Out of this world! Harry Potter meets Doctor Who in Wizards Vs. Aliens, the BBC's new children's sci-fi drama from Russel T. Davis
21:30 GMT, 26 October 2012
21:30 GMT, 26 October 2012
Not since David took on Goliath has a contest seemed more uneven.
On one side in the BBC's lavish new drama series Wizards Vs Aliens are schoolboys Tom and Benny.
On the other are The Nekross from the planet Nekron, a merciless bunch of space travellers intent on sucking every last scrap of energy-giving magic from planet Earth.
Wizards Vs. Aliens, the new children's sci-fi drama from co-creator Russel T. Davis, begins on Monday at 5.15pm on CBBC
There is surely only one winner but The Nekross clearly haven't reckoned on Tom and Benny being more than just average teenagers.
'Tom is a wizard, determined to hang on to his powers in the face of aliens who need Earth's magic to survive,' explains the show's co-creator Russell T Davies. 'And Benny, his best friend, is a science genius who is more than a match for The Nekross. This particular set of aliens has a fight on its hands if it's ever going to deprive Earth of its magic.'
Russell, of course, is the man who brought Doctor Who back to our screens in 2005 after a 16-year absence, and he says he's every bit as excited about Wizards Vs Aliens, one of the most ambitious dramas ever made for children's TV.
Schoolboys Tom and Benny, the new heroes of Wizards Vs. Aliens
'It's got across-the-board appeal
with high production values, brilliantly designed aliens, superb special
effects, great acting and a fantastic team of technicians working on
the show in Cardiff – the “fantasy factory” that's already produced BBC
series such as Doctor Who, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures,'
'And there are potentially so many stories to be told
involving clashes between magicians and aliens.'
There wouldn't be any stories at all
if Russell hadn't sat down with Doctor Who writer Phil Ford and enjoyed
what he calls their Eureka moment.
like sci-fi, Phil likes shows about magic and the supernatural and it
suddenly occurred to us that we should combine the two,' recalls
Russell, 'which, when you think about it, hasn't been done before.
Potter doesn't fight aliens, Doctor Who never has to fight a witch.
was literally just an idea over dinner in Los Angeles, where I was
living and working at the time, but it suddenly seemed a very good one:
geeky, but the cleverest of the lot.
'The idea of using a couple of highly
talented boys, one of whom is a wizard, to take on a species of aliens,
followed on from that initial meeting.
'It seemed the perfect way to
combine magic and sci-fi.'
The opening episode finds The Nekross
firmly established at their base on the dark side of the moon, scanning
Earth for potential sources of magical power. It's not long before
their huge spaceship has landed on Earth and the scaly-faced monsters
are homing in on Tom.
12-part series seems bound to invite comparisons with the Harry Potter
movies. Both feature young wizards taking on dark forces and, at least
in the early films, Harry's domestic arrangements were similiar to
Russel T. Davis, centre, with Billie Piper and David Tennant collecting the Best Drama Series award for Doctor who at the 2011 BAFTAs
Harry lodged with the dreadful Dursleys, Tom shares a home with his father Michael and grandma Ursula. 'Although in our case there's magic in the household beyond the boy himself,' says Russell.
'Grandma Ursula is enchanted and the downstairs toilet is the entrance to the family's Chamber Of Mysteries. And Harry Potter didn't have Brian Blessed either – whereas we do!'
Brian's familiar, booming voice can be heard as The Nekross King, the driving force behind his race's invasion of Earth. 'We never thought we'd get Brian to play the role, although we always had his voice in our heads when we were writing the part,' explains Russell.
'But we approached him, he liked the scripts and said yes, which we were absolutely delighted about. He puts the seal on a series that I think has the potential to run and run, just like Doctor Who. Ten years for Wizards Vs Aliens would be good – 20 even better!'
Wizards Vs Aliens starts on Monday at 5.15pm on CBBC.