Young Doctor Who fan tells of Hartlepool premiere joy

One youngster had an extra special birthday and Christmas treat rolled into one when Doctor Who came to town.

Tuesday, 19th December 2017, 5:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 19th December 2017, 12:45 pm
Dr Who night makes Thomas Dunn's Christmas extra special.

For Thomas Dunn, who has special needs and is a massive Doctor Who fan, being able to go along to the world premiere of the forthcoming Christmas Day episode at Hartlepool’s Town Hall Theatre was a dream come true.

The youngster, who sufferers from an anxiety disorder which causes select mutism, celebrated his 12th birthday earlier this month and his mum, Karen Dunn, said there was no better present than finding out he had tickets to see the premiere.

From left: Harry, John and Thomas Dunn in the queue for the screening of Dr Who at Hartlepool.

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Thomas, a pupil at St Michael’s Catholic Academy in Billingham, went along to the event with his dad, John Dunn, and younger brother, Harry, nine, who has autism.

Karen said the organisers of the event, the BBC and the town hall theatre, were really good with the boys and accommodating to their needs.

The 37-year-old, who also has an eight-year-old daughter, Katie, said: “Thomas is mad about Doctor Who, he just loves it. He has met a few of the former doctors at conventions.

“Going to the premiere meant such a lot to him, he was so excited, it took him hours to settle down when he got home. He even took his ticket in to show his teachers he had been.

Thomas Dunn with one of the Dr Who's Colin Baker.

“I think it is fantastic to have something like this come to our area.”

Thomas’ condition means he becomes so anxious that he has difficulty speaking to most people, even friends and family members.

But, he was so excited about seeing Doctor Who he managed to tell the Mail a bit about it.

He said: “I loved it.”

Thomas Dunn with Dr Who, Peter Davison.

He also told us about his favourite parts of the new episode, although the Mail has agreed not to reveal any spoilers ahead of the televised show.

Thomas said he likes the old fashioned TARDIS more than the modern one.

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.

From left: Harry, John and Thomas Dunn in the queue for the screening of Dr Who at Hartlepool.

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 the Dr Who premiere, it says more than 46,000 people 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% coming from elsewhere across the region and nationwide applicants making up the remaining 10%.

Thomas Dunn with one of the Dr Who's Colin Baker.
Thomas Dunn with Dr Who, Peter Davison.