British comedienne Catherine Tate has sent Doctor Who fans into a tailspin by suggesting on Radio 2′s Jonathan Ross program that this might be David Tennant’s last year in the Doctor’s rubber-soled shoes. Tate, who first appeared in the 2006 Christmas special, “The Runaway Bride,” is returning as the Doctor’s companion for the upcoming forth season, and confirmed that the season would definitely be her last.
Regarding Tennant, her exact words were, reportedly, “I think it’s maybe David’s last series.” It’s hard to tell whether she’s merely speculating or actually in the know, but given the history of leaks when it comes to Doctor Who, we should perhaps start preparing ourselves to bid goodbye to our beloved Tenth Doctor. The BBC has refused to confirm or deny the news.
Perhaps even more upsetting, however, is the rumor that Tennant’s departure might accompany a change in the production team. Britain’s Daily Express has quoted a source as saying, “We believe that Russell T Davies, the executive producer, will be leaving after the next series with Phil Collinson, the producer, who is moving across to Coronation Street. I am sure David chose to leave, but it was probably because everything’s changing.”
Davies, Collinson and executive producer Julie Gardner are the masterminds primarily responsible for the success of the BBC’s current Doctor Who relaunch. (For an insightful look at just how important they are, read this lovely behind-the-scenes look at this year’s Christmas special.) It’s one thing to get used to a new Doctor (we’ve done that before), but I’m forced to wonder if the show would be worth watching at all without Davies & Co.
UPDATE: Speaking to the BBC on Wednesday, David Tennant publicly laughed off speculation that he’s leaving the show. “I started getting all these phone calls on Saturday lunchtime saying apparently you’re leaving Doctor Who,” he said. “Catherine Tate’s just announced it on Radio 2–thanks Catherine!”
Tennant confirmed he was doing four Doctor Who specials in 2009, but said that he’d made no decision about the next season in 2010. “I’m doing four more specials and beyond that no one’s asked me to make any decisions and I’m quite happy to be enigmatic for as long as possible,” he said.