Recent reports have suggested that the next series of Doctor Who could be delayed until 2020, with a rumoured hold-up in the start of shooting for Jodie Whittaker’s second season said to potentially push back the start of the BBC sci-fi series by a number of months.
But is it true? Well, RadioTimes.com understands that the facts may not be as clear-cut as they first appear – and that a reduced shooting period might not mean a delay even if Doctor Who does start filming a little later than it did for series 11.
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The story of Doctor Who series 12’s possible delay stems from a report suggesting that filming for the new episodes won’t kick off until January 2019, later than the current series began shooting (in late October 2017) and suggesting a shorter or shifted production schedule.
“It looks far more likely that the next run will air in winter or spring 2020,” a BBC source reportedly told the Mirror.
“There simply isn’t time to finish filming and get all the editing done before next October. It’s too tight. We’re facing a gap year.”
However, other sources suggest that production on the new series will be underway sooner than the new year, and that no plans have yet been finalised about moving the series 12 episodes (and thus making 2019 a Doctor Who gap year) anyway.
“We go into production next month,” a source close to the show told RadioTimes.com, “but it’s much too early to be making scheduling decisions anyway.
“We hadn’t decided when the current series would air when we were filming it – we only decided a few months ago.”
RadioTimes.com also understands that any future series of Doctor Who may have slightly shorter production schedules than the current one in any case, thanks to many core aspects of Whittaker’s series – including assembling the behind-the-scenes crew and writers, creating an opening sequence, designing costumes and other props – having been worked out during preproduction for series 11.
Even Whittaker’s new Tardis hadn’t been built when filming began for series 11, and it may be that after spending a little longer creating a revamped version of the venerable series for Whittaker’s new Doctor, the production team can work within a slightly tighter timeframe going forward.
Then again, when asked by RadioTimes.com in September whether production on series 12 would begin soon, series showrunner Chris Chibnall was non-committal.
“Hopefully, yeah,” he told us. “It’d be nice, wouldn’t it?”
“You’ll have to wait find out,” added series star Tosin Cole. “I’m excited to know when you know.”
“Let’s see what happens at the end of this one,” continued Mandip Gill, who plays Yaz Khan in the series.
“If we’re still here at the end of this one…”
So for now, we have to take any talk of series 12 production as speculation, and until an airdate is officially confirmed – or at least until filming actually begins – we’ll just have to wait and see whether Doctor Who fans are in for a Doctor-free 2019.
And of course, in the meantime, we still have seven episodes of Doctor Who to go before this year’s Christmas special, so there’s lots to look forward to for Who fans in the near future.
Doctor Who continues on BBC1 on Sundays
This article was originally published on 23 October 2018