Doctor Who star says it’s “pure luck” that they’d already shot their festive special before lockdown
Exclusive: Mandip Gill confirms the Doctor’s next adventure is safe – but the fate of series 13 is less clear
The coronavirus pandemic has dealt a massive blow to the world of TV, with all sorts of productions forced to delay and put off filming with no clear sign when they’ll be able to get back to work.
However, some shows have been luckier than others. As we recently explained, BBC sci-fi drama Doctor Who had already shot its 2020 festive special Revolution of the Daleks in late 2019, meaning it can still be released later this year as planned – and according to series star Mandip Gill, it was just pure luck that saved this part of the BBC’s festive schedule.
"I think I'm allowed to say, yes, the festive special has been filmed!" Gill told RadioTimes.com, explaining that the episode’s production had been included within the 2019 filming for series 12 (which aired earlier this year and is now available for DVD pre-order).
"It was absolutely pure luck we happened to have filmed it. I guess it’s the way it always films – they filmed the special at the same time as series 12."
The current hiatus in TV production means that shows planning to film in the summer for a winter broadcast will have been unable to do so, potentially leaving notable gaps in the TV schedules.
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"You forget actually that loads of other stuff won't have been made - their festive specials won't have been made," Gill told us.
"So yeah, Doctor Who’s special is something to really look forward to this year –especially considering the amazing series we've just had as well."
However, the fate of filming for the upcoming series 13 is slightly less clear. Rumour has it that the next series of adventures for Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor and her team was planned to start filming in autumn 2020, and RadioTimes.com understands that the BBC is currently waiting with bated breath to see whether this schedule can go ahead or will need to be delayed.
"The conversations are probably happening somewhere else, and everyone is affected, so I guess we're just going to have to wait for guidelines," Gill told RadioTimes.com.
"I've kind of not even asked, because I know that I'll get told when I'm supposed to. I'm quite laid back in that sense, it's going to come to me when it's supposed to come to me.
"As soon as they say yeah or no, I'm going to know too. And as soon as they know, they're going to want to tell us," she concluded.
For now, Gill says, she and the other Doctor Who cast (Whittaker, Bradley Walsh and Tosin Cole) are just keeping in touch during lockdown and trying to keep their spirits up – even if that just means sending each other memes.
"I've literally just messaged Jodie," she laughed. "We still have that WhatsApp group, so we're still sending memes, sending messages. Brad's sending videos of his gorgeous place - and as soon as this is done we're going to meet up.
"We'll always stay in touch, because we are really really close - we spend a lot of hours together. And we've sort of formed... I know this sounds like a cliché, but a family.
"And obviously Jodie's so needy, so she's forever going 'Guys, can we meet up soon?'" Gill added.
"She wants to do a Zoom meeting actually, that's what she wants to do. I've said to Brad, if he's missing The Chase then he can host a quiz for us.”
The Chase of Doctor Zoom? We wouldn’t mind watching that episode…
The Doctor Who Series 12 DVD is released on 4th May and is available to pre-order now