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The Doctor is back - promising to be the scariest and darkest yet

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Nearly 50 years after Doctor Who first appeared on BBC1, the Doctor's capacity for regeneration has known no bounds.

But it really will be the end of the line for one of the time travelling drama's lead characters when it returns for a new series later this month.

The question is, which one?

The programme's show runner Steven Moffat risked the ire of fans with a "spoiler" giving away that one of four characters - the Doctor, played by Matt Smith, his companion Amy Pond (Karen Gillan), her husband Rory Williams (Arthur Davill) or mysterious fellow time traveller River Song, played by former ER star Alex Kingston - will meet their doom.

"We're not lying. One of those four people is going to die," Moffat told the new issue of Doctor Who magazine.

"The Doctor's darkest hour is coming. Shows like Doctor Who should have big colourful, memorable moments that make you go, 'What the hell?'

"It's hard to create shock in Doctor Who when we've already blown up the universe a couple of times. What do you do next?"

Moffat said the first two episodes of the new series - which feature a mystery alien species known as the Silents - is the scariest opener to any Doctor Who series yet.

"You put the jokes in for the adults, and you make it scary to appeal to children."

The opening two-parter, without giving too much away, is set in 1960s America and features the moon landings, Richard Nixon in the White House, Area 51 and an alien race with a unique USP.

Fans could be forgiven for assuming neither the Doctor nor his companion will die, however, with both Smith and Gillan signed up for the duration of the new series. Possibly they travelled back in time and changed their mind.

The cliffhanger is guaranteed to generate plenty of expectation around Doctor Who's return to BBC1 on Easter Saturday, 23 April. It is the sixth series since the teatime favourite returned in 2005.

Moffat, one of the creative powerhouses behind BBC1's acclaimed re-imagining of Sherlock Holmes, has promised to double the number of "event episodes", the second with Smith in the title role.

"You are going to get several cliffhangers and a couple of real belters," said Moffat.

While there were plenty of plaudits for Smith there was a mixed reception for last year's series, the first overseen by Moffat, with ratings down year on year.

The new series will feature guest appearances Hugh Bonneville, David Walliams, James Corden, Lily Cole, and the voice of Michael Sheen.

It will be split into two, with seven episodes running until June before it returns with another six episodes in the autumn.

Moffat ended by appealing to the media not to give too much away about the impending "death". "Tease them but don't tell them," he said.

Captions: Over the moon: Amy, the Doctor and Rory - but who will never return?

Disclaimer: These citations are created on-the-fly using primitive parsing techniques. You should double-check all citations. Send feedback to whovian@cuttingsarchive.org

  • APA 6th ed.: Plunkett, John (2011-04-05). The Doctor is back - promising to be the scariest and darkest yet. The Guardian p. 10.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Plunkett, John. "The Doctor is back - promising to be the scariest and darkest yet." The Guardian [add city] 2011-04-05, 10. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Plunkett, John. "The Doctor is back - promising to be the scariest and darkest yet." The Guardian, edition, sec., 2011-04-05
  • Turabian: Plunkett, John. "The Doctor is back - promising to be the scariest and darkest yet." The Guardian, 2011-04-05, section, 10 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=The Doctor is back - promising to be the scariest and darkest yet | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/The_Doctor_is_back_-_promising_to_be_the_scariest_and_darkest_yet | work=The Guardian | pages=10 | date=2011-04-05 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=23 October 2019 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=The Doctor is back - promising to be the scariest and darkest yet | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/The_Doctor_is_back_-_promising_to_be_the_scariest_and_darkest_yet | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=23 October 2019}}</ref>