While the current season of the BBC’s popular Doctor Who program counts down to the season finale, film is rolling on the 50th anniversary special, which will air in November, the same month that the original pilot episode of Doctor Who aired in 1963. David Tennant is currently filming scenes where he reprises the role of Doctor 10. Along with him is Billie Piper, who will again play the 10th Doctor’s traveling companion/romantic interest Rose Tyler.
Will Tennant be the only former Doctor to appear? Although he is currently the only one to sign up to appear in the flesh, there are (unconfirmed) rumors that the BBC will digitally insert cameos of the other nine former Doctors. The idea was inspired by the Star Trek: Deep Space 9 episode, “Trials & Tribble-ations”, where special FX allowed the classic Trek cast to interact with the DS9 crew.
In other casting news, Jemma Redgrave returns as Kate Stewart, the new head of UNIT and daughter of former UNIT commander Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. Also, respected actor John Hurt—who will forever be remember for having a space creature burst out of his chest in Alien—will also appear.
Publicity for the show teases at “the return of an old enemy”. Who will it be? (That alien in the upper right corner of the photo looks like a Zygon, from the Tom Baker era.) We’ve already seen the return of some other classic ‘Who’ villains–the Ice Warriors– this season. Who will be the big-bad for the 50th anniversary special? We’ll have to wait until November to find out.
Matt Smith, who plays the current Doctor, has often said he would love to appear with some of his predecessors. However, as enthusiastic as he seems about the role, he has dropped hints that he may not stay on much longer. Smith is set to star in a movie called How to Catch a Monster and is looking forward to the days when the long shooting schedule of the series is behind him. The 30 year old actor has previously said that role’s strain on his life means he won’t play it for as long as some of the earlier Doctors, like Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker. This has caused worried fans to wonder if he won’t take the opportunity of the 50th anniversary to bow out on a high note. Will this be his final year? Again, we’ll have to wait for a while to find out.
One thing we won’t have to wait too long for is the seventh season finale, which will air next month. The episode features the return of fan-favorite Alex Kingston, who plays the Doctor’s recurring romantic interest Professor River Song. The season finale is teasingly titled “The Name of the Doctor!” The producers have mislead us before with such titles (Remember the Doctor’s Daughter and the Doctor’s Wife) so we’re left to wonder if this episode will answer the long wondered about question of the Doctor’s real name. The episode synopsis reads “Someone is kidnapping the Doctor’s friends, leading him towards the one place in all of time and space that he should never go.” Will we really learn The Doctor’s greatest secret at last? Stay tuned.