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
Russell Tovey, Myanna Buring and Julian Rhind Tutt star in Banished

TV reviewGrace Dent: Jimmy McGovern's new drama sheds light on sex slavery in the colonies

Arts and Entertainment
Australia's Eurovision contestant and former Australian Idol winner Guy Sebastian

Eurovision 2015Australian Idol winner unveiled as representative Down Under

Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Former Communards frontman Jimmy Somerville
music
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
music
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne as transgender artist Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl
filmFirst look at Oscar winner as transgender artist
Arts and Entertainment
Season three of 'House of Cards' will be returning later this month
TV reviewHouse of Cards returns to Netflix
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford will play Rick Deckard once again for the Blade Runner sequel
film review
Arts and Entertainment
The modern Thunderbirds: L-R, Scott, Virgil, Alan, Gordon and John in front of their home, the exotic Tracy Island
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift won Best International Solo Female (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Shining star: Maika Monroe, with Jake Weary, in ‘It Follows’
film review
Arts and Entertainment

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith arrives at the Brit Awards (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn's beheading in BBC Two's Wolf Hall

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Follow every rainbow: Julie Andrews in 'The Sound of Music'
film Elizabeth Von Trapp reveals why the musical is so timeless
Arts and Entertainment
Bytes, camera, action: Leehom Wang in ‘Blackhat’
film
Arts and Entertainment
The Libertines will headline this year's festival
music
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Dean Anderson in the original TV series, which ran for seven seasons from 1985-1992
tv
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

    Homeless Veterans campaign

    Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
    Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

    Lost without a trace

    But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
    Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

    Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

    Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
    International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
    Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

    Confessions of a planespotter

    With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
    Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

    Russia's gulag museum

    Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
    The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

    The big fresh food con

    Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
    Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

    Virginia Ironside was my landlady

    Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
    Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

    Paris Fashion Week 2015

    The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
    8 best workout DVDs

    8 best workout DVDs

    If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
    Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

    Paul Scholes column

    I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
    Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
    Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

    Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

    The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable