Billie Piper says everyone predicted failure for the modern reboot of Doctor Who when she took the part of Rose Tyler in 2005, adding that the cast “didn’t imagine it being on for longer than three months”.
I Hate Suzie star Piper played the assistant Rose Tyler to David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor when he took over from Christopher Eccleston and she reminisced about the show with the Scottish star on his hit podcast, David Tenant Does A Podcast With…
One-time teenage pop star Piper was never a Whovian before she joined the iconic series in the first season, unlike lifelong fan Tennant.
“I didn’t grow up with it,” she told him, “so I didn’t have that feeling that you had of complete fandom and you were obsessed, right?… Then, when we started making it, everyone said it was going to be a failure. So you just didn’t imagine it being on for longer than three months, imagining that 15 years later, it’s still probably the biggest job you will have ever done and you’ll still be talking about it and going off and meeting people and, you know, celebrating it…
“That was a big reach.”
The producers and show runner Russell T Davies took a huge gamble employing Hollywood-scale sets and production techniques in that first season, according to Piper.
“And we were all quite aware of that when we were shooting it, which sort of meant that we couldn’t enjoy it as much as we did in our second series. Everyone went mental for it, and that was a really nice feeling going back in.”
Tennant said: “Filming on that first season, it was a bit untried wasn’t it? Nobody had made a show like that in the UK, ever, really.”
The co-stars were both amazed to realise they’d known each other for 15 years. Piper in particular had “absolutely no idea” of the world she was stepping into in 2015, one from which she could never escape, even if she wanted to.
Tennant said Piper was the nation’s sweetheart when he arrived for season two and they “shared a very happy, intense nine months making that show and to have spent a great deal of the last 15 years being asked about it”.
“Well, it’s awful, isn’t it?” she said, of the 15-years’ passing. “Not awful, but when you meet kids through the conventions who are like, ‘My name’s Rose. I was named after you when I was born 15 years ago!'”