Christmas came early for Dr Who fans in Hartlepool.
It was knitted scarves, bow ties and sonic srewdrivers everywhere as hundreds queued outside the Town Hall Theatre to watch the early screening of the Christmas Day episode.
Excited fans were there from 5pm waiting for the 7pm start of the world premiere of the television Time Lord’s latest adventure.
And, they were given the red carpet treatment, complete with fake snow and the real TARDIS direct from the set.
The town was last month chosen as the first place to show the science-fiction series’ forthcoming Christmas special.
Tight security surrounded the theatre in Raby Road and ticket holders were asked to hand over their mobile phones to prevent any secret recording of the show.
Fans were thrilled the town had been chosen for such an honour.
Sarah Kitchen, 32, from Belle View, said: “I was really, really pleased that Hartlepool was chosen for such a big thing. it is not often that we get something like this in the town so it’s great.
“I have been a massive Dr Who fan since I was a little girl.”
Anthony Isgarth, 36, from Bishop Cuthbert, said: “I have been watching it since the 80s, it was Peter Davidson and Tom Baker then.
“I was really pleased to get one of the tickets. I will still watch it on Christmas Day.”
Josh Hill, 23, from Seaburn in Sunderland, is a massive fan of the show, and was dressed as the outgoing Dr Who, played by Peter Capaldi.
He went along to the showing with his girlfriend, Molly Horner, 16, from Hartlepool’s Dyke House area, and they both enjoyed the episode.
Josh said: “It was really, really good. I just love Capaldi, so its a bit sad for me.”
Paul Bianco, 64, who is well known throughout Hartlepool for his love of all things Dr Who, said: “I thought it was great, it was much better than I expected it was going to be.
“It was like the old Dr Who’s, it was funny, but very, very exciting as well.
“I’m not too keen on the idea of a woman doctor, but I will wait and see.”
Samantha Lythe, 39, also from the town, said she is looking forward to seeing a female doctor in the role, when Jodie Whittaker takes over.
She said: “I thought this episode was brilliant. I have no problems with a female doctor, it will be really nice to see a change.”
In a double coup for the town, the free show was followed by the debut screening of the first of three new episodes of offbeat comedy The League of Gentlemen.
While the BBC cannot calculate how many people applied to attend tonight’s show, it says more than 46,000 requested tickets as part of a nationwide ballot to watch eight pre-December 25 screenings across the north of England.
The corporation has also ensured that just under half the audience, expected to be around the 400 mark, will have local postcodes with another 45 per cent coming from elsewhere across the region and nationwide applicants making up the remaining 10 per cent.