The hottest ticket in London on Monday night? Down by the Thames for the BFI’s big-screen preview of new Doctor Who, the sexily titled Let’s Kill Hitler – a massively entertaining resumption of the series after its summer break, with all the spectacle and pizzazz we now almost take for granted from Steven Moffat.
The Whopremo was there to unleash his new baby to fans and press, and as usual he pleaded with everyone not to spoil his big surprises. As if we would. But what can we tell you?
A crop circle outside Leadworth (Amy and Rory’s home village) leads on to Hitler’s HQ in Berlin 1938, but how? Certainly look out for Amy’s new bezzie mate. Played by Nina Toussaint-White (formerly Syd in EastEnders), she’s a dazzling addition to the cast and may mean that RT’s bookazine The Companions already needs an appendix.
Fans of Rory – you know who you are – will be delighted that he bags the best lines and some knockout action. The Doctor again gets spruced up in top hat and tails, like Fred Astaire only with a dead leg. Plus there’s a shape-shifter and, as you’ll have gathered, one or two Nazis… So where does River Song figure in all this? Don’t fret. She gets plenty of screen time and is playing with fire.
For all his professed dourness, Moffat was in ebullient mood on the guest panel afterwards. Matt Smith couldn’t attend. His excuse, said Moffat, was that he’s rowing on the Thames for new BBC drama Bert and Dickie. Also a no-show from Alex Kingston (River). But Karen Gillan (Amy) looked heavenly in a long, flesh-toned dress – “effervescent” according to screen hubby Arthur Darvill (Rory), equally lovely in a freshly sprouted beard.
Chair Matthew Sweet kicked things off by praising the intricacy of River’s life story. Moffat, who created the enigmatic heroine in 2008, responded with: “When you’re telling that story backwards, like all magic tricks, it looks cleverer than it is… Oh, that’s a good one for the critics: ‘Sadly the same could not be said for Steven Moffat!’” He cast a baleful eye around the room.
When Sweet pressed him on the issue of complexity, Moffat parried with: “Assuming an intelligent audience is a good idea. And, going by the ratings, it’s a successful idea. I can’t see the flaw in the plan. They are clever; they will get it. My nine-year-old got all of this ages ago.” Gillan joined in: “Kids don’t over-think it, whereas adults tend to.”
Darvill was chuffed with his meaty material: “It was one of those moments when you open the script and just go, ‘Thank you’. Rory’s an action hero,” he went on in mock earnest. “That’s why I was employed.” A snort from Gillan turned into a fit of giggles.
So why no toy action figure of Rory, if the Doctor and Amy have one? asked an audience member. “Maybe nobody wants one,” teased Moffat. “There’s a Lego version of you,” said Gillan, which left her co-star even more indignant. “Thanks, Karen. I feel much better now,” he huffed. “It’s fine. I don’t want one!” “I’ll make it a personal mission,” promised Moffat. “A full-size one,” said Darvill, beaming.
Quizzed about the future and the identity of a major guest star for Christmas, they all remained tight-lipped. A return soon for the Daleks, which Moffat had previously denied? He shrugged, chuckling. “It’s almost like I lie sometimes. I lie repeatedly and continually. I find it by far the easiest way to communicate.”
Nevertheless they fed some morsels about the next few weeks:
Gillan: “Episode ten’s an interesting one. Amy and Rory’s relationship is explored in great depth. And episode 11 has a scary minotaur.”
Darvill: “It’s set in a creepy hotel.”
Gillan: “Kind of like The Shining.”
Darvill: “David Walliams looking like a mole.”
Gillan: “A very submissive mole.”
Moffat: “And basically we’re going back to Lake Silencio. The Doctor has to turn up there and die…”
Steven Moffat… pants on fire?