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DOCTOR WHO & TORCHWOOD- John Borrowman, David Tennant, Freema Agyeman

Television

Exclusive Interview: 'DOCTOR WHO' & 'TORCHWOOD' SERIES PRODUCER JULIE GARDNER TEASES NEXT SEASONS OF EACH SHOW

Get the inside scoop on James Marsters on TORCHWOOD, no Dennis Hopper on DOCTOR WHO and more!


Published 7/30/2007

Is this the fourth series the last season for DOCTOR WHO? Many rumors have been abounding about cast changes, and the fact that Russell T. Davies is the leaving the show. Given the opportunity to seek out the truth, iF MAGAZINE chatted with series producer Julie Gardner, who also happens to be a series producer on the more adult Sci Fi BBC show connected to DOCTOR WHO, TORCHWOOD. Both series can now be seen in America thanks to BBC America airing TORCHWOOD and the SCI FI Channel airing DOCTOR WHO. Gardner gave us some surprising answers as to what is in store for the intrepid time lord and for Captain Jack’s team of “men in black.”
 
iF MAGAZINE: So let’s start with the big question of whether or not this is Russell T. Davies last season on DOCTOR WHO?
 
JULIE GARDNER: Russell will find it hard to leave DOCTOR WHO ever, so there will be more.
 
iF: David Tennant is enjoying being the Doctor and he’s planning to stick around for awhile?

GARDNER: David has the best time ever! He adores every second that he’s the Doctor.
 
iF: If David ever decides to leave your only left with very few regenerations, how long could the series go for?

GARDNER: Oh rubbish! [Laughs] It’s sci fi. There’s always a reason to regenerate or to change the logic of the worlds. He’ll be fine don’t worry.
 
iF: What was the fan reaction to the resurrection of the Master?

GARDNER: I don’t know because I genuinely avoid going onto Web sites and reading the fan pages. Maybe when I am no longer working on the show I will take the time to do that, but I think there’s a responsibility when you are making a show like DOCTOR WHO to focus on the scripts and the talent that you are working with. You owe it to the team and actors that you are working with to be responsible; you need an authorial voice and that is for us defined by Russell T. Davies and the writers that come with him. I think if you get too embroiled into who likes what and who doesn’t; you dissipate your focus and it’s not a good way to run a show.
 
iF: Freema Agyemen is going to be on TORCHWOOD as well as DOCTOR WHO in the next seasons of each series?

GARDNER: Freema Agyemen is definitely going to be on TORCHWOOD in three episodes and then she returns to DOCTOR WHO for five episodes.
 
iF: Any chance of seeing Billie Piper back on the show any time soon?

GARDNER: Oh, Billie is just too busy. Billie is doing twenty-five million things! I love Billie and we all love Rose Tyler but she’s pretty busy.

 
iF: You just wrapped the first season filming of THE SARAH JANE ADVENTURES, but will she cross back into DOCTOR WHO?

GARDNER: I don’t think so. I mean we want to do more Sarah Jane, and we’re very much hoping that Elisabeth Sladen will come back for more and we’ll start developing season two very soon.
 
iF: I talked to Anthony Stewart Head earlier, and since we didn’t see bit of the Krillitane critters fly all over, any chance of bringing him back on one of the series or any other DOCTOR WHO main stream villains crossing onto TORCHWOOD?

GARDNER: Oh, he’s a marvelous man! I’m not sure about him coming back, but I’m going to tease you by telling you there is a classic monster that returns, but that’s as far as I’m going to go.
 
iF: John Barrowman your leading man on TORCHWOOD is very open about his sexuality; did that ever effect any choices you make for the character because he might be more willing to go places that other actors aren’t as comfortable with?

GARDNER: No, not even remotely. If you’re a good actor, you’re a good actor and you do what is require for the truth of the character. Someone’s personal sexuality does figure into any choices you make for a character. John’s an amazing role model in every single way, not just his sexuality, he’s an extraordinary leader of a troop of actors, he’s an extraordinary leading man, he’s huge fun and he’s so talented in so many areas. But, no an actor’s sexuality absolutely never comes into any choices you make.
 
iF: James Marsters is on TORCHWOOD this season as well?

GARDNER: He was in Cardiff, and has been quite an exciting time for Cardiff recently. James Marsters was there for TORCHWOOD; Kylie Minogue is there for DOCTOR WHO. Cardiff has been quite exciting.
 
iF: James posted on his online blog that people might get a little excited about his interaction with John Borrowman?

GARDNER: Yeah, they’re a sexy couple. James Marsters’ character explains some secrets and things about Captain Jack’s past.
 
iF: Are you going to back on TORCHWOOD and fill in some more of Captain Jack’s past this season?

GARDNER: Yeah we are, we’re going to learn more about Jack’s past from his childhood and his years on Earth before TORCHWOOD.
 
iF: The end of series one of TORCHWOOD, the characters were on a bit of rocky ground emotionally. Where do things pick up with series two?

GARDNER: We’re hard into it. We’re a regenerated series and we hit the ground running. We’re not hanging onto any of that cross over angst where we were at the end of season one. We’re just moving forward.
 
iF: Any chance of the Suzie Costello character coming back again on TORCHWOOD?

GARDNER: Suzie, no. No more Suzie. She died quite a lot in season one, so I think we’ve brutalized her more than enough.
 
iF: Was it a conscious decision not to show the Tardis at the end of TORCHWOOD, but to only hear the noise?

GARDNER: Everything is a conscious decision led by Russell, and depending on where he wants to start a series and end one. It’s also tantalizing, you want to drip feed an audience. TORCHWOOD is there for an audience that may foolishly not know anything about DOCTOR WHO, but if you do know about DOCTOR WHO you get more out of it and there are more levels and entities.
 
iF: I was just glad that the hand in the jar finally got explained this year.

GARDNER: Oh yes! The hand in the jar is very important. [Laughs] there is an ongoing serial arc for the hand in a jar.
 
iF: End of DOCTOR WHO series three, you left it open for the Master to return?

GARDNER: It would be rude not to, and he’s a great character. John Simm is amazing and I would go to work everyday with him. His scenes were so much fun to do.
 
iF: So since some of the previous Doctors are still around, but they don’t look the same as they used to, any chance of seeing any of them in different cameo roles?

GARDNER: No plans at the moment. [Laughs]
 
iF: Who is Dennis Hopper playing on DOCTOR WHO in the next season?

GARDNER: That’s an unfounded rumor I’m afraid. He’s not going to be on the show. It was all over the place, but he’s not coming.
 
iF: So what is your favorite classic DOCTOR WHO story?

GARDNER: Oh God, there are so many! My favorite DOCTOR WHO episodes are without question “The City of Death.” I think in that story I first realized how you could mix comedy and drama and adventure and the scale of what you could do. Classic monsters; I adore the Cybermen and the Daleks, but I suppose everyone should. Making DOCTOR WHO now is just a wonderful thing.

Reader Comments

Cate from Sydney....Australia sez....

Thanks for a brillant, fantastic article....thoroughly enjoyed it

8/5/2007 10:17:46 PM
Dave W from Tonbridge sez....

Excellent interview! I think Julie is right not to pay any attention to the fans, as quite honestly the ridiculous complaints on some of the fan sites are just laughable. A very vocal minority might not like the tone of the new Dr Who stories but with a long running series like Dr Who that's changed so much over 40+ years you're bound to have people who prefer one style more than another. It's just a shame that those individuals can't just enjoy the ride rather than complain about it. No matter whether you look at the ratings, the audience share, the audience appreciation figures or the sales of merchandise, Dr Who is more popular and more successful than it's ever been, so the production team are obviously doing something very right and they'd be bloody stupid to listen to those fans and risk turning the show into a minority cult interest again. Look what happened in the 1980s when they pandered to the fans. Never again, I say. Some people complain that the new series is not good sci-fi and I'd agree with that and point out that Dr Who has never ever been good Sci-fi but it is and always has been bloody good drama/comedy/fantasy/horror/action adventure/entertainment. Long may it continue that way!

7/31/2007 11:26:15 AM
Baroque from New York sez....

"So the Great Julie Gardener doesn't read fan reaction? What a shame. If she did, she'd realize there's a huge backlash swelling for some of the very debatable tosh this production team is trying to pass off as quality science fiction." Ha! Oh yes, a *huge* backlash ... literally dozens of people.

7/31/2007 9:22:39 AM
Elliot from Japan sez....

Since pandering to "fan reaction" was what harpooned the show in the 1980s, I'd say the current production team are well advised to ignore the prissy wailings currently emanating from the hobbyists and just get on with making a TV show regular humans might be interested in watching.

7/31/2007 7:36:11 AM
Jane Cooper from Cramlington, Northumberland sez....

The part where it goes on about Billie not coming Back into Doctor Who......... I know she is pretty busy as she is sorting out things for her wedding with Laurence and also is busy doing other things like filming the new programme that will be coming out soon......... Belle Du Jour, if she is still going to be in it. =] I very much hope so. =D

7/31/2007 6:35:52 AM
Petronius from London sez....

So the Great Julie Gardener doesn't read fan reaction? What a shame. If she did, she'd realize there's a huge backlash swelling for some of the very debatable tosh this production team is trying to pass off as quality science fiction.

7/31/2007 6:10:31 AM
Malcolm from Cardiff/Wales sez....

I love it all :)

7/31/2007 5:22:00 AM
Antony Waltho from Sydney, Australia sez....

Good interview. The Master returns? Doctor #10 Stays? Classic Monsters in 2008? Crossovers between Sarah Jane/Torchwood/Rose Tyler? It could all happen but RTD is a smart guy who knows how to run a TV show well. Roll on Doctor Who Series Four, Torchwood Series Two and Sara Jane Series One. The fans have never had it so good.

7/30/2007 9:36:53 PM
Chris from TN, USA sez....

Note that the question wasn't "Will we see past Doctors return", as in "The Five Doctors"; the question asked related to past Doctor actors returning as different characters in cameo roles. Not the same thing at all, and she only answered the question as asked.

7/30/2007 2:45:17 PM
Peter Thomas from London UK sez....

It makes me think that I don't like Julie Gardener. She has the most power within the DW Department. She doesn't like past Doctors returning and you can't always trust her

7/30/2007 1:55:35 PM
Charlie from Paddington sez....

Notice that Julie didn't say whether David was leaving or not, just that he's loves playing the part. Remember they gave the suggestion that they wouldn't bring back the master so I don't count on it...!

7/30/2007 8:04:16 AM
Adam from Staffordshire, England sez....

A really interesting artical and I enjoyed reading it.

7/30/2007 7:43:35 AM
Bec from Melbourne, Australia sez....

Brilliant article! Thank you for this, it was a fantastic read and it's good to hear that David Tennant won't be leaving for a while - he's fantastic on Doctor Who. Shame that Billie Piper won't ever be returning to Doctor Who, but we all knew that wouldn't happen. Nice to have her mentioned and to hear that she's keeping busy after leaving the show! It was also fantastic to hear about Torchwood and especially us being able to learn more about Captain Jack and his past. Thanks for the article!

7/30/2007 3:55:40 AM
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