Few people under the age of 30 will remember Tom Baker at his most magnetic, as the Dalek-thwarting timelord. Their parents may claim to this day that the hirsute one was not a patch on William Hartnell or Patrick Troughton, that he whimpered in the wake of the mighty Jon Pertwee. The real nippers probably think that Peter Davison was the best. One thing is sure, however: by the time Sylvester McCoy succeeded Colin Baker in 1986, the doctor’s bankable days were over, the plots – and sets – too flimsy to convince in a post-Spielberg world.
Four decades on from the first shows the BBC is bringing the doctor back and the signs for success are good, with the brilliant Russell T Davies on writing duty. A massive Doctor Who fan of old, he promises ‘full-blooded drama’ and storylines which are ‘fun, exciting, contemporary and scary’, while Christopher Eccleston should have just the right balance of bit-of-rough charm and glowering, Messianic intensity to merit the shabby great coat and (we hope) loop-the-loop scarf. Billie Piper in the role of his assistant, Rose Tyler, will doubtless help keep teenage boys of all ages happy. MW
â€¢ Doctor Who returns to BBC1 in the spring
With references to all of the previous Doctor Who leads except Paul McGann, the article at least manages to point any would-be viewers in the direction of Spring 2005; Saturdayâ€™s Sun newspaper and its online version thesun.co.uk managed to mislead its entire readership into thinking Doctor Who was returning Saturday night; this rumour was then further proliferated on BBC news during comedian Jenny Ã‰clairâ€™s newspaper review. Naturally, The Sun was wrong â€“ no date has yet been confirmed for the return of Doctor Who.
TimesOnline, the online version of the famous broadsheet, also carries a feature “Television drama looks set to hold our attention this year”. In the article, Joe Joseph bigs up some of the current years television: “And Doctor Who returns in the shape of Christopher Eccleston, with Billie Piper as his sidekick, as well as the Daleks”.
And finally, in an article on January 1st, UK redtop the Mirror ran its own preview of the years new shows:
Doctor Who – BBC1
NEVER has a TV series been so shrouded in secrecy – but soon we’ll be able to see how Christopher Eccleston fares as the travelling timelord, and whether Billie Piper measures up as his assistant.
A few facts have emerged. The Tardis, which transports the Doctor through time and the universe, is made of coral on the inside and is a living organism which can grow and change shape. But don’t worry, the outside still looks like an old blue police box.
On his journeys he will come across Simon Callow as Charles Dickens and Zoe Wanamaker as a very old woman.
There is also more than a hint of romance this time around. Eccleston says: “Doctor Who has two hearts and they can both be broken.”