He’s been to the farthest reaches of the galaxy and travelled from the dawn of time to the death of the universe – but is Doctor Who a match for the mean streets of Bradford?

Tonight’s epsiode of the science fiction adventure show takes Matt Smith’s Doctor and his companion Clara to Yorkshire in the year 1893, for a spooky adventure titled The Crimson Horror.

There the Time Lord and Clara (played by Jenna-Louise Coleman, no stranger to the district after spending much of her teenage life acting in Emmerdale and more recently in the TV adaptation of John Braine’s novel Room At The Top, which was filmed in Bradford) meet the sinister Mrs Gillyflower – veteran actress Dame Diana Rigg, who was educated at the Moravian school in Fulneck, Pudsey.

It is Mrs Gillyflower, who namechecks the city, declaring: “The gaudy flesh-pots and gin-palaces of Bradford! Bradford, that Babylon for the Moderns, with its crystal light and its glitter, all aswarm with the wretched ruins of humanity.”

The episode sees the return of the ‘Paternoster Gang’ from the Christmas special, a team of aliens and humans investigating strange goings on in Victorian London.

According to a BBC spokesman: “There’s something very odd about Mrs Gillyflower’s Sweetville mill, with its perfectly clean streets and beautiful people.

“There’s something even stranger about the bodies washing up in the river, all bright red and waxy. When the Doctor and Clara go missing, it’s up to Vastra, Jenny and Strax to rescue them before they too fall victim to the Crimson Horror!”

The episode was written by Mark Gatiss, one quarter of the League of Gentlemen, who used to skip lectures at Bretton Hall drama school near Wakefield to watch old episodes of Doctor Who being shown at the Pictureville cinema, in what is now the National Media Museum complex.

The episode also stars Rachael Stirling – the real-life daughter of Dame Diana Rigg, who said: “The first time Rachie and I will be working together is on an episode of Doctor Who specially written for us by Mark Gatiss. How lucky is that?”

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, and the National Media Museum has hinted that there might be some kind of major celebration here in Bradford later this year. There will also be a series of Doctor Who-themed events at the museum for the school half-term at the end of May.

l Doctor Who is broadcast on BBC1 today at 6.30pm.