Doctor Who Blog

50 Glorious Years: Episode 42 - 2004

2004 was fun for Doctor Who fans. Safe in the knowledge the show was coming back in a much more permanent way (as a series, rather than a one-off tv movie made with the hope of more tv movies made if the US ratings were high enough), it was a full year of anticipation and speculation on what the new series would be like. Who would be the Doctor? Who would be the companion? What would be new? What would be brought back? Would this be a re-boot or just a continuation?

By the early spring the answer to the first question was provided in the form of Christopher Eccleston, a well-known actor with both significant British TV and Hollywood film experience who’s casting immediately signalled to the world (particularly the tabloid world) that, no, Russell T. Davies wasn’t going to cast a light entertainer/comedian in the part as the tabloid press had kept suggesting would be the case. By May the second question was answered - Billie Piper, then considered the UK answer to Britney Spears, was cast as companion Rose Tyler. Which is what the tabloids had been suggesting would be the case (moral of the story - sometimes the tabloids do get it right!). And on it went, as more and more information came out in drips and bits over the following months, with the first photos of filming released by July.

Of course, Doctor Who wasn’t all about the new episodes this year, just like it hadn’t been for the past number of years. The books and audios continued their regular releases to keep fans entertained with new stories in the interim. Doctor Who fans got a special post-Christmas treat in January of 2004 when it was announced that episode 2 of The Dalek Master Plan - Day of Armageddon had been recovered by the BBC. The third episode from this 12 part epic to be recovered (and the story that was supposed to be the least likeliest to be recovered because of the lack of international sales) was the first newly recovered episode since 1999 when The Lion, part 1 of The Crusade had been found. With just two missing episodes found in the previous 12 years, many fans rejoiced and assumed (and seemed correct for some time) that this might be it in terms of missing episodes that were still out there. Nobody knew then that we’d be wrong at least 11 times over…......but that is another story.

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