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 12:00 AM, 14-MARCH-06
Who Timing Was Right

Russell T. Davies, executive producer of the hit British SF series Doctor Who, told SCI FI Wire that his revival of the long-running BBC series came about after years of waiting for the right opportunity. "I think the BBC had their eye on it as a very good property that could be resurrected," Davies said in an interview. "And the drama department, as well as the controller of BBC1, wanted to work with me, which sounds very arrogant, but it's the truth. They'd been asking me to write all sorts of things; every year, they'd phone up and say, 'Do you want to adapt A Tale of Two Cities? or 'Do you want to write another series about gay men?' [Davies was best known for his series Queer as Folk.] Or something like that, and every year I quite confidently (and cheekily) sat there and said, 'No, I just want to do Doctor Who!'"

The original Doctor Who was canceled in 1989 after 26 seasons but continued to live on in novels, radio plays, audio dramas and a 1996 TV movie starring Paul McGann in the lead role. A number of producers had approached the BBC with their own ideas for a possible revival, but Davies insisted that he didn't have a direction in mind until after he came on board. "Once they asked me to do it and commissioned me, I came up with my take on it, and the miracle from my point of view was that I was given a clean slate," he said.

Davies added: "My only wariness in going to work for the BBC, especially on an in-house production, is that the BBC is a labyrinthine organization. I was very wary of the red tape, the committees, focus groups and all the systems that were in place. But, to my astonishment, I discovered that the opposite was true. When I did my treatment, I didn't have to go through 27 different committees, so I was given an enormous amount of freedom, and then they followed that up by backing it with a budget, which again was my worry. I didn't want to do a cheap version of Doctor Who, but the heads of various departments and the heads of certain channels all wanted the same thing, so everyone was in the right place, and I was lucky enough to be the one they wanted."

The first season of Doctor Who will debut on SCI FI Channel with episodes one ("Rose") and two ("The End of the World") airing back to back, starting at 9 p.m. ET/PT on March 17. "We actually asked for that in this country [Great Britain]," Davies said. "Mind you, we only asked for it, like, two weeks before transmission, when everything was fixed in stone, so they laughed us out of the building. But I think it's a brilliant idea!" As Doctor Who begins airing on SCI FI Channel, the show is currently wrapping production on its second season in South Wales and will air in the United Kingdom soon. �Joe Nazzaro


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©2007, SCI FI. All rights reserved.

Chris Hemsworth and Clifton Collins Jr. have joined the cast of J.J. Abrams' Star Trek, Variety reported; Hemsworth will play Captain Kirk's father, George Kirk, while Collins will play Ayel, the cohort and general to Nero, played by Eric Bana.

Warner Brothers has created, a community Web site tied to its upcoming SF movie I Am Legend.

SyFy Portal quoted SF author Harlan Ellison addressing rumors that J.J. Abrams' upcoming Star Trek movie may feature elements from Ellison's "City on the Edge of Forever" episode from the original TV series.


Stargate SG-1 1.0
Star Trek 1.0
Dead Zone 0.8
Stargate Atlantis 0.7
Regenesis 0.3

Source: Nielsen Galaxy Report, 10/22/07 - 10/28/07. Fewer than 10 listings appear because fewer than 10 different SF&F; series aired in syndication this week.