As the arrival of Doctor Who series 13 inches ever closer, we’re full steam ahead on the publicity campaign for the new episodes – which today means a nice new photo of series newcomer John Bishop with co-stars Jodie Whittaker and Mandip Gill.
Showing Whittaker and Bishop grinning by a graffitied wall – and Gill looking slightly more intense beside them – it’s a fun little shot of the new TARDIS trio, who are set to debut as a threesome on BBC One this autumn.
Meet the new team TARDIS! ✨ pic.twitter.com/6lp270V5LH— Doctor Who (@bbcdoctorwho) August 16, 2021
But is there more to this photo than meets the eye? Many fans were quick to notice that some of the graffiti on the bottom left of the full image resembled some sort of code, with others soon realising that it represented map co-ordinates.
Why is the 5 highlighted?— Toby-Wan Kenobi (@Thetobylythgoe) August 16, 2021
Follow those co-ordinates, and they’ll take you to a familiar location – the block of flats in Sheffield that stand in for Yaz’s (Mandip Gill) family home, as shown in multiple episodes of the sci-fi series. In fact, it’s one of the few returning locations in Doctor Who’s recent years, and easily identifiable because of its colourful panelling.
leads to a block of flats in Sheffield so I think it’s just the coordinates of where they took the picture pic.twitter.com/SVF21ZeMKo— Em Andress (@doctorwhoemst) August 16, 2021
So what’s the story here? Why the co-ordinates, and why that destination? While some have theorised it’s just meant to demonstrate where the photo was taken, others have their doubts that this distinctive wall is anywhere near Yaz’s block, while still others are scratching their heads about why that information would be included in a press photo.
Our theory? There’s some sort of message or hint hidden here that has something to do with Yaz’s home. Maybe this is a nudge to where the new series starts its story, or where this new TARDIS team first meets up. Maybe it’s a suggestion that something notable, some piece of viral marketing could crop up at the real-life location, and that fans should keep an eye on it going forward.
Tea at Yaz's— 🚄 Latimer: Back On Track! (@SeeItSayItDoggo) August 16, 2021
And who knows? It certainly seems likely that the whole thing could be connected to the ongoing #FindTheDoctor viral marketing mystery that’s been humming away online for a couple of weeks, with fans trying to assemble a special password from various clues (including a voicenote from Mandip Gill herself in-character) that will unlock… something… on a website.
Could this be the latest clue? Should we glean anything from Yaz/Gill’s more serene expression in this photo? Or is this a separate puzzle for fans to solve before the main series returns?
Whatever the truth, one thing’s for sure – we can’t remember a time when Doctor Who gave us so many mysteries to solve before the latest series had even begun airing…