THN was lucky enough to attend a special DOCTOR WHO screening (at the British Film Institute on London Southbank no less) of the two final episodes from the first series of the revived series in 2005, starring Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor, with Billie Piper as Rose.
As well as the opportunity to watch both BAD WOLF and THE PARTING OF THE WAYS on the big screen, we were also treated to a preview of the DOCTOR WHO 2013 Prom, to be broadcast on BBC One this Monday (26th August) and an entertaining Q&A session with producer Phil Collinson, director Joe Ahearne, actor Bruno Langley and visual effects supervisor Dave Houghton.
Christopher Eccleston, unable to attend the event, also sent a lovely message ahead, wherein he revealed that not only did he adore the Doctor but that he’d happily return for the 100th Anniversary Special if Joe Ahearne directed it. We’ll take that as an official contract, then!
So without further adieu, here are just some of the highlights of the Q&A session:
Phil Collinson: “If Series 1 (in 2005) had failed that would’ve been it forever for DOCTOR WHO.”
Phil Collinson: “It felt like we were pioneers. In this country we were making something completely new.”
Phil Collinson: “There wasn’t a moment when it was actually considered that Christopher Eccleston would be a rebooted Doctor rather than the Ninth Doctor.”
Phil Collinson: “From the moment we cast Christopher Eccleston people (in the TV industry) changed their expectations of what the show was going to be.”
Phil Collinson: “Paul McGann was on the first casting list we put together but we felt we had to make this a brand new start.”
Joe Ahearne: “Christopher Eccleston was always a complete and absolute trooper … there were a lot of laughs even though it was tough.”
Phil Collinson: (when asked if any episodes had to be cut) “There was a shot of John Barrowman’s bum (in BAD WOLF) that we had to cut … but everybody’s seen it anyway!”
Phil Collinson: “(At the screening of ROSE) I was sitting behind Terrence Dicks and Barry Letts and they turned around and said ‘we hope this is good because we walked out of the last one’ (the 1996 TV movie).”
Phil Collinson: “The first cut of ROSE was 28 minute long with everything we’d shot and that happened with a couple of episodes in that first block. That’s where the ‘coming up next’ preview trailers at the end came from! We didn’t want to have them!”
Joe Ahearne: “We shot a fake ending scene [for Series 1’s finale] instead of the regeneration with the Doctor looking at a monitor and discovering that Rose had a fatal illness.”
Phil Collinson: “The almost-regeneration in THE STOLEN EARTH being a surprise made it a better viewing experience. I think the internet should be banned!”
Phil Collinson: “We only ever had Christopher Eccleston under contract for one series … but what a way to end our first series! Actually there’s something perfect about [him just] doing 13 episodes.”
Phil Collinson: “I can’t wait to see Matt and David together in the 50th anniversary special! I was so envious watching that sequence with Clara and William Hartnell (in THE NAME OF THE DOCTOR).”
The BFI’s Doctor Who at 50 events continue on the 29th September with The Stolen Earth and Journey’s End, featuring the Tenth Doctor.