Bad Wolf / The Parting of the Ways
Bad Wolf / The Parting of the WaysStory Number: 166 (1.12 / 1.1)
Writer: Russell T Davies
Director: Joe Ahearne
Executive Producer: Russell T Davies, Julie Gardner, Mal Young
Starring: Christopher Eccleston, Billie Piper, John Barrowman, Jo Joyner, Noel Clarke, Camille Coduri, David Tennant
No of Episodes: 2
First Broadcast: Sat 11 Jun 2005 - Sat 18 Jun 2005
Running Time: 88 minutes 20 seconds
Average Audience: 6.86 Million Average AI: 88
David Tennant is confirmed as the tenth Doctor Who, it was announced today by Jane Tranter, BBC Controller of Drama Commissioning, following the recommissioning of the second series.
Tennant, whose recent credits include BBC THREE's critically-acclaimed drama series Casanova, BBC ONE's Blackpool and He Knew He Was Right, will star alongside Billie Piper who returns as Rose Tyler.
Julie Gardner, BBC Head of Drama, Wales says: "Christopher Eccleston has given an exceptional performance as the ninth Doctor.
"David Tennant is a great actor who will build on the excellent work already done by Christopher in establishing Doctor Who for a new generation."
David Tennant says: "I am delighted, excited and honoured to be the tenth Doctor!
"I grew up loving Doctor Who and it has been a lifelong dream to get my very own TARDIS.
"Russell T Davies is one of the best writers television has ever had, and I'm chuffed to bits to get the opportunity to work with him again.
"I'm also really looking forward to working with Billie Piper who is so great as Rose.
"Taking over from Chris is a daunting prospect; he has done a fantastic job of reinventing the Doctor for a new generation and is a very tough act to follow."
Executive producer/writer Russell T Davies adds: "Christopher Eccelston's wonderful Doctor has reinvented the role, so that it now appeals to the best actors in the land.
"I'm already writing David's first new adventure on board the TARDIS!
"Regeneration is a huge part of the programme's mythology, and I'm delighted that new, young viewers can now have the complete Doctor Who experience, as they witness their hero change his face!"
A new 13-part adventure and Christmas special begins filming in Cardiff in the summer for transmission on BBC ONE.
Here, Russell T Davies - award-winning writer and executive producer of Doctor Who - gives an exclusive insight into the Christmas 2005 episode and reveals why 'pigeon-holing' in his early career as a writer in children's television made the transition into adult television difficult.
Q: Were you surprised by the reaction to the new series?
RTD: The honest to God truth is I was shocked. The weird thing is, it's everything we hoped for. In January we were all sitting there hoping millions of people would watch; hoping that people would love it.
It's such a rare thing for everything to fit into place especially when all the signs were there. Friends of mine would say to me this is such a risk, because it's niche and there's no science fiction in primetime plus it's an old show, its days have gone etc etc.
There were so many things mitigating against it. If we were in Los Angeles there would be 15 shows like it running at once. No-one's made anything like this in this country and we've pulled it off.
Science fiction can be very bland, homogenized and steeped in American culture, and to make this British has been fantastic.
I think as a kid watching the series you can feel a sense of ownership and that's made a massive difference.
Russell on his versatility as a writer
RTD: One of the things that makes me laugh is when I read something which says 'gay writer of Second Coming, Casanova and Queer as Folk has made family viewing an event'.
It just shows that anyone can write anything. All that pigeon-holing that goes on is nonsense. No writer should ever sit there and think – I'll only write gay things.
I used to work in children's television and it was harder to move from children's telly and break into adult television. I was a young writer and no-one knew my name. People would just sit there and say, but you’ve only done children's.
I knew I could write anything. I knew I could do adult drama, but everyone pigeon-holes everyone.
What I love about Doctor Who is that it has come full circle, it's for adults and children; it's doing everything I like doing.
Q: What's your view on the seeming lack of family drama on television?
RTD: Cinema leads the way with films like Toy Story – the script is full of intelligence, it's clever, witty and so much fun, and at the heart of it is a great plot.
I have sat with a group of 15 people watching Finding Nemo on a Sunday morning – one member of the group was five and another 55, and when you see things like that happening you know that the myth that family drama doesn't exist anymore is simply not true.
We were told, Julie (Gardner) and I, to be careful aiming for a family audience because it doesn't exist anymore.
I absolutely didn't believe it, that's why we built Doctor Who to be an event every single week.
There's something big and different so everyone can come together to watch it, not just kids, and not just adults – genuine family viewing really.
It sort of follows Hollywood's example, you might be cynical about Hollywood, but they tend to be ahead of the game.
Q: Is it true that the Daleks are coming back in the final episode?
RTD: Yes. It's true. Having given them a conscience in one episode, the Daleks are back as these great, murderous monsters they were created to be. It's like Doctor Who as it always was. And it’s exciting.
Q: What else can you reveal about the content of the final episode?
RTD: There are Dalek armies, a war, space ship and gun fire. For all the hardware and macho side of it, the final episode is the most emotional we have told yet.
The story we have been telling over the 12 weeks all comes to a head and it shows how much the Doctor means to Rose, Rose means to the Doctor and Captain Jack means to them both.
There's an army of 500,000 Daleks with six ordinary human beings left in the world to fight them off.
It tells my favourite story, which is about the heroism and bravery of ordinary people up against an almighty threat.
There's reference to almost every single previous episode, but anyone can watch it and still enjoy it even if they haven’t been following the whole series.
Q: Is there anything at all you can reveal about the Christmas episode?
RTD: Well it's an hour-long episode which is something we've never done before.
It will be a great, Christmas adventure that's really big in scale. It will be Christmassy, there's nothing I like more than a Christmas Special set at Christmas!
There's a big story in it for Rose as well as a massive threat to the Earth going on beneath the surface so Christmas as usual!
Q: Have you been inundated with celebrities wanting to be involved in the second series?
RTD: Yes, there have been a lot names coming through to our casting director. We're currently drawing up a list. But I couldn't possibly name names.
Q: How nervous or excited are you about the second series?
RTD: Very excited because David (Tennant) is like a whole new lease of life. I think one of dangers of success sometimes is that one can get too complacent.
Putting David at the helm means we're all reinvigorated because we have got to be just as good, if not better just for him.
So it's actually very exciting, but at the same time scary. It's back to square one for us so that's always a good place to be I think.
You have to put pressure on yourself really, because you have over seven million viewers who love this show, so you mustn't let them down now. We have got to deliver even more surprises for them, and I'm absolutely confident we can do it!
Q: Can you share anything about the content of the new series?
RTD: We have the Cybermen!
We're also going to alien planets which we didn't do in the first series because I wanted to be confident of the design and now I feel sure. We also have the best design and SFX team in the world.
The series will remain connected to the Earth because I think that's important.
There will be a couple of old faces, and lots of new faces.
Trips into history with us going back to the 1700s at one point... that's all I can say at this stage I am afraid.
David Tennant has spoken exclusively to Doctor Who Magazine on the eve of filming about becoming the tenth Time Lord; how he felt about being offered the chance to take on the iconic role; and his love for the series as a child.
So how did it feel when you were asked to be the tenth Doctor?
It was funny, when I first got asked I just laughed! I found it hilarious and impossible! And I remember Russell, very perceptively, saying "Don't say anything now, because I know the experience is quite a weird one."
What did you make of [Series One] just as a viewer?
I thought it was exceptional, actually. As each week went on, I thought it got better and better. And I don't mean to suggest for an instant that it was bad to begin with!
It started so well, and was so sure of itself, and then it just seemed to grow on that, week on week.
It was beautifully judged by everyone. I guess that starts with Russell, who's the creative head, but everyone involved seemed to have such a grasp of what Doctor Who should be, and how it works, and they did it brilliantly I think.
Did the fact that you thought it was so good make it more daunting, knowing that it would be you on the screen come Christmas?
Oh without a doubt it makes you more daunted. With every passing week the series was getting better and better and fulfilling all its promise - and more.
And Chris was so good in it. So sure-footed with what he did. So it left me thinking, "There's an awful lot to live up to here."
And the press coverage just got bigger and bigger, and the audiences seemed to get more and more into it. It really was a television sensation, and that's so rare these days.
What about your lovely companion Rose? Have you been in touch with Billie Piper yet?
Yes I have - we've met up a few times now. I didn't know her before, but obviously I've been admiring her in the show. She's just great. Fantastic. Just absolutely perfect. Spunky and quick and sexy... just the ideal companion really. So I'm very very pleased that she's doing the whole series.
As the first actor to play the Doctor who could properly be described as a 'fan' of the show, do you find yourself constantly being pulled up by the realisation that actually, yes, this is real and you are the tenth Doctor?
Yes, I absolutely do. I don't think anyone who grew up in the Seventies or Eighties could not have those moments, but for me, who watched Doctor Who avidly, and loved the show, it is a bit surreal.
But you have to get beyond that quite quickly. That's what I've been discovering, that the moment of that slight 'out-of-body experience' ends when you realise you have to knuckle down and do it.
Who was your Doctor?
Well I grew up with Tom Baker. And Peter Davison really, 'cos I was - what? - ten, eleven when he was doing it. So they were my two Doctors.
Tom Baker is the one I have the earliest memories of, and then I was still watching it very avidly through Peter Davison.
Any final comments before you start filming?
I don't want to make any pronouncements because I don't think it's for me to do. It's weird all that, because inevitably...
Well, when I was announced, I admit, I did go on [Doctor Who website] Outpost Gallifrey to have a quick look, because I just couldn't help myself, and everyone was encouraging me to go on and see what the fans were saying about me.
So I went on there and the first comment I read was very nice, and the next comment was terribly flattering, and then the next one said something like "I can't bear the sight of him!" And the one after that said "Who?" The one after that said "I'd rather have David Morrissey." The one after that said "That's it! The dream is finished! Somebody who looks like a weasel could never play the Doctor! It's over!"
And then I thought to myself that maybe it's best not to read this sort of thing too much! [laughs] And actually it's not for me. These forums aren't there for the guy playing the part, so I wouldn't pretend to have any pronouncements to make to the fans really.
I just hope people like it. I hope they stick with it and give it a chance. I know everyone loved Chris, and so did I, but hopefully I won't disappoint people!
The full interview with David will appear in the August issue of Doctor Who Magazine, on sale 21 July.