Given Russell T Davies’s penchant for reviving more and more Dr Who clutter from the old days, despite saying he’d do no such thing, who – and what – should we reasonably expect to see parading across our screen in years to come?
This will happen, there’s absolutely no doubt about it. It’s too simple and lazy a device for Davies to resist. The Doctor will arrive in Cardiff to “mend the rift” or some such bollocks only to notice, out of the corner of his eye, a strangely familiar flash of yellow lurking in a nearby garage. “Well blow me!” he will shout at the top of his voice in a way that, for David Tennant’s Doctor, seems to increasingly pass for normal speech. “The old girl’s back!”
2) THE WHOMOBILE
A slightly less obvious alternative to 1), but a must for mid-way through series five. The Doctor is in Cardiff mending the rift, only to get a strange feeling he’s being watched. Determined to find out who is spying on him, it transpires it’s not a who, it’s a what…the Whomobile, hovering above his head thanks to some kind of preposterous automatic homing beacon business, ready to take the Doctor off to a peace conference where John Simm is threatening to blow up the planet.
3) THE BRIGADIER
While mending the rift in Cardiff, the Doctor is suddenly grabbed by some anonymous looking thugs and bundled into the back of a van. Protesting, he is bound and gagged and transported hundreds of miles to a secret location in the heart of the Cardiff suburbs. Only when he is freed does the Doctor recognise the surroundings as the base for the army’s killing-aliens division, whereupon he marches boldly into the Brigadier’s office, bawls “Alastair Gordon Lethbridge Stewart, me old matey!”, only to find Caroline Quentin sitting behind the desk.
Now this is more like it. A shape-changing robot who can disappear for episodes on end and have its non-appearance explained away by being a) in a cupboard b) broken c) having shape-changed into a normal human being. “It was ahead of its time,” boasted John Nathan-Turner. Perhaps, now, it’s time has come.
5) ANOTHER DOCTOR
You just know that this is going to be the “big” Radio Times-cover thing for series four. While the Doctor is mending the rift in Cardiff he gets caught in “a temporal distortion” or some such crap, ending up in an expensive foreign location peopled with guest stars like Stephen Merchant, Kate Thornton and Keith Barron. “Mysterious forces” will have conspired to also bring none other than Peter Davidson to the same location, together with – in a fuck-you to the fans – Sarah Sutton and Sophie Aldred at the same time. The two Doctors must learn to work together if they are to save the world from Keith Barron and his evil wicked space queen, played by Gwen Taylor.