We saw awesome new footage and a behind-the-scenes featurette of the new Doctor Who season — and you can too! Plus writer Neil Gaiman, actor Mark Sheppard and director Toby Haynes told us what to expect. Minor spoilers ahead!
So above is the new one-minute trailer that BBC America put out yesterday, which is actually totally different than the BBC trailer that we saw last week. It's spooky and scary and unbelievably thrilling.
We also got to see some behind-the-scenes footage of the new season, and here that is:
And yes, it seems like the dynamic between Amy and the Doctor is going to be changing a lot — she's going to be keeping a huge secret from him. Is it a secret she shares with River Song? It's hard to tell.
And we saw two clips. One from the first two-parter, in which Mark Sheppard's character, Delaware, is drinking in a bar when he gets recruited for a government mission. Delaware has left the FBI but President Nixon wants him for a secret mission. "You were my second choice for this mission," Nixon tells Delaware. "That's all right," Delaware replies. "You were my second choice for president." And meanwhile, in the TARDIS, River Song is telling the Doctor and friends about Delaware and his mission.
And the second clip was from Neil Gaiman's episode, "The Doctor's Wife." The Doctor, Amy and Rory are on the spaceship graveyard planet, meeting a group of four or five people — including an Ood. Amy is alarmed by the Ood, but the Doctor tells her not to be scared. The Ood has a broken speech globe, but the Doctor repairs it — at which point, a babble of weird voices comes out until it shuts off. The Doctor is incredibly freaked out, and starts asking who else is there. Just The House, explains the older woman in the group of natives. They're inside The House and standing on it — the whole planet is The Room. The Doctor can meet The House if he likes. The Doctor is very eager to do so — and Amy asks what those voices were. "Time Lords," the Doctor explains. Near here someplace, there are "lots and lots of Time Lords."
Both Toby Haynes and Mark Sheppard talked about how excited they were to get to work on Doctor Who — Sheppard was so busy shooting Supernatural, he almost didn't get to do Who, but then he had a ten-day break and they asked if he could fly out and do Who the next day. Sheppard responded, "With bells on."
And Sheppard talked a bit about being in the first two-parter, set in 1960s America. "Nixon is scary," says Sheppard, "Talk about Steven [Moffat] writing monsters."
Gaiman explained the backstory of his episode:
It's called "The Doctor's Wife"... It's episode four. It was going to be episode eleven of the last season. But I got a sad email as they started shooting the last season, when they got up to the point where they were going to be shooting my episode. It said, "We've run out of money, so we're going to be shooting "The Lodger" instead because we can shoot that in a flat around the corner. And we can't make your episode in the flat around the corner."
But when they got to make his episode, they did spend a lot of money on it. "They took other episodes in the bike-shed around back and beat them up and took their money," says Gaiman.
And switching from season five, episode 11 to season six, episode four meant one major change, explains Gaiman:
Rory didn't exist [in the earlier draft], and that was during Rory's transient non-existent bit, so suddenly getting Rory back meant I had to do a draft of the script that was actually more fun. I was so grumpy at having to write a new draft, and then I discovered I could write these great lines for Rory, and Rory and Amy together.
Gaiman said one of his favorite moments in his episode involves Rory and Amy: "Amy tells Rory off for leaving the Doctor on his own, and Rory says, 'Well, he's a Time Lord, he'll be fine.' And she looks at Rory with infinite compassion and says, 'Rory, it's just what they're called. It doesn't mean he actually knows what he's doing.'"
Here's a bit of panel video, via Stellar Four on Youtube:
Gaiman said the character of Idris in his episode "might possibly be an old acquaintance with a new face." He raved about the fact that "they never tried to rein me in," even though he had a "mad idea for a story." But he did face budgetary and time constraints that he wouldn't face when writing comics or novels. He wanted his episode to start as if it were in the middle of a totally different episode, where Amy and the Doctor have been captured. He wanted it to be like the Simpsons, where you think it's going in one direction and then it changes course. They got as far as making costumes for that scene, and did it in the read-through, but it had to be cut at the last minute because they didn't have enough time in the filming schedule. But then he realized it probably would have been cut down for timing reasons anyway.
Toby Haynes talked about growing up dyslexic and how the first book he actually read unassisted was "Destiny of the Daleks," with Tom Baker and the Daleks on the cover. His mother bought him more Doctor Who books, and he wound up with a collection — and then he got a 1960s Dalek costume and made his own fan films. "I was making Doctor Who when I was a kid, about sticky plastic and bits of cellotape, and I'm still doing that."
Gaiman talked about his early love of the show:
When I saw my first episode of Doctor Who, I was three and a half. And it was William Hartnell. He wasn't really my Doctor, I was a bit scared of him. I was about as scared of him as I was of the monsters. But Patrick Troughton [was my Doctor].
Gaiman said someone had asked him if he worked his love of mythologies into his episode, and he responded:
Before I ever discovered the Egyptian or the Greek or the Norse or the Aztec mythology, I knew what a Dalek was. I could tell you what the initials for TARDIS stood for, back then. I used to worry about red Daleks, because I had a copy of Dalek World, which was one of these annuals... and it would talk in there about the fact that Daleks couldn't see the color red... and there were these red Daleks, and I had this vision of the Daleks going, "What was that? I just saw these bumps floating past." I had this huge body of knowledge to draw on when I started writing my episode.
But despite his encyclopedic knowledge of the show, he kept in mind that for many viewers, this could be their first episode of the show. People are sometimes intimidated by the complexity of the show's backstory, but they should really just keep in mind that it's about a blue box that can travel anywhere in time and space and sometimes even get where it's going. And there will be a bloke in it, and he will try to fix what's wrong, and usually he'll succeed, "because he is awesome. Now shut up and watch 'Blink.'"
Gaiman also raved about the current Doctor, Matt Smith. He wrote lines for Smith, and "he brought it in deeper and sometimes funnier and definitely odder than I ever believed." And Smith's Doctor is the first since Tom Baker to bring "the idea that the central entity and the body are two very different things."
Apparently there is a plaque on the TARDIS set talking about where it was built on Gallifrey, and which Gallifreyan workshops it was constructed in, and this has never been shown on screen — it's just there.