Monday, 14 September 2015

Doctor Who: Series Nine Episode Titles Revealed

Unusually this year we knew several of Series Nine's titles quite early on but now, with just a mere handful of days to go until the premiere, we have the entire set, released today in one handy image on the official Doctor Who twitter account.

'Peter Capaldi sings all your favourite Doctor Who hits. Buy the new album now!'
As has been discussed previously, Series Nine will be basically entirely split up into two-parters, although some episodes which appear to be linked might turn out not to be. This is shown in the titles which, apart from 9 and 10, all mirror each other. Personally this kind of titling makes me think of the old 1960s Batman series whose episodes had titles like 'The Joker is Wild/Batman is Riled' but I'm sure I'll get used to them. 

Let's have a look at the episode roster a little closer. 

1/2. The Magician's Apprentice/The Witch's Apprentice by Steven Moffat

Naturally, we know the most about the opening two-parter which Moffat is plugging as a season finale right at the start of the series, in the style of Series Six's 'The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon.' According to the recent trailer, it will feature a Dalek city, Missy, a stripey-faced man, Pan's Labyrinthine hand people and more! There was also a foreboding prologue released over the weekend and a longer prequel is expected to materialise later this week. They're really plugging this one. 

3/4. Under The Lake/Before the Flood by Toby Whithouse 

After a year's absence, The Game creator Toby Whithouse has returned to Who to pen this spooky two-parter set in an underwater base. Whithouse has said that it contains 'ghosts' and 'time travel.' That setting and the second title suggest a prequel to David Tennant episode 'The Waters Of Mars' which featured a sentient water-based entity called The Flood. Although it does look like those empty-eyed grotesques from the trailer will appear in this one so what do I know...

5/6. The Girl Who Died/The Woman Who Lived by Jamie Mathieson and Steven Moffat/Catherine Treganna

These episodes are one of the pairs that might not be as connected as at first glance. This would seem to be supported by the split writing team, with the first episode scripted by both Moffat and 'Mummy' and 'Flatline' writer Jamie Mathieson while Torchwood's Catherine Treganna has the reigns of the second (Fun fact: Catherine Treganna is the first female writer for the show since 2008's 'The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky'). That said, both episodes are expected to be set in a Viking setting and are confirmed to star Maisie Williams, who everyone expected to be some kind of returning character in a new form (Romana? Susan? Jenny?) but has recently been labelled as a brand-new creation. 

7/8. The Zygon Invasion/The Zygon Inversion by Peter Harness

From the pen of 'Kill the Moon''s Peter Harness, this is apparently a classic alien invasion story with a twist and will presumably tie up the loose ends of what happened to the human/Zygon peace treaty in 'The Day of The Doctor.' As well as obviously featuring the Zygons, it will also see the return of UNIT's Kate Stewart and an apparently undeaded Osgood. Personally, I'm not sure about how close the titles are for these. They're practically the same if you happen to be from the North of England.

9. Sleep No More by Mark Gatiss

After his last two light-hearted episodes, Mark Gatiss looks set to return to his horror roots in this (probably) one-parter which is apparently like nothing the show has attempted before and an episode idea Mark has been tackling for years. Mark's former The League of Gentlemen co-star and Inside No. 9 creator Reese Shearsmith is to finally make his Doctor Who debut proper (after playing Patrick Troughton in biopic An Adventure in Space and Time) in this episode. The title also evokes previous Gatiss episode 'Night Terrors' but that probably doesn't mean we should expect a return for the creepy Peg Dolls, sadly. 

10. Face The Raven by Sarah Dollard

Making her Who debut is the third Being Human writer of the series, Sarah Dollard. This looks set to be this year's 'Flatline' (the high-concept episode kept tightly under wraps), not least because it features the return of Rigsy, the graffiti artist who becomes Clara's companion in that story.

11/12. Heaven Sent/Hell Bent by Steven Moffat

The second finale title in a row to have religious connotations, we know extremely little about what Moffat has planned for us in this grand denouement to the series. That said, there have been semi-confirmed rumours that episode 11 will be a one-hander for Peter Capaldi, featuring no other cast members at all! If this is true, it's a brave idea that should provide a 'Listen'-like breaking of the Doctor Who rules and hopefully make for fantastic television. 

With such ground-breaking and imaginative episodes coming up, I'm hugely excited for Series Nine and have a sneaking suspicion it might be the best one for years. Only time will tell...

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