In an embarrassing statement issued earlier today, the BBC has confirmed that the real reason Christopher Ecclestone has not renewed his contract for the next series of Dr Who is that the Beeb has decided to trade in the Tardis. The statement handed to reporters this morning said that "…it was getting a little old fashioned and unreliable, and the show's producers wanted to move a bit more upmarket - and anyway, we haven't been able to get that shade of blue since 1976, so it was crying out for a lick of paint". It went on to confirm that the traditional blue police box has been traded for a shiny new Rover 75, which the dealer was "…practically giving away".
Further enquiries through an anonymous source at BBC Wales revealed that Mr Ecclestone wanted to replace the trusty time machine with a BMW or a Merc, but that tight-fisted Beeb bosses cut the budget so far they were lucky not to end up with a Reliant Robin "…and what kind of image would that be for a Time Lord, for heaven's sake?"
Our source was unable to confirm other rumours that Billy Piper has now said she won't be seen dead in a Rover, and is also quitting the show. As far as the Doctor is concerned, the source said that "…he's a 5 billion year-old, 9th regeneration entity, and therefore a right old fogie, so the Rover image shouldn't be a problem. Besides, Back To The Future set a precedent of using an end of line car in a central role, so we can't see the big deal."
In response to questions about the traditional divergence between external appearance and internal dimensions, the source indicated that they had considered this, but that the car's makers had assured BBC bosses they would soon be able to make available a very large empty premises just outside Birmingham, for which they expected to have no further use.
In related enquiries by this reporter, an online search of Auto Trader turned up a blue 1950s police box on the forecourt of Joe Green Motors, Peckham High St. However, an inspection of the vehicle highlighted some irregularities about its log book: the model number was indicated as ‘type 40' but other searches failed to find any examples of earlier types available in the market; the number of seats is shown as 4, but internal inspection revealed at least 2,000 (and still counting); the vehicle's age seems to be somewhere between 50 and 5,000,000,000,000 years, depending on how you reckon it; previous ‘careful' owners were listed as 9; country of origin is shown as "Gailifray" which this reporter can't find on any map; lastly, an RAC inspection concluded it may have been clocked - indicated mileage is 54,167 but wear and tear indicates the true figure is somewhere in the region of 500 thousand million billion trillion miles. Not to mention, the tyres were bald, and the tax disk was an old Guinness label… For all these reasons, this reporter decided instead to buy the Escort Cosworth standing next to it.
The BBC has refused to comment on rumours that The Doctor's old enemy The Master has already been supplied with a second hand Metro for his next appearance.