Thin Ice – Publicity

The BBC have released a number of new publicity images to promote this week's episode of Doctor Who, Thin Ice:

Thin Ice
Written by Sarah Dollard and directed by Bill Anderson

In Regency England, beneath the frozen Thames, something is stirring.

The Doctor and Bill arrive at the last of the great frost fairs, and find themselves investigating a string of impossible disappearances - people have been vanishing on the ice! Bill is about to discover that the past is more like her world than she expected, and that not all monsters come from outer space...

The Doctor is played by Peter Capaldi, Bill by Pearl Mackie and Nardole by Matt Lucas.


Profile images feature Austin Tailer as Spider, Ellie Shenker as Dot, Tomi May as Dowell, Kishaina Thiruselvan as Harriet, Badger Skelton as Perry, Asiatu Koroma as Kitty, and Nicholas Burns as Lord Sutcliffe.

This Bank Holiday weekend sees Doctor Who sitting between Pointless Celebrities and Casualty, with primary opposition on ITV being Take Me Out and Britain's Got Talent. World Snooker continues on BBC2, whilst Channel 4 serve up The Restoration Man followed by Walking Through Time; Channel 5 will be showing new episodes of two incarnations of NCIS, whilst Sky 1 have The Simpsons followed by Inside the Freemasons, and the Sky Movie Premiere in the time-slot is X-Men: Apocalypse. The previous weeks have seen Doctor Who achieve third place for The Pilot and fourth for Smile, with Britain's Got Talent the most-watched show of both evenings followed by the BBC's All Round to Mrs Brown's - last weekend also had the live FA Cup Semi-Final football game gaining slightly more viewers than Doctor Who, but this weekend doesn't suggest any other surprises ratings-wise!


BBC One continues to show Doctor Who at 7;20pm, with BBC First simulcasting the episode across the Middle-East - see the table below for other broadcasts around the world. Meanwhile, Danish broadcaster DR has now schedueled the series on its DR3 channel, with The Pilot receiving its premiere at 8:00pm CEST on Saturday.

Thin Ice: Known Broadcast Details
United KingdomBBC OneSat 29 Apr 20177:20pm BST
Middle EastBBC FirstSat 29 Apr 20179:20pm AST(Sat 7:20pm BST)
United States of AmericaBBC AmericaSat 29 Apr 20179:00pm EDT(Sun 2:00am BST)
CanadaSPACESat 29 Apr 20179:00pm EDT(Sun 2:00am BST)
FinlandYLE2Sun 30 Apr 201711:00am EEST(Sun 9:00am BST)
AustraliaABCSun 30 Apr 20177:40pm AEST(Sun 10:40am BST, also on ABC ME)
BrazilSyFySun 30 Apr 20178:00pm BRT(Sun 11:00pm BST)
Latin AmericaSyFySun 30 Apr 201711:00pm CDT(Mon 4:00am BST)
New ZealandPRIMESun 30 Apr 20177:30pm NZST(Mon 8:30am BST)
DenmarkDR3Sat 13 May 20178:00pm CEST(Sat 7:00pm BST)

Penguin Podcast: Jon Culshaw in conversation

Jon Culshaw in conversation with Meera Syal (Credit: Penguin)This week's Penguin Podcast is a special Doctor Who edition, featuring Jon Culshaw.

Chatting to Meera Syal, he covers topics as diverse as astronomy, comedy and ZX Spectrums, as well as his favourite Doctors and just why he - and millions like him - first fell in love with the series. He also reveals which two classic Doctor Who novelisations he’ll be reading next.

The podcast can be heard via the Penguin website.

The Pilot – Media Roundup

The Pilot - Bill, as played by Pearl Mackie (Credit: BBC/Des Willie)The new series of Doctor Who hit UK screens last night, but what did the media make of the latest adventure for the Doctor, and of his new fresh-faced companion?

The Telegraph's Ben Lawrence was pleased with the pairing: "their relationship, on the basis of this sensitively written episode, looks set to be the best since Billie Piper’s Rose Tyler and David Tennant’s Doctor flirted through time and space over a decade ago.". Clair Woodward in the Express had similar thoughts: "showrunner and writer Stephen Moffatt has pulled off what many thought was an impossible feat by bringing some much-needed humanity back to the series, a great deal of which comes from new female companion Bill Potts, played by Pearl Mackie, who has a really lovely chemistry with Peter Capaldi’s Doctor. I can’t remember the old sod smiling so much." Colleague Neela Debnath for the Sunday Express added: "newcomer Pearl feels totally natural in the role and is a strong fit for Doctor Who, with elements of Eighties companion Ace (Sophie Aldred), thanks to those patches on her coat but also her intelligence. You get the sense that she might have a science background like Ace’s extensive knowledge of chemistry, although there is nothing to prove it - and she is simply working in the university canteen.".

Of course there's always those who don't take to the show so easily. The Mail on Sunday chose to focus on Bill's sexuality, citing feminist campaigner Julie Bindel's thoughts: "This is something that is clearly done for the benefit of those who just think of it as girl-on-girl titillation. I don’t want to have representations of lesbians which is all about sexism, double entendres and sexualised behaviour. It’s just taking two women and using the blueprint of sexist heterosexuality."

Daniel Jackson in the Mirror noted: "it’s quite telling that the director pulled focus to a photo of The Doctor’s granddaughter during her introduction - it reaffirms how Moffat sees the new coupling.". Patrick Mulkern from the Radio Times added: "Susan has barely been mentioned since her departure in 1964. Carole Ann Ford reprised the role in The Five Doctors (1983), we saw a blur of Susan fleeing Gallifrey in The Name of the Doctor (2013), and of course Susan was An Unearthly Child, the focus of the original “Pilot Episode” in 1963. For now, I’m not reading too much into this sudden reminder of her existence."

Summing up the feel of the episode as a whole, Patrick continued: "The Pilot has a lovely visual flair and is given an energetic snap from director Lawrence Gough. The effects of the menacing puddle and the watery transformations are expertly handled. But there’s a simple pleasure to be had in the presentation of our old friend, the Tardis. Never has it looked more stunning than in the gradual zoom-out from Bill at the police box doors as the lights and mechanisms flicker to life.. Jeff Robson of the i commented: "Bill was totally hooked – and, with reservations, so was I. It was amazing that in a set-up seen quite a few times before Moffat, director Lawrence Gough and the two leads still managed to serve up plentiful helpings of sharp dialogue and pulse-racing moments. Mackie could well be the breath of fresh air the series needs. She’s more down to earth than Jenna Coleman’s Clara, but believably gobsmacked by it all too."

With the story overall, Ben commented: "this episode may not have pushed all the buttons, but it was a reminder of how good Doctor Who can be when it tugs at the heartstrings, and moves from pyrotechnics into a more thoughtful, psychologically ambitious orbit.". Clair's thoughts: "This first episode brought Doctor Who’s humanity back, after a long, chilly spell. “What are any of us looking for? We’re looking for someone who’s looking for us,” said the Doctor about Bill’s crush on Heather, but it obviously applied to the way he felt about his new companion as well. I think viewers will find the new partnership equally loveable, and plotlines more understandable." Dan Martin of the Guardian observes: "it’s ironic and impressive, for a showrunner who gets criticised for reusing ideas, that Steven Moffat has delivered one of his freshest openers for his final run. It would indeed be a good place to join the show. In fact, I might start my little nephew off right here." Daniel noted: "more importantly, this episode nails the mellowing of the 12th Doctor. Perhaps his 50-year stint on Earth has done him good? Capaldi’s Doctor is certainly showing his more caring side."


Additional views and reviews of The Pilot can be found at: Belfast Telegraph, The Sun, Daily Mail, Mirror, Metro, Digital Spy, Wales Online, TV.com, The Quietus, Vox, A.V. Club, Screener.

Radio Times

Radio Times (15 - 21 Apr 2017) (Credit: Radio Times)The latest edition of the Radio Times celebrates the return of Doctor Who on television this weekend with a front cover featuring Peter Capaldi and new companion Pearl Mackie.

Inside the magazine, Pearl explained how she went up for a part in "Mean Town":
It transpired it was an anagram for Woman Ten, the companion in the tenth series, because if agents had known it was a Doctor Who casting, they'd have put every client up for it. Just walking through the foyer (of the Soho Hotel) was nerve-racking (sic), I rocked up in my Afro and bright yellow trainers and a baggy T-shirt, into this big glossy octagon foyer and they told me to wait in a room till they were ready for me - I almost ran away.
Capaldi was happy to reassure her, however:
I think you looked very cool there. You didn't seem fazed, you seemed to have a life beyond the scene. It was like Bill ha existed rather than saying lines for an audition.

The full interview can be read in the magazine, which also includes a brief synopsis of each episode this series by Steven Moffat - who also confirms that the episodes of his two-part finale will be called "World Enough And Time" and "The Doctor Falls".


The Radio Times is out now in the United Kingdom

The Flaming Soldier

Candy Jar Books have released details for the second of their novellas based within the Lethbridge-Stewart series:

The Flaming Soldier (Credit: Candy Jar Books)The Flaming Soldier
Written by Christopher Bryant
Cover by Richard Young


Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart is investigating a series of cases of spontaneous combustion. How can an inferno start inside a brick wall? Who or what are the ghost-like creatures spotted in the area around Imber base? Does it have anything to do with Eileen Younghusband, hotel proprietor, whose ordinary day is about to be interrupted by secrets from her past?

Traumatic events from the Second World War impact upon the present day and a mysterious aircraft could hold the key to the identity of the flaming soldier.

Written by Christopher Bryant, the book features a younger Travers, alongside real-life World War 2 heroine Eileen Younghusband, who passed away in September 2016. Christopher said:
In The Last Duty Eileen was only a cameo. Her inclusion came quite late to the mix, and despite her character hinting at a past fighting aliens, we didn’t fully explore this, so when the opportunity came along to delve deeper, I jumped at the chance.
Shaun Russell, head of publishing at Candy Jar, said:
Eileen worked in the Filter Room, the top secret hub of Britain’s air defence, and tracked the first V2 rocket into the country! Before she died, I had a brief conversation with her about our Lethbridge-Stewart series. We joked about her being the first person to track an alien rocket into the country and this sparked an idea. Her sad death prompted us to include her in The Last Duty, but now we feel the time is right to discover more about Eileen’s alien fighting exploits during WW2.
Quentin Younghusband, Eileen’s real-life nephew, was really pleased that Eileen’s legacy will live on:
My aunt would have been tickled pink at the fact that she is a central character in this the latest book in the Lethbridge-Stewart series.

The cover is by Richard Young, who said:
For this second cover I wanted to create a full colour image rather than my usual mix of colour and black and white. I had also backed myself into a corner with The Life of Evans. I found it quite difficult to fade the hand-drawn train explosion into the background, so here for the first time I decided to create the fire effects digitally, though Travers and Eileen are still pencil drawings.

I was aware of Eileen from seeing her on the TV, but I never knew just how famous she was until I did my preliminary research. It turns out that she lived quite a life, so there was no pressure to get her portrait right... not! I'm pleased to say that the feedback I received from the family totally blew me away. I just hope that I have done her justice for all her fans.

The story features a younger Edward Travers, which is all part of range editor Andy Frankham-Allen’s grand plan:
Travers’ life between The Abominable Snowmen and The Web of Fear is still pretty much unexplored, bar a few hints here and there. It has already been established that he worked for a previous version of the Home-Army Operational Corps during World War 2, but this is our first look at what his work entailed. It’s all part of a much larger canvas, as we slowly unveil the hidden mysteries and secrets of Professor Travers’ remarkable life.

The Flaming Soldier is now available to pre-order from the Candy Jar website.



With the launch of series ten of Doctor Who starting on Saturday Candy Jar will be making the third series of Lethbridge-Stewart (Times Squared, Blood of Atlantis, Mind of Stone) and Connecting Who: Artificial Beings available for free via Kindle across the Easter weekend.

Predict the Ratings competition

It's time for our traditional "predict the ratings" competition, where we invite readers to guess how well the latest premiere of Doctor Who will fare with UK television viewers.

This year's prize will be a set of three new 12th Doctor Novels which tie into the new series, Diamond Dogs, Plague City and The Shining Man released this month by BBC Books. In order to be in with a chance to win the set, simply send us an email to comp-ratings@doctorwhonews.net with the subject line "Rate that Pilot" and the following details:

  • Your name and preferred email address
  • Your country of entry (full details will be requested only if you are the winner)
  • Your guess at the final viewing figure of The Pilot to the nearest 10,000 (eg.9.99m)
  • Your guess at its initial overnight figure - this will only be used in the event of a tie-break

Terms and Conditions:

  • The competition closes at 06:30 GMT, 16th April 2017
  • Only one entry will be accepted per person.
  • The competition is open worldwide.
  • Figures that aren't complete will be rounded down (i.e. 9.9m will be considered as 9.90m)
  • BARB final figures are expected a couple of weeks later; we will contact the winner once they have been published.


South Bank Doctor Who Promotion

The BBC have released a number of images with Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackie taken at London's South Bank to promote the return of the series this Saturday. The artwork by 3D Joe & Max has featured on several news programmes over the course of the day, including the BBC's Breakfast and London News where lead writer Steven Moffat has also been on hand to chat about what's in store in the coming weeks.

"To celebrate the new series of Doctor Who Peter Capaldi (The Doctor) and Pearl Mackie (Bill) pose in front of the TARDIS by the River Thames in London, alongside a fantastic 3D pavement painting of a vast, deep and magnificent alien landscape"

Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackie at the South Bank promoting Series 10 (12 Apr 2017) (Credit: BBC/BBC Worldwide/3D Joe & Max/Guy Levy) Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackie at the South Bank promoting Series 10 (12 Apr 2017) (Credit: BBC/BBC Worldwide/3D Joe & Max/Guy Levy) Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackie at the South Bank promoting Series 10 (12 Apr 2017) (Credit: BBC/BBC Worldwide/3D Joe & Max/Guy Levy)


The couple are also appearing on a number of shows to promote the premiere, with television appearances by Pearl Mackie on tonight's edition of The One Show and Peter Capaldi on Friday's The Graham Norton Show, both on BBC One, and in radio interviews with Pearl on BBC Radio 1xtra's Ace and BBC Radio 2's Steve Wright in the Afternoon tomorrow, plus Peter on BBC Radio 6's Shaun Keaveny tomorrow morning. Readers can find these and further appearances via This Week in Doctor Who

The Pilot – latest images

The BBC have released a host of publicity images relating to this week's premiere, The Pilot:


There are also a number of new profile images, featuring Peter Capaldi as the Doctor, Stephanie Hyam as Heather, Jennifer Hennessy as Moira, Pearl Mackie as Bill and Matt Lucas as Nardole:

The Pilot - Profile Images (BBC/Des Willie)The Pilot - Profile Images (BBC/Des Willie)The Pilot - Profile Images (BBC/Des Willie)The Pilot - Profile Images (BBC/Des Willie)The Pilot - Profile Images (BBC/Des Willie)The Pilot - Profile Images (BBC/Des Willie)The Pilot - Profile Images (BBC/Des Willie)The Pilot - Profile Images (BBC/Des Willie)The Pilot - Profile Images (BBC/Des Willie)The Pilot - Profile Images (BBC/Des Willie)The Pilot - Profile Images (BBC/Des Willie)The Pilot - Profile Images (BBC/Des Willie)The Pilot - Profile Images (BBC/Des Willie)The Pilot - Profile Images (BBC/Des Willie)The Pilot - Profile Images (BBC/Des Willie)The Pilot - Profile Images (BBC/Des Willie)The Pilot - Profile Images (BBC/Des Willie)The Pilot - Profile Images (BBC/Des Willie)The Pilot - Profile Images (BBC/Des Willie)The Pilot - Profile Images (BBC/Des Willie)


With the time on BBC One now confirmed as 7:20pm, BBC First in the Middle East have adjusted the time of their broadcast so that the episode will be simulcast with UK transmission! In addition, YLE2 has now scheduled the episode for Sunday morning, meaning that viewers in Finland will also get to see The Pilot within 24 hours of those in the UK.

The Pilot: Known Broadcast Details
United KingdomBBC OneSat 15 Apr 20177:20pm BST
Middle EastBBC FirstSat 15 Apr 20179:20pm AST(Sat 7:20pm BST)
United States of AmericaBBC AmericaSat 15 Apr 20179:00pm EDT(Sun 2:00am BST)
CanadaSPACESat 15 Apr 20179:00pm EDT(Sun 2:00am BST)
FinlandYLE2Sun 16 Apr 201711:00am EEST(Sun 9:00am BST)
AustraliaABCSun 16 Apr 20177:40pm AEST(Sun 10:40am BST, also on ABC ME)
BrazilSyFySun 16 Apr 20178:00pm BRT(Sun 11:00pm BST)
Latin AmericaSyFySun 16 Apr 201711:00pm CDT(Mon 4:00am BST)
New ZealandPRIMEMon 17 Apr 20177:30pm NZST(Mon 8:30am BST)

Britbox brings ‘classic’ Doctor Who online back to the United States

Britbox - Classic Who (Credit: Britbox)Recenty launched online streaming service Britbox has added the majority of existing 20th Century Doctor Who to its collection. The service, co-operated by BBC Worldwide and ITV, provides subscription-based video-on-demand (SVOD) to the United States of America, and features a range of programmes - both old and new - from British Television to stream on a variety of devices.

Soumya Sriraman, President of BritBox said:
Doctor Who continues to be a global phenomenon that spans generations. Whovians in the U.S. now have a one-stop-shop for the most comprehensive catalog of Classic Doctor Who to either relive the exciting adventures with their favorite Classic Doctors, or experience for the first time how it all began. Now is the perfect time to catch-up on the Classic series, as BBC AMERICA heads towards the season premiere of new Doctor Who on Saturday, April 15 @ 9:00pm ET/PT.

Subscribers will be able to watch most of the existing stories between 1963-1989 (including The Web Of Fear with its reconstruction of episode three):
BritBox will provide users with the ability to relive the expansive story arcs and incredible journeys of the Classic Doctors through space and time. In addition to housing these classic episodes, BritBox also offers several entry points into the world of Classic Doctor Who to provide every type of fan – regardless of their knowledge of the Whoniverse – with an opportunity to enjoy the expansive archive. The catalogue is chronologically organized by Doctor, allowing fans to find their favorite moments starting from the very beginning, or discover new ones. BritBox will also feature specially curated Classic Doctor Who playlists like “Monsters” and “Companions,” so viewers can take a trip back in time to witness the Doctor’s most epic battles through the years against classic foes like Daleks, Cybermen, and Autons.
Notable omissions to the collection include several Dalek stories, and The Five Doctors; however, a number of DVD extras are available to watch, not to mention items such as K9 & Company and 50th Anniversary productions An Adventure In Space And Time and The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot. It should be noted that programmes are based on the remastered Region 1 versions which are occasionally different to the original broadcast episodes.

The service is expected to expand to include missing episodes too in the future, and will include the (narrated) audio soundtracks of those episodes that don't currently exist in the BBC Archive.


"Modern" Doctor Who is available to stream in the United States via Amazon Prime Video.

Doctor Who: BBC Press Pack

The BBC have released interviews with Peter Capaldi, Pearl Mackie, Matt Lucas and Steven Moffat as part of the press pack for the new series of Doctor Who, starting next Saturday on BBC One.

The Doctor, as played by Peter Capaldi (Credit: BBC/Des Willie)What is it like working with Pearl?

It was great meeting Pearl - she brought a whole new vigour and excitement to the role of The Doctor’s companion. She’s not that different to older companions in the sense that she’s a character that doesn’t know anything about the Doctor’s life or about the TARDIS or about Daleks or anything like that so she has to be introduced completely to what goes on in his existence and that’s been a good way of rebooting the show. It allows people who aren’t experienced in Doctor Who to experience it for the first time.

Is it great to be back and saying all the iconic lines once more?

I think there’s loads of classic lines that are fun to say and I love saying “Time and Relative Dimensions in Space” and “Bigger on the inside” and “They come from Skaro and will exterminate you”. I think you’re never too old to enjoy saying "TARDIS" although it’s better to say: “This is my TARDIS!” I think they’re part of the fabric of the country - they’re in British popular culture which is nice but they will go on and on.

What have we got to look forward to in series 10?

The show is down to the basic elements which are these fairly innocent but independent companions travelling with this mysterious creature from outer space who can travel in space and time and take them to the most amazing corners of the universe where they meet terrible monsters who try to kill them. That’s at its very simplest level but obviously it’s more complex and there’s more to it than that but that’s pretty much what we do every week. Some seasons have been less like that but this season very much follows that model of delivering every week – the mysterious creature takes the companions to an exotic and dangerous place.

What do you need to be a good companion?

Well the companion (and Bill is a very good example of it) is sort of their own person. They tend to be characters who are fully formed and independent so I think to be a companion in Doctor Who you have to be your own person. It doesn’t really work if the companion is just an adjunct to The Doctor. There’s always got to be an element of conflict there, I think. Whether it be just: “Why didn’t you tell us you were taking us to this planet of flesh eating monsters?” or whatever - it always needs a little bit of grist in it.

Who is Bill Potts?

Bill comes in very much as a regular human being from the real world to whom all of this stuff is extraordinary. She knows nothing about it. But she’s a very clever, bright, funny girl. I think The Doctor is very taken with her as she’s one of those people who life hasn’t been great to and she didn’t deserve life not to be kind to her. She has enormous potential and I think the Doctor wants to help her reach that potential.

Can you describe the relationship between Bill and The Doctor?

I think initially he takes her under his wing in order to teach her - to literally improve her mind, but in quite a terrestrial way. Through that she becomes involved in his extra-terrestrial adventures and the expansion of her mind becomes quite extraordinary. It’s a kind of teacher-pupil relationship but it becomes more complex than that and I think ultimately The Doctor has to undergo some dramas by himself so I think he becomes slightly worried that he’s swept someone else up into his adventures without quite preparing them.

Tell us about Episode One

We will meet The Doctor’s new companion Bill - see her in the world she’s used to living in and then plucked out by The Doctor and taken on adventures. We’ll meet some old enemies along the way and some new ones including a new and strange monster and we get to see Nardole played by Matt Lucas who will be joining us on our travels.

Are you excited for Matt Lucas’ return in Series 10?

Matt plays quite a crucial part in the show this season. He’s not there all the time but he is there a lot of the time - I don’t want to give anything away really. He’s very funny - a great presence to have on set and very talented and has a strange alien quality about him with his pale skin and clear eyes.
Bill, as played by Pearl Mackie (Credit: BBC/Des Willie)What have we got to look forward to in series 10?

There’s a lot of excitement in store - new and exciting adventures, new monsters and some old monsters coming back. We’ve got a team that see the Doctor through new eyes. I think with series 10 it’s a great place to start if you’ve never watched Doctor Who because Bill is so new to the world of Doctor Who - you kind of see everything through her eyes. So as she learns about it, you can learn about it too which I think is very exciting. We’ve got some danger in there too - there are some pretty hairy moments but we’ve got some humour as well. I hope you enjoy it!

What is it like working with Peter?

The first time I met Peter was at the recall for this job in the hotel. I met Steven Moffat and Brian Minchin and Andy Pryor (casting director). Obviously I was reading with Peter. It was mental - obviously I was sworn to secrecy so I couldn’t tell anyone what I was doing or where I was going so I turned up to the hotel in a baggy T-Shirt, a pair of jeans and a pair of bright yellow trainers. We read the first scene (Peter and I) and we read it sitting down. It’s one of the first scenes in the first episode. For the next scene he said shall we stand up as we were going into the TARDIS. So I said "OK" but I’ve been taught for camera auditions you sit down and move your face as little as possible so standing up was new for me. But obviously it was in the TARDIS so Peter was running around pressing buttons and pulling levers that aren’t there and I didn’t know what was going on. But luckily Bill’s supposed to be doing that in the scene anyway so that worked in my favour!

What makes Doctor Who unique?

Well it’s been running for such a long time I think is one of Doctor Who’s unique selling points. One of the ways it succeeds in doing that is the whole regeneration of the Doctor and then bringing in new companions along the way. It’s a character you’re familiar with but then there are different interpretations of the character so it allows people to relate to the Doctor in different ways and relate to the different companions and everyone’s got their favourite ones - either the one they grew up with or the one they watched when they were older or that kind of thing. I think in a way what makes Doctor Who so different to all other shows is that it can be completely personal and everyone has their own personal relationship to it. I think that’s why it’s so successful and lasted so long.

Did you have an idea of the global impact of Doctor Who?

I had some idea that it was a big show. I didn’t know how many countries it was big in before I got the job. I knew it was shown in America, I didn’t know it was one of the widely watched shows on Christmas day in America. It’s massive and has such a massive global following. Even from Twitter I get messages from fans in languages I don’t even understand which is great but I wish I knew what they were saying! Going to New York was incredible; I’d never been to New York before. Going to Comic Con was amazing - there were people dressed up as me already. It’s super cool - I think the fans on this show are so dedicated to it, it’s amazing, I’ve had such a welcome so far. People dressing up as me and I haven’t even been on screen yet!

Who is Bill Potts?

Bill is cool - she’s quite young, doesn’t really know much about the world. She’s very real - she’s not had a very easy upbringing and whilst she doesn’t really let that affect her day-to-day life, it’s there under the surface - she can be quite defensive. She’s fun, she’s excited, she’s a bit geeky - she quite likes sci-fi stuff, she’s into space and that type of thing so when she does go on adventures with The Doctor and discovers aliens are real and that kind of stuff it blows her mind which is really cool.

Can you describe the relationship between Bill and The Doctor?

It’s quite interesting at the beginning - their relationship is very much tutor/student. It has an Educating Rita vibe about it at the beginning when they first meet each other. There’s a definite fascination for Bill in terms of the Doctor - she’s really interested in the way his mind works - he’s supposed to be doing a lecture on science and ends up talking about poetry and he says they’re the same thing. Clearly his mind works in a different way to anyone else she’s ever met which I think is really fascinating for her. One thing he likes about her is that she’s not scared about all the things she doesn’t know - she always wants to know more - she’s keen to get involved which is one of the things that draws him towards her.

Are you excited for Matt Lucas’ return in Series 10?

Matt’s brilliant - he’s a great guy to have around. He’s always upbeat - we both really like musicals so we spent a lot of episode one singing various musical theatre tunes at each other.

How do you deal with the physical side of working on Doctor Who?

I think yesterday I walked about 3km! I’ve done a lot of running - not as much as I thought, actually, but we haven’t filmed the whole series yet so there may be a lot more to come. But it’s cool I like the physical element of the role - I did quite a physical show before this so I think it stood me in good stead for running away from monsters.

How does Bill learn to deal with all the extraordinary things she sees when she’s with The Doctor on his adventures?

I think she jumps in and is happy to get involved. She asked a lot of questions - she’s very inquisitive and she’s very smart so she calls The Doctor out on a lot of things that he hasn’t necessarily had to answer for a while so I think that’s the way she navigates through things - by asking him what’s going on an assessing his answers and she says things how she sees them. She has an open and honest nature which is how I think she gets through.
Nardole, as played by Matt Lucas (Credit: BBC/Des Willie)Has Nardole changed now he's a regular traveller in this series with The Doctor? If so how?

I feel he has. He’s more textured, more three-dimensional. You couldn’t go through a whole series with him being as cartoonish as he was in The Husbands Of River Song. That episode was played for laughs because it was a Christmas Special. We get to learn more about him and why he’s there. He has a purpose.

What's his relationship like with The Doctor now?

They bicker. He works for The Doctor, but he’s never afraid to take him on either. He’s not shy in saying when he disagrees with something, and sometimes he’s just grumpy because he hasn’t had enough sleep. He definitely prefers the quieter life.

How does he feel when Bill joins them in the TARDIS this series?

As far as Nardole is concerned, the less drama, the better. So when a human comes on board he’s not exactly delighted. He doesn’t look up to humans either. He thinks they’re of little consequence (he’s right). I think Nardole wants to stay focused on the task he’s been given and doesn’t appreciate the distraction for The Doctor that Bill provides.

What's the dynamic like between the three?

As the series goes on, I think Bill and Nardole find they have more in common and challenge The Doctor more. Nardole grows to appreciate Bill and what she brings to the TARDIS. The Doctor has grown weary of Nardole but as the series goes on, I think he comes to appreciate what he has to offer.

What were your filming highlights this series? Were there any funny or bizarre moments on set?

Michelle Gomez makes me howl with laughter. Pearl can do any accent. Peter is a font of knowledge. And the crew are the best I’ve ever worked with. We’ve been together for ten months and we laugh a lot now. I think I drive everyone mad.

My silliest moment was in the TARDIS, in a scene with Peter and Pearl. I was in my own world and hadn’t realised that the camera was turning. Peter and Pearl are acting away and I’m just reclining on the dashboard, playing about with buttons and then I start just chatting with Pearl about what I was up to at the weekend. Meanwhile everyone else is cracking up.

Who are your favourite enemies/villains from this coming series? What was it like to film opposite them?

Not saying. My lips are sealed. Okay then Mondasian Cybermen.

Do you prefer going back in time or the futuristic adventures?

Most of my adventures have been in the future. I enjoyed episode ten when we went back to second century Aberdeen, though the Brecon Beacons in November is probably the coldest place I’ve ever filmed.
Steven Moffat on The Doctors Revisited: The Fifth Doctor (Credit: BBC America/Midnight Oil)What have we got to look forward to in series 10?

Series 10, sort of, begins the show again. The first episode is called, quite mischievously, The Pilot - it introduces everything you need to know about Doctor Who and tips you into the universe. It takes our characters; The Doctor and Nardole (who we already know) and Bill (who we’re about to meet) and throws them into the Universe. They’re not equipped to deal with it, they’re not armed or wearing armour - they’re just flung into that universe and told to deal with it. They become heroes because they hit those moments where there is no alternative - being a hero is about the time you need to become a hero. It becomes the purest, most innocent version of Doctor Who in a way. It is a brand new person, Bill - walking into the TARDIS - where will the TARDIS take us - open the doors - walk out and there’s a monster - fight it. It is storybook simple. Of course that story complicates as it goes on because The Doctor is a much more complicated man than he first seems. But it’s Doctor Who at its purest I would say. Everything you need to know about Doctor Who is explained in that first episode - the cloaking device, the chameleon circuit, the bigger on the inside - all of that is there and you even get to see the Daleks. The idea was just to introduce Doctor Who properly - the story starts here. You need to know nothing before this point.

Knowing that this was your last series - how did you go about planning series 10? Were there any themes and ideas that you absolutely wanted to get in?

The fact that this was my last series had to be removed from the mix. The fact that this is Peter’s last series matters to the show - the fact that it’s mine doesn’t matter. I didn’t approach it all with regards to what I wanted to do with Doctor Who. More than anything what I wanted to do was begin again and if I had any sentimentality about leaving then it would be that - leave like it’s all just beginning. I wanted to move forward - Doctor Who is never more Doctor Who then when it exists in the moment - right now - and that’s the sort of hero The Doctor is. He’s a hero in a moment. He’s not a hero when he’s wandering around the universe, he’s not looking to be amazing or to save people, he’s wanting to go and look at steam engines or go to a library or go and have lunch with Marie Antoinette or something. But the moment arrives and the Doctor always rises to the moment - there is a time that he is a hero and that’s the important thing - when the moment comes he steps up to the plate. Not until then.

What new and returning monsters do we have to look forward to?

By nature I’m just excited about all new monsters but we’ve got some wonderful stuff! We’ve got a serpent that lives under the Thames in the shape of the Thames which, now that you realise it, the EastEnders title sequence has always clearly been about a giant snake.

We’ve got the emojibots which are small, cute and communicate by emojis and turn you into skeletons so that’s brilliant. We’ve got the most shiver-making creatures in Mike Bartlett’s episode - not going to tell you what they are because the show teases you a bit about what’s going on but I guarantee there are moments that will make you go “URGH!” as I’ve been looking at some of the effects for episode four and you think “Oh my god are we putting that on television?!” It’s really properly gross and magnificent. We’ve got a new enemy, which I won’t talk too much about but we call them The Monks though that’s not really their name. We’ve got a fabulous Scottish creature care of Rona Munro - The Eater of Light. The Ice Warriors are back with a new wrinkle and of course Missy is there - always with Peter Capaldi’s Doctor - he’s up against Missy, tested and teased and entranced by his oldest friend and wickedest enemy.

How important is Peter’s input when casting the companion?

Peter’s input is massively important. They are going to be a working unit for months - they are going to see more of each other than they see of their significant others when they’re playing these parts so you’re practically marrying them. Professionally and personally it’s important that they work together in ways that are interesting on screen and off screen. You’re casting a friendship. Also Peter’s input is massively helpful because he plays The Doctor - he knows where that show is - he knows it better than anyone else other than actors who have also played The Doctor. He knows what it takes to be in that show and the sort of person who has the grit to get on with it and the inventiveness to play with it. So we listen very carefully to what Peter has to say about that.

What struck you about Pearl Mackie in her audition? What do you think she has brought to the role?


Absolute vitality and edginess is what came through the door with Pearl Mackie. A completely different voice for the show compared to Jenna’s voice. You sort of wanted to know straight away what she would make of The Doctor, what she’d think about him and in a way what she’d turn him into because The Doctor’s quite responsive, he’s quite responsive to the people around him - I think he just broods in the TARDIS on his own when he’s got no one to impress. So when someone moves in and inflects his life it’s about: how does he make her laugh? How does he impress her? How does he live up to her dream of him? He’s very, very responsive. I don’t think any of his various friends have realised how responsive he is to them, how much of the way he lives and the way he fights is about them. Pearl (Bill) is now what he cares about. So with Pearl’s style, her edginess, her modernity - you’ve got to ask what is the hatchet-faced, eyebrow ferocious Doctor going to turn into when he’s face-to-face with that quizzical smile?

Who is Bill Potts?

I started in a very simple way with Bill. I wanted her to be somebody who asked a different bunch of questions of the Doctor. An odd thing about Doctor Who is that most of the characters in Doctor Who, who meet The Doctor and encounter alien invasions and alien planets don’t seem to have watched any movies. They seem to be surprised at what a time machine is or what an alien is… except if you lived in this world you’d know - you’d have seen it in movies all the time. So she has a different bunch of questions - what are the questions that a real person flung into The Doctor’s life would ask? So I’ve set this challenge to all the writers - what is she going to ask him? The moment you open that up it starts to defines her where is the toilet on the TARDIS - that’s a really reasonable question. Why is the TARDIS, apparently called the TARDIS if that’s the spelling and those initials could only work in English? How can he claim to be from another planet if that’s the case? The very first thing was a knowingness and an irreverence - a knowingness about the genre that she’s part of in a way (or that The Doctor is part of) and an irreverence in the sense of “I’m not going to stand back and let you get away with saying your name is The Doctor” - what does that mean? That was a way in and particularly when we put that idea together with Pearl Mackie it just became a different sort of person. The moment you know you’ve got a character is the moment you can’t define them very easily - you define them as a character at the beginning but as they develop there’s something else.

Can you describe the relationship between Bill and The Doctor?

A good, strong student-teacher relationship IS a friendship it’s just a particular kind of friendship where one knows a lot more than the other and one is more energetic and enthused than the other. I think the student-teacher model is a good model of what The Doctor and companion relationship is - he’s the man that understand the universe - she’s the one that feels it. He’s become inured to all the wonder and reconnects with that through Bill’s eyes and Bill doesn’t get to see the universe at all unless The Doctor opens up his blue doors so they provide a nourishment for each other. They are both friends and he is her professor.

Are you excited for Matt Lucas’ return in Series 10?

I’ve been thinking for a while with Peter’s Doctor that he should have a butler, a valet, an assistant. He would want somebody to fetch and carry and do complicated tasks for him - he’d want a little expert on hand and I was already thinking about that and had quite a different idea of who that was going to be. And then absolutely coincidentally Matt Lucas who had been in The Husbands Of River Song in a tiny little role said he had really enjoyed it and would like to come back if we ever wanted him. So I pondered this for a few days and said to Brian (Executive Producer) that it would be mad to not make something out of this he’s such a popular actor. He’s so brilliant and charming and he’s already in place albeit decapitated… so we brought him back. He is The Doctor’s go-to guy. He’s not quite, as we have seen in The Return Of Doctor Mysterio the bumbling oaf he likes people to think he is - he’s slyer, more devious, more useful and he has a very shady past.