10 odd things we learned at the Doctor Who premiere

We were there! We had chips with Capaldi, sang Happy Birthday and saw a familiar face...

1. No new sonic screwdriver


Before donning his new costume, Capaldi starts the episode in Matt Smith’s old purple coat. But that isn’t the only hand-me-down from his predecessor. Asked by a young fan to describe his new sonic screwdriver (“WHAT. IS. YOUR. NEW. SONIC. LIIIKE?”) Capaldi gave a straight and, for some people perhaps, disappointing answer. “It’s very like the old one. Exactly like the old one.”

2. Capaldi and Moffat are as confused as everyone about the Doctor’s lives

It used to be so simple: a Time Lord had 13 lives. Once he ran out, he died. But there’s been so much mucking around with the show’s rules, even the new Doctor doesn’t know how long he will last. Asked directly how many lives the Doctor has, Capaldi collapsed into a smirking silence. Steven Moffat shrugged, paused, then hazarded: “26?”

3. Capaldi sings on request

It was this kind of day. One Cardiff audience member (Jess from Swindon) asked if Jenna Colman and Peter Capaldi would wish her friend Sarah (presumably also from Swindon) a happy birthday. Capaldi went one better, leading the entire St David’s Hall in a rendition of Happy Birthday. That’s him hitting a high note in the picture. Many happy returns, Sarah from Swindon!

[UPDATE: Sarah has been in touch to say she’s from Tamworth, not Swindon. Sorry about that, Sarah from Tamworth!]

4. Moffat has a Weeping Angel in his garden

He was probably lying or joking – or that infuriating mix of the two he uses in every interview – but when Moffat told us how Capaldi came over to his house to audition, he let slip that he has a Weeping Angel in the garden. We want one.

5. Capaldi eats chips

We’re so jealous of Radio Times TV Editor Alison Graham for going halfsies on a bowl of chips with the new Doctor while interviewing him. “That chip-tastic interview, in which he is funny & charming,” she tweeted, probably still chewing on a delicious Doctor-approved chip, “will be in Radio Times very soon.”

6. London’s BFI Southbank is not Dalek-friendly…

7. Classic and New Who collided behind the scenes

It was the moment that made every Doctor Who fan in the BFI green room silently scream with glee: the first ever director of Doctor Who, Waris Hussein, asking Peter Capaldi for his autograph. The new star gladly obliged, of course. Later on, Hussein told RadioTimes.com that it was “for my collection”.

8. There will be no “hanky-panky” in the Tardis

When asked what his favourite line from the upcoming series is, Peter Capaldi bellowed into the microphone: “No hanky panky in the Tardis.” It is, as fans of the classic series will recognise, a nod to 1980s producer John Nathan-Turner, who was often quoted as saying the exact same thing. 

Capaldi added: “That’s my favourite line, reasons for which you’ll discover. But there are lots of brilliant lines.”

Could he be referring to himself? Or maybe Clara and new addition to the cast, Samuel Anderson’s Danny Pink?

9. Time moves on

Capaldi and Coleman can’t go anywhere at the moment without being mobbed – but that will change. Emerging from the BFI in London last night, we looked past the throng of fans and saw a woman in a red dress, elegantly walking along the South Bank, right past all the Whovians. Nobody turned to notice… Billie Piper.

10. First words


Look away now, spoilerphobes. Look away now. The new Doctor’s first line is… “Shhhh!”