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And solely on the Internet

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The Timelord known only as the Doctor is to return after a break of five years - and it'll be solely over the Internet.

The half-hour, purely audio episode is called Death Comes To Time and reprises Sylvester McCoy as the Doctor and Sophie Aldred as Ace. Also starring are Stephen Fry as a mysterious timelord, John Sessions as an alien warlord and Jacqueline Pearce (who played Servalan (Server LAN?) in Blake's 7).

The episode will be broadcast on the BBC's Doctor Who Web site on 13 July in six Real Audio files. The BBC has also said it will give listeners the chance to vote whether they want the cult classic to return - presumably, numbers will be more important than the actual percentage of yes and no answers.

The BBC has rather grandly sold the one-off drama as Auntie's "very first piece of drama broadcast purely online", although the truth is somewhat different.

The episode was in fact commissioned in 1998/99 by Radio Four. For some unknown reason, the radio station decided not to run with it and the producers have been trying to find a way to get it out to Doctor Who fans ever since. Still definitely worth a listen though.

The last time we saw Doctor Who was in a special movie starring Withnail & I actor Paul McGann as the Doctor in that attrocious US TV movie broadcast in 1996. The original British TV series - the longest running in the world, apparently - ended in 1989. That starred Sylvester McCoy.

To date eight actors, including William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee, have played the regenerating Timelord. Most famous of all is, of course, Tom Baker and his trademark scarf. For many still, Tom Baker is Doctor Who.

Which would explain why when this reporter and colleague Linda Harrison walked past him in Soho last week, Linda felt the need to point at him and exclaim: "It's Doctor Who!"

Tom, bless him, gave back a grand smile and a cheery "hello". ®

Related Link

BBC's Doctor Who site

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