The BBC has announced that the sci-fi series won’t be back until 2020, meaning there’ll be at least a year gap between the New Year’s Day special and any future episodes.
“We’re delighted that the Doctor and her friends will be returning to thrill audiences in 2020,” BBC director of Content Charlotte Moore said in a release.
“I know Chris and the whole team are already working on a whole new set of exciting adventures.”
Speaking at a BBC screening of the New Year’s Day episode, BBC Director-General Tony Hall clarified that the series would air “very early” in 2020, so it could be that the series is more likely to air in the first couple of months instead of spring, as some fans had supposed.
However, the series is still a long way off in the schedules, so it’s impossible to say for sure.
The end of the 2019 New Year’s Day special doesn’t give much away about what we might expect from future episodes: the Doctor and her team simply fly away from Sheffield again to continue their adventures.
“Where to next?” asks companion Yaz (Mandip Gill).
“I was thinking…everywhere,” the Doctor replies.
However, some details from series 12’s shooting have revealed that one episode will deal with early 20th-century wartime Paris, while another (which may guest star Stephen Fry) will involve espionage and British spy agencies.
And outside of filming Chris Chibnall has actually started to drop a few hints about what to expect from series 12. At a question and answer session, he was asked whether we’d ever see Mandip Gill’s character Yaz return to her career as a police officer.
“That’s a really good question,” he told the crowd. “I think that some of these questions may be answered in the forthcoming season….”
Finally some more action for Yaz? Sign us up.
And of course, we know at least one villain who’s returning for the new series…
Who are the Judoon?
It’s been revealed that rhino-like thugs the Judoon are returning to the series in 2020, with Whittaker’s Doctor and her team facing off with them in Gloucester as they enact some sort of “deadly mission,” according to the BBC.
“No! Sho! Blo! The Judoon are storming back into Doctor Who in full force, and the streets of Gloucester aren’t safe,” series showrunner Chris Chibnall said.
“If anyone has anything to hide, confess now. The Judoon are taking no prisoners, and will stop at nothing to fulfil their mission! The whole team on Doctor Who are delighted and scared in equal measure to welcome them back: one of many treats we’ve got in store for viewers next series.”
The same episode is also set to include Doctor Foster and Silk star Neil Stuke in an as-yet-unknown role, the first guest star officially announced for the twelfth rebooted series that is currently filming.
“We’re over the moon (with Judoon), to be welcoming the wondrous Neil Stuke as a guest star,” Chibnall continued.
“We can’t wait to show you what happens when his path crosses with the Thirteenth Doctor.”
First appearing in 2007 in David Tennant’s second series (specifically the episode Smith and Jones), the Judoon cropped up a few more times over the years (including in child-friendly spin-off the Sarah-Jane Adventures), last popping up in Peter Capaldi’s penultimate series for a couple of cameos.
Will Jodie Whittaker get a new Doctor Who costume?
Jodie Whittaker in Doctor Who (BBC Pictures)
Apparently the Thirteenth Doctor will get some new variations on her look in the new series, sporting a darker overcoat (and matching socks) for at least one episode instead of the sky-blue number she’s worn to date.
Jodie Whittaker has also been spotted on set in a new jumper with rainbow-coloured cuffs that echoes the lining of her coat, but it’s unclear if this is a new costume choice or something that Whittaker owns personally that just so happens to share design details.
Who’s in the cast for Doctor Who series 12?
Stephen Fry (Getty, PJ)
Thirteenth Doctor Jodie Whittaker and her Tardis team Bradley Walsh, Tosin Cole and Mandip Gill are all set to return, along with showrunner Chibnall behind the scenes.
“We can’t wait to bring more scares, more monsters and more Bradley Walsh, Mandip Gill and Tosin Cole to BBC1,” Chibnall said. “Brilliant!”
And while Neil Stike (see above) is currently the only guest star announced for the series, reports suggest that actor, writer, presenter and general polymath Stephen Fry has a role in an upcoming episode, though when contacted by RadioTimes.com the BBC declined to comment on the story.
One bit of casting we DO know, though, is that the mother of TV presenter Ben Fogle is set to have a part in the new series, a fact Fogle recently revealed in a response to the decision to scrap free license fees for certain over-75s.
Called Julia Foster, Fogle’s mother is expected to appear in the same episode as the Judoon.
Who is writing Doctor Who season 12?
It’s been rumoured (thanks to his online CV) that series 11 writer Ed Hime, who penned offbeat mirror-dimension episode It Takes You Away, has been tapped to return for another story. If true, it stands to reason that a few more faces from series 11’s writers’ room – including Vinay Patel, Joy Wilkinson and Pete McTighe – could also join him, though at this time there’s been no official announcement.
Currently, all we know for sure is that Head Writer Chris Chibnall will be penning a number of episodes, as he did for series 11.
Is Doctor Who series 12 currently filming?
Production has already begun on the new series of episodes, with the team expected to continue filming at Roath Lock Studios in Cardiff and on location over the coming months.
“We’re off again! Well we never actually stopped – as Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor and friends have been winning the hearts of families across the nation this autumn, we’ve been busy with a whole new set of action packed adventures for the Thirteenth Doctor,” showrunner Chris Chibnall said.
“We adore making this show and have been blown away by the response from audiences.”
Currently, the series is filming in the UK having already shot in South Africa for a couple of weeks, as revealed on Doctor Who’s social media accounts. Parts of Cardiff and South Wales have been transformed into a Sheffield police station, the streets of Paris and a London government building so far.
Why is there such a long wait for new Doctor Who episodes?
Jodie Whittaker in Doctor Who: The Tsuranga Conundrum (BBC)
Most fans would have expected the next series to debut in autumn 2019, roughly a year after series 12 began airing on BBC1, so they may be confused as to why there’s such a delay.
There’s no official line from the BBC about the long lead-in, but it’s likely the corporation and Chibnall’s team just decided the production window was too short to deliver the series.
During the same Q&A Chibnall suggested that the return of the Daleks in Resolution could be just the first classic Who monster to make a comeback, with others (such as the Cybermen, the Sontarans or the Ice Warriors) potential candidates for stories in the 2020 series.
(The Judoon, despite having appeared a few times in the modern series, had no presence in the classic episodes, so don’t apply for this example).
When pushed on the possibility of other classic monsters, he asked: “Well, did you like it that we brought back the Dalek in that one?”
Faced with cheers from the crowd, he teased: “Well, maybe we’ll do some more then… I’ll have a think.”
He also explained that the absence of old villains in series 11 was partially an attempt to make the first Dalek we see Whittaker face have more impact, so who knows? Maybe he’s employing the same strategy for some other well-known villains.
Doctor Who returns to BBC1 in 2020
This article was originally published on 1 January 2019