David Tennant is to return to the role that made him a household name, playing the Doctor in the BBC’s long-running science-fiction drama series.
According to a popular Doctor Who blog, Blogtor Who, Doctor Who Magazine will confirm the casting in its latest issue, which is due to go on general sale on Thursday, 4 April.
The blog states that both Tennant – along with Billie Piper, who played his companion, Rose Tyler, in the series – have signed up to appear in the show’s 50th anniversary special, which is due to go into production next month.
“The new issue of Doctor Who Magazine [has] confirmed that David Tennant (The Tenth Doctor) and Billie Piper (Rose Tyler) have signed up to appear in the special,” the blogging site claims.
Tennant originally played the Tenth Doctor from 2005–10, having succeeded Christopher Eccleston. The current Doctor, Matt Smith, returns to TV screens this evening in the first of eight brand-new episodes. The Bells of Saint John – which is written by Doctor Who’s showrunner, Steven Moffat, and is directed by Farren Blackburn – also stars Jenna-Louise Coleman as his latest companion, Clara Oswald. Smith, meanwhile, is rumoured to be relinquishing the role at the end of this year.
The Eleven Doctors
For months, speculation has been rife as to whether or not previous Doctors would be returning to the show for its anniversary, as has happened on previous occasions.
The first such occurrence was for the 10th anniversary of the series, in 1973, which was celebrated with a four-part adventure – The Three Doctors – in which Jon Pertwee’s Third Doctor was joined by his two predecessors, William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton.
This multi-Doctor event was repeated in 1983, for the 20th anniversary, when previous incarnations of the Time Lord appeared in The Five Doctors. At the time, Peter Davison was the incumbent Fifth Doctor.
So far this year, the BBC have kept tight-lipped about their plans for what fans are hoping will be The Eleven Doctors. However, Big Finish have announced that they will be releasing a multi-Doctor adventure of their own, as part of their ongoing range of official Doctor Who audio-plays. The Light at the End, by Nicholas Briggs, will be released this November, and will star Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann, who played the Fourth to Eighth Doctors, respectively.
Tennant can currently be seen in ITV’s Scandinavian-influenced drama series, Broadchurch, and will soon appear in Paula Milne’s The Politician’s Husband.
3D 90 for 50
Earlier this year, the BBC did announce, however, that the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special would be filmed in 3D and, according to a report inDigital Spy, “will be 90 minutes long […] and receive a limited worldwide cinema release”.
Yesterday, it emerged that Ken Bones, Orlando James and Marshall Griffin have all landed roles in the special. According to his theatrical agent’s website, Bones is to play a character called the General; while DoctorWhoTVreports that James is listed as Lord Bentham.
Bones is a well-respected actor attached to the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford, England. As well as many stage performances – including recently Inherit the Wind, under Kevin Spacey, at London’s Old Vic theatre – Bones has appeared in many films – such as Bellman and True (1987) with Bernard Hill, Troy (2004) with Brad Pitt and Perfect Hideout (2008) with Billy Zane – and television dramas: Spooks, Casualty and Foyle’s War to name just three.
Meanwhile, Blogtor Who goes on to state that John Hurt will also appear in the special, which is scheduled to be broadcast on Saturday, 23 November 2013 – exactly fifty years to the day that the first episode, An Unearthly Child, was aired.
Also due for broadcast around the time of Doctor Who’s golden anniversary is a film, by the Doctor Who writer/actor and Sherlock co-creator Mark Gatiss, which will chart the creation and early years of the world’s longest-running TV sci-fi drama series.
An Adventure in Time and Space will recreate classic scenes from 1960s episodes of Doctor Who, including the original interior of the Doctor’s space–time machine, the TARDIS, and the Daleks’ invasion of Earth. The film stars David Bradley (Harry Potter), who will recreate the First Doctor, as originally played by the late William Hartnell (1963–6), as well as playing the man himself. Reece Shearsmith (Psychoville) will do the same for Hartnell’s successor, Patrick Troughton, a.k.a the Second Doctor (1966–9).
Doctor Who returns to TV screens in the UK, US and Canada later today. Episodes over the coming weeks include The Rings of Akhaten, Cold War, Hide, Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS, The Crimson Horror and Nightmare in Silver. While tonight’s episode, The Bells of Saint John, is due to introduce a new Doctor Who alien race – the Spoonheads – and the as-yet-untitled finalé the Whispermen, Cold War and Nightmare in Silver will see the return of classic Doctor Who monsters the Ice Warriors and the Cybermen, respectively.