With the new series of Doctor Who only a few weeks away, the BBC is finally starting to lift the lid on the revamped version of the sci-fi classic, which has been shrouded in secrecy during its production for the last year or so.
Writing exclusively in Radio Times, series showrunner Chris Chibnall has dropped all sorts of hints for what people can expect from Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor, culminating in a list of nine brand new cryptic clues for fans of the new series that are bound to get hearts (however many you have) racing.
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“We’ve been working hard at staying quiet until now, in order that audiences aren’t spoilt, and also so that our stories make it onto television in the most exciting way possible,” Chibnall writes in the latest issue of Radio Times, available from Tuesday 18th September.
“But now we’re getting excited about showing you Epzo, a life-changing bike ride, Robertson, the Ux, Umbreen, Rosa, Desolation, Kandoka’s moon and Ribbons. All of these things are on their way…”
But what could all these hints mean? Well, we have a few ideas. First up, Rosa almost certainly refers to Rosa Parks, the civil rights pioneer whose iconic stand against segregation on a Monroeville bus has been a rumoured destination for this series of Doctor Who for months (and definitely lines up with some scenes shown in the series’ trailer).
Meanwhile, some of the more unusual words he mentions – notably the Ux, and Epzo – could refer to the “all-new” rogues’ gallery of aliens and monsters set to be battled by the Doctor and her friends this year (the Ux definitely sounds like some sort of new alien species, right?)
Alternatively, some of the names – we’re thinking maybe Desolation? – could be intriguing new destinations for the Doctor’s travels (OK, Desolation probably isn’t the nicest holiday spot), along with the much less ambiguous Kandoka’s moon. Five points to the first fan who matches up any of these names to the various environments we’ve seen in the series 11 trailer…
And then there’s the other bits and bobs Chibnall hints at. Ribbons could be a nickname for a new creature or character, a deadly disease afflicting the universe or just be a stylish costuming choice for Bradley Walsh’s character Graham.
Robertson and Umbreen are almost certainly new series characters – maybe one of the guest stars for the first couple of episodes that Chibnall also teases in Radio Times – while “a life-changing bike ride” must be some sort of offbeat comic interlude during an episode. Unless, of course, the Thirteenth Doctor really HAS lost her Tardis and ends up going on a gap year to find herself instead…
In the end, these hints give us as many questions as they do answers – when half of these hints just turn out to be human characters with unusual names, feel free to come back here and remind us how wrong we were. But maybe that’s Chibnall’s point…
What better way to keep the Doctor Who mystery alive than releasing JUST enough information to pique our interest again, but without the context that actually explains it? It’s a devious trick worthy of the Ux themselves (unless they’re nice, or not aliens at all).
You can read more of Chris Chibnall’s exclusive Doctor Who preview in the latest issue of the Radio Times, available in shops and on the newsstand from Tuesday 18th September
Doctor Who returns to BBC1 on Sunday 7th October