Jason Mohammed at Doctor Who’s Series 8 premiere — live blog

From 0900 to 1300 today, BBC Radio Wales’ Jason Mohammed hosted his radio show from the Series 8 premiere from St. David’s Hall. This blog post covers the event LIVE!

Steven Moffat live with Jason Mohammed.
Steven Moffat live with Jason Mohammed.

Showrunner Steven Moffat was interviewed: he says it was BBC Worldwide’s idea. Matt Smith’s first season toured his and Karen Gillan’s old schools by bus, and that this time he wanted to make it even bigger. Capaldi and Jenna Coleman “only wrapped on the show yesterday”. (Extract)

Jason Mohammed has scared away some Cybermen so he can speak to Danny Hargreaves safely.
Jason Mohammed has scared away some Cybermen so he can speak to Danny Hargreaves safely.

Special Effects Supervisor Danny Hargreaves was interviewed: technically, this was the most challenging season to produce. Peter Capaldi would arrive on set before he was required just to watch things blow up.

Tweets were read, sent to @BBCRadioWales via #DoctorWho.BubWkKOCEAA9wu_

Fans were interviewed
on the red carpet, being asked who their favourite Doctors are, what they think of Capaldi and why they like the show. One had come from the Netherlands, saying the show was only popular there during the Tom Baker years, and had discovered it via the BBC’s overseas channel. An American fan discovered it through public access TV in Silicon Valley. He said the show’s American popularity was only growing.

More tweets were read from all over the world, including one fan listening at night from Melbourne.

Here come the Cybermen...
Here come the Cybermen…

Cybermen then proceeded toward the hall.

Fans cheered as Mohammed announced Capaldi and Coleman were on their way…

The Impossible Girl says "Thank you, Wales".
The Impossible Girl says “Thank you, Wales”.

Coleman arrived shortly after as This Is Gallifrey: Our Childhood, Our Home and Westminster Bridge played. She talked of wrapping late the previous night, and how much she enjoyed the Universal appeal of the show. Coleman claimed Capaldi was a very effortlessly clever and self-depreciating actor, while also holding a gravitas and presence, before departing to greet fans. (Extract)

Bill & Monica from Iowa had a Doctor Who wedding! Welcome to Wales.
Bill & Monica from Iowa had a Doctor Who wedding! Welcome to Wales.

Mohammed announced Capaldi would be interviewed shortly after, before interviewing Monica and Bill, who were both fans from PBS showing the Classic Series and had chosen Cardiff for their honeymoon after their Wholock wedding four months before it was chosen for the premiere. Monica’s favourite Doctor is Jon Pertwee and Bill’s is Sylvester McCoy. Elizabeth from Melbourne had arrived two days before, coming to Wales for the first time (her favourite is David Tennant).

Mohammed concluded the fan consensus was that Doctor Who was so popular by being a drama as well as sci-fi which takes an alien to show Humanity at its best and worst. Fans started handing in their tickets and running up the steps of St. David’s Hall to get the best seat for the episode’s world premiere.

Executive Producer Brian Minchin was interviewed, who said how nice it was to have been filming since January and finally be able to show it to people, plus the way it brings tourism to Cardiff due to the way the relaunch was handled so well. He claimed Capaldi brought a love and respect to the role, and was an extraordinary, limitless actor. Capaldi and Coleman’s chemistry worked from the beginning, since Clara Oswald has to ease him into his new incarnation, which doesn’t consider the feelings of those around him as much. They’d both be seen rehearsing during breaks. Moffat’s taken an approach of the Peter Capaldi era as a new chapter in the show balancing comedy with horror.

More fans were interviewed as they went inside, who mostly talked about their expectations for the Twelfth Doctor.

Jason Mohammad on-air on BBC Radio Wales and live on stage at the Doctor Who premiere!
Jason Mohammad on-air on BBC Radio Wales and live on stage at the Doctor Who premiere!

The Director of BBC Cymru Wales Rhodri Davies was introduced on stage.

The auditorium was a full house, with minutes left before the screening.

The Doctor is on his way to join Jason Mohammad!
The Doctor is on his way to join Jason Mohammad!

More tweets were read-out, one of which requested Mohammed to ask Capaldi his favourite episode.

He's here! The Doctor himself.
He’s here! The Doctor himself.

Capaldi was interviewed a  few minutes later, who said that seeing so many fans turn-out for the episode was “delightful”, as he enjoyed saying hello to them (including the honeymooning fans).  His reaction to the announcement of the relaunch was excitement, as it would be made by professionals who were also fans. He said the heart of the show was the bond between production and audiences, and that those professional fans running the show ensured that bond would continue. “Who wouldn’t want to be Doctor Who?”. The Twelfth Doctor’s look was intended to be stark, with dark colours, since clothing is a dialogue. Capaldi recalled the costuming process, in-which he tried on any and every suggestion of how the Doctor should dress, before the combination he ultimately used was the one that made him feel like the Doctor, since it can also be emulated easily.

Series 8 premiered when “Deep Breath” was shown at about 1300, ending the broadcast.

Why you should care about Frank Cottrell Boyce

perhaps the Doctor and Clara have been regressed into children, and must go on an adventure to make themselves adults again

Writer, episode ten.
Frank Cottrell Boyce


The BBC announced on Friday Frank Cottrell Boyce is the final writer for Series 8. And you should be glad of that. Because Boyce could potentially be the next Neil Gaiman. Not in the sense that he writes one fantastic episode, followed by one disappointing episode, but in the sense of him being maybe the most prolific writer on the team. He won the 2004 Carnegie Medal, the de facto award for children and young adult literature awarded annually. It’s basically literature’s academy awards. He also won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, which is similar but only Britain-based.

Continue reading “Why you should care about Frank Cottrell Boyce”

Is Michelle Gomez the Rani? Of course, say rumours.

Mary Poppins meets Charles Dickens
Michelle Gomez as the Nethersphere Gatekeeper

The BBC have a policy of only revealing information when it becomes relevant. In the case of Doctor Who, this means when an episode’s being filmed and a guest star will be seen in public.

Earlier today, it was confirmed Michelle Gomez will feature in Series 8, as the Gatekeeper of the Nethersphere, alongside Cybermen. Or I suppose I should really say “Cyberiad”. Not that such information tells us anything, but it’s so soon after the Deep Breath infodump it’s easy to impress me.

“Gatekeeper of the Nethersphere” certainly sounds exciting. Maybe she’ll fulfil a position similar to that of Heimdallr, keeper of the Bifrost. Or maybe the controller of a device that can access other dimensions? The void, maybe?

As it’s the finale, it’s likely to have something to do with Gallifrey. What with rumours of the Master being cast and all, it would make sense. The Nethersphere could simply be the Statis Cubes that were used to seal the planet in a pocket dimension? But then they’d just call it a what it is, wouldn’t they? Unless it’s a modified version. Or maybe it’s something similar that the Time Lords hijack.

A lot of people have been suggesting the Rani should make a return. A lot of people have also been saying the Rani will be coming back. Steven Moffat, who – let’s be honest – lies constantly, has said that nobody knows who the Rani is and therefore shouldn’t be brought back. But then, nobody knew who the Zygons were. Or the Silurians. Or the Great Intelligence. Or the Ice Warriors. Nobody remembering something shouldn’t be the reason it doesn’t come back.

When it comes to the Rani, I haven’t yet seen The Mark Of The Rani or Time And The Rani, I’m told they’re quite awful, and scored very lowly on Doctor Who Magazine’s First 50 Years poll, but I’m having a marathon in August to celebrate Series 8, so I could throw them in there I suppose. Even then, just because Pip & Jane Baker wrote those apparent atrocities, Steven Moffat didn’t. Admittedly, he did handle the return of the Great Intelligence not particularly well, and it did seem that he only did so just because The Web Of Fear had been recovered. And while I’m sceptical of a Classic villain making a return in the current state of the show, or indeed this particular villain anyway, the evidence is there for me to use as I wish. Gallifrey’s back, and the finale has a female villain. Just like every other finale.

Walks into Mordor. Offers Sauron a jellybaby.

One thing I hope is that whoever this Gatekeeper of the Nethersphere turns out to be, she isn’t just another Moffat Villainess. I’m not assuming she’s a villain, since filming with Capaldi shows she and the Doctor seem to be on good terms. It’s just that female characters other than the companions seem to be lacking distinguishing features. But this next model (as it seems to be) could potentially have more meaning, since she’s included in the finale. But then again, so was Kovarian and we barely know anything about her other than what was said by Tasha Lem, who’s almost an exact copy of River Song

Doctor Who is maybe the only thing I give infinite chances to, and looking at this news, I’m still optimistic that what we’ve got is an interesting character that will become important to the ongoing story. I just don’t know whether the Gatekeeper of the Nethersphere will be able to deliver on that.

I think Eight speaks for all of us.

BBC release Series 8 infodump

One of the less bullshitty conventions of being a Doctor Who fan is the last day before a major announcement. But you never know it’s the last day when you’ve having it. At the time, it’s just another decent day.

It’s time…. to wax sensational. (Might want to hum yourself some Murray Gold, shit’s happening this time. Out of the way bitches, I’m fangirling.)

"Look at all the fucks I give."
The new Doctor lands August 23rd.

I spent my evening watching Pointless on Challenge at 8 PM today, when I should have really been watching BBC One. Because MY GOD. What a trailer! Dear Heavens. Dear. Heavens. That’s it, I’m done. I don’t need to see anything else now. That’s enough for me until 23rd August. That being said, when another trailer’s released, of course I’m going to watch it. Don’t be daft.

I remember receiving an email from WordPress linking me to a new post by user Geekritique. I didn’t need to read the body, since the subject read “Doctor Who Series 8 Teaser #2”, at which point I had a bit of a moment, and immediately raced to digitalspy, whereupon I saw It. The Twelfth Doctor, standing alone, uncertain of his own morality, while the TARDIS comes crashing-down around him.

Many people have speculated that the Twelfth Doctor will be fierce, or intimidating, but this trailer shows a side I never expected to see: anxiety. The Doctor, knowing his power, is terrified that this is the incarnation which goes overboard. And why shouldn’t it? He’s the fourteenth incarnation of The Doctor, maybe the first Time Lord to live that long. Do any of them even know what happens at that point? The trailer doesn’t seem to bode well. But we can be sure about one thing: the TARDIS is well and truly screwed. Perhaps that’s why it looks a tad different in the new Series 8 images. Which I love by the way (just imagine me making an effeminate gesture at that point). I was listening to The Majestic Tale on iTunes when I saw them and then I realised… this is Classic Doctor Who. The Doctor is now striking a protective pose, with a both old and wise face, but with a stare that will make you wish you’d never been born with a simple “Hai!”. And a companion that’s inquisitive but naive. The old team.  Third Doctor and Sarah. Not the mention the sort-of new TARDIS. Maybe that’s related to the explosivity of the trailer. Or at least it would had I not just invented that word no less than a minute ago.

Also: the episode title. Deep Breath. I like it. I like it a lot. A lot of post-regeneration stories have good titles, but a lot of them have some truly excruciating ones. Deep Breath is both exciting and ambiguous. The reason one may need to take a deep breath is because of brilliant danger or jeopardy, while there are rumours about a spaceship being crashed beneath the Thames, and the Doctor investigating it. That could be why he’s wearing his nightclothes then. There are also rumours of Clockwork Droids, which I choose to deny. I just don’t think they’re likely to return. Unless they’re other kinds of clockwork droids, but completely unrelated to those built specifically for one particular space station. Given Silurian Vastra’s featured, one can only hope the Sea Devils make a return. Just not in the style of Warriors Of The Deep. But then I’m a fan; finding patterns in things that aren’t there is kind of my thing.

The episode is “feature length”, according to the BBC, which is already controversial. These are the people that called The Day Of The Doctor feature-length, which was 76 minutes. The British Film Institute considers feature length 40 minutes/2400 seconds, so every televised episode since Survival part three is feature-length. Going by their definition, this doesn’t change anything. As the average length of an episode is 42 minutes, with three minutes for advertising, I’m assuming Deep Breath is probably about 57 minutes. The Eleventh Hour was 62 minutes in a 65-minute timeslot. That also creates a 5 minute window of possibility. (Nice title for a novel.)

All that’s left to wonder is whether BBC America and FOX Germany will manage to simulcast the episode.

Am I a good man? The Twelfth Doctor lands 23rd August in feature-length Deep Breath.