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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

21. Weevil Rock You

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In 2008, BBC Wales was approached by a producer who wanted to stage Torchwood: The Musical – with Bjorn and Benny from ABBA apparently keen to write the music. “Bjorn and Benny love Torchwood,” claimed the BBC producer acting as go-between on the project. Although this sounds suspiciously like a fantasy dreamed up in John Barrowman’s head, Russell T Davies insists it really happened.


22. A Rusty Dalek

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A vintage Dalek used in 2012’s Asylum of the Daleks was loaned to the show by Russell T Davies, who’d had it in the hallway in his house in Manchester for years. He was delighted that the replica prop would now be an “official” screen Dalek.


23. FYC, FYI

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Arthur (Rory) Darvill’s dad Nigel spent some time playing keyboards for 80s soul-pop sensations Fine Young Cannibals, while his mother Ellie was the voice and puppeteer behind the Why Bird on tots’ TV show Playdays. So if you ever saw a giant, rainbow-coloured bird playing piano to She Drives Me Crazy, you knew someone had taken the wrong bag to work.


24. Time, gentlemen

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While filming The Angels Take Manhattan in New York, Matt Smith and Karen Gillan couldn’t resist dropping in for a quick sherbert at a Doctor Who themed-bar in the city. “You could have heard a pin drop when we strolled in,” said Smith. It’s one way of getting a free drink, I suppose.


25. Shoo Peter

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We’ve all seen 15-year-old Doctor Who fan Peter Capaldi’s letter to Radio Times. But as a teenager, he also wrote many ardent missives to the Doctor Who production office, and repeatedly suggested he should be allowed to take over the running of the Doctor Who fan club. Producer Barry Letts’ secretary Sarah Newman got so fed up with his pestering she wrote: “I wish the Daleks or someone would exterminate him.”

Don’t think they haven’t tried, Sarah...

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Space Helmet for a Cow: The Mad, True Story of Doctor Who Volume II by Paul Kirkley is published by Mad Norwegian Press

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