Adolf Hitler features in Doctor Who tonight, which returns to TV screens after its summer hiatus. Seven new episodes will comprise the current run, including a mini-episode written by a group of British schoolchildren.
In a break from tradition, the BBC's long-running science-fiction drama has been split into two separate series for 2011.
The first batch of Doctor Who episodes – which comprised the stories The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon (by Steven Moffat), The Curse of the Black Spot (by Stephen Thompson), The Doctor's Wife (by Neil Gaiman), The Rebel Flesh/The Almost People (by Matthew Graham) and Moffat's A Good Man Goes to War – was broadcast in the spring, with viewers left waiting on a cliff-hanger ending in June.
At the end of A Good Man Goes to War, it was revealed that the newborn baby Melody Pond – daughter of the Doctor's companions, Amy and Rory – was in fact Professor River Song, another of his companions who has been played by Alex Kingston (ER) since 2008.
Tonight's episode, Let's Kill Hitler, picks up the story and sees the TARDIS team transported to Adolf Hitler's office in 1930s Berlin. Hitler is played by Albert Welling, who is no stranger to playing members of the Third Reich. In the current issue of Doctor Who Magazine, he told Benjamin Cook: "I played Erwin Rommel in D-Day [for the BBC in 2004, and, again for the BBC, in 2009] General Jodl in D-Day in Berlin.
Moffat says of featuring the Führer in the series, "Hitler would be deeply, deeply p****d off to know that we treated him as a minor comic character in an episode of Doctor Who."
As well as the six full-length episodes, pupils from Oakley CE Junior School have written a new mini-episode, Death is the Only Answer, which is due to be broadcast at the end of the current series.
Pupils from Oakley CE Junior School, UK, meet the Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) on the TARDIS set during filming of their Doctor Who script, Death is the Only Answer
According to the Doctor Who News Page, the unusual collaboration is the result of a competition that was launched earlier this year by BBC Learning in conjunction with the Doctor Who spin-off documentary series Doctor Who Confidential.
As reported by BBC News this week, the young writers "were only allowed to use one monster in their script", with the monster they chose remaining under wraps until the night of broadcast.
However, the Wrap says it "will involve [either] Ood, Cyberman, Judoon or Weeping Angel [and] includes a brand-new human character to battle the Doctor [. . .] a well-known historical figure and also a fez".
According to the Radio Times, as well as Moffat's Let's Kill Hitler, the remaining episodes are: Night Terrors, by Mark Gatiss; The Girl Who Waited, by Tom MacRae; The God Complex, by Toby Whithouse; Closing Time, by Gareth Roberts; the mini-episode, Death is the Only Answer, by Oakley CE Junior School, and Moffat's season finale, The Wedding of River Song.
The Eleven Doctors
Production of the new episodes concluded only recently, and, after a short break, Smith is about to commence filming the 2011 Christmas special. He has also signed up to star in a further 14 episodes after that, but is also expected to stay on to record even more episodes for the fiftieth anniversary of the show in 2013.
Since Doctor Who began in 1963, eleven actors have portrayed the Doctor on television, to date. William Hartnell was the first; and he was followed by Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant and Matt Smith.
Plans for the golden jubilee year are being kept tightly under wraps, but Moffat has promised something "huge", telling Den of Geek: "It won’t be just one thing . . . We’ll be doing lots of stuff.". Whether that will include a multi-Doctor story akin to the ones broadcast to celebrate the tenth (The Three Doctors) and twentieth (The Five Doctors) anniversaries is not yet known, but Tennant has already made it known that he'd be happy to return for such an event.
Doctor Who continues tonight in the UK, US and Canada. Australian viewers will have to wait another week, till 3 September. The Doctor is played by Matt Smith. His companions Amy, Rory and River Song are played by Karen Gillan, Arthur Darvill and Alex Kingston, respectively. Doctor Who is produced for the BBC by BBC Cymru Wales, and is a co-production with BBC America. Steven Moffat is the show's head writer and executive producer.