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Last Updated: Friday, 28 May, 2004, 07:19 GMT 08:19 UK
Doctor Who fans back Billie Piper
By Darren Waters
BBC News Online Entertainment staff

Billie Piper
Filming on the new series is due to start this summer in Cardiff
Fans of science fiction series Doctor Who have welcomed the choice of Billie Piper as the time traveller's sidekick.

Former pop star Piper will play Rose Tyler alongside Christopher Eccleston, who will play the Doctor, when the series returns to the BBC in 2005.

Message boards on Doctor Who websites have been buzzing since the news was announced on Monday.

Antony Wainer, spokesman for the Doctor Who Appreciation Society, said fans were "very excited" by her casting.

"She's a very pretty lady, her acting credentials have been proven and she will have a wide appeal," he told BBC News Online.

Everybody is really behind this project
Antony Wainer, Doctor Who Appreciation Society
Mr Wainer said fans had high expectations for the new series and were, in the main, fully supportive of the return of Doctor Who, which is being written by Russell T Davies.

"If anybody had initial reservations it would be because they didn't know her background.

"But everybody is really behind this project."

One fan wrote on website GallifreyOne.net: "I am delighted. She should make for a really good companion."

Another fan on the site wrote: "I think the choice of Billie Piper is absolutely fantastic. With her announcement in the papers, people were discussing her and the show at work like never before.

"People seem to really like the fact she has matured from a teenage pop star to an actress, getting very good reviews."

Many of the fans hope her casting will help boost the programme's ratings.

"That's a million or so on the ratings, thank you very much," wrote one fan.

'Ridiculous'

But not all the fans' comments have been so positive. One fan wrote: "Is it just me or does this smack of "publicity stunt" casting?

"I thought we'd gotten away from that sort of ridiculous thing when Bonnie Langford proved to be so unpopular."

Another wrote: "I'm seriously disappointed here. She is not a trained actress."

Filming on the new series is due to start this summer in Cardiff.


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