Doctor Who Season 8 premiere in Cardiff part three


Welcome Whovians! The third and last part of our review from Cardiff Premiere is finally here. If you’d like to read two previous entries, use the TARDIS database links below. Please be careful, the time archives are very delicate! One careless move and you will rip a hole in the fabrics of reality. That might have a terrible consequences: people could be misplaced, clocks could be stopped, unspeakable terrors could slip into our dimensions… Just be aware ok? And whatever you do, don’t push any big red buttons! We don’t have any big red buttons anyway, but it’s always better to leave them alone.  And don’t go wandering off – the pool is closed. We think, we have an illegal Kraken on board…

So hurry up, read the archives and get back to us!

Doctor Who Cardiff Premiere Part 1:
Doctor Who Cardiff Premiere Part 2:

All right, that was quick!  Now, where were we? It’s always handy to keep notes on what you have written before. You can pick up your tale from the exact moment where you finished it last time. Isn’t it brilliant? And we also did a bit of a research to make this part even more interesting.  Ah! That’s right, we witnessed the arrival of the 12th Doctor and his companions, we fought off the Daleks and escaped the Cybermen. Quite a busy morning! Our destination was the St David’s Hall. It may look like an ordinary building constructed in 1982, but in fact… it is an ordinary building constructed in 1982…

St David's Hall - a view from the outside
St David’s Hall – a view from the outside
Just in case you forgot where you are :)
Just in case you forgot where you are 🙂
BBc crew at the entrance
BBC crew at the entrance

Well, St David’s Hall may not be an UNIT Headquarters or Torchwood Institute but it still made a big impressions on Doctor Who fans. It has a very strange and remarkable shape – nothing like any other building we have seen in Cardiff so far. It has been designed and erected by Seymour Harris Partnership to fill a small gap between existing buildings and the newly created St David Shopping Centre. The performing arts and exhibition venue has capacity of 2000 people and contains foyers, several balconies, auditorium, dressing rooms, bars, restaurant, cloak room, offices and technical crew area. We were surprised how spacious it is inside. Sounds a bit like a TARSIS – it’s bigger on the inside and smaller on the outside. Time Lords engineering? Several major artistic events are held at St David’s Hall: Welsh Proms (annually), BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition (every two years), Welsh Artist of the Year Awards Ceremony, Roots Unearthed folk series and A Taste of the Fresh Welsh Sound among others. The venue is also a home to BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales (the BBC NOW) that kindly provides soundtrack to Doctor Who series.

Our ticket to heaven - front
Our ticket to heaven – front
And the back
And the back

Official website:
Official Facebook:
Official Twitter:

After entering the building, we have been greeted by BBC Crew that provided us with some neat promotional materials (including a set of three unique Word Tour character cards) and we were asked to go to the first floor. Upstairs, we had a chance to buy something to eat (chocolates and jelly babies) and to refresh ourselves.  A large group of fans who arrived before us, were queuing to pose for an official “companion” picture for BBC in the main lobby. Rita was tempted to have a go but the line was long and you had to sign a consent form as the pictures were to be uploaded to official BBC Facebook profile. Realizing we were very tired, we had to give up. It was time to find our seats and rest a bit. The lady checking our tickets was incredibly professional. She told us a bit about the venue, explained how to get to our sector and even showed us where we could find the fire exits (a necessary knowledge for claustrophobics like us). The control strips have been then torn off our tickets and we finally entered the auditorium. Our jaws hit the floor. The place is enormous and beautiful. The interior is very new and it contrasts with the 80’s feeling of the building itself. The auditorium has three levels: front, middle and upper with balconies located at both ends. Finding our seats was easy – we were sitting in the front row, next to the exit leading behind the stage. You may ask how do we know it. Well, Rita usually checks if the fire exits would open. They did and she walked right into three men carrying Dalek heads and Peter Capaldi himself. The Doctor threw her a long surprised look and disappeared in the dressing room and Rita gave him her best nervous grin. Call it a perfect timing! Mr Capaldi must have just finished his red carpet duty by then and was on this way to prepare himself for the premiere. It’s a real talent to bump into celebrities in the most inconvenient/humiliating moments possible: Malicia met Sharon Osborne in the Ozzfest  kitchen area, who was munching on strawberries, we caught Sharon Del Arden (Within Temptation) going out of the dressing room wearing a towel on her head, Metallica in their pyjamas asked us for breakfast, Rita poured Mark Lanegan a drink and bumped into Andi Deris (lead singer of heavy metal band Helloween) while he was going out of a shower, completely naked…The list is very, very long…

Pictures from previous shows are decorating the walls inside the venue
Pictures from previous shows are decorating the walls inside the venue
Musical instruments on display
Musical instruments on display
Doctor Who diet? Yes, please!
Doctor Who diet? Yes, please!

We don’t have to tell you how happy we were sitting so close to the screen.  It was a truly fantastic place to be.  We had an excellent view at the main stage, we could  just turn around to see the entire auditorium behind us and we were seated in the VIP section – what else could you ask for? Rita took several picture of the crowd sitting next to us and they even waved at the camera. Thank you people – you are simply the best!

Around 12:30 the lights in St David’s Hall dimmed and the public went wild again. BBC Director, Rhodri Talfan Davies entered the stage and greeted visitors again, saying that he barely could believe so many people traveled the world to be there. The audience jumped to their feet when Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman and Steve Moffat joined him for few minutes. Jenna and Peter were now dressed differently – Mr Capaldi wore a black suit and Jenna replaced her red dress with a dark shirt and Bella Freud ‘1970’ Jumper in black & ivory. We have been asked not to share or mention anything regarding the “Deep Breath” to anybody as leaked transcripts and raw videos released on the Internet weeks earlier caused the producers a lot of grief. When  2 .000 people promised to behave by screaming at the top of their lungs, Rhodri Talfan Davies laughed and gave the signal to turn off the lights.

Crowd of fans waiting for the doors to open
Crowd of fans waiting for the doors to open
Do you want to be a companion? Stay in line!
Do you want to be a companion? Stay in line!
Peter Capaldi as the 12th Doctor
Peter Capaldi as the 12th Doctor

We will not spoil you anything, so if you are looking for illegal content, sorry but we are not able to help you. However, we can list few interesting things about the first episode that are worth waiting for. Please take a look at our personal top ten of “Deep Breath” highlights:

1.Peter Capaldi – It is a common knowledge that Peter Capaldi is one of the most talented British actors today. He has received all important awards to prove his skills including an Oscar and several BAFTA’s. As 12th Doctor, he is wild, exciting, new and fascinating. He can make you laugh, he can make you feel scared, he can terrify you – all at the same time. Steven Moffat is a genius and you can believe us, there is no other actor that could play the new incarnation of the Doctor better. Mr Capaldi is a life long fan and he is not just playing the Doctor. He is the Doctor. This is a great opportunity for young audience to become introduced to Peter Capaldi. Remember that name – Peter’s on a roll!

2. 12th Doctor – say good-bye to flirty, young Doctors. This newcomer is not a romance material. He is not even Mr Nice Guy. He is not a human being, but a Time Lord and now you will see the difference. Part of the Doctor hasn’t changed – he is curious like a cat, unpredictable, headstrong, smart, funny and charming. But number twelve is not forgiving or kind. He has a lot of darkness in him, and we could say he nearly walks on the thin red line that separates the good and bad.  Do you remember the Time Lord Victorious from “Waters of Mars” episode? The 10th incarnation came close to that line several times, but only crossed it once and it shook him to the core. The new Doctor is not afraid, he embraces the dark side like an old friend. You cannot trust him. He is deceitful, angry, cruel. He can abandon you without second thoughts. And at the same time, he is lost and scared. He needs somebody beside him. The Doctor has as just regenerated – new persona, new body confuses him. He is suffering. He doesn’t understand his old friends and they don’t understand him. The Doctor is discovering himself and the inner investigation is not a pleasure trip. Our favourite scene is that with an homeless man and a broken mirror.  Rita thinks that the 12th Doctor is like a Shakespearean play  – it is brilliant, dark, serious and you know that the blood will flow in the end but you cannot stop reading (or in this case watching). Is this the best series of Doctor Who yet? Possibly!

A view from the VIP section
A view from the VIP section
The auditorium starts to fill in
The auditorium starts to fill in

3.  Clara Oswald – The impossible girl is no longer in the lead. She might have wrapped the 11th incarnation around her little finger, but the charm is now broken. She is stuck with a stranger and the stranger doesn’t care. She needs to learn how to dance to his tune and this is not a waltz, rather a wild pogo at heavy metal gig! The 12th Doctor is wearing Doctor Marten’s for a reason. Clara ‘s situation is rather desperate. She wants to trust the Doctor, but he lets her down. She offers her friendship and he doesn’t take it. She is told to be quiet and follow him without asking question. Clara has been truly born to save the Doctor and she is still doing her job. She is ready to sacrifice everything what’s dear to her (including her own life!) to help him, but the Doctor she knew is gone. The relationship they had is now strained – there is confusion, hurt, sadness and doubt. For the first time, Clara is doubting the Doctor and this is a seriously scary experience for her. So far, he has always been there to cover her back. Will he still be able to do it? Will Clara stay? Fantastic performance by Jenna Coleman – there were several sobs coming from the audience during the screening.

4. Madame Vastra –  by popular demand the Veiled Detective is back with a vengeance. Well, maybe not with a vengeance, but she still brings a lot of humour and action with her. Her relationship with the new Doctor is not going smooth, she has to trick the Time Lord to actually keep him in check (for a little while at least). We find her a bit frustrating in the first episode, especially her baseless accusations against Clara can struck few nerves. Then again, Silurians have never been particular charming creatures, were they? It’s good to see her again and we hope that she will continue to appear in the future episodes as well. Madame Vastra is played by actress, Neve McIntosh.

Panaorama of the entire auditorium! We took it first and others followed by our example.
Panorama of the entire auditorium! We took it first and others followed by our example
Upper part of the auditorium and balconies
Upper part of the auditorium and balconies

5. Strax and Jenny Flint – Madame Vastra’s wife (Catrin Stewart) and butler (Dan Starkey) are also present. Those guys are exactly the same as usual – Jenny serves the best afternoon tea in Victorian London and looks gorgeous in a latex cat suit delivering high kicks left and right.  Strax is having continuous issues with distinguishing human sexes (still calls Clara a boy) and praises the Sontaran Empire at least 10 times a day. Old friends of the Doctor, they will come to his aid as expected but even they are surprised how strange the Doctor has become. A touching scene between Jenny and Clara will make you think how bad her situation truly is. Catrin and Dan still have a great chemistry together and we hope that somebody at BBC will finally produce a spin off series to The Paternoster Gang.

6. Dinosaur – Yep, there is a T-rex in Victorian London. Yep, it makes a lot of noise. Yep, you know what happens to dinosaurs in Doctor Who.  Apologies were demanded during the QnA session but certain person haven’t offered any. One of the most heart breaking moments of the new episode, what have you expected!

7. TARDIS – We only see the new interior  briefly at the end of the episode but be prepared. We have loved David Tennant’s TARDIS the most but the new design is perfect. It fits the new Doctor like a glove. Obviously, somebody’s not going to like it!

8. Special effects – Finally BBC is spending the right amount on special effects and the end results are brilliant. Victorian London looks like it should – it’s dirty, smelly, foggy and lovely. The dinosaur is animated really well and the bad guys are properly scary. You will find your kids hiding behind the sofa as they should be!

9. Music – there is a new remix of the Doctor Who theme.  We absolutely love it. We could sing it, but you will not hear it. Sorry.

10.  DW logo/Title credit – It has been confirmed nearly two months ago that a new opening sequence has been created by Doctor Who fan, Billy Hanshaw. He posted it on YouTube where it was discovered by Steven Moffat. You will see a lot of clockworks, fob watches and time travel co-ordinates. TARDIS is still in flight through the time vortex, but the animation is much different. We were truly impressed.

Well, we think we are also allowed to criticize a bit now. The opinions are divided: one of us liked the episode in every detail, the other was kind of disappointed. If you don’t want to know why, skip this paragraph. No spoilers ahead, yet we need to explain.

Q&A session - Jenna, Peter and Steven Moffat
Q&A session – Jenna, Peter and Steven Moffat
A boy named Elliott asked for an autograph and Peter was more than happy to make his dream come true
A boy named Elliott asked for an autograph and Peter was more than happy to make his dream come true

The episode has everything what a great Doctor Who episode should have: trilling storyline, perfectly measured dosage of light and dark moments,  scary bad guys, great acting and a lots of action. There is even more: a new Doctor, new TARDIS, new relationships between established characters – in one word you will not be bored. So what is there to complain about? Well, we have seen it all before. Rita was expecting something big, an earthquake, some fireworks, something new. And the new “new” still feel a bit old. She doesn’t know how to explain it better, but the audience is left feeling hungry and craving more.  Rita had the same feeling about “The Time of the Doctor”, the last episode written by Steven Moffat for Matt Smith.  We admire him, don’t get us wrong. He is one of the most talented writers out there, but let’s put an emphasis on it again – we have seen it all before. Mr Moffat can deliver – go and watch Scherlock’s “His last vow” and you will start chewing your fingernails. This is what the “Deep Breath” is lacking.  If we are promised darkness, please give us the pitch black night, not just twilight.  Maybe we are spoiled, maybe our expectations are too demanding, but some ideas only work once. “Deep breath” is connected to fans beloved episode from David Tennant’s era (also penned by Moffat) and while the connection is truly appreciated, the whole mystery surrounding the bad guys is reviled too quickly. And this is not an argument for the Moffat haters trolling every forum and comments section on the Internet. Steven Moffat is where his place is and we hope he will stay for at least several more seasons.  This is just our own, unbiased opinion.  If we were to rate the episode, we’d still give it 9 on a 10-point scale. “Deep Breath” is an excellent, solid episode that will keep you hanging till the last minute. Yet, it could have been so much more: an instant classic, a ground shaker, a history maker, but it’s not. And it’s a crying shame.

“Deep Breath” is set to debut on BBC on Saturday, August 23rd at 19:50. It will also be screened in selected cinemas around the world, and we are thinking of actually going to see it again on the big screen. The episode is 80 minutes long (a respectable length for a TV special) and it looks wonderful. There is no such thing as too much Doctor Who, remember that!

It must have been nearly 2 o’clock when the lights returned again. There was silence for about 10 second after the credits finished rolling and then the public started raising from their seats. Another standing ovation, so loud that it was surely felt several miles away.  Rhodri Talfan Davies appeared on stage again and tried to silence the crowd. In vain. People were cheering and clapping and the only thing Mr Davies could do was to invite Jenna, Peter and Steven to join him.  Once they sat down, the audience calmed down a bit, but occasionally somebody shouted “Jenna marry me” or “Peter, I love ya!” interrupting the Q&A session.

Whovians are the best!
Whovians are the best!
Waves and sonic screwdrivers
Waves and sonic screwdrivers

Q&A stands for Question and Answers. We have never attended that type of interview before so we were rather curious how it would look like. Well, it was very quick. Quick question, quick answer and another question. Some were asked by chosen members of the public, some were asked by Rhodri Talfan Davies. Questions ranged from utterly silly (“How many lives does the Doctor have?” to which Moffat answered “26” while hiding his face in his hands), obvious (“Will the Doctor Who Experience change since we have a new Doctor?”, the answer was “Yes”) to really complicated ones that nobody knew how to answer. Our favorite question came from a 4 year old boy named Elliott (with double T’s) who asked Peter Capaldi, if he could have his autograph. Mr Capaldi was very touched and gave the boy a big hug as well.

We have learned few interesting things: Steven Moffat thinks that webisodes are an excellent idea to introduce old and new characters to Doctor Who fandom and they are going to use them more often in the future. There will not be a Doctor Who – Sherlock crossover, not even for Comic Relief or any other charitable cause. Not because he is against that idea (he isn’t), but other producers are not happy with it (he called them “killjoys he has to work with”). He also thinks that Madame Vastra is the real Sherlock Holmes in Whoniverse and there is no place for another great detective. Mr Moffat also added that it’s better for Sherlock and The Doctor not to meet as they would sit in TARDIS’ corners sulking that somebody is more intelligent than they are. A good news for Paternoser Gang fans – Steven Moffat said that he would love to give them a spin off series but nobody has offered any financial support yet.  Let’s write to BBC, shall we?

Peter Capaldi admitted his Doctor is influenced by the Classic Who actors (especially William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee) but also by Peter Cushing. There is a lot of  Malcolm Tucker in him minus the cursing, of course. Peter has always thought of Doctor Who as a show for an older audience (certainly not for young kids) and considered the Doctor to be a dark character. He would travel to Ancient Rome if ever given a chance and encouraged the fans to keep on doing what they love, without looking at anything or anyone.

Jenna was asked how Clara feels about the new Doctor and she replied that her character has a lot of growing up to do. Clara is lost  and confused, and she needs to learn how to  co-operate with the 12th incarnation of the Time Lord. She would go to NYC in 1920’s to learn how to dance. She also dropped a small bomb saying that the next episodes are very dark and scary for Clara.  We simply cannot wait!

And the show came to an end. Peter and Jenna waved their good bye’s, sent few kisses and disappeared quickly. Steven Moffat stayed a bit longer, talking to fans and co-workers. The entire crew was going back to London straight away and they didn’t even have time to grab something to eat.  We were tired as well. Slowly, we made our way to the door. It was a perfect day and we were glad we could spend it with other fans.

Steve John, Doctor Who animator at Craft folk event outside St David's Hall
Steve John, Doctor Who animator at Craft folk event outside St David’s Hall
Original sonic screwdriver
Original sonic screwdriver
Close up of Steve John's  art shed
Close up of Steve John’s art shed

We would like to thank several people for making our trip to Cardiff possible. First of all, a big  THANK YOU to all St David’s Hall employees, especially the ladies in box office department. You are wonderful, true stars! We had so many problems with buying the tickets, but we are glad that the issues were positively resolved. Your patience and assistance is more than appreciated. We will never, ever forget your kindness.

Rita would like to personally thank several BBC employees that assisted her after the premiere. Thank you for listening me out and for your interest. That means a world to me and many other readers.  And finally best wishes and eternal thanks to Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, Steven Moffat, Samuel Anderson and the entire Doctor Who crew who made it all possible. Without you, we would probably spent the day at work, making the Excel spread sheets looks prettier and being bored out of our minds.

There is one last thing to be added. After leaving St David’s Hall, we noticed a row of small wooden sheds standing some 50 meters away from the entrance. The sheds have been previously locked as the entire street was closed off for pedestrian traffic. Once the premiere was over, the street was re-opened and sheds were now accessible for tourists. We were told that they belong to Craft Folk (fair crafts organizers in South Wales) and allow local artist to display their works in popular places around the city.  What a great idea to promote Welsh makers that came from the Council itself! You know we are always interested in art markets and we decided to take a quick look. To our surprise, we found an artist displaying Doctor Who drawings and an original sonic screwdriver! The artist name is Steve John and he is a well known Cardiff based cartoonist, painter and animator. He specializes in super cute cartoon animal artworks, but can create animated wonders in Flash. His work has been featured on numerous times on TV, printed media and on the Internet (Doctor Who animations for BBC1). Steve is a graduate of Farnham College of Art and Design and has a diploma in Animation and Graphic design. He has been professionally working as an artist for nearly 30 years.

Official website:
Hugs Art project:

The exciting day finally came to an end. After 12 hours of running around with camera, taking pictures and talking to people, we were simply exhausted. We have returned home with our heads filled with dreams about time and space, intergalactic travels and possible scripts for Doctor Who adventures. Who knows, maybe we should start writing fan fiction?

Once you start running with the Doctor, it feels like it will never end.
We don’t even want it to end.
The journey must continue and there are amazing places on this planet that we still haven’t seen. Please return soon as out tale is not done yet. Our next stop – Doctor Who Experience!

You just watch us run!
Rita and Mal

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.