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Doctor Who Series 6 Primer – What we know so far… by Stephen Prescott

The new season of Doctor Who premiers this Saturday, April 23rd, at 9/8c on BBC America here in states so I thought I’d take this opportunity to give a quick review of what we know about and what we can expect from the new series. There may be spoilers ahead so tread lightly, but I’ve tried to keep it all to a tease. This info comes from many sources such as Doctor Who Magazine, Radio Times, and SFX but a special thanks goes out to doctorwhospoilers.com and the fine folks at GallifreyBase.com for sharing their knowledge and at times actually braving the crazy Welsh weather to snap pictures and gather this information. (All photos courtesy of BBC America)

 

The basics:

Series 6 is being split into two parts that Moffatt has even gone so far as referring to as 2 separate series. The first 7 episodes begin airing this weekend and end with what has been called a “game changing cliffhanger.” In recent weeks though we’ve learned that episode 7 isn’t the only cliffhanger episode. There are apparently breathtaking endings to episodes 2 and 6 as well. The second half of the series, 6 episodes, will air this fall. 

 

What past plotlines can we look forward to:

Series 5 ended with some pretty big unanswered questions and Moffatt has promised that these questions will be answered by the end of series 6. The first of which is who or what is The Silence and why and how did they blow up the Tardis. 

 

The Silents

“Silence will fall.”

 

Then there is the mystery of River Song. Who is she and who is the man that she killed? I must say I’m really looking forward to seeing how this particular plotline plays out. The cast has said in recent interviews that Steven Moffatt told Alex Kingston, and ONLY Alex Kingston, River Song’s entire story at the beginning of Series 6’s production. This is a story he has been setting up since David Tennant was the Doctor and it has definitely gone on long enough.

 

River Song

“Hello sweetie.”

 

The Spring episodes:

Episode 1: The Impossible Astronaut, written by Steven Moffat, directed by Toby Haynes

The Doctor comes to America! Ok he has been here before, but this is the first time the show has ever actually shot stateside with the principle cast. This is Moffat’s love letter to the US, but don’t worry Doctor Who is getting Americanized. Apparently this is America as the Doctor would see it through British eyes. Hence the stetson and the red station wagon. 

 

The Doctor and his Stetson

“I wear a Stetson now. Stetsons are cool.”

 

What’s it about you ask…the Doctor’s companions Amy, Rory and River each receive a TARDIS blue envelope containing a date, time and map coordinates reuniting them with the Doctor in the middle of the Utah desert. From there they head to the oval office, get recruited by President Nixon and team up with former FBI agent Canton Everett Delaware III to save a little girl from a mysterious spaceman. That’s what the BBC is telling us at least. We do know however from Doctor Who Magazine that one of the 4 main characters dies in the first 10 minutes. We also know that the Doctor that meets the TARDIS team in the desert wearing a stetson is from the future.

This is also the first time since the series returned in 2005 that a season has opened on a 2-part story. 

 

Episode 2: Day of the Moon, written by Steven Moffat, directed by Toby Haynes

The Doctor is being held in Area 51, bearded and straightjacketed. Amy, Rory and River are being hunted across America and The Silence is probably behind it all. At some point Amy gets kidnapped and the Doctor needs Nixon and Neil Armstrong’s foot to save her.

 

Episode 3: The Curse of the Black Spot, written by Steve Thompson (Sherlock), Directed by Jeremy Webb (Merlin)

Guest starring Hugh Bonneville (Notting Hill) as Captain Avery and Lily Cole (The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus) this is the pirate episode from which a lot of people posted pictures of filming which included Amy Pond swashbuckling with a sword and pirate hat. 

 

Hugh Bonneville as Captain Avery

Bonneville grew his own beard and it is wonderful.

 

We don’t know much about the episode but one of the most famous pirates of all time went by the name of Avery and was actually mentioned several times in the 1st Doctor serial The Smugglers as the Doctor searched for his lost treasure. The character played by Bonneville may or may not be one in the same.

 

Episode 4: The Doctor’s Wife, written by Neil Gaiman, directed by Richard Clark

Without a doubt, Gaiman’s episode is one of the most anticipated episodes this series. This episode was going to be part of series 5, but ending up being way too expensive so instead of watering it down the production team decided to move it to this season. Those who attended the Doctor Who panel at WonderCon were treated to a couple minutes of footage from the episode, but I’m not going to spoil what we saw here.

 

Neil Gaiman, Surrane Jones and Matt Smith

A nice candid shot of the writer and his stars.

 

The episode takes place on a junkyard planet and features a mysterious woman named Idris, played by Surrane Jones who was the Mona Lisa in an episode of The Sarah Jane Adventures. According to Gaiman, Idris may be an old acquaintence of the Doctor with a new face. There are also references to an old 1st Doctor episode as well as the 2nd Doctor story The War Games. There’s an “are cool” joke in the episode somewhere as well. 

 

Episodes 5 & 6: The Rebel Flesh and The Almost People, written by Matthew Graham (Life on Mars), directed by Julian Simpson

Matthew Graham wrote my least favorite 10th Doctor episode, Fear Her. But he also created Life on Mars, Ashes to Ashes and DCI Gene Hunt so I am willing to give him another shot. His 2-part episode is about a mining planet that uses clone workers. Where there are clones there may be Sontarans but you didn’t hear that from me. We may also see a clone of the Doctor at some point. We do know though that the horrid veiny pale humans seen in recent trailers are the clones from this episode.

 

A clone worker in distress

Looking at her, “The Almost People” is almost too easy of a title.

 

Episode 7: A Good Man Goes to War, written by Steven Moffat, directed by Peter Hoar (MI-5)

Steven Moffat wrote a teaser for this episode that appeared in Radio Times:

“Want to find the most dangerous place in the universe? Easy. Harm a hair on Amy’s head any just wait. But as the last of the Time Lords and the Lone Centurion blaze across galaxies to save the woman in both their lives, history is unfolding. In her cell, in Stormcage, River Song knows the time has come at last. She has a secret, and this is the day she tells it.

The battle of Demons Run has begun. And the Doctor’s darkest hour is now.”

And according to Radio Times (thank you Chris from radiofreeskaro.com) at some point Rory will face Cybermen wearing his Roman armor as seen in the picture below.

 

Rory and Cybermen

I don’t think the Roman armor will have the effect on them that it does on Amy.


 

 

The Fall episodes:

I’m sure I’ll do a wrap-up when we get closer to the fall, but here are the current facts. 

- Episode 8 follows on from episode 7’s cliffhanger.

- Episode 9 was moved from the spring season to the fall and was written by Mark Gatiss (Sherlock). It features creepy living dolls.

- Episode 11 is titled The God Complex and was written by Being Human creator Toby Whithouse. It takes place in a creepy hotel inhabited by ventriloquists, clowns, a minotaur and Little Britain‘s David Walliams playing an alien named Gibbis. 

- Episode 12, written by Gareth Roberts, is being referred to as The Lodger II as it features the return of the characters of Craig (James Corden) and Sophie (Daisy Haggard) from the series 5 episode that saw the Doctor playing football and working behind a desk. This time around the Doctor will be working in a shop and there will be Cybermen (or at least a Cybermat)

With all this, I can’t wait to put on my Stetson and sit myself down in front of the TV on Saturday!

 

By the way, BBC America has been posting some great Behind the Scenes videos on their YouTube page. Here they all are embedded for your viewing pleasure.

Part 1:

 

Part 2:

 

Part 3:

 

Part 4:

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