"Deep Breath", the first episode of Series 8 of Doctor Who was screened for media and fans in Sydney today, part of a global tour by stars Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman ahead of the episode's TV premiere appearance on August 24. As a condition of attending, we needed to sign a non-spoiler agreement. And here's the thing: no-one in the audience needed to be asked twice.
This season of Doctor Who has suffered badly from leaks. Scripts for the entire series were accidentally leaked because of a security settings stuff-up somewhere in South America, and then early edits of the first two episodes leaked as well. But most Who fans did the only sensible thing, and ignored them entirely.
We want to see Who in completed form, most particularly when we're seeing it for the first time. Yes, there's a chance we'd like to see alternate takes and extra footage down the track as a nifty DVD bonus or online teaser. But not when it's the first time, and doubly so when it's the first time with a new Doctor.
It also helps that we know we're not going to be screwed over in terms of seeing the new episode when it does officially debut. The ABC will broadcast "Deep Breath" as a simulcast in the early hours of Sunday August 24 and then make it available on iView, ahead of its "official" broadcast at 7:40pm that night. Freely and immediately available — it doesn't get any better than that.
I'm not going to say anything else about the episode other than it is spectacular and funny and moving and cinematic and you should watch it if you like Doctor Who. It's a brilliant start for Peter Capaldi's first season as the Doctor (during the Q&A after the screening, he pointedly refused to comment on whether he'd be back or not).
Event host Adam Spencer concluded the event by asking Capaldi and Coleman to sum up the season in three words. Coleman chose "good versus bad", which would cover every episode of Doctor Who I've ever seen, except possibly "The Edge Of Destruction". Capaldi's choices were more enigmatic:
This is the right way to "spoil" a series. Those are vague enough to offer some possibilities for speculation, but don't actually ruin any major surprises coming up.
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