ATV Choice: Doctor Who – The Bells Of Saint John

Doctor Who, 2013

Doctor Who’s seventh run of the rebooted series, partly screened last year, returns tonight with episode six, The Bells of Saint John. Having run down corridors from every monster imaginable, Matt Smith returns as the Doctor to face old and new foe. But he’s not alone. Along for the ride in his Tardis is the Doctor’s latest companion, Clara Oswald. Today also brings news of some old faces returning to mark the show’s 50th anniversary.

Along with a new costume this series for the time traveller the Doctor has a new Tardis to travel through space and time.

“Walking on to the new Tardis was like the first day at school” says Matt, adding,  “I actually found it quite difficult as I had got so used to the rhythm of acting on the old one, where I used to slide about on the glass floor, but Michael Pickwoad has done a fabulous job… this one is more like a machine.”

Having lost his first companions, the Ponds, at the hands of the Weeping Angels in New York last year and after a period of mourning the Doctor is joined by a new companion this series, played by Jenna-Louise Coleman.

“She’s done brilliantly well” says Matt, “She’s kind, charming, thoroughly prepared and very brave as an actress. And most importantly of all we get on, which is vital on a show like this. I’m so proud of what she has achieved in the last year.”

So what do fans have to look forward to this series? Tonight’s urban thriller, The Bells of Saint John, brings the series back with a bang as the Doctor’s search for Clara Oswald takes him to modern day London, where wifi is everywhere. But something dangerous is lurking in the signals, picking off minds and imprisoning them.

As Clara becomes the target of this insidious menace, the Doctor races to save her and the world from an ancient enemy.

Filming for this James Bond-esque thriller took Matt to Westminster Bridge, the Southbank and St Pauls.

“Amazing, I loved shooting in London, there is something so brilliant about having the locations there rather than just adding them in [in a blue screen studio]. Matt notes.

As well as introducing some new monsters, episodes in the seventh series will bring back a couple of old monsters in the form of the Ice Warriors and Cybermen.

“I think it’s good to pay homage to the classic series”, says Matt, “especially for the fans. This series we have modernised some of the monsters for a whole new generation.”

Doctor Who, Rose and Doctor 10Also today the BBC confirmed that two recent stars of Doctor Who will be returning to an episode which will mark the 50th anniversary since the original series launched. David Tennant and Billie Piper will reprise their roles as the 10th Doctor and Rose Tyler.

The first episode of Doctor Who entitled An Unearthly Child, with William Hartnell in the role of the Timelord, was broadcast on November the 23rd 1963.

As part of the anniversary events there will also be a factual drama An Adventure in Space and Time which charts how the science fiction series came into production.

David Tennant was recently voted the Doctor most would want as a bedside companion in a ‘just for fun’ poll.

Doctor Who airs tonight at 6.15pm on BBC One.

[Reported by Dominic Knight]