I'm excited about Doctor Who again. God, it feels good to write those words. It's been a rough couple few years but finally... finally! The future of the beloved BBC sci-fi show looks spectacular.
While Jodie Whittaker as the 13th Doctor has been nothing short of brilliant, it has to be said the writing from Chris Chibnall has fallen short of expectations. The Power of the Doctor – which was viewed by 3.71 million people – brought to a close a rocky period for the Time Lord, ending on the cliffhanger of all cliffhangers – the return of David Tennant. Only in my wildest dreams could this have happened.
Almost 60 years into the show, one actor has never portrayed the Doctor twice. Now Tennant will officially be known as the 10th and 14th incarnation of the character. "It would be quite a weird idea," the actor told audiences at German Comic Con earlier this year. He's not wrong. I'm not even sure how keen I am about Tennant having another designated number for the Doctor but you bet I shouted the house down as soon as I saw his slick suit pour out of that regeneration energy. "It's him!" I yelled.
The return of arguably the most popular Doctor since Tom Baker put on a scarf in 1974 is obviously massive. Better still, is the future beyond that. Russel T Davies returning as showrunner is the most unexpected and most welcoming news of the lot while Ncuti Gatwa is inspired casting. You only have to watch the teaser trailer for the next episode to feel the jump in quality.
“If you thought the appearance of David Tennant was a shock, we’ve got plenty more surprises on the way!" wrote Davies (via a blog post (opens in new tab)). "The path to Ncuti’s Fifteenth Doctor is laden with mystery, horror, robots, puppets, danger and fun! And how is it connected to the return of the wonderful Donna Noble? How, what, why? We’re giving you a year to speculate, and then all hell lets loose!"
The man knows how to get people excited. He gets Doctor Who like very few, if not anyone in the business. The 15-second teaser for the first of three specials to celebrate the 60th anniversary in 2023 looks immediately like a thrilling experience. Maybe it's the lack of CGI and use of practical effects or the fact that Davies has continued to shine as a writer since departing Doctor Who (It's A Sin, Years and Years), or just maybe it's the fact that this is the A-team.
You see, it was confirmed that Bad Wolf Productions would produce the show in partnership with BBC Studios from 2023. That company was founded by Jane Tranter and Julie Gardner who both helmed the 2005 reboot alongside Davies. The final piece of the puzzle is Phil Collinson who worked with the group from 2005 to 2008 as a producer before joining Coronation Street. This is the gold standard. These are the people that brought Doctor Who from out of the wilderness of the 90s into the 21st century. These are the people that made Doctor Who the global powerhouse it is today.
"There's no one like Russell T Davies. I feel like he's the heart and soul of Doctor Who's renaissance, and personally I don't know if it's had that spirit since. Maybe that's just what appeals to me as a matter of taste, but I think he's so wonderfully unique."-Billie Piper ❤️ pic.twitter.com/a89oyNEHhvSeptember 9, 2019
It just feels good to be excited about something that has been a major part of my life since I was a child. Growing up on the classic series, before the modern reboot took the sci-fi into the stratosphere was a special time, one that continued for a long, long time. This was prime-time TV!
The 2007 Christmas special "Voyage of the Damned" was viewed by 13.31 million viewers, almost 10 million more than those who tuned into Jodie's regeneration. That's significant. Now streaming naturally has taken a chunk of this number but still, Doctor Who should be an event. And this is the team to do just do that.
If only we didn't have to wait until November 2023 (anyone got a TARDIS?) to see the return of Doctor Who. It's going to be a long 13 months! But one I absolutely cannot wait to see.
Doctor Who is available to watch on BBC iPlayer and Britbox in the UK and Ireland and from 2023 will be streaming on Disney Plus for other territories.