The new series of Doctor Who launches in Australia this weekend. And, in a first for ABC TV, the popular science-fiction series has premiered on ABC iView – the ABC’s Internet broadcasting service – two days prior to its broadcast on ABC 1.
Less than a fortnight after the first episode aired on BBC 1 in the UK, Australian viewers have been given the opportunity to stream it on iView, from midnight tonight Australia time, with the ABC1 broadcast going out on Sunday.
The new series – which stars Matt Smith as the eleventh Doctor and Karen Gillan as his companion, Amy Pond – has been developed by the BAFTA-winning writer Steven Moffat (Coupling, Jekyll), who has replaced Russell T. Davies (Queer as Folk, The Second Coming) as lead writer and executive producer.
Gillan had already appeared in Doctor Who – as the Soothsayer, alongside Tennant and Catherine Tate (Donna Noble) – in 2008’s The Fires of Pompeii, by James Moran. Smith, a relative newcomer, starred with Billie Piper (the Doctor’s former companion, Rose Tyler) in 2006’s Ruby in the Smoke, by Philip Pullman. He was introduced as the Doctor to viewers at the end of the recent two-part special The End of Time, when he took over from Tennant.
In the 65-minute first episode, The Eleventh Hour, the Doctor has regenerated into a brand-new man, but danger strikes before he can even recover fully. With the TARDIS wrecked, and the sonic screwdriver destroyed, the new Doctor has just 20 minutes to save the whole world – and only Amy Pond to help him!
Doctor Who iView premiere – available from April 16; Doctor Who, ABC1 premiere – Sunday, April 18, at 7.30 p.m.