Doctor Who back to fight insane Daleks (and Simon Cowell)

This is the seventh series of Doctor Who since its 2005 revival with Matt Smith as the Time Lord

A battle for Saturday night television supremacy is set to commence when Doctor Who materialises in the slot reserved for The X Factor.

The first salvo in the ratings war will be the most evil collection of Daleks yet assembled as the BBC bids to obliterate ITV’s most popular show.

The seventh series of Doctor Who since its 2005 revival is expected to begin a week on Saturday with Asylum of the Daleks, which finds Matt Smith’s Time Lord trapped alongside the exterminating machines deemed too insane to join their brethren.

But Doctor Who will battle for Saturday night viewers against the The X Factor, which suffered a ratings wobble last year, following Simon Cowell’s departure from his judging role to oversee the US version of the talent show.

This year ITV1 is scheduling The X Factor alongside Red or Black?, the controversial roulette-based game show presented by Ant and Dec, which is also co-produced by the absent Cowell.

The Doctor Who team has responded with a series of CGI-fuelled “blockbuster movies”, featuring daleks, dinosaurs and the Weeping Angels, the alien foes created by head writer Steven Moffat.

With schedules being finalised, BBC1 and ITV1 bosses are said to be keen to avoid a direct clash between X Factor and Doctor Who, which would annoy viewers. Dr Who is expected to screen before X Factor’s 8pm slot.

But the BBC, on a ratings high after its Olympic coverage, plans to hit ITV with a Saturday night “double-whammy” of Doctor Who followed next month by Strictly Come Dancing, which outperformed X Factor last year.

The BBC won’t change its plans to accommodate ITV. A spokesman said: “Our priority is delivering the best Saturday night schedule for BBC1 viewers and both Doctor Who and Strictly Come Dancing are at the heart of our Saturday night Autumn line-up. Exact transmission details are still to be confirmed but clashes with other channels are sometimes unavoidable.”

The X Factor averaged 12 million viewers last year compared to the 8 million who watched the BBC drama. Doctor Who is the most watched programme on the BBC’s on-demand iPlayer, racking up more than one million online views each week.

The new Doctor Who series is split into two parts, with an initial five episodes building to the “heartbreaking departure” of Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, the doctor’s assistant. Jenna-Louise Coleman will be introduced as the Doctor’s new companion in a Christmas special and will be spirited off in the Tardis for eight episodes next year.

The 2013 shows will mark the sci-fi series’ 50th anniversary and a special episode uniting previous Doctors, including David Tennant, is widely anticipated. The episode could be broadcast on Saturday November 23, Doctor Who’s “birthday”.

Moffat said Doctor Who, which has become the most downloaded show in the US, had to come back with a bang. “We've been off the air for longer than usual, so it was an easy decision to come back with Doctor Who at its most iconic and that means Daleks,” the executive producer said. “Lots and lots of scary Daleks.”

He added: “We’ve got Dinosaurs on a Spaceship (it's what you've always wanted), we've got a glorious western with a Cyborg Gunslinger, the most unusual invasion Earth story ever, and location shooting in New York for the Pond finale.”

The Daleks, last seen in a 2010 episode, may have got too cuddly, Matt Smith suggested. “Steven has written an absolute belter and we have made the Daleks scary again, something I am not sure we got right before,” the actor playing the 11th Time Lord said.

Whilst Doctor Who returns with confidence, The X Factor has ground to make up. This year’s judging panel is led by Gary Barlow with Tulisa Contostavlos and Louis Walsh joined by Nicole Scherzinger. The Take That songwriter admitted that the talent on display last year was disappointing. “I thought we were missing four or five better singers in our final 12,” Barlow said. “But this year is going to be amazing and the first live show is going to be unbelievable.”

Arts and Entertainment

Film Leonardo DiCaprio hunts Tom Hardy

Arts and Entertainment
And now for something completely different: the ‘Sin City’ episode of ‘Casualty’
TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

    US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

    Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

    'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
    The male menopause and intimations of mortality

    Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

    So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
    Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

    'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

    Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
    Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

    Bettany Hughes interview

    The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
    Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

    Art of the state

    Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
    Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

    Vegetarian food gets a makeover

    Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
    The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

    The haunting of Shirley Jackson

    Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
    Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

    Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

    These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
    Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

    Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
    HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
    Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

    'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

    Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
    Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

    The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

    Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen