Doctor Who: The End Of Time

Wilf, The Doctor and The Master

“WAIT for the New Year’s Day episode.

“Your brain will blow up,” promised Russell T Davies.

Tonight I was among a lucky few hundred people invited to BBC TV Centre to see Doctor Who: The End Of Time…part one.

Followed by a Q&A with Russell, John Simm and Bernard Cribbins.

With snow falling from the skies of west London as I left.

No doubt specially ordered by the Doctor.

There’s a Shakespearian feel to the first half of David Tennant’s two part farewell, screened on BBC1 at 6pm on Christmas Day.

With a brilliant twist at the end, which I hope my media colleagues will keep quiet about in advance of the broadcast.

I sat in Studio 8 across the aisle from John – back as The Master…or John Slim as one young fan called him later.

The opening 60 minutes is every bit his episode as David’s.

John Simm as The Master

With the Doctor’s nemesis returning to life and bringing new meaning to the notion of fast food.

The Ood tell the Doctor that something vast is stirring in the dark.

Time is bleeding, with the past, present and future being destroyed.

“The darkness heralds only one thing,” they say. “The end of time itself.”

Barack Obama, no less, is set to broadcast on Christmas night, with a promised end to the recession.

Allowing Russell to set a scene in the White House.

“I was just glad the recession is still going on, because I wrote that months ago and it could have been out of date,” joked Russell afterwards.

“So hooray for the recession.”

Everyone in the world is having nightmares they cannot remember.

Something is coming. But what?

And that’s very much the theme of a hour which sets up what promises to be an epic and very special 75-minute finale on New Year’s Day.

David Tennant as The Doctor
The BBC is being so guarded about it that they even cut off the usual teaser trailer at the end of the episode one screening tonight.

“That is literally just the beginning of the plot,” explained Russell. “There’s even huger things about to happen in the second episode.

“The trailer of the next episode, you see how huge it all gets.”

The Doctor knows his life is coming to an end but still hopes, somehow, to avoid the inevitable.

Russell’s script again further stretches his leading man into places he’s never taken him in this series.

With the Time Lord, just for a moment, red-eyed after shedding a tear in a café.

Heading for many more in the second film.

“It was very emotional,” said John.

Bernard agreed: “Yes, it’s a very emotional ending to the whole thing, as you would expect.

“I think most people will cry.”

Bernard Cribbins as Wilf

In part one we hear the words: “And so it came to pass that the players took their final places.”

Ahead of “the final day”.

Before we see the face behind those words.

And what of old soldier Wilf Mott, played by Bernard?

As the Doctor asks him: “Who are you?”

After the screening, John spoke about playing The Master again.

“I didn’t find it intense. It was just a lot of fun.

“He’s even more insane than before, so it was unleashed, free rein, go for it.

“Things like that are really, really fun to do. There was no limit in the script to how insane he should be.”

Others at the screening included Catherine Tate, returning as Donna Noble, and David Harewood, who plays billionaire Joshua Naismith.

Plus Steven Moffat, who has taken over from Russell as Doctor Who “showrunner”, and BBC director general Mark Thompson.

David Tennant is currently filming his pilot drama in America and sent his apologies.

But two Cybermen, a Judoon and a pair of Oods did show up in the studio, along with lashings of dry ice.

Russell was asked how he thought he’d feel on Jan 1 when he watches the final credits roll.

“I don’t know. I think I’ll just feel very excited, actually, because it’s magnificent the New Year’s Day episode. It’s just marvellous.

“I might go into a deep and everlasting depression once it’s all over. Who will care?

“I think I’ll just feel immensely happy because I just think it’s a magnificent departure for David.”

My favourite question of the night came from a little boy who asked Russell:

“Did you meet the Doctor, or did you just make him up?”

Russell, also saying farewell to the series, replied: “I was lucky.

“I was just asked by the BBC to look after him.”

Doctor Who Official Website

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