The Doctor’s entrance by explosive eruption through the jaws of a dinosaur rampaging through London like Godzilla in Tokyo delighted costumed fans who have been waiting since the Christmas special last December to witness Peter Capaldi’s debut as the thirteenth incarnation of the popular Time Lord. Although fans could choose to watch the season opener when it premiered on television on August 23, 2014, there is nothing like the camaraderie of coming together with like-minded Whovians to meet the new Doctor together. Many fans added another dimension of fun to the theater events around the country by coming in costumes that gave tribute to the unique looks that different actors have brought to the beloved character in the 50 years since the show’s first episode.
Matt Smith’s iconic fez graced the heads of countless fans but bow ties, pinstripes and sneakers, trench coats, multi-colored striped scarves, tailcoats, polo sweaters and striped pants honored the contributions of David Tennant, Tom Baker and Peter Davison to the history of The Doctor in the long running British sci-fi saga. However, sci-fi fans are nothing if not creative when it comes to costumes. Enthusiasts exuded delight in sporting getups from the indispensable blue box immediately recognizable to Whovians as the TARDIS, to the Doctor’s traditional adversaries, the Daleks and the Cybermen as well as carrying the Time Lord’s ever-present accessory, the sonic screwdriver.
Costumed fans streamed to the Ziegfeld Theater in New York on Aug.14 for a chance to see an advance showing of the new season premiere, Deep Breath, which features recurring trio of Madame Vastra, Jenny and Strax, in addition to the new Doctor and his companion, Clara Oswald, played by Jenna Coleman. Most of the show’s devotees, however, had to wait for the television premiere on Aug. 23 or attend one of the 12 midnight theatrical releases across the country. Fans who did not have a midnight showing nearby had to wait for the national roll out in 550 U.S. theaters the evening of Monday, Aug. 26. Many theaters played to sold out audiences who erupted with cheers from the first moment the TARDIS shot out of the dinosaur jaws as a wave of pent-up delight finally found release in the shared experience of witnessing the onset of this new chapter in Doctor Who‘s tradition and lore. Attendees at the theater events, some of whom drove 100 miles or more to be there, were rewarded with 15 minutes of bonus footage, only available in theaters.
From the first shot out of the dinosaur’s jaws, cheers and laughter erupted from delighted fans as the TARDIS streaked across the London skyline before crashing near the Thames and giving the audience its first glimpse of The Doctor’s new face, though he does not settle on his signature costume until later in the show. The record number of audience views for the television broadcast of the season opener coupled with strong turnouts at the theater events garnered social media attention over the weekend. With the publicity and marketing success of these events driving anticipation of key episodes among fans who can’t seem to get enough of The Doctor and the excitement generated by Capaldi’s first appearance as the enigmatic ‘madman with a box,’ Whovians will be enjoying the thrill of ‘bigger on the inside’ adventures with the TARDIS and the companionship of fellow devotees for many years to come.
By Tamara Christine Van Hooser