"Have you seen this face before? No? Are you sure? It’s funny because I’m sure that I have..."
When Peter Capaldi's new Doctor first spots his reflection in a mirror in debut Doctor Who episode Deep Breath, there's more than a hint of recognition.
The same will go for dedicated Who fans who have seen Capaldi pop up twice before in the Who universe – as Roman merchant Lucius Caecilius Iucundus in series-four episode The Fires of Pompeii and as Home Office permanent secretary John Frobisher in Torchwood: Children of Earth.
Showrunner Steven Moffat is certainly not dodging the issue of Capaldi’s recurring face and has previously suggested that he might one day tackle it by calling on a solution formulated by his predecessor Russell T Davies.
But Deep Breath contains the strongest hint yet that Moffat intends to explore the mystery of the multiple Capaldis – and the wider question of where the Doctor's new faces come from – sooner rather than later.
"You know I never know where the faces come from, they just pop up," says the newly regenerated Doctor to himself as he peers at his reflection.
"It’s covered in lines. But I didn’t do the frowning... Who frowned with this face?
"Why this one? Why did I choose this face? It’s like I’m trying to tell myself something. Like I’m trying to make a point. But what is so important that I can’t just tell myself what I think?"
What indeed? The Time Lord may not know yet but Moffat seems determined to find out. Parts of an interview he did last year could almost be a rough draft of the Doctor's words...
"The big fun question is, we know that the Doctor when he regenerates, the faces, it’s not set from birth, it’s not that he was always going to be one day Peter Capaldi," Moffat told Nerd3. "We know that’s the case because in [Second Doctor story] The War Games he has a choice of face and all that. We know it’s not set so where does he get those faces from? They can’t just be randomly generated because they’ve got lines and they’ve aged. When he turns into Peter he’ll actually have lines on his face (sorry Peter) so where did that face come from?"
It came from Scotland. Beyond that, only time will tell...
The Doctor Who issue of the new Radio Times iPad and iPhone edition features an exclusive animated cover and photo galleries, a 68-page bonus magazine looking back at the 10th anniversary of Doctor Who, an interview with Peter Capaldi and Steven Moffat's series-eight episode guide