The BBC have released the new trailer for Doctor Who (embedded above), which was essentially a live-action promo of the recently-release publicity image, with The Doctor (Matt Smith) and Amy (Karen Gillan) grappling with various aliens in the time vortex. No real footage from the series, or anything. Still, I bet it looks great in 3D when it plays before Alice In Wonderland from 5 March, and it was interesting because it gave us our first taster of how Smith's going to play the role. His cadence is quite unusual; sort of deep and lilting. Bit of a groaner using the "Doctor who?" joke, again, and I do hope Gillan isn't just going to pull bug-eyed expressions all the time, but otherwise fun. Anyway, I thought it might be cool to put together a little "episode guide" below, based on what we know and popular rumours about what series 5 (or Series 31 as Steven Moffat prefers) might have in store...
1: "The Eleventh Hour" (w: Steven Moffat, d: Adam Smith)
Rumoured to be an extended-length episode involving The Doctor's post-regeneration trauma and, naturally, the introduction of his new companion Amy, who most likely works as a kiss-o-gram, and a character called Rory (Arthur Darvill) who is connected to Amy (brother, boyfriend?) We can also look forward to a new TARDIS interior and exterior colour tone. And I'm pretty sure the director isn't the memory-altering alien from Torchwood -- maybe that was an in-joke? -- as this Adam Smith is the man who's worked on Little Dorrit and Skins.
2: "The Beast Below" (w: Steven Moffat, d: Andrew Gunn)
Set in a distant future where Great Britain's now afloat in space and "Liz Ten" (Sophie Okonedo) is the monarch. I'm guessing there'll be some kind of beast, too. Er, down below. Director Andrew Gunn is best-known for working on shows like Life On Mars, Primeval, Cape Wrath and Survivors, and that's a strong genre background for a British TV director.
3: "Victory Of The Daleks" (w: Mark Gatiss, d: Andrew Gunn)
Dalek episode set during WWII, featuring Winston Churchill (Ian McNeice).
4 & 5: "Titles Unknown" (w: Steven Moffat, d: Adam Smith)
This will feature the reintroduction of River Song (Alex Kingston) from series 4's "Silence In The Library", together with the return of a more powerful group of the Weeping Angels seen in series 3's revered "Blink".
6: "Vampires In Venice" (title TBC) (w: Toby Whithouse, d: Jonny Campbell)
Vampire beauties and fanged swashbucklers in the watery Italian city during the Renaissance, this episode was filmed overseas in Croatia. As creator of Being Human, writer Whithouse should be in a comfort zone to scratch his more fanciful vampire itches. These episodes will also feature Rory. Jonny Campbell also directed episodes of Ashes To Ashes and Shamelesss (back when it was good)
7: "Title Unknown" (w: Simon Nye, d: Catherine Morshead)
Plot unknown. Shall we assume it'll be a "funny episode", based on Nye's sitcom background? Will the Star Whale that's been mentioned appear in this one? I'm hoping for something with a Douglas Adams flavour, anyway. Catherine Morshead has previously directed for Ashes To Ashes, Shameless and Cutting It.
8 & 9: "Titles Unknown" (w: Chris Chibnall, d: Ashley Way)
This two-parter will possibly involve the return of The Silurians and grotesque menaces known as "Smilers". Director Ashley Way has also worked on Torchwood.
10: "Vincent & The Doctor" (title TBC) (w: Richard Curtis, d: Jonny Campbell)
Vincent Van Gogh "historical episode", starring Tony Curran as the iconic painter and a yellow monster. Involves a trip to modern-day Paris with a guest appearance by Bill Nighy as a curator.
11: "The Lodger" (title TBC) (w: Gareth Roberts, d: Catherine Morshead)
The year's "budget-saver", based on a Who comic-strip Roberts wrote where the TARDIS accidentally gets sent forward in time by a week, so The Doctor gets to lead a normal human life for seven days -- playing football, living with a family, and beating the pub quiz machine, etc. Anyone read the comic strip this was based on? It sounds like it could be genius, or absolutely terrible.
12 & 13: "Titles Unknown" (w: Steven Moffat, d: Toby Haynes)
Two-part finale, possibly featuring River Song and Stonehenge at night. Might also solve a mystery about a "silent menace" that will apparently be stalking The Doctor and Amy over the year.
I'd just like to mention how promising it is that Steven Moffat's drafted in new directors who've worked on other popular UK shows (Life On Mars, Ashes To Ashes, Skins.) Of course, there's a chance directors from RTD's tenure may return for series 6, but I'm just glad the likes of Way, Gunn and Smith have been brought in to give things a different feel. While Doctor Who (like most TV) is ultimately led by the writing, I think the directors assembled here are a more promising bunch who will bring something fresh to the show visually.
Doctor Who's fifth series is scheduled to air sometime around Easter on BBC1/BBC HD. I'll guess Saturday 3 April, then, but don't hold me to that. Steven Moffat has also confirmed he'll be writing this year's Christmas special, so it might actually feel special for once.
Finally, some inciting words from Mr. Moffat himself, talking to Doctor Who Magazine awhile back:
"Even now, The Doctor reborn is spinning to Earth in a burning TARDIS -- don't you want to know what he finds there? Or shall I tell you the dreaded truth behind the fifth door? Or what was found in the ruins of Razbahan? Are you ready for The Doctor's mistake in the maze of the dead? Dare I speak of the secret of Aickman Road? Or the choice of the Dream Lord?"
So, on a scale of 1 to 10, how excited are you now?