Ex-pop star Billie Piper is in line to play Doctor Who's female companion in the revival of the sci-fi show.
Billie Piper was recently seen in The Canterbury Tales on BBC One
The 21-year-old, who is married to Chris Evans, is said to be favoured by the new series' executive producer Russell T Davies.
A BBC spokesman said the role will not be finally decided for another eight weeks, but Piper is in the running.
Christopher Eccleston will play the ninth time traveller for the 13-part serial to be screened next year.
The Doctor's new sidekick will be called Rose Taylor, and is described as "feisty".
Davies, well-known for writing Queer As Folk, said that he wanted Doctor Who's latest incarnation to have a Buffy The Vampire Slayer-style right-hand woman.
"A screaming girly-style companion is unacceptable nowadays," he commented.
It is also speculated that there will be quite a sexual chemistry between Taylor and the Doctor, while she will possess psychic powers.
Ninth Doctor Who Christopher Eccleston will be joined by a 'fiesty' companion
Piper, 21, first came to prominence as a pop star, scoring a debut chart topper with Because We Want To in 1998.
But she has shunned the music world in favour of acting, and was praised for her performance in The Canterbury Tales on BBC One last year and the drama Bella And The Boys.
She is set to make her film debut alongside Orlando Bloom in comedy The Calcium Kid.
Doctor Who has traditionally had a female companion on his sci-fi adventures, including Mel Bush (played by Bonnie Langford) and Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen).