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such a nasty woman | by maryann johanson

new ‘Doctor Who’ star announcement to come on Saturday

I guess they weren’t kidding: David Tennant really is leaving Doctor Who after this year, and someone else really is replacing him.

Tomorrow, the BBC will announce who that replacement is in a special episode of Doctor Who Confidential to air on BBC1 at 5:35pm Greenwich Time tomorrow. Which means 12:35pm Eastern, which means I’ll be hovering over the BBC News and BBC Doctor Who sites early tomorrow afternoon. The special will reportedly include an interview with the show’s new star.
BBC News quotes Piers Wenger, head of drama at BBC Wales, as saying:

We believe the actor is going to bring something very special to the role and will make it absolutely their own.

The Guardian says:

It is understood that those hoping for the first female doctor will be disappointed. Doctor Who’s new executive producers, Coupling creator Steven Moffat and BBC Wales head of drama Piers Wenger are said to have stuck with tradition and cast a man in the role.

However, Moffat and Wenger are thought to have steered away from the more obvious names that have been linked to the role.

Who were some of those “obvious names”? Teletext reminds us:

Bookmakers have tipped several well-known names as the next actor (or actress) to step into the Tardis.

Murphy’s Law star James Nesbitt emerged as one of the favourites, along with John Simm and David Morrissey – who appeared in the 2008 Christmas special.

Paterson Joseph, another favourite, who appeared in two Doctor Who episodes in 2005, has said “any actor would love the challenge” of playing the Doctor.

The Guardian also mentions Chiwetel Ejiofor and Ben Wishaw as actors whose names have been bandied about.

So if it’s not any of them, who will it be? How much wild speculation about who the new Doctor will be can we cram into 24 hours?

More tidbits, from the BBC:

The casting was confirmed over Christmas and filming for the 2010 series begins in the summer.

Tennant is due to begin shooting the first of his four specials this month, just weeks after surgery on his back.

The last of these episodes is expected to run in early 2010.

Not till early 2010? Now they’re really just torturing us because they can, aren’t they?

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  • eric-jon waugh

    For “early 2010”, read New Year’s day. Probably.

    Anyway, this is smart, making a televisual event out of the announcement. Certainly beats their approach last time around…

  • Martin

    I’m really hoping for a more sedate, intellectual Doctor (a Stephen Fry type, if you will) but I know I won’t get it, even if this new Doctor will “bring something new” it’s still another Doctor of running and shouting.

    Not that I’m complaining or anything.

  • Yeah, the BBC Eleventh Doctor announcement refers to “New Year 2010” for the end of the run of Tennant specials.

    There was a rumor, I think, that the Christmas 2009 and New Year 2010 specials would be a tight-knit two-parter type of story.

  • Barb

    I’m glad the speculation is finally going to end thou I’m still bummed we only have 4 more specials with DT in it. As for his finael, I’m also happy the regeneration won’t happen during the Christmas special but afterwards (it would make for a lousy holiday to see my fave Doctor go). My only wish for these 4 specials, focus on story and not for ‘big and epic’.

  • Joanne

    My only wish for these 4 specials, focus on story and not for ‘big and epic’.

    The Confidential for Christmas had RTD saying the would focus on the Doctor as a character, exploring him and his nature more – which suits me down to the ground as I think he’s an endlessly fascinating character. I can’t wait to see what Tennant can bring to these last four hours (boo!)

  • MaryAnn said:

    I guess they weren’t kidding: David Tennant really is leaving Doctor Who after this year, and someone else really is replacing him.

    Oh, MaryAnn. I, too, feel the horrible finality in this announcement. There was a part of me, too, that clung desperately to the forlorn hope that they were kidding, he’d change his mind…something. *sigh*

    Guess it’s time to face reality. Yuck. I always hate doing that. :-P

  • New Doctor: Craig Charles.

  • Teenes

    I was wondering if I was the only one who had mixed feelings about this announcement. I suppose I’m glad all the speculation will come to an end, but it does make David Tennant leaving very final, doesn’t it?

    I am hoping that with that speculation over, more attention and due respect will be paid to David Tennant’s final 4 episodes instead of all the talk just being about who’s next. But I think it’s wishful thinking, they’re just going to speculate about what the new guy is going to be like, aren’t they?

    I hope they get another Doctor Who fanboy in the role. I think I’ll almost miss David in the Confidentials, commentary, and behind the scenes stuff more than I’ll miss him as the actual Doctor! His enthusiasm and knowledge – both of the past series and details about the current series – were a joy to listen to. And I loved how it seemed he really conversed with the guest cast and crew and came up with all sorts of details about them during commentaries. Made the commentaries more interesting to listen to, and only cemented the impression of him as a genuinely nice and enthusiastic man.

  • Ken

    Never mind who the new Doctor is. I want to know if Alex Kingston will be in any of Tennant’s remaining episodes.

    Wouldn’t it be interesting to have her in all of them, in separate encounters, and feature a different companion mid-journey with the Doctor in each as well, so we *know* that there’s tons of missing adventures with each of the other companions (and by necessity, Tennant’s Doctor)?

  • NorthernStar

    It really speaks volumes for how enormous Dr Who has become that an announcement like this takes up it’s own special during peak viewing hours and have loads of media programmes devoting slots to its discussion.

    Surviving the circus by muttering “still have a year of DT” and rocking back and forth.

  • Barb

    What I also find interesting is that the special is on BBC1 and not on its normal BBC station. Now that is also saying a lot. The timeslot may be early but it’s gonna be huge because of the fact we learn who number 11 will be (curiosity factor). I also hope it will be another ‘fanboy’ as Teenes mentioned. All three (DT, RTD, and the Phil Collinson) were all fanboys – just take a look at the behind the scenes of Time Crash. I think it just made for a better sense of working together and it showed onscreen. Now 11 can be asked to death also when he’s leaving.

  • spikewriter

    Various forums are, not surprisingly, already melting with posters claiming that either this is the dawn of a new golden age or the End of All Things. Then there are the simply bitter…

    I’m looking forward to it, but I also came to DW as an adult, so I went through different Doctors in a rapid succession — and only became a serious fan years after I started watching Tennant.

    Btw, David Tennant is apparently well enough to be back in rehearsals for Hamlet and there’s a (slim) possibility he may even go on tonight. There’s a bigger possibility that he’ll be able to perform January 10, which is when I have my tickets.

  • maddie

    I’m watching it now.

    They’re saying he’s someone very young – twenty six, in fact, which takes out pretty much everyone they’ve been speculating about.

    And now they’re just faffing about talking about all the previous Doctors.

  • Kenny

    Matt Smith… hmm.

  • maddie

    And the winner is…Matt Smith, who played Jim in Ruby in the Smoke.

    I just haven’t seen him in enough stuff to really know.

  • Kenny
  • Martin

    Haven’t seen him in anything but I like the look of him. They’re right, he has an oldness to him.

  • Kenny

    Well… my first impression was that he didn’t have any eyebrows.

  • Martin



    I can’t wait that long!!!

  • Barb

    He looks a bit scary in the promo pic of him next the Tardis:


    Not sure about this one. Why go younger instead of younger that is my only complaint.

  • Kenny

    I don’t think he’s Scottish enough.

  • Kenny

    I’m being unkind. I’m still a bit miffed about David Tennant leaving. I’ve not seen Matt Smith in anything… I’ve read Ruby in the Smoke, but never watched the BBC adaption.

  • NorthernStar

    First impressions, based totally on his interview, aren’t overwhelming. Not good, but not bad. Neutral, I guess (whereas with DT it was just bam! Immediate oh he’ll be amazing gut reaction.)

    Although I hope it was just nerves ruining his eloquence rather than a total lack of.

  • I’m still mourning the loss of David, because besides being a terrific actor, I am madly in love with him. Do you know that this kind fellow signed and returned 7 photos I sent to him, even during his Hamlet run? Even returned my int’l postage slip I had enclosed.

    However I don’t begrudge him anything, as he is brilliant in any role, so we won’t be disappointed by him in the future.

    Can’t wait to see Matt Smith. As the announcement put it, he has the look of a Doctor. And I agree.
    The King is Dead, Long live the King.

  • Just read who it is, and I know you are writing your article about it right now . . . probably.

  • blake

    Matt…who ?

  • Diane

    So many feelings:

    1. Who the heck is this guy?
    2. I guess he looks like a Doctor.
    3. I want David back!
    4. Since I live in the U.S., I won’t see the new guy in action for quite a while, so maybe I will have gotten over DT’s leaving by then.
    5. Matt Smith seems a little weird.
    6. A quote from my 10 year old daughter: “He’s not fit to be the doctor.” I told her we have to give him a chance.
    7. I really want to see what MaryAnn has to say.

  • Ide Cyan

    The Doctor’s become Benjamin Button.

  • Gee

    I was unsure at the beginning of the Confidential when they teased about the youngest ever Doctor, but I really warmed to Matt in his interview. He seems intelligent, and, (I thought so, anyway!) articulate and a nice bloke.

    It is encouraging that Moffat knew Matt was *the one* almost immediately, too.

    I’m actually fairly happy about this choice and keen to see what Matt brings to the role (but only after DT has wowed us with his specials!!)

    Piers Wenger already looks exhausted!!

  • MaryAnn

    Gonna have to download that Confidential and check out the interview with Smith…

  • blake

    “It is encouraging that Moffat knew Matt was *the one* almost immediately, too.”

    That’s what I thought. Moffat knows his stuff…hopefully.

  • NorthernStar

    Gonna have to download that Confidential and check out the interview with Smith…

    He’s a bit inarticulate, but I’m hoping that was just nerves.

    While you’re checking the torrents, you might want to search for “Demons” too, with Phillip Glenster.

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