with Mark Gatiss
Christopher Eccleston is Doctor Who in a new 13-part
series for BBC ONE. Billie Piper stars alongside Eccleston
as the Doctor's companion, Rose Tyler.
This is phase three of the BBC Doctor Who press pack.
The Doctor comes face-to-face with Charles Dickens in the new series
as he battles against re-animated corpses and shimmering blue entities
up to no good in Cardiff in 1869 - right up Mark
Gatiss's street, in fact.
The League of Gentlemen star and massive Doctor Who fan says: "The
original idea came from Russell T Davies, but it was ideal for me -
a Victorian ghost story set at Christmas with dead coming back to life!
"I've always had this thing about possession. Alan Bennett once said
that we all have only a few beans in the tin to rattle, and I do tend
to keep coming back to the idea of things being possessed.
"They're always my favourite kind of stories and it really must scare
me on some basic level, the concept of being occupied by other entities."
Mark says he's always loved Doctor Who storylines which involve travelling
back in time as well as far into the future.
"Part of the fun of those historical adventures was seeing a Fifties
police public call box standing on a Chinese plain in 2000 BC," he laughs.
Almost a year on from being asked to write for the new series, Mark
still almost cannot believe that Doctor Who is returning.
"I'd ruled out in my own mind the possibility of it ever happening,
so I've been pinching myself on set, seeing a beautiful new TARDIS,
a brand new gold Dalek, and knowing this amazing new series is on its
"It's extraordinary, but I've always carried in my heart a version
of how I thought it should be, and it's this one. It's a new show, not
one addressing a dwindling bunch of Doctor Who diehards like me, but
a modern show for a new audience.
"People who have never heard of Doctor Who should be able to sit down,
watch and say 'I love it'.
"Being asked to write for the new series was the best present I've
ever had. But having wanted the show to return for so long, it was also
a bit daunting and I think we [the writers] all ran around like headless
chickens for a while.
"But then you just have to get on with it and the hard work really
starts, but it's always a joy because of the love and loyalty we have
for the show."
Mark adds: "I think Chris makes a great Doctor, and they're both clearly
men having fun. But that's what Russell said from the start - whatever
he's up to, whatever danger he's in, the Doctor's having a good time."