We found out a lot more about upcoming Doctor Who spin-off Class earlier this week including its cast and basic premise (as well as having a good old speculate about how Twelfth Doctor Peter Capaldi would fit into affairs), but one mystery remained – who was the big bad villain threatening our young student heroes, and where did he/she/it come from?


All we know so far is this line from the official press statement, which is suitably vague:

Coal Hill School has been a part of the Doctor Who universe since the very beginning, but that has come at a price. All the time travelling over the years has caused the very walls of space and time to become thin. There’s something pressing in on the other side, something waiting for its chance to kill everyone and everything, to bring us all into Shadow.

So who is this Shadow? Luckily, we didn’t have to wait long until the forces of the Whovian fandom started digging, and they’ve come up with a pretty convincing theory that (sadly) doesn’t involve any sort of crossover with Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog series.

Basically, the theory goes like this: as pointed out in a new reddit post, the capitalization of Shadow in the release would indicate a villain actually called that rather than a metaphorical shadow of evil, and there are quite a few candidates as to who said Shadow might be.

More like this

It could be the Vashta Nerada, for example – ravenous living shadows who brought death to a library in 2008’s Silence in the Library/ Forest of the Dead, with no weak spots and the perfect camouflage. Or it might be some sort of reference to The Shadow Proclamation, the intergalactic police force seen in the series who have occasionally had run-ins with the Doctor.

But redditor hamzasalem151’s most convincing idea looks back to classic Tom Baker episode The Armageddon Factor, where the Fourth Doctor faces an agent of The Black Guardian called…drum roll…The Shadow, who battles the Time Lord over the Key of Time.

As played by the late William Squire he looked like this (below) with a skull-faced mask, so maybe any fans in Cardiff should keep their eyes peeled for anyone dressed in such finery and report back.

Face it, bling like that never goes out of fashion.

Anyway that’s our best guess for Class’ main villain at the moment, and we think it’s pretty convincing. Of course, you could point out that Class creator Patrick Ness has emphasized his desire to create new characters in his spin-off, and you might think that it’s pretty unlikely he decided to revive a B-villain from 1979, evil tree-shadows or rhino policemen.

You might even point out that the way Shadow appears in the context of the press release makes it sounds like it could be the named effect of some evil plan, perhaps a horrible state of being inflicted by a villain rather than the name of the villain him/her/itself. Maybe you’d even bring up the idea that Shadow could be some weird synonym for Hell, considering the fact that it’s described as coming after comes after the death of “everyone and everything”.

Yes, you could suggest all that – but then we’d be back to not knowing ANYTHING about Class’ Big Bad, and we’d rather not live in that world any more, thanks. 1979 villains for the win!


Class will air on BBC3 online this autumn