Geek Dave sets out on the trip of a lifetime...
1. Russell T Davies first began discussions with the BBC to bring back Doctor Who in late 1998. At the time he was up against three other potential candidates; Dan Freedman who intended a new series to be very fantasy based (more like the Moffat era), Life on Mars' Matthew Graham who pitched a Gothic style approach, and Mark Gatiss who wanted to develop a complete reboot. Although those initial talks soon broke down Davies' idea remained pretty much the same as the one we saw on screen, with the companion as the audiences surrogate and adventures initially told from their viewpoint. Almost a decade before Rose arrived on screen, Davies already had that whole first episode mapped out. He intended the companion to be a young female office cleaner
who would encounter Autons while working alone in a large building at night. After meeting the Doctor his first word to her
would have been "Run!".
2. Both Hugh Grant and Rowan Atkinson were approached to play the Ninth Doctor, both declined. It seems that the production team had narrowed the field down to two other potential candidates - Alan Davies and Bill Nighy -when Christopher Eccleston e-mailed RTD asking to be considered for the part of the Doctor. Davies had recently worked with Eccleston on The Second Coming but he didn't think he be interested in the part of the Doctor so hadn't approached him. Instantly, Eccleston became Davies' number one choice.
3. Although the companions name was not confirmed until March 2004, RTD revealed
to Doctor Who Magazine that she would "probably" be called Rose Tyler as early as November 2003. He had chosen the name Rose to be both "the most British name in
the world" and a "good luck charm".
4. Along with Billie Piper, Georgia Moffett, daughter of Fifth Doctor actor Peter Davison
(and who would later appear as the title role in the series 4 episode The Doctor's Daughter, and go on to marry Tenth Doctor David Tennant), also auditioned for the role of Rose.
5. Amongst the writers RTD approached to pen scripts for Series 1 was JK Rowling. She was "amused by the suggestion" but politely declined as she was too busy (you can read more about that here).
6. In early production idea meetings a potential crossover episode with Star Trek: Enterprise was considered by the Doctor Who team as a possible way to attract a wider audience. (Enterprise was cancelled midway through Series 1 of Doctor Who).
7. Principal photography for Series 1 of new Doctor Who began on July 18th 2004. Scenes were shot on location in Cardiff for the opening episode, Rose. However the very first scene Christopher Eccleston shot as the Ninth Doctor was for Aliens of London (along with Rose and World War III these episodes made up Block 1 of filming), it was the scene where The Doctor encounters the pig alien at
8. Mackenzie Crook was originally set to play conspiracy theorist Clive, but due to scheduling he had to pull out at the last minute. RTD called upon one of his regular collaborators, Mark Benton, to takeover the part.
9. Zoë Wanamaker, who voiced Cassandra, was unable to attend the studio
session in Cardiff for The End of the World, so ended up recording her lines much later in a sound studio in London. When it came to filming the episode Eve Myles (who at the time was rehearsing for her role of Gwyneth in the episode
The Unquiet Dead, which was to be filmed in the same recording block) was asked to stand in to provide Cassandra's lines for the actors to react to.
10. Mark Gatiss' original script for The Unquiet Dead went by the name of The Crippingwell Horror, and was far bleaker and much more
frightening. RTD advised him to "make it more of
a romp", so he returned with a revised script that went by the name The Angels of Crippingwell, which was also used as the working title during filming.
11. Before the rewrites Gabriel Sneed was originally conceived as a younger character, and David Tennant was being considered for the role.
12. According to Gatiss, he had included a scene in The Unquiet Dead where the Doctor was to be mistaken for Sneed's new cleaner. Someone would
have stated, "I thought you'd be a woman" to which the Doctor replies
"No, not yet". An early hint towards Time Lords changing sex.
13. Ongoing issues with the estate of Terry Nation almsot prevented the Daleks from appearing in the first new season of Doctor Who, so as a back up plan Robert Shearman and RTD created an alternative script for the episode Dalek. Davies designed a new spheroid creature
akin to a sadistic child which was actually a mutated version of
humanity from the end of time, and Shearman adapted his script accordingly. This revised version went by the tongue in cheek working title of Absence of the Daleks. (RTD later used his idea as the basis for the Toclafane in Season 3 - read more about this here).
14. Michael Brandon was offered the role of Van
Statten. Although he was interested, his schedule made it impossible.
15. Originally Robert Shearman intended Adam Mitchell to be Van Statten's son!
16. Back in the early 1980s, when John Natahn-Turner was the shows
producer, a young Russell T Davies had submitted a script to Doctor Who
featuring "someone who was a rubbish companion". He resurrected that
stories idea for The Long Game, and included his concept of 'The
Couldn't' in the form of Adam Mitchell.
17. Simon Pegg was originally approached to play Pete Tyler in Father's Day, but due to scheduling
conflicts he had to pass on that one, and ended up taking the part of The Editor in The Long Game during the next filming block.
18. Boom Town was a last minute replacement by RTD, as Paul Abbott, of Shameless fame, was originally set to write an episode entitled Pompeii (also known as The New Team), which would've dramatically changed Rose's back story. Pompeii would've seen Rose feeling jealous of the Doctor's new
friendship with Captain Jack Harkness, but when the TARDIS lands in Pompeii in 79 AD, Jack discovers
that Rose's life had been manipulated by the Doctor in an experiment to
create the perfect companion (read more about that here). Abbott had spent months of development on the script, and missed countless deadlines, eventually he came to the realisation that he was too busy to complete the story.
19. RTD wrote an alternative climax for The Parting of the Ways, in which the Doctor and Rose would head to the planet Barcelona. The Doctor does not regenerate, instead Rose is unknowingly on the verge of death due to her exposure to the time vortex. It was planned that this ending would still be recorded, at least partly to serve as a red herring in case news of Christopher Eccelston's departure 'accidentally' leaked out!
20. David Tennant's portion of the regeneration scene was filmed much later than Christopher Eccleston's, and, more importantly, without the presence of Billie Piper. To aid him, Tennant's segment was recorded with him speaking to a piece of sticky tape indicating where Piper's eyeline would be, and then the shots were edited into the broadcast version.
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