Last night saw the official press launch for seasonal, Kylie-flavoured Doctor Who special "Voyage of the Damned".
The venue was London's Science Museum and naturally SFX was in attendance, oozing Man-Flu and selflessly infecting a shiny throng of celebrities. It was quite the fame parade, in fact - we spotted everyone from Anne Widdecombe to Andrew Marr, Nick Park to Nick Cave (yes, the Antipodean Bad Seeder was there, exuding his trademark greasy, muttonchopped rock and rock cool... just try having Nick Cave and Bernard Cribbins in the same eyeline and see if your brain doesn't implode with the implausibility of it all).
Sadly Kylie wasn't there, denying Cave the chance of some impromptu murder balladry on Where The Wild Roses Grow, but there was a TARDISload of Who celebs in attendance: the masterly John Simm, Noel Clarke, Camille Coduri, Dalek larynx Nick Briggs, Torchwood's Naoki Mori and the immortal Lis Sladen chaperoning the young Thomas Knight from The Sarah Jane Adventures. Fifth Doctor Peter Davison arrived later in the evening, complete with the Spamalot beard he shaved for recent Children in Need multi-Doctor pile-up tale Time Crash.
And yes, David Tennant was there, rocking a killer suit and facing the press for the first time since co-star Catherine Tate's recent hint that his Time Lording days may be coming to a close. He confirmed that he's signed for four specials in 2009, but his commitment to series five is still to be inked, he says: "Nobody's actually asked me yet - maybe they'll go straight to Jimmy Krankie!" He also shared his methodology on smooching with Kylie: "I just keep going until the director tells me to stop..." An inspiration to us all, frankly.
Also facing the press was Russell T Davies, mischievously suggesting that Hitler might have made a good Doctor... "Or Julie Goodyear.". He was asked if he was tempted to bring back any other past Doctors after Davison's crowdpleasing turn in Time Crash: "Never say never, but right now there are no plans to bring anyone back." He also smiled knowingly as a young fan asked if there was any truth to the rumour that Davros may be returning next season: "I'll see what I can do," he teased, suggesting it may be good news for fans of one-handed cosmic eugenicists everywhere.
"Ah, but what of 'Voyage of the Damned itself'?", you cry. Well, it was the sixpence in the pudding, a perfect Christmas Day adventure that blends the disaster movie trappings of The Poseidon Adventure with the kind of madcap, quasi-2000 AD flavourings of those old Doctor Who Weekly comic strips. The publicity's riding on the Kylie factor but it's amazing how little star baggage she brings - she's brave and adorable as Astrid and perfectly fits the Who girl template, delivering an unshowy but winning performance. David Tennant is blessed with a couple of big, mythic moments and nails them, with support from a great cast (could have done with more from Geoffrey Palmer, who we're contractually obliged to refer to as lugubrious). There's a reworked version of the theme tune, by the way, more propulsive and drum-heavy than before. Oh, and "Voyage of the Damned" contains what may well be the single cheekiest moment in the history of Doctor Who... some may splutter on their Quality Street come Christmas Day, but we laughed.
And as the episode ended we were treated to a sneak look at season four, a rapid-fire montage of Donna, Martha, Sontarans, Romans, red-robed witchy types and... giant bees. Giant bees! Well, that's one way to generate a buzz...
Shoot us now. It'd be kinder.