DOCTOR WHO NYC Premiere Wows Both Fans & Cast
by Lucas Siegel, Newsarama Editor
Date: 12 April 2011 Time: 03:43 PM ET
DOCTOR WHO NYC Premiere Wows Fans
When the Doctor tells you to follow him, you just do. That's how about a thousand New Yorkers felt Monday night April 11, 2011 when it came to a special event hosted by BBC America.After a smaller event last year, and record ratings for the network thanks to season 5 of the British science fiction staple Doctor Who, BBC America brought the four principal cast members, showrunner and writer Steven Moffat, director Toby Haynes, and executive producers Piers Wenger & Beth Willis to premiere the first two episodes of season 6 to an American crowd and hold a question and answer panel afterward. The response was a crowd that filled four theaters and still had run-off.
The first fans lined up for the 7pm Monday event at 4pm on Sunday afternoon. They braved the chill of night and the hottest day of the year in New York City so far in their pursuit to meet the cast and see the premiere episodes. The crowd continued to grow, eventually nearly circling an entire city block, reaching around three of the four streets. One couple from the midwest told Newsarama they came to NYC just for the weekend of events (a signing was also held the previous Friday), and waited in line for about 21 hours, taking turns sleeping on the cold sidewalk. They and the other line-waiters made a day of it, however, starting the Twitter hashtag #DWLinecon, trading stories, doing trivia, showing off costumes, drawing with chalk, and even occasionally bursting out into song. Their faithfulness was rewarded in the morning when the cast members in attendance, Matt Smith (The Doctor), Karen Gillan (Amy Pond), Arthur Darvill (Rory Williams), and Alex Kingston (River Song) walked the line with donuts they brought to the fans. That set the tone for the entire day's events; these fans, the actors, the producers on the show, the BBC America staff, even the staff of Village East Theaters that hosted the event were all just one extended group of friends, sharing something they loved together. After the long wait, at last it was time for the theater to open. Originally one theater, they wound up simulcasting the event to three others, and had others still waiting. BBC America and Village East even accommodated them, however; while they couldn't get in for the first showing and the live Q&A, they brought those later fans in immediately following for a rebroadcast. The episodes themselves were a raucous affair. The first two episodes were written by Moffat and directed by Haynes, so their presentation as a cohesive film made sense. The crowd was laughing, cheering when people came on the screen the first time, screaming out in terror, gripping their seats, sighing with relief and clapping with joy. Moffat requested that the press not spoil or describe the actual scenes from the episodes so that everyone could experience as freshly as this opening crowd. Suffice to say, this is the biggest opening to a season of Doctor Who of the modern era with as many questions as answers and some big, big cliffhangers.