The Doctor Who session at the BFI & Radio Times Television Festival was a feel-good affair, featuring plenty of fun and laughter as fans dressed as their favourite characters and gathered to hear showrunner Steven Moffat, producer Brian Minchin and stars Peter Capaldi and new companion Pearl Mackie share a taster of the new series, give their thoughts on the world of Doctor Who and field questions from the audience.
But there was one reminder that even the most positive and inclusive fandom can attract one or two misguided individuals.
When a fan revealed they had been the victim of cyberbullying on a Doctor Who forum, the panellists were dismayed.
Steven Moffat, who has been open about the fact that he was bullied as a child, said “There are people in this world who are so wretched that they can only feel good about themselves by making somebody else feel less good. You could pity them. You have to suffer their attention, but think of this – you don’t have to be them, imagine how wretched that is.”
But it was the Doctor himself, Peter Capaldi, who reminded anyone who needed it just how far from the ethos of Doctor Who such behaviour is.
“The essence of Doctor Who is kindness,” said Capaldi, “that is what really is underneath all of this.
“This is a person who moves through time and space and history, and all kinds of situations, and reacts to them, ultimately – despite the way the different versions of him may appear – he reacts with kindness.
“And that is how everyone involved with Doctor Who should be and how everyone who is a fan of it should be.
“If they’re not kind, they’re not receiving the show in the proper way and they’re not really a fan of it.
Real Doctor Who fans are going to miss him when he’s gone.
Doctor Who returns to BBC1 on Saturday 15th April at 7:20pm