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Friday, 26 September 2003 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
The story broke in the Friday morning London Daily Telegraph newspaper, whose webservice featured a headline article (already released to their web service) entitled Doctor Who ready to come out of the Tardis for Saturday TV series by Tom Leonard, Media Editor - an article that hit shortly before midnight UK time Thursday evening. Outpost Gallifrey had received a few emails over the past week hinting that something "was soon to be announced" but waited until the news hit Thursday evening in North America as the Telegraph's article was released, and then we heard that numerous Doctor Who experts such as Mark Campbell ("Pocket Essentials: Doctor Who") and the editors of Doctor Who Magazine were contacted for comment. Shortly after 0400 GMT, BBC News confirmed the story, which has now been carried on most major UK, US and Australia news services (including CNN, MSNBC, ITN News, Associated Press and Reuters).
          The Telegraph article, which was first on the story, said that "in a move that heralds the most eagerly anticipated comeback in television history, BBC1 said yesterday that it is developing a new series of the sci-fi classic," which BBC News confirms will be produced by BBC Wales for BBC-1 Television. But, says the article, "in a development that may alarm purists, the new series is being written by Russell T Davies, the creator of Queer As Folk, the controversial Channel 4 drama about gay life in Manchester, and Bob and Rose, an ITV drama about a homosexual man falling for a straight woman," among his many other television credits, which also include "Second Coming," "Touching Evil," "Springhill" and "The House of Windsor"... and, of course, the Doctor Who: The New Adventures novel "Damaged Goods" for Virgin Publishing. (Davies was also mentioned several years ago as a possible bidder for a new series, a prospect that obviously stayed a possibility...) Davies says he wants to 'introduce the character to a modern audience'. It will also be limited, at this time, to one six-part series, says at least one report.
          Lorraine Heggessey, controller of BBC-1 and a recent champion of Doctor Who, is apparently completely supportive of the whole thing (though she makes note that the Doctor will not be gay, despite the subject matter of the writer's previous material, noting that Davies was chosen because of his knowledge of Doctor Who and experience in television. Heggessey also apparently says in the article that it is "too early to say which of the Doctor's most famous enemies, who include the Cybermen, the Master and the Sea Devils, would return, but insiders said it was unthinkable that the Daleks would not be trundling back into action." Casting has not been undertaken at press time but the article mentions Richard E. Grant, Paul McGann and Alan Davies as possible choices. Heggessey then discusses the rights issues. "Worldwide has now agreed," she says, "that, as they haven't made the film and I've been waiting for two years, it's only right that BBC1 should have a crack at making a series." The series is not likely be be broadcast before 2005. Says Davies: "The new series will be fun, exciting, contemporary and scary."
          The Daily Telegraph article can be read online by clicking here (you have to register, but it's free); the BBCi News report confirming the story is located here. Other news services have been picking up the story over the past few hours... only confirming what we've suspected since word first broke: that Doctor Who fans truly have cause for celebration today.

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