Doctor Who Returns – What To Expect From The ‘Darker’ New Series

With Peter Capaldi back for his second series as the Timelord, Alexi Duggins runs down the reasons why series nine will put the ‘ooh’ in Doctor Who…

1. It’s vintage Capaldi

Channel hoppers could’ve been excused for mistaking Peter Capaldi’s ‘initial Doctor Who’ episodes for a freaky The Thick Of It dream sequence in which Malcolm Tucker bollocks a Dalek. But this season, according to the show’s creators, there’s no confusion: Capaldi has made the Doctor his own. “He’s just on amazing form at the moment,” says executive producer Steven Moffat. “There’s always a feeling when the new Doctor comes in of: ‘That’s Peter Capaldi as the Doctor.’ Now it’s just ‘That’s the Doctor!’’’

2. It’s dark. Very dark

Doctor Who is a good guy. Or is he? This time round, things get unnerving, with the Doctor having committed an atrocity that causes him to be hunted by a hooded monster – one so creepy it’d have no problem gaining a residents’ permit for Mordor. “We know what he did,” it hisses in an opening episode with a body count that’d decimate a football team and a Timelord whose wide, terrified eyes look like eight-balls on china plates. The reason for his terror? Within 24 hours, the Doctor will be dead. A relaxing start to the series, this is not.

3. It’ll be like a Thick Of It reunion

This series is going to be more star-studded than a Taylor Swift selfie. Game Of Thrones’ Maisie Williams will appear, as will The League Of Gentlemen star Reece Shearsmith, Rufus Hound, Paul Kaye and Bethany Black (C4’s Cucumber). Plus, in a rejoining of ex-The Thick Of It cast members, Rebecca Front will be back on screen with Peter Capaldi, playing an as yet unspecified role. But this time, will Capaldi accuse her of having “all the charm of a rotting teddy bear by a graveside?” Probably not.

4. There might be sex-based weather systems

In fact, this series is exciting reunion central. As well as Front and Capaldi getting the old band back together, Mark Gatiss will rejoin the writing team, while last series’ primo villain, Missy, will be brought back from the dead. Best of all, Alex Kingston will reprise her role as River Song – the Doctor’s time-travelling wife. Her and Capaldi have never actually appeared onscreen together, but that’s where the excitement lies. According to Steven Moffat, the show’s previous executive producer, Russell T Davies got so het up about it, he blurted out: “Capaldi and Kingston – it’s a sex storm!”

5. Sherlock Holmes could cripple the Doctor

You’re Steven Moffat: the BBC tell you that they want more Doctor Who for 2016. Also they want a series of your other project – Cumberbitch-delighting detective drama Sherlock. How the hell do you find time to do full series of both? Maybe you don’t. Private Eye recently reported that BBC staff have been told that Mr Holmes’ adventures mean “no full series” for the Timelord next year – possibly meaning nothing more than a one-off special or two. Definitely worth soaking up the latest batch then. After all, next year his appearances may be very sporadic indeed. What do you think they are? Experts in time travel?