BBC Renews Doctor Who, Though Warns of "Gap Year" for Sci Fi Series

Fans of Doctor Who can rest assured that their beloved time-traveling series isn't going away anytime soon, though we might have to wait quite a while for the fifth season.

BBC has announced that it has renewed Doctor Who for a fifth season of aliens, Cybermen, and sonic screwdrivers, to air in 2010 (yes, we'll get to that).

Season Four of Doctor Who, which began production in July, will air in the UK in Spring 2008 for a 13-episode run, with a Christmas special (starring David Tennant and Kylie Minogue) slated for December 2008. It stars David Tennant, new companion Catherine Tate (reprising her role as Donna from the 2006 Christmas Special "The Runaway Bride"), and Freema Agyeman, who will return halfway through the fourth season as Dr. Martha Jones.

So why the year long gap between Season Four and Five? According to BBC, Tennant will reportedly play Hamlet with the Royal Shakespeare Company from July to November 2008, making his schedule extremely full next year.

Instead of a traditional 13-episode run for 2009, Tennant will instead star in three Doctor Who specials, to be written by showrunner/executive producer Russell T. Davies.

One potentially sad point of interest: as of right now, the Beeb could not "comment whether Tennant would return for the 2010 series."

Ouch. Let's just hope that the lure of another trip in the TARDIS (and perhaps a sizable salary increase) proves effective enough to clinch Tennant for another season. Fingers crossed...

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Jace is an LA-based television development and acquisitions exec who watches way too much television for his own good and would love a TiVo for every room in the house. (He’s halfway there.) His blog, Televisionary, can be found at televisionaryblog.com.