Friday, 11 September 2015

Report: Doctor Who Series 9 Premiere Screening

Yesterday evening at Cineworld Cinema in Cardiff the Doctor Who production team unveiled the first two episodes of the new series, starring Peter Capaldi as the enigmatic Timelord and Jenna Coleman returning to the role of school teacher Clara Oswald. Guests were treated not just to the opening episode of the series The Magician's Apprentice but also the second half, The Witch's Familiar.

To introduce the screening was Director of BBC Wales, Rhodri Talfan Davies. He beamed with delight and pride about Doctor Who and what a massive influence it has had on television production across South Wales over the past 10 years. The Master of Ceremonies was then introduced, Jason Mohammad who presents Final Score on a Saturday afternoon and also for Radio Wales during the week. He has also appeared in a couple of episodes of Doctor Who - taking great pleasure in sharing a story of a particularly glowing piece of fan mail - and also the Sarah Jane Adventures. Finally to be introduced was head writer and executive producer Steven Moffat, who wished that everyone enjoyed the episodes but pleaded with the audience to keep spoilers under wraps.

And then the episodes began.

It is extremely difficult to discuss them without revealing massive spoilers. All I can say is that both parts are Steven Moffatt's writing skills at their very best, providing laugh out loud moments, gripping drama and some very emotional stuff. It is a dark tale but Peter Capaldi is frankly mesmeric throughout. Michelle Gomez returns to play Missy and is hilarious, having a ball with some excellent scenes with Jenna Coleman.

I cannot emphasise this enough, avoid all spoilers, watch on September 19th and prepare to be blown away!

The credits rolled and the audience gave the episodes a rousing round of applause, acknowledging what an incredible story they'd just witnessed.

Jason Mohammad then began the Q&A session by introducing Executive Producers Steven Moffat and Brian Minchin, and Jenna Coleman. Peter Capaldi was apparently coming straight from set but joined the trio shortly after. Reporting on some of the answers given during the Q&A is again difficult as they reveal content of the episodes. However, Capaldi did confirm that he played the guitar during the series and would love to see Keith Richards or David Bowie in the TARDIS. In standard questioning about popular stories Steven Moffat raved about 1988's Remembrance of the Daleks, triggering positive agreement from the knowledgeable audience.

The Executive Producers were questioned about a musical or a live episode, Moffat remarking that a live episode could be done by a different head writer. The team also revealed that they do try to watch episodes on broadcast, given the drastic transformation the final product has following the spectacular visual effects work and the incidental music provided by Murray Gold. Peter Capaldi revealed that he had found the original Fredrick Muller Doctor Who in an Exciting Adventure with the Daleks novelisation in his school library after Moffat had highlighted how well written it had been by David Whitaker. He also suggested that his strategy of having the Doctor's adventures begin with the Daleks was a wise idea.

To the great disappointment of the audience it was revealed that Russell T Davies and David Tennant's recent presence in Cardiff was nothing to do with them but that they did visit the set.  They were also joined by a young fan who had come to the event dressed as Matt Smith's Doctor, to the approval of Moffat who claimed Smith had felt not enough people dressed in his purple coated ensemble, but went shy given the sizeable crowd.

As the evening drew to a close Steven Moffat reiterated to the audience to help keep the big spoilers before the event was concluded by a rapturous standing ovation. There is no doubt that those in attendance were blown away by the episodes and so will the viewers.

Doctor Who returns to BBC1 on Saturday 19th September and throughout the world.