Last night! Doctor Who! The launch bash for Series Four! Best stop with the exclamation marks now, eh?! Bugger, there was another! And another, etc etc.
It was an ever-so-slightly more selective gathering than usual (clearly my invitation arrived through some clerical error), held in a cinema by Piccadilly Circus. Various key Who production team members were present: directors like James Strong and Colin Teague munched canapes and drank booze along with writers including Gareth Roberts, Steven Moffat, James Moran, Helen Raynor and some tall Welsh fellow named Russell. Oh, and Simon Pegg, who looked like he was in geek heaven.
The first two episodes of the new series were aired back to back, with literally no gap in between. They're both breathtaking, in different ways. The first one, Partners In Crime, is brilliant family entertainment with a blinding, extended visual gag somewhere around the middle, while The Fires Of Pompeii is a visually spectacular historical which equally measures chills and chuckles. Catherine Tate is tremendous in both (David Tennant's a given, in my opinion).
Obviously, I'll let James give his own account of his evening. But I can say it was a delight to watch the man's bewildered little face as the remarkable night progressed around him. I just wish he hadn't held my hand quite so damn hard during his episode. I'm typing this one-handed. Then again, that's nothing new.
After the two episodes, there was a breathtaking trailer for the rest of Series Four (different again from that astounding, bronzed-up, iconic trail with the Keyser Soze ending - which you can see below), which simply comprised of big, thumping, dramatic images of characters who'll return this time around. I won't list these, in case anyone's avoiding spoilers, but no doubt they'll be all over the press today.
A following Q&A saw press types and a few children hurling questions at Russell, David and Catherine - many of which were fruitless attempts to get Russell and David to say how long they were planning to stay on the show, and which were bluntly swatted away. Catherine revealed that she did so much running in Series Four that she abandoned her heels in favour of Marks & Spencer's "foot-gloves", which clearly tickled Russell. He was hooting about them for quite some time afterwards.
The new issue of Doctor Who Magazine is out this Thursday, too. Within its pages, I have written spoiler-free (unless you really don't want to know anything) previews on The Planet of the Ood (episode three) and The Sontaran Strategem/The Poison Sky (episodes four and five). There is also, strangely, a wealth of other fine coverage to enjoy.
Anyway. Doctor Who, then. Starting this Saturday on BBC1 at 6.20pm. Do it.