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Russell T Davies on ‘thrilling’ new Doctor Who series: It was like this in 2004

Russell T Davies has said the new series of Doctor Who will be ‘thrilling’ (Jane Barlow/PA)
Russell T Davies has said the new series of Doctor Who will be ‘thrilling’ (Jane Barlow/PA) Russell T Davies has said the new series of Doctor Who will be ‘thrilling’ (Jane Barlow/PA)

Russell T Davies has said the new series of Doctor Who starring actors Ncuti Gatwa and Millie Gibson will be “thrilling” to watch.

Screenwriter and producer, Davies, 60, who has returned as showrunner, compared the upcoming series with the 2005 revival of the long-running BBC show which starred Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor and Billie Piper as his companion Rose.

The series starring Eccleston and Piper was filmed in 2004, but aired on TV in 2005.

Davies said of the new series: “It was like this in 2004 when we were shooting with Chris and Billie and people were going ‘oh what’s it going to be like Doctor Who? Is it going to be rubbish?’

“But that was the attitude in 2004.”

Davies recalled thinking that he had “such a good secret” in how talented Eccleston and Piper were, and said he could not wait for people to watch them on TV.

“Remember how good they were?” he said.

“And it’s exactly like that with shooting Millie.

“It’s literally – it’s thrilling. What is coming up, I mean, some of the stories, stories we’ve never done before, the style of which we’ve never done before. We’re doing brand new things on screen.”

He added: “I am literally so excited to show it (the new series).”

Gatwa’s first episode as the 15th Doctor will air over the festive period, with Gibson playing his companion Ruby Sunday.

Davies also described what it was like to have American actor Neil Patrick-Harris on board the show for the 60th anniversary episodes, which will see David Tennant return, staring alongside the Time Lord’s former companion Donna Noble, played by Catherine Tate.

Patrick-Harris will play the Toymaker, an all-powerful enemy last seen in the series in 1966.

Davies said: “He read the script and then he phoned me up and said ‘So the Doctor’s an alien?’

“He really was from scratch.”

Elle Style Awards 2023 – London
Elle Style Awards 2023 – London Ncuti Gatwa is the 15th Doctor Who (Ian West/PA)

“He read it, and he loved it and he wasn’t planning to be working for that summer,” Davies added.

On the upcoming series he said: “The most important thing is that eight-year-old watching, and I do know that when you’re eight, or when you’re six, there’s nothing more disappointing than a disappointing episode of your favourite show. That’s a real low that day.”

He went on: “So you’ve got to keep it variable and change it, but it is that thought of disappointing that kid – drives us all.”

The Star Beast is the first of three special episodes marking 60 years of Doctor Who and will air on November 25 on BBC One.

It will be followed by Wild Blue Yonder on December 2 and The Giggle on December 9.