The Timeless Children was a pretty massive Doctor Who finale back in March, changing everything we thought we knew about the BBC sci-fi series – and Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor – in a series of twists that revealed the Doctor’s secret series of past lives and her central role in creating the Time Lords.
Gradually teased over the course of Whittaker’s run as the Thirteenth Doctor, it took a while for the Timeless Child storyline to come to fruition – and behind-the-scenes, it was in the works for even longer.
“It was always the plan to do it in the second year,” Doctor Who head writer and showrunner Chris Chibnall exclusively told Radio Times, revealing that the Timeless Child storyline was set from the moment he took over the series – and was even included in his initial pitch to senior BBC figures Charlotte Moore and Piers Wenger.
“I knew from the start,” Chibnall said. “And it was part of what I talked to Charlotte and Piers about, just opening up the mythology to more stories.
“The purpose was to bring narrative opportunity and to be able to go to places that were shut off before now. That’s the big thing really.”
In fact, Chibnall revealed, the Timeless Child storyline was planned before Jodie Whittaker was even announced as the Thirteenth Doctor.
“When people were having opinions about the first female Doctor, I thought ‘well this is going to be interesting, because we haven’t even started yet!’” Chibnall laughed.
To see exactly how the Timeless Child story continues, fans will have to be patient – Chibnall told us that we’ll “have to wait longer to see how it plays out” despite it being briefly touched on in the upcoming festive special – and overall, it sounds like this arc is only just beginning.
But now we know it actually began a long time ago, we have to wonder… what other secrets has Chibnall been keeping from us all this time? What big twists will await us in the next full Doctor Who series?
Somehow we just know it’ll feel like a long wait until we find out…
Doctor Who: Revolution of the Daleks comes to BBC One at 6:45pm on New Year’s Day. Want something else to watch? Check out our full TV Guide.