[Warning: Possible SPOILERS for Doctor Who season 8 ahead!]
The world of Doctor Who might be filmed largely in a studio, but its Earthly grounding means that a chunk of filming for each season must be done out in public and in front of prying eyes. The scenes being filmed at the moment are of particular interest to Doctor Who fans, since the role was recently handed over to Peter Capaldi (In the Loop) and we won’t get to see him playing the Doctor until the fall.
The general rule with rumors is to get corroboration from at least three different sources, and at least three people who were present during the filming of the first episode of Doctor Who season 8 have reported that former Doctor Matt Smith will make a cameo appearance – or, at least, his voice will – when Clara receives a phone call from him.
You can watch the filming of the scene in question above. Cardiff resident Ryan Farrell described the dialogue exchange on Twitter, saying, “The Eleventh Doctor phones Clara from Trenzalore and tells her not to worry. The two Doctors briefly speak to each other as well.” Bleeding Cool has a more detailed account of what was being filmed, but here are the salient bits.
“Clara emerges from the TARDIS on her mobile phone, looking intense and emotional. She’s not speaking to anyone, rather she seems to be just listening… The message, it turns out, is from the previous incarnation of the Doctor, played by Matt Smith. Hanging up the phone, the Doctor, played by Peter Capaldi exits the TARDIS, and starts an exchange with Clara. He asks if that was the Doctor on the phone…
“Emotionally, he insists to Clara; he is the Doctor, he’s 2000 years old, and he’s standing right there, in front of her… The Doctor looks down into his companion’s eyes curiously, like an owl bemused. Suddenly, Clara throws her arms around the Doctor. For his part, the Doctor awkwardly holds his arms out around her, fingers splayed and startled and uncomfortable. Clara immediately then clicks back into her normal, bouncy self, asking the Doctor where they are. He replied Glasgow.”
As can be seen in the video, the Doctor is decked out in his new outfit to mark the next stage of his very long life, and he still seems to react rather awkwardly to physical affection from his companions. The Glasgow setting is interesting, since Capaldi has retained his Scottish accent for the role (unlike David Tennant, who affected an English accent). Perhaps the Doctor’s new voice has also instilled in him an appreciation for Scottish culture, or just a hankering for some mince and tatties.
We’ll have to wait and see how this phone call is dealt with in the episode, but it could be argued that having the previous Doctor hanging on and making an appearance in the new Doctor’s first outing runs the risk of weakening it; it’s hard to turn over a new leaf when making calls back – quite literally – to the events of the last season. Besides, Smith’s farewell was effective enough that it doesn’t really need a postscript.
Tell us in the comments what you think of this first look at the next season of Doctor Who, and why the Eleventh Doctor might have taken the trouble to make a call into the future.
Doctor Who returns to BBC One in fall 2014.