An eagerly awaited brand-new children’s science-fiction/fantasy series, from Doctor Who’s Russell T Davies, is due to launch next week.
Think “Doctor Who meets Harry Potter”, and basically, you’ve come up with Wizards vs Aliens, which has been co-created by Davies and Phil Ford to fill the gap left by the cancellation of The Sarah Jane Adventures.
The Sarah Jane Adventures – itself a spin-off from the BBC’s science-fiction drama series Doctor Who – was CBBC’s most-popular drama series ever. It ended in 2011, following the sudden death of its eponymous star Elisabeth Sladen.
Wizards Vs Aliens is a direct replacement for that show and has been made by the same writing and production team. However, the new series is not a Doctor Who spin-off and won’t include any of the characters from the Doctor Who universe.
It stars Scott Haran (as a schoolboy wizard, Tom) and Percelle Ascott (as his geeky soon-to-be best friend, Benny).
In the current issue of Doctor Who Magazine (DWM) described Wizards vs Aliens as a Doctor Who/Harry Potter mash-up, which Davies is really excited about. “Let’s face it, if the doors of the Great hall of Hogwarts opened to reveal a Dalek army, our heads would explode with joy!” Davies told DWM.
Earlier this year, the former Doctor Who showrunner told the Observer, “The only thing that could make Harry Potter better, in my view, would be if a big spaceship arrives at the door of Hogwarts, but it never does. It does in ours, in episode one.”
Ford is equally enthusiastic about their new show, confirming that, “I’m already working on […] ideas for series three [and] can see at least one spin-off.”
Meanwhile, Sander Schwartz, FME’s President, Kids & Family Entertainment, describes the series, to TBI Vision, as having, “elements of Doctor Who [with] a dash more comedy […] Harry Potter meets Star Wars with a dash of Doctor Who”.
Davies also spoke to What’s on TV about Doctor Who’s upcoming 50th anniversary, in 2013, insisting that he would not be a part of it.
Wizards Vs Aliens is produced for CBBC by BBC Cymru Wales in association with FremantleMedia Enterprises (FME). So far, a total of 26 episodes are in various stages of development. Filming is taking place at BBC’s Roath Lock Studios in Cardiff, the home of Doctor Who and The Sarah Jane Adventures.
The show is a co-creation between its executive producer Russell T Davies and co-producer Phil Ford.
Writers for the show include Clayton Hickman, Joseph Lidster and Gareth Roberts, all of whom worked with Ford and Davies on The Sarah Jane Adventures. Lidster also worked with Davies on the 2008 series of Torchwood, and Roberts is also a regular contributor to Doctor Who.
Other executive producers are: for the BBC, Bethan Jones, Gina Cronk and Sue Nott; for FME, Sander Schwartz for FME.
The series is produced by Brian Minchin (The Sarah Jane Adventures).
Series One, which consists of 12 episodes, premieres on CBBC on Monday, 29 October 2012, at 5.15 p.m. Series Two – 14 episodes – is scheduled for 2013.