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25 fascinating facts about modern Doctor Who

From Billie Piper and Matt Smith's steamy screen liaison to David Tennant's mind-bending Doctor Who family tree, top New Who trivia from Paul Kirkley's book Space Helmet For a Cow (Volume II)

Published: Wednesday, 14th December 2016 at 3:27 pm

11. Terror of the Nortons


Graham Norton has made two unscheduled appearances in Doctor Who. In the first episode of the revived show in 2005, the garrulous Irishman could be heard gabbing away over the scene in which the Doctor makes his very first appearance, after someone accidentally left an audio circuit open from the Strictly Dance Fever studio.

Five years later, a cartoon Norton could be seen running all over Matt Smith’s first ever cliffhanger in an animated graphic for upcoming talent search show Over the Rainbow. The BBC received 5,000 complaints about the unexpected intrusion, and a Dalek took its revenge by exterminating Norton on his chat show a couple of weeks later.

12. Nipped in the bud


In 2006, the BBC were keen to commission a break-out show called Rose Tyler: Earth Defence – but Russell T Davies decided it was “a spin-off too far” (he’d probably have liked the acronym, though.)

13. Cyber grooves

Christmas special Voyage of the Damned wasn’t Kylie Minogue’s first brush with Doctor Who. Her 2006 Showgirl: The Homecoming Tour had featured dancing, semi-naked Cybermen (see above at around the 1: 35: 38 mark), while costumes on 2002’s Fever shows had been inspired by the Raston Robot, from 1983’s 20th anniversary special The Five Doctors (her creative director, William Baker, is a bit of a fan.)

14. Doctor Hugh


The Daily Mail’s infamous 2004 story naming Bill Nighy as the Ninth Doctor earned the paper a Shafta at an awards ceremony celebrating the year’s worst journalism blunders. But Nighy later confessed he had been approached about the role, but declined because it came with “too much baggage”.

Russell T Davies also admitted he’d offered the part to Hugh Grant. “Let’s be honest,” said Davies, “Christopher Eccleston would be my first choice. However, if Hugh Grant had said ‘yes’, of course we’d have cast him. Yes, we did make those offers, but it’s not serious, because the one who was seriously interested was Chris.” Everyone clear on that? Good.

(Grant did play the Doctor, of course, in a Steven Moffat-scripted Comic Relief special way back in 1999, while Bill Nighy made an un-credited cameo appearance in 2010’s Vincent and the Doctor.)

15. Booty Call


Matt Smith’s sister Laura is one of the dancers gyrating sweatily in a leotard in Eric Prydz’ pneumatic Call On Me video.


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