The 2009 Specials will be broadcast between the end of Series 4 and the beginning of Series 5. Five specials will be broadcast at various points in 2008-2009. Of the five specials, one has been scheduled for Christmas 2008, one for Easter 2009, and one for Christmas 2009, leaving the other two unscheduled. These five specials will be overseen by Russell T Davies and Julie Gardner, but traditional line producer, Phil Collinson, will not be returning for them. All will reportedly star David Tennant.[1]

David Tennant announced that after the 2009 specials he would leave Doctor Who. Rumoured actors to replace Tennant were James Nesbitt [2], Robert Carlyle [3], David Walliams (who was the leading choice) [4], Harry Lloyd [5], David Morrissey (who previously played Jackson Lake in the 2008 Christmas special) [6] [7] and Paterson Joseph[8][9][10]. Bill Nighy has stated he would love to take over from Tennant once he leaves if the producers approach him [11]. On the 3rd January 2009, it was announced that 26 year old actor Matt Smith would be portraying the Eleventh Doctor for the duration of Series 5 (Doctor Who). It is currently unknown whether the regeneration from the Tenth to Eleventh Doctor will occur in the last special, or at the beginning of the 5th series.

For the 2009 Specials, the Doctor will be traveling alone, each episode starring a one-off companion.

2009 specials

Television stories

  • The Next Doctor (broadcast 25 December 2008)
  • Planet of the Dead -- announced title of Easter 2009 special (broadcast date TBA)
  • Special 3 (date and title TBA)
  • Special 4 (date and title TBA)
  • Special 5 (date and title TBA)

Series numbering

Although it was initially thought that the "interval" season of specials might come to be known as Series 5, or Series 4.5, however at present it appears that the BBC will not be assigning a series "number" to the specials, much as the previous Christmas specials and mini-episodes do not technically belong to any particular season. This, however, is contradicted by Russell T Davies himself in his book The Writer's Tale, where he calls The Next Doctor the fourteenth episode of the fourth series (likely due to the fact it was produced during the production of Series 4).DWM confirmed the specials would be coded 4.14, 4.15, 4.16 ect. Also, the BBC iPlayer page for The Next Doctor on it's Christmas Day release stated the episode was part of 'Series Four'.


Russell T Davies is solely writing only the Christmas 2008 special and two others.[12] One of the specials will be co-written by Gareth Roberts, and one will be co-written by Phil Ford.[13] These particular specials will be historic in that they will be the first two episodes of the BBC Wales production of Doctor Who to formally credit a co-writer. With the inclusion of Ford, 2009 will mark the fifth straight year that Doctor Who has included at least one new writer for the show, and make Ford the only writer other than RTD himself to write for Torchwood, The Sarah Jane Adventures and Doctor Who.


  • The Sun newspaper in the UK reported Paul McGann is to make an appearance as the Eighth Doctor in one of the specials.[14] However, on 12 September 2008, the BBC refuted this allegation, saying, "There is no truth to the story at all."[15] However, a brief clip of McGann as the Doctor did appear in The Next Doctor as part of a recap of all of the Doctor's incarnations.
  • Actor Patrick Stewart may also appear in the 2009 specials, playing the renegade Time Lord, The Monk.[16] At least one source believes that "the BBC has offered him the role and are willing to wait for Stewart's schedule to clear". Stewart could therefore appear in either the specials or the 2010 series.[17]
  • In a recent issue of Doctor Who Magazine, Russell T Davies confirmed that the title of the first special will be revealed at the end of the The Next Doctor. It consists of four words, and one of them begins with a 'D'.[18] In the credits of The Next Doctor, the title of the next special was revealed as Planet of the Dead
  • The Nimon may return in one of the specials as hinted by Russell T. Davies in an excerpt from The Next Doctor Podcast. It is possible that they will appear in Planet of the Dead, since a characteristic of the Nimon is that they are parasitic and use up a planet's resources.
  • It is rumoured that News Reporter Trinity Wells, played by Lachele Carl, who has appeared in every series, since series 1, will appear. Davies said in an interview that The Doctor may meet her and she may sacrifice herself for the Earth.
  • With Tennant having announced his imminent departure from the series, and the identity of the actor succeeding him currently scheduled to be revealed on 3 January 2009, rumours persist that despite Tennant's announcement in which he stated he would be appearing in all the specials, that the regeneration might occur sooner. The Next Doctor was the first special to fall prey to such rumours; in this case the rumour was debunked as the episode unfolded.
  • Although initial media coverage of the "gap year" indicated that all the specials would air in 2009, with Tennant's announcement of his pending departure in October 2008 came media references (yet to be officially confirmed) that the final special, and the final episode to feature Tennant, may not air until early 2010. Julie Gardner has confirmed that the first special will be broadcast during the Easter Holidays.
  • Two mini-episodes (Children in Need Special and Time Crash) and two interactive mini-episodes (the online game Attack of the Graske and the audience-participation Music of the Spheres) have been produced since Tennant joined the series; the possibility exists that another mini-episode may be produced during the Specials season, although as of January 2009 there has been no indication of this.
  • Georgia Moffett will return as Jenny, The Doctor's Daughter in one of the specials and may become companion to Matt Smith's 11th Doctor as Steven Moffat saved her from being killed off.

Broadcast dates

Previous series:
Series 4
Next series:
Series 5


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