"Who's Christopher Eccleston?" I asked Sian Jones – my new girlfriend – in the kitchen of her flat. The year was 2004 and the news that Doctor Who was coming back was being treated with a cautious optimism by us fans. We'd been here many times before, and it seemed too good to be true that finally this was the comeback which we'd been hoping for. For me there was the added bonus that the new series was being filmed in my adopted home town of Cardiff.
When they began filming on a cold October night in the Hayes there was me and a about half a dozen fans hanging about in the hope of seeing something. I think me may have caught a glimpse of Billie Piper in David Morgan Store. Over the months and years I'd get to see lots of filming, and also seen Doctor Who soak into the fabric of Cardiff.
I'd never have believed that ten years on from standing in the Hayes hoping to see the new Doctor that again I would be again standing in the Hayes hoping to see the new Doctor, but this time with four and a half thousand other people. Yesterday was the première of "Deep Breath" the new episode of the new season. The morning the tickets went on sale I cycled passed the venue at 7:30am and there were around four people queuing for the 10am opening. "I've got no chance." I thought as I caught my train into Bristol. It was only when I got to work that I thought "Shit! Why didn't I go in late and queue with my people!" so then I just kept redialling to and by some miracle I managed to get two tickets.
I took the day off and thought "Would it be too much to head down early to soak up the atmosphere and maybe get an autograph?" Fuck it I thought if I'm going to geek out I might as well fully geek out, so I put the Doctor Who t-shirt that my best mate Matthew Hampton had bought me and headed down for 9:50. Despite the screening starting at 12:30 the Hayes was already packed, obviously there were a lot of people there who turned up just to see Capaldi etc. So I took my spot on the barrier with my people and waited, and waited. There was a great atmosphere, lots of kids around and a few Daleks and Cybermen and the TARDIS whose doors swung open to reveal the less than glamorous contents of a stepladder and bin bag. Matthew turned up looking amused and pissed off at the same time and we yapped as we waited. I didn't think there was much chance of getting anything signed, especially when Jenna Coleman aka Clara saw the crowd and said: "Jesus Christ! Look at this!" but gawd bless her, Stephen Moffat and Peter Capaldi they went up and down the line signing autographs, posing for photos and generally making us nerds very happy. I even managed to get my Radio Times signed my Capaldi and I was a little disgusted at how good that made me feel.
So feeling fully geeked up we went into Saint David's for the screening. The episode itself is a pretty decent slice of Steam-Punk. They do overuse the comedy Sontaran a bit, but on the plus side Clara isn't as annoying this time round. I haven't been a big fan of her character finding her more than a little smug, but Moffat made her more vulnerable and three dimensional. "Clara I'm not your boyfriend." might be the most important sentence in the new shows' history. Another change is that the relationship between Madame Vastra and Jenny is more overt in this episode, which is sure to upset The Daily Mail. It's hard to tell how Capaldi's going to be, I think he's going to be great but he's a bit manic in this episode and his more quiet moments are those which impress the most. Generally I enjoyed the episode, it's seems a more adult take on the show. The Dinosaur is pretty impressive too!
The audience loved it, there being lots of whoops, cheers and laughter in all the right places. There was even a round of applause when The Doctor revealed the new red lining to his jacket. There was a slightly cringe worthy Q&A session after. Capaldi was charming but looked a little uncomfortable. There were few revelations except that Capladi had a 'beta' costume ready for the 50th anniversary just in case he had a larger cameo. Moffat started out being pretty exuberant but then got visibly got bored half way through. I've seen him do a few panels in the past and it seems to happen every time. He hasn't got much patience with the fans questions and to be fair I don't blame him.
I tried my best to avoid the cameras but still managed to end up on BBC News, looking every inch the fan boy that I am. It was the best kind of happy shinny day.