Edinburgh city centre came to a standstill this afternoon as the BBC – and some familiar faces – arrived as part of a national tour to promote the return of Doctor Who to our TV screens this Saturday.
The BBC have pulled out all the stops to let us know that David Tennant has left the Tardis and a new pairing has materialised in the shape of the Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) and Amy Pond (Karen Gillan).
Following a whistlestop tour of Inverness (Gillan’s home city) on the Doctor Who bus, it was Edinburgh’s turn to catch a glimpse of the new series on the Festival Square giant screen.
Introduced by a buoyant, but clearly very cold, MC standing on a temporary stage bookended with Doctor Who flags, the event kicked off at 1pm with the small, slightly bemused, crowd being handed a pair of fetching Doctor Who 3D glasses – eat your heart out James Cameron…
Next, the screen brought to life by the new series logo, followed by a countdown which the audience were encouraged to join in with. It’s not every series that would inspire a group of adults of a certain age to chant along to a ticking clock in the middle of a city centre while wearing cardboard glasses (where’s that Cash in the Attic roadshow when you need it?) so kudos to Auntie for her efforts.
As the clock reached zero it was on with the 3D specs (well, I had to hold them on as they were designed for smaller heads) and the full force of the recent cinema advert and other assorted clips were felt by viewers in glorious coming-atcha-o-vision.
While mid-afternoon may not be the best time to experience the footage, seeing them on the big screen was still impressive. From watching just a few short moments it feels as if the series has had new life breathed into it, imbuing both it and its new leads with a swagger that was perhaps fading during the dying days of the Tennant era. All will become clear on Saturday.
As the event seemed to be coming to an end, the sound of hydraulics could be heard from behind the stage, followed by the appearance of a solitary Cyberman. It was at this point that we could have done with some standard issue BBC sofas to take cover behind, but we had to make do with hoping the creature didn’t notice 30 or so of us loitering nearby.
Moments later the Cyberman was joined by a rogue scarecrow from the third series episodes Human Nature/The Family of Blood, before the pair decided to take flight from the stage and move into the crowd.
Rather bizarrely, when the MC asked if anyone had a sonic screwdriver on them with which to destroy the Cyberman, a man next to me proudly held up his very own copy which he had hidden upon his person.
Quite how he knew when he left for work this morning that he’d encounter an evil foe of The Doctor’s from an alternate Earth has baffled me ever since, but it proves that it always pays to be prepared in a big city.
After this it was time for a few photos with the monsters and the chance to step into a time vortex to have yourself immortalised flying through space and time via central Edinburgh. As I’d just had my lunch I avoided the chance for a spot of time travel, but a few hardy souls ventured forth.
According to announcements at the event, each Doctor Who experience lasts one hour and will run from 11am until 4pm until Saturday afternoon, so there’s still time to get along for your own mini-adventure before the series returns on BBC One Scotland at 6.25pm this Saturday.
Visit the Doctor Who website for full details.