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BBCA Schedules ‘Doctor Who’

Fifth season will air two weeks after the original U.K. broadcast


This story may contain spoilers.

In the United Kingdom, BBC is cryptically advertising the latest season of “Doctor Who” as returning in Easter. Across the pond, however, BBC America has already announced the launch date of the show’s fifth season.

Matt Smith will make his American “Doctor Who” debut on April 17 as he takes as the 11th incarnation of the venerable hero from another time. He will be accompanied by Scottish actress Karen Gillan on his timeless travels, playing the latest companion, Amy Pond.

The premiere on BBCA will be broadcast “shortly after” the United Kingdom, which will broadcast the series beginning April 3.

Other U.K.-based television channels have experimented with the same approach over the last few years with regards to U.S. network acquisitions. Sky1, the primary importer of American television, now generally airs new episodes of American shows within the same week as their initial premiere in order to crack down on piracy. The channel has received promising results through its broadcast of “Battlestar Galactica,” “Stargate: Universe,” “Prison Break” and “24.”

When “Doctor Who” does return, the fifth season marks the first year that Russell T. Davies, the man who resurrected the franchise after more than a decade, will not lead the series as showrunner. Popular series writer Steve Moffat will take his place in that role and will offer viewers more of the same twisted and chilling tales he is now renowned for, as well as the more mellow overtones that leave children whooping in delight each week.

How will viewers take to the new Doctor? So far, the Internet is a mix of anticipation and dread. Richard De Croce, senior vice president of programming, seems to think that the audience will adapt and the change is all part of British storytelling.

Britain has a tradition of reinventing its iconic characters, like James Bond and Sherlock Holmes – and ‘Doctor Who,'” he said. “In introducing the 11th Doctor, writer Steven Moffat is opening the show to a whole new audience, while serving fans with an exciting mix of intergalactic, time travelling adventures. We can’t wait to meet his new Doctor.”

Like previous years, this season will draw on a variety of new and classic elements of the franchise. Among the fan favorites returning are the Weeping Angels from Season 3’s “Blink” (creatures originally devised by Moffat), as well as the enigmatic River Song (Alex Kingston) and the Silurians.

The series will also feature a new look to the Tardis and a new logo, both with a vintage feel.

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