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Doctor Who Series 8 to air on Volcano Day

Peter Capaldi’s first Doctor Who appearance was in ‘The Fires of Pompeii’. It’s fitting, therefore, that his Season 8 debut airs on the day of the Italian festival.

August 23rd is the date you should be keeping close to hand, as it’s the day that Doctor Who, Season 8 begins in all its glory, with new Doctor, Peter Capaldi, behind the wheel.

Capaldi, himself an Italian Scot, first made an appearance in the Doctor Who franchise in the Season 4 episode ‘The Fires of Pompeii’, which as you can guess from the title, sees the Doctor arriving just before the AD79 eruption of Mount Vesuvius in the Napoli region of Italy. In this episode, he played an Italian merchant Lucius Caecilius Iucundus Writer Stephen Moffat has promised that there will be a forthcoming explanation for his pre-existence in the Whoniverse.

I feel that the programme schedulers can’t have overlooked this particular date of release, because August 23rd is the date of the Vulcanalia, or Volcano Festival of Italy, celebrated in ancient times to appease the god Vulcan. It was largely celebrated in the Napoli region, owing to the presence of the immensely dangerous Mount Vesuvius nearby, and Romans used to not only feast and celebrate, but also threw fish into the mouth of the volcano to ‘feed’ the god.

These days the Vulcanalia is mostly celebrated in Naples, and people don’t really chuck fish into the volcano any more, but it’s not uncommon for residents to take a quick hike up the volcano’s slopes, and if you travel through the city on this day you’re likely to see many coloured fabrics hanging out across the streets.

The terrible eruption that destroyed Pompeii actually happened the day after the Vulcanalia in AD79, which led to a long-lasting belief that humans had simply failed to appease the god sufficiently. But belief aside, this is interesting because in ‘The Fires of Pompeii’, the Doctor arrives the day before the eruption, making Capaldi’s first Who appearance on the Vulcanalia itself, storyline-wise. It’s nice to see the schedulers keeping in with this trend, and I look forward to celebrating this day in true Whovian fashion by watching Capaldi’s grand entrance as the Doctor!

So remember: August 23rd! If you’re interested in a cinematic experience, selected cinemas around the UK are screening the Series 8 premiere this Saturday, so get in there!

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