Doctor Who fans can breathe easy, as controller of BBC drama commissioning Piers Wenger has insisted there are no plans for the series to take a break.
Speaking at a BBC Drama launch event, Wenger told RadioTimes.com and other press that the BBC is “a very long way from wanting to rest” the sci-fi show.
The current series of Doctor Who – its 12th since the show was relaunched in 2005 – will draw to a close on Sunday (1st March), with star Jodie Whittaker and showrunner Chris Chibnall having already confirmed their involvement in another run of episodes, to begin shooting in autumn 2020.
Executive producer Matt Strevens, Jodie Whittaker, and showrunner Chris Chibnall Cindy Ord/Getty Images for BBC America
But with overnight ratings having dipped below 4 million, Wenger – who previously served as executive producer on the show from 2010 to 2011 – was asked if there were plans to “rest” the show after that.
“I genuinely – I worked on Doctor Who myself, I produced it for many years, and I can honestly say that I don’t think it’s been in better health, editorially,” he said. “I think it’s fantastic and… the production values obviously have never been better.
“It’s an incredibly important show for younger audiences, still watched by families in a world where there are fewer and fewer shows that have the power to do that, so it will always be an important show for us.”
He concluded: “I think we’re a very long way from wanting to rest it.”
Wenger also suggested that the cost of producing Doctor Who is not as significant as some might think, since the show is “not just funded by the BBC” but is “funded by lots of international partners”.
The 13th series of Doctor Who is expected to air sometime in 2021, though series boss Chibnall has hinted that the seeds for future episodes will be sown in this weekend’s series 12 finale.
“I’m coming back for a third season [and] we are already planning the stories,” he said. “Once you see the end of this series, you’ll realise there are some stories we’re already setting in train for next series. We have very big, ambitious plans for our third series together.”
Additional material by Eleanor Bley-Griffiths
Doctor Who series 12 concludes on BBC One at 6:50pm on Sunday