Gay star tipped as next Doctor Who

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One of the most popular programmes on the BBC could soon have an out gay star as its leading man.

Emails from Doctor Who creator Russell T Davies printed in The Times reveal that he wants Russell Tovey to succeed David Tennant in the iconic role.

Tovey appeared in the show’s Christmas special, Voyage of the Damned, as Midshipman Frame. At 26, he would be the tenth and youngest Doctor.

He gained rave reviews for his portryal of Rudge in the stage and film versions of Alan Bennett’s The History Boys and in the Royal National Theatre’s production of His Dark Materials.

Russell T Davies leaves Doctor Who as lead writer and executive producer next year. He said Tovey was “going to be huge” and is “amazing.”

The children’s science fiction series was on air from 1963 to 1989, with seven different incarnations of the Doctor, among them Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker.

Doctor Who was revived in 2005 with Christopher Eccleston as the eponymous time traveller. He was succeeded by David Tennant after one series.

The creator of iconic gay drama Queer as Folk, Davies is developing a new BBC drama series about forty-something gay men, it was confirmed last year.

In the emails Davies’ humour shines through. He describes a press event in which he meets Tovey:

“In the middle of the line-up, I say hello to Russell Tovey [actor who plays Midshipman Frame]. He’s in front of GMTV. I’m with Newsround. We both look embarrassed…

“Then it’s the screening. We’re hustled to our seats. “That’s Russell Tovey’s boyfriend,” someone points out – and a whole fantasy night dies in my mind… ”

The producer and writer also admitted to wrestling with fancying Conservatives and shares his distaste for politicians:

“I hate any Q&A. I’m 44 and balding and putting on weight, in a cheap suit because nothing else was clean and my alarm didn’t go off; the last thing I want to do is sit in front of 500 people…

“Then it’s the party afterwards. But I can’t relax. It’s all work. In three hours, I have half an apple juice and half a Coke. I have to speak to everyone. That’s my job. Signing autographs for kids, which is nice, but then the MPs, the bloody MPs…

“The one time I do get five minutes to myself, one of the sci-fi magazine men is drunk and won’t leave me alone, while I’m fending off his sly, smiling insults (“That was a fun episode, wasn’t it? Just fun!”), and then I find myself with two gay boys who work as researchers in Parliament, and they’re gorgeous, but it turns out that they’re with the Shadow Secretary of Something. I’m thinking, would I sleep with a Tory?

“But then they’re telling me that they were 13 when Queer as Folk was on, and I realise that I’m as old as George Bernard Shaw to them…

“Then more bloody MPs, and there’s the nice man from The Guardian, all smiles and hellos, the same man who wrote a Guardian blog last week describing Doctor Who as the Most Overrated TV Show of the Year, but I’m smiling back, because they can write what they like.

“And it goes on and on and on. When I say I hate it, I’m really so unhappy – and smiling like an idiot. A hundred versions of me, and every single one sounds like a fool.”

The role of Time Lord may not appeal to Tovey – in an interview with Attitude magazine in January he described his dream role:

“I want to play really dark, fucked-up characters, I want to play characters like drag queens, rent boys, someone who has been abused, a rapist.”

In the emails Davies also revealed he had wanted Harry Potter author JK Rowling to star in a Christmas special.

“David (Tennant, the current Doctor Who) doesn’t like the JK idea, he thinks it sounds like a spoof, so we’ve paused slightly, wondering whether to win him round or just abandon something that he’s not going to be happy with,” he wrote.

After this year’s Doctor Who, the next series will not air until 2010.