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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 March 2006, 00:37 GMT 01:37 UK
Third series for Dr Who and Rose
By Nick Dermody
BBC Wales news website

Billie Piper and David Tennant
Billie Piper and David Tennant kiss in the first episode of new series
Doctor Who is back for a second series and the Time Lord will be around for a while, because star David Tennant has signed up for a third.

Billie Piper, his assistant Rose Tyler, has also confirmed she is on board the Tardis for the third run of the return of the BBC's sci-fi hit.

The pair were in Cardiff for a preview of the first episode of the 13-part second series, which begins in April.

It revealed Rose kisses the Doctor - although all is not quite as it seems.

Without wanting to give away the plot, it must be said that Rose is not responsible for the lip-smacking action.

Even so, Piper, 23, revealed she still enjoyed the task.

I would love to have someone from Hollywood
Russell T Davies

Looking approvingly at her co-star, she joked: "I could not wait. I only got three goes. It was very disappointing."

There is another kiss in the fourth episode, apparently, but this scene also comes with a twist.

Goodies and baddies

The sexy and streetwise start of the first episode, New Earth, is indicative of the bright, pacy tone fans of the 21st Century Doctor Who have come to expect under executive producer and lead writer Russell T Davies.

Filmed by BBC Wales in Davies' native south Wales - the Gower Peninsula near his home town, Swansea, is a location in the first episode - this series is promising the return of some classic characters, goodies as well as baddies.

Russell T Davies and Phil Collinson
Russell T Davies at the launch party with producer Phil Collinson

So the silver-suited cybermen and the doctor's faithful robot dog, K9, are set to add a touch of back to the future.

Another blast from the past is Elisabeth Sladen, who played Sarah Jane Smith, assistant to previous Doctors Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker in the mid-1970s.

She is not above giving Rose Tyler a bit of competition for the doctor's attentions.

Piper revealed the pair get into a what she called a "bitch fight".

Other guest stars in the second series include Pauline Collins, Anthony Head, Maureen Lipman and the comedian Peter Kay, who is to play a villain in the tenth episode.

Davies said he delighted in making the guest appearances possible. In fact he would like to cast his net wider - with Sigourney Weaver, star of the Alien films, top of his wishlist.

"I would love to have someone from Hollywood," he admitted.

Tardis

Tennant's predecessor, Christopher Eccleston, brought a northern accent to the part. But Davies revealed he did not want Tennant "touring the regions" by bringing his own Scottish accent to the role.

Davies had asked him to keep the same accent he used in the BBC period drama, Casanova.

Billie Piper and David Tennant on scene with the Tardis
Many scenes are filmed in Wales, and others on a London estate
But with Tennant at the controls of the Tardis for another couple of series, it will be some time before the script writers have to deal with the Doctor's next "regeneration." If only because while a third series is in the bag, a fourth series has yet to be confirmed.

If and when that regeneration moment comes, anything could happen. Under questioning, Davies said he had no qualms about the Doctor coming back as a woman.

He said: "I have no problem with that. I would do it."

However, while both Piper and Tennant seem keen to return for series three, the BBC's comment raised some unanswered questions.

A BBC spokeswoman said: "All parties want more of Rose Tyler as was confirmed at the press launch for Doctor Who series two.

"However it is too early to confirm in what shape, form and how that will be for series three."

Doctor Who returns to BBC1 for the second series on 15 April.




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