Doctor Who fans have a long time to wait between the 2017 Christmas special and the 2018 series, with the latter not set to air until autumn later this year – quite a slog until we properly meet Jodie Whittaker’s new Doctor and her exciting Tardis team.
Until then, there’s still a lot that remains a mystery about the episodes under the control of new showrunner Chris Chibnall, but in the meantime here’s what we DO know about Doctor Who series 11.
A brand new logo for series 11 was unveiled by Whittaker at a BBC Worldwide showcase earlier recently, alongside a smaller “insignia” for the series. A brilliant orange gold, the new logo is certainly a contrast to what’s come before and includes an intriguing stylised streak, striking through the opening “D” before re-emerging through the “H” and “O”.
At first glance the line seems to allude to the series’ time travel roots (a literal timeline?) while also looking a little like a shooting star. Or maybe that trail is instead left by the Tardis itself, as suggested by a newly-released animation with music from British musician and sound artist Matthew Herbert. The video features the Doctor’s time travel capsule bursting through a crystalline debris field to illuminate the new lettering.
The new logo was produced by creative agency Little Hawk, working closely with showrunner Chris Chibnall and executive producer Matt Strevens. The team also created a special “insignia” for the new series – check it out below.
“The Doctor Who logo and insignia are the quintessential signifier for the brand,” BBC Worldwide Executive Creative Director Rafaela Perera said.
“Our aim was to create modern and elegant designs that were anchored in the things that we love most about Doctor Who.”
All official Doctor Who merchandise featuring the new logo will be available at selected retailers from 20th February 2018.
How many episodes are there in the new Doctor Who series?
It’s been confirmed that Doctor Who series 11 will have 10 episodes, a slight reduction from the 12-or-13 episode seasons fans have become used to (though more episodes in a year than we got during some of Matt Smith’s Doctor Who tenure).
How long are the new Doctor Who episodes?
The first episode of series 11 will be 65 minutes long, while the subsequent adventures will take place over 50-minute instalments.
This is slightly longer than the usual 45-minute episodes Doctor Who has favoured since the series returned in 2005, so despite the shorter number of episodes in some ways we’re getting more Who than ever this year.
Who plays the Doctor?
It seems unlikely you don’t already know this if you’re reading this article but just in case: Jodie Whittaker is the current and Thirteenth incarnation of time-travelling face-changing alien the Doctor, with Whittaker making history as the first female actor to play the role.
A far cry from the black hoody seen in Whittaker’s announcement video, the outfit is a typically colourful and eccentric look for the Doctor – and it’s chock-full of references and callbacks to previous Doctors, as we explain in more detail here.
For her first episode, though, we expect Whittaker will be stuck wearing Capaldi’s old suit for a while, as has become the tradition in recent years.
Who will play the companions in the new Doctor Who series?
Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor will have a lot of new faces joining her on her new adventures when she takes over the Tardis, with long-rumoured companion Bradley Walsh joining the cast of Doctor Who in the role of Graham and newcomers Tosin Cole and Mandip Gill also enlisting in the Tardis crew as Ryan and Yasmin. Sharon D Clarke has also joined the series in a “returning role”.
“The new Doctor is going to need new friends,” showrunner Chris Chibnall said in a statement. We’re thrilled to welcome Mandip, Tosin and Bradley to the Doctor Who family. They’re three of Britain’s brightest talents and we can’t wait to see them dive into brand new adventures with Jodie’s Doctor. Alongside them, we’re delighted that Sharon D Clarke is also joining the show.”
Jodie Whittaker said: “I am so excited to share this huge adventure with Mandip, Tosin and Bradley. It’s a dream team!”
Bradley Walsh added: “I remember watching William Hartnell as the first Doctor. Black and white made it very scary for a youngster like myself. I was petrified but even though I’d watch most of it from behind the sofa through my fingers, I became a fan. I then queued up for ages to get into the Carlton picture house in Watford to watch the great Peter Cushing appear as the Doctor in a full length feature film made in glorious colour. Am I thrilled to be part of this whole ground breaking new dawn for the Doctor?? Oh yes!”
Mandip Gill said: “I am over the moon to be joining the Doctor Who family. This is an iconic show with an amazing fanbase and I look forward to everything that brings. Certain roles seem unattainable and this is one of those, so much so I didn’t believe it to be true for the first few weeks. To be working alongside the likes of Jodie, Bradley and my old friend Tosin is thrilling. This show is worlds away from the work I’ve done previously and that’s the part that excites me the most.”
Tosin Cole said: “I’m grateful and excited to be a part of this journey with the team. I’m looking forward to jumping in this Doctor Who universe.”
What will happen in Doctor Who series 11 episode 1?
At the moment plot details of the new series are a closely-guarded secret, but we may assume the first 60-minute episode will follow Whittaker’s Doctor after she falls from the skies at the end of the 2017 Christmas special, explaining her survival and following her attempts to track down her newly-exploded Tardis.
The episode will probably also introduce her new companions Graham, Ryan and Yasmin, with the story rumoured to be set in Sheffield in a change from the London-centric series of recent years.
What will happen in the series?
Currently unclear, though hopefully in the coming months we’ll learn more about the episodes and storylines as we draw closer to Doctor Who’s autumn return date.
Who will write the series?
Broadchurch creator Chris Chibnall is taking over the series from ex-Head Writer Steven Moffat, having previously written several episodes including The Power of Three, Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, 42 and Silurian two-parter The Hungry Earth/ Cold Blood. He was also the de facto Head Writer during the first two series of Who spin-off Torchwood, writing episodes including Day One, Cyberwoman, Countrycide, Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang and Exit Wounds.
It is assumed that Chibnall will write a number of episodes for the new series, with other screenwriters working on the series yet to be announced. The format for writing the episodes may also change, with RadioTimes.com learning in 2016 that Chibnall was considering an American-style “writers’ room” approach, where a regular pool of writers would work on every episode together.
It’s unknown whether Chibnall has actually ended up going in this direction, or has continued with Moffat and predecessor Russell T Davies’ model of hiring freelance writers for specific episodes. We’ll keep you updated when we learn more.
Regular writers Mark Gatiss, Sarah Dollard and Jamie Mathieson have all said that they won’t be back for the new series
What will the new series look like?
Apparently series 11 will be the most cinematic era of Doctor Who yet – at least when it comes to the cameras. According to trade magazine Broadcast, the production is being supplied with brand-new cameras and lenses which will give Doctor Who a razzle-dazzle upgrade.
To get technical for a moment, production house Films at 59, which supplies the BBC’s Doctor Who studios in Roath Lock in Cardiff, is using Cooke anamorphic Prime lenses and Angenieux Optimo anamorphic zooms that will be used with Arri Alexa XT and Alex Mini cameras for series 11.
The intention is to bring an increased cinematic look to the show which started production at the end of October – and according to Bristol-based Films at 59’s Dave Wride, this means a whole new visual feel to the show.
“The BBC have made a monumental leap here to enhance the look of Doctor Who and I’m sure the fans will not be disappointed with the distinctly cinematic results that this lens and camera combo will afford them,” he said.
We’re also expecting a more extensive remodel of the Tardis interior following its destruction at the end of Twice Upon a Time, with the production team seeming to confirm the redesign in a video where they struck the 2013-2017 interior set for good.
Which monsters will appear in Doctor Who series 11?
Rumours abound that the Daleks will be back in action (though that’s hardly a surprise), and we can almost certainly expect some other classic foes as well as some intriguing new enemies. Watch this space for more details.
Will there be a 2018 Doctor Who Christmas special?
Now here’s an interesting one – in the official announcement about the new series’ running time there was no mention of whether 2018 would also have the traditional Doctor Who Christmas special, which has been a hallmark of the sci-fi series since its return to TV in 2005.
Now, this could be for a number of reasons. In Doctor Who series past the Christmas special has sometimes been counted as the first episode of the series that followed it, meaning that it wouldn’t have been included in the announcement of Whittaker’s first run due to the fact that it TECHNICALLY isn’t part of the same production series.
Alternatively, given the series’ rumoured late start in the year (see below) it could be that one of the 10 episodes we already know about is actually the Christmas special, with the series running right up until the festive period.
Then again, it might be that the simplest answer is the correct one – that we haven’t heard anything about a 2018 Doctor Who Christmas special because there isn’t one this year. A cruel end to 2018 if so.
The official word at the moment is “autumn 2018” (also allowing for some cheeky “Fall” jokes referencing the Doctor’s potentially terminal velocity), with rumours suggesting the Doctor will be back in action in late September or October.
A more exact date will be forthcoming in the next few months, but whatever the specifics we have a loonnnng while to wait until we see Doctor Who back in our lives again. Luckily, we have plenty to speculate about to keep us busy until then.