Now we know that in the Doctor Who universe, "early 2020" means New Year's Day as the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) 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.
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."). Since then, the network released an official trailer, a release date trailer, a "Spyfall" first-look scene, an interview with the cast, and even a premiere preview (all below) – so what could they have up their sleeves now?
How about news that Anjli Mohindra (The Sarah Jane Adventures, Bodyguard) and Laura Fraser (Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul) are set to guest star this series? Mohindra previously played Rani Chandra on the Who spinoff series, but will be playing a new character this time around – one the BBC says will be "worlds away from her usual appearance".
"It was a real joy to welcome Anjli and Laura to the show. We've wanted to work with them since we started and have found the perfect characters for them to show off their talent and range – both formidable in very different ways."
– Matt Strevens, Executive Producer
"Doctor Who" Series 12, Episode 1 "Spyfall": Intelligence agents around the world are under attack from alien forces. MI6 turns to the only people who can help: The Doctor and friends. As they travel the globe for answers, attacks come from all sides. Earth's security rests on the team's shoulders, but where will this planet-threatening conspiracy lead them?
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."