This morning was one of those unusual mornings. Normally science fiction is an afternoon or evening pursuit. But today, I was along at the QFT by 9.30am for the preview screening of the first episode of Doctor Who featuring the eleventh Doctor Matt Smith.
Karen Gillan (who plays his new companion Amy Pond) was there too, signing autographs, and answering questions for the invited audience of school children from across Northern Ireland as well as [cough] some hangers on.
I’ll not spoil Saturday night’s episode for you with any new plot points. The previous programme finished with the Doctor still recovering from the regeneration process and the TARDIS spinning out of control. And that’s where The Eleventh Hour begins.
Projected onto the QFT’s main screen, the HD quality picture was obvious and gorgeous. Early on there are comedic moments with a great Murray Gold score pressed right up against the dark plot.
There’s lots of sonic screwdrivering, plenty of “twenty minutes to save the world” – that’s not a spoiler, it happens every couple of episodes! – a quick cameo from Patrick Moore, and a bit of talking on a mobile phone while driving a stolen emergency vehicle. But expect to wait a while before seeing inside the retro-generated TARDIS.
I reckon Amy Pond will make a great companion. Feisty and capable of pulling the Doctor along, and only an inch or so shorter, she looks like she was destined to travel in the blue police box along with the mad, impetuous Doctor who is still figuring out what his new self is like.
This morning’s crowd loved Steven Moffat’s new creation. I couldn’t find anyone with a bad word to say about it. I was primarily there with my Audience Council hat on – something I normally keep separate from this blog – but since the Doctor Who tour team seemed comfortable, I grabbed a couple of voxpops with some of the
Tomorrow the Doctor Who tour hits Karen’s home town of Inverness before swinging south through Sunderland, Salford and Northampton (Matt Smith’s home town) during the rest of the week.
So having vegged out on The Boat Race on Saturday afternoon, why not settle down on – or behind – your sofa with a bowl of custard and some fish fingers and watch the new Doctor and his companion in action. Saturday 3 April, BBC One at 6.20pm. I’ll be tuned in to see the bits missing from this morning’s preview - including the lead into the second episode.
Update - you can catch BBC Newsline's interview and other details from the day on the Doctor Who news page.