Last month, Doctor Who fans learned that Stephen Fry, Sir Lenny Henry CBE, Goran Višnjić, and Robert Glenister would be joining Jodie Whittaker's 13th Doctor during Series 12, and received a new teaser with tagline ("Space. For Everyone.").
With November 23 marking the anniversary of the first airing of the show, viewers got the real deal when the BBC released the official trailer (see below) – with Doctor Who listed at the time as being set to return early 2020.
Well, now we know that "early 2020" means New Year's Day as the Doctor and her companions Ryan (Tosin Cole), Yasmin (Mandip Gill) and Graham (Bradley Walsh) materialize back on to BBC One and BBC America screens with two-part series-opener Spyfall. Written by showrunner and head writer Chris Chibnall, the second-half of the series premiere will air on Sunday, January 5 – with subsequent episodes airing on Sundays.
Now BBC America and Fathom Events are teaming up to give Who fans the chance to screen the Spyfall wrap-up early. On January 5, viewers can take part in a one-day-only event that includes a screening of the entire series opener (before it airs on BBC America); after the screening, Whittaker, Cole, and Gill will take part in a live Q&A session set to be simulcast over 600 cinema screens nationwide.
Ticket information and a list of participating theaters/locations will be available on Fathom Events website starting Friday, December 6 (check it out here).
"What better way to ring in a new decade than with our favorite Time Lord? BBC AMERICA is excited to kick off the New Year with New Who, including a thrilling New Year's Day premiere followed by new episodes every Sunday this winter. Last year, thousands of Whovians packed Madison Square Garden to celebrate Jodie Whittaker's landmark debut as the first female Doctor. This year, we're thrilled to partner with Fathom Events to bring that unique experience to fans all across the country, as Doctor Who embodies the idea of space for all. Let the New Year's countdown begin!"
– Courtney Thomasma, Executive Director, BBC America
BBC America's celebration of Doctor Who doesn't end there, however. From Tuesday, December 24, through Wednesday, January 1, the network will air full seasons and specials highlighting all of the modern Doctors (Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith, Peter Capaldi, and Jodie Whittaker). Don't think BBC America forgot about "Classic Who" fans, though: on Thursday, December 26, at 9 p.m. ET/PT, the network will debut animated "lost episodes" titled The Macra Terror
Speaking with RadioTimes recently, Chibnall explained that the goal of this season is to give both new and long-time Doctor Who fans a better appreciation of the scope of the Doctor's universe:
"Last year was a recruiting year for the show, and I think we managed to recruit some people for the show. That's exciting. And obviously we kept the existing audience and built on that. I think this year we're developing that, so for all the people who are new to Doctor Who we're going to go 'Look at the amazing world of Doctor Who, look at all the treats that are in there.'
So we're building on last year. There are lots of new faces, a few old faces. There are some things trickling through which might be important. It's different! I think you always need to take new, big risks from a storytelling point of view.
Doctor Who has to exist in the modern television landscape. There is so much drama, there are so many shows. We have to continually find new reasons to be existing. But also there's loads of things the show hasn't done before. I think you saw last year that we took a lot of risks, and I think that they paid off, and I think that we'll continue to take some big risks this year.
But you can do that and also give people all the stuff they love about Doctor Who as well. You balance the two.
Risk is built into Doctor Who, from day one in 1963. No question of that."