Finally, a proper trailer for the Doctor Who Christmas special! Not a sneak peek behind the scenes, or a talking heads featurette (as interesting as those are) but an actual, real trailer with almost three minutes of footage, revealing brains in jars, a high-security research facility and some rather intriguing new morsels of information...
1. It looks like we've been introduced to the new not-quite-companion
We were told back in September that there would be “
no interim companion” for the Doctor ahead of Pearl Mackie’s debut as Bill next year, and that Matt Lucas’s Nardole – the colonist from Mendorax Dellora, who we first met in the previous Christmas special – would be filling the “companion space” again, along with appearances from Justin Chatwin’s mysterious superhero character.
And yet, we also felt that Doctor Who wouldn’t be quite Doctor Who without a more down to earth sidekick thrown into the mix – and after glimpsing her in an earlier trailer it looks like we've just been formally introduced.
Lucy Fletcher (played by English actor Charity Wakefield) is a reporter from New York newspaper the Daily Chronicle – a Lois Lane to Chatwin’s Superman? – who immediately looks as if she'll be a great foil to the Doctor and Nardole.
2. The superhero has a name
When Justin Chatwin’s unnamed superhero was first introduced, one theory was that there was
a sinister capital ‘I’ hiding behind the ‘G’ on his chest and that we might be dealing with the Doctor’s old enemy the Great Intelligence. That could still be the case, of course, but for now we know this masked vigilante as The Ghost, and have discovered that his powers include flight, super-strength, invulnerability and a rather dry wit.
See this exchange for details of the latter:
European villain: “Those windows are built to withstand a blast equivalent to four nuclear explosions.”
The Ghost: “Sorry about that, would you like me to call a glazier?”
Or this one:
The Ghost: “Please understand it is against my personal code to cause lasting harm to anyone. However, light to moderate injury is fine.”
Liking him already.
3. The Twelfth Doctor has (another) new alias
In series nine he referred to himself as Doctor Disco, and we suspect he might also be the Doctor Mysterio of the Christmas special's title (after all, that’s what Doctor Who is known as in Mexico). But in the trailer he comes up with a dubious new name, introducing himself to Lucy as “agent Dan Dangerous from Scotland Yard, Scotland” (or “the Doctor for short”). Incidentally, try watching that exchange while imagining Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor playing it. Just goes to show, those regenerations don’t completely change the Time Lord inside.
4. And he eats sushi – on the job
The Fourth Doctor loved Jelly Babies and when the Eleventh Doctor need post-regeneration energy he opted for fish fingers and custard but actually we don’t see the Time Lord doing anything so mundane as eating very often – especially not while he’s working.
So it was interesting to see Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor nonchalantly stuffing himself with sushi – chopsticks and all – at the same time as running down a corridor. Excellent multi-tasking. But could lead to indigestion.
5. Nardole's not as dumb as he looks
In last year’s Christmas Special The Husbands of River Song, Matt Lucas’s Nardole came across as a doltish manchild but this time around he seems to have brains, along with an entertainingly deadpan delivery, and he sets the Doctor straight when he incorrectly claims the organisation they’re investigating is based only in capital cities. “You don't need to point out the mistakes, that's not what you're for,” hisses the Doctor, but actually it could be rather entertaining if he was.
6. We could be seeing the return of these villains
As some eagle-eyed Doctor Who fans have pointed out, Nardole may not be the only returnee from last year's Christmas special. Remember these guys? Dissatisfied expressions? Slashes across their faces? Can pull their heads apart and keep stuff inside? That's it.
Well, they are members of the
Shoal of the Winter Harmony. And Harmony Shoal just happens to be the name of the dodgy looking research facility the Doctor and his friends find themselves inside of. Plus, it's winter.
You may recall from The Husbands of River Song that the Shoal were one of many peoples – also including Nardole's Mendorax Dellora colonists – who'd been conquered by the barbarous King Hydroflax (Greg Davies) before his head was so unfortunately separated from his body and blown to bits.
Exactly what all this means it's a bit early to say, but one thing's for sure, there are far too many connections there for it to all be just a coincidence...
The Doctor Who Christmas special is on BBC1 on Christmas Day