Deep Breath world première - CardiffBookmark and Share

Sunday, 10 August 2014 - Reviewed by Nick Joy

Deep Breath red carpet world première
Cardiff
7th August 2014
Pictures by Nick Joy and Andy Smith

Cardiff has been the production base for Doctor Who since 2004 and perhaps in recognition of this its residents were treated to the red carpet treatment for Series 8's world première 16 days before its TV screening.

As part of the wider world tour to promote the new season and Peter Capaldi's arrival as the new Doctor, the Cardiff première was held at St David's Hall, a concert venue in the heart of the city's shopping precinct and ideally located for a West End-style première event.

Tickets for the screening and Q&A sold out pretty much instantly amongst scenes of the website crashing and demand far exceeding supply. To help manage the disappointment, a free fan meet was arranged for the morning of the première, with Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, Steven Moffat and new guy Samuel Anderson traversing the 1/4 mile from Cardiff Central Library to the front of St David's Hall.

Having such a long "catwalk" was a double-edged sword. It meant that more people had the chance to see the stars up close and personal (at no point was it more than two or three deep), but it also meant they had further to walk in a short period of time. And while free publicity cards of Capaldi, Coleman and Anderson were given out to all, the chances of getting an autograph or two were really down to pot luck. Capaldi was particularly attentive - chatting, personalising autographs, posing for "selfies" and generally soaking up the rock star attention he was receiving.

All the while, Daleks patrolled the runway, stopping to terrorise the occasional delighted child, and Cybermen stomped up and down. BBC execs with clipboards scurried the barrier's length, prepping Capaldi for his next interview or soundbite, while presenters Lizo Mzimba and Jason Mohammad earnestly interviewed another group of delirious cosplayers. Even the TARDIS was in attendance, sitting outside the department stores.

After the screening, the cast set off for the London leg of the tour, hosted at the BFI. But back in Cardiff, as the carpet was rolled up, the railings stacked back on to the trucks and the visitors trooped off to the Doctor Who Experience in the Bay, the magic still hung in the air.

This was the same street that featured in the very same season opener being promoted that day (though it pretends to be elsewhere) and it's the same street that doubles as St Paul's district in the season finale. Two roads over and it's where Rose witnessed Autons smashing out of a shop window, and isn't that where Kylie and Doctor Tennant wandered around one Christmas?

And that's why Doctor Who premières happen here - they're a fixed point in time and space.