23 MAY 2005

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It seems Dr Who will have to find a new assistant to help him face the Daleks now that Billie Piper has decided to quit the popular sci-fi series. Coming hot on the heels of Christopher Eccleston's decision to leave the show, news of the 22-year-old's departure will come as something of a blow to BBC bosses.

"Billie is leaving," revealed a source close to the production. "She will feature in some episodes of the second series but her character Rose won't be the companion at the end of it."

Producers have already signed rising star David Tennant to take on the role of the Time Lord himself, but it remains unclear who might take over from Billie. Trainspotting's Kelly Macdonald and former EastEnders actress Michelle Ryan are both thought to be frontrunners, however.

The reasons for Billie's decision remain unknown, but it is believed she thought it unlikely the onscreen chemistry between her and the new Doctor could match the energy she created with Eccleston.

billie piper, christopher eccleston

The 22-year-old former singer had been building successfully on her acting reputation with her role as the Time Lord's sidekick Rose
Photo: BBC
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It has been reported that Billie had doubts over whether she could recreate the onscreen chemistry she shared with ex-Doc Christopher Eccleston