Hartlepool gets ready to stage world premiere of Doctor Who Christmas special

A photo publicising the new Doctor Who Christmas special with Mark Gatiss, left, current doctor Peter Capaldi, centre, and David Bradley as the original doctor.
A photo publicising the new Doctor Who Christmas special with Mark Gatiss, left, current doctor Peter Capaldi, centre, and David Bradley as the original doctor.

Hundreds of excited Doctor Who fans will converge upon Hartlepool this evening to watch the world premiere of the television Time Lord’s latest adventure.

The town was last month surprisingly chosen as the first place to show the science-fiction series’ forthcoming Christmas special.

Sue and Neil Perryman at home with Doctor Who.

Sue and Neil Perryman at home with Doctor Who.

Tight security is expected to be in force at the Town Hall Theatre, in Raby Road, ahead of the 7pm broadcast.

There are suggestions lucky ticket-holders will be asked to surrender their mobile phones and any other electronic equipment before they take their seats so that they don’t secretly record the show.

The audience, however will not watch the complete episode.

Its final scene, in which current doctor Peter Capaldi is widely expected to regenerate into successor Jodie Whittaker - the first actress to take the famous role - will be kept back until the entire special is broadcast by BBC1 on Christmas Day.

Hartlepool Town Hall Theatre.

Hartlepool Town Hall Theatre.

In a double coup for the town, free show will be followed at 8.30pm by the debut screening of the first of three new episodes of offbeat comedy The League of Gentlemen.

Successful spectators will also be able to pose for pictures on the BBC’s red carpet and admire props from both programmes.

While the BBC cannot calculate how many people have 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.

Quiz: How much do you really know about Doctor Who?

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.

As Phil Roberts, the head of the BBC in the North East and Cumbria, explains in an open letter to Mail readers: “This really is a local screening for local people.”

One town Doctor Who enthusiast, however, will not be attending this evening.

Author and part-time university lecturer Neil Perryman, 48, is currently writing his ninth book about the 54-year-old series.

Among his completed works is Adventures With The Wife In Space in which he reveals how wife Sue, 56, also a Sunderland University lecturer, watched every available episode in the show’s history.

Childhood fan Neil, from Elwick, who lectures in new media, said: “I didn’t apply for tickets as the Doctor Who special is now part of Christmas Day and watching it on December 14 is a bit like opening your presents 11 days early.

“I’m going to wait until December 25 and watch it all with the family.

“But this is very much a coup for Hartlepool and I couldn’t believe it when I found out that Hartlepool was chosen for the premiere.”

Keep logging back to our website on Thursday night for updates from the premiere.