29/09/2003

Doctor Who set to return to BBC

Doctor Who, one of the BBC's best-loved and most enduring characters, is set to return to BBC ONE, it has been confirmed.

The Beeb said that it was too early to discuss possible storylines, characters, villains or who might play the Time Lord – and it is unlikely anything will be on screen for at least two years.

Controller of BBC ONE Lorraine Heggessey said that all rights issues regarding Doctor Who have been resolved and that she has given the go-ahead for scripts from award-winning writer Russell T Davies.

Russell Davies's writing credits include Bob and Rose, Queer as Folk, The Second Coming, Touching Evil (with Paul Abbott) and The Grand.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(gmcg)

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