KNOCK KNOCK, WHO’S THERE?
It’s a real back-to-basics series for anyone who is watching the show for the first time
1 Like David Tennant and Matt Smith before him, 12th Doctor Peter Capaldi is bowing out after three series.
Since his first appearance in the show’s 50th anniversary special, Peter has wowed with humanity and wit.
2 There’s a new companion in the shape of Bill Potts, played by newcomer Pearl Mackie. “Bill is very real,” says Pearl, 29. “She’s a bit geeky, she quite likes sci-fi stuff, she’s into space so when she does go on adventures with the Doctor and discovers aliens are real it blows her mind, which is cool.”
3 The fact that Bill is the show’s first gay companion has already made headlines – which surprised Doctor Who bosses. “We didn’t know there was going to be all this fuss,” says lead writer and executive producer Steven Moffat. “And there shouldn’t be. We are not expecting a round of applause or pat on the back for that. That is the minimum level of representation we should have on television. The correct response would be: ‘What took you so long?’”
4 Matt Lucas is back as Nardole, the Doctor’s assistant-cum-valet. “Nardole works for the Doctor but he’s never afraid to take him on either,” says Matt. “He’s not shy in saying when he disagrees with something, and sometimes he’s just grumpy because he hasn’t had enough sleep.”
5 The original Mondasian Cybermen, who first appeared in 1967, will return in this series – and they’re favourites of Peter’s from his childhood. “I don’t know whether Steven [Moffat] did this as a particularly kind gift to me,” says Peter, “but they look amazing. It’s quite hard to replicate their look and we were a bit concerned about that, but they look really haunting and creepy.”
6 It’s a real back-to-basics series for anyone who is watching the show for the first time. “The basic elements are that these innocent but independent companions accompany a mysterious creature who can travel in space and time,” says Peter. “This series sort of begins the show again,” adds Steven. “The idea was just to introduce Doctor Who properly – the story starts here. You need to know nothing before this point.”
7 There are some great new monsters in this series. “We’ve got a serpent that lives under the Thames in the shape of the Thames,” says Steven. “Now that you realise it, the EastEnders title sequence has always clearly been about a giant snake…”
8 The Doctor’s arch-enemy from his childhood, Missy, is back, played once again by Michelle Gomez. “The Doctor is up against Missy, tested, teased and entranced by his oldest friend and wickedest enemy,” grins Steven.
9 There are plenty of scares promised in this 12-part run. “I love it when we do really creepy things and give people nightmares,” grins Peter.
10 This is the last series for Steven too, before Broadchurch writer Chris Chibnall takes the reins. “This has been one of the spells of my life which has been the most perfect,” smiles Steven. “Not because I did the job perfectly but because I enjoyed it so much. It’s my favourite show and I got to run it for a few years. That’s an amazing thing.”