As the first series of Doctor Who draws to a close, writer Russell T Davies said star Christopher Eccleston "turned around the reputation" of the show.
Russell T Davies was inspired by early episodes of the programme
The writer said Eccleston had salvaged the part which had become a "joke" and proved to be a magnificent Time Lord.
The last episode of the current series was screened on Saturday night.
It was Eccleston's last appearance as the Time Lord, with a new Doctor played by David Tennant taking over in the Tardis for the next series.
Christopher Eccleston "turned around the reputation" of the series
Writer Davies, originally from Swansea, said: "I love Doctor Who and I love the old Doctor Who.
"But, even with all that love, you have to admit that the name of the programme had become a joke and its reputation had become a cheap joke at that - you know rubber monsters and shaky sets.
"And Chris, as one of the country's leading actors, by being willing to step up to the line and take on that part has proved himself to be magnificent and has turned it around.
"So now you get actors like David Tennant who is the next generation and just about one of the best actors in the world.
"David himself says he wouldn't have touched this part if Chris hadn't done it because the part had become a joke.
"But Chris has salvaged it and made it new, and now we get to do one of the most famous parts of Doctor Who folklore - the moment when the Doctor regenerates and becomes a new person and yet stays exactly the same man."
David Tennant will become the next Time Lord
Doctor Who's return after a 16-year break from the screen has been widely praised.
The success of the series, which is made by BBC Wales, has ensured that a second and third will follow.
And Mr Davies ended speculation that actress Billie Piper, who played the Doctor's assistant Rose Tyler, would not appear in every episode of the next series.
"We've been talking to Billie for months now and Billie Piper is in every single episode next year," he said.
"We have got a Christmas special coming up and then 13 episodes, so we are going to make 14 in total and she is in all 14 episodes."
Billie Piper will star as Rose for the next 14 episodes
He said that the success of the show was down to imagination.
"It's been everything we planned and more, and it's very rarely in life you get the chance to have that happen," he said
"I genuinely love the old series of Doctor Who and I especially went back in my mind to the 60s - you know their imagination back then was limitless," explained the head writer and executive producer.
"It's just now that we happen to have a chance that we have a nice budget and that we can actually show some of these things.
"In its heart Doctor Who was always this imaginative and it was always this big."