So why has the BBC picked Hartlepool for the worldwide public premiere of the Doctor Who Christmas special?

From left, Pearl Mackie as Bill, Peter Capaldi as the current Doctor and David Bradley as the original Doctor in a publicity still for the upcoming Christmas special.
From left, Pearl Mackie as Bill, Peter Capaldi as the current Doctor and David Bradley as the original Doctor in a publicity still for the upcoming Christmas special.

Doctor Who mania hits Hartlepool on Thursday when the town hosts the first public screening of the upcoming Christmas special.

Phil Roberts, the head of the BBC in the North East and Cumbria, explains why Hartlepool was chosen for tonight’s big event:

The BBC's Phil Roberts.

The BBC's Phil Roberts.

This Christmas, Peter Capaldi makes his final journey in the TARDIS in the Doctor Who Christmas special.

Today, at Hartlepool Town Hall, lucky ticket-holders will be able to see the eagerly-anticipated festive edition of BBC One’s sci-fi favourite before anybody else.

And that’s not all. There’s a treat for comedy fans in the region with the first two episodes of The League of Gentlemen’s twentieth anniversary specials also being previewed in Hartlepool.

This really is a local screening for local people, and both programmes star the North East’s very own Mark Gatiss.

Steve Pemberton, co-writer and co-star of The League of Gentlemen, recently said that the Gentlemen’s best audiences are in the north of England.

He said that we’re the funniest people in the country up here, and I know the whole cast is over the moon that we get to see their new episodes first.

I’m thrilled we’re able to bring these very special programmes exclusively to audiences in the North East.

Quiz: Test your Doctor Who knowledge

The BBC is committed is doing more in northern England and I am particularly pleased that a global BBC brand such as Doctor Who is being shown in Hartlepool first.

There’s plenty coming up in 2018 as well. A new series with chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall will follow dieters in Newcastle as they bid to lose a collective 100,000lbs.
Sea Cities, the documentary that meets the people who live and work around Britain’s port cities, is back in February and the series begins in Sunderland.

In the summer, Newcastle-Gateshead will host The Great Exhibition of the North, a two-month celebration of art, culture and design in the north.

Starting in June and finishing in September with The Great North Run, your regional BBC services will be there every step of the way to showcase the highlights of the event.

We’ll also be broadcasting The Great North Run on BBC One.

That’s on top of the BBC’s regional content made right here in the region including Look North, the most popular TV news programme in the North East, and your local radio station, BBC Tees.

So there’s a lot to look forward to.

But first we’re taking a trip in the TARDIS and paying a visit to Royston Vasey, with the added sparkle of a glitzy BBC red carpet experience.