A new image for Doctor Who’s long-awaited tenth series has arrived, giving us a sneak peek at the adventures of The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), old pal Nardole (Matt Lucas) and new companion Bill (Pearl Mackie) as they try to save the world once again.
But hidden in the action are a few clues as to what we might expect from the upcoming series, from new villains and planets to the plots of one or two episodes – and luckily for you, we’ve laid them all out below. Aren’t we nice.
1. The red planet
Eagle-eyed fans will have noticed immediately that the sky in this image contains not one but two planets, with the smaller one on the right unmistakably a look at friendly old (mostly harmless) Earth.
But it’s the larger red one that we’re more interested in for now. While this could be any number of new worlds as yet unseen in Doctor Who, it seems likely that this is actually a representation of Mars, which is traditionally the home of classic Who villains The Ice Warriors.
It’s already been confirmed that the Ice Warriors will be back this series in a new and improved form, and both the appearance of Mars in this image and the baddies’ prominence in the previous TV trailer seems to suggest that they have a massive role to play in the new series. You’d have to be completely cold-blooded not to be excited by that, right?
2. Ice ice baby
Given the conflagaration in the background of the image (of which, more later), it’s also interesting to note that there appears to be some ice floating on the water that Bill’s leaping away from (presumably she was standing on some ice which was melted by the heat).
The obvious conclusion to jump to is that this ice is also a nod to the Ice Warriors, but it could also hint to a different episode in the series – specifically the one written by Sarah Dollard, which is rumoured to be about a giant serpent living in the Thames.
Anyway, as we’ve previously noted some shots in the trailer (above) seem to suggest that this particular episode will see the Doctor and Bill travel to Victorian times to take in the Little Ice Age, when the River Thames froze and “frost fairs” popped up on the ice.
It looks to us like Bill is escaping from such a river as it starts to thaw (if you look closely, some pieces of ice are still floating in the water), suggesting that that episode could see a rather soggy end to the frost fair festivities. Oh dear – hopefully the Tardis has a dryer.
It could also be that we’re completely wrong and that “water” is actually hot lava (we’re not sure whether that orange colour is just the reflections of flames or the actual hue of the ground), and the burning city is the result of a surprise volcanic eruption. Still, the proximity of the ice makes that seem a little unlikely, and Doctor Who’s adherence to the laws of thermodynamics and physics is famously strict, so we’re probably OK.
Hey, wait a minute…
3. We didn’t start the fire
Perhaps the most exciting thing in the new image is the burning city behind our heroes, which would seem to suggest some villain has been arson about and causing trouble (sorry).
As of yet, it’s unclear what could cause such a blaze – we’re hoping Nardole didn’t just leave his lighter somewhere – but the city itself is more open to interpretation, with its outline suggesting some sort of alien city on another world rather than anything we could see on Earth.
Take a closer look; that skyline doesn’t resemble any city we’ve seen (though we’re willing to be corrected), and while it could be that we’re getting a glimpse of Earth’s far future we’d be willing to bet this is actually a blaze on a far-off world. After all, Earth can be seen in the background, implying the new Tardis crew aren’t on it.
Speaking of which…
4. Another Earth
The placement of Earth in this picture obviously suggests space travel, and while this image is almost certainly not an accurate portrait of a location from the series (we doubt this posh alien civilisation is within view of both Earth and Mars, unless the Daleks are resurrecting their “steal all the planets” plan from 2008) it does all seem to suggest that outer-space adventuring and non-Earth adventures will play a larger part in this series.
This ties in with previous comments made by Peter Capaldi that this new series will feature the “most cosmic of challenges”, so hopefully we’ll be seeing the Doctor go further afield this year than ever before.
5. It all looks pretty amazing!
OK, this is hardly a hidden clue, but we couldn’t go without mentioning how exciting this new series looks. Maybe it’s just the long wait for new episodes, maybe it’s the “new start” they keep talking about or maybe it’s the classic Cybermen, but this series is just looking better and better every day.
To coin a phrase – hip hip, Who-ray!
Doctor Who returns to BBC1 on Saturday 15th April