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26.09.03


TV DRAMA


Doctor Who returns to BBC ONE


Doctor Who, one of the BBC's best-loved and most enduring characters, is set to return to BBC ONE, it was confirmed last night by Lorraine Heggessey, Controller of BBC ONE.


Heggessey said that all rights issues regarding Doctor Who have been resolved and that she has green-lit scripts from award-winning writer Russell T Davies.


It is far too early in the day to discuss possible storylines, characters, villains or who might play the Time Lord - it is unlikely anything will be on screen for at least two years.

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.


Russell T Davies's writing credits include Bob and Rose, Queer as Folk, The Second Coming, Touching Evil (with Paul Abbott) and The Grand.


Mal Young says: "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, says: "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.


All the BBC's digital services are now available on Freeview, the new free-to-view digital terrestrial television service, as well as on satellite and cable.

Freeview offers the BBC's eight television channels, interactive services from BBCi, as well as 11 national BBC radio networks.


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