Traditionally Popes sign an exclusivity deal when appearing in any syndicated show but the Vatican has made an exception for this landmark event. Avid Dr Who fans have expressed anxiety that having two Popes in the same place is a danger to the space time continuum. However Steve Moffat, writer, has been quick to allay their concerns: ‘It’s not the first time that a multiple Pope story line has been used – after the succession of St Peter for instance. Rest assured we have a great show lined up. It will feature the return of the Cybermen, the Methodists and the Pope’s arch nemesis the NSPCC.’
Former Pope Benedict is returning to the show, two months after becoming the first pontiff to leave on health grounds or before ‘the shit hit the fan’, as he explained in Latin. Having flown in by helicopter from the Castel Gandolfo papal summer residence, Benedict was quick to distance himself from allegations of ‘Assistant’ abuse. The suggestion that he had destroyed documentary evidence that could have been used against him was dismissed as ‘laughable’. ‘What?’ he shrieked. ‘Do you imagine that the Cardinals sit around in a closed room burning papers, while they have the important task of electing a new Pope? Ridiculous!’
Benedict’s last appearance had been in a storyline penned by Russell T Davies about an alternate universe where Nazis had taken over the Vatican. At the time critics said the narrative stretched incredulity to breaking, prompting Benedict to say he wanted to take a step back from the role and remain ‘hidden from the world’. However, the lure of working again with Billie Piper proved too much of a temptation for the aged pontiff.
The episode, to be screened on 23 November, is titled ‘All roads lead to Rome’ which fans have interpreted as a veiled reference to NSPCC investigations from earlier seasons. Series producer, Marcus Wilson, is convinced that the 3D version should scare the ‘living shit out of any small kids’. As usual, fans will argue over who is the definitive Pope but all agree that it was not Pope Joan (played by Sylvester McCoy).