As Russell T. Davies' reign as Doctor Who showrunner begins its ending with this weekend's "The End of Time, Part One," he's looking back to five years ago and the terror of bringing the show back for the first time.
Writing for the British Daily Telegraph, Davies says,
It shouldn't have worked. The things we once loved are gone. We've changed and grown and moved on, and the memory only cheats. Except for this time. Doctor Who broke all the rules – everyone said it would never work (yes, even me) but everyone was wrong. When it blazed back into life on March 26 2005, an entire generation remembered. "Oh yes, we love this," they said, as though coming out of a fog. And a whole new generation said: "Wow!", as though accusing us: why have you kept this secret all this time?
Of course, we couldn't have been confident, before transmission. We worked on that first series, in the depths of BBC Wales, worrying that children's heads were now full of Harry Potter and Star Wars, so they'd have neither the time nor the inclination for an old, Sixties Time Lord. But I think fear helped me. I was so convinced we'd never reach a second series that I poured my heart and soul into the first 13 episodes, in case they were the only ones ever to exist. The one-off 1996 television movie with Paul McGann had single-handedly fuelled a fan-industry of novels and comics for a decade, so I had to pack enough into my 13 stories to keep the fans busy until… well, forever. Because I honestly thought that if 2005 failed, the BBC would never bring the show back again. It was all or nothing.
He also teases an unexpected end for his and David Tennant's two-part finale:
The Master, played by John Simm, is back – dying and deadly, and harbouring his most outrageous scheme yet; Wilfred Mott (Bernard Cribbins) is being plagued by strange dreams and mysterious visitations; his granddaughter Donna (Catherine Tate) dares not remember her travels with the Doctor, or she'll die on the spot; and a mysterious Woman in White, played by the legendary Claire Bloom, brings ominous warnings of death and destruction to come. What a Christmas! Though whether there's a regeneration on its way, or whether we've got some final tricks up our sleeves, you'll just have to wait and see.
No regeneration? Whaaaaat? That's the entire reason we're tuning in*!
(* This is not true. But we'll still be disappointed if we don't get one.)
Doctor Who airs 6pm on BBC One in the UK today, and 9pm on BBC America tomorrow.