Hartlepool to be the first place in the world to watch new 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.

Hartlepool will screen an historic episode of hit television series Doctor Who more than a week before it is broadcast globally.

The town will become the envy of this - and no doubt countless other science-fiction worlds - when the new Christmas special appears on Thursday, December 14, at 8pm at the Town Hall Theatre.

The Raby Road venue has been chosen by the BBC as the first of eight northern locations to preview actor Peter Capaldi’s last episode as the Time Lord.

But the lucky audience is likely to have to wait until December 25 to witness the moment the Doctor becomes a woman for the first time.

For the final scene, in which Capaldi is expected to regenerate into successor Jodie Whittaker, will be held back until the entire episode is broadcast by BBC1 on Christmas Day.

In a double coup for Hartlepool, however, the 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.

Both programmes will feature Sedgefield-born actor and writer Mark Gatiss .

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The League of Gentlemen regular appears alongside Capaldi, Whittaker and David Bradley, who is recreating the late William Hartnell’s role as the first TV doctor, as a character called the Captain.

Three other North-East venues will also host preview screenings of Doctor Who after the Time Lord’s TARDIS leaves town.

It will be broadcast at 7pm and 8.30pm at St Nicholas Cathedral, in Newcastle, on Sunday, December 17, Middlesbrough Empire on Monday, December 18, and Durham School on Wednesday, December 20.

Adrian Mills, general manager of BBC North, says: “We can’t wait to bring this wonderful seasonal programming direct to our audiences in the north and we’re sure they’ll enjoy this exclusive BBC content.”

A ballot to see all the preview shows begins today - marking 54 years since Doctor Who was first broadcast - and lasts until December 3.

The BBC promises that 45 per cent of tickets from the random draw will go to local postcodes, 45 per cent to the surrounding county and 10 per cent to nationwide applications.

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

Applications can be made through the BBC Shows and Tours website at www.bbc.co.uk/showsandtours/shows/bbc_north_preview_screening_tour.