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Waiting For A New Doctor Who

After a hiatus of six years (since the American-made "Doctor Who" movie aired on Fox in 1998), "Doctor Who" is back! Yes, it's been fifteen long years since the series, which first aired in 1963 and ran for a record 26 years, was a regular fixture on British television. So it's about time for a new one.

For months now, fans have been tuning into the BBC for information about the new "Doctor Who," which according to news reports is set to air in spring 2005. Like the old series, it will feature a Time Lord gallivanting around the universe with a companion in his blue police telephone box (the TARDIS, which stands for Time And Relative Dimensions In Space), setting the universe to rights. Here's what we know so far about the return of our favorite time traveler:

1. The new ninth Doctor will be played by Christopher Eccleston, whose credits include “Shallow Grave,” “Cracker,” “Jude,” “The Others,” “Gone in Sixty Seconds,” “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” and “Elizabeth.” He’s also done a lot of theater. Eccleston hopes to attract the more sophisticated kids of today with a less “foppish” and “eccentric” character in the Doctor. Don’t expect any hats or scarves, but do look out for the Doctor’s dark side.

2. His first companion will be Rose Tyler, played by actress Billie Piper. She’s meant to be a much more intelligent and active sidekick than the Doctor’s had in the past. Will there be romance between the two? Piper is actually a singer and a spokesmodel for Brit music mag Smash Hits. Her debut album is “Honey To The B,” and her single from that CD topped the charts at #1.

3. One of the writers and executive producers is Russell T. Davies, who considers himself a “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” fan. His credits include “Century Falls,” “Dark Season” and a little show called “Queer As Folk.” Anyone watching that series ever notice that Vince Tyler is a devoted “Doctor Who” fan?

4. There will be an initial order of 13 episodes. Each episode is 45 minutes long. BBC Wales will be producing the show and yes, the Daleks will return (there was a question early on if some of the familiar baddies would come back—something about BBC Wales not having the rights to them, but that seems to have been solved). The new “Doctor Who” is currently filming around Wales, including Cardiff.

5. “Doctor Who” was well known for its low-budget, cheesy effects. But BBC Wales won’t be sparing the budget for this version. Expect high-tech effects and lots of new monsters. But just in case you’re worried, the TARDIS looks pretty much the same.

6. There’s been no announcement of a U.S. airdate for the series. But with so many of “Doctor Who”’s fans located here in America, surely this will change soon. With over 600 episodes and 26 years worth of “Doctor Who” available to us, we won’t accept being left out now!

For more information about "Doctor Who"--both the new and the old--check out the BBC's official "Doctor Who" Web site.

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