Two Doctors get to meet in space and time

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

David Tennant returns for the 50th-anniversary programme with Matt Smith

Generations of Britons can define themselves by the actors who played Doctor Who. Now the cult TV show is threatening to cause a seismic rip in the space-time continuum by bringing at least two Doctors together in the same episode when it was revealed that David Tennant will return to star alongside Matt Smith, the current Doctor, in a special 50th-anniversary programme to be screened later this year.

Tennant, credited with helping to revive the popular show, which was first broadcast into the nation's living rooms in November 1963, will be joined by his sidekick Billie Piper for the much-anticipated one-off reunion episode.

The pair will join the show's current leading actors, Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman, who appeared in a new series of the drama last night. Filming for the anniversary episode, which will also star the Oscar nominee John Hurt, begins this week. Smith previously told fans they would "not be disappointed" by the anniversary episode, due to air on 23 November. He said it "manages to pay homage to everything – and look forward", adding: "I read it and I clapped at the end. I think it's hilarious, it's epic and it's vast."

Details of the show were meant to be a closely guarded secret. Steven Moffat, the show's executive producer and lead writer, insisted on tight security. But news of the reunion broke on internet fan sites yesterday after subscriber copies of Doctor Who Magazine (DWM) were sent out early because of the Easter weekend. Moffat said he took extreme measures to keep the contents of the script under wraps: "This is a really good security measure – I make sure I don't get a script, because I will lose it. I forbid people to hand me one. It's on my computer under lock and key."

Piper had recently denied she was taking part in the episode when she was interviewed on The Graham Norton Show. She said: "I wasn't asked, no. I think Matt Smith may have said, in passing or in jest, it would be nice. I think maybe he said that and then it became something quite different, but no."

Doctor Who's ratings dwindled to around five million viewers in 1989, but since its return in 2005 it has been a Saturday tea-time staple, regularly getting more than 10 million viewers.

Tennant was introduced as the 10th Doctor at the end of 2005, less than a year after the show was rebooted, with Christopher Ecclestone at the helm, after a 16-year hiatus. Tennant was voted the most popular Doctor by readers of DWM in 2006.

Tennant was the first Scottish actor to play the role and last appeared in the show on 1 January 2010, after starring in three series and several specials. Since leaving, he has focused on more serious roles, particularly in the theatre, where he played a critically acclaimed Hamlet for the Royal Shakespeare Company. It was recently confirmed that he would play Richard II with the RSC in this year's winter season.

Last night's opening episode of the new series, "The Bells of St John", saw the Doctor and his companion in modern London, trying to find out what sinister forces were lurking in the capital's Wi-Fi signal. Future episodes of the show, which is filmed in Cardiff, will see the return of the Doctor's old enemy the Ice Warriors, who last appeared in 1974, when Jon Pertwee was at the helm of the Tardis.

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.

    Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

    Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

    After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
    The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

    After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

    Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
    Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

    Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

    The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
    10 best sun creams for kids

    10 best sun creams for kids

    Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
    Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

    Tate Sensorium

    New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
    Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

    Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

    He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
    Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

    Remember Ashton Agar?

    The No 11 that nearly toppled England
    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