Lovarzi's Series 9 Guide: The Magician's Apprentice/ The Witch's Familiar September 19, 2015 11:28 - Philip Bates

Transmission: 19.09.2015/ 26.09.2015.

Writer: Steven Moffat.

Director: Hettie MacDonald.

Guest Starring: Michelle Gomez; Jemma Redgrave; Clara Higgins; Jaye Griffiths; Jami Reid-Quarrell; Nicholas Briggs; and Daniel Hoffman-Gill.

Doctor Who Series 9 is upon us, with Peter Capaldi's Twelfth Doctor at the helm of the TARDIS alongside his ever-reliable companion, Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman).

But with news that Jenna is leaving, what do these next 12 episodes hold for an Impossible Girl running out of time? The series kicks off with the Doctor missing, the Daleks searching for the Time Lord, and Clara driven into an uneasy alliance with Missy...

The skies over the Earth have frozen – planes suspended above skyscrapers and fields – and the one man who can help is missing from time and space. Where is the Doctor? And what is he hiding from?

Teased with the last will and testament of the Doctor, the return of Michelle Gomez as Missy, and the Doctor making a cataclysmic mistake, this opening story sets the run's precedent for two-parters: indeed, showrunner, Steven Moffat recently said that Series 9 will blur the lines between what constitutes as a multi-part tale. We've at least four two-parters this series, and that's without episodes 5 and 6, which, we're assured, are linked.

In the Radio Times, Moffat posed some very intriguing questions, namely "Why did [the Doctor] really leave Gallifrey all those centuries ago?"

Hettie MacDonald returns to the director's chair for the first time since the fan-favourite Blink (2007), which introduced the Weeping Angels – and this time, she gets to work with Daleks from all eras of the show! Because the Doctor is trapped on Skaro, the planet of the Daleks, as a prisoner of the creatures that hate him most... Taking

The irradiated deserts of Skaro were filmed in Tenerife, and Peter Capaldi told Doctor Who Magazine: "We were in a very isolated location. You had to drive quite a distance to get to it. It's not on a touristy bit of the island; it's way, way up. It looks great. It works very well."

Rather interestingly, these episodes also credit former showrunner, Russell T Davies, and further writers, Toby Whithouse, Chris Chibnall, Gareth Roberts, and Stephen Greenhorn – most likely for creating aliens that have cameos. For Whithouse, this could be the Krillitanes (from 2006's School Reunion); for Greenhorn, we're betting on the Hath (2008's The Doctor's Daughter); and Roberts' monsters include the Carrionites (2007's The Shakespeare Code), the Skovox Blitzer (last year's The Caretaker), and the Graske from the 2005 Interactive Red Button game.

Davies, of course, created a vast array of aliens (including the Slitheen, Sycorax, and the Adipose), while Chibnall's contributions also span both Doctor Who and Torchwood.

Jemma Redgrave reprises her role as UNIT's Kate Stewart, Kelly Hunter as the Shadow Architect from 2008's The Stolen Earth, and Clara Higgins returns as Ohila, a member of the Sisterhood of Karn, which she previously played in 2013's The Night of the Doctor.

The Magician's Apprentice airs tonight on BBC One at 7:40pm.

Images: BBC.