Lucky Doctor Who fans were treated to an exclusive look at the new series this weekend as part of the BFI Radio Times TV Festival.
Taking place at the BFI IMAX, Doctor Who was truly a centrepiece of Sunday’s high-profile programme. Before the event, fans were out in full force in the hope of getting a fleeting glimpse of the cast and crew. We may not have had a proper series for nearly a year and a half, but passion for the show clearly endures. Thankfully, the wait is almost over, and this special event certainly helped to whet our appetites…
In attendance were Twelfth Doctor Peter Capaldi, new companion Pearl Mackie, writer Steven Moffat and producer Brian Minchin. Over the (time and) space of an hour, they teased what to expect over the next 12 weeks – and it’s sounding very promising. Admittedly, lot of old ground was covered. We already know what monsters to expect: Daleks, Monks, Mondasian Cybermen. Even a certain Master, whose announcement was confirmed to be more by accident than judgement. But there was also a lot of focus on Bill and how her relationship with The Doctor will develop. This is a companion who is completely fresh to the world of Doctor Who – in every possible sense. Even on stage, the chemistry between Pearl Mackie and Peter Capaldi was obvious to see. It’s going to be interesting watching how their relationship progresses.
Best of all, we got to see a montage of clips from Episode 1, The Pilot. Doctor Who always works well in the cinema – especially on this massive IMAX screen. To say anything would be sacrilege for those desperate to avoid spoilers. But we definitely enjoyed what little we saw. If the rest of the episode lives up to the same quality, Series 10 will be off to a cracking start.
As the panel reached its end, the floor opened up to questions from the audience. This led to some interesting and often humorous answers from the panel. The trademark questions were all there, like “what are your favourite episodes?” and “who do you want as the next Doctor?”. To answer the first: Vincent and the Doctor (Moffat), The Fires of Pompeii (Minchin), and no comment (Capaldi). And, to answer the second: Capaldi would love to see Frances de la Tour. Although, judging from his hesitant response, it did seem like he knew more than he was letting on…
There were anecdotes about awkward German interview questions (“is it true the Daleks were based on the Nazis?”). Peter told of how he has been asked in the street to channel his inner Malcolm Tucker. But there were also a couple of wonderfully poetic moments. Steven Moffat beautifully summed up Doctor Who as “television’s first and most successful myth” that will outlive us all. That’s a statement that’s certainly hard to argue with. However, arguably the most memorable moment tackled the terrible topic of cyber-bullying. Both Steven and Peter pitched in on the issue, calling out these “horrific” and “wretched” acts. Doctor Who is a story of love and acceptance – and if you don’t act upon these morals, you aren’t truly understanding the heart of the show’s message. The audience agreed with thunderous applause in a powerful showing of unity that reminded us exactly what the show is all about.