for BBC Two, directed by Michael Offer, in which he plays the lead role of Dan Twentyman, alongside Shaun Parkes in the title role.
|Credit: BBC Press Office|
|↑15 Apr 2009|
BBC Cymru Wales announces new Doctor Who producers
BBC Wales has announced three key appointments to its flagship production Doctor Who as the new series starring the 11th Doctor, Matt Smith, prepares for shooting.
Tracie Simpson (producer of Doctor Who: Planet Of The Dead) and Peter Bennett (producer of the forthcoming Torchwood series) have been appointed as producers on the multi-award winning BBC One show.
Beth Willis, producer of the hugely popular and award-winning BBC drama series Ashes To Ashes, will join new Lead Writer Steven Moffat and Piers Wenger as an executive producer.
Willis will work closely with Bennett and Simpson – both veterans of the BBC One drama – on the day-to-day running of the new series as part of her executive role. She will combine her role on Doctor Who with work across a range of other BBC Wales dramas.
The appointment of the new team marks the start of a new chapter in the life of the series. Pre-production begins next month with shooting due to get under way later in the summer in and around the Cardiff area.
Doctor Who Lead Writer and Executive Producer Steven Moffat said: "Beth and Tracie and Pete aren't the A Team, they're the people the A Team call. Tracie and Pete are the backstage stars of Doctor Who and having them on board as producers isn't just the best possible news for Matt Smith's first series, it's a massive relief.
"And Beth Willis, fresh from the brilliant Ashes To Ashes, is joining Piers and I as an executive so finally there'll be someone to wear the trousers."
BBC Wales Head of Drama Piers Wenger said: "Having Beth, Pete and Tracie on board is nothing short of thrilling. In their time on the show, Tracie and Pete have worked miracles. Joining forces with a talent like Beth will ensure that Doctor Who remains one of the most exciting and, frankly, formidable production teams around."
|Credit: BBC Press Office|
|↑29 May 2009|
Doctor Who unveils new companion for 11th Time Lord
The BBC today revealed that the companion for the forthcoming series of Doctor Who will be Karen Gillan.
Twenty-one-year-old Gillan will star alongside new Time Lord, Matt Smith, when the smash hit drama returns to BBC One in spring 2010.
With filming due to begin this summer, Gillan beat off dozens of hopefuls to land one of television's most coveted roles.
Gillan said: "I am absolutely over the moon at being chosen to play the Doctor's new companion. The show is such a massive phenomenon that I can't quite believe I am going to be a part of it.
"Matt Smith is an incredible actor and it is going to be so much fun to act alongside him – I just can't wait to get started!"
Lead writer and Executive Producer, Steven Moffat, added: "We saw some amazing actresses for this part, but when Karen came through the door the game was up. Funny, and clever, and gorgeous, and sexy. Or Scottish, which is the quick way of saying it. A generation of little girls will want to be her. And a generation of little boys will want them to be her too."
Executive Producer and Head of Drama BBC Wales, Piers Wenger, said: "We knew Karen was perfect for the role the moment we saw her. She brought an energy and excitement to the part that was just fantastic. And when she auditioned alongside Matt we knew we had something special. It is a partnership that is ready to take on the universe!"
|Credit: BBC Press Office|
|↑20 Jul 2009|
The time has come... filming has begun on Doctor Who
Production started today on the new series of Doctor Who, in which BBC One viewers will meet the 11th Doctor and his companion for the very first time.
The latest incarnation of the iconic character is played by Matt Smith (Party Animals).
Upon arriving on set in Cardiff, for his first day of filming, Smith commented: "I feel very privileged and proud to be part of this iconic show.
"The scripts are brilliant and working alongside Karen, Steven and the rest of the crew is an inspiration because their work ethic and passion for the show is so admirable.
"I'm excited about the future and all the brilliant adventures I get to go on as the Doctor."
Accompanying The Doctor on his further adventures in time is a new companion Amy Pond, played by Scottish actress Karen Gillan (The Kevin Bishop Show), who will first meet The Doctor in episode one of the new series.
New show-runner and long-running Doctor Who fan Steven Moffat has developed this series and, as Lead Writer and Executive Producer, will be responsible for the overall creative direction of the show, as well as plot and character arcs.
Moffat's previous episodes of Doctor Who, including the Bafta-winning episode Blink, have garnered widespread acclaim from critics and fans alike.
He commented: "And here it is, the big moment – the new Doctor, and his new best friend.
"And here's me, with the job I wanted since I was seven – 40 years to here! If I could go back in time and tell that little boy that one day all this would happen, he'd scream, call for his mum and I'd be talking to you now from a prison cell in 1969. So probably best not then.
"Matt and Karen are going to be incredible, and Doctor Who is going to come alive on Saturday nights in a whole new way – and, best of all, somewhere out there a seven-year-old is going to see them, fall in love and start making a 40-year plan..."
Piers Wenger, Executive Producer and Head of Drama, BBC Wales, added: "The scripts for the new series are every bit as funny, thrilling, scary and imaginative as you'd expect from the man who brought us The Empty Child and Blink.
"There's a strange and perfect alchemy between Steven and Matt Smith and the next few months are going to be riveting as that relationship starts to emerge on screen.
"Steven always says he's been waiting to do this job since he was seven. But it's actually the Doctor who has been waiting for him."
The new series follows three Doctor Who specials starring David Tennant which will transmit later this year.
Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning, says: "I am thrilled that a whole new generation of children will forever say that their Doctor was the wonderful Matt Smith."
The series was co-commissioned by Ben Stephenson and Jay Hunt, Controller, BBC One, and will be produced by Tracie Simpson (Doctor Who) and Peter Bennett (Torchwood).
Steven Moffat is Lead Writer and Executive Producer (Jekyll) with Piers Wenger and Beth Willis (Ashes To Ashes) also Executive Producing.
Filming is taking place in Cardiff until March 2010. Thirteen x 45-minute drama produced by BBC Wales for BBC One.
|Credit: BBC Press Office|
|↑06 Oct 2009|
BBC unveils new logo for a new Doctor
The official Doctor Who website this morning offered an exclusive first look at the new Doctor Who logo, which will accompany Matt Smith's on-screen debut as The Doctor in spring 2010.
The logo is the 11th to have been used on screen in the show's history.
Accompanying the logo at bbc.co.uk/doctorwho is an animated insignia of the show's initials, which will be used as branding for the new series in conjunction with the logo.
Steven Moffat, the new Lead Writer and Executive Producer, said: "A new logo. The 11th logo for the 11th Doctor – those grand old words, Doctor Who, suddenly looking newer than ever.
"And, look at that, something really new – an insignia! DW in TARDIS form! Simple and beautiful, and most important of all, a completely irresistible doodle.
"I apologise to school notebooks everywhere, because in 2010 that's what they're going to be wearing."
The new series of Doctor Who will premiere in spring 2010.
The final three episodes featuring David Tennant will be broadcast later this year on BBC One, with the existing logo on-screen.
|Credit: BBC Press Office|
|↑08 Mar 2010|
The 11th Doctor embarks on his maiden voyage... with a whistle-stop tour presenting five regional premieres across the UK
Doctor Who will begin an exciting national tour across the UK in March, introducing the new Doctor to fans of the series in five different locations spanning the length and breadth of the British Isles.
The tour will introduce the 11th Doctor, Matt Smith, and his Companion, Karen Gillan, to fans of the BBC One show and offer them a unique chance to meet the stars.
Each location will also host a regional premiere of episode one, The Eleventh Hour, for local children, working alongside BBC Outreach to enable kids to get a first look at the new Doctor in action.
Matt and Karen will travel around the UK on a specially themed Doctor Who tour bus, featuring the new TARDIS logo and iconic imagery.
BBC Outreach proactively takes the BBC into specific communities and sections of society, and has been integral in organising and supporting the tour.
The focus of the tour is to reach relatively under-served communities by the BBC.The Doctor's maiden voyage will commence on 29 March in Belfast, and then travel to Karen Gillan's home town, Inverness, for a screening on 30 March.
The bus will then move on to Sunderland that afternoon and Salford on Wednesday 31 March before finishing later that day in Northampton – Matt Smith's hometown.
Following the tour, from 1 to 3 April, the BBC will also hold events for three days at selected BBC Big Screens across the UK giving Doctor Who fans in London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Plymouth and Swansea the chance to interact directly with the show in their home towns.
The events will feature exclusive footage – including the chance to see the Doctor Who trailer in 3D – and giveaways, and fans can also get their photo taken tumbling through the giant vortex.
Visitors will be able to meet some of the scariest monsters that have had viewers watching from behind their sofa for generations as well.
Piers Wenger, Executive Producer, and Head of Drama, BBC Wales, said: "This is a great opportunity for the new Doctor and his Companion to interface directly with the people who matter most to Doctor Who: the fans.
"The chance to visit them in their hometowns will ensure that the 11th Doctor's maiden voyage is an utterly magical one."
Alec McGivan, Head of BBC Outreach, added: "Outreach is all about getting face to face with people so they can get involved and experience the BBC in a different and exciting way – we're delighted to be able to take one of the BBC's best loved brands out to its audience."
|Credit: BBC Press Office|
|↑19 Mar 2010|
BBC Press pack
Starring Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor and Karen Gillan as his new companion, Amy Pond, Doctor Who returns to BBC One for more intergalactic adventures.
The Doctor – Matt Smith
Amy Pond – Karen Gillan
Guest Stars (in alphabetical order)
James Corden, Tony Curran, Arthur Darvill, Iain Glen, Alex Kingston, Helen McCrory, Ian McNeice, Sophie Okonedo, Bill Paterson, Meera Syal, Nina Wadia
Executive Producer and Lead Writer
Steven Moffat (ep 1, 2, 4, 5, 12, 13)
Mark Gatiss (ep 3)
Toby Whithouse (ep 6)
Simon Nye (ep 7)
Chris Chibnall (ep 8, 9)
Richard Curtis (ep 10)
Gareth Roberts (ep 11)
Adam Smith (ep 1, 4, 5)
Andrew Gunn (ep 2, 3)
Jonny Campbell (ep 6, 10)
Catherine Morshead (ep 7, 11) Ashley Way (ep 8, 9)
Toby Haynes (ep 12, 13)
Patrick Schweitzer (ep 6, 10)
Steven Moffat is a BAFTA-award winning writer whose career in television has spanned more than twenty years and produced some of the UK's best-loved television dramas in that time. But more than that, he is a Doctor Who fan who has just been handed his dream job: being in charge of the world's most iconic drama series.
"I suppose I could say the reason I started working in TV is because I was such a huge fan of Doctor Who," explains Steven.
"I was absolutely fascinated and thrilled by the show. I wanted to know how the TARDIS disappeared, how all the special effects worked and why the Doctor changed. As a viewer you want to know why he looks different; it's a show that compels you to look behind the scenes. In fact, over the years, I think I've bought every single issue of Doctor Who Magazine since it launched."
But there was a long period when Doctor Who was not on screen; did Steven ever worry that he wouldn't get the opportunity to achieve his lifelong ambition and write for the show?
"I tumbled through the door of children's TV, became quite a cool children's TV writer for about 48 seconds in 1989 and they basically axed Doctor Who that day!" says Steven with a chuckle. "After 26 years, just when I thought I'd finally get to write for the show, I missed out by an afternoon."
However, fate was obviously on Steven's side and in 2005 Doctor Who was resurrected and has become one of the biggest shows on UK television under the guidance of Russell T Davies.
"The transition has been strange and has lasted a long time for me; since I first got an email from Russell about the job in fact," explains the Paisley-born writer.
"We've been saying goodbye to each other for two and a half years now – we'd really better stop before one of us drops dead in a desperate bid for closure. I hugely enjoyed working with Russell and every time I came back to Doctor Who during those years it was an absolute treat. I knew this job was going to be difficult; I was never under any illusion about it. I could see that Russell was getting tired and he has acknowledged he is a workaholic. I've managed to take up workaholism, but it never sits quite as easy with me."
The actual moment of regeneration was, of course, the pinnacle of that transition and Steven's first chance to write for the new Doctor.
"It was Russell's courtesy to allow me to write Matt's first scene when the regeneration happened and he was adamant about that. He's a fan like I am and he'll always be motivated by that. He wouldn't like to think as a member of the audience that the old writer had written the new Doctor. In our heads that's where the new era begins, that's what matters to us."
Doctor Who has already had multiple incarnations on television, so casting the perfect actor for the lead role presented some interesting debates.
"I had a clear idea, which actually turned out to be the absolute opposite of what we ended up doing – which always happens when you get the casting right," reveals Steven.
"I actually remember at the beginning of the process when I got a little bit cross whilst looking at the list of actors as it was full of people in their twenties. I said to everyone that we couldn't have a Doctor who is 27. My idea was that the person was going to be between 30–40 years old, young enough to run but old enough to look wise. Then, of course, Matt Smith comes through the door and he's odd, angular and strange looking. He doesn't come across as being youthful at all, in the most wonderful way."
But alongside the new Doctor is a brand new Companion, played by Scottish actress Karen Gillan. What was it about her that made her perfect for the role?
"The challenge with casting the Companion is that there are only so many people that would actually go through those blue doors. It has to be someone that loves adventure and doesn't quite feel at home with where they are," explains Steven.
"They have to be a feisty, fun-loving and gutsy person – and now we've got Karen Gillan. She was just exactly right for the role despite inhabiting Amy Pond in a way that was quite different from how I originally wrote the part."
An inevitable question that will be asked of the new series is how it differs from those that have gone before.
"I've never done anything differently, at least not deliberately," says Steven. "I just try and think of all the best and maddest Doctor Who stories I want to watch, and get them made – there are worse ways to make a living. You could say that I'm more into the clever plots; I like the big twists and the sleight of hand. I like playing around with time-travel but I don't think it should be at the front of Doctor Who in every episode.
"However, I do think it should happen more often and reinforce the fact he has an odd relationship with time. For example, no one is ever dead to him. He can't say 'I knew Winston Churchill', he'd say 'I know Winston Churchill'. Everyone in the whole universe is still alive to him and he has no sense of time passing. I find that all fascinating. If you look at the stories I've written so far I suppose I might be slightly more at the fairy-tale and Tim Burton end of Doctor Who, whereas Russell is probably more at the blockbuster and Superman end of the show."
But what does Steven feel is the most important ingredient to Doctor Who?
"I think it is centrally vital for Doctor Who that at its heart and in its soul it is a children's programme. Not one that excludes adults, but one that welcomes them in. But when Doctor Who is really working, when it really delivers, the entire audience is eight years old – whatever age they started out!"
Despite the lengthy transition, there finally came the day when all of the hard work was realised; the first day of filming of the new series.
"By accident it was the most magical beginning. We went down onto this perfect, white beach," reveals Steven. "The TARDIS and our two main characters were there and we could just see that blue rectangle facing us. It was like a stamp stuck on a picture, it was so perfect! I remember walking down thinking this is properly magical; we're not starting with some secondary characters that end up getting killed by an electric slug, or something. We're actually starting with the Doctor and the Companion stepping out of the TARDIS talking to River Song."
Steven has, in the past, described the TARDIS as the best storytelling and plot device that there is. But if he had his own, where would he choose to go?
"I have no real desire to go anywhere else because I'm genuinely so happy with my life the way it is at the moment. I'd probably like to go to the future but stay away from libraries in case I found out when I died; that would be a bit miserable. I'd like to see what the toys and gadgets are in the future and all the fun I'm going to miss out on. But most of all, I'd like to know who's playing the Doctor!"
So, as a life-long Doctor Who fan, who is his favourite Doctor?
"The one with the two hearts that travels in the TARDIS... and word on the street is, he's never looked finer."
It may be the eleventh time an actor has taken on the iconic role of the Doctor but Matt Smith hasn't let that stand in his way of creating his very own vision for the world-famous character. Here the star of Party Animals and Moses Jones explains what it was like to land one of the biggest roles in television and talks about his dream trip in the TARDIS.
"It was quite weird news to receive" says Matt Smith, the youngest actor to play the title role of hit sci-fi show Doctor Who.
"I mean at that point it was a piece of information I couldn't share with anyone so it didn't feel tangible, but needless to say I was very pleased.
"I actually ended up walking around London listening to Sinatra on my iPod," laughs the 27-year-old as he tries to explain the moment he found out he had won the much-coveted role of the Doctor.
"Funnily enough my mum had texted me to say she thought I should play the Doctor a week before my agent asked me to audition so she was delighted I got the part. I was also abroad when it was announced on the BBC and my phone went mad – the bill was enormous!"
Spanning five decades, Doctor Who has been a part of British culture for nearly 50 years. Since its successful return in 2005 both Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant have played the title role and made their own mark on the eccentric Time Lord. Now it's Matt's turn to give his own portrayal of the iconic character; a challenge which some young actors may have shied away from.
"I think these things are only as intimidating as you allow them to be," explains Matt.
"It's a real privilege to join such a successful show; it's a bit like joining Man Utd. It's good to be part of something strong and long may it continue. Plus, I couldn't have inherited the role from a nicer man. I guess it's like anything really, the more you do something the less daunting and intimidating it becomes."
However, Matt admits his first day of filming, which took place on a beach in wet and windy conditions, was both daunting and challenging.
"It was very tough because we were up against the tide and could only film until 3.00pm," reveals Matt.
"It felt like being in a twilight zone because there were so many people watching and dozens of paparazzi around! It was nice that Karen was there as well though," he continues, "because we were both going through the same experience. We were also surrounded by Doctor Who fans and every time I had to nip to the toilet they followed me. I've now learnt this is the norm on Doctor Who!"
Central to the story is the TARDIS which transports The Doctor across time and space to a wonderful array of worlds and universes. The TARDIS is a living creature and regenerates along with the Doctor in the opening episode of the new series. The details of the new TARDIS will remain an on-screen surprise for viewers but Matt confesses he was like a boy in a sweet shop when he first set foot in it.
"It's like a Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche all moulded into one!" exclaims the excited actor.
"It's so incredible because the TARDIS is an icon of our cultural history and suddenly I'm the one who's flying it. I am quite clumsy though so I kept breaking parts of the console and the poor production team had to keep fixing it," chuckles Matt.
"But the TARDIS is a magic concept and it provides a constant source of wonderment and adventure for both the Doctor and the viewers."
But where would he like the TARDIS to take him if he could go anywhere?
"I would definitely travel back in time to see the dinosaurs and then I'd get the TARDIS to take me to the bottom of the sea to the lost city of Atlantis," says Matt.
"I'd also like to go back in time and hang out with Sinatra for a bit but if I could star alongside anyone in Doctor Who it would have to be Eric Cantona. He's a legend and he dabbles in acting now so you never know, it could happen!"
There have been 10 previous incarnations of the Doctor, each with their own traits and quirks, but what can viewers expect from this bow-tie wearing Doctor?
"He is still the same man but I think my Doctor is a bit more reckless; he's a thrill-seeker and addicted to time travel," reveals Matt.
"He is the mad buffoon genius who saves the world because he's got a great heart, spirit and soul but he also doesn't suffer fools. I hope all of these things come across but I think I've also injected a bit of my own personality into the role. I also helped choose the Doctor's costume which was great fun. Steven Moffat was very keen the outfit isn't seen as the overriding factor of the Doctor's personality but we still needed to find something that felt right. We tried on lots of things but kept reaching a dead end and we dismissed a number of items including a long leather coat, a long blue coat and some short punky stuff! But then one day I brought in my braces and a tweed jacket and it went from there. Soon we had the whole outfit although something still felt like it was missing and I asked if I could try on a bow tie – at that point the execs all bowed their heads in concern but luckily when I tried it on we agreed it worked and it has sort of become the signature of my Doctor now."
Joining the Doctor on his adventures throughout time and space is new Companion Amy Pond, played by red-headed beauty Karen Gillan and Matt admits the pair of them found it difficult to remain serious when filming scenes together.
"I always used to look forward to us being in make-up together, we would just make each other crack up. I think that's important because it forms part of the energy of the show," explains Matt.
"I also think the Doctor and Amy share a slightly mad relationship; she's a handful and he likes the fact she challenges him and can sometimes act a bit bonkers. The way they are introduced to each other is truly magical and they form a deep affinity for one another."
Throughout this series Amy and the Doctor go on some truly extraordinary adventures including travelling to 16th-century Venice, exploring France during the 1890s and visiting the United Kingdom in the far future, now an entire nation floating in space.
However, the Doctor's enemies are never far behind him, including old nemeses the Daleks and Weeping Angels, plus new monsters such as alien vampires, humanoid reptiles and a silent menace that follows the Doctor and Amy wherever they go.
"I loved filming the vampire stuff in Croatia which doubled up for Venice," reveals Matt.
"I had to climb a huge bell tower with a rain machine pummelling water at me. It was freezing cold but I absolutely loved it! I also enjoyed filming part of episode 10 when I was yanked through the air on a harness after being hit by an invisible monster. However, my favourite scene to film was in episode one when I ate fish fingers and custard with Amelia. Luckily they were actually breaded cakes so it wasn't quite as bad as it sounds. I had to eat a lot of them but it was an enchanting scene so it was worth it."
But what is it about Doctor Who that has turned it into a cultural phenomenon spanning five decades of British TV?
Matt thinks he has the answer: "The idea is magic. Time travel and the TARDIS are just brilliant concepts and within the context of television it gives writers the opportunity to pen amazing stories because they have the scope to go anywhere and do anything. Doctor Who is infinite in its orbit and imagination and so it has fulfilled audiences' desires throughout the decades and will hopefully continue to do so in the future."
The regenerations of the Doctor are a staple part of the mythology of Doctor Who, but across the past five decades there has been another constant in the series; the changing faces of his companion. Now, as Inverness-born Karen Gillan becomes the latest actress to join the Doctor in the TARDIS, we find out her thoughts on landing one of the most enviable roles in British television and making her mum cry...
"It was one of the strangest experiences ever; it was a really weird feeling!" exclaims Karen Gillan about her casting as Amy Pond.
"I found out on the day of my second audition with Matt, so at least I didn't have a really long wait. It just didn't feel real, and I couldn't believe it!"
But auditioning for Doctor Who is unlike any other audition for the excitable, down to earth actress: "I knew that the audition was for the part of the Companion, but I wasn't allowed to tell anyone about it. They even had a code name for the role because it was so top secret. The code name was 'Panic Moon'; an anagram of Companion which I thought was really clever."
Even after Karen discovered she had been cast as Amy Pond the veil of secrecy was not lifted: "I wasn't allowed to tell anyone that I got the part but my boyfriend was with me when I found out so there was rather a lot of screaming!
"I decided not to tell my parents as I didn't want to spoil the surprise but when I finally did tell them I made a special day of it and my mum took a day off work. She just couldn't believe it when I told her. She was doing the dishes and she literally stopped in her tracks and cried. She's a huge fan of the show, has been a fan for years. She even has Dalek bubble bath at home!"
However, when the BBC announced her casting Karen was just as curious as her parents to find out what reaction she's get from the fans.
"I couldn't resist it; I couldn't stop myself from having a look online to see what people thought," laughs Karen.
"Although after a while it all got a bit strange seeing people talking about me so I had to stop and I haven't looked since!"
Part of the interest in Karen was due to her being a relative newcomer to the industry, so how would she explain her life so far to the public?
"I'm from Inverness in Scotland, right up in the highlands. When I was 16 I moved to Edinburgh to study acting and I stayed there for a year, then at 17 I decided to move to London to continue my acting career," she reveals. "I also did a little bit of modelling for two years which I enjoyed. I met some great people and it was a really fantastic experience."
As the countdown to the new series starts, Karen is determined not to allow the intense interest in the show to distract her.
"There is no other show that brings the same level of interest and hype or frenzy around it. I don't think it's really registered with me yet although I'm sure it will do when it gets closer to transmission. But mainly it's just great to know there are loads of people that are interested in the show and care about it. I think the best thing for me is to concentrate on doing the job well."
Karen's first day of filming the series was made even more memorable by her first encounter with the one thing which, more than any other, represents the show.
"It was great having the TARDIS there. It felt quite strange to see it on a beach in Wales; it's such a beautiful and iconic thing."
But seeing the exterior of the TARDIS still couldn't prepare Karen for the moment when she first entered the blue box, as she explains: "I was in awe of the whole thing. I'd seen the old one so much on TV and then I walked into the new one and it was breathtaking; just the sheer scale of it. It was so exciting. I thought to myself that I had to remember that moment for when Amy walked into it for the first time."
Since Doctor Who's return in 2005, there have been a number of memorable Companions for the Doctor. How does Karen feel Amy compares to those that have gone before?
"Well, for a start Steven Moffat has written a brilliant character. I do think Amy is different from previous Companions because she's very equal to the Doctor. She doesn't take his word as gospel and she's always happy to challenge him. If he tells her to do something then she won't necessarily do it, she might go off and do her own thing which can sometimes create a rift between the two of them! They are best pals though and it's a very up and down relationship because they are both very passionate people."
So is it fair to say that we will see some conflict between Amy and The Doctor?
"The Doctor is definitely an alpha male and Amy is an alpha female, so when they meet, they combust. They have quite a turbulent relationship but it's also really passionate and they care about each other. Amy can really hold her own against him and Steven's written some great one-liners. It's a great relationship."
As soon as the series started filming and Karen was pictured in the media it became clear that Amy Pond has a very unique style. So how involved was Karen in the sartorial choices?
"I think it's quite important that I feel like her when I wear the clothes. So I worked quite closely with the costume designer, Ray and also the producers, to come up with the signature Amy look. They were generally vintage clothes, but we tried to incorporate high street styles as well because Amy is young. I think naturally there is going to be some of me in her style, as I relate to Amy and we are the same age as each other."
And Karen feels Matt Smith, as the youngest actor ever to play the Doctor, has risen to the challenge admirably.
"I think Steven said it perfectly; Matt manages to be old and young at the same time," explains Karen.
"That's the great thing about the Doctor; he has the energy and mischief of a young child as well as the wisdom, age and intelligence of someone a lot older. Also, with Matt's performance in particular, he's so believable that he isn't human. He has all these things that he does that make you really believe he is an alien or a Time Lord you're drawn in by that."
However, as well as working with Matt, the series has also given Karen the opportunity to work with a spectacular array of guest stars.
"That's the fantastic thing about Doctor Who, you get the most amazing people coming in as guest stars. I got to work with incredible actors; Alex Kingston is back as River Song and she's a legend! I'm managing to learn so much from all of these people. I feel privileged and I'm always trying to pick up tips from them."
Is there anyone who hasn't been in the series as yet that Karen would love to work with?
"As a Scot, I have to say that Billy Connolly would be really great and really funny. It would also be amazing to have someone like Judi Dench to come in and play a character. That would be mind blowing!"
If Karen were in Amy's place and could commandeer the TARDIS for a day, where would be her first stop?
"I would like to go millions of years into the future to see how people have changed and what technology we have come up with. Also, it would be really interesting to see how far humans have advanced physically. There is this theory that people are going to get really frail and skinny with big heads because they only use their brains and not their body. If I was going to go into the past then I think it would definitely be to see Elvis in concert or visit Gracelands."
There is one question which will be asked more than any other in the coming months and Karen is unequivocal in her answer; who is Karen's favourite Doctor?
"That's simple. Matt."
A new Doctor, Companion and Showrunner have heralded a year of changes for Doctor Who, but it doesn't end there. Piers Wenger and Beth Willis have taken on Executive Producer duties, alongside Steven Moffat, from the outgoing Doctor Who team of Russell T Davies and Julie Gardner. Here they reveal the challenges they have faced with taking on such a hugely successful series and why it's so important for Doctor Who to evolve.
"It has definitely been a big challenge taking on this show because we love it so much, and why tinker with something that has been as popular, successful and brilliant as it has been?" says Executive Producer Beth Willis.
"But at the same time we are terribly aware we have to look forward and work out how the show is going to survive in the future. In 2005 the team looked at what was fresh and new then and we have to do a bit of that ourselves. Looking at the episodes we've filmed so far we're starting to see the impact of those changes; what the team has managed to achieve is pretty thrilling."
Fellow Executive Producer and Head of Drama for BBC Wales, Piers Wenger, agrees and adds: "The thing which is most important to us is telling a good story at the end of the day; that's always the thing the audience is going to be most demanding about. Beyond that, any changes we have made have been motivated by giving the show the best production values money can buy. It's the nation's favourite, and that means it deserves the best."
The advances in technology over the past five years have inevitably enabled the programme makers to use more sophisticated techniques and create awe-inspiring visual effects. However, a new lead writer and Doctor are undoubtedly what viewers will feel mark the dawn of a new era for the hit series.
"The fact we have Steven Moffat writing it and Matt Smith starring in it gives the show an inevitable element of change," explains Beth.
"However, the one thing that hasn't made us scared about this change was reading Steven's scripts. I felt deeply honoured and excited to be in a position to be working with such great scripts. It doesn't really matter what colour you use, where the camera is or how you position a light; Steven and Matt are brilliant, which has made mine and Piers's jobs much easier."
However, production wasn't without its challenges as Piers points out: "It is the biggest show on British TV in terms of the level of technical expertise everyone has to be versed in. There were new challenges for Beth and I as we had limited experience in dealing with prosthetics and complex CGI. However, I think the biggest challenge was to move everything forward and make the right calls on what to change and what not to.
"Doctor Who's audience is an incredibly loyal and passionate one and one of the show's biggest advantages is that it takes you to new worlds every week. Bringing it back with a new writer and leading man after all its success so far, we couldn't be modest in our ambitions to find new ways for the show to thrill people."
Renowned as the most dedicated and passionate fans in the world, it seems Whovians certainly have a lot to look forward to in 2010. But would Piers and Beth consider themselves part of the loyal following?
"Steven, myself and Piers were some of the most excited people in the country when we found out Doctor Who was coming back in 2005. Well, in truth, Steven was probably the most excited, but Piers and I weren't that far behind him!" laughs Beth.
"I've always been a fan and I was even accused at the age of eight of shoplifting a copy of Doctor Who Magazine from my local newsagents – completely wrongly I hasten to add," confesses Piers. "I was accused of it probably because I was in there all the time reading them!"
But how would the duo sum up their experience of reinventing Doctor Who for 2010?
Beth simply states: "There have been loads of challenges, but let's face it, it's been a really exciting show to work on. We've got a fantastic cast, we're got a fantastic writer and a fantastic team and we've just kind of dived in at the deep end and had a ball!"
|Credit: BBC Press Office|