The Long Game – 1996-2003: The Inside Story of How the BBC Brought Back Doctor Who


“It would only happen in the BBC, wouldn’t it? BBC Worldwide wouldn’t let BBC TV produce it!” Lorraine Heggessey

When Russell T Davies’ triumphant Doctor Who relaunch hit screens in 2005, it didn’t simply appear out of nowhere – the show’s journey back to television was long and complicated. The years since the last attempt to revive the programme had seen enormous changes at the BBC, not least in the Drama department; along with battles between different parts of the Corporation over who should get to bring the Doctor back to the screen; and even doubts over whether or not the BBC still held the rights to make the show at all.

The Long Game is the story of those conflicts and setbacks, during a transformative time for the BBC. It’s a story told by those who were there, including BBC One Controllers Lorraine Heggessey and Alan Yentob, drama bosses Julie Gardner, Jane Tranter and Mal Young, BBC Worldwide executives Rupert Gavin and Mike Phillips, and BBC Films head David Thompson – many speaking in depth for the first time about the part they played in the attempts to bring back Doctor Who.

Drawing on more than thirty new interviews and extensive research, The Long Game tells how Doctor Who went from a one-night stand in May 1996 to a headline-making major recommission in September 2003.

Paul Hayes was born and raised in West Sussex, and now lives in Norwich. A writer and broadcaster, he has contributed feature articles to the likes of Doctor Who Magazine, BBC Online, The Stage and the Eastern Daily Press. For the BBC he has produced and presented a variety of radio documentaries, on subjects including The Beatles, motor racing, broadcasting history, politics, film, football and – of course! – Doctor Who, a programme which he has loved for as long as he can remember.

Paperback: 366 pages in black and white