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Thursday, 24 November 2005 - Reported by Shaun Lyon

Today's Mirror has another 'exclusive', "Dr Ho-Ho...Oh!" which notes that "Earth is invaded by a gang of evil Santas in a Dr Who Christmas special - but the hero can't help as he is in the middle of regeneration into the new doctor. Actor David Tennant is flat on his back and barely conscious as he makes his debut at the 10th Timelord. It is left to his assistant Rose Tyler, played by Billie Piper, to save the world from the menacing Santas. Viewers will see Earth threatened by a monstrous race called the Sycorax, who have stolen a British space probe, in a story called The Christmas Invasion. ... On the DVD, show producer Phil Collinson reveals: 'The Santas form a four-piece band and each instrument becomes a lethal weapon. There is a tuba with a flame thrower in it, two trumpets that fire bullets and a trombone that fires mortars.' ... Director James Hawes said: 'The Christmas Invasion is about mankind's first experience of a threat of an alien landing on the planet. The real twist is that the doctor is in the middle of regeneration - and he ain't there to save us.' The Sycorax leader is played by Sean Gilder, who appeared as Styles in ITV drama Hornblower and Jols in movie King Arthur. ... Tennant joked: 'I'm getting there and I'm coping with it. So far I'm doing a damn fine job of being unconscious - I'd say it's my finest work. I have had a great time so far - it's been great, very friendly with a very welcoming atmosphere.' The Christmas Invasion will be shown as BBC1's flagship drama on Christmas Day. Collinson added: 'We've also been commissioned to make a Christmas special for 2006. So we would hope this is going to become the norm for the next couple of years.'"

The Daily Record features an interview with Tennant. Highlights: "My life hasn't changed. But I get invites to premieres, which I never used to. I've never done the career plan. My ambition goes from one project to the next. I look to the next thing to be exciting, inspiring, different. I get ambitious for a script. If something comes in I really want to do, I get very hungry and excited about that - and crushed if I don't get it. ... It's watched by everyone, aged seven to 70, including groups you wouldn't particularly expect to be huge fans. I'm continually surprised by the number of trendy teenage girls and middle-aged mums who come up to talk to me and who genuinely love the show. That's what's extraordinary and unique about it. ... So far, I've had to answer a lot of mail because Doctor Who has a lot of committed fans. It was funny when I first got the part. I just laughed, thinking it was both hilarious and impossible because I'd wanted it so much. It's such a great job. I mean, I get to play a Timelord and have a Tardis. You can't knock that. I've always wanted my own Tardis and now I've got it! ... Viewers are going to see a slightly more no-nonsense Doctor and that is influenced by what Chris did with him. We are more aware that he's someone who fought a war, lost all his people and because he's the last Timelord, the last authority in the universe, he's more ruthless."

The BBC Press Office has a press release which includes weeks 51 and 52 on BBC1, including the full summary of "The Christmas Invasion".

(Thanks to Paul Engelberg, Paul Hayes, Peter Weaver)

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