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Last Updated: Tuesday September 12 2006 17:19 GMT

Exclusive Q&A: The brains behind Dr Who

Russell T Davies

Doctor Who's main writer and producer Russell T Davies popped into the Newsround studio to update us on the Christmas special and the third series of the sci-fi thriller.

Lizo grilled him on what fans have got to look forward to.

What's the Christmas special Runaway Bride like?

We've just finished the edit and I love it - a very different episode - feel like nothing we've done before - but at the same time it's absolutely Dr Who.

It's a new show in a way - it's our first show without Billie Piper, without Rose, which scares us as Billie was such a huge part of it and I'm delighted with the end result. I think we've cracked it. We've got a long way to go with all the effects, all the music and all that stuff after it - so over the next September, October, November we'll keep working on it.

(It has) one of the best chases I have seen in any programme anywhere - it's the best chase sequence in the world!

Will it be based on personal stories or big special effects?

Russell T Davies
It's probably going to be out Christmas day or around about then and I think people want special effects on Christmas Day - it would be very odd if we did a little intimate thing on Christmas Day. The chase is spectacular and that's just 10 minutes in. Great monster, brilliant monster, spectacular ending. It's huge, it's huge.

There are rumours the Christmas special is going to be a three-part special - is this true?

No, that was made up - it's actually 61 minutes long as we speak - so there was never a three-parter at all.

Will it end with a montage of moments from series three?

I presume so - I think it's going to end up being 62 minutes long by the time we finish - so yes we will have that montage which we will work on in December.

We've got David Tennant and Catherine Tate to look forward to in that episode - have you got any other surprises?

Sarah Parish, who you might know from lots of BBC dramas. But you might have a hard time recognising her. But that's all I'm saying!

Why does the new companion Martha Jones have the surname Jones?

It's one of my favourite surnames, if you look at the stuff I've written over the years. I like (the name) Tyler, I like Jones - it's just one of my favourite names nice and ordinary. Part of that companion thing is to be ordinary, be approachable and it's a nice straightforward name.

We saw a character played by Freema killed off in the last episodes of series two and here she is popping up in episode three - what's that all about?

I don't think anybody will be confused. We just liked her and re-cast her in a different role. There is a very slight reference to it in episode one of the new series, a slight explanation. Basically she's a new character with a new story.

So it's not that she's a relation - cloning gone mad?

Nothing sci-fi - you'll just have to find out in episode one.

What is Freema like?

Russell T Davies
We're at the read-through (stage) of episode six. She's loving it. It's a joy to work on that programme - it has the best crew in the world. People genuinely love it. So she's smiling away. It's a whole new boost of energy for the show. You feel the programme renewing itself - the show is just designed to run and run and run.

How long are you committed to working in the show?

I don't have any sort of contract I could leave tomorrow - I don't even sign on year for year - but I am loving it at the moment and I'd certainly do a fourth series if it's commissioned. There's nothing like it on telly, it's a joy.

Will there be any classic monsters returning from the original series?

There might be a little surprise.

It's just too early to start giving anything away. It's a long time until it's on air - next spring - that's along way away. It feels like old news if you give away too much now. You have to keep it fresh for that big public audience and not give away too much.

What are the best bits of the third series?

I love the Shakespeare episode which is episode two. It's a joy - it's lively and funny and new and you learn a lot about Shakespeare. But I don't want that to sound boring - it's part of the adventure.

I think it's the most lavish episode we've ever done - the amount of extras, the size of the picture, we get to film in the Globe theatre, we went out on location for a lot of days all around the country.

The monsters are brilliant, the dialogue is funny, it's very scary in places and it's a good story for Martha.

To be honest I'm already very very proud of that episode.

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