Last night we were lucky enough to be at the BFI for a preview of Asylum of the Daleks, the first episode in the upcoming series of Doctor Who.
- It's a very accessible episode, although I think there are a couple of easter eggs for more knowledgeable fans.
- It starts off at a much more measured pace than some previous series openers, but doesn't take long to plunge our characters into the heart of the story.
- The Daleks have evolved a very nice/nasty new trick (revealed in the opening scene).
- There's plenty in it for fans of the Ponds, including a moment in the pre-title sequence that'll have you wondering what's been going on since we last saw them.
- The episode isn't a classic but plays out nicely enough, building to an ending that lands a genuine emotional punch.
- There are plenty of one-liners and humour – especially involving Rory (and some chucklesome Dalek body language, which always cracks me up).
- It manages to achieve a nice blend of claustrophobia and scale: props to director Nick Hurran and the production design and SFX teams.
- ***SOMETHING ELSE WE WERE ABSOLUTELY FORBIDDEN FROM REVEALING***
The Q&A, hosted energetically by Richard Bacon and featuring Matt Smith, Steven Moffat, exec producer Caroline Skinner, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darville, wasn't *very* informative, and mostly served as an opportunity for middle-class children to 'enchant' us with their precocity.
The guests were all open and charming though, and couldn't say enough nice things about each other, although Moffat did seem to get a bit tetchy at Bacon's persistent questioning about a multi-Doctor 50th anniversary episode.
The most interesting revelation (for me) is that of all his episodes, Moffat's most proud of The Eleventh Hour because of how much he had to achieve with it (ie, starting with a new cast but trying to retain a sense of continuity with what had gone before.)
The one he's least happy with is The Beast Below: he feels the ideas he put in it didn't coalesce successfully into a whole (although Matt Smith was keen to reassure him that the script was perfect and it just lost something in the execution).
So there you have it. There's still no official broadcast date for Asylum of the Daleks, although Saturday 1st September seems to be the current favourite.
In the meantime, here's the BBC's latest trailer for the series. Geronimo!