Post-regeneration stories are notoriously iffy for DOCTOR WHO – for every winner (like Matt Smith’s “The Eleventh Hour”) there seems to be a stinker (like Colin Baker’s “The Twin Dilemma”). Well, this story was a solid winner – though it played a lot like Tom Baker’s debut, “Robot,” because it introduced a very alien Doctor who was replacing a warm, familiar face.
The newly regenerated 12th Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and Clara (Jenna Coleman) arrive in Victorian London to confront a dinosaur in the Thames and a spate of suspicious spontaneous human combustions. Meanwhile, both the Doctor and Clara are getting to know the new incarnation of the Time Lord, with help from the Paternoster Gang: the Silurian Madame Vastra (Neve McIntosh), Jenny (Catrin Stewart) and the Sontaran Strax (Dan Starkey). The story is structured as a murder investigation: Who burned a dinosaur alive in the Thames?
When Peter Capaldi kicks off his first series as the star of DOCTOR WHO on Aug. 23, fans are going to meet an incarnation of the time-and-space-spanning hero with a new attitude: “This man is a total adrenaline junkie,” says Jenna Coleman, who plays the Doctor’s companion, Clara Oswald, calling the Time Lord’s new incarnation “a lot fiercer” than the previous persona (Matt Smith).
The feature-length introductory episode, “Deep Breath,” will see the Doctor recovering from his regeneration in Victorian London with help of his old friends the Paternoster Gang – the Silurian detective Madame Vastra (Neve McIntosh); her human wife, Jenny Flint (Catrin Stewart); and the Sontaran nurse, Strax (Dan Starkey).
The first official image of Peter Capaldi filming series eight of DOCTOR WHO — a clearly staged publicity photo with co-star Jenna Coleman — was released Today by the BBC, proving that work has begun on the new season in Cardiff, Wales, at last.
“New job, first day, slightly nervous,” the BBC quoted Capaldi as saying. “Just like the Doctor, I’m emerging from the TARDIS into a whole other world.”
Executive producer Steven Moffat teased: “First the eyebrows! Then, at Christmas, the face! Coming soon, the whole Doctor. In the Cardiff studios, the Capaldi era begins.”
Since the 12th Doctor is clearly still wearing the 11th Doctor’s costume, this shot must have been taken during the production of the first story, before the new Doctor has chosen his own outfit.
Joining the new Doctor will be a trio of familiar faces — but you’ll have to follow the jump to see who they are. SPOILERS!
“What I did, I did without choice, in the name of peace and sanity.”
“But not in the name of the Doctor!”
— The Doctor and… the Doctor?
At last, the Doctor’s greatest secret is revealed. Not his name, or the reason he left Gallifrey — but rather that he has been hiding an entire persona, apparently even from himself.
That never-before-seen face (John Hurt’s face, to be precise) was hidden way down deep at the bottom of the Doctor’s mind, and now Clara knows about it. The reveal of a previously unknown incarnation of the Doctor has shattering repercussions — only the very least being the potential renumbering of the faces we’ve already seen.
In a real tease of a scene from tomorrow’s season finale of DOCTOR WHO, Clara (Jenna-Louise Coleman) gets a letter in the mail from a most unexpected source. And no, it’s not from the Doctor!
The coolest thing about this letter from the Victorian age? It had to take the slow path from the 1890s to 2013. Imagine dropping a plea for help in the post and hoping the recipient gets it 100+ years in the future?
I wonder if the “emergency” has anything to do with the Doctor…? We’ll find out tomorrow night at 8 o’clock on BBC America.
It was only a matter of time until Madame Vastra, Jenny and Strax made another appearance on DOCTOR WHO and, given their tie-in to the mystery of Clara from Christmas, that time was going to come sooner rather than later.
Yorkshire, 1893. Madame Vastra (Neve McIntosh), Jenny (Catrin Stewart) and Strax (Dan Starkey) investigate when the latest victim of “the Crimson Horror” is discovered to have an image of the Doctor (Matt Smith) burned into his retina. The trail leads to Sweetville, a Utopian society operated by Mrs. Gillyflower (Diana Rigg), which accepts only exemplars of the human form. Jenny infiltrates the society and discovers the Doctor chained in a secret room, his skin turned crimson and waxy, just like the deceased victims of the Crimson Horror.
The BBC released a bunch of photos promoting this week’s episode of DOCTOR WHO, so once again I have culled my favorites for your edification.
Here’s the BBC synopsis:
There’s something very odd about Mrs. Gillyflower’s (Diana Rigg) Sweetville mill, with its perfectly clean streets and beautiful people. There’s something even stranger about the bodies washing up in the river, all bright red and waxy. When the Doctor (Matt Smith) and Clara (Jenna-Louise Coleman) go missing, it’s up to Vastra (Neve McIntosh), Jenny (Catrin Stewart) and Strax (Dan Starkey) to rescue them before they, too, fall victim to the Crimson Horror!
Watch it at 8 p.m. on BBC America.
To help us make it down the home stretch until the DOCTOR WHO Christmas Special, the BBC has released another minisode prequel to “The Snowmen,” this one called “Vastra Investigates.” Written by Steven Moffat , it’s not really an investigation, but something so much better: the secret origin of Vastra (Neve McIntosh) and Jenny (Catrin Stewart)!
We also learn that Strax (Dan Starkey) is relatively new to the crime-fighting team – but is he the same Strax we met in “A Good Man Goes to War,” or an earlier clone?
Vastra telling Jenny not to expect help from the Doctor (Matt Smith) because, “Heartbreak is a burden to us all; pity the man with two,” was quite sad. So from this and “The Great Detective“ minisode, we can deduce that the Doctor, soul-sick over the deaths of his friends Amy and Rory, answered Vastra’s summons, but refused to help with her investigations. He parks the TARDIS there in Victorian London and refuses to come out. Sort of a “Do not open until Xmas” situation.
“The Snowmen” premieres at 9 p.m. on Christmas Day on BBC America.
In case you didn’t get to see the DOCTOR WHO content from last night’s BBC Children in Need telethon, I bring you a look at the special prelude to the Christmas story and the trailer for the Xmas episode itself.
I must confess to being a little bit disappointed by the minisode, “The Great Detective,” only in the sense that the Doctor does not play much of a role in it. It’s funny and entertaining, but left me wanting more. The trailer for the Christmas story, however, is just as awesome as one would hope…
Here is the minisode, “The Great Detective”:
And now the first Xmas trailer:
The Doctor and… ?
We all know the production team is currently shooting the DOCTOR WHO Christmas Special, which doubles as this season’s Episode 6 and features the introduction of the new assistant played by Jenna-Louise Coleman. Well, a spy with big ears lurking about the set at Cathay’s Cemetery reports overhearing a line couple of lines of dialogue that could be construed to confirm the name of the new companion — and precisely what makes her so unusual.
If you don’t want to know, consider this your SPOILER WARNING, and I’ll wait until after the cut to reveal her name, so don’t click through.
In the meantime, I’ll remind you that the episode, set sometime in the 60+ year Victorian Age, also reunites Matt Smith‘s 11th Doctor with Madame Vastra (Neve McIntosh) and her companion Jenny (Catrin Stewart), as well as Strax the Sontaran (Dan Starkey). I wonder if this will be the gang’s first meeting with the Doctor — at least from the perspective of Vastra, Jenny and Strax? And, finally, Richard E. Grant is said to be portraying the villain of the piece.