American Whovians won’t have to wait to see the “Doctor Who” 50th anniversary special. The highly anticipated special is set to air at the same time across the globe.
In an effort to avoid spoilers and plot leaks, BBC Worldwide is orchestrating a worldwide simulcast in 200 countries, with an expected 100 million viewers.
“It’s always been our ambition to work with our broadcast partners so that international ‘Doctor Who fans’ can enjoy the 50th Anniversary special at the same time as the U.K.,” BBC Worldwide said in a statement.
Outgoing star Matt Smith and companion Jenna Coleman are joining forces with “Doctor Who” alumni David Tennant and Billie Piper, as well as newcomer John Hurt, introduced in the Season 7 finale as a previously unseen incarnation of the Doctor. The special is slated to air Saturday, Nov. 23. If it airs during British prime time, American fans will have to set their alarms for Saturday morning, and Australian viewers will see it early Sunday.
The special features the return of the Daleks, some of the Doctor’s oldest enemies, and BBC on Monday unveiled stills from the special that feature the ruthless and ever-resilient aliens. (Check out the images in the gallery above.)
Comic-Con International attendees got a glimpse earlier this month of some footage from the anniversary special, which hinted that the Doctor will face darker aspects of his mysterious past, including the oft-referenced Time War.
“I’ve had many faces, many lives,” Smith’s Doctor says in voiceover before the teaser cuts to Hurt. “I don’t admit to all of them. There is one life I’ve tried very hard to forget.”
The trailer also featured some shots of the Zygons (last seen in a 1975 Tom Baker episode).
Smith, who first stepped into the TARDIS in 2010, is leaving the show after this year’s Christmas special. Smith introduced Whovians to a protagonist who seemed to viewers as much a fairy-tale character as a superhero.
“The beauty of ‘Doctor Who’ is its incredible flexibility, anchored by this iconic simplicity,” executive producer Steven Moffat told Hero Complex earlier this year. “All the things that work against a show’s longevity work for us. If people get tired of the Doctor, he regenerates. We bring in new companions before anyone can get bored. We can do any sort of episode we want anywhere we want in space and time.”
Moffat said at Comic-Con that Smith’s replacement has yet to be cast, though he did share three excerpts from the audition scripts with Doctor Who Magazine, emphasizing that the scenes are stand-alone and not part of any future episode. In one scene, the Doctor faces an alien “Cyberleader,” and in another, he talks to a little boy in his bedroom. But most charming is perhaps his meet-cute with Clara (Jenna Coleman), in which he checks out his newly regenerated body.
“Right, then, eyesight,” the Doctor says in the audition scene. “Not bad, bit blue. Ears – not pointy, right way up, more or less level. Face – well I’ve got one. Oh, no – French! … I’ve deleted French! Plus all cookery skills, and the breast stroke. And hopping. Never mind hopping, who needs to hop. Ohh, the kidneys are interesting. Never had that before – interesting kidneys.”
Read the complete scene, including Clara’s response, here.
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