Stating simple facts about the future of Doctor Who and the certainty of continuation, Jane Tranter, Controller, BBC Fiction, nevertheless highlighted that the series would only broadcast in the form of three specials during 2009, effectively introducing a bit of a gap between Series Four (2008) and Series Five (2010). The information provided, however, did indicate that the specials would star David Tennant in the role of the Doctor, placing in dispute any rumours or Press coverage suggesting he might depart the role soon.
Instead of keeping the information very slight – and making for a sudden panic amongst fans on the future of the show – the news item could have mentioned that the 2009 hiatus relates to a compromise agreement between Tennant and the BBC to allow him time to tread the boards. David will play Hamlet at Stratford from July to November next year (2008) and, therefore, will have limited time for TV work.
Perhaps allowing for this easing of the Doctor Who schedule will allow the associated team to put more time and effort into ensuring the ongoing quality of Torchwood and Sarah Jane.
There have been comments that spokespeople at the BBC have said it’s too early to confirm whether David will return to the role of the Doctor for the 2010 fifth series – but… well, it seems to me if it’s so uncertain, why come up with a compromise of a break year? Why not just replace him? More to this than meets the eye, me thinks…