Monday, March 26, 2012

7 years of new Doctor Who

At 7.00pm on 26 March 2005, Doctor Who returned to BBC One with a new series for the first time since 1989.

Introducing Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor and Billie Piper as Rose, the series was a critical and ratings success with over 10 million viewers tuning in for the opening episode which was scripted and executive produced by Russell T Davies.

Later in 2005, the BBC swiftly commissioned a second and third series which would see Doctor Who continue until 2007.

The week after episode one was broadcast, Eccleston announced that he would be leaving the role of the Doctor and was replaced by David Tennant who made his debut at the end of episode thirteen of the 2005 series, The Parting of the Ways.

Piper returned alongside Tennant for the 2005 Christmas Special and the second series, although she departed in Doomsday which featured a battle between the Daleks and the Cybermen.

The 2006 Christmas Special was viewed by an audience of 9 million and saw the introduction of Catherine Tate of Donna Noble.

The 2007 series brought in Freema Agyeman as Martha Jones as the new full-time companion. The series also saw the return of the Master, played by Derek Jacobi and John Simm.

Voyage of the Damned was broadcast on Christmas Day 2007 and featured Kylie Minogue as Astrid. The special is currently the highest-rated Doctor Who episode of the 21st Century, with over 13 million tuning in.

In 2008, a fourth thirteen-part series saw the return of Davros, the Sontarans, the Daleks and Donna Noble as the full-time companion. Also making appearances were Rose Tyler, Matha Jones, Sarah Jane Smith and Mickey Smith.

The Next Doctor was the 2008 Christmas Special and was seen by over 13 million viewers. Planet of the Dead in 2009 marked the first time that the Doctor Who had done a Easter Special. It was followed later in the year by The Waters of Mars.

A two-part story The End of Time, which saw the departure of David Tennant, were broadcast on Christmas Day 2009 and New Year's Day 2010. Both episodes were seen by over 12 million viewers.

Matt Smith made his debut as the Doctor in the second part of The End of Time, although his first full episode The Eleventh Hour was broadcast in April 2010 and was watched by over 10 million viewers. The episode also introduced Karen Gillan as Amy Pond and was the first to be executive produced by Steven Moffat.

Smith's first Christmas Special, A Christmas Carol, was shown in 2010 and featured guest appearances from Sir Michael Gambon and Katherine Jenkins.

Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, Arthur Darvill and Alex Kingston made a return for another thirteen-part series in 2011, which was spilt with one half broadcast in the Spring and the remaining half shown in the Autumn.

The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe was Smith's second Doctor Who Christmas Special. Broadcast on Christmas Day 2012, it was seen by an audience of 10 million.

Another fourteen-part series has been commissioned by the BBC, to be broadcast over 2012 and 2013. It will see the departure of Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill. Jenna-Lousie Coleman will make her debut as the new companion in this year's Doctor Who Christmas Special.

Doctor Who has enjoyed enormous success since it returned in 2005, with ratings peaking at over 13 million, numerous awards and two successful spin-off series. It is BBC Worldwide's biggest selling TV show internationally, being shown in over fifty countries.

Doctor Who also holds the Guinness World Records for Most Successful and Longest Running Sci-Fi show of all time.

And with Doctor Who's fiftieth anniversary approaching next year and more episodes to come, it looks like the risky decision to resurrect the show after sixteen years off air certainly paid off.


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