By Patrick Kevin Day Los Angeles Times
Summer is traditionally movie blockbuster time, but to celebrate the beginning of Peter Capaldi’s run as the star of “Doctor Who,” BBC America is breaking out of the normal TV experience and onto the movies’ turf.
The feature-length premiere episode of the new season, “Deep Breath” will debut on BBC America on Aug. 23. But it will also get a special theatrical screening at midnight that same night in 12 cities. The list of cities will be announced Aug. 5.
In case a midnight screening is too late for his human fans (because what’s a late night to a master of time and space?), there will be two follow-up screenings at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Aug. 25. The follow-up screenings will take place in 550 theaters around the country. The list of Aug. 25 screenings can be found at tinyurl.com/DrWhoScreenList.
That’s not to say BBC America is planning to downplay the Doctor’s TV debut. The episode will be preceded by a live pre-show by ubiquitous superfan Chris Hardwick and a live post-show, “Doctor Who: After Who Live.”
The channel also plans to air a series of specials in the days before the premiere, including “Doctor Who: The Ultimate Companion” on Aug. 16, “The Real History of Science Fiction: Time” and “Doctor Who: The Ultimate Time Lord” on Aug. 18.
A marathon of fan favorite episodes will air the day after the premiere on Aug. 24.
The events come on the heels of a world tour, in which Capaldi, Jenna Coleman and executive producer Steven Moffat will appear in seven cities on five continents over 12 days. (Moffat will not be at all of the events). Capaldi and Coleman will be in New York City on Aug. 14.
Moffat wrote the premiere episode, which is set in Victorian England and will also feature returning companion Clara, played by Coleman, Neve McIntosh, Catrin Stewart and Dan Starkey.